8 Reasons You’ll Love Rigid-Heddle Weaving

I’m always amazed by how much crossover there is between weaving and knitting. I really shouldn’t be surprised, though. It just makes sense that if you like yarn you’ll love finding new ways to use it to create cloth. For those knitters still on the fence, this list by Stephanie Flynn Sokolov from the Fall 2017 issue of Interweave Knits gives eight excellent reasons why knitters will love rigid-heddle weaving. Personally, I think they’re applicable to us multishaft weavers as well! —Christina

Many knitters have already discovered the pleasure of weaving on a rigid-heddle loom. If you haven’t tried weaving, here are the top eight reasons you should.

1. Cheap start up, big rewards

For the cost of knitting a sweater, you can experiment with a whole new craft. Most looms come with everything you need to begin weaving at a fairly low cost; for example, you can buy a standard 10-inch-wide rigid-heddle loom for as little as $150.

2. Bust your stash

Most fiber enthusiasts have a stash of yarn, which typically contains a variety of mismatched and orphaned skeins that can be difficult to find knitting projects for. Fortunately, weaving lends itself well to mixing yarns of different weights, textures, dyelots, and fiber contents, so you can easily find projects for any skein in your stash.

3. Instant gratification

Get ready for immediate results. Weaving an 8-inch-wide scarf using sock-weight yarn takes six to eight hours from start to finish; knitting a scarf at a moderate pace would take a couple of days. The rigid-heddle loom is unique in its ability to utilize a lightning-fast process called direct peg warping that allows you to set up your loom in a flash and get weaving.

Rigid-Heddle Weaving

The Cowl Neck Sweater from Simple Woven Garments shows how to combine weaving and knitting.

4. Reignite an old flame

We all have a favorite yarn—one we know just what to knit with. Try it out on a loom and you’ll discover more reasons to love your favorite yarn. Some yarns actually behave better when woven; for example, because of their structure, woven fabrics are very supportive for fibers such as alpaca that tend to stretch in a knitted fabric.

5. New and exciting fibers

You can use materials you have never used in knitting, such as superfine yarns or sewing thread; stainless steel; super energized yarns; or even paper, sticks, or plastic. You can easily combine yarns without having to worry about gauge.

6. It’s a breeze

You can learn to weave in one day; in fact, many weaving courses complete a project from start to finish in one day. Instructions for setting up a rigid-heddle loom are remarkably simple, and the heddle controls the threads so that you only have to learn a few simple steps to create beautiful fabric.

7. Other knitters are doing it, so why aren’t you?

Weaving is everywhere, from necklaces to wall hangings to sculpture to DIY fashion. Notable knitters are doing it: Franklin Habit, Cat Bhordi, Jillian Moreno, Vickie Howell, and Angela Tong, to name a few. Online idea sites such as Pinterest and Instagram make sharing weaving accessible and appealing.

8. Community

Knitters are a social group. The portability of the rigid-heddle loom makes it a breeze to take your weaving to an LYS, coffee shop, or pub. Share all your weaving ideas with your friends during knit-ins, spin-ins, and popular Cricket Clubs. Not close to a shop that supports weaving? Look no further than www.interweave.com for books, videos, and online tutorials.

—Stephanie Flynn Sokolov

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