Adventures in Direct Warping a Rigid-Heddle Loom

I enjoy weaving on rigid-heddle looms and shaft looms. I especially like direct warping a rigid-heddle loom; It’s so easy and intuitive! Although I don’t mind winding a warp on a warping board and then beaming, threading, and sleying that warp on a shaft loom, I’ll do just about anything to avoid all of those steps on a rigid-heddle loom.

Even when I’m warping uneven numbers of ends or multiple tiny stripes, or even log cabin, I do my best to figure out a work-around, which often includes lots of cutting and tying at the peg. I’ve learned to leave a pair of scissors at both ends of my warp.

Here are some of the adventures I’ve had while direct warping, what about you?!:

    1. I dropped my rigid-heddle on the ground before securing the threaded ends. The good news was that the warp was arranged perfectly on the back beam, so I could pick the ends up in correct order and put them back through the rigid heddle’s slots and holes.
    2. I direct warped a rigid-heddle loom, decided I didn’t like one color, cut it out, rolled back to the front, and then added in a new color. I don’t remember how, but a lawn chair was involved.
    3. I placed my rigid-heddle loom on one side of the peninsula in my kitchen and the peg on the other. The warp was striped, which meant that for every color change, I had to walk around the peninsula and kitchen table. It was like a workout.
    4. Direct warping

      Warping around a can of tomatoes, organic of course! Photo credit: Susan E. Horton

    5. I direct-warped a rigid-heddle loom using a large can of tomatoes as my warping peg. This isn’t recommended for very long or wide warps, but it works in a pinch. It teaches you not to put tension on your warp because if you do, the can starts inching towards the loom.
    6. Direct Warping

      Surprise! No Shed! Photo credit: George Boe

    7. I tied my warp on the apron rod of my rigid-heddle loom before I pulled the ends through the holes. This is one of those errors that I’ve repeated more than once. I get all ready to weave, and then: Surprise! No shed.

    Let me know if you’ve done any of these!

    This is a swiper quiz, swipe right for yes, swipe left for no.

    Sometimes half the fun of direct warping is figuring out a solution to problems of peg placement, warp order, or just plain saving a warp.

    Weave well,

    Need resources to get you weaving on a rigid-heddle loom?



  1. Debbi L at 4:55 pm November 21, 2017

    I love my 25″ Schacht Flip, but as this is advertised as a RHL “KIT”, and shows with a stand and trap, it makes it SOUND like all three,with usual included accessories, for $329.99. I just hope others read everything, and don’t think the same way I did.

    • Tamara Schmiege at 10:44 am November 22, 2017

      Debbi L–Thanks for pointing out the confusing description. We’ll update the product description so that it more clearly describes the product. Enjoy your new loom & thanks for shopping at Interweave!

  2. RW P at 10:51 am December 20, 2017

    Thank you for the recommendations on mistakes to make and/or avoid. I thought I had made most of the mistakes possible. Also on the ideas on how to remedy these mistakes. There is always hope.

    Be blessed.

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