The Magic of Doubleweave on a Rigid-Heddle Loom

You may think of a rigid-heddle loom as a gateway drug, the loom that makes you fall in love with weaving but not your “forever loom.” It’s the loom you lend a friend to get her hooked. But you can add a second heddle and push the limits of rigid-heddle weaving, even creating twill and doubleweave on a rigid-heddle loom.

What if I told you that a weaving professional—someone who has made her living as a weaving instructor, author, and designer for decades—let go of her multishaft looms and doubled down on rigid-heddle weaving? Liz Gipson did just that. Armed with two heddles and a few pick-up sticks, Liz creates beautiful and complex cloth in her books and videos.

And what really gets her excited is doubleweave. “Doubleweave is magic,” she says. Rigid-heddle looms tend to be narrower than multishaft looms, which might make it seem like we’re limited to scarves. But here’s what you can make on a rigid-heddle loom with doubleweave:

  • A one-piece blanket twice the width of your loom. Double Your Fun includes a pattern for a full-size baby blanket on a 15″ loom—seamlessly!
  • A bag that’s closed on the bottom and sides but open at the top—again, no seams!
  • A piece of fabric that’s quilted right on the loom.
Doubleweave on a Rigid-Heddle Loom: Two layers are connected along the left edge of this weaving.

Two layers are connected along the left edge of this weaving.

For Madelyn van der Hoogt, doubleweave was itself the gateway drug. “The best weave structure is doubleweave,” she says. “If I were allowed only one weave structure, I would pick doubleweave, no question. I became a weaver because of doubleweave, in fact.”

All this on a loom that starts at under $200, has only a few moving parts, packs up small for storage or transportation, and happily accepts a wide range of yarns? It may not be enough to make you pass on a multishaft loom, but don’t write off your rigid-heddle loom as just for plain scarves, either.

—Anne

Featured Image: Two heddles plus a pick-up stick create the double layers of doubleweave.


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