Rigid-Heddle Looms for Everyone!

Sometimes experienced handweavers think of rigid-heddle looms as just beginner looms. When you get a multishaft loom, do you ever look back? Maybe you should! No less a weaver than Susan E. Horton—editor of Handwoven and devoted dobby-loom user—designed handwoven towels and napkins for Easy Weaving with Little Looms 2017 that any experienced weaver would be proud of.

Easy Does It

Even plain weave shines with the right yarns.

Fall into Winter Scarf by Sara Goldenberg. Even plain weave shines with the right yarns.

There’s no doubt that rigid-heddle looms offer lots of opportunities for beginning weavers, and so does this issue. Simple scarves, for instance, offer a quick and satisfying (but still educational) way to whip out some weaving. Add some color patterns and the results look dazzling: basketweave and houndstooth look much easier than they really are.

Put the Hand in Handweaving

Brooks bouquet sounds fancy, weaves easy, and looks spectacular.

Fortuna Major Scarf by Stephanie Flynn Sokolov. Brooks bouquet sounds fancy, weaves easy, and looks spectacular.

One of my favorite projects in this issue, the Fortuna Major Scarf by Stephanie Flynn Sokolov, gives plain weave a little twist: At regular intervals throughout the scarf, you gather sets of warp threads and wrap them with weft instead of going straight through the open shed. It’s just a few extra steps every couple of inches, but the result looks sophisticated and complex. (It also has a pretty name: Brooks bouquet.)

Weave Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Pick up waffles for a thirsty kitchen towel.

Nautical Towels by Jodi Ybarra. Pick up waffles for a thirsty kitchen towel.

Adding a pick-up stick or a second heddle multiplies your possibilities. Towels become more absorbent with waffle weave (easy with a pick-up stick). Lovely leno lace makes weaving even faster (and fancier).

With a rigid-heddle loom, you can create projects as delicate as silk scarves, as rugged as rag rugs, as simple as plain weave, and as complex as an allover patterned wrap. Some techniques are even easier on a rigid-heddle loom with a pickup stick than a loom with 4 or more shafts. So go ahead and think of a rigid-heddle loom as a weaving gateway drug—but don’t forget it when the weaving bug bites.


Discover the Power of Rigid-Heddle Looms!



  1. Gwendolyn P at 5:02 pm May 1, 2017

    I’m confused with the instructions on Step 8 of the Fortuna Major scarf … I see that the first section is 60 picks, with Group A following a 10/40/10 pattern, Group B a 20/2020 pattern, and Group C a 30/30 pattern. Every group is wrapped on the 60th pick. After that, do you just continue wrapping A every 40 picks, B every 20 picks, and C every 30 picks until the work measures 25″ (240 picks comprised of 6 A repeats, 12 B repeats, 8 C repeats), with the last pick wrapping every group. Then do the 60-pick pattern that we started with (getting t6o 30″). Then the 240-pick section. Then the starting 60-pick section to end?

  2. Anne M at 2:57 pm May 9, 2017

    Good question!!

    All the groups are wrapped on the 60th pick, but the next section is A/40, B/20, and C/30, so at 100 and 110 A will wrap alone, and at 120 B and C will be wrapped on the same pick but A will not, and at 150 just A and C… Does that make sense?

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