Rigid-Heddle Weaving Is Real Weaving
As a longtime multishaft loom weaver, I came to rigid-heddle weaving hesitantly. My misconception was that rigid-heddle weaving was not “real” weaving. However, a local yarn shop was looking for a rigid-heddle weaving teacher, and a guild member pressured me to give them a call. I had never woven on a rigid-heddle loom, but I was aware of direct warping, and I agreed to take on the class. I watched some videos, read some books, and within 2 weeks felt capable of teaching my first class, relying on the new techniques I had learned and my general knowledge about weaving and yarn. Little Looms wasn’t available at the time, but I wish it had been.
Luckily, I inherited students that hadn’t yet learned the direct warping method and were eager to learn it. They also hadn’t yet planned their own projects, so I added that to the first couple of classes. Anyone who has taught weaving can tell you that having a room full of students all working on their own projects of their own design can be harrowing, but in this case there were only 5 students; they were patient, and it all worked out fine.
Some time after the 3rd or 4th class, I needed to step things up, so I taught pick-up techniques, hem stitching, how to warp with 2 heddles, and how to finish a project. About that time, I came to realize that rigid-heddle weaving has certain advantages over multishaft weaving, and when it is approached meaningfully, it can certainly be considered real weaving. I borrowed a loom from my guild and wove several projects on it. I marveled at the ease of direct warping and the fun of developing a pick-up pattern.
Unfortunately, not long after, the yarn store was sold, and the new owner decided to cancel all weaving classes. Besides the fact that I missed my students, I felt bad for them. All of them had purchased new rigid-heddle looms and the accompanying equipment and wanted to continue, but the way wasn’t very clear.
This was all pre–Little Looms 2016, –Little Looms 2017, and Little Looms 2018. If these magazines had been available, I would have recommended that they buy both. When you are a beginning weaver, it can be hard to advance if you don’t have a teacher to assist you. One of the best ways to learn new weaving techniques is through weaving projects that have been vetted. If you know that the yarn, yardages, and sett have already been used successfully, you can concentrate on the new technique while you weave the project, and then perhaps use that same technique in a project of your own design. That’s the beauty of Little Looms: somebody else already figured out the hard stuff. Both magazines have a wide variety of projects, including towels, rugs, scarves, and shawls. They also describe a number of interesting techniques, some of which are used in multishaft weaving, and others that are unique to rigid-heddle weaving. Last but not least in the equation, the projects in both magazines are creatively designed and well executed.
Whether you’re a new rigid-heddle weaver or one who has woven for a while, the Little Looms magazines will provide you with new projects and techniques that will advance your skill level in weaving while also providing you with a beautiful end product.
Featured Image: Checkered Cardigan by Benjamin Krudwig, Little Looms 2017
Get the print edition of Little Looms 2017 today! The print edition of 2016 sold out quickly!