Rigid Heddle Weaving

What does this loom do Best?

Some of my weaving friends wonder why I use a rigid heddle loom at all since I have a large floor loom. I have a couple reasons, plus whenever anyone tells me that I CAN'T do something, I automatically start thinking about how I could. There are a few things that the rigid heddle loom does better than a big shaft loom, and it's portable so that I can use it on my couch or in bed in the evening (Sorry Macomber, you just don't fit!)

Following are a couple of my favorite things to weave on a rigid heddle loom, besides plain weave scarves.

Flexible Lace Weaves

Certain lace weaves can be annoying on the rigid heddle, but any lace structure where I don't have to swap my pick up stick every three rows (or at all) is great. And, I CAN move the pick up stick mid project and re-insert it in a different pattern, allowing me to switch from a three thread float to a seven or whatever. I can't do anything like that on my shaft loom without using a lot of shafts (take a look at my straight 12 washcloth project for an example). This can be a good way to sample lace patterns without re-threading.

The photo for this section is of some gauze / leno that I was working on. I could have woven this on my floor loom just as easily (or, with just as much difficulty), but that brings me to my other big love of this little loom ... long, tedious projects can go on it, leaving faster or larger projects for the big loom. If I CAN weave it on the little loom, and it's not going to be any harder, why not?

Pick-up Summer & Winter Designs

I don't SUPER enjoy tedious pick up work. That said, I really, really like doing summer and winter pick up on the rigid heddle. What's the difference?

First, I only have to move my pick-up stick every eight picks (or four picks of pattern). Second, I can leave the pick-up stick in while picking up the next row, which is almost always related, meaning I only really need to count on the first row.

The only difficult part (and one that is easily remedied) is that you are picking up the background. That means that if you want the design that faces up to be design on background, you will constantly have to think inside out. The easy way to fix this is to weave the inverse to begin with and just flip the fabric over when you are finished. Much easier on your brain (and is something that troubles me when tying up summer and winter on my shaft loom as well).

Twill Damask

This technique is taken straight from Erica de Ruiter's Weaving on 3 Shafts book. It worked great on the rigid heddle loom, and I am excited to try some other designs.

Below are a couple photos from my first project with this technique. I used 4/2 cotton, which was nice and soft, but somewhat large. I think trying it again at 15epi with a mercerized 5/2 might look nice, perhaps with a little more definition.

Picking up the pattern

Changing the shed to get the Damask

Finished weaving