Purchasing a new weaving loom can be a daunting and an equally exciting process for you as a new or experienced weaver, and can be a serious investment. Therefore, in this blog there are some top tips for you to consider when researching and choosing a new or even a second hand weaving loom.
Your Weaving Plans - weaving is a very satisfying process allowing your creative skills to shine through. With the combination of colours, type, weight and strengths of yarns the possibilities are endless. You may wish to weave smaller garments such as scarves, table mats or smaller pieces of colourful patterned fabric, or experiment with larger blankets, throws, rugs or upholstery fabrics. Whatever your desired weaving outcomes, there is a loom for you. Both the width of the loom, and the number of shafts will help determine how far you can reach with creativity. You will likely not need a 24 shaft computerised Dobby loom if your desire is only to weave scarves. However if you are a really passionate weaver and you wish to begin simple, to evolve then you may wish to consider a loom that you can grow into. Some good loom recommendations for beginners are the Louët Erica, or Louët Jane looms. Additional stands can be bought for both so they can be standalone, saving valuable table space. Remember weaving width of your loom is important, as narrower looms are fine for scarves, but if you want blankets then a wider loom will be obviously best, though narrow loom weaving is an acceptable technique - we will cover that for you in another blog.
Your Space - you may have dreams about the biggest floor loom possible, however if your weaving space is not big enough then sadly you need to be realistic about what can be accommodated. However, don't worry too much as most new looms come in boxes so can be assembled in the smallest of spaces, but you must allow enough room for an assembled loom, and also space around the loom for tying up, and warping the loom - this is important. Also weaving isn't the quietest of pastimes, so your loving other half may not want to hear the motions of the loom when trying to watch their favourite TV programme. The great thing is there are looms that fold, and an example of this is the wonderful maple floor T-looms from Harrisville Designs. Even when fully warped they fold, and with the added wheels can be manouvred and tucked away when not in use. The Louët Erica, or Louët Jane are also smaller looms so can also be stowed away when not in use. If you have the luxury of a spare bedroom, workshop, garage or just want to turn your lounge into a weaving workshop (believe me I know this from first hand experience), then you may opt for a larger floor loom such as a Louët David III, Louët Spring II, AVL Home Loom or go bigger with a Louët Delta. If you want to go all out with technology and computerization, then you could go for AVL K-loom or even an AVL A-loom. If you would like technology and space is partly limited then the AVL workshop Dobby loom (WDL) is a fabulous option.
Your Experience - As a true beginner if you want a simple loom both to build and weave on then table looms are a very good start. Table looms such as a Louët Erica or Louët Jane are less of an investment, and if weaving becomes more of a chore than a pleasure, you haven't broken the bank balance. If you have a desire to continue to develop your weaving journey then you may wish to plonk for a smaller floor loom such as the Harrisville Designs T-looms, or Louët David III to start your weaving journey. Again they are simple to build, and great to start with. As a beginner or if you are trading up from table to floor loom, there is no immediate need to go crazy for the number of shafts. Don't forget a 4 shaft loom will enable you to be creative with approx 64 pattern configs, and an 8-shaft loom will enable approx 1200 patterns, so this is definitely enough for most hobby weavers. If you want to weave more complex patterns or again go for a bigger loom from the outset, then a 12-shaft loom or bigger are available. With the Louët Spring II, it is possible to buy the 8-shaft version, and then purchase a 4-shaft extension kit to make it a 12-shaft later on should you wish - so everything is possible. If you are a production weaver, computer savvy, and you wish to get to the heights of creativity then the AVL Looms are remarkable, and really are truly the best in our opinion.
Your Agility & Movement - Even though this may seem personal, it is so important for you when choosing a loom. Table looms require a lot of handwork, so if you have any issues with hands, upper arms, and upper body then although the best for beginners , they may not be the best for upper body agility. Your height is also important as the height of the front beam to the floor may not accommodate your leg height when seated. Most floor looms require getting down on the floor, with tight spaces for tie-up, so if this proves to be an issue, you may wish to select a loom with side tie-up such as the AVL Home Loom or looms with snap chains such at the Harrisville Designs floor looms.
Budget - yes this is sadly always an important topic which we won't dwell on too much. However you may wish to consider trade-in options as this could help some way to purchasing your dream loom. We have a whole range of weaving looms here in the UK to choose from.
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