So you want to start weaving as a hobby?
Then a good weaving loom will be the first thing you need.
But there are so many weaving looms. So how do you choose one?
Let’s take a look at the best weaving looms for a beginner and which loom to buy.
- Best weaving looms
- Buyer’s Guide
- Types of weaving looms
- Loom size
- Which lap loom to buy?
- Which rigid-heddle loom to buy?
- What do I need to start weaving?
- What can you weave on a loom?
- Is weaving hard to learn?
- Can you weave without a loom?
Best weaving looms
Both lap looms and rigid-heddle looms are good looms for beginners. Lap looms are the cheaper option among the two and is the easiest to learn. Rigid-heddle looms are a great choice for bigger weaving projects. You can teach yourself how to weave with either loom, although taking a class can help.
If this is your first time weaving, then this Beka frame loom would be a good option to start with.
The loom is made from maple wood and is easily assembled in under 5 minutes.
And although the loom is 20″ x 23″ in size, it’s surprisingly lightweight. So you can weave with the loom on a table or in your lap.
Since it’s a frame loom, it’s easy to learn how to use it even with no prior weaving experience.
There are 100 teeth at the top and bottom (5 teeth per inch). This gives you the option of either using a very dense warp by using every tooth, or a loose warp by using every other tooth.
The loom also comes with some weaving tools such as a stick shuttle, pickup stick, weaving needle, and kick-stand.
- Easy to use
- Quick assembly
- Only for small projects
- Very basic
If you are a more ambitious weaver, you might want to go for a rigid-heddle loom.
Learning how to weave on one of these looms will prepare you for weaving on bigger looms such as a floor loom or table loom.
Rigid-heddle looms can also be used to weave longer projects such as scarves, kitchen towels, place mats, etc.
The Ashford rigid-heddle loom comes in 4 different sizes: 16″, 24″, 32″, and 48″. The 16″ version is big enough for most beginners, but you can go with a bigger version if you want to weave wider.
Learning how to weave on this type of loom takes a little more effort than a frame loom. But there are plenty of good YouTube videos that can help you, such as this one.
One common complaint is that you need to sand and apply an oil finish to all the wooden pieces before assembling them.
This isn’t uncommon for rigid-heddle looms, but it’s tedious and takes some time nonetheless.
- Prepares you for more advanced looms
- Available in several sizes
- Steeper learning curve than frame looms
- More expensive than frame looms
- Needs sanding and oil finish before assembly
This is another rigid-heddle loom by Kromski made completely from European alder wood, which is strong enough to withstand a good amount of tension despite being lightweight.
It is available in 4 different sizes, ranging from 8″ all the way to 32″. Normally you can’t find rigid-heddle looms as small as 8″.
What really makes this rigid-heddle loom special is that is can be folded in half even with the warp attached!
Thanks to this cleaver mechanism, it’s super easy to store your loom. Which is great if don’t have much space.
Moreover, if you fold it you can easily fit it in a tote bag and travel with it.
Additionally, if you flip the loom you can use it as a warping board. A warping board is not essential when weaving, but it’s definitely nice to have. If you buy one separately it will cost you at least $50.
This loom is considerably more expensive than the Ashford loom mentioned above. However, the wooden pieces are already sanded and have an oil finish, which makes assembly a lot faster.
- Foldable with the warp on
- Easy to store
- Built-in warping board
- Prepares you for more advanced looms
- Available in several sizes
- Steeper learning curve than frame looms
So how do you find the right weaving loom as a beginner?
As you probably guessed by now, I recommend beginners to recommend with either a frame loom or rigid-heddle loom.
Besides the Beka, Ashford, and Komski looms mentioned above, there are also several other looms worth considering.
Below you can see a helpful flowchart I made to help you choose which loom to buy.
Types of weaving looms
There are many weaving loom types that all differ in size, complexity, and cost. The most common types of weaving looms are:
- Frame looms & lap looms
- Tapestry looms
- Rigid heddle looms
- Inkle looms
- Floor looms
- Table looms
For beginner’s I would recommend starting with either a frame/lap loom or a rigid-heddle loom. It’s easy to learn how to use these types of looms, and they can be used to weave a lot of different projects.
An inkle loom is also pretty easy to use, but they can only be used to weave narrow bands.
Similarly, tapestry looms are easy to use since they are basically a big frame loom with a stand. However, as a beginner you probably won’t be using the full size of a tapestry loom, so you might as well go with a cheaper frame loom.
Floor and table looms are both very complex to use and aren’t very suitable to beginners.
Rigid heddle loom vs frame loom
So how do you choose between a frame loom and a rigid heddle loom?
A frame loom would be best suited for someone that wants to weave occasionally and wants to keep things as simple as possible.
This is because the frame loom is the easiest to learn and is very cheap.
The rigid heddle loom is for the more aspiring weaver. The learning curve for this type is a little steeper than for the frame loom. But anyone motivated could learn it by themselves with a good instructional manual or video.
With a rigid heddle loom you can make much longer weaves, learn both basic and advanced weaving techniques, and weave much faster. Moreover, learning how to use a rigid heddle loom will set you up to learn weaving on bigger table and floor looms as well.
When choosing a loom, it’s important to keep in mind that the maximum size of your weave is determined by the size of the loom itself.
So the first thing to look at when choosing between looms is their size.
Of course, you can weave smaller projects on a big loom but not the other way around.
But bigger is not always better, because bigger looms are also heavier which can make it more difficult to work with.
Which lap loom to buy?
The best lap looms for beginners are the Beka, Ashford, and Schacht frame looms. They differ in terms of size and cost.
The Beka frame loom comes in a comfortable size and is relatively cheap. The Schacht frame is the biggest and most expensive, while the Ashford loom is the cheapest and smallest.
If you want a small loom you can go with the Ashford weaving frame which comes in two sizes: 9’x12 and 19’x27′.
The Beka weaving loom is slightly bigger and comes as either a 14’x18′ or 20×23′.
Surprisingly the Beka looms are actually cheaper than the Ashford frames and come with some weaving accessories (shuttle, pick up stick, weaving needle) as well.
The biggest frame loom I would recommend is the Schacht tapestry loom which is 25’x32′ in size. This loom is beautiful and made of high-quality wood.
But unfortunately it’s also considerably more expensive than the other two options and the loom stand for this model needs to be bought separately.
|Ashford frame||Beka loom||Schacht loom|
|Size||9’x12′ and 19’x27′||14’x18′ and 20’x23′||25’x32′|
|Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Woolery.com|
Which rigid-heddle loom to buy?
The best rigid heddle looms for beginners are the Ashford rigid heddle loom, the Schacht Cricket loom, and the Kromski Harp Forte.
The Ashford loom is our favorite since it is available in various sizes, comes with all the necessary weaving accessories and is the cheapest.
All three of them come in several sizes. The smallest rigid heddle loom available comes from Kromski with a weaving width of 8 inches. This Kromski loom also comes in the sizes 16′, 24′ and 32′.
However, the biggest rigid heddle loom was from Ashford with a width of 48 inches. But if that’s too big, it also comes in 16′, 24′ or 32′. The Schacht rigid heddle loom only comes in 10′ and 15′ versions.
All three looms come with heddles that are 7.5 or 8 dent, so there isn’t much difference.
However, if you want to buy additional heddles, you can find 2.5, 5, 10, 12.5 and 15 dent heddles for the Ashford loom, 5, 10, and 12 dent heddles for the Schacht Cricket loom, and 5, 10, and 12 dent heddles for the Kromski Harp Forte loom.
So if you want to experiment with different dent heddles, a rigid heddle loom by Ashford will give you the most options.
Additionally, all three looms come with similar weaving accessories and roughly cost the same.
Finally, one unique feature of the Kromski loom is that you can fold it in half even with the warp attached. This ability makes it super easy to travel with your loom or store it when you are short on space.
|Ashford||Schacht Cricket||Kromski Harp Forte|
|Size||16′, 24′, 32′ and 48′||10′ and 15′||8′, 16′, 24′, and 32′|
|Accessories||2 Stick Shuttles, Double End Threading Hook, Clamps, Weaving Guide, Warping Peg||2 Shuttles, Threading Hook, Warping Peg, Table Clamps||2 Stick shuttles, Threading Hook, Pick-up Stick, 2 Warping Clamps, Warping Peg, Warping Helper|
|Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
What do I need to start weaving?
To start weaving you will need more than just a weaving loom. Important weaving supplies include:
- Weaving loom
- Weaving accessories
- Warp and weft yarn
- Scissors for cutting
- Dowels to hang your weave
What can you weave on a loom?
What you can weave depends on the type of loom you use. On a frame loom the maximum width and length of your weave depends on the size of the loom. Therefore, you can use a frame loom for smaller projects such as wall hangings, coasters, etc. Rigid-heddle looms can be used to weave longer projects and you are only limited by the width of the loom. Therefore, you can use a rigid-heddle loom for longer projects such as scarves, kitchen towels, place mats, etc.
Is weaving hard to learn?
It is easy to learn the basic weaving techniques and patterns if you use a frame loom or rigid-heddle loom. However, besides these fundamental skills, you will also have to develop an artistic feeling for which yarns and patterns to combine to end up with a beautiful design.
Can you weave without a loom?
It will be difficult to weave without a loom. However, if you aren’t able to buy a loom, you can try to make a loom out of a canvas or an old shoe box. You can find various tutorials on how to make a simple weaving loom from scratch. However, if you lack any DIY skills, you might want to buy a loom anyway.
I hope this article helped you find the best weaving loom as a beginner.
I would recommend newcomers to try the Beka frame loom or Ashford rigid-heddle loom.
However, there are definitely some other good weaving looms out there as well.
You might want to try a loom that is slightly bigger or comes with some extra features such as the Kromski loom.
If you are new to weaving, you might also want to read our article on the best yarn for weaving to get started.