weaving looms

Weaving Looms-Which One is Right for You

by Cheryl Moreo

Rigid Heddle Loom, Table Loom, or Floor Loom: Which weaving loom is right for you?

Before I go into the differences/similarities of the weaving looms, let me give you a comparison.
These three vehicles are all modes of transportation but require different exertion levels on your part.

Rigid Heddle Loom

A bicycle will get you where you want to go, but you must peddle your way and allow sufficient time to reach your destination. The rigid heddle loom will weave cloth in plain weave or with manipulation of the warp threads, and the heddle or a second heddle can weave more complex patterns. Weaving requires more time and effort by the weaver.

Table Loom

The moped will get you to your destination faster without as much exertion. A table loom has a more complex setup, but you can speed along weaving once warped.

Floor loom

A car is more complex but speediest. Likewise, the floor loom has a complex setup but can handle a longer warp and more complex weaves.

Ok, I think you get the idea. Now, I will explain how each loom functions


Rigid Heddle Loom Parts

How the rigid heddle loom works:

A rigid heddle loom consists of a frame with notches on the bottom so it can be propped up against a table for weaving, or a stand can be purchased for weaving. The loom frame has notches to hold the heddle. Some looms have notches for more than one heddle.

Slots & Holes

The magic is in the heddle. It has 3 functions: making the shed, establishing the sett (number of warp ends per inch [epi]), and beating in the weft.

Notice that the heddle has slots and holes. These heddles work exactly as the heddles found in a table or floor loom. The heddle rests in the notches on the loom frame. There are three positions: Up, Neutral, and Down.

Warping the Rigid Heddle Loom

The loom is warped with the heddle in the neutral position according to your pattern with a thread in each slot and hole. Warping can be either direct or indirect. With direct warping, you measure the warp and thread the heddle simultaneously. Indirect warping involves measuring your warp on a warping board and threading the ends into the appropriate slots and holes in the heddle.

Weaving on the Rigid Heddle Loom

With the loom warped, you lift the heddle, throw your shuttle, and use the heddle to beat in your weft. Next, you push the heddle down, throw your shuttle, and beat the weft with the heddle. This method is called plain weave.

To weave other than plain weave requires manipulating the warp threads with a pickup stick or configuring for a second reed or stick with string heddles. Some weavers love these extra challenges. Not all rigid heddle looms have enough room in the frame for additional heddles.

Rigid heddle looms are the most compact of all of the looms. Some rigid heddle looms may be folded with warp on the loom.

Rigid heddle looms can be found in a wide range of widths from 8” to 48”.

See my comparison of Ashford and Schacht Rigid Heddle Looms.


Table Loom Parts

A table loom is like a floor loom, but you use your hands to work the shaft levers instead of your feet to lift/lower the shafts with the treadles.

The loom is warped by measuring the warp on a warping board. Then, you can warp the loom using either the front or back methods. This method takes more time and care than the direct method on a rigid heddle loom.

With four or more shafts, the weaver has all sorts of pattern capabilities just by how the heddles are threaded and the shafts are lifted/lowered. The weaver can still manipulate the warp threads with a pickup stick for design work.

The looms range in width from 12” to 32”. They usually have 4 or 8 shafts, and more shafts may be available.


Floor Loom Parts

Floor looms can be found in all sorts of configurations. There are folding floor looms.

There are three main types of floor looms: Counterbalance, Jack, or Countermarch

My comments will be about the Jack loom, which is the most popular loom in the United States.

Instead of levers, the Jack floor loom has treadles. You warp your loom and tie the treadles to the appropriate shafts/harness called for in your pattern.

It takes time to measure your warp on a warping board. To warp your loom (front or back method), thread the warp through the heddles on each shaft, thread through the dents in the appropriate-sized reed, and fasten it to your front beam rod. Next, tie the appropriate shaft to the corresponding treadle per your pattern.

Now, you are ready to weave.


The weaving looms that I have used the most are the rigid heddle loom and the floor loom. I have also used the table loom but found I never could get a good rhythm with it, as you have to lay your shuttle aside and work the levers for the next shed.

My most used loom is one of my rigid heddle looms.

On my rigid heddle loom, I have woven traditional items, such as tapestries, and I have also used the loom to hold my card weaving.

I use a floor loom for more complex or larger projects. I also use it when I need a long warp or lots of one type of item. A rigid heddle or table loom cannot hold as much warp as a floor loom.

In conclusion, which type of weaving loom is right for you depends on what you intend to weave, its portability, finances, and available space.


Bestseller No. 1
Ashford Folding Table Loom 8 Harness 24 Inch
  • The Ashford 8 harness 24 inch Table Loom is popular for its veratility and easy to use. Overhead beater with elastic cords provides a wide weaving shed. Levers are within easy reach for comfortable weaving. Each shaft can be lifted independently enabling a wide variety of patterns to be woven. Durable plastic ratchet brakes allow for easy warp advance. The castle can fold flat, even with your weaving in place.
  • 8 shaft Table Loom, weaving width 24 inches.
  • Includes: 10 dpi stainless reed, 480 Texsolve heddles, 2 Stick shuttles 22 inches, Threading hook, and Learn to Weave on the Table Loom booklet.
  • Made of solid Silver Beech hardwood. Lacquered for long lasting good looks. Assemble required.
  • Option products: Loom stand, Texsolv heddles, and Stainless reeds: 6, 8, 10, 12, and 16 dpi.
Bestseller No. 2
Schacht Cricket Loom 15″
  • 15″ Weaving Width
  • 8-Dent Reed Included
  • Includes: 8-Dent Reed, Threading Hook, Warping Peg, Table Clamps, Two Shuttles and Two Balls of Yarn.
  • High Quality Maple – Apple Ply and Hard Maple, Unfinished
Bestseller No. 3
WILLOWDALE 25.2″H x 19.3″W Weaving Loom with Stand Wooden Multi-Craft Weaving Loom Arts & Crafts, Extra-Large Frame, Develops Creativity Weaving Frame Loom with Stand for Beginner
  • Exquisite Workmanship — The groove is smooth and flat, avoiding the damage of the opponent, is safer, and reduces the abrasion of the wool during the weaving work. Hard beech loom, featuring extremely durable beam teeth! Sturdy frame with adjustable stand!
  • A Great GIFT — This is the best gift for weaving beginners. Can weave tapestries, mats, carpets, scarves, etc. Add the wooden standing art easel to round out hands-on, creative, screen-free play experience.
  • Easy to Use — It takes only a few minutes to assemble the braiding machine kit. As long as the assembly is complete, weaving can begin, and the shuttle shuttles back and forth, which is very simple.
  • Promotes Multiple Skill Development — The weaving not only inspires kids exciting and productive, but it also improves concentration and hand-eye coordination, promotes fine motor skills, and encourages creative expression and self-esteem. It is the ideal kid-friendly weaving kit.
  • What You Will Get — Side frames x 2, wooden stick x 1, heddle bar x 1, beams x 2, frames x 2, support frames x 2, large shuttle x 3, wooden comb x 1, nut & bolts accessories. Please note the knitting yarns showed on the pictures are not included.
SaleBestseller No. 4
LAVIEVERT Wooden Multi-Craft Weaving Loom DIY Hand-Knitting Weaving Machine Intellectual Toys for Kids
  • Premium Material – Constructed by high quality wood, an exquisite epitome of a real loom that allows children to experience the joy of weaving. Excellent for training children’s hands-on skills and good for their attention.
  • Foldaway Structure – Foldaway design saves you plenty of space after playing with it.
  • Accessories – Comes with 2 screws, 4 anti-skid stickers, 4 shuttles and a ball of string, with which you can fully enjoy the pleasure of weaving.
  • Perfect Size – Measures 38 × 32 × 27cm when unfolded, especially suitable for developing your weaving skills or teaching your kids how to use a weaving machine. Just improve your skills in knitting and make some stylish clothing for your family.
  • Easy Operations – Comes with a menu for easy installations and operations. Makes a good company for your children. Just unfold and stabilize the machine with the enclosed screws, then enjoy weaving your style!
SaleBestseller No. 5
Melissa & Doug Wooden Multi-Craft Weaving Loom (Arts & Crafts, Extra-Large Frame, Frustration-Free Packaging)
  • Includes adjustable wooden loom, oversize wooden needle, craft materials, illustrated design booklet, 91 yards (83 m) of rainbow yarn, and 42 picture strips
  • Frame repositions to accommodate projects of various sizes and wooden guides keep sides straight
  • Easy-grasp knobs make it simple to change the frame and switch from craft to craft
  • Extra large frame is 22.75″ tall x 16.5″ wide x 9.5″ deep (57.8 x 41.9 x 24.1 cm); this product ships in its own special e-commerce packaging intended to be easier to open and reduce waste (curbside recyclable)
  • Four craft projects to choose from or create colorful animal picture tapestries

Last update on 2024-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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