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Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

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Q. What's a Loom?
A. In the most basic sense, looms are used to make fabric, or cloth, by a process of "weaving" threads over and under each other. All the fabric in our clothes is usually either woven on a loom, or is knitted (tying knots in the threads) on a knitting machine.  Our looms are used by hobbyists & professional weavers to make quality "handwoven" cloth, which has a distinctive texture and feel as compared to factory-made machine-woven cloth.

Q. What can I make on a loom?
A. The loom & the weaver will turn loose threads into a cloth. You then use the cloth for anything "factory-made" cloth is used for. Popular projects for handweavers are scarves, placemats, blankets, rugs, napkins, clothes, towels, fine silks for lingerie, shawls, vests, pants, skirts... you name it, it has been handwoven - and handweavers are free to use many types of fibers as well: cotton, linen, wool, synthetics, mohair, angora... if its a hair or a fiber, it has probably been used by a weaver somewhere.

Q. I'm new to weaving, how should I get started?
A. We always recommend signing up with the Handweaver's Guild of America, and see if there's a handweaving guild close to you. Guilds are an excellent resource for beginners and pros alike - quite often a meeting will include a demonstration of basic techniques as well as an introduction to advanced topics. Next, get subscriptions to "Handwoven" and "Weaver's Craft" magazines as these are both quality publications with plenty of project ideas, instruction and weaving-related articles. Finally, get yourself the book "Learning to Weave" (by Deborah Chandler) which is a very good primer on the entire weaving process - it is chock-full of concrete examples, definitions of weaving terms and plenty of clear, step-by-step photos & diagrams. Our Referrals Page has all the addresses you'll need.

Q. I'm ready to get my first loom. What loom should I buy?
A. Our most popular basic loom for weaving students seems to be the 18" / 8 harness folding loom. This loom is wide enough for making useful projects - table runners, mats, scarves, etc. and yet it folds small enough to tote in the smallest car. The 12" looms are popular with weavers who need a sampler loom to sit beside the big floor loom, or for travelers who are very tight on space. The larger 22" and 28" looms are for intermediate to advanced weavers who need the larger width capacity for more complex projects or wider finished cloth. By far, 8 harnesses is the most popular general purpose loom, but 4 harness looms are great for classrooms, and 12 / 16 harness looms are a must for the serious weaver.

Q. Can I make rugs on a small table loom?
A. Yes...and no. Rugs generally require fairly high tensions on the warp threads and a heavy beater to pack the threads in tightly. For an occasional small rug or two a table loom will suffice. But serious rug weavers will prefer the extra weight and rigidity of a large, heavy floor loom which are designed for heavy work.

Q. What equipment will I need to start my weaving studio?
A. As a minimum, you'll need a loom, thread, a good pair of small scissors, a warping board to measure your thread and a few flat shuttles. Later on you'll add more looms (weaver's never own just one loom - just as a carpenter never owns just one saw), sectional devices, boat shuttles & bobbin winders, more thread, more yarn, more looms....and more space. Somehow, you will always need just a bit more space for that extra loom for that project you always wanted to try.


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