Meet my family of inkle looms!
Ashford Inklette- The cutest of inkle looms. I like this one because it is small enough to fit easily on my lap and can be held between my knees. I can even weave while riding in a car. Because of it's petite size, there is not a lot of clearance and it feels awkward for my hands to work within such a small space and narrow shed opening. Also, I am used to using a lot of tension and am always careful not to use too much tension on this one because it is more petite. But I find it nice for weaving really narrow things like the silk ribbon and stampede straps that I have been making. I have a small child's suitcase on wheels which just fits this and makes it a dream for traveling.
Schacht- I have 3 of these. This loom is perfectly configured for ease of weaving, in my opinion. I much prefer the slide type tensioner of this loom to the paddle type of the Inklette. I also prefer the tensioner to be in front as this allows for the easiest of adjustments. The spacing of the uprights suits me; it has just the right length between me and the heddles for weaving. (Too long and my back gets tired of reaching, too short and I have to advance the warp too often.)
Northwest- Beautifully crafted of walnut. This one is constructed much like the Schacht, with a couple of
differences. It has a second side to the frame, which is removable. This makes it so convenient for taking to shows and demonstrations. The second side keeps warps from slipping off the ends of the pegs while I am toting it around. It also allows me to work wider without constantly herding the warps away from the edge and it provides that extra support and stability for those who use a lot of tension, like me. The front upright angles forward a little more than the Schacht, which creates a shorter weaving distance and it is necessary to advance the warp more often.
Homemade- This loom is as sturdy as all get out and heavy, too. I use it for longer and wider sashes, as it will make about 9ft. and fringe. It will handle a woven width of 6" (maybe a little more, but since my hands can only handle 6" that's as far as I have taken it.) So glad to have this one for the wider sashes that I make.
Homemade- (Shown here with the Schacht for size comparison.) You could weave all week on this baby. I once made a sash 14' long on it, and I don't think that I used it's full capacity. If you are going for yardage, this would be the best choice. It stands on the floor and I find that I am most comfortable tipping it forward onto my lap to work. When I get a really long warp on it, the process of advancing the warp is a challenge. Makes me wish I had more arms.
Other looms have come and gone from my life. This is the current collection and as you can see, each serves a purpose. There are a couple more that I have a hankering to own, though.
There are so many varieties of inkle looms available; a recent brief search of the web turned up many small manufacturers. It would be fun to test them all!
The beauty of the inkle loom above all others, I think is the ease of setup. A continuous warp wound directly onto the loom eliminates the step of preparing the warp. (If an inkle loom has two sides, one of them needs to be removable to accomplish this.)
I have tried a little tapestry weaving. I also own a perfectly beautiful Kromski Harp rigid heddle loom.
But the truth is, I love inkle weaving and will always come back to it.