Located in the island country of New Zealand, Ashford Wheels & Looms is a world-leading manufacturer of weaving looms, spinning wheels and other textile equipment made from fine beech hardwood. As fiber artists look for fine tools that are beautiful to the eye, silky and balanced in our hands, and solidly constructed for flawless performance, Ashford fills the bill with its beech tools and equipment in natural or lacquer finishes.
Sample Weaving at Fiber Rhythm
Different types of looms are used to create distinct styles of weaving . Take a look at this rundown of Ashford looms to compare how they are used to produce different kinds of products.
Choosing a new weaving loom can involve specifying a range of options that may need to be ordered for you. Visitors to our shop can touch, test, and really KNOW what you’ll be getting because you can try out the looms in our store. Come on in and weave a few inches on one of our community projects. Our connection with Ashford means that orders usually arrive quickly. We’ll confirm the availability when you select a loom.
Frame and Tapestry Looms
Frame looms are used to create finished artwork. Vertical warp yarns are wrapped directly onto the frame at the finished size instead of being extendable to longer pieces of fabric. The horizontal weft yarns are hand-manipulated (a tapestry needle is handy) through the warps to create images, shapes and textures – you’re painting with yarn! Beads, feathers, fluffy fiber and more are used to add visual interest and fun to your production.
Inkle and Inklette Looms
Highly portable Inkle looms are made to travel – we’ve seen these stuffed into backpacks! These are used to weave bands. The vertical warp threads are predominant in the finished work, and many highly decorative “warp-faced” patterns can evolve. These are rugged looms built to handle warps under high tension. Inkle loom bands can reach 110 inches long while the smaller Inklette loom goes to 70 inches.
The SampleIt loom is a good beginner’s rigid heddle option offering a lower price point and simple features. At only 3 pounds for the 10-inch and 4 pounds for the 18-inch widths, the compact and portable SampleIt is easy to carry along on road trips and vacations. A floor stand can be ordered separately. While beginners find the small size and straightforward operation are a great way to learn to weave, this fully-featured loom is also used by experienced weavers for convenient sampling of new patterns and yarns.
A heavier-duty rigid heddle loom than the SampleIt loom and ultra- portable models, the Knitters Loom folds in half for easy carrying. It even comes with its own carrying bag! This loom is slightly larger and heavier than the SampleIt loom at 14, 22, and 30-inch widths (5, 6, and 8 pounds), and a floor stand can be ordered separately. This is another great choice to bring along on road trips, vacations, and perhaps a comfortable weaving day at a friend’s house. The Knitters Loom is easy to transport to classes, too.
Rigid Heddle Loom
Big brother to the Knitters and SampleIt looms, the Rigid Heddle loom is bigger and heavier, with the largest (48-inches wide) weighting 13 pounds. This versatile loom is easy to set up and use, and portable enough to bring for day trips or longer excursions. Six reed sizes are available ranging from 2.5 to 15 dents (warp threads) per-inch, and like all the Ashford looms with rigid heddles, can accommodate a second reed easily to increase density. Floor stands are available and extremely useful with these larger looms.
Multishaft looms enable complicated threading patterns like twills and overshot weaves. Katie is a compact 12-inch wide, multishaft table loom with 8 harnesses. It comes with a carry bag for simple transport to classes or road trips when portability is needed. Sitting on a tabletop, the Katie is threaded through Texsolv fiber heddles. Weaving patterns are controlled by simple-to-flip levers on the castle of the loom that raise different heddles for the threading changes.
Multishaft Table Looms
With 4 and 16-shaft table looms available in 24-inch width, and the versatile 8-shaft table loom in 16, 24, and 32-inch widths, Ashford brings portability to the functionality of multishaft looms. These looms fold flat for easy storage as well as transport. At tabletop height, the loom is easy to access for straightforward threading. Its overhead beater bounces back, and the flip levers manage threading patterns.
Extensive details for each loom are available on the Ashford website weaving page where you can also obtain downloads and tutorials about these products. The Ashford site is full of motivational blog articles, patterns, tutorials and dazzling imagery. Visiting their About Us web page reveals a fascinating history of the company’s style and evolution through the decades.
The Fiber Rhythm Advantage
You’ll find some great advantages when you drop by our store to explore the craft of weaving. Besides test-driving looms before ordering, you can supplement your work with an array of interesting accessories like wavy shuttles or pickup sticks. Chat with our team members to tap their knowledge and experience, or see if you find inspiration in our colorful selection of cone and spool yarns. Our teaching staff offers private lessons for beginners or helps you work through specific challenges. We’d love to see you drop by!