For weft faced weaving the warp (the threads on the loom) is spaced at about five threads an inch so the weft (which is put in place during weaving) completely covers the warp. This type of weaving is suitable for rugs or tapestries
For balanced weave, the warp is closer together and the spacing is the same as the warp. The warp shows and contributes to the design. The colours of the warp and weft form the patterns in the sample on the right
The sample on the left has been woven on a 4 shaft loom.The twill patterns are formed by the way the warp was threaded and the order in which the shafts were lifted
With a rigid heddle loom every other warp thread goes through heddles which are fixed in a frame called a reed. These threads move up and down when the reed is moved. The other warp threads are in gaps between the heddles and do not move with the reed. The reed is also used to put the weft threads in place.
With a four shaft loom the warp threads are all threaded through heddles which are placed on the shafts. One, two or three shafts are raised before putting the weft in place. The warp is also threaded through a reed which spaces it and puts the weft in place.
Apart from price, the biggest advantage of the rigid heddle loom is that it is easier to put the warp on it as the threads only have to go through the reed. However a four shaft loom allows many patterns to be woven
Pamela, a member of the Kennet Valley Guild, kindly gave me six rigid heddle looms when I started teaching. I have acquired three more old style ones and have bought a modern one. I also have 4 four shaft looms and an eight shaft one which I use for teaching,
During one day introductory courses, students normally weave two samples. One is weft faced and the other balanced.
During workshops on two consecutive days at Ardington, students can take turns at all the stages of putting a warp on a four shaft loom as well as a rigid heddle loom.
At home, I teach between one and three people. In the Summer, I offer dyeing courses (both natural and synthetic). To arrange ring me on 01235 833361