Look at any rigid heddle weaving forum on the web and surely the most asked question is - I'm thinking of buying a loom, what's your favourite, Kromksi, Ashford or Schacht?
Well we love Kromski looms and here's the reasons why
People who spend time spinning and weaving tend to love, love, love all things natural. They devote hours to preparing fleece, spending time sourcing breed specific fibre and supporting farmers. They comb, card and spin slowly prepared fibre pouring their heart and soul into each project.
So we know that they will love the natural materials that go into their looms. The wood is European alder and has a reassuring weight to it without being heavy
Now we know that some other looms on the market also fold, but all Kromski Harp Fortes do and here's why it can matter to your weaving journey - yes, you're on a journey
Obviously size can be an issue to many weavers - we live on a boat and so we feel the 'now where am I going to put that? pain'. The looms fold up, even with your weaving on it and so should you need to pack up mid project you can be sure everything is safely stored for when you're ready to go again.
Another great thing about a loom that folds is that it makes threading up so much easier. As you're threading into the slots and eyes, if you can fold your loom and have the heddle right there in front of you it makes everything much clearer and speeds up the process. We get everyone to do this on our workshops and we've heard the sighs as everything becomes clear.
We touched briefly on this in our last post and we have to say, the fact that a spinning and weaving company is family run is not exclusive. Ashford are also a family firm.
But isn't that amazing?! How wonderful that we as spinners and weavers can support family run companies and see their heritage, whether you deal with Matylda Kromska or Elizabeth Ashford.
Kromski & Sons was set up by Leon Kromski in 1918 who was a master wood turner who operated his business until World War 2 and Communism forced him to stop. In the 60's, his son Leon reopened the business and started creating a line of spinning wheels. Now, Leon's two son's Daniel (the designer) and Wojciech (the wood technician) run the buisness which has 7 different models of spinning wheels and 2 types of loom.
At first, this removable rod at the front and back of your loom can be a bit tricky to cope with, but that rod will allow you to do amazing things!
If you've ever seen warp faced weaving (weaving where there are lots more warp ends to weft picks) you can appreciate how effective it is. Take a look at the work of Ptolemy Mann and you'll see what I mean. So to create those gorgeous stripes on a rigid heddle loom, one way is to use a painted warp. You can do these yourself or there are warps out there to buy . You can slide that warp over your apron rod and you're ready to thread up and weave.
If you're anything like me, a loom is an investment and so I want to be able to learn as many different techniques as I can and the Harp Forte looms allow for just that. Now speaking of that....
If you're interested in jumping down this particularly exciting rabbit hole, take a look at these posts
At some point you might want to weave with two heddles, well that's fine because Kromski heddle blocks allow for two heddles easily. But did you know you can weave with three? - I know!!!!
So there is a space at the back for another heddle block where your heddle will fit and you can weave with a denser sett than you every thought possible. It's like the most amazing rabbit hole you ever did pop down. There is a detailed post with all the information you'll need on the Kromskina website, including a photograph of the set up and patterns for you to follow. This photo is courtesy of Kromskina, with thanks for letting us use it. Click here - you have been warned
So that's why we love them, if you're considering purchasing a loom and you're not sure which one to plump for, why not come on our Two Day weaving course and you can choose to weave on a Kromski, Ashford or Schact to see whether you like it. The most important thing is weaving continues, no matter what you weave on and who could not be pleased with that?
See you next time]