One of the questions I’m asked regularly and also see popping up on Weaving Facebook Groups is which loom is the best to use.
We use both Kromski and Ashford Rigid Heddle looms in our workshops. The Ashford looms were bought as I started off teaching and I’ve always been very happy with Ashford products (we use their Traditional spinning wheels in our Beginners Spinning Classes).
Because we were asked all the time for looms on our Weaving workshops, it made sense to have some at the classes with us and Kromski was the company that we chose to work with.
All rigid heddle looms work in the same way so it comes purely down to your preference, what you want to make and your budget. Sadly, we’re not able to attend yarn shows at the moment which are the ideal places to try out new looms so I’ll give you a few pointers as to what I’ve found make the different to new weavers. Im purely working on Ashford v Kromski for this blog’s purposes.
- Budget – Kromski are around about £30ish more than Ashford looms. The ratchet and pawl in the Kromski are made of metal whereas they are plastic in the Ashford. The Kromski is a slightly larger loom and the wood is a little bit thicker.
2. Storage – The Kromski Harp Forte loom folds up even with your weaving on it so if you like to take your weaving wherever you go, in your caravan etc, it’s a great little feature. The Ashford Rigid Heddle doesn’t do this, but the Ashford Knitters Loom folds up so that’s also a good option if taking your loom with you is a feature
3. Ease of use Both looms are warped up in a similar way but with one main difference. The Ashford has a warp stick attached to the loom and the Kromski’s warp stick is moveable. There is a small piece of wood called the helper included in the Kromski kit which enables the warp stick to be positioned in place while you warp up.
For warping quickly, the Ashford system is more stable and easier to use. Quite often we will warp up the Ashfords first. If you like to use painted warps or create a long warp using a warping frame, then the Kromski is a great option and gives you more choice in the things you can create.
4 Warping Frame included The Kromski Harp Forte has a warping frame included in the loom. All attachments will come with your loom when it is delivered. Direct warping is brilliant and the easiest way to warp up quickly. If you want to weave more than one item or have a particularly long project to weave, you would probaby consider indrect warping. Ashford have warping frames to purchase which you would attach to your wall. I have one of these but also, if I have a longer warp to make and I’m in the boat, the warping frame on the back of the loom is great.
Sooooo, in my little miusings here I’m not 100% sure I’ve helped. I’ve tried to be complerely honest with my feelings about both looms. I really do thing both are great companies with brilliant products. Having worked with both, I would chose the Kromski, it’s a solid workhorse of a loom, is beautifully made and gives me all the options I need for my weaving.
I hope that helps. If you have any questions, by all means message me. At the time of writing, we are not able to have people over to the shed due to the virus but as soon as we can, people are welcome to come and try the looms out or if you attend a workshop and would like to use a particular loom, let us know and we can make sure we warp your choice.