Calling Inkle loom experts

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Calling Inkle loom experts

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Jun 21, 2007, 8:23pm


I have a lovely inkle loom that my Dad made for me when I was a child. I have just rediscovered my interest in fibre arts and am having difficulty warping up - can anyone recommend a good guide?


Jun 24, 2007, 1:12pm

I like Byways in handweaving by Mary Meigs Atwater. One chapter of this work is ' "Inkles" and the Inkle Loom' which includes a section on setting up the loom. I suspect this book is OP. However when I looked today used copies are available for purchase online. I have not worked on an inkle loom, however I found this book very helpful when I explored card-weaving (one of the other chapters).


Jun 27, 2007, 8:28am

Hi Ann

Thanks for that, I will check it out. Part of the fun of book buying is searching for OP titles!


Jun 27, 2007, 9:05am

Hi Louise - I once asked an experienced weaver what book she would recommend as a guide to inkle weaving, and she told me Inkle Weaving by Helene Bress. I have the book, and it does look as though the directions for warping are pretty clear. I have to confess, though, that I haven't yet tried to warp my own inkle loom.

Jun 28, 2007, 7:06am

Hi Maggie

Thanks for the recommendation. I can't believe I have forgotten how to do it! I am someone who learns best by watching someone do it and then practising myself. However, as a LThinger I should really be able to follow written instructions ;)


Jun 28, 2007, 8:12am

Louise - I'm the same way, I learn best by watching someone else. That's probably why I haven't tried warping my inkle loom!

7WalnutSpinney Primer Mensaje
Editado: Jul 17, 2007, 4:10pm

If you can find a copy of the video/dvd "Supplementary Warp Patterning Inkle Loom Techniques" by Jacquetta Nisbet it does a pretty good job of showing how to set up and use an inkle loom. NAYY. Otherwise, I like Inkle Weaving by Helene Bress, Lavinia Bradley's Inkle weaving : a comprehensive manual or Inkle Loom Weaving and The Weaving Primer both by Nina Holland.

You've probably already come across this website but it has pictures, diagrams and instructions for setting up different inkle looms. .

If I haven't had my inkle loom out and set up for a few months, I always have to pull out a book to get it going again. Don't know why I can't remember as I do use it at least once or twice a year...


Ago 6, 2007, 10:09am

>7 WalnutSpinney: thanks for the link Carolyn. I really must set myself to the task. I just keep putting it off!


Ago 24, 2007, 4:55pm

Wow - I've pulled out my inkle again this year, and I'll bet I could whomp up a pictoral tutorial and post it to Flickr, with links here and various places. Will you be my guinea-pig weavers and give feedback on where I'm clear and where I'm not?

I'll start with making the string heddles, the way I do it;

then the stringing of a basic inkle band;

give some mention to tensioning and take-up, whether you have a home-made after Mr. Gilmore's invention and description early in the, er, last century (that's only how old a table-top version is!), or a LeClerc with the sliding peg in the front, or an Ashford with the turning paddle in the top-back -- the important thing is that you start with the tensioner all the way out, and then squoodge it in as the take-up of weaving shortens up the warp;

and things -- what all would you like to see in such a photo-essay?

-Ru Temple

Ago 24, 2007, 8:57pm

Ru - I think that's an excellent idea, and I'd be willing to use your instructions to try warping my loom for the first time. I know close to nothing about inkle weaving, but I have some nice linen in mind for a woven band so I think it's time I learned. I have a Leclerc floor model inkle loom (also used as a warping board).


Ago 28, 2007, 12:52am

Hi Maggie!
I'm setting up to do this, taking pictures of the warping process of my Ashford table-top inkle loom with tomorrow morning's light. What you have is the historical shape of an inkle loom, going back many centuries; the table-top version was invented by Mr. Gilmore of Stockton, CA, who puiblished his encouragement to would-be inkle loom weavers in the early 1930s.
The Camilla Family Farm, a Canadian retailer of looms and things, has a good paragraph about weaving on your loom with a couple of good pictures here:
I'm writing up info on how to make the kind of string heddles you use on any inkle loom, etc. and give a little more detail to go with that. The more I look at photos of ones like yours, the more tempted I am to get or make one. (It works as a warping board, too! how cool is that?)

Ago 28, 2007, 9:30am

Hi Ru - Thanks for the link on the Leclerc inkle/floor loom! It looks like Leclerc has made some improvements to the design since they made mine. I was very lucky to buy mine from my neighbor, whose mom had been a weaver years ago, but who was going into a nursing home :(

Anyhow, I thought it was just a warping board till I looked it up on line. I was so pleased to find that it's an inkle loom! I have a small inkle loom also, but for some reason it was built without a tensioner, so it's not very usable. I'm told a tensioning device can be added by routing out a slot in the frame and adding a peg with a wing nut, so it's movable along the slot. But it's much easier to use the other loom!

Is Speed-Cro-Sheen (or is it Knit-Cro-Sheen?) ok to use for string heddles? It's what I use for the tie-ons on my jack loom, so I already have some.

Editado: Ago 28, 2007, 7:25pm

Yes, any smooth-finish (cotton, right?) yarn that's not going to stretch, will work for string heddles. Make a nice loop around the two top pegs of the middle upright, tie off with a square knot, trim the ends. Make a whole bunch more of these individual loops - you'll use one for every other warp thread.

Adding a tensioner: You could also make a paddle arrangement to replace the top back peg, like the Ashford Loom solution; bolt it on with a nice big wing-nut, and turn it to decrease the tension as the weaving draws up the warp.

I've done my little photo essay, warping up and weaving off an inkle this morning, and am working on writing up a (too?) detailed discussion on warping up. I'll put it up later on my website, and probably also at since that's such a waiflike field of possibilities. I wrote to the woman who started it last spring, and she set me up as a contributor, and it's time I did some contributing, and maybe drummed up a little "hey look here's a free tool we can use" interest, just in case it turns out to be a looong time before the Ravelry folks can think about including weaving.

Does your tensioner go down, like the current model photo, or up the middle, to loosen tension? I suppose that depending on how long a warp you wanted (which of the side upright pegs you use), you could start the tensioner at either end, just so long as whichever way it moves eases up tension as you go. Hm!

Ago 29, 2007, 11:35am

Ru - My Leclerc has only one peg at the top of the middle upright (apparently the peg just beneath it in the current model was added after my loom was purchased). The tensioner looks the same as the one in the current model, with a flat peg that can slide up and down. I'll try to make a bunch of string heddles today. I'm assuming from your description that they are just simple circular loops; I can double check in the Helene Bress book. From the photo on the website, it looks like about 6 inches long for each loop should be about right?

Sep 9, 2007, 12:32pm

Ru (do you prefer Ru or Ruth?) - I think I've got about 50 string heddles on the inkle loom now. What's next?

Dic 1, 2007, 11:55pm

Hi Maggie;
I got sidetracked this fall with having to move, grace to our landlady wanting to move back into her house. We're all moved and settled now, and VERY happy in a different house (still renting); there's even room for the floor loom!!
What's next for me is (re-)taking pictures I can stand to look at, to show how the string heddles are used.
What's next for you, and I hope you've jumped ahead on into it, is choosing some patterning, some colors for stripes perhaps, and starting to warp the loom!
Start at the front peg where your weaving will begin, go around as many pegs as you want the warp to be long, including that tensioner that will move as the weaving takes up tension along the length of the warp threads, and bring - your first thread over the back peg and directly to your starting peg (not over the center post top-peg) and make a knot so that the whole thing will be able to slide around the loom as the weaving progresses (i.e., don't tie off to any peg); then go all around again, and over the back peg and also over the top of the center-post peg, loop one of the string heddles onto the next peg down on the center beam, take the whole loop over the raised thread and back down to loop onto the same peg again. Once the string heddle is on, the two threads should be in a plane from the string heddle on down to the front peg again; in back is where you'll push the warp up and down to make a shed (above and then below the point where the string heddles are). These are the two kinds of warping moves to make; alternate one (plain) and then the other (with a string heddle).
You'll probably want to see a photo or drawing of putting on the string heddle...soon, I'l have one to show!
Ruth - I never had a nickname until I was nearly 40, and Ru just makes me smile all over. I like either or both.

Dic 2, 2007, 12:05pm

Thanks, Ru - I may be ice-stormed in on Monday, so that'll be a good time to get out the inkle loom. But then, if my kids have a snow day from school, they'll want to get the Christmas boxes out of the attic and start decorating. I've folded up my floor loom for December, as it usually lives in the spot where we put our Christmas tree. I'll have to find a corner to stash it in that doesn't involve carrying it up the stairs. Inkle looms are so much more portable!

Oct 20, 2008, 12:42am

Hey, MaggieO, did you get your inkle up and running, have you woven a strap or two? In the meanwhile, Syne Mitchell brought out a new weaving magazine, and I wrote up my rough notes towards a beginner's how-to article for her third issue (Fall 2008) -- you can find it at: - it'll move into the archives once the next issue comes out.
There are a lot of other articles about narrow-band weaving styles, and cool projects you can do on an inkle.

Oct 20, 2008, 4:11pm

Hi, Ru! It's good to hear from you again.
I didn't get awfully far with the inkle loom. I made a bunch of heddles and put them on the heddle bar.

Then I got involved with making my first crazy quilt, and I worked on that for about 8 months (I just finished it! Finally!)

Maybe when the snow flies, I'll settle down with weaving again. Right now I'm embroidering something that will be a Christmas present (that is, if that doesn't take 8 months, too).

And I always have to chauffeur those kids everywhere. . . . and make dinner . . . . and wash dishes . . . . and do laundry . . . . .

Never enough time for fiber arts!

(Thanks for the weavezine link - I'll go check it out)

May 7, 2010, 11:00am

thanks for the link, i have an inkle, handmade, bought at a garage sale and have been looking for info on them.

Nov 28, 2016, 10:49am

I've been making & repairing some Inkle looms. I'm not into weaving myself, but am fascinated by the sheer variety of this sort. A gal from the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) showed me a couple that were very different. One was almost circular & barely a foot in diameter. Another was a vertical rectangle almost 2' tall. I built her a floor version that's about 3' tall & wide. It will weave 6" wide over 15 yards long (8" pegs, 17+ yard warps) & she's tickled with it, but I don't really feel as if I understand the geometry of the looms. The floor model's shed, depending on which heddle pin is used, seems entirely different from any of the smaller ones I've made or repaired. No one has been able to make me understand what angles & distances that comprise a proper shed. I've noticed that some looms have the heddle & 2 top pins arranged so they can be used to make heddle strings. How is that figured?

I've been a woodworker for decades & do a lot of old style woodwork. Much of what I do isn't based on measurements as much as proportions & various geometric relationships. That allows projects to work within size & space limits & still retain proper proportions & utility. I've read through this thread & tried the links, looked at some of the books mentioned, but still haven't found anything that describes the basic geometry of these looms. I've found plenty of plans & have more already at home, but it's kind of like the difference between me & my wife cooking. I can follow a recipe to make edible food, while she cooks real treats. Rather than follow instructions, I'd rather learn the basics, the underlying geometry & reasons, so I can create my own designs. Does anyone know of a better source for this?