Rigid heddle weaving in the Academy? YES!

During our website launch rigid heddle weavers asked us the same two questions several times: Are rigid heddle weavers welcome at the Academy? And do we have content for them?

The answer to the first is a resounding “yes!” ALL looms and all weavers are welcome and full participants in our community – weavers are weavers and we’re all interested in how threads work together. Each different kind of loom just lets us do that in new and interesting ways! 

We offer classes for both rigid heddle looms and shaft looms. You can read about our rigid heddle curriculum in our Rigid Heddle syllabus.

rigid heddle loom in use

Course content

A lot of our course content isn’t shaft loom specific at all and can be applied to any loom. Many of the visual and physical design courses are loom agnostic: yarn choice, color theory, choosing a sett, adjusting the specs for a project, designing with warp and weft stripes – none of these assume any particular number of shafts, or indeed any shafts at all. 

Our entire first “semester” focused on color in plain weave, is like this.

Later courses will get into structures more (. Those structure classes will definitely be talking about shafts: four, eight, and up. Sometimes three, occasionally two. These kinds of structure classes will be written with shaft looms in mind.

However, we’ll also have rigid heddle specific classes. Some of them will help you apply the structure classes to rigid heddle weaving, others will teach techniques that are unique to the rigid heddle loom. For example, we have a series of courses about twill. People often believe that twill is restricted only to shaft looms or rigid heddle looms with three heddles, but we’ve got an entire course on three-shaft twills, which can be woven on a rigid heddle loom with just TWO heddles! That opens the world of twills, and color in twills, to many more rigid heddle weavers.

We’ll also have classes on rigid heddle specific topics, such as using two heddles to work with finer threads.

Other teaching content

In addition to courses, we have a whole section of the site called the Weavers’ Toolbox, which is an ever growing assortment of tips, tricks, hints, and basic instructions on all manner of weaving topics. As with our courses, some will be shaft loom specific but a great many are loom agnostic. (Read about our rigid heddle curriculum here.)

For our premium members, Tien and Janet do two webinars each month that include some Q&A. In months where a rigid heddle class is released, our rigid heddle teacher, Carly Jane, will be joining them to discuss our rigid heddle content and answer any questions.

In addition, questions relating to visual design are related to the projects themselves, not the loom they’re woven on, and asking for input on projects woven on a rigid heddle is absolutely appropriate and encouraged. Janet weaves and teaches on RH looms (and and is the tech editor for Liz Gipson’s Yarnworker publications), so in months when Carly isn’t at the webinars, Janet can answer physical design and weaving questions for rigid heddles, too.

Community content

We encourage all our members to fill out their membership profile, which includes what kinds of looms they own (including RH) and how many shafts they prefer to weave on (from 0 on up). This makes it easy to connect with other weavers with similar interests and similar equipment, which is great both for socializing and for getting help! You can easily see which members have rigid heddle looms and, by checking out their activity, what kind(s) they own, how much they use them, and whether they might be a good resource for getting your questions answered.

In our member surveys, 40+% of our members have rigid heddle looms.

Our two big forums, Let’s Talk Weaving and Weaving Help, each have ongoing discussions related to rigid heddle, and RH topics are more than welcome. Got a question or want to discuss a RH topic? Start a thread! Got a RH angle to add to an existing conversation? Fabulous – we’d love to hear it!

We also have two moderated live community events every month that are open to all members: Peer Support-Weaving Help and Peer Support-Design Help. There are almost always some rigid heddle weavers in attendance, which means you can get (or provide!) peer support related to RH questions. Members are encouraged to submit questions in advance so that we can prepare a presentation; this also gives us a chance to invite weavers with matching interests or expertise to attend if possible to help respond to the questions and foster conversation.

Even if the other folks in attendance aren’t rigid heddle weavers themselves, they’ll do their best to problem solve, just the same as if someone had a dobby or drawloom or backstrap question if no one who happened to be at the meeting was experienced with any of those.

Finally, our resident rigid heddle expert, Carly Jayne, participates in our forums and answers many rigid heddle weavers there.

So come and join us, rigid heddle weavers! We’ve saved you a seat!