What is An Inkle Loom?
An inkle loom is a type of weaving loom that is used to create braided straps, tapes, strips, and bands. The warp yarns are held in place by fixed heddles on the loom, and the shed is created by manually raising or lowering the warp yarns. Inkle looms are usually made with a wooden framework in which wooden dowels are fixed to carry the warp. One of the dowels on the inkle loom can be adjusted to change the warp tension.
Inkle weaving is a versatile way to weave fabric and can be used to create anything from belts and dog leashes to necklaces and handbag straps. It is also a great way for complete beginners to explore weaving because the same weaving process is used as other types of looms, but with a few differences in the warping and finishing stages.
What is Inkle Loom Weaving?
Inkle loom weaving makes use of an inkle loom, a specialized type of weaving loom, to create bands, tapes, and strips. The process of using an inkle loom involves warping the loom, weaving the pattern, and finishing the weave. Warping the loom involves stringing yarn across the loom in a specific manner which creates a structure for the weaving. The weaving phase would then involve passing the weft thread through the warp threads in order to create different patterns. Finally, the weave is removed from the loom and any finishing touches can be added.
Inkle weaving is a great way to create trims for clothing, accessories, and home decor, and is a great way for beginning weavers to get started.
Buying an Inkle Loom: What Are My Options?
Also called “card weaving” or “tablet weaving”, this technique refers to the art of using 'ribbon' or ‘tape'. Due to the narrow nature of this method, these small and portable looms have been aptly named. So, are there different kinds of inkle looms? The answer is yes!
There are different sizes, styles, and finishes for inkle looms. Here are some of the best ones in the market.
Ashford Inkle Loom
The Ashford Inkle loom is a fantastic choice for weaving warp-faced decorative braids, trims, bands, and belts. This loom is the larger option of the two inkle styles that Ashford offers. It can create long woven braids up to 2.8 meters (110 inches) in length.
The portable design of the Ashford Inkle Loom offers you the freedom and flexibility to weave on it wherever you want. It has been created to support high-tensioned warps with the ability to adjust the warp using a tension-adjusting block.
Ashford Inklette Loom
The Ashford Inklette loom is the ideal choice for a complete beginner weaver that is wanting to explore the art of inkle weaving while starting small. It is basically a mini inkle loom, which means it functions just the same but is a smaller, more portable, and definitely a more budget-friendly entry into inkle weaving.
This type of loom will allow you to make a variety of strappy items such as trims, tassels, shoelaces, dog leads, and a lot more.
Schacht Inkle Loom
The Schacht Inkle Loom has been designed to withstand years of heavy use. With its impressive durability, this trusty loom will see the progress of a beginner weaver turning into an experienced weaver.
It features one open side for easy warping and an adjustable tension bar to adjust warp tension. A belt shuttle is included with the Schacht Inkle Loom.
What Equipment Do I Need to Start Inkle Weaving?
In order to get started, you will need a few basic supplies. Aside from the inkle loom itself, these are the other materials you need to get started with inkle loom weaving.
Weaving yarn- There are many types of weaving yarn, some made from animal fibres and others from plant sources. For inkle weaving, you must use a weaving yarn that can withstand high tension.
Weaving Cards- Also called tablet cards, these simple tools have the capabilities of a four-shaft loom in extremely portable sizes. It works nicely as a companion to the inkle loom, giving the weaver more design possibilities.
Fringe twister - A fringe twister lets you add finishing touches to your weaving by creating a twisted fringe on the edges of your decorative bands.
Belt shuttle - A belt shuttle features a bevelled edge to aid in packing the weft. It is mainly used in inkle weaving.
What Yarn is Best for Inkle Loom Weaving?
When it comes to choosing the right yarn for inkle loomweaving, there are a few factors to consider. The most important factor is the type of project you are working on. Typically, different types of projects will require different types of yarns for the best results.
For example, a strong, durable yarn such as cotton or linen is usually best if you are making a belt or strap. Avoid using yarns that are too thin or stretchy, as they may break or fray easily. Other materials such as weaving beads can also be used to create intricate patterns and designs. Additionally, you can also sew several straps together to create larger items such as bags and scarves.
Here are our top yarn recommendations for inkle loom weaving.
The 8/4 mercerised cotton by Maurice Brassard features a nice sheen and creates neat, crisp-looking woven bands on the inkle loom. Another option would be Maurice Brassard’s 8/4 unmercerised cotton. These wonderful cotton yarns come in 150g and 227g cones and have plenty of colour options.
Maurice Brassard's 9/2 linen is a 2-ply French linen yarn. It is soft yet strong, making it an ideal choice for inkle loom weaving as it can withstand high tension during the weaving process. It comes in 14 colour options and is sold in 227g cones.
The 8/2 mercerised cotton (Perle) by Maurice Brassard is a lace-weight yarn that features a lovely sheen. It is available in 21 colour options and comes in 150g cones.
The 16/2 organic linen yarn by Venne has been wet-spun, making it smooth and shiny. It can be used for both warp and weft in your weaving project.
Books to Learn and Inspire
Books are an invaluable resource for inkle loom weavers, providing an unparalleled level of knowledge and inspiration. Whether you are a beginner in inkle loom weaving or an expert with years of experience, picking up a book on inkle weaving can help you learn more about the craft and techniques involved.
Here are our top 3 inkle weaving book recommendations.
This book discusses the history of inkle weaving, instructions on how to set up the inkle loom, 400 inkle weaving patterns, and plenty of techniques that will help inkle loom weavers of all levels. It is one of the most comprehensive guides for inkle loom weaving.
This book is a classic take on the art of inkle weaving, featuring detailed instructions on how to weave various design patterns on the inkle loom, as well as structural and finishing techniques to help you become the best inkle weaver you can be.
There is no better way to learn the basics of how to set up and use your Ashford Inkle loom than this informative guide created by the brand itself. This booklet is actually included when you purchase an Ashford Inkle Loom.
Benefits of Using the Inkle Loom
As with all crafts, there are several benefits to weaving on an inkle loom.
1. Learn a new craft as you explore inkle weaving.
The benefits of learning a new craft using the inkle loom are plenty. With this versatile little loom, you can create a wide range of projects, including straps, trim, sashes, shoelaces, dog leads, and many more types of accessories. You can even use a variety of materials including yarn and weaving beads.
2. You can use different yarns and colours in inkle weaving.
Using different yarns and colours in an inkle loom can enhance your weaving experience, making your project more visually appealing. The alternating colours can create patterns and designs that will add a unique touch to the finished project. Additionally, using different colours can help differentiate between each warp thread, making it easier to know which thread should be raised or lowered when lifting the heddles. This will result in a more even weave and a better-looking finished project.
3. Inkle looms are so easy to use and maintain.
The inkle loom is an incredibly versatile and portable loom. It is easy to use and can be taken almost anywhere, making it an ideal choice for those looking to do some weaving while travelling. The inkle loom can also easily create intricate designs and patterns. Beginners can learn to weave on the inkle loom very easily, especially because it is also easy to set up.
4. Inkle loom weaving boosts your creativity and imagination.
Using the inkle loom to create a variety of items supports creativity and imagination because it allows the crafter to create intricate patterns and designs through weaving. Additionally, it allows for personalization and customisation, as the crafter can choose from a wide range of colours and materials to create something unique and beautiful.
The inkle loom also encourages experimentation and problem-solving, as the crafter has to consider the pattern, the tension of the yarn, and the size of the loom to create the desired item. This can help to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Finally, it can be a great way for people to express their creativity and imagination, as the end product is often functional and aesthetically pleasing.
5. Inkle loom weaving helps reduce stress.
As with other weaving techniques, inkle weaving can positively affect a person's mood as it can be both a relaxing and rewarding experience. Studies have shown that people who engage in weaving activities can experience a decrease in stress levels and a feeling of relaxation. The art of weaving also offers a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as the user can create a unique, handmade piece of art.
Are Inkle, Band, and Card Weaving the Same?
Inkle, band and card weaving are ancient techniques used to create distinctive fabrics with complex patterns. Although they may look comparable at first glance, there are some significant differences between them.
- Inkle weaving uses an inkle loom to create wide, flat bands of fabric that can be used for belts, guitar straps, and dog leads, to mention a few.
- Band weaving is similar to inkle weaving in a way that it produces narrow bands, such as ribbons, decorative straps, and belts. However, band weaving is done on a different type of weaving loom. An example of a loom used for band weaving is the Glimakra Band Loom, a Scandinavian weaving loom that allows you to weave up to five inches wide of fabric.
- Card weaving is different from the other two in a way that it uses cards for weaving instead of a traditional loom to create patterns in the fabric.
Get Started with Inkle Loom Weaving
Inkle loom weaving is quite easy to learn, even for complete beginners, and is an affordable choice of weaving loom to start with. Browse our collection of inkle looms for Ashford and Schacht and find your perfect match.
If you want a much easier way to get started, order our specially curated Inkle Weaving Starter Kit today!