When shopping for a tapestry loom there are absolutely some key things to look for, but there are also specific wants and needs that you will have regarding size, budget and comfort. So, in this article I cover all the things to consider when shopping for a tapestry loom with the hopes that you will have a clearer idea of what will be best for you. We will consider versatility, what size tapestries you want to weave, what features to look for in a tapestry loom, price, and finally DIY options.
The first thing you should know is that all of the looms that I talk about here are built with the ability to adjust tension. As we learned in my first article What is Tapestry?, tapestry is weft-faced. In order to create a weft-faced fabric in a manner which is both structurally sound and easy to weave, the weaver requires a loom with tension control. This also means that whatever loom you are using, it must be able to take a high amount of tension without the beams bowing or even breaking. Likewise, the warp you use to dress your looms must be equally as strong, which is why you want to stick with buying warp which is called ‘tapestry’ or ‘rug warp’. These warp yarns are offered in wool, cotton, linen or hemp materials.
There are two kinds of tapestry looms: High warp and low warp.
High warp looms face you in an upright manner, so you are not looking down while you weave. High warp looms can be found in both floor loom (eg. Leclerc Tissart) and tabletop styles (eg. Mirrix, Schacht) and DIY styles (eg. PVC, copper pipe).
Low warp looms offer warps which lay in front of you at a 90 degree angle from your body – think of a typical floor loom, but for tapestry you’re specifically looking for a counterbalance or countermarch floor loom. Tabletop counterbalance and countermarch looms do exist but are less common, especially if you’re shopping second hand.
Now let’s get into all the things to consider within this range of looms...