I’ve done some research on where I might teach weaving within half an hour’s drive of our home. Community centers, senior centers and continuing education programs seem most likely. I found out that several places require a minimum of six students to register or the class will be cancelled. This means I need to have at least six rigid heddle looms!
I know the likelihood of finding even one rigid heddle loom in a thrift store is very slim, so I started noting the going prices of just a few of the many different sizes, brands and styles of them that come up for sale on eBay. I even bid on a few, but they always went beyond my maximum bid. . . until recently.
The first rigid heddle loom I bought is an 18″ Avalon that has spent many years safely stored in her original box, by the looks of it, since the 70′s! Funny, that’s when I learned to weave.
I had a heavy Aran sweater very similar to hers that I wore with purple hiphuggers in the early seventies. My hair didn’t reach that length until about 1974.
What Fun projects my future students can look forward to making on this loom: a poncho, a hat, a fringed bag, and, a scarf! I’m not sure about the present popularity of the first three, but scarves still seem to be a favorite for the beginning weaver’s first project.
How cool that it came already assembled and included two stick shuttles for two-color weaving!
It’s nice that the original direction sheet still exists, but I’m so glad that I don’t have to decipher all this fine print and diagrams! (Have a look at the instruction book for a Spears rigid heddle loom, HERE. Spears are very similar to Avalons.)
I would like you to meet Avalon, my lovely little loom from Arkansas.
Amazingly, only a week later I found her twin, which arrived shortly from California.
All the necessary hardware, just four bolts with wing nuts, is in that tiny plastic bag!
In less than ten minutes she could be ready for a warp, but I want to give both of my ‘new’ looms a protective coat of Danish oil before I put her together.
Weaving looms can be thrifty – I paid about $40 for each of these. . . including the shipping – but it takes some patience to find the ones selling at low prices. I just saw two other 18″ Avalon looms on eBay, both with Buy It Now listings instead of auctions. One is $50, plus $20 shipping, and the other, $89.95 with free shipping. yikes. I prefer $40 including shipping, thank you. HAha.
Seriously, you should be my personal shopper. If I ever have fun money again, I’m going to give it to you to buy me yarn & watch for deals on ebay! Those looms are seriously groovy.
Linda, I recently picked up one of these Avalon RH looms. It appears to be complete, but has no instructions at all, and I’m at a bit of a loss as to how it is supposed to be warped up. It came with some yarn on it, but the warp is only run from the top to bottom, like a quick sample piece. Or does it only weave squares that you then piece together? I grabbed it as part of a package deal with some other tapestry frame looms, and wanted to give it to a friend who would like to learn some weaving. I would be HAPPY to pay you for a copy of those instructions!!
HI Jenniffer ~
So someone warped your Avalon kind-of like this, eh?
Lucky me, I got instruction sheets with both of my Avalons, so sure, I’d be glad to send you my extra. It specifically explains how to put on a 44″ warp for a 30″ long finished project.
I recommend that your friend get a warping peg, or they can just use one leg of an overturned chair, to direct-warp, which is easier.
You put the warping peg as far away from the loom as you want the length of your warp to be – add 14″ extra for loom waste – then wrap a continuous strand back and forth from the peg through a slot in the the heddle to the comb at the back of the loom, around a tooth in the comb, through the next slot in the heddle, around the peg again, etc.
Here’s a great video tutorial explaining this process much more thoroughly. Just disregard that photo at the beginning that says you need lease sticks and a boat shuttle, not necessary. You’ll see that they’re never mentioned in the tutorial that follows. lol. A “proper” threading hook is nice, but you can use any crochet hook that’s small enough to go through the slots and holes in the heddle.
You’ll notice that she ties the warp to rods (apron rods) on her loom, one at the back in the beginning and, eventually, to a second at the front. The comb on the square beams on your loom can serve the same purpose. You’ll start by tying a little loop to lay around the first tooth you choose in the comb instead of tying onto an apron rod.
In the video Syne uses a match-stick bamboo placemat as a warp separator. The Avalon instructions recommend Kraft paper. I cut apart brown paper grocery bags. Some people use wallpaper, not the pre-pasted kind, obviously. lol.
Once you’ve cut through the warp bundle, refer back to the Avalon instruction sheet for how to deal with all of the warp ends.
It’s my intention to drill holes through the combed beams on my Avalon looms so I can tie on apron rods – dowels that I’ll cut 1/4″ shorter than the combed rod. Your friend may want to do the same thing at some point. This pdf includes instructions for attaching apron rods to beams.
Um, what else does your friend need to know?
Oh, the Avalon’s heddle is 9.5 dpi, that’s 9 1/2 dents per inch, the number of slots and holes, which is the same as the number of warp threads in an inch. I’d try using a sportweight yarn. This post explains how to match a yarn to the heddle size.
Oh. My. Does anyone else respond to a blog comment with such a boatload on info.??!?! LOL.
First, THANK YOU!!! It was very kind and generous of you to take the time to post all this information!
I understand the basics of warping up a RH loom, including the use of a peg, but I’m at a loss for what you’re supposed to do with the cloth as well as the warp on this one. Based on the info you’ve posted (thank you again!!) I get the feeling that it’s just wrapped around and around the comb beams, and you don’t use the combs to keep the warp even like I thought. That’s doable!
I’ll drop you an email shortly, and am definitely interested in taking you up on the offer for the extra set of directions!!! That will help my friend (also Linda!) out a great deal, so she’ll have something to refer to after I’ve shown it all to her. I love the weaving community…very kind and generous folk!
You’re welcome! So glad I could help and had the time to answer today. Since I’ve collected all those links I’ll probably do a blog post with them at some point.
The comb is how the loom’s manufacturer intended for you to both attach and evenly distribute the warp on the beam, but, as you know, there are other ways to attach and the rigid heddle will spread the warp evenly anyway. And yes, the rest of the warp, or the finished cloth, then gets wrapped round and round.
It sounds like between your help and the backup set of directions your friend, also Linda, hehe, will be set to go. Weave On!!
Also, looking at it, I suspect you could get an apron bar attached fairly securely without drilling holes on this one, because of the combs. In fact, I may try that using some texsolv tie-up cords, which would help assure that it’s all even and no knots to worry about. Not a permanent alteration to the loom. I’ll just have to pick up some dowels to try this out. Great idea to add the apron bars…I think it would make it far easier to achieve an even tension, and also help teach the user a technique that can carry forward to other more advanced…full featured, hehe…looms.
I hadn’t thought about how the comb would keep the tie-on cords from slipping. No need to drill – yay!
“full featured looms” 😉
Thanks for the great info. I picked up an Avalon off of EBay to use for sampling and it did not have instructions. I was a little unsure of how the loom was supposed to work, but the heddle dpi saves me a lot of time and the link to the Spears book clarified how I thought it was supposed to work. Many thanks!!
You’re very Welcome, Janese!
Glad I could be of some help.
Happy Weaving. 🙂
Hi, I too found one of these looms at a yard sale, with NO instructions so if you ever get around to scanning one of these instruction books I sure would love the link! I’m totally lost!
Sorry, no link. 😦
But you can see the entire instruction book for a Spears rigid heddle loom, which is very similar to an Avalon, here.
And there are more links that you may find helpful among the other comments on this post.
Hi, I just won an a similar loom on ebay, ( http://www.ebay.com/itm/321445162243?ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1436.l2648&autorefresh=true ), that doesn’t have instructions. And I’m totally new to weaving; well, if you don’t count the paper placemat thing we all do in kindergarten. 🙂
So I googled ‘avalon loom instructions’ and found this post, but I can’t really read anything on the pic you’ve posted of yours. Do you know if there’s a better, maybe pdf, version somewhere on the net? Thanks!
Congrats on finding a great little loom – and for a Great price too!
There’s no link that I know of for these exact instructions, but you can see the entire book for a Spears rigid heddle loom, which is very similar to an Avalon, here.
And there are more links that you may find helpful among the other comments on this post.
Thanks! I’ll check out those links. I know, the price was great! The $16 shipping made me cringe, though.
Maybe you’ll feel better knowing that a new 16″ Kromski Fiddle retails for $150.00 (plus shipping), while you paid $36 total for your 20″ one!
Oh, yes, I am aware that I got a fantastic deal, even with $16 shipping. I’ve just never bought anything from eBay heavy/big enough to have paid that for shipping, before. Usually the big, heavy stuff comes from amazon, with free shipping; even if I had to add something to get my $ total up to the free shipping level. Just sticker shock, is all. 🙂
I just bought one of these for $25.00 and fortunately it does have the instructions. I can’t wait to figure out how to use it!
Congratulations, Carrie! What a fantastic deal.
Happy Weaving. 🙂
P.S. You might enjoy reading the other comments on this post; they contain lots of info. about using the Avalon, beyond what’s in the instructions.
Thank you so much for the instruction link to other information. I just found the Avalon, or one like it for $19.00 at the Goodwill in Albuquerque. Such a great find, but no instructions. I thank you again for all the good information. I am new to weaving and am learning a lot.
Hi Glenda ~
You’re very welcome.
If you’re not already a member, you may want to consider joining Ravelry, a free on-line community for all kinds of fiber crafts. There are many weaving groups, including one called simply Rigid Heddle Looms!
I’ve learned an incredible amount just from reading old posts. And it’s nice to have a place where you can ask questions 24/7.
i’ve warped up my avalon as well as i can, and i think i goofed up by using yarn that was too thick for it. it is just jammed up, and the warp doesn’t separate out for weaving as it should. i see above you said to use “sport weight” — has that worked out? thanks
Hi Renee ~
Yes, most sportweight yarns will work well with the Avalon’s heddle. Just don’t use anything containing mohair! – It’s very “grabby”.
Another hint – Unless you’re weaving a rug or want to sew a very sturdy bag, gently push the weft into place with the heddle, rather than trying to Pack It In! You should be able to see little squares of light between the threads of your handwoven fabric. These spaces are necessary because the warp threads are s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d while you’re weaving and will contract once that tension is removed. Plus, chances are good that the fabric will change quite a bit the first time you wash it. Both the warp and weft may shrink and/or “bloom” (expand/fluff up).
Hope this helps.
BTW – I noticed a link in one of the comments no longer works, so I replaced it for you. . .
“This post explains how to match a yarn to the heddle size.”
thank you. i’ve managed to do some weaving with what i have warped on, but it hasn’t been easy! as i continue, i will do as you say (not pack it in!). i’m glad i’ve tried out my old loom (i received it as an xmas present as a kid) however, i might move on to a nicer one, that comes with multiple sized heddles? and perhaps has a clicking mechanism for turning the ends, rather than just wing nuts. it is a bit “bare bones” 🙂
Yes, this is a very simple loom, but it does get the job done.
And, remember, it was free.
Not so, one with clicking mechanism and spare heddles. 😉
One of these just landed in my lap, along with a bunch of publications from the 50s and 70s.
There is also a Sievers table loom that was homemade from a pattern. Up and running!
I was stumped about how to dress the Avalon loom, so of course, this page was immensely helpful. Thank you for all the information.
Hello Jeanne ~
Congratulations on acquiring an Avalon loom!
I’m glad to have been of assistance. . . I’m guessing you found the helpful links to be found in the comments on this post, so many have been added over the years.
I found your blog by doing a Google search for Avalon Looms. I just picked up an Avalon loom like yours but it has no instructions. I cannot find anything on YouTube to show me how to warp it and get ready to weave. Do you have any tutorials or know of any videos that will show me how to do this. A lot of the videos I have watched have something called apron rods or apron bars,. Any help/advice you can give me is gratefully appreciated.
Hi Chris –
Congrats on your “new” loom!
HERE, you can see the entire instruction book for a Spears rigid heddle loom, which is very similar to an Avalon.
There are several other links within the comments on this post. You may find some of them equally helpful.
How did the classes go? I just found an avalon loom at one of our local craft stores and I am going to set it up for my oldest daughter. I hope she enjoys it over the long winter. I loved finding your article. Most others were just sales posts.
Hi Anne-Marie ~
Happy to share the joy of finding an Avalon loom with you! It’ll be a great starter loom for your daughter.
re: classes. . . The gallery where I taught has closed. sigh.
But I continue to volunteer in the Rec. Dept. of a nursing home. Here’s an old post about some of our weaving adventures.
Do you know where I can get a pdf or paper copy of the instructions for the avalon loom?
The best I can do is to share a Spears instruction book, which I found in someone’s flickr account. Spears rigid heddle looms are very similar to Avalons.
Click on the photo below to see all the pages.
I hope this is helpful to you.