My Story: Debbie Heilig

Debbie Heilig – The Cricket Loom – A “Gateway” Loom

debbie at loom

After more than twenty-five years of being in business, ten years of attending college as an adult, and raising a daughter, I found myself seeking a creative outlet for the next stage in my life. Now, four years later, weaving not only calms me after a hectic business day, it also provides me with unique homemade gifts for family and friends. Weaving, hopefully, will be the way I stay relevant after I retire!

Five years ago, I received a used Schacht rigid heddle loom as a gift. Because I couldn’t wait for a class at the local guild, I signed up for a private lesson. I learned that the heddle was missing and that I didn’t understand any of the terminology!  I rented a Cricket loom to complete the private lesson. I think the instructor humored me, but didn’t think I’d be back. I found instructions for different weave structures on YouTube, in books, in Facebook groups, in classes at the guild, and from a weaving mentor from Arizona. I learned a lot, from alpaca yarn to Zoom Looms!

I love my Cricket Looms because I can direct-warp them and begin weaving within an hour. My 10” Cricket fits nicely in my lap (although I do struggle when there are cats in my lap, too!) It is also small enough to be my personal travel companion. The 15” Cricket is great for creating wider scarves that can be folded in half to keep friends and family warm during our Minnesota winters. I like weaving with wool and cotton, but also enjoy adding fun fibers for flare.

Each year, my local guild holds demonstrations at the Minnesota State Fair. This is the second year I have used my Cricket Loom for my volunteer presentation. I enjoy showing both children and adult fair attendees alike how easy it is to weave on the Cricket, as well as its portable nature. I hope to begin teaching rigid heddle classes in the future, especially on the 10” Cricket.

My favorite weaving moment was taking a three-day rigid heddle class with Jane Patrick at the Midwest Weaving Convention in St. Paul, last June. I learned so many weaving techniques that I don’t think I’ll ever tire of rigid heddle weaving.

I gave my original loom to my young niece in hopes of keeping the art of weaving alive in youngsters.  The following Christmas, I gifted her with a 10” Cricket Loom. I know the Cricket is a “gateway” loom that will lead to larger looms, but I’m okay leading her down this path!

I have recently purchased a Zoom Loom and look forward to discovering what I can make on a pin loom.  If I had to choose but one loom as my exclusive, inanimate companion, my Cricket would be my hands-down favorite.

Schacht Spindle

Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960's and its accompanying craft resurgence. Their first loom was a simple tapestry loom, a version which they still make today. Over nearly 50 years, Schacht has developed a broad range of high quality hand weaving and hand spinning tools, including their popular Cricket Loom and Ladybug Spinning wheel. Schacht’s mission is to create beautiful and well-designed products that enhance customers’ weaving and spinning experience through innovative problem solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service. Schacht’s family owned business is located in Boulder, Colorado.