What does a loom do?

All looms perform the same basic task of holding warp under tension. On the simplest looms, the weaver manipulates a needle threaded with weft yarn under and over the warp ends. When the loom is complex enough to handle a shuttle, the weaver can use various tools to create a shed—a space between raised and lowered warp ends that the shuttle passes through.

Types of looms

Weaving cards and inkle looms make warp-faced bands for guitar straps, camera straps, decorative edgings. Holes in the weaving cards hold the warp ends. For inkle weaving, the weaver can use string heddles or Texsolv heddles to create a shed.

    weaving cards on inkle loom

    Frame looms make squares or rectangles up to a fixed size. You can weave something smaller than the loom’s dimensions, but you cannot weave something larger. The weaver can make a shed with a shed stick, a weaving stick, or a pick-up stick turned on edge. Schacht makes the School Loom for larger weavings and the Lilli Loom for smaller projects. 

    weaving on a School Loom

    Pin looms and potholder looms are a specialized type of frame loom. On our 4" x 4" Zoom Loom, the weaver uses a needle for plain or patterned squares. The squares can be seamed together in flat fabric or three-dimensional items like stuffed animals.


    weaving on a Zoom Loom

    Tapestry looms make weft-faced rectangles up to a fixed size, generally decorative tapestries. They can be simple, like our original Tapestry Loom. More elaborate looms like our Arras Tapestry Loom include a shedding device and may have other accessories too. 

    weaving on the Arras Tapestry Loom

    Rigid heddle looms make lengths of fabric, up to but not exceeding the loom’s weaving width.* The rigid heddle, threaded with warp ends in its slots and holes make and change the sheds. Our Cricket and Flip looms come in different widths—see their product pages for details.

    weaving on a rigid heddle loom

    *unless the weaver uses a doubleweave weave structure

    Shaft looms such as table looms and floor looms make lengths of fabric, up to but not exceeding the loom’s weaving width.* Shafts (also called harnesses) raise warp ends to make the shed. On lever looms such as a table loom or the Cricket Quartet, the weaver flips levers to raise the shafts.

    weaving on a Cricket Quartet

    On treadle looms like the Wolf looms and Standard Floor Loom, the weaver presses treadles. 

    weaving on a Mighty Wolf loom

    *unless the weaver uses a doubleweave weave structure

    In the past, we also made a countermarche loom (Schacht Cranbrook), a counterbalance loom, and a computer-operated dobby loom.

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