Possessing the right equipment for the job is essential when creating a work of art. When it comes to weaving, one of the most important tools is the loom. A floor loom is a large weaving loom that allows a weaver to create functional pieces of art ranging from tapestries to curtains to blankets. Choosing the best type involves evaluation of the loom, consideration of personal preferences and the weaver’s ability to work comfortably.
Loom construction is the way the loom is made. Different looms rely on different mechanisms to hold the thread or yarn, condense the finished weaving and keep the threads in order. Different mechanisms require slightly different skill sets — using a counterbalance loom is not the same as using a jack loom, for example.
A foot-treadle floor loom is a counterbalance style loom that relies on a system of pulleys to keep the fabric even. Weaving on a foot-treadle loom necessitates the use of feet as well as hands. Another example, the jack style loom, is a type of floor loom that relies on weights to keep the fabric even.
Different looms are made from different materials. Wood looms are different to work with than metal looms, and different types of wood may feel different to the weaver. Floor loom weaving requires patience and an investment of time. If a weaver does not like the material her loom is made from, she may experience discomfort or displeasure and be disinclined to finish a project. A weaver should choose a loom constructed from a material that feels right to her.
Loom size is another consideration when choosing a floor loom. If you have an entire room dedicated to weaving, it is possible to purchase a larger loom. If a weaver has a smaller space in her home, she is limited by that size when choosing a loom. Some looms fold or break down into smaller pieces for storage when not in use.
Weavers should do some research before deciding on a floor loom. It is helpful to try as many looms as possible before deciding on the right floor loom based on personal preference. Weaving specialty stores and some yarn stores provide customers with the chance to try different types of looms and equipment. Trade shows are another place to get a feel for a loom. A local weaver's guild or hobbyist group can also lend advice on choosing the right floor loom to meet individual needs.