There are many kinds of looms that will work for tapestry weaving. I review different kinds of looms in the blogs linked below.
Can I use a rigid heddle loom for tapestry weaving?
Rigid heddle looms are not the best choice for tapestry weaving. Most of them have very small beams to wind the warp on and so they just don’t hold a very high tension. This can make learning tapestry weaving quite a bit more difficult. It isn’t impossible and I have had students be fairly successful using rigid heddle looms. But if you’re not a very type-A sort of person who is incredibly picky about warping and the amount of weft you put in, I would recommend starting with a loom designed for weaving tapestry or a countermarche or counterbalance floor loom.
Can I use a table loom for tapestry weaving?
Table looms have the same problems as rigid heddle looms. I have met a couple table looms that held a very tight tension. One was a Louet and one was a Kessenich. Those were looms people had in classes and the Louet linked there is not the same one—it is no longer made. I do not own these looms and would still recommend using a tapestry loom for tapestry weaving.
I want to make my own loom, is that okay?
Of course! I go over how to warp a copper pipe loom in the Little Looms and Fringeless courses. But if you don't want to even go that far, you could use a picture frame and warp it just the way a copper pipe loom is warped. I want you to start weaving, and you don't have to have an expensive piece of equipment to do that.
Why aren’t jack looms good for tapestry?
Jack looms, especially the ones with an X-style frame, don’t hold a high tension. When you try to increase the tension it usually results in the jacks rising up which means you don’t get a shed. Some jack looms work better than others. The Macomber looms that are larger than 40 inches are excellent for tapestry. Their hardware is metal and very heavy so the jacks stay down when the tension increases. I use a 40 inch Macomber for some of my work. I have had looms from the Schacht Wolf line and Harrisville jack looms in my workshops and you can weave tapestry on them. However, you’ll have an easier time if you use a loom that is meant to hold a high tension. You may well damage your loom if you try to use it for tapestry if it wasn’t intended to be used that way.
DO I HAVE TO HAVE A MIRRIX LOOM TO TAKE YOUR COURSES?
No! Mirrix makes great looms, but so do other people. A good tapestry loom has nice strong and even tension. If you want a loom that provides a shedding device as well as excellent tension, a Mirrix is a great option. But it isn’t the only one. You can see which Mirrix equipment I recommend on their site HERE.
What about little looms?
There are many small non-tensioned looms on the market. Until James Hokett retired in 2018, I used his slotted I-shaped looms a lot. Small looms are quickly warped and less threatening than a larger loom. They are also great for travel. Some non-tensioned options are the Schacht Easel Weaver or Lilli Loom, Lost Pond Looms, Purl and Loop looms (I am not fond of the ones with solid backs though). There are some smaller looms with tensioning. Either the Glimakra Freja or the C. Cactus Flower loom is a good choice.