Back to Basics: Inkle Weaving with a Rigid Heddle

Comments 3

Rigid heddle was originally invented for and used as a simple shedding device for weaving narrow bands, straps and trim. Today we know this as "inkle".  The term "inkle" was first used in the mid 1500's and means "ribbon" or "tape".  This is the stuff that held the world together until buttons and zippers were invented.  It wasn't until shortly after World War 2 that the wider rigid heddle was developed and also as a beater to create larger cloth in a balanced plain weave†.

The modern inkle loom came along just before that, some time around 1930.  Warping is easy and fast on this type of loom so I can understand why it's so popular.  People began to associate the weave structure (narrow warp faced plain weave cloth) with the loom, forgetting that anything that holds warp under tension is a loom and that any weave structure may be woven on any loom.  You don't need an "inkle loom" to weave inkle (narrow warp faced plain weave cloth).

I sold my inkle looms. I've decided to get back to basics and use the rigid heddle for its original purpose.  The ancients had the right idea.  I like to do a lot of pick up work. I've come to the conclusion that pick up work with the rigid heddle is superior to doing it on the modern inkle loom.  The pattern threads, now spread further apart, are much easier to see and manipulate.

Inkle weaving with pick up using a rigid heddle.

I think I'll use part of this band to make a collar for my kitty as it makes her look rather regal, don't you agree?

Inkle Band Collar for Kitty

I have some additional articles on inkle weaving with a rigid heddle but will be adding more in the near future. I'll be creating charts to share or posting links to charts other people have made and videos too. So, look for that in the near future.


†Textures and Patterns for the Rigid Heddle Loom by Betty Lin Davenport Pg. 6


  1. Barbara R.

    I have seen some of these very videos here and there on YouTube. I am quite interested. Thank you for showing your work on the RH loom. I will look for more information on this subject

  2. Margaret Moyer

    I would like to weave a strap for a purse I plan to weave on my RH loom. Would you show me how?

  3. Joyce (Author)

    Hello Margaret. I have other articles on inkle with some videos, try using the search box (upper right) and type in “inkle” (without the quotes) to get a list of articles with that subject matter. You can also try YouTube by doing the same thing, there are numerous videos available. Best of Luck!


Enter your comment below. Fields marked * are required. You must preview your comment first before finally posting.

← Older Newer →