Choosing a beading loom

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Posts 4
on Sep 14, 2013 6:29 PM

Hi All

I'm fairly new to beading but am interesting in getting a beading loom.  At this time am primarily going to be making bracelets and bookmarks, similar items keychains etc.  Have been looking around online and notice a different ones.  a very basic one for about $5 to $6.  A semi basic one for a little bit more at $10-$12.  And the Ricks Beading Loom for at least $50 on average

Would be interested in hearing opinions on which ones you like or dont like and why/why not.  The Ricks beading loom I like the idea of only two threads left over.  although it seems like the draw back maybe that you dont have extra thread room if you need it and have to set up the correct thread size to start with.  

 

thanks

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Posts 1,493
D.M.Z wrote
on Sep 14, 2013 7:58 PM

Suzanne, I have a total of nine looms here in my bead cave at present. There are several sizes and types represented here. 

I have four looms at present that finish up with 2 to 4 threads only, a good starter loom for that type of weaving is the Versa Loom at about $25.00, it has a pretty good instruction booklet with it. Not expensive and you'll learn the method of finishing with only a few threads. It's only flaw is that you can only do projects that are in increments of 1/2" from like 2-1/2" to 15" by using the various inserts.......they mix and match to make the length you want and are not difficult to deal with.

I had a Ricks, but it wasn't to my liking for the price and duplicated the size of two others I have here, so I got rid of it. My only other problem with it was that the end beads are wrapped around a thin metal rod, so when warping it up you have to be careful not to put a curve in them. When you take your work off the Ricks, you will have a tiny loop at the top and bottom, but you can work the rows with your fingers to fill them. When you are weaving you have to fill the loom completely and fully, so that when loosened it is not objectionable. The other three looms I have right now are custom made and I use them with a modified version of Teresa Gutherie's "No Warps" method which I like very much. You DO have to know what your size will be with any and all of these methods, so planning is a must if you are doing a pattern. 

With all other looms you will deal with weaving in the ends of the warps. In bracelet and bookmark sizes this is not a biggie and there are multiple ways to do this. Weaving in 5 or 10 ends on top and bottom is "easy peasy" and you can also make fringe out of those ends, or knot them......lots of options. And infinitely more rewarding as you can finish a project without a major headache, fun weaving.

As a beginner, I'd start with a fairly simple wooden loom, not too big and just learn and become comfortable with the process and with your beads. Do a google and look at "sleigh loom" as a simple starter unit.

I recommend at this time three books for beginners. "My Favorite Loom Book" by Nicole Campanella (available through her Beadwright web site) is a smaller hand published volume by a beader who has been weaving almost all her life. I love the book, simple and straightforward with some nice examples of finished work and some patterns in back.

The second one is "Beading on a Loom" by Alexandra Kidd and her information is good. She spends nine pages on the first loom project taking you through each step with a photo accompanying each step. Then she gives you increasingly interesting projects to try.

Finally, the ultimate beginner to advanced book "Contemporary Loom Beading" by Sharon Bateman. She gives it all to you, info on looms, threads, beads, and then she has lots of projects and patterns especially in the sizes you are wanting to learn to do......narrow, short and long. She shows different colorways, different patterns that can be applied to these basics. If I had to limit myself to one, I would be this one, if you can afford more, go for it. 

There is at least one other very active loomer on this forum, hopefully she will give some additional ideas. No two loomers are the same, we all do different things, like different looms, so take my opinons and try to see a couple of these in person if possible. Donna

 

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Posts 4
on Sep 14, 2013 9:00 PM

thanks for all the input and suggestions Donna.  I really appreciate it.  I'll look into the items you suggested.

Suzanne

 

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Posts 158
on Sep 14, 2013 11:44 PM

I had to google "sleigh loom", and I got inkle and knitting looms showing up as well!

Welcome to the world of beading on a loom!Big Smile

As Donna has said, there are a lot of bead looms out there, in many price range.

I have a couple of looms too, well four, and only two of them are in active use!

My looms are the cheapo $20 Indian wire loom, a Versa Loom, a Beazu and a Lani Mirrix. These last two, are my fave looms. 

Be careful of how much force you use to pry apart the sections on the Versa loom, as the pegs are easily breakable. Mine only lasted a month. Another thing about it, that not many people mention, is that it needs a lot of thread to wind the beads around each end bar. And it can be very fiddly trying to tie off into the slotted edge, as it is not very wide or deep, as you can only use threads of a certain width, otherwise, it won't fit in there and will slide all over the place!Angry

The 11x7x3 Beazu is just the right length for bracelets, and is wide enough to make a small bag if you want to go down that path later on. The Lani Mirrix has a stand and is adjustable, along with my "adjustments", as it does not have the height for your hand to go under the warps, like other bead looms.

You don't need a special loom for a specific finishing technique. You can even use the Ricks Beading loom technique, with a regular loom. And there are videos on youtube, showing how to warp the loom so you only end up with two warps to sew in. Which is what the Ricks beading loom technique is. Its also called the Pull and Pray method. I use it for all my loom work.

Also, don't think that you absolutely have to use #11 beads. You can also go free form and use bigger size beads. I use #8 Japanese seeds beads, right up to 6 mm pearls. 

You can replace the thin rods on the Ricks Beading Loom with thicker ones like a knitting needle, just wind a rubber band on the needle to stop it from sliding. 

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Posts 933
on Sep 15, 2013 7:07 PM

Nice to meet an interested 'weaver of the loom'! Big Smile

The main difference between most looms is the finishing aspect. Try not to limit yourself to just one way of managing the warps. The Ricks is very overpriced, and not stable enough for weaving, When the beads are removed, there is a small rod that get slipped out, at each end. This leaves a little loop of thread, which makes your beads very loose. I am not a fan of that loom, for most of my weavings. I do own one and feel it is best for weaving accents to my pieces. Other then that, you can't get very creative.

The Versa Loom is actually a 'plastic puzzle', lol. You assemble the parts to create the length you want. Then you thread beads on to a string and attach that to the loom ends. These are the same beads that will now hold your new warps. Again, some can make use of this loom, but the parts crack and brake then. Getting proper tension is too difficult for me, an avid weaver, so you may get frustrated with it.

What you want to consider, when buying your first loom is these following points:

--Budget, which you already stated.

--What you want to weave, which you already stated.

--How do you prefer to weave: loom on a table or one in your lap?

--Make sure the loom has a warp tension controller.

If you ask me, there is a perfect loom on the market, that offers everything for the new weaver. The last thing you want to do is to find your frustrated over a bad experience with a new loom. I am not able to offer that link here, so if we can talk privately, I will be happy to share. You can also use this suggested loom for multiple options of warp managing, i.e., standard, no warps, pull&pray.

When you get more involved, you will find the need to buy more than one loom. Either for the loom table differences or because your hands won't weave as fast as your design ideas pop into your head! Wink

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Beadora wrote
on Dec 14, 2013 12:13 AM

Hello I am interested in this loom you talk about. I have the ricks and the rods are wimpy and bend. I was also having an issue of keeping the warps separated, I ended up using a fine toothed comb held in place with tape. email me at ldchastang@yahoo.com please and thanks

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D.M.Z wrote
on Dec 14, 2013 1:41 PM

Erin and Blue Elephant Art, I am sorry to hear that you both had problems with the Versa............ I've had mine for years and it is still all usable and nothing broken. When I wind the bars on my Versa and several other looms that use the same method, I use up almost finished bobbins of colored Nymo to do so, When they get down to that point I find the Nymo is too curly to bead with, so I use that to wind on the beads. Tying off does pray for a third hand, so I use that hospital paper tape that goes on and comes off easily..........it holds the ends in that groove until I can get the knot done up. When I take mine apart I give a gentle wiggle to the pieces and then pull them straight off......maybe that is why mine is still all in one piece. I warp it up and then take a stiff needle and go back over the warps and make sure they are evenly tense, then I use tape again and anchor the ends to the base of the loom. 

I'm sorry you have both had bad experiences with a loom that, while not perfect, is a good intro at a very right price for that type of weaving. I like that I can carry it to a bead meeting in a shoe box, it gets a lot of attention and I have done demos for our bead society using it as one of several looms that I have taken with me. But we ARE all different and that is why it is so much more preferable to see and handle different looms before buying. Even then a person can "grow" out of a fave and need something different. I think at last count I had 8 looms here in my bead cave. Weavingly, Donna

Top 50 Contributor
Posts 933
on Dec 16, 2013 10:53 PM

Donna, I am glad you are having a positive experience, with a Versa, and any other loom, offering a "No Warp Management Method". Your style of weaving suggests such a method. Me? I do not allow the means of finish to denote my creativity, across the warps. The Versa and other "no warp" management, allows you to create 2d pieces. I like to rise above the warps. My Versa is in great shape, not broken, but never used. 

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Posts 933
on Dec 16, 2013 11:13 PM

I would also like to share one of my latest cuffs.... Multiple techniques utilized here.... None worried over how to manage the warps.

[let me try to post a pic.

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Posts 933
on Dec 16, 2013 11:20 PM

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Posts 2
on Dec 17, 2013 6:33 AM

How perfect for the holidays. I could eat it!

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Posts 933
on Dec 17, 2013 2:35 PM

Thank you Carolanne! I think I even titled my Blog post, about this cuff, "Bite Me", lol

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Posts 158
on Dec 18, 2013 9:25 PM

Versa Loom is a great loom, I'm not bagging it by any means. It was my fave loom until it broke. Then I became so annoyed with it. Its just personal preference. Once the pegs on the end bars get broken, even if one glues them back on, they WILL break again. Over here in Australia, they cost around $70, so buying another "plastic puzzle box" is just money down the toilet.

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Posts 1
sqeeks72 wrote
on Mar 22, 2014 7:02 PM

Hello I am interested in this loom you talk about. Please send me the information

sqeeks72@hotmail.com

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Posts 4
Shari James wrote
on Mar 25, 2014 10:39 PM

I too am interested in your opinion on the best loom.  Would you please contact me too.  Thank you in advance.   sharijames23@gmail.com

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