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Windhaven Concertina

One of my three new inkle looms arrived the other day, and I’m very happy with it so far!

The Windhaven Concertina is a small loom that fits in my lap for weaving, which is very cool. Used as an inkle loom, it will do a 4 inch wide band that is about 3 feet long, and it can be expanded to a width of 8 inches. It can also be used as a rigid heddle loom, with the front and lower back rods used as take-up rods, or fabric beam and warp beam, which is also very cool, as you can then make much longer bands. If you remove the top rod altogether, you have enough space for tablet weaving, if you use small cards. All in all, a very versatile loom. It’s like a Gilmore Wave, without all the fancy pieces that make the Wave so much more expensive.

The downsides of this loom are very minor, but have to be mentioned to be thorough. If you want to do pickup weaving on this loom, it can be done, but be aware that the working area is very tight. If you like getting your hands in there to manipulate the warp, as I do, it’s difficult, although, as I said, it can be done. A small weaving sword might be a better idea, but that’s something else to get used to. I used to do pickup with a sword, but then stopped in favor of my hands. I may have to go back to the sword with this loom, but I’ve been using my hands as usual. Like I said, the downside is minor.

I did worry about the warping path a little bit…on my other inkle looms, the warp threads didn’t come in contact with other levels of the path, where they do with this loom, but that concern turned out to be unfounded: the warp advances very smoothly. The only thing I have to watch out for is that the tensioner isn’t quite as wide as the other rods, because it has to be able to move back and forth in its track, and that means that on a warp as wide as the rods, you need to make sure that warp threads don’t slide off the sides. It did happen to me once at the beginning, and it was a pain to get them back where they belonged, but once I realized what had happened and why, I learned to just advance carefully, and it hasn’t happened since then.

Because it’s a small loom, the working area is tiny, and you will be advancing a lot more often than with a standard sized inkle. That doesn’t bother me much; one of the biggest pluses for me was the fact that it fits in my lap! Another is the fact that I can toss it into a tote bag and take it anywhere to weave. Gonna be waiting at the doctor’s office for an appointment for an hour or more? You can take your loom and weave, or sit in the car on your break at work and weave. That is beyond awesome to me.

The company is made up of a homesteading mom and her two daughters, one of whom, the master woodworker, is a high-functioning autistic teenager. And while yes, I did like the idea of supporting her work, if she wasn’t good at it, I wouldn’t have ordered more than one loom. This one, I bought used from another weaver, but I already had one loom, the Ukelele, on order, and when they are back to work, I fully intend to order the bigger Accordion as well! The craftsmanship is fantastic, and the looms are among the least expensive I’ve seen as well, making it much easier for aspiring weavers with a limited budget to get started. Windhaven’s ladies are also very accessible, with a group on Facebook that is very active.

So, that’s my review of the Windhaven Concertina. As long as you don’t have unrealistic aims for the loom, you can’t go wrong with buying a Windhaven loom.

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