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Knitter's Loom: Second Heddle Kit

The Second Heddle Kit for the Ashford Knitter's Loom makes it possible for you to warp and weave with two heddles at the same time.  Why would you want two heddles on a rigid-heddle loom?  It opens up a whole new range of possibilities.  You can weave fine cloth (two heddles effectively double the sett), doubleweave, and some 2/1 twill structures such as Krokbragd.

The kit was super-easy to install.  I had the old heddle blocks off and the new ones installed in less than two-and-a-half minutes.  That was without using any tools (though Ashford recommends a hammer.) 

To test-drive weaving with two heddles on the Knitter's Loom, I warped two 12.5-dent heddles with some 8/2 Tencel yarn (effective sett, 25 ends per inch) for a plain-weave cloth.

Threading the back heddle was easy.  The front one was trickier because when both heddles are in the blocks, it's hard to get your fingers between them to reach the threads. 

Ashford does great documentation, and this product arrived with a couple of sheets that explained how to warp a loom with two heddles as well as some starter projects.  The brochure had tips for how to thread the front heddle (put the back heddle in the up position and the front heddle in neutral) which made threading easier.

rubber-band trickOnce I got the loom threaded, I started to weave plain weave by moving both heddles together as one.  In other words, both heddles were the up position and then both were in the down position. 

I found moving each heddle separately into its respective slot in the new heddle block to be a bit slow, so I tied the two heddles together with a rubber band and wove using only the front up and down positions on the blocks.  That worked well and I was soon up to a satisfying weaving speed.

For a more complicated two-heddle weave, where the two heddles do not always move together, this rubber-band trick wouldn't work.

The benefit of the design of the Ashford heddle-blocks is that the notches hold the heddles securely in place in the up and down positions, so the heddles can't fall or slip out of place.  The downside is that having to fit each heddle into its own separate notch slows down weaving.

Overall, I find the Ashford Knitter's Loom a great travel loom (the 12-inch version fits under an airline seat) and this upgrade will be appreciated by owners of the Knitter's Loom who want to explore all the options that weaving with two heddles can offer.