Happy beginning of the holiday season!
Claudia & Elena
PS: We’ll have some fantastic deals for Cyber Monday tomorrow! Remember to check back!
The Beaded Purse
We will post pictures of the beaded purse with a little more progress later in the week, but basically for this week, you’ll just keep on weaving! Please let us know if you have any problems or questions. If you’re still stuck on warping or putting heddles on, check out the little videos we made to help guide you!
The Tapestry Purse
For those of you who are weaving the original design for the small tapestry purse, keep on weaving until it is at least thirteen or fourteen inches long or even longer. It’s your choice. Decide what will live inside it and how long it needs to be to have enough depth to fit those items. I felt at thirteen inches mine was a tad too short because my cellphone only fits in it sideways. It’s too long to fit in it vertically.
For those of you who have decided to weave using the second method (weaving your wefts in one direction and then ending them all and starting a new set) I have completed that piece. But just to give you more food for thought or food for weaving, I made this one shorter so that it will be an eyeglass case. That was six inches and a half long. If I had gone for maybe seven and a half inches it would have worked as a cellphone case. But it’s just shy in width to fit my cellphone. I wanted to show you all the possibilities of weaving with this yarn on this warp. Plus, since I started the second piece on the same warp as the first I did not have enough warp length to weave another full tapestry piece. Another reason was: this is a great gift for a guy and I do plan to give this eyeglass case to a male for the holidays. I really am making as many gifts as I can, all of them based on our current kits.
Ready for some pictures!
|Not quite done!|
|Getting there! Note the straight edges. Very important.|
|Adding the header.|
|That is a measuring stick. But you can’t really see the numbers.|
We now have two starting points.
Starting point one is what follows for those of you who are using the shedding device but are not using a bottom spring kit. You folks have to weave in two threads to isolate your warp pairs before weaving in (actually, sewing in) your first row. The rest of you can skip this point. Who are the rest of you? Those of you who are weaving not using the shedding device or have a bottom spring kit. If you have a bottom spring kit you don’t have to weave in these two threads because the kit will separate your threads for you.
See this cute little diagram.
It is a diagram of the two rows of thread you need to weave around your pairs of warp threads. Cut a thread from your spool of warp that is twice the width of your loom plus six inches or so. Thread the thread into a needle. Use the needle to weave over and above warp pairs until you reach the other side of the weaving. Wrap around the side bar of your loom and weave under the warps you wove over and over the warps you’ve woven under. Again, you are isolating warp pairs. You need to check to the spring above to make sure you are actually isolating the warp pairs because the warps can get crossed at the bottom of your loom and look like a pair when in fact it’s stolen a thread from its neighbor and given up its mate. Once you’ve woven the second thread, tie it to the other end around the other loom side bar. You are now ready to join the rest of us in sewing in our first row.
Cut a piece of warp thread (which you will use for your thread for stringing your beads from now on) about four feet long, or whatever length of thread you are comfortable using. I like to make it as long as I can because then I don’t have to replace it as frequently. But too long can tangle.
String up 42 black beads. Place the strung beads behind and in between either the single warp threads if you are not using your shedding device and the paired warp threads if you are. Sew through the from to the beads. You will continue using this method of attaching your beads if you are NOT using the shedding device. I guess you can call this the traditional method of weaving beads. If you are using the shedding device, this first row was woven in this manner in order to form a base for your weaving (the shedding device will not work without this base and also, when you take the piece off the loom, without this base your piece will fall apart).
Again, if you aren’t using the shedding device, continue attaching subsequent rows of beads in the manner of this first row. You have been provided a large bead pattern with your kit. Just follow the pattern. You can also follow here as we weave along, but we will be using the shedding device.
Make a “shed” by turning your shedding device in either direction with the handle and hooking the handle behind the side bar of the loom. String 42 black beads and insert your needle in between the raised and lowered threads. Do this a couple inches above the place where the two sets of threads connect. This is called the fell line. Make sure your beads are in-between the raised set of threads. Use your fingers to manipulate your beads so that they fall into place. Then pull down so that the beads get caught in the V that is created where the two sets of warp threads intersect. Again, this is called the fell line.
Row three of all black beads follows.
We are starting the checkerboard pattern.
I like to weave sections of beads at a time when I get to the pattern part when using the shedding device. (You cannot do this when not using the shedding device).This is because I tend to make mistakes and it’s easier if I only weave half of the beads at a time to identify and fix those mistakes. Also, it’s easier to set in a shorter length of beads. To do this, string up, let’s say, about half the beads required for a row. Pull your needle all the way to the other side of the weaving. Push the beads down. Make a loop where the beads end.
String up the rest of the beads. Use the loop as if it were the end of the thread to jiggle your beads into place. Slide the beads down. Pull on end of thread to get rid of loop.
There you go. Perfect!
More . . .
Chloe was very interested in what I was doing but refuses to learn to do anything but eat the bead thread.
A wooden tapestry floor loom was just waiting in someone’s barn for me to buy. I hauled it home an set it up and learned that tension is indeed the most important thing. Weaving on this loom was a dream. Now it was time to really understand and learn tapestry.
It took me a few years to get good at tapestry. I created a bunch of really grand failures. I saved some of them just to remind me of my roots. Certain concepts seemed so hard to get inside my head even with a couple of decent tapestry books (although some of the really great ones to be found today were then just a gleam in someone’s eye). What shed? What weft? Who can cross over whom and why and when? Weaving in opposite directions? Are you kidding me? Why??? But as these concepts settled in tapestry became easier and easier and I tore out less and less. I am pretty comfortable with most tapestry techniques now (not all, though) but I still make mistakes. You just can’t take this medium for granted. It always wants to test you. Ah, but worth learning it is!
So get ready for a fun, frustrating, time-consuming ride. This is not going to come to you over night (or maybe it will and aren’t you the lucky one!) and this purse may not be perfect. But it will be a great beginning to, I hope, a life time of tapestry weaving.
We suggest you get a good book on tapestry. We sell them on our site but you can also get them elsewhere including the library. It’s like having a dictionary when you write. It’s a good place to look up things when yo aren’t sure or need reminding.
I realize that not everyone will want to jump into this piece for their first foray into tapestry:
Thinking about it, I realized that although in some ways it is the perfect first piece because it teaches you two very valuable techniques: weaving in opposite directions and slit tapestry. However, as I wove and photographed the details of this technique I realized that for those of you who have never woven tapestry before this might turn out to be very frustrating. So last night I sat in bed in the dark for hours and hours thinking about what I could do to make sure everyone has a great experience weaving this small purse. I had already created the beginning weaving of the above purse for this blog and was planning to just add a little more before posting. But last night I realized I would have to create a secondary piece for those who want to experience a somewhat simpler piece and yet still experience tapestry. Maybe the above piece should be a second project, not a first, for some. Or maybe some of you will want to combine the techniques. Start off with the “easier” one and end with the more difficult one. In any case, no matter what path you choose, you are going to have fun.
That being said, I am going to post first the above purse and then below I am going to post and entirely different approach. So PLEASE read or at least look through this entire blog before deciding which path you want to take. And remember, you can start with one, decide it’s not your journey, unweave and begin a different journey. The goal is to learn, to have fun and to create something you are proud of. Let’s begin.
A few words about this piece before we begin. I am going to show you a picture of the finished piece before it was sewn into a purse. This design is not set in stone. In fact this piece is not the piece I am weaving for this weave-along. I am weaving a different piece and I can promise you it will not be identical to the first piece. It will have the same feel, the same pattern idea, and the same colors, but it won’t be identical. I don’t want you to copy me exactly. I want you to get a feel for the techniques and then make your own color combinations, your own shapes. Yes, this is sort of a sampler, but not really because the same technique keeps getting repeated which gives you room to fly.
|There she is: my first tapestry made from this kit.|
Let’s begin . . .
To start your second weft, push it’s tail in between warps 20 and 21 or thereabouts. Don’t start getting to specific about where you begin or end these wefts. If your square is a little smaller than mine, so be it. We aren’t going for a carbon copy of my piece. I want you to start off sort of copying me to get the hang of it. For example, you do need to start with four wefts.
The orange weft tail starts where the green tail ends. It travels away from the green weft (whereas the blue and green wefts travel toward each other).
And lastly, the orange weft heads toward the yellow weft. Because the end warp is raised, the orange tail is in fact in back of the weaving.
From a little distance you can see what we’ve done.
Change sheds and weave every thread once. The blue will be woven to the left to the edge of the weaving. The green will be woven right until it reaches the yellow thread. The yellow thread will be woven left until it meets the green thread and the orange thread will be woven all the way to the right edge of the weaving.
How it looks thus far.
Change the shed and weave back from whence you came with each thread. I want you to just build up color areas with slits in between.
Weave the rest of the squares. Then weave the left blue toward the pink, the pink toward the blue and the blue to the green.
Weave the green four warps into the yellow area (this is what I mean about being able to weave into another color area when your wefts are traveling in opposite directions). Weave the yellow to meet the green.
Continue weaving these color areas.
And look what you get!
Weave the pink and right blue weft toward each other and bury ends behind tapestry.
Change shed and weave the left blue weft over the pink and the right blue weft.
Weave the green weft for a couple of warps and then bury tail behind weaving. Begin a pink weft where it ends and weave as far as the blue weft.
Weave the yellow weft a couple of warps and then bury end behind weaving. Start a purple weft where the yellow weft ends and weave into the orange territory a couple of warps. Weave the orange weft to meet the purple weft. We’ve started some new shapes!
Weave everything back.
And one more time.
Stick the end of the orange weft behind the tapestry and start rose/purple weft.
Keep weaving these new colors.
Remember how I said you can begin just one weft at the edge of the weaving? Here we want to add a yellow weft. Because the warp thread is up, if we just inserted the weft, the tail would essentially be in front of the weaving. So wrap that tail around that warp and stick it into the weaving between warps 1 and 2. It will then be behind the weaving.
Weave everything back once. You now have a yellow square starting on the left.
Keep weaving all these color areas.
This is how it looks!
What you should have finished by next weekend (or more if you’d like!):
Insert your first piece of weft yarn where your header yarn ended. Weave to the first marker yarn.
Insert the next color where in the space occupied by the next marker yarn. Weave in the SAME direction as the last weft. Do this for all five weft yarns, weaving them all in the same direction and sticking their ends where the marker yarns are.
Remove the marker yarns.
Weave the yarn at the each of the piece in a few warps. You will start a new weft where this ends.
Start a new weft yarn where the edge weft yarn ended.
Place a new set of markers. Make sure they occupy a different place from where the old markers were.
Start new weft yarns at the markers and weave to next marker where you will start a new yarn. Remember, these weft yarns all travel in the same direction.
Place new markers. This time I’ve used only four.
Begin new wefts.
Remove markers and continue weaving new wefts. The following records my progress using this method.
|Daggers and size 8/0 seed beads on a Soft Flex copper wire warp|
This was fun and easy and we now have it in kit form: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/nowarpstoweaveinbraceletkit.html
I also am weaving another bracelet with a slightly thinner Soft Flex Warp and size 11/0 Delica beads in a rhodium and 24 karat gold finish. This one is still on the loom.
I will get back to you tomorrow with a better picture and final results of this bracelet.
We are very happy to be starting our third weave-along today. This is a very exciting event not only because we’re doing two different projects, but because we are taking on more advanced projects than we did in our previous two weave-alongs. As participants, we hope that you will learn new skills through the process. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions, that’s what we’re here for.
Remember to share for a chance to win!
Our weave-alongs are not meant to be experienced alone! Participants are encouraged to ask questions and engage with other members of the weave-along via email and social media sites.
Post pictures of your progress, ask questions, answer questions and discuss your projects via our Mirrix Facebook Page, Mirrix Facebook Group and our Mirrix Ravelry Page. You can also check out our new Google+ page!
Remember, one active participant (this is key, you must be actively posting your progress to be eligible) will win an OttLite at the end of the weave-along. It could be you! Check out OttLite’s website here.
Following are the two blog posts with warping instructions for the woven and beaded purses.
Thank you and good luck!
Claudia Chase & Elena Zuyok
Mirrix Tapestry & Bead Looms
|I ran out of warp at the very end. All I had to do was tie off the old thread and tie on a new one and continue in the correct direction.|
|You see I was almost done!|
|Ready for heddles!|
|A ribbon holding in place the bar that has been woven underneath one warp in each dent to more easily identify which warp to put the heddle around.|
|Heddles on and ready to go. Just have to remove the bar and stick it in the top spring.
I am ready to weave this purse!
If you need a reminder of how to warp the Mirrix Loom for tapestry, please go to our instructions link:
In tapestry weaving, weft yarns are discontinuous; the artisan interlaces each colored weft back and forth in its own small pattern area. With slit tapestry, at each point where colors meet, a small slit occurs if the pattern boundary is vertical. Other tapestry techniques, in which wefts are dovetailed or interlocked, overcome this potential problem but have their own disadvantages. Slit tapestry produces the sharpest pattern delineation and the smoothest weave. It also permits the most freedom and spontaneity; thus it is a favorite technique among weavers worldwide. Slit tapestry is fun to weave.
Since the weaver avoids long vertical lines in her pattern (to avoid long slits), designs are composed primarily of diagonal and horizontal elements. To construct a strong piece, intersecting diagonal pattern lines are also avoided. Because most kilim designs have been shaped significantly by structural considerations, most tapestry motifs have developed directly on the loom; they have not been copied from other sources. This is why we find designs similar in character wherever slit tapestry is produced around the world–whether by Anatolian, Navajo, Pre-Columbian Peruvian, or other weavers.
|Warped Mirrix Loom ready for weaving.|
|Thread woven and attached to side bars.|
|Thread tied to side bar.|
Bubbling: Weave about a half an inch of warp thread going from selvedge. Place the thread in the shed in the shape of a hill. Take your finger and push down the thread in a couple of different places. Weave a few more threads using this technique. Then beat the several rows of yarn. You want to make sure you do not pull in at the selvedges and also that you don’t have loops at the selvedges. End this thread by sticking the end between two warp threads so that the end is at the back of the tapestry.
|Several rows of header yarn not yet beaten.|
|Beat the threads so that they form straight lines.|
So if you haven’t signed up already, you still can. I do have kits here waiting to be mailed priority mail. You can get them in three days. Check out the links below and even get a 25% discount! Participate in this weave-along and you might win the Ott-lite: http://www.ottlite.com/ How can you lose!
Let me list them, all of them:
The shedding device for the eight inch loom
The McKinley Loom (28 inches wide and 44 inches in possible weaving length)
The kumihimo on-the-go kit
The small tapestry purse kit
The tapestry cuff refill kit
The Just weft Yarn kit
The No Warps to Sew in kit
The 24 karat gold thread
The silk yarn selection
Tulip bead weaving needles
New Bead Soup
As well as a bunch of loom starter kits sure to keep you fascinated with weaving throughout the cold or wet winter months.
We welcome new suggestions and if we can and think it will work, we will try to create it or find it for you. We want to become a place where you can shop for all your weaving needs, or at least a lot of them. And we want to continue to find beautiful fiber for you to weave. We love doing it and hope you love what we do!