Finding the perfect Mother’s Day gift for the woman who gave you life (or any mommy out there) can be tough. What’s the perfect gift that’s fun, unique and offers a little flexibility as well? A Mirrix Looms Gift Certificate!
From now until Mother’s Day 2014, get 10% off any of our gift certificates from $50 to $500 with code happymothersday2014 at checkout.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s out there!
Mirrix President Claudia, her mother Rosalie and little Elena. (1986 )
*Code expires 5/12/2014, cannot be used with any other offers.
Update: We now sell this silk in our store. Click here to purchase!
I have finally, after much delay, produced two final products with the Sari Silk. I had started one large weaving but because I hadn’t figured out what it wanted to be, I just couldn’t get myself to finish it. Then one day I told myself I was going to finish it that day no matter what. I measured my iPad and figured out that indeed it was just wide enough to become a cozy home for it. All I had to do was make the piece twelve inches bigger. Since soumak is slow craft at its best, this made my day turn to night. But finish it I did. And the more I worked on it, the more involved I got. I guess it was just a matter of inspiration. I had a goal, a finished product in mind.
Once it was off the loom I allowed myself to go to sleep.
There she is sewn together but without the final touches. I knew I just was not really finished. And this was slow craft after all, so why not make it a really long effort.
I found a strip of woven hand painted silk I posted about a while ago. I hadn’t used it for anything yet. I didn’t like the sewn edges where the lining meets the opening (the lining is silk) so I decided to sew the strip to the opening. That changed everything.
It has this cute little loop at the end for carrying or just because it looks cute!
I sewed another piece of hand painted silk strip to the sides and it was complete!
I was on a roll. It was time to weave a smaller piece. A house for my iphone seemed like a small and good idea. I was all out of hand painted silk strips, but I did have some silk braids on hand. I sewed that around the top edge of the iphone case. Done!
These pieces are so sweet. And yes, a ebook is in the works. And yes also, we will be selling the Sari silk. The warp is C-Lon cord. Time to get to that third piece with camera in hand so I can share this fun and satisfying project.
Tension. In bead weaving, it’s a good thing! In fact, it’s one of the most important aspects of weaving beads. One of the benefits of weaving beads on a loom is that the loom holds the tension for you and, with a Mirrix, you get perfect tension every time. This, of course, makes for a much better piece!
To adjust your tension on a Mirrix Loom, simply turn the wing-nuts on each side of the loom.
But how do you know what the correct tension for your piece is?
For the traditional method:
Your thread should be taut, but not too tight that you are stretching or break the warp threads. If tension is too loose you will miss beads. You shouldn’t feel any slack in the warp.
With the shedding device:
The same goes for weaving with the shedding device, but it’s easy to tell if your tension is too loose because you won’t be able to get a shed if you have loose threads.
Sometimes you want to make a piece that’s much thinner than the width of the loom you’re weaving on. If you weave a thin piece in the center of your loom, you may have the problem of an unstable warping bar when you remove the bar from the clips after you warp. To prevent this, we recommend weaving either two thin pieces on either side of your loom, or weaving one thin piece on one side of your loom and then balancing the warping bar on the other side of the loom with a string or ribbon.
Here is an example of a piece woven on one side of the loom where the warping bar is being balanced by a piece of ribbon:
There is, however, an easier way if you are not using the shedding device (because you need the clips to hold the shedding device) and you do not need to advance your piece. (Note: You advance your piece when you are weaving a piece that is longer than the front of your loom. To do this, you bring your warping bar down to the bottom of the loom before weaving. Once you have woven up as far you can on the front of the loom, you loosen your tension and slowly begin to bring the warping bar up the back of the loom. This moves your piece from the front to the back of the loom, leaving you more room to weave on the front).
The warping bar is unbalanced here
This method is something that many of you already do. Simply keep your warping bar in the clips when you begin weaving. It balances the warping bar perfectly and you can warp your piece on one side or in the middle of your loom! Depending on how extended your loom is, you can even advance your weaving some using this method by simply moving the warping bar and the clips up the loom.
Easy! What other Mirrix tricks do you use? Let us know in the comments!
It’s a milestone for me! I have my first piece of finished loom-woven jewelry. My “First Step” Bracelet is an original pattern that I made up while I was weaving it. There was no planning involved, other than deciding to use 11 warp threads and 11/0 Delica cylinder beads. I used S-Lon bead cord, which is rather thick, and does show. But, it proved to be very user-friendly for a brand newbie like me, as it didn’t stretch and and was very forgiving with my ignorance about proper tension. I did make another bracelet using One G thread to warp, and the beads bunched up when I took it off the loom. I understand this is a tension issue, so I need to learn more about that. I really made this bracelet up – somewhat out of thin air. I didn’t follow any instructions for finishing. Poppyfield Bead Company, my bead shop, is in the middle of “Indian Country*” which means I am privileged to see original Native American handwork in progress, as well as finished. Many of my Native American customers are happy to share their techniques with me and talk with me about the materials they like to use. This style of finishing was inspired by one of my Dine (Navajo) customers who is working for a women’s empowerment enterprise called Etkie. The pattern represents the 4 cardinal directions: North, South, East, and West…and the theme for me was taking my first step with the loom. I don’t know my way with the loom, and so the Social Market for a Mirrix program is my compass pointing me in a direction. In the end, we all have to take our own “first steps into the unknown”. Finishing this bracelet involved securing the beadwork to cowhide with craft glue and then using the whip stitch to sew the beadwork down to the leather. I used a glovers #6 needle and Nymo thread. I folded over the leather and glued it over the warp thread ends – which are sandwiched in between. I used a leather punch and then a setter to fix the eyelets. Not only does the eyelet look nicer than a plain punched hole, but it also secures the leather ends and they don’t require much stitching. I like the drawstring, but I am going to experiment with other clasp methods. Not everyone wants leather lace hanging off their bracelet. Leather work is another unknown for me. If you want to read more about my first steps with leather click here to go to my personal / professional blog @ www.poppybeads.com * Please note that I use the term “Indian Country” with respect, because that is the term used by Native American people in the media, such as press and radio and it denotes their belonging to the land.
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Welcome back, if would like to read part one, click here...
Western European tapestry history spans the foundation of the Gobilens manufactory in 1662 to the beginning of the third republic of France in 1871. During this period the condescension to painting is observed as being the dominant characteristic of tapestry. The commission by Pope Leo X in the early 16 century of The Acts of the Apostles by Raphel (to be woven in the Brussles’ workshops) is thought be the turning point whereby tapestry was to henceforth be fashioned after designs supplied by painters.
An important point of note is that tapestry’s relationship to painting did not begin at the onset of the Renaissance, but in Belgium in 1476, when tapestry weavers worked from paintings which were deliberately created with the intent to guide weavers using traditional techniques. Ironically, at this time painters ostracized weavers for creating their own cartoons, which was opposite during the Renaissance.
The 1500’s, also saw painters using paint on tapestries and later, specialized glazers (with ink, wild-grain colour, or chalk) were commissioned to touch up and create defined lines around the shapes on the surface of woven tapestry. The need for this integration of painting on tapestry has been observed as being the result of poor tapestry cartoons – yet another reason to address the changes in the tapestry world.
Jean Lurcat began as a painter and later a tapestry weaver in 1915 when he was 23 years of age. He became intrigued by tapestry weaving when he learned of its history and was especially influenced by the tapestries of Apocalypse of Angiers (14 century) which he viewed in 1937. He came away from this experience more sure that scale, emotional content and reduction of means, or ‘scale of pre-arranged color’ were of ultimate importance to tapestry design. Lurcat was already practicing these values and was pleased to see them validated by such an illustrious and historically powerful piece. Consequently, his convictions about how tapestry should be viewed, regarded, and most of all, designed, became stronger. The opening statement of Lurcat’s book, Designing Tapestry, distinguishes tapestry and easel paintings by their location: tapestry being custom made for a specific sites with large walls. He later refers to tapestry as a medium whose most authentic form is: 1) embedded with content; 2) is invariably large scale; 3) is designed with a scale of pre-arranged colors and; 4) is designed for, and thought of as being forever connected to, architecture; The artist asserts: “I want to remind you that Tapestry knew its proudest moments in a time when a style of extremely grandiose architecture reigned supreme”.
This post is part two of a three-part essay. Click here for part one and check back next week for part three. When this series is done I will offer it as one downloadable essay with citations and footnotes!
Janna Maria Vallee
I finally finished my first loomwork project for Social market for a Mirrix. Yay! The finishing process was a lot of work, but I am quite pleased with the results.
This is also my first video. It took me all day and at the end there are a few glitches I missed, but old movies weren’t perfect anyway…right? LOL 🙂
With that I bid adieu until next week sometime. Hope you enjoy the video!
Last year I was headed to an important workshop in Washington. Due to a serious miscalculation in suitcase size along with a good dose of procrastination, I needed a loom in a matter of days in Seattle. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t marry my 22-inch Mirrix with the raggedy bunch of suitcases living in my garage in a way that would get me on a plane without strip searches by TSA. Claudia and Elena pulled me through that with so much grace (it was Gay Pride weekend on Capitol Hill and I can’t even begin to tell you the crazy of that). I had a 16-inch Mirrix ready to go for the workshop and none of my colleagues were any the wiser. That was the start of my fleet of Mirrix looms. My students ask for them when they come to take workshops in my studio and I use them constantly for small format work and teaching tapestry online.
Tapestry weaving is something I love passionately. I am also a natural teacher. And when the two meet, great things happen! I have just released my first beginning online tapestry class. I am so excited about this new adventure. And the demonstrations are woven almost entirely on Mirrix looms.
The class is called Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry. I started working on it over a year ago when I realized how many requests I was getting for online classes. Taking workshops in person is great fun and an excellent way to learn, but the potential for a longer-term focused learning situation in a format you can access from home is the way to go for some people.
I learned to weave fabric from that old standard, Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler. I am from the American Southwest and a lot of the inspiration for my work comes from the feelings I get wandering around this area of the country. I wanted to capture that in my fiber art and with regret and thanks to Deborah, I quickly moved from fabric weaving to tapestry. I was an apprentice for James Koehler for several years before his death and now I run my own studio in Santa Fe, NM where I do a lot of dreaming and playing with yarn, teach workshops, and meet students online.
My online class is kind of like hanging around my studio for a month, but you get to wear your pajamas if you want to and no one will ever know. The class is highly video-based and contains many handouts and practice exercises. The best part is that you get to learn from me and your fellow students in a format that is flexible to your schedule. The class has three parts and you can sign up for one at a time or all three at once. There are many more details on my website at www.rebeccamezoff.com/online-learning/.
If you’ve read my blog (http://rebeccamezoff.blogspot.com) for any amount of time, you’ll know I’m a big Mirrix fan. Claudia and Elena don’t even pay me to stay this stuff! I think their looms are excellent pieces of equipment and I believe that beautiful tapestry starts with good craftsmanship which starts with good equipment. So another big thanks to Mirrix for designing and selling these looms and for your awesome customer service. I promise that next time I am in Seattle, I will have a Mirrix that fits in my suitcase.
I bought these crystals a while ago. (Update: You can now purchase these crystals in our store here.) More like, I’ve been collecting these crystals because it was more than just one buying moment. They are not Swarovski Crystals, although I can’t tell the difference between these and Swarovski. They are cheaper by 30%. They are called Kangfu Crystals and are made in China. They are leaded 4 mm bicones and hand cut (not sure how that happens! . . . sounds like a lot of work). I imagine a line of people picking up each crystal and hand cutting them? I tend to not believe these little bicones are hand cut. I assume there is some kind of machine that does it. I know that Swarovski Crystals are cut by machine. I am digressing. The bottom line is these lead (and crystals apparently have to be about 30% lead in order to have those great qualities we associate with crystals) crystals are very lovely and were begging to be woven on the loom.
I wove my piece five crystals wide on C-Long fine weight cord. No need for a warp coil.
Thirty-seven rows later, I was done. This made it long enough to fit on one of our 3/4 inch wide leather cuffs (five crystals wide). That equals 185 crystals. We will be uploading to our Mirrix store 15 gram packages of these crystals for $30. That equals about 240 crystals. I imagine these will look gorgeous on one of those dog collars we are expecting in any day now.
Below is a shot of those gorgeous crystals.
So simple to weave and only took a hour.
The cuff all decorated with its bling: