Greetings Weaving Friends! My foray into increases and decreases continues to advance. I have one strap complete (see photo to the left). In addition, I have successfully added the missing piece of the work to the right side of the body, and it does appear symmetrical. As it should. That part was woven down, while the rest of the body is woven up. It is has been fun to see how to add complexity by increasing and decreasing, with just a little bit of technical “know-how”. I purchased this pattern as part of a class. Although, according to the pattern, the assembly includes adding round beads, I’ve decided to stay “cubist” and I plan to add cube beads.
I’ve got a lot of work left on it before that happens. But, I am already fantasizing about how I will decorate and assemble the pieces. As you can see, I did warp with a cream colored thread, and I am happier with the results, compared with the black I used in my sampler. Learning to “lock” my warp threads after removing from the loom was a crucial step in my mastery of the process. Locking keeps the work stable. I had to weave in many of the threads and that is quite time consuming. I cannot imagine locking and weaving in the 60 threads x2 (top and bottom) that I will do, when I remove the body from the loom.
Using Silamide A thread
gave me a lot of room to weave in. It is a 2 ply nylon that has minimal to zero stretch. It is also very thin, so the beadwork did not become distorted by all the buried threads. The threads that remain will be used to connect the strap to the body and to a clasp. And now… back to weaving…and then locking…and then burying…and then assembling……….Yippeee!
Julia L. Hecht
Poppyfield Bead Company
There’s nothing like a great class to get unstuck! I am beading a necklace in my loom bead weaving class that is full of increases and decreases. Now that I’ve been taught what to do, I am just amazed at how simple it is to add that kind of complexity to a design. I chose colors and used them in my sampler to test them out (see my last post). I decided to go ahead with the palette and I just LOVE how it is working out in the necklace. I have to admit that warping with 6o threads was a bit of a jump after my little 10 and 20 warp bracelets. I got so distracted by the counting that I forgot to move my warp bar down and I just started beading. Fortunately, I don’t think I need to rotate the warps at all…I do believe I’ve got enough space on just the front threads. I am weaving away in hopes of having it ready for class on Sunday. Meanwhile….
I am making progress in leaps and bounds!
Julia L. Hecht
Poppyfield Bead Company
I’ve noticed that while I used to be focused on instant results, I am becoming more patient with process. Hence, my title ” bit by bit.” I am full of wonder as I embrace my Beginner’s Experience in this mode of beading. I am surprised to find myself making space for the time it takes for trial and error. I absorb my new knowledge and integrate it into my intuitive self. At the same time, I am seeking out “technical support” from a local expert.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am getting ready for a class in beaded loom work. It is NOT a beginner class, but rather focuses on increases and decreases. The necklace I will be making uses 7 colors, and I have chosen my own palette, rather than the instructor’s. I am using 11/0 Miyuki Delica beads. I find that a mix of finishes gives a better outcome, helping some colors pop against others. I am using a metallic bronze, alabaster cream, matte metallic pink, opaque yellow, transparent rainbow coated navy, and matte opaque light blue and chartreuse. I am pretty happy with the results and I think I will go forward with these colors for my class on Sunday.
I warped with 135 weight black C-Lon that Claudia and Elena sent me. I like the weight and I’ve ordered a slew of other colors for my shop – though my supplier provides S-Lon cord, which is meant to be a comparable product. I will be able to do a true comparison and see if these threads do differ. Stay tuned for those results.
I think a white or cream warp might work better for my background. However when some of the beads are dark, I tend to use dark thread. So, I am ready for another experiment with warp colors.
Where I am headed, I don’t know. But I know I will get there, bit by bit.
Julia L. Hecht, Owner / Designer
Poppyfield Bead Company
As I mentioned in my last post, I was inspired to try off loom bead weaving embellishments on my loomed piece, Deco Diamonds. Here I worked on adding a border using brick stitch. I am pleased with the outcome. But honestly, it was very time consuming, and I am bored with it. So, I have put it aside for now. I feel the need for a creative jump start, and some more technical hand holding. So I found a loom bead weaving class in my local community. I will be taking it June 22nd and 29th. It requires 7 colors, and I am using Miyuki Delica beads 11/0. I plan a sampler to see how the colors work together. I know from experience, that I can be surprised and not in a good way. Going to warp….
More on my sampler next time…
Julia L. Hecht
Poppyfield Bead Company
Vacation Happens…even to workaholic business owners and artists! It is a good thing I have children. They force me to tear myself away from work and art and keep me grounded in the other IMPORTANT stuff of life. In the crazy rush of getting ourselves prepared for departure, I neglected to take the loom, the beads, or any other crafty items. I do, of course, have my laptop and even a wifi hot spot, which I purchased for just this purpose of blogging from the beach.
It has been a fabulous interruption.
In this week’s post, I honor my newfound inspiration…Erin Simonetti. She is a loom bead weaver extraordinaire. She stretches the limits, both with her designs, use of color, and her ability to transform a 2-D medium into surprising wearable sculptures. She is a master of embellishment…. Shown above is a sample of her older work… Go to her blog to see what she is doing with the latest bead offerings, such as cup chain and spike beads. When I get home, I am going to embellish my deco diamonds bracelet and see what I come up with.
Til then….Happy Weaving and don’t forget the IMPORTANT stuff of life.
Peace and Beads,
While working on my last piece (see my previous post), I became excited about how to combine silver lined 15/0 seed beads in a loom piece. I knew if I put different silver lined colors right up against each other they would reflect off each other and compete. I found a way to do this and be easy on the eye by separating each block of color with a black and white border. The matte black beads absorb the reflections, while the white opaque has just enough shine to stand up to the brilliance of the silver lined beads. The border design was inspired by the black and white mosaic floors and splashes in the pre-war apartment buildings in New York City…my hometown. I used SoNo 330dtex thread from Japan as my warp and weft threads. I have a little bit of vertical rippling in my piece, which still may be a tension issue…even though I did let my piece rest overnight after removing it from the loom. Perhaps the SoNo is just too stretchy? I will have to experiment some more..
Meanwhile, I plan to embellish this piece with some off-loom beading techniques. So, we’ll see what comes up for me as I go.
Til next time….
Julia L. Hecht
As a “recovering perfectionist” I strive to accept the misalignment of much of my life. I see what isn’t “how it should be” and it bugs me. Of course, this discernment makes it possible to create beautiful, technically advanced, high quality beadwork. But, outside the beading sphere, it threatens my serenity. I am making huge strides towards enjoying the imperfection and mess that makes up most of life. I pray “May I be happy just as I am, May I accept whatever comes…” and such words do offer me peace. On Saturday, I spent the entire day doing yard work in preparation for a Mother’s Day gathering at my home. On Sunday, the winds blew strong, and threatened to undo the order I created, and the party I had planned. It was a perfect opportunity to “Accept whatever comes…”. I love to use my art to bolster and celebrate my own healing and validate my struggles. This pattern is a modification of a square “tile design” I purchased on the internet at beadiefriends.com. What speaks to me is the load of colors and how they come at each other in beautiful misalignment – not quite right. I separated the “units” with geometric “order” in black and white, both to contrast the beautiful chaos, and to pull it all together. I do believe in a mysterious “order” that I may never fully perceive or understand. But I am learning to live (and thrive) in the colorful mess that makes this life truly worthwhile.
Julia L. Hecht
I’ve been playing with my new pattern (First Step) and my Mirrix Loom. In this picture you can see the fruits of my labor…some more appealing than others. The finished bracelet that I posted last week took me just as long to sew up to the leather, as it did to do the actual weaving. I love wearing it, and I love the leather backing. But I wanted to experiment with quicker finishing. For the top bracelet I folded over leather tabs and glued them together with the warp threads sandwiched in between. When I place the eyelets it will secure the tabs further. The bottom bracelet uses ribbon crimps. I wove the weft threads without beads to create tabs that could be grabbed with the crimps. Nevertheless, I could hear the delica beads being crushed beneath the crimps. I’ve clearly got more to practice.
You can see that the beads bunched up on the crimped version. As I learn about tension, I have learned that the beads will sometimes bunch up if the piece is not allowed to “rest” after being cut from the loom. I had used S-Lon bead cord for my other work, and this was my first go with One G for the warp threads. It is clearly more “sensitive”. Here’s a closer view.
With the middle bracelet, you can see the woven portion without the beads. I am discovering how little I know when it comes to predicting how a loom-woven piece will look. I’ve been working with seed beads for over 10 years…but I am stunned to see that with weaving in only one plane, the outcome does not match my expectations. Some very pretty beads that I would use together for a more structural piece of beadwork, just don’t work together with the loom. I am learning to think about the beads differently and paying close attention to not only color but also finish. I guess I’ll just have to keep playing!
– Julia L. Hecht – Poppyfield Bead Company – poppybeads.com
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.
You can see how happy I am to receive my loom. I am pictured here with the unopened box, inside my bead shop, the Poppyfield Bead Company, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That evening I took it home, and got it set up. I had a little trouble initially, but with the excellent customer service from Elena, at Mirrix, it was smooth going and I was weaving that same evening. I watched the Mirrix video on youtube for how to warp the loom for bead weaving. It was super simple, even for someone like me, absolutely clueless about looms. Well, I should say…I WAS clueless. While I am still a brand NEWBIE, I am definitely making progress, bead by bead, weft by weft.
I didn’t have any D thread available at my home, and I love S-Lon macrame cord, so I decided to warp with that. I realized it would show, but I have ideas about incorporating the warp thread into the design. So I gave it a try. I chose a gorgeous mix of size 11 Delica cylinder beads: A matte metallic iris and a silver lined turquoise. They looked lovely in their little piles on the bead mat, and even mixed together. I started with just random weaving, and then developed a pattern. I was a little surprised with the outcome. As you can see from the photo, the pattern is barely discernible and the beads don’t mix well. Not at all what I’d call “nice” or even “successful”. So, I just loosened the tension using the wing nuts and rotated the warp threads, re-tightened and started weaving on the same warp with different beads.
My second try was a lot better. The same pattern shows up well, and I like the natural colored warp cords showing through. I didn’t plan the length well, though. And so it is just a little sampler right now. My next plan is to weave an entire bracelet with those beads and try my hand at one of the finishing techniques.
Stay tuned, and follow along with my on my Mirrix Loom Journey.
– Julia L. Hecht