Furoshiki wrap technique to carry a small loom
I rarely leave home without a small loom.
If I am the passenger in a car, I weave.
If I have to wait for an appointment, I weave.
When in an airport or flying…. I weave.
If I am sitting, listening to my husband’s Jazz trio/quartette/quintette, I weave.
I like to be able to to port along my small looms in tote bags, backpacks or baskets.
But…. the warp strands and bobbins and needles can get seriously disarranged by being jostled in transit.
I have been mulling over the best way of protecting them while they are being trundled about…. and then it struck me….
By using the Japanese technique of creating perfect wraps and carriers from a scarf or cloth! :
FUROSHIKI (link to a ton of ways of doing furoshiki wraps)
I always carry headscarves in my purse or bag, to use as instant tote bags.
The other day, it struck me that the perfect way to protect my beloved small looms when I am slipping them into bags or baskets for their travels, is to ‘Furoshiki’ them.
It works BRILLIANTLY!
I usually use square headscarves- and any size will work… smaller scarves are great for small looms or bundles of books and tools; larger scarves for larger bundles of looms and stuff.
But, you don’t have to use scarves: This is a great upcycling opportunity!
You can use squares of fabric cut from old shirts or skirts or dresses 🙂
You can also use cloth squares to gift wrap presies. Do check that link at the top of the page. Impressive 🙂
Here’s a video, showing how to use Furoshiki wrapping techniques to make an instant, customized carrier for your small loom:
The models in the video are my 3 smallest Mirrix looms. I call them the Three Sisters.
I love, love LOVE my Three Little Sisters! I have renamed them: The Mini is ‘Molly Whuppie’ (you can read her story in my book, Soul Mate Dolls), ‘Vasilisa’ (heroine of a wonderful Russian fairytale) is the name of the 8 inch loom, and the 12 inch is now known as ‘Jane’, after my beloved Jane Austen.
I do believe they quite like their travel wraps! 🙂
Here’s the video that I made to show how I wrap my looms :
Oooh, Claudia has made gorgeous kits for the Soumak Pouches!
Oh my word!
Claudia has outdone herself in making the kits for the Soumak pouches for the Weave Along in September:
Aren’t the colors and textures gorgeous?
I just went and picked up the text from this page: LINK
Learn more about the weave-along and sign-up here today.
-30 yards of 10 each of ten colors of wool/mohair yarn
-12 x 6 piece of silk for lining
-A semi precious stone for a clasp
-100 gram tube of Navajo Wool Warp
Chalkboards are low tech dandy design tools
Sometimes, I get stuck in the design process.
That’s when I need to give myself nudges that break up the mental and emotional constriction that is keeping me from moving forward in a project.
And, so, I reach for some of my favorite tools that help me to see things differently.
My chalkboards and chalk.
Eh? as we say in Canada
Really! A chalkboard is a fabulous tool for knocking the design blechs sideways!
I have wondered about why they work so well for me and I think that there are a couple of reasons.
The first is that white chalk on a black surface reverses the way I normally see things when I am drawing.
This is invaluable, because it clears the deck of any pre-conceived notions that I had about sketching.
It’s like working with negatives instead of photographs. You really do see things differently.
And, if you are stuck, then that is really helpful!
The second reason why I love chalkboards so much is that drawing on a chalkboard is so playful.
There’s a real feeling of ‘little kid’-ness to them that is definitely very freeing.
You know that it’s not permanent… it’s just a bit of dust on black paint … so wheee…… draw, draw, draw!
If you don’t like it…. whoosh whoosh, wipe it off and it’s gone.
If only the rest of life were so easy!
AND… if you do like it, then grab a piece of paper and a pencil and copy the sketch onto the somewhat more permanent surface.
How did I get such a neat shape chalkboard?
I drew the shape on masonite, cut it out and painted it with several coats of chalkboard paint from the hardware store.
I even like the scritchy sound the chalk makes when I am drawing.
Low tech is often a wonderful way of opening the doorways to creativity and imagination.
Try it…. you might like it
Happy sketching and chalky drawing!
PS: Anne, who is one of my online friends in the Mirrix facebook group suggested that you take pics of your favorite sketches and load them into your paint or bead making programs. I don’t use those programs, so it didn’t occur to me.
Anne’s suggestion also reminded me that I do take ‘archival’ photos of some of the sketches that I really like… sorry… I completely forgot to mention that! Thanks for the reminder, Anne! 🙂
Mirrix Loom Weave Along # 8 -Soumak Pouch- 2- Looms, tools, equipment
This is the second ‘Prelude Post’ for the Mirrix Loom Weave Along for the Soumak Pouch.
The pouches are perfect for both business cards:
or for cellphones:
My cellphone is one of the smaller, lower tech ones [4inches tall, 2 inches wide, 5/8 inch thick] if yours is larger, then you will want to upsize your pouch, if your pouch is going to be a cellphone pouch.
Alright… now onto the gathering up of tools and equipment:
First of all, you need a loom:
Most of the photos and videos for the weave along will feature my 8 inch Lani Mirrix loom. (Although I have ordered a Mini and a Little Guy, so hopefully, they will arrive soon, so I can use them in the photos and videos, too.)
The pouch can also be woven on any of the larger Mirrix looms as well- if you are using one of the smaller Mirrix looms, then warp up one pouch at a time. If you are using one of the larger looms, then you can warp and weave 2 pouches at the same time.
Even if you don’t have a Mirrix loom, please feel welcome to join in the Weave Along.
As long as you have a loom that you can get good tight tension on it, then you will be able to weave the pouches.
You will also need: A steam iron, a pressing cloth, a good source of light, pencil crayons or watercolors or some other way of coloring your preliminary pattern colorways, 2 clothespins, scissors, needle and thread for finishing, snap fastener and a swivel clip, you’ll also need paper for tracing out your patterns and trying out different color schemes.
Knitting needles and crochet hooks are very helpful, and a loop turning tool is handy (I bought mine at my local fabric store), a piece of cardboard that is 10 inches tall by 3 inches wide (25 cm tall by 7.5 cm wide), a weaving stick, small paper clamps, a fork or beater, a hole punch, at least a yard of firm yarn or cord, clear tape (packing tape works well); a black fine tip permanent marker
You’ll need rods for the top and lower edge of the weaving: 6 inch (15 cm) tent pegs or 6 inch (15 cm) lengths of steel or brass rods 1/8 inch in diameter (I bought a 36 inch long one at the hardware store and cut it to 6 inch lengths with a hacksaw); velcro straps (I bought mine from Lee Valley: Link; ‘S’ HOOKS: 25 “S” hooks, either 7/8 inch or 1 inch- opened or closed :[ I had a huge ‘AHA’ when I bought closed ‘S’ hooks…. having one end closed is just GREAT… so if you buy closed ‘S’ hooks, open one end with pliers. If you buy open ‘S’ hooks, squeeze one of the ends closed. Having the closed end keeps the ‘S’ hooks on the rod. 🙂 ] ; 1/4 inch Washers: 54 in total; 1 or 2 pairs of pliers for adjusting the ‘S’ hooks; ruler and tape measure.
Some of these things have shown up in other photos, so I won’t list them again, but the other things are: A small bowl for holding pins, needles, clamps etc; a bag or box to store and transport the project (that’s Tottie Tomato’s knitting bag); chopsticks are very handy for several things besides your Pad Thai 🙂
You will need at least 5 or 6 blunt tapestry or craft or darning needles. It’s handy to have a needlebook or tin, or cardboard tube or eyeglass case to store them in.
To line the pouch: Fabric (I upcycled one of my son’s abandoned t shirts for the lining of the first 4 bags), scissors, pins, needle and thread, snap fastener: I used the 15 mm size.
CHECKLIST at a glance:
– steam iron
– pressing cloth
-a good source of light
– pencil crayons or watercolors or some other way of coloring your preliminary pattern colorways
– paper for tracing out your patterns and trying out different color schemes
– 2 clothespins
-needle and thread for finishing
-snap fastener 15 mm size
-swivel snap hook (optional)
-knitting needles & crochet hooks
-Optional: a loop turning tool is handy
-a piece of cardboard that is 10 inches tall by 3 inches wide (25 cm tall by 7.5 cm wide)
– a weaving stick
– small paper clamps
-a fork or beater
-a hole punch
-at least a yard of firm yarn or cord
-clear tape (packing tape works well)
-a black fine tip permanent marker
–Rods for the top and lower edge of the weaving: 6 inch (15 cm) tent pegs or 6 inch (15 cm) lengths of steel or brass rods 1/8 inch in diameter
-velcro straps Link
–‘S’ HOOKS: 25 “S” hooks, either 7/8 inch or 1 inch- opened or closed
– 1/4 inch Washers: 54 in total
-1 or 2 pairs of pliers for adjusting the ‘S’ hooks
-ruler and tape measure
– small bowl for holding pins, needles, clamps etc
– a bag or box to store and transport the project
– chopstick (optional)
– At least 5 or 6 blunt tapestry or craft or darning needles and a needlebook or tin, or cardboard tube or eyeglass case to store them in.
– Straight pins
-kumihimo kit OR a spool knitter
-any other embellishments, beads, buttons, charms or found objects that you wish to use.
Mirrix Loom Weave Along # 8 –
Soumak Pouch- 1- Warp and Weft
In September, I will be leading a Weave Along, using Mirrix Looms.
I will be posting the pattern, video tutorials, instructions and step by step photos for the Weave Along here on Tottie Talks Crafts.
The project is a Business Card Pouch, which also works well as a cellphone pouch, woven in Soumak, embellished with corded edges and chain stitch embroidery.
I have designed it to be welcoming to entry level weavers, but also, with options that will appeal (I hope) to more advanced weavers, too.
Because it can take awhile to get orders cleared and shipped, I am posting some suggested warp and weft yarns, as well as the links for ordering them now.
Hopefully, your yarns will arrive before September first.
Here are a few photos of some of the Business Card pouches that I have woven so far:
I wove the second pouch with the Harrisville warp and for weft:
Harrisville Variety Yarn Pack Jewels LINK
I quite like both p0uches, but …. OOPS!
They are slightly too small for their intended purpose! EEGADS! Business cards don’t fit in them!
So, I went back to the drawing board, and altered the pattern.
By then, gorgeous yarn had arrived from Lion Brand yarns: LINK TO BONBON YARN
The photo doesn’t convey the scale of the balls of Bonbon…
They are tiny, perfect little balls of loveliness. Each of them is 2 1/2 inches (6cm) tall.
The cotton is simply gorgeous to weave with. I love it.
I wove these Pouches in Bonbon cottons, with Metallic chain stitch embroidery:
I used the ‘Nature’ colorway for the pouch in the photo above, and ‘Beach for the pouch in the photo below:
The Metallic yarns come in six packs, as does the cotton. I used yarns from both colorways: Party and Celebrate, for these pouches.
My daughter in law suggested that I add a swivel snap hook to the upper corner of the pouch.
I thought that it was a great suggestion, and so I have added it.
The swivel clip allows you to clip it to your bag, or the belt loop of blue jeans.
If your cellphone is one of the larger ones, you may need to upsize your pouch if you would rather use it as a cellphone pouch instead of a business card pouch.
I used Lion Cotton for the warp for these two pouches, because I wanted to use yarns that you can order at the same time to make this all easier for you:
I wasn’t sure if it would work for the projects, but it does just fine.
I don’t think that I would use it for tapestry warp for a really large project, because it has a cheerful slightly bouncy nature.
Warp for tapestry really does need to be made of sterner stuff 😀 None of that youthful springiness!
Speaking of warp- a couple of my Ravelry friends have asked if carpet warp would be okay for the Weave Along, and yes, indeed, it will work fine.
I am going to weave some of the pouches on carpet warp, and also on the green linen that’s on that ginormous spool.
I am waiting for yarn (both Warp and Weft) from Mirrix. When they arrive, I will edit them into this post.
They haven’t arrived yet, but Elena has posted a photo and a link for the kit:
Gorgeous, yes? 😀
Here’s the link to order them: MIRRIX KIT LINK
In my next post, I will show you the equipment, materials and tools that you will need to gather up for the Weave Along.
Here’s the link to a post that has all the blog post links, to keep everything quick and easy to refer to : LINK
You are invited to post comments on the blog posts here on Tottie Talks Crafts…. AND….
Please post your photos and join in the discussion on the Facebook group: LINK
And, you can post your weave along photos and chat with the other WAL participants on Ravelry, too: LINK
There’s a sign up on the Mirrix website so you’ll get notifications of the posts. LINK
CHECK LIST FOR WARP AND WEFT:
-optional contrast yarn for chain stitch embellishment
You are so welcome to join in!
Mirrix Loom Weave Along #8 Soumak Pouch- All the links
This blog post is going to be growing, as I will be listing all the links to each of the posts for the Weave Along Soumak Business Card Pouch.
Mirrix Loom Weave Along # 8 Soumak Pouch-1- Warp and Weft suggestions and links to order them: LINK
Mirrix Loom Weave Along Soumak Business Card or Cellphone pouch – 2 – Tools, equipment and materials: LINK
Information about the Kit from Mirrix, and the tools and materials for edgings: LINK
Two more pouches and links for Kreinik threads: LINK
Part One: Setting up the Looms: LINK
Part Two: Design Notes: LINK
Part Three: Warping the Looms: LINK
Part Four: Weaving techniques: LINK
Tips for quick and easy heddling on Mirrix looms
I love how easy it is to warp the Mirrix looms.
I’ve found that there are a few things that can make the process of attaching the heddles go quick as a wink.
Efficient is good!
The first thing that I do, after I release the warping bar from the blocks and turn them around, is to slide a piece of cardboard or masonite between the layers of warp strands at the front of the loom and the back of the loom.
It sits there, in the middle, blocking the distracting view of those warp strands at the back of the loom.
Then, I use a shed stick that is at least as long as the width of the loom to pick up every other warp strand.
Then, I flip the shed stick on it’s side, with each end being supported by the shedding device blocks.
I now have 2 layers of warp strands because of this shed being open.
So, to keep the back warp strands out of view, I slide a ruler or strip of cardboard into the open shed.
Bliss! Now, I just have one set of warp strands ready for the heddles- Yay!
This makes things sooooo much easier!
I like the center brass knob of the shed changer to be as close to the exact center of the warp strands.
So, I count how many strands I need to attach to the rod, and divide that in 1/2.
I place 1/2 the heddles on 2 of my fingers, and 1/2 on the other 2 fingers.
I loosen the heddle rod and slide it along so it’s about 2 inches/5 cm from the edge of the warp strands.
Then, I reach behind the warp strand with a crochet hook, pluck a heddle off my fingers, and pull it behind the warp strand.
I catch both ends of the heddle loop and pop them onto the heddle bar. Slide the bar along as you go.
When I run out of the the first clump of heddles, I should be half way along the warp strands.
I work across , picking up all the strands, and attaching them to the heddle bar, then tighten up the little nut that holds the heddle bar in place.
Remove the shed stick and ruler, then rotate the heddle bar, sliding the heddles down the warp strands.
Turn the shed opener enough so the heddles open your first shed.
Use the shed stick to pick up the warp strands that are between the warp strands that you have just heddled.
Turn it on it’s side, insert the ruler, and repeat the process.
Check to make sure that all the heddles are securely attached to the heddle rods.
When I was making the video, one little bounder escaped, which was actually a good thing.
This allowed me to show how to capture the escapee heddle and tie it back in place.
Remove the shed stick and ruler and check the sheds, then attach the handle or treadle and Voila!
You’re ready to weave!
Here’s the video:
Warping Mirrix Looms with Loom Extenders
Loom extenders for the Mirrix looms are sooooooo neat!
You’ll need to make a few adjustments when you are warping the extended loom.
Your best friends when warping the extended loom: Two chairs that don’t have upholstery or cushions:
Place the chairs as far apart as possible:
This leaves a gap that allows you to easily pass the ball of warp around the loom.
You could use 2 small tables if you would prefer, but I like the height of the chairs.
The loom is still happily very stable when it’s extended.
Amazing, isn’t it?
That’s great design for you.
One of the other things that I have found while weaving on the extended loom is that the weaving can pull in on you.
So, to rectify this, take 2 rubber bands, and 2 paperclips.
Open the paperclips, fold the rubber bands around the side bars, and squeeze the shorter end of the paperclip closed.
Hook the larger end of the paperclip through the selvedge, about a half inch below the fell line.
Make sure that the end of the paperclip is towards the back of the loom, as this makes it be less of a snaggle hazard.
Here’s the video:
Setting up loom extenders on the Mirrix loom
Normally, I tend to prefer small looms, but I have just fallen in love with using loom extender bars on the Mirrix loom.
It’s really hard to convey how tall the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ version of the Big Sister 16 inch loom is when she’s got her stilts on.
With the extenders, she is 40 inches/1 m tall.
Now, that’s tall!
This means that you can achieve lots more weaving with one warp up.
(I’m working on some really fun stuff with my Big Sister Stiltie! So, stay tuned!)
My husband bought me the components for the extenders at the place he buys parts for our ancient tractor, so I didn’t have instructions on how to do this.
So, I had to figure it out for myself.
I found that there are a few tricks that make the set up easier when adding the loom extenders to your Mirrix loom.
First, lift the top of the loom off the side rails and set aside.
Unscrew the thumbscrews from the threaded rods, and screw them onto the extension rods.
I screwed them on so they were 5 inches/12.5 cm from the top end of the extensions.
Put the washers back on top of the thumbscrews.
Screw the coupler to the top of the loom rod.
Hot tip: Place the end of a tape measure inside the coupler so you can watch to see that you have screwed it on so it is half way onto the lower rod.
I had my doubts about how stable this was going to be, because the coupler seemed wobbly to me.
But, I went ahead, and screwed the extension rod in anyhow….
And, then, when I tightened it up by hand, I was amazed at how it was suddenly rock solid!
This is good!
Repeat for the other side…
Measure to be sure you have everything square, and put the top half of your loom back on.
Stand back in amazement at your loomie on stilts! Wowsa!
The best part is that the loom is still miraculously stable and works perfectly.
I find that resting it against the edge of the desk and having the lower edge sitting in my lap is the most comfortable way to weave with the extensions on.
Also, weaving standing up works well.
Having the stand for it would be sublime.
I made a video of the ‘putting it together’ process:
A few notes about the Treadle and hints and tips for the Mirrix
A couple of my friends on Ravelry asked me to show them why I love the treadle for my Mirrix loom so much.
(Apart from the fact that my wonderful husband and family bought it for me for Mother’s Day, which automatically pins a rose!)
So, I made a video about why the treadle is so great.
Of course, the whole point of having the treadle is to have it open your shed for you without having to reach up to the shedding device to change sheds by hand.
It does this beautifully, which allows you to create a lovely uninterrupted rhythm in your weaving.
Your hands are happily, busily doing their thing at the fell line of the weaving.
Also, if you have a wide loom, like the Joni, and short arms like mine…. then your shoulder is going to go ‘boink’.
The treadle is ergonomic heaven for sore shoulders.
I like to work my treadle with both feet, so I have it set up directly in front of me, parallel to the edge of the table.
I have to have bare feet, as I need to feel exactly where my feet are on the treadle and what they are doing.
Shoes make that impossible for me.
While I am weaving, I sit in an office chair that easily goes up and down.
I raise it as I weave up the warp, and lower it again, after I advance the warp.
A few other handy tips and hints that I have found to make weaving more fun and efficient:
- a magnet on the wing nut is very handy for holding needles and small crochet hooks
- having a pair of thread snips tied to the warp bar or a lease stick is VERY handy
- placing the loom on a piece of plywood that is a couple of inches wider than the loom is a great way to deal with a table that is too narrow for the loom
- lifting the front feet of the loop slightly by placing 1/2 inch/1 cm high blocks under them eases neck and shoulder strain because it tilts the loom back a little more
- I don’t like marking my looms, so I cut measuring tapes to fit the upper and lower beams and attach them with velcro straps.
- Velcro straps (AKA velcro cable ties) are one of the best inventions ever! I use them to connect all kinds of things to my looms without damaging the loom. So handy! I bought my velcro cable ties from Lee Valley tools (link)
- If you use velcro cable ties as connectors, be sure to have the fleecy side out, not the loop snaggy side out.
- I think of my Joni with the treadle attached as a floor loom. She’s so big that I don’t want to be moving her around, especially with the treadle in tow. So, having her permanently living on her own dedicated table works great, especially since I have plastic containers full of yarn sitting under the table. Good use of space! Gotta store that stash!
- I drilled holes in the ends of a dowel, put split rings into the holes, and velcro strapped the dowel to the loom so I could hang the cartoon over the dowel. It works a fair treat!
There… I think that I have covered all the hints and tips in the video….
and without further ado, here is the video about the wonderfulness of the Mirrix treadle.
I think Claudia is a genius to have come up with it.