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Loomed Barrette

Posted on by Christina Neit / Posted in Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Hi everyone! I finished the barrette I had started last week and I have images for you on how I finished the piece. I was going to do fringe, but decided I shouldn’t because the barrette is wide as it is. If I had been thinking more clearly when I designed it, I would have shortened the actual barrette in width and widened the image to make the image as part of the fringe. Hind sight = 20/20 LOL Something for you all to think about in the event you want to make a barrette.

So this next image is the finished work still on the loom. I decided to try the tape technique and taped the ends together, bringing each side in just a little bit. I really liked this method and will definitely use it again. Sorry you can’t see the tape, I brought it from behind to the front and wrapped it to stick together. Worked like a charm. :D


Next up, I cut the work off the loom and glued it down with E6000 around the edges and on both sides of the taped ends and adhered it to black leather. Don’t use lots of glue, just use enough. Then trim edges close being careful of the threads.


Then I put a small amount of E6000 to the back of a barrette blank. (if you are new to making barrettes, always make sure to purchase the ‘Made in France’ kind. Top quality and they are stamped on the back!!) After the glue set up for a few minutes, I then stitched the clip down on each end through the holes, knot from behind.


Then I glued the front and the back together, again with E6000 and mini clothes-pinned them together.


After the glue has set up, thread and needle with Fireline, or thread and work your sides however you like to.



So that’s it. It’s very easy to make a barrette and they can sure get fancy! This was a simple one.

My next project is going to be way way more exciting!! The ‘secret project’ and I am so darn excited to get started! The beads should be here in just a few days, then I have everything I need to work this up. I may even have to set up the Big Sister with the Little Guy to do this one. I have several pieces of the same design to do up and once I start, I am going to want to fly through the loomwork. This next project will also have video, although that may be the week following for the finished project, we’ll see. When it comes to beading a project I am excited about, I tend to forget about the sleeping part of my day ;)

It’s a good size project! Cannot even wait to share this with you all!

Bit By Bit

Posted on by Julia Hecht / Posted in Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments
Bit by Bit

Color Sampler


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




New ideas

Posted on by Janna Maria Vallee / Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Lately I’ve been thinking about ways to incorporate rocks into my art practice, so when I arrived home to my parents’ house this week and found a pile of discarded rock pieces, remnants of my dad’s masonry practice, I was super inspired and excited.  Sam and I have fun with them every day, playing with them like blocks.  Here is one fun configuration. I think I like because it looks like a maquette of a gallery set-up.


I don’t usually share my creative process at this point, when I’m really just at the idea and first samples stage of things, but Mirrix has such a rich artist community, so I’d love to treat this like a critique.  I’d love to hear your insights and feedback, now and in the coming weeks, as I share this series.  Below is one of my first samples of a weaving wrapped around a sliced rock.  The plan is to make a bunch of these and just see what ideas bloom.  So, you can expect at least one new one each week for the next little while.  This is not mounted permanently yet since I always think it is important to let a weaving sit for a day before you do any finishing.  So it will be more flush once it’s done.


a weft faced weaving using Mirrix’s hand-painted silk

When making this on the loom I wanted to pull the outside warp ends in gradually but I could only do it so much until I wasn’t able to weave weft faced anymore, so I subtracted the one warp of each side once that started happening.  Below is a picture of my disastrous table, rocks and all.




Posted on by Christina Neit / Posted in Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

After last week’s post, I was feeling gun-shy about looming. I really don’t enjoy making mistakes and I am also good at beating myself up over them. I picked myself up by the boot straps today and literally had to make myself get back in the saddle. Knowing I am ordering my beads for the big project tomorrow, I have to make something small for now. I opened the bead program with a barrette in mind. After many attempts at using a fabric image in the program, I finally settled on one I liked. Summery and floral.

Floral Barrette

Spin it sideways and it is going to be a barrette. Of course I will be adding fringe as well. Here is a photo of what I have done so far (not the best pic). I will be finishing the whole piece tomorrow and will share a step by step finishing series of pics.

DSC_0855By this time next week, I will have my large piece going! Time to get excited :)

Beginning Embellishment – Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 – by Julia L. Hecht

Posted on by Julia Hecht / Posted in Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment





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




5 Ways You’ll Love Starting Something New (Like Weaving)

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

When was the las time you started something new? A new sport, craft or learning a new language can open up a world of possibilities, stretch your brain and introduce new ways of thinking. Many times, we don’t start new things simply because it’s hard to start something new. It takes work and time we may not feel we have. The rewards, however, are often more than worth it.

At the end of last summer, I started taking yoga classes. At first, it was just for exercise, but I got obsessed quickly. I started going tomirrix loom demo classes almost every day and reading books about the non-physical aspects of yoga. It was an amazing time. Finding something you love and being in that honeymoon stage is exhilarating. I was reminded of this the other day when I took a beginner yoga class and the teacher spoke briefly about how she loves teaching beginners because they’re still in that overly-excited always-learning stage. It made me think about learning to weave and how fun it is for me to hear from new Mirrix owners going through the excitement of weaving their first pieces and realizing the possibilities. Here are five reasons you’ll love (and benefit from) starting something new (like weaving)!

1.) The beginning can be the most exciting place.
It’s exciting and invigorating to start something new. You get to experience that “honeymoon” phase, which is always lots of fun. 

2.) Starting something new gets you thinking in new ways.
Creativity comes in many different forms and beginning something new often sparks it. You never know the possibilities until you begin! 

3.) At the beginning, you have everything in front of you.
It’s a great place to realize all the possibilities you have in front of you. From new poses in yoga to new projects and techniques in weaving, the beginning reveals all the fun ahead.

4.) Learning something new is good for your confidence. 
Every new skill you learn can boosts your confidence, and who doesn’t like that?

5.) Learning something new gives you a new perspective. 
The more skills we learn and experiences we have, the more perspectives we can see the world from.

If you’re thinking weaving beads or fiber might just be the new skill for you, download our free ebook, “Weaving is Easy”!

A creative exercise

Posted on by Janna Maria Vallee / Posted in Bead/Fiber Combination, Inspiration, Social Market for a Mirrix 2014, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

made with Mirrix’s hand-dyed silk, sari silk, and crystals.

So, it’s not the ugliest or the prettiest object, but nice aesthetics were not the driving force behind my making this bracelet.  Let me explain…

Today while Sam had his morning nap I wanted to try something new: make something ugly (in 90 minutes).  As haughty as this may sound, it is surprisingly hard to intentionally make an unattractive object, especially when using Mirrix’s silk and crystals for goodness sake. How ugly could it end up, right?!  I’ve just been feeling uninspired lately, so I really needed to make something new and different to get out of my creative slump. When I told my friend, Ana Isabel, about this she told me that one of her colleagues suggests temporarily trying another medium.  Apparently, she tried working with ceramics and it helped her get her creative juices flowing in general.  So, the theory is that once those juices are flowing you can apply them anywhere?  Sure, makes sense to me.  I think I had a similar idea with going with Kim Werker’s suggestion to make something ugly (or an ugly something) which I think basically suggests that if you feel you have freedom to make things that are not beautiful you can potentially unlock creativity that is being held captive by routine and predictability.  What do you think?

As a side note I thought I should share that in the end I kind of love this piece. So, when my husband arrived home I handed him the bracelet while saying, “look, I was trying to make something ugly, but….”.  He just matter-of-factly stated, “um, well it is ugly”.  I guess ugly is in the eye of the beholder, too.  LOL.

I plan on finishing the ends by braiding a nine-strand braid on both sides.  Stay tuned on my Instagram to see the finished bracelet.

Janna Maria Vallee

Trial & Error

Posted on by Christina Neit / Posted in Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Every once in a while an idea doesn’t pan out. I have been thinking hard about what to do with the split loom piece I made and wanted to try something different. I think I may have messed up the piece when I took it off the loom and take it on vacation with me before I finished it. This is very sad to me after all the work. Now I will not be able to see if my idea works out, at least not any time soon. After much handling and being toted about gently here and there while on our Oklahoma trip, the piece decided to bunch together a bit in places and crowd itself. When I took it off the loom, it was beautiful, flat and not bunched anywhere. I tried to fix that, but it has not worked out very well.

A definite design flaw is that I didn’t make it long enough, although it is pretty long. When you go to put it around your neck, the area at the top of the pendant buckles. If I had made it longer that wouldn’t have happened, or if I had made a wider opening. Usually I am pretty good about fixing something, but not this time.

I saw someone post a Facebook entry about designers making mistakes and wishing they would share them occasionally. Well, here it is ;) I do make mistakes and like many humans, I hate to own them. I think I am going to have to tear this apart and redo the entire piece. Not now though because right now, I am too discouraged to look at it LOL So tomorrow, I shall warp the loom for something else in the meantime.

Anyone else willing to share their mistakes?? What did you mess up? Was it a design flaw or the work itself? Were you able to fix it without doing a complete start over? If so, how did you fix it?

“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt, Looking Forward

My first woven beads on a Mirrix

Posted on by Janna Maria Vallee / Posted in Bead Weaving, Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 | Leave a comment

Fullscreen capture 642014 71437 PM

Okay be honest, people.  How many of you laughed out loud when I showed you what I had planned for my first bead weaving adventure?  Let me tell you, there was a major learning curve for me after I warped up.  Probably because I was a bit over-confident, since I’ve used the loom for tapestry.  And, because I know I won’t be interested in working with larger beads, I started with 11/0 seed beads and learned that my eyesight is not what it used to be.  So, to make it a bit easier I decided to make up the pattern as I went (instead of following the charts).  For the first hour I felt like I was all thumbs; dropping beads, unable to place them between the warp threads, and so on.  I have to admit after wrestling with the first row for a while I really wondered if bead weaving was just not for me.  But, after some persistence, and after gaining a little finesse, I got into the zone.  The clincher was when I set up the second row, and it was the action, and that feeling of squishing the second row against the first that converted me.  You bead weavers know what I’m talking about.


In the future I think I’ll be much happier weaving with Delica beads (these are China-made from Beads World).  I can see how their uniformity would make all the difference in the finished piece.  Some other things I learned are, 1) a warp sett that is well matched to your bead size makes all the difference.  You can work much faster and with more ease if the spaces between your warp threads match your beads exactly 2) when working with fine bead work I might use the Texsolv heddles, since my hand-made ones were a bit too bulky.  I ended up having to compress them each time I changed sheds.

Stay tuned on my Instagram for the finished piece with hardware and such attached.

Janna Maria Vallee

Convergence 2014

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Events, Tapestry Weaving | Tagged | 1 Comment
c and e

Claudia and Elena, who will both be at Convergence!

If you haven’t heard yet, Mirrix will be at Convergence 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island on July 14th to 19th.  You will get to meet Elena and Claudia (and Ms. Joni Parker from NOA Gallery, a gallery owner/teacher/Mirrix dealer in Groton, MA) and a dear friend will also show up for some of that time.

If this is your first time hearing about Convergence, let me fill you on some details.  First of all, it is sponsored by the Hand Weaver’s Guild of America:  http://www.weavespindye.org.  Every two years, a different member of the Guild sponsors the Convergence event.  This is the first time in 25 years that Convergence  has been held on the East Coast.  Elena is flying in to New Hampshire from Seattle and we are loading up the the Jetta with a bunch of wonderful stuff and heading down to Rhode Island for the conference.  We are happy that we can move all that stuff by car because flying it in is quite a pain (we’ve done that for bead shows although we have never before had a booth at Convergence).

Mirrix really got its start at Convergence even though I was not there to see it happen.  It was summer of 1996.  My family and I were moving from Wisconsin (where I had just started Mirrix) to New Hampshire.  Convergence was going to be in Portland, Oregon . . . July 17-21, just when we would be crossing the country to settle into our new digs.  But I wanted Mirrix to be there.  I found a list of vendors.  I bravely called up the folks at Earth Guild, who were on that list, and said:  we just invented this new tapestry loom and I would love to see it at Convergence.  Would you be willing to sell it there?

Of course they were somewhat reluctant so I said:  I will pay the shipping there and the shipping back for those you don’t sell.  You will take no risk.  They agreed.  We sent them 20 looms. I believe they were mostly 16 inch looms and maybe a couple of 32 inch looms.  We had a very limited size range at that point.  We also asked Kathy Spoering to demonstrate tapestry weaving at the event . . . we gave her a loom.  She’s a very impressive tapestry weaver!

I arrived in New Hampshire somewhere in the middle of the Convergence time table.  This is in the days before everyone owned a cell phone (although I think we maybe did, but I didn’t use it).  We got our telephone service and I plugged our phone in.  We already had an 800 number for Mirrix which we had connected to our new phone number.  The phone rang a few minutes later.  It was from someone attending Convergence who wanted to buy a loom.  I asked them why they did not just purchase one from Earth Guild?  I was told:  they are sold out.

We sold all twenty looms in three days.  I knew, I really knew, we were in business then!

This does not mean that Claudia is a stranger to Convergence.  I have demonstrated at many of our dealer’s booths over the years.  But my first experience at Convergence was in 1994 when I attended the event in Minneapolis, MN.  At the time I was living in Wisconsin and drove there with a bunch of weaving friends that I had met through a local weaving group.  I was amazed.  I did not know such beautiful equipment and such amazing weavings could exist.  The Tapestry exhibit was an all-day event for me. I just couldn’t leave.  I met American Tapestry Alliance members and got very involved with that organization: http://americantapestryalliance.org .  If you don’t know about them, you should.  From a very basic level, you can use their site to direct you to the best tapestry weavers in this world today.  What a gift the internet can be.  My involvement with the ATA involved writing a column for their newsletter called:  Tapestry Tools.  I wrote about looms and equipment.  I guess it’s not too strange that I ended up starting Mirrix.  The writing, so to speak, was on the wall.

Mirrix was started in 1996 so every subsequent Convergence encounter was not from the customer/student end but from the vendor/demonstrator end.  It was still exciting, but nothing compares to that very first Convergence.

My next experience at Convergence was in 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia.  I demonstrated at Jane’s Fiber and Beads’ booth and met Jane for the first time.  I don’t know which was more fun, Jane or Convergence, but I had a blast.

2004 brought my next excursion to the land of looms and wool in Denver, Colorado.  Again, I was there with Jane but also with the folks at Earth Guild.

And now, finally, I am returning to Convergence with Elena.  It’s Elena’s first time.  She is going to be wide eyed and amazed just as I was, but from an entirely different perspective.

Are you aware it is going to be Mirrix’s 18th birthday and we will be celebrating that BIG event at Convergence.  Please stop by for some goodies and to sign her birthday card.

And by the way, I wanted to tell you that we are introducing an amazing product at this Convergence.  I mean amazing.

And lastly, if you are going there, I hope you’ve signed up for Rebecca Metzoff’s tapestry class.  It’s going to be a class you will not want to miss!





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