I happen to have a bit of expertise regarding this last point and I thought I would share a few tips for artists and crafters looking to sell their work online.
1.) Be visible.
This may seem obvious, but a strong and varied online presence is important to your success selling online. Don’t rely on just one platform to share your work. A website and/or blog is typically the foundation of any online presence. You can use it to tell your story, share your work and even sell. If you choose to sell instead on a site like Etsy or ArtFire, a website or blog is still important to bring customers to your selling page. You should also maintain a diverse presence on social media sites. Consider creating accounts on Facebook, Ravelry, Weavolution, Pinterest, Twitter and/or Instagram. Remember to not start with more than you can handle, though, as you want to keep these accounts active. A social media account can be a very powerful tool, but only if you use it consistently (more on that in tip five!)
Looking for a cheap/easy way to get started with a website? Consider an easy sitebuilding program like Squarespace or Weebly. If you’re looking for something free, WordPress and Blogger both have free blog or site options.
My favorite part of working at Mirrix is seeing what everyone creates. From the work of professionals to your first pieces, seeing customer work always puts a smile on my face.
In this spirit of sharing, creativity and inspiration, we are planning to give free hand-painted silk (6 skeins) to two Mirrix customers this week. In exchange, we ask those customers to share with us what they make with the silk so we can share their work with the rest of you!
We are looking for fun, creative projects. You may use any other materials in your project (whatever you want!) and techniques other than weaving, as long the majority of the project is woven.
Here’s the deal:
Email me ([email protected]) with a few sentences describing what you’d like to make with the silk. Also note which size loom you’ll be using and give your full name and mailing address.
On Friday (1/9/2015) we will choose two people to send the silk to, based on your plans to use the silk. We will then send those people silk.
Sometime in the next two months, we will feature the projects that each customer makes with their silk on our blog!
The Fine Print (that you should really read):
By entering, you agree to make a project using the silk you are given before February 28th, 2015. You also agree to send us (high quality) pictures and information about the project. You agree to let us use those photographs on our blog, website and social media sites. We will, of course, attribute your work to you.
It seems like New Year’s Resolutions usually focus on doing more of what you don’t necessarily want to be doing (like spending more time at the gym, ) or less of what you do want to be doing (like watching television).
This year, my resolutions focus on doing more things I love. Not necessarily “eat more chocolate” (although I’m pretty sure I would keep that one), but more like giving myself more time to pursuit doing things I love to do. Like yoga. And weaving. I find myself so many times not allowing myself a break, and I’m sure many of you have the same problem.
Do you have a resolution this year to spend more time at your loom? What other weaving-related goals do you have this year? Maybe keeping a tapestry (or bead) diary? Learning a new skill? Let us know in the comments!
One question we get a lot here at Mirrix Looms is this: “Can a beginner use a Mirrix Loom”? The answer is a resounding, “yes!”
One of the great things about a Mirrix is that you can learn and grow with your loom. As a beginner, when you get your first loom, you may be starting with beginner projects like our Starter Bracelet or a Tapestry/Bead Cuff. Soon, though, you’ll be advancing to weave pieces like our Heart and Scribble Tapestries or our gorgeous Beaded Purse.
From there, the sky is the limit! A Mirrix Loom offers you a professional quality foundation to grow your craft/art. Plus, a Mirrix is an incredibly versatile loom. This means you can decide you want to get into beads when you started with tapestry or tapestry if you started with fiber or that you want to weave with wire or begin making mixed-media pieces.
Another question we get often is, “Which loom is best for a beginner?” There really isn’t an answer to that. Any of our looms will work for a beginner. The difference between most of our looms is simply size. If you’re a beginner who wants to eventually make very large pieces, you may want to invest in a larger loom. If you’re an expert who only makes small pieces, a smaller loom will be best. That said, most beginners decide to start on the small side since those looms are less of an investment financially. Our 8″ Lani Loom, 12″ Little Guy Loom and 16″ Big Sister Loom are the most popular looms for beginner bead and tapestry weavers.
Want to learn more about how to weave beads and fiber on a Mirrix? Check out these videos:
If you want to get a Mirrix, but aren’t sure which loom is best for you, fill out our “Get Help Choosing a Loom” form and we’ll give you a personalized loom recommendation!
I love my job, but my absolute favorite part is talking to customers who love their looms. Nearly every day I hear from someone who has discovered his or her love of weaving. To hear how that discovery has brought joy and happiness to that person is always a wonderful feeling. A loom is a simple thing, but it has the ability to bring much happiness to people and we do all we can to facilitate that. Everyone who loves their loom has a story. Maybe it’s a story about how he or she got into weaving or how it helped them through a tough time or brought them closer to another person; but it always touches my heart to hear.
We want to share some of these stories. In the new year we will be featuring customer stories in emails and blog posts, to spread that feeling of creative joy.
If you have a story to share, please let us know! Fill out the form below with a synopsis of your Mirrix/weaving story for a chance to be featured in our blog and in an email newsletter. It’s a great way to share your story and even to show off your work!
Have a question? Email Elena ([email protected])
I’m not typically a last-minute type of person, but I always have last-minute shopping to do during the holidays. This morning, as a looked over my list, I realized that I still don’t have a present for one of my girl-friends. I think I want to make to her something. I thought I’d share a few of my ideas in case any of you are in a similar situation and want to weave some last-minute gifts! Do you have any suggestions for last-minute gifts? Let us know in the comments and share your handmade gift-giving stories!
A Bracelet using the No Warp-Ends Kit
One of the things I love about the No Warp-Ends Kit is that you can whip out several pieces of the same size with the same kit set-up. That means faster present-production if you have more than one gift to make! Plus, finishing is so easy and fast. I may make a bracelet like our Changing Seasons Bracelet with wire (fun fact: you can get the ebook for this project free with any Mirrix Looms purchase of $10 of more. Learn more here.) or the perennial favorite, the Checkerboard Cuff Bracelet. Get a free instructional ebook for this project here.
A Mini Tapestry
This one is a little more time consuming, but a tiny tapestry, like our Scribble Landscape or Heart Mini Tapestries, is such a wonderful gift that the lucky recipient will cherish forever. I’m not sure I have time to make one for my friend this year, but I wish I did!
A Wrap Bracelet
Wrap bracelets are great because they are both super fast and really easy to finish. Try one on silk like this Crystal & Bead Wrap Bracelet!
This morning I got a great question that I feel deserves a blog post (thanks, Sue!). Is weaving beads [on a loom] easier than bead weaving with a needle?
While I cannot answer this with a simple “yes” or “no”, since comparing off-loom stitches to loom weaving is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, I do have a few thoughts:
-There are many different off-loom stitches, some easier than others. Generally speaking, there are few variations when weaving beads on a loom. While there is more variation in off-loom stitches, a loom woven piece doesn’t have to be flat and boring. You can do things like embellish your piece while it is on the loom, mix different sized beads, increase or decrease your shape and (when taken off the loom) add to it or finish it in a variety of interesting ways.
-Off-loom stitches require less prep-work. With a loom, you need to warp (to warp is to wrap threads around your loom) before you can start weaving.
-One of the most difficult things about off-loom bead weaving is getting enough tension. Your tension comes from how tightly or loosely you stitch the beads and the fact that both your hands are always involved in the process of maintaining correct tension. When weaving on a good bead loom (like a Mirrix), the loom itself maintains the correct tension for you.
-Because you pick up all your beads at once for one row and then weave them in all at once, you are greatly reducing the time it takes to create a piece. This is especially evident with wider pieces. For example, if you were weaving a peyote piece that was 20 beads wide, for each row you will have picked up a bead with the needle and inserted it into an already woven bead ten times. Compare that to weaving on a loom where you will have picked up 20 beads at one time and woven it in. You can see with that example how much time is saved in the process.
-The ease of weaving depends a lot on your loom! With a Mirrix, you’ll get an easy weaving experience!
Let me demonstrate how easy it is to weave beads on a Mirrix Loom. Note: I am just doing a basic overview and leaving out some small steps. Check out our “Starter Bracelet” ebook for all the details!
Step one: Warp your loom! Warping is easier than you think. Basically you tie your warp thread to the warping bar and wrap it around your loom, changing directions every time you hit your warping bar. When you’re finished, you simply need to tie off back onto your warping bar! Learn to warp here with our easy warping instructions.
Step two: Pick up your beads
Step three: Place your beads behind your warp threads
Step four: Sew through your beads, going over the top of your warp threads
Step five: Pull through.
It’s as easy as that! Happy Weaving!
Which loom is right for me?
We get this question a lot at Mirrix Looms. How do you choose just one? First, ask yourself a few questions. Do you want to weave beads, tapestry, both or something else like paper or wire? Do you want to use the shedding device? How important is being able to take your loom places with you? Do you want to be able to weave large pieces or several small pieces at one time?
If you want to weave small, beaded pieces such as bracelets or necklaces and do not want to use the shedding device, the 5″ Mini Mirrix or the 8″ Lani Loom (without the shedding device) will work fine for you.
If you want to weave larger bead tapestries or want to weave more than one beaded piece at the same time, the 12″ Little Guy, the 16″ Big Sister or the 22″ Zach Loom all work great. (If you want to weave very big bead pieces the larger looms would be appropriate.)
If you are a tapestry weaver, choose any of the looms that have a shedding device and base your decision simply on how big a piece you plan to weave. If you want to simulate using a floor loom, one of the two bigger looms and the stand and treadle work great!
For the undecided weaver stick with a middle-sized loom like the 16″ Big Sister or the 22″ Zach Loom. You can use (or not use) the shedding device and can weave almost anything including beads and tapestry on those looms.
A few months ago I bought some leather cord and was playing with wrap bracelets on my Mirrix. I was playing with the idea of using wire to string the beads and trying for really easy, fast projects. These were my results:
After that I warped my loom for a thicker wrap bracelet, but it was one of those projects that just sat on my loom. Yesterday I finally decided to re-warp and try a more traditional wrap bracelet. It was so fast and easy to do this on a Mirrix Loom! I chose some pretty 8/0 beads and crystals and tied off with a pretty glass button and that was it! And, hey, when you can buy an even simpler wrap bracelet for $200… this is a pretty good deal!