By Mirrix President Claudia A. Chase
What is your favorite color? I don’t have one. When I was a child the answer would have been a combination of pink and red. I was told early on though that pink and red do NOT go together. Since pink is born of red, I always found that notion rather silly. I still do. What I should have been told was: fire engine red does not go well with pale pink but there are other reds that do! So I painted my room green and blue. Green trim, blue walls. The green was soft like leaves before they fall in autumn. The blue was like a deep sky just after a rain. I could live with it.
I live with favorite color combinations which have a tendency to grow and mutate over time. But the themes do not change. They are my personal themes. I believe everyone who works in color has within them certain color themes. It takes a lot of looking back into our heads to find out just what they are. I do have favorite bead colors (which is a combination of finishes and colors, since beads do not any longer exist in the realm of just opaque color) that I rely on as the base of most of my work. You can tell which bead colors I love the most by the fact that they live in 100 gram packs. The accent beads live in bead tubes. By buying large quantities of the beads I love most I allow myself to freely use them. Since I have a tendency to not want to use up what I love most, this trick is imperative for me to freely create.
The worse decision to make when trying to pick what color bead to use in a piece is the one based on: gee I’ve got a lot of these beads I really should use. I don’t think I’ve ever successfully produced a piece on that decision and I can tell you about a whole lot of pieces I’ve cut up and returned to the bead box after having done so.
This warp coil is perfect to use with 11/0 seed beads and, because the Mini is so thin, pieces with other size beads can usually be woven without a warp coil and will space themselves. Still, we often had requests for more coils for the Mini. People needle-weaving fiber, making the Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet and those who simply felt more comfortable with the spacing of a warp coil, all wanted the option of more coils.
We are finally bringing those Mini warp coils to you! The Mini Mirrix now has 14 (the one that comes with the loom), 16, 18 and 20 dent warp coils available for it. Note that you can purchase the 20 dent coil and warp every-other-dent to make a Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet or other similar piece with fiber and 8/0 beads.
You can purchase the new Mini warp coils here: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/store/warp-coils-mini/
I have always been fascinated with triangle beads. Taho used to make the ones with straight edges and Myuki made the ones with rounded edges. Now Myuki makes a line with straight edges, my favorites. I mean a triangle is not really a triangle unless in has straight lines!
I have a collection of them in all my favorite colors. But since I am a non-hoarder (I like to use things up and get overwhelmed when it seems my studio is filling up with too much stuff) I like to find the offending hoards and break into them. I found my box of triangles. Then I tried to figure out what to do with them.
The answer was easy: a dog collar for Sam with a lot of glitz. I am sure he will love the silk tapestry dog collar (and upcoming weave-along: I just have to finish the instructions) but there may days when he, for example, has to go to a party and just requires a little glitz.
I used a 12 dent coil, although technically there are 11 triangles per inch. Eleven warps were required. I used C-Lon beading thread. The piece was six and three-quarter inches when finished on the loom. It’s still on the loom.
Oh, I did add some size 8/0 beads just for fun. They are about the same size as the triangles. Notice that my theme is simple. I love complicated pieces as much as the next person, but I am also a fan of really, really simple. If you use beautiful materials, you can get away with some very basic techniques. In this case: simple bead weaving. I wove rows of one color. You can mix it up however you like. And yes, I will post the final project. I may decide to embellish the sides with small seed beads but I need to see how it looks on the collar before I make that decision.
What are your favorite go to beads?
This beautiful (and free!) wrap leather and bead bracelet tutorial is by Kim Holowatiuk
Sleepy Holow Leather & Custom Beading
Kim Holowatiuk is owner of Sleepy Holow Leather & Custom Beading in Alberta Canada. She has been making custom hand carved and stamped leather work since 2009 and has enjoyed beading for about 30 years.
Mirrix Loom (I used my Lani)
Round leather cord 1.5-2 mm
Variety of beads – I used 8/0, 11/0 and 4 mm rounds
#12 Beading needle
C-Lon Thread in color of your choice
Two fishing weights 1 ounce
Depending if you would like a single, double, triple (etc.) wrap, measure the leather cord around your wrist for an approximate length measurement. Add on some extra length for both the double loop closure and the addition of the button. For a double wrap, I start by cutting a strand of the round leather to about 30”.
With your leather cord folded in half, create a knot closure at that end (Pic 2). Make sure that you make it large enough for the button closure to slip through but not too big that it falls out. I make a second knot/loop (Pic 2a) so there are two sizes to close the bracelet. This step is optional.
Next, slide the top loop through your warping bar (Pic 2b)
Attach each fishing weight to the ends of each strand with a single knot. (Pic 3)
Attach your warping bar and move your side bars up until the weights are just below your bottom bar (Pic 3a). If you have a bottom spring kit, you can slide the leather cord into a dent (Pic 3b)
Doubling your thread, bring it around one leather strand (Pic 4). Bring your needle back through the thread so you have a starting “knot” on the first cord (Pic 4a) and then weave back and forth through the leather strands to create a solid piece of woven thread for extra strength (Pic 4b).
Now you are ready to weave your beads on. Depending on how wide you want to make it, always start narrow and work you way to the desired width, adding one extra bead each row. Here I started with one 11/0 bead (Pic 5), then two (Pic 5a) worked my way up to three beads, the width I want. (Pic 5b).
Continue on bead weaving with your beads until you come down to the end of the piece. Finish with the same thread weaving as you started and weave back through the beads to finish and hide your ends (Pic 6).
Remove the weights from the bottom and attach your button (Pic 7 and 7a) to one or both of the leather cords (depending on how large of a button hole you have). Make a knot and glue ends. Ta Da! Your very own leather wrapped bracelet! (Pic 7b). Try it with suede (Pic 7c)or a single wrap (Pic 7d)!
When you move to Seattle they make you sign a contract where you agree that you’ll tell everyone that the weather here is terrible. “Rains all the time!” you have to say, because of the contract. And it’s a good thing they make you do that, because it’s one of the fastest growing cities in America right now and I’m not sure how much more growth we could handle! But I’ll let you in on a little secret… the weather isn’t so bad. Yeah, winter is kinda grey and there’s this point in the springtime when you’re ready to move to Hawaii just for a glimpse of the sun… but summers are heavenly and it never really gets too cold in winter and autumn is usually pretty darn nice. Today, October 1st, is sunny and in the 60s, and that’s pretty nice.
But I digress. My point was going to be that in fall, I always miss New England. The colors, the smells, the crisp air… it all feels to quintessentially “autumn”.
This bracelet was meant to capture that time in New England when the trees are just starting to turn and the landscape slowly turns from green to orange.
It is made with crystals, beads, C-Lon thread, a glass button and SoftFlex wire and is made using the No Warp-Ends Kit!
I love using the SoftFlex here because it allows the bracelet to hang like a bangle. I also love how you
can see through the beads and crystals to the wire warp. I also used a green thread for the beads that you peeps through.
This bracelet is so fun to wear and so easy to make!
Now… what to do… Free Ebook? Projects+? Weave-Along? Kit?
What do you guys think?Let me know in the comments!
Update 10/10/2014: You can get the Projects+ ebook for this bracelet in our online store. Free for a limited time!
The No Warp-Ends Kit is one of our best selling accessories here at Mirrix Looms.
And no wonder, it makes weaving small beaded pieces so fun and easy!
What does it do?
The no warp-ends kit eliminates the need to weave-in warp ends when bead weaving. When you’re done weaving, you’ll only have to deal with two ends!
It is perfect for using with any kind of warp material including wire.
Set up with the no warp-ends kit is very easy and once you have it in place, you can weave as many pieces as you want (as long as they are the same size) using the same set up.
What can I make with it?
How do I get it?
You can purchase the No Warp-Ends Kit for your Mirrix Loom here.
Or, get a Loom and No Warp-Ends Kit Starter package here!
Smart phones have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. Petty soon there will be smartphone suitcases to haul them around in. The best way to keep up with the changes is to make your own.
I admit it, I am being forced to upgrade myself. My iPhone 6 has not arrived yet, but to prepare for the arrival I am making a her an iPhone carrier. I made one for my iPhone 5, but the 6 is just going to fit.
This piece was created from hand painted silk and size 8/0 seed beads. I used a ten dent coil, 41 warps across. The warp is Maysville Carpet Warp. I am using size D C-Long beading thread for the beadwork. The piece will be a tad more than 3 1/2 inches across and about 6 1/2 inches tall (which means I have to weave 13 inches). It will be able to accommodate any of the iPhone 6 (I would make it a tad taller for the iPhone 6 plus) and other brands. It is lined with silk and embellished on the side and top with size 11/0 seed beads. The strap is also made of hand painted silk braided on a kumihimo disc. Almost everything needed to make this piece is available on the Mirrix website. Please see bottom of this post for resources.
There are no set rules for this piece. I will be playing with different colors silk sometimes building up straight lines between colors and at other times shading them together. I will be adding the occasional row of beads both for their decorative quality and because they are very helpful to keep the warp from pulling in and keeping the right spaces between them.
To begin, not using the shedding device, weave a row of beads. Tie the two ends of the beading thread together on the right and then sew through the first bead so your thread is on the back of the piece until you need to use it again.
Weave a strand of silk, remembering to bubble! Use the shed where the side warps are raised so the tail of the silk is behind the weaving.
Weave the first silk thread back and forth a few times before inserting a new threads. I am working with two in the picture below
In preparation to insert a new row of beads, bring the bead thread to the front of the weaving between warps one and two.
Engage the shedding device to open up the next shed and insert a row of beads. There will be two beads between the raised threads.
After you’ve woven the beads sew through one bead to get your bead thread on the back of the weaving.
Wrap the previous silk thread around the side warp thread twice in order to fill in the space the bead left on the side of the piece.
In the picture below I am using thread silk wefts and blending them together by crossing into each other’s color area.
I have added another row of beads.
My piece thus far!
In the next blog about this Smart Phone case I will show you how to do both the on-loom and off-loom finish work and show you how to make a square braid to use as the strap. You meanwhile need to find a pretty piece of silk with which to line it!
For great tapestry instruction where you can learn all sorts of amazing tapestry techniques to use in this piece check out the following:
Links to supplies:
A customer, Tina (Check out her awesome blog on weaving beads here), gave me a great idea the other day. In addition to weave-alongs, we should have some project themes that Mirrix-ers can all work on at the same time. It reminded me of what someone at Convergence told us that her guild did. They would have a theme, I think the theme at the time was “leaves”, and everyone would weave a tapestry following that theme.
Beginning in October, we will begin a new program called WeaveWith. These events will be similar to weave-alongs, but without the same amount of structure. We’ll post weekly (an email will be sent out to everyone signed up) about whatever project/s we are working on (that fall under the chosen theme) and everyone participating can post on social media and in the comments section of the blog posts about their individual projects. This will be a great way to get inspired and involved with the amazing Mirrix community!
What should our first few themes be? Answer in the comments!
There has been a lot of discussion lately about how to finish beadwork to hang on a wall. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate to weave in warp ends and hence refuse to do it. Okay, I am stubborn, but I also have the hardest time threading needles so to have to do that a zillion times to finish a piece . . . I just won’t do it. Plus, my version of “patience” doesn’t cover that activity (which is amusing considering all the things I do that others believe take patients . . . all a matter of perspective).
I found two pieces in my stash that represent one way of finishing a piece. Since they are already finished, I can’t show you how I did it, but I can tell you how.
The below piece is a bead weaving mounted on tapestry weaving and then embellished with beads. To finish the bead piece, I tied off pairs of warp threads and buried them behind the piece. I then sewed it to the wool tapestry. The wool tapestry was finished by tying off warp ends and folding the header and footer to the back and sewing them down. I then sewed the final piece to silk . After I sewed it on the cloth I centered the piece on a wooden frame designed for stretching canvas. I tacked the silk to the back with large head but short nails.
The back of the piece. Since I thought the tacked silk would look awful on the back, I decided to cover the back with silk tacking it down with the same nails. But since the raw edges were sandwiched on the back, the piece looks a lot more finished. I then embroidery my initials in beads. I added a wire hanger. Done.
The second piece lacks the woolen tapestry. I used the exact same method but really went to town with bead embroidery on the silk. Notice how I’ve used bugle beads to embroider all around the piece once on the silk to hide the edges The other beads are just crazy freeform. It was a while back. I must have been in one of those moods.
With this piece I also felt a need to cover the back. I tied the warps in pairs and folded to the back. Sewed to the silk, embroidered the heck out of it and then attached to the wooden frame.
Here’s the back:
And how do you finish your pieces?
I’ve shared all my Mirrix projects with you but often the finishing touches had not been applied, so I thought I’d tie up those loose ends and show you the finished pieces, all of which are Mirrix milestones for me. From left to right is…
1) the cuff I wove with Claudia’s wonderful hand-dyed silk and some gorgeous crystal beads. This is my first ever attempt to combine beads with fibre! As much as I wanted to I could not make an ugly bracelet with these materials. Here’s the post that explains why I would ever want to do such a thing. I finished it with a 9 strand braid, for which I followed this great video tutorial on Youtube. The video is geared toward people who want to make decorative bread, but I found it perfect, and easy to follow since the instructor uses such generous wads of dough for each strand.
2) My First tapestry on a Mirrix! Although my heart is with tapestries that are finely woven, my next tapestry will be with a larger EPI (this one was 12) so I can get it done faster and feel less encumbered by it in the context of a weekly update. With that said, I love this piece! The main tapestry is wool, and the indigo is hand-dyed by me, as is the shag poof which is 100% silk. And as I mentioned in a previous post I received advice from my hair-stylist brother about how to trim the shag. Surprisingly he didn’t seem to be too fazed by the request. As you can see the top selvage is warped due to the shag being too bulky, so I may attempt to have it mounted on a custom cut rock so the selvage will lay flat (when glued) and also have it slant forward so we can see the tapestry underneath the shag. I’m not completely set on that idea though.
3) My first attempt at weaving beads. Today I finished it off with some hardware and it ended up looking very vintage, almost art nouveau when worn. So I’m much happier about it than I expected. I may need to make more like it, next time on the no-warp-ends kit.