This weekend I warped up my loom with the intention of weaving two strips of tapestry for two cuffs. I was having a great time weaving when all of a sudden, while adding just a little more tension, four warp threads snapped. Yeah that can be an issue with the Mirrix sometimes. You can get so much tension that if you go overboard, you can break the warps threads. Hasn’t happen to me a lot, but I was due for a disaster. So much for weaving two strips of tapestry for two cuffs. So much for even having one strip of tapestry for one cuff since the pieces was way too short. And then I got an idea: What if I extend the tapestry strip with something else. I thought about beads, but that didn’t seem to fit into the theme. The light bulb over my head screamed: silk wrapped O-rings which would also allow the cuff to fit a range of wrist sizes. I then attached the button to another silk wrapped O-ring so it extended farther (this strip was too short by a full 2 1/2 inches.
Turns out I liked it better than the longer ones without the O-rings. The O-rings make it much more interesting.
I might continue to make my silk tapestry strips shorter and add the O-rings. Just for the fact that one can then adjust the cuff to one’s wrist size is a big plus since I will be selling these cuffs in a gallery.
What things have you done to turn your failure into a greater success?
This is what I made. They took longer than I thought they would but hey I was in the mood for some slow-tapestry (isn’t that kind of redundant!). I wove both of these on the same warp so I couldn’t cut one off and finish it. I had to finish both. The idea was to create a cuff without a brass cuff insert. I backed it with ultra-suede, sewed on a button and a rubber washer wrapped in silk. I really can’t wait to make some more. Let me show you the progression of these pieces if I can sort out all the photos I took over the course of week (and yes that is the the time frame in which these were woven). Let me also note that I was NOT using a shedding device which made the weaving probably a third as fast as it could have been. Why did I not use the shedding device? I was using a lot of techniques that weren’t simple weaving over and under singe warps. I could have put on a second shedding device, which I think I will do in the future so I can easily do both single and basket weave (weaving over and under double warps). I did a lot of Soumack knotting, which I love. It’s very meditative. Additionally, I wanted to show that it could be woven on the mini-Mirrix or the 8 and 12 inch looms without shedding devices.
It seems like forever ago that Elena and I went to Colorado to create the “Bead & Tapestry Cuff Bracelet” class. It was both difficult and exciting. The Craftsy people were wonderful and held my hand very well. Elena sat behind the camera giving me silent directions if I got off course. She knew the drill. She knew what needed to be said or not said so it was essential to have her there.
The Craftsy crew, from camera people to producers to to editors make-up people, were rather magical. It was a blur of three days of hard work. The results were excellent. The Craftsy editors took 22 hours of filming and turned it into a 6 hour class.
These are the lessons you will find in the class (besides loom set up and discussions about looms in general):
Silk & Bead Affinity Bracelet
Gold Thread & Bead Affinity Bracelet
No Warp Ends Bracelet (there are two: the one below and one with just Delica Beads in a simple design for which I cannot find a photo!)
Tapestry Cuff Bracelet (both simple and complex)
Where can you find this class? Here: craftsy.com/beadcuffs
Where can you get the kits? Here you go, everything you need: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/product-category/craftsy/
If you’re anything like me, your dog is pretty much the center of your universe. We spoil our little Sam (left) in every way possible. That’s why when Claudia (Mirrix’s President) came up with a fiber and bead dog collar, I was thrilled. Doesn’t he look cute?
The fact is, pretty much any dog can rock this collar. It’s the PERFECT holiday gift for a dog-loving friend or for your own special pup.
Recently we did a weave-along featuring this collar and it resulted in some very happy puppies. Here (below) are two gorgeous collars that weave-along participant Denise Jonon made for her dogs Fig and Walnut. She did an amazing job and I think her pups might just have a career in modeling!
Suddenly, it feels like the holidays. Snow is falling in parts of the country and Christmas tree lots are popping up everywhere. Regardless of what holiday/s you celebrate, it’s hard to deny that magical feeling in the air.
All this holiday cheer got me thinking about putting up a tree, and I remembered this adorable ornament that Claudia (Mirrix’s lovely President, I call her mom) wove last year.
It’s made of hand-painted silk and embellished with beads.
It’s a fun, simple project and would make a great gift.
Have any of you woven ornaments on your Mirrix Looms? We would love to see pictures!
Pick up some of the beautiful hand-painted silk used to make this ornament here.
At last, I have finished the Silk Smart Phone Case. And I am a little sad. I really enjoyed the process and need to move swiftly on to a new one. I loved the finishing once it was off the loom. I took my time because I was going for as close to a perfect finish as possible. Did I achieve it? Of course not. Perfection is not possible, but trying for it is!
The good news: I used fewer than twelve bobbins of silk. I started with twelve of the regular silk (not the silk ribbon) and then added two bobbins of the silk ribbon (which has only 12, not 24 yards, on a bobbin). I still had the equivalent of two and a half bobbins of the regular silk left, which tells me that even if you are weaving a slightly larger piece (the final dimensions of my piece once all sewn together is: 6 inches tall and 3 3/4 inches wide. Because of shrinkage, my piece before I took it off the loom was thirteen inches wide. I also used up a bit of length by folding a the ends to the back.
Here are some pictures just before I took the piece off the loom:
Remember back to the very beginning of this piece. My first row was a row of beads. But before I removed the piece from the loom I realized that I didn’t want that row of beads to be at the very edge of my piece. I wanted some fabric that I could fold over for a neater edge. So before I cut the piece off the loom, I turned it around and wove a few rows of silk. This is the piece on the back of the loom with the added rows of fiber.
Here is the piece off the loom: the back with all the hairy ends that need to be trimmed to from one to one and half inches; the front of the piece.
Turn the top and bottom edges to the back and sew down with a whip stitch. This stitch isn’t going to show so no worries about being too neat. Just get the job done.
Pin lining material to the back. I’ve used silk fabric but you could also use ultra-suede. Sew all around with small stitches (again, they will be disguised by a braid so they don’t have to be perfect, but the smaller the better).
Fold the piece in two and sew the edges together.
Next I took my 33 inch long braid and sewed it up one side of the piece. I then sewed the other end up the other side of the piece.
I then sewed the top part of the loop across one edge of the opening to that a loop was formed on one side.
These are the braided tales at the bottom of the piece.
That’s it. A lovely little Silk Smart Phone purse to give to one of your favorite people or to keep for yourself and make another one.
I wanted to share my progress on the Silk Smart Phone Case. I got distracted making braids and thin silk bands, but not so distracted to ignore it completely.
I wish I could tell you in advance how many hand-painted silk bobbins it will require. I have used the twelve pack of hand-painted silk bobbins and still have quite a lot yet however I also still have a bunch to weave. So stay tuned.
I am adding to this blog (although I plan to write a new one later today). Just wanted to mention that I have been using double strands of silk in some places. The sett is wide enough that it can accommodate two strands of silk and the color combinations can be really beautiful.
I love to embellish my small cases with braids and thin woven bands as well as beads. It’s one of those “slow craft” things. I enjoy the finishing and making all the seams and edges perfect. Back in the day when I produced and sold many woven tapestry purses, I didn’t take this approach. But now that I make them to give away or to design new products to inspire you, I have slowed way down. And now I enjoy the weaving and the finishing just as much.
In this post I want to introduce you to weaving a thin silk band and making a braid.
Let’s start with the woven band. I don’t even use a shedding device, but you can. Mine is ten warps wide. I have used the Maysville Carpet Warp at 18 ends per inch. I am going to weave as much as I can, which looks like it will be 28 inches. I am not sure even how I will use it. I imagine I will end up cutting it up into smaller strips. But I will have to wait for the purse weaving to be finished. I am also going to be making another smart phone case with silk sari strips, and I hope to have some left over woven band for that, but if not I will make some more.
The top middle is an example of pick and pick technique (alternating two colors) on top. Below that I have woven over double warps also using pick and pick.
To there right and below is an example of weaving sumak (wrapping around each warp).
Below is an example of how I used s woven strip like this in a previous weaving (one that was all Soumak technique using silk sari strips, which is the project I will tackle after I finish weaving the silk purse . . . although maybe I will start it before I finish the purse!)
As for braiding . . . I love it. And I especially love the portable kumihimo disks or plates that are really cheap and you can take anywhere. I used the square plate and wove a flat braid. There are two options with this plate: a ten strand or an eight strand braid. I will show you examples of both. The Kumihimo plate comes with instructions for both. It also comes with four bobbins of silk and eight bobbins on which to wind the silk. If you are using ten bobbins you will need to purchase some more. I use the braids for straps as well as trim.
Here is the ten strand braid:
This is an example of an eight strand braid:
A braid used as trim.
So next time you find yourself waiting somewhere, why not bring along a very portable kumihimo plate or disk to make those embellishment braids for your next Smart Phone purse.
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!