Above is my take on free-form crochet
Imagine this: You are taking a walk with some friends. You are kind of spread out, maybe one behind and a couple ahead of you. Being that you are not talking to anyone at the moment, you automatically start singing very quietly to yourself. It’s that Joni Mitchell song you got stuck in your head because you recently heard it and now it just won’t leave. But that feels good and you know it’s a good sign to be singing to yourself and you don’t even notice you are doing it. The person behind you says: “Gee, you have a nice voice.” You don’t say anything because it’s at this point that you realize you are singing quietly to yourself and you are a tad embarrassed that someone heard you. But you continue singing never-the-less and then maybe ten seconds later someone in front of you turns and says: “Don’t quit your day job.” And all you can think is: why would someone say that?
I’m not sure if being a tapestry weaver makes you interested in fiber or if being interested in fiber makes you interested in tapestry; but my tapestry weaving mother instilled in me a love for and snobbery about fibers from an early age.
When I was a kid, we would go shopping and she would have to touch everything. “That’s acrylic!” she would say, and I’d have to put the sweater back on the rack.
The title sounds like we have a new product but we don’t. We have a new suggestion for a product you should make on your Mirrix Loom for you. Just for you. The big season of gift giving is over and now all you makers of wonderful things can think about making something just for you.
First I have to tell you that once again it was a customer who inspired me to think up this idea. He suggested we drill a hole in the wooden clip to hold the tiny wrench because it’s one of those things that loves to get lost. And it was a great idea except if you watch the making of a clip video you will see that doing so will involve a whole other step to what are a lot of steps already. And hence it would add cost to the clips . . . well, you know the drill. And then I thought: it’s not just the wrench that goes missing. Springs (especially if you own more than one Mirrix) go missing as well. You get this pile of springs and have no idea which loom they belong to. The big wrench falls on the floor and you can’t find it just when you need it most. Tapestry needles go for a long walk. So my idea is to weave a tapestry pouch that will velcro to the back of the loom and hold all the items for that loom.
The velcro idea was lifted from my DH. He has velcro tabs stuck all over the cabin of his boat and the coordinating side stuck to very useful items like: cellphone, flashlight, screw driver, etc. The idea is that if you shove these things into one of the zillions of drawers/cabinets found on a boat you will never find them when you most need them (either just because you need them or because if you don’t find that screw driver to unstick something on the engine it might just blow up). It works.
Velcro could be stuck vertically (you get the one with a sticky side, not the one you sew on . . . .and trust me this stuff sticks because it’s stayed on that boat!) to the left of brass nut on the top beam and on the back. You can make a little extra tab on your tapestry to be the same size as the velcro so it isn’t unsightly.
Challenge: will you join me in making a Mirrix Tapestry Accessory Pouch? How many do you need to make? Which translates into: how many Mirrix Looms do you own?
This is by Claudia. And to that end I want to tell you that if I don’t identify my posts and you want a clue as to who wrote it: I follow the old fashion rule of double spacing after a period and Elena only spaces once! I can’t break the habit.
A while back we asked the Mirrix community to submit ideas for projects using Mirrix’s hand-painted silk. We chose two people to whom we gave free silk. We are excited to share their projects here today!
Today we are excited to share the final projects!
Do you want to make your own pieces with this gorgeous silk? Get some here!
Last night I noticed that beads were a big part of many Oscar looks and I decided to take some notes to see what additional fashion trends might be able to be parlayed into bead or tapestry weaving projects on a Mirrix Loom!
Here are my top three!
- Black & White Colorblock
Patricia Arquette, winner of best supporting actress, wore a beautiful Rosetta Getty black and white colorblock dress last night. Reese Witherspoon stuck to the same palette, wearing an off-the-shoulder Tom Ford gown. They were both gorgeous and definitely provided me with some black and white weaving inspiration.
Pearls are in, and I can’t wait to add some to my next beaded bracelet! Last year’s best supporting actress winner, Lupita Nyong’o, wore a stunning Calvin Klein gown covered in pearls and Best Actress nominee Felicity Jones donned pearls on the bodice of her Alexander McQueen gown.
- Beads, Beads, Beads
The Oscars are all about sparkle, and this year beads were in. Naomi Watts sported beads in her Armani Privé gown and best supporting actress nominee Emma Stone dazzled in a custom beaded Elie Saab gown.
If you don’t have a Mirrix yet and are inspired to start weaving (who knows, maybe your jewelry design will make it to the red carpet next year) you can get a free loom recommendation here.
If you want to make the beautiful black and white silk and bead cuffs shown here? Learn how by following the instructions in this throwback weave-along.
In Ukraine, where my husband is from, on New Year’s Eve they say “dasvidaniya staree goad” which means “goodbye old year”. I like the concept of bidding farewell to the old year while welcoming in the new year.
In the spirit of this ritual, here are five of our most popular posts from 2014. It was a wonderful year here at Mirrix Looms but we can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!
How Easy Is It Too Weave Beads on a Loom? by Elena Zuyok
Color Theory For Beadwork by Claudia Chase
New iPhone? Weave This Case by Claudia Chase
Tapestry Vs. Rigid Heddles Vs. Jack Looms by Claudia Chase
Tapestry: Painting With Fiber by Claudia Chase
We admit it; our looms could be made a little faster. We could even make them a little cheaper.
If we wanted to, we could outsource our manufacturing overseas. We could use inferior materials. We could hire a call center for customer service.
But we don’t. Because we know that two things matter to our customers.
First, a quality product. A Mirrix Loom really will last a lifetime.
And second, a quality company. Mirrix Looms are not only made in America, they are made at an incredible facility called Sunshine House that employs people with mental and physical disabilities in a supported work environment.
Sunshine House is located in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. From providing group activities to training and supported employment, Sunshine House’s goal is to help people become more integrated into their community and to give them a place where they can be successful. The managers at Sunshine House take the time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each employee and provide them with an environment where everyone can take pride in their work.
Sandy (the gal in the middle of the picture) is Mirrix’s work floor supervisor. From coordinating shipping to supervising loom-making to helping to develop new products, Sandy does it all. Without Sandy, Mirrix would be lost!
Thank you to all of our customers for supporting us and thank you to everyone at Sunshine House for making our products what they are and our company what it is. Without the amazing customers and employees that we are so fortunate to have, Mirrix would not be the company it is today.
Pictures, from left to right
First row: Don making clips, Karl drilling legs, Jason making bottoms
Second row: Karen stuffing loom bags, Sandy taking a selfie, Jason deburring wrench holes
Third row: Erik making wrenches
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.
This week I’ve dyed some more yarn with natural dyes for my William Morris tapestry (this time some finer yarn) which I’m doing as part of the current weave-along. So, since I haven’t got any weaving progress to share I thought I’d share some inspiration today. This week I received two late birthday gifts in the mail. They were worth the wait: Sheila Hicks: 50 Years and Eva Hesse 1965. I have long loved the work of both these artists but today they feel more pertinent to my practice than ever as I weave on my Mirrix and think about the installation work I’ll be spending more time doing in the city soon. I saw a studio work retrospective on Eva Hesse in Toronto a few years back and the volume of work that she did in the studio was overwhelming; we’re talking only things she never deemed showable, this was just her studio research/play. Ever since then I have never worried about the weird things that have come out of my own practice, knowing that every “meh” piece informs a future well-loved one. How freeing.
Sheila Hicks is a textile art pioneer (I know I don’t have to tell you! – Mirrix people are so well informed), and this book is an unbelievable record of her work and therefore a great tool for weavers. Today I thought I’d share one particular piece (well, two) that I thought those of you who are taking part in the current weave-along might enjoy. Ever since my first design class in textile art school I have been a huge fan of white-on-white textured, well anything – textiles, architecture, ceramics… so naturally this is one that jumped out at me.
The piece on the right is titled White Letter woven by Sheila Hicks in 1962 (46.5″ X 38″), and features some weft faced areas (the finer woven areas) as well as some balanced woven areas where she has woven over three warps at a time using three weft strands. The result is an unbelievably richly textured piece. This is an interesting technique to consider incorporating into a piece that is woven on a Mirrix using two shedding devices. Below is a better detail. Are you participating in the Double-shedding device weave-along? I’m pretty excited about it. Next week I’ll share my weaving progress.
On the left page is a similar approach using two colors. Equally as stunning (I love the counterchange relationship they have with each other). The diptych is titled Quadrado Obscuro-Menos Obsuro, 1961 (11 X 11 3/8″)
Until next week,