After having made the simpTle beaded bracelet I realized that it would have been a bit easier to make it with the no warp-ends kit. I whipped out one of my two mini-mirrix looms and warped it up with the kit. I have been using the mini a lot lately. I go through stages but recently I’ve been weaving so much and in so many different places, including bed, that I find the mini is a must have when I really want something very little in my lap. I have even woven silk strips on it because I don’t always use the shedding device when weaving thin silk strips because it’s almost as easy not to reach up and change the shedding device. Plus sometimes I just like to needle weave. It’s kind of that “slow craft” moment, which I’ve been having a lot of lately. I digress.
Why the no warp-ends kit for this simple project? It turns out it is easier (and I am out to prove this point) to fold down the ends of the piece and sew them without those pesky warp end knots and ends. I am glad I tried it without the no warp-ends kit first because it’s very doable and I don’t want you folks who don’t have one and don’t want to buy the kit excluded from this very fun, very satisfying project. That being said, it’s always nice to find an easier way to to do anything. And if you are like me, turning over and sewing ends of things is not your favorite thing to do!
If you purchased a Mirrix Loom in the spring of 2015 or later, you may have slightly different wooden clips on your loom than the ones we show in our instructions and promotional material.
Following is all you need to know about the new clips!
First, the new clips have wing-nuts to hold the brass disks to the clip instead of screws. This means you will not need a screwdriver when putting on your shedding device.
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.
I’m Spencer Chase, brother of Mirrix CEO Claudia Chase and designer and engineer of the Spencer Power Treadle.
The Power Treadle is an electronic foot treadle that changes the shed so you don’t have to do it manually. It’s perfect for weaving tapestry (and makes the process so much faster)!
Check them out on our YouTube channel!
Now is a great time to get a treadle for your Mirrix Loom. Get 15% off the Spencer Treadle* through 2/25/15 with code spencersays15off at checkout.
*Expires 2/25/2015. Can only be used once. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Only valid on mirrixlooms.com.
It was suggested to me that this is a topic of interest to many bead weavers. I have to confess, I am writing this from the cockpit of a sailboat boat (husband’s midlife crisis was to fix up a salvage /wrecked sailboat . . .I think he had fantasies of us selling our house and sailing the world on it, or some such notion, forgetting that I can’t fit Mirrix on a boat despite the three little cabinets he reserved for that purpose. What a hoot! In any case, I am putting in my three days.) I only mention this tidbit of personal information because the only loom I have with me (and of course I have a loom with me!) has a tapestry on it which needs another four hours or so to finish and I have no bead supplies here so, in short, I can’t take pictures of finishing bead work because I don’t have any. I am hoping I can troll the Mirrix website, my photos on this computer and the internet to find some suitable pictures to accompany this piece.
I am the perfect person to talk about finishing bead work because I have spent years figuring out how not to, at least how not to in the usual sense. The method where you cut your piece off the loom and weave in ten thousand warp ends . . . well, for someone who hates to thread a needle because she just can’t seem to do it well or fast or without screaming a few choice words, the idea of threading and rethreading a needle in order to sew those ends back into the beads of a woven piece . . . I have to confess, I have never done it and I never will. I can’t imagine with a wide piece how it is even possible to find beads after a point in which to shove all that thread. I know, I know, there are plenty of people who do it, and the more power to them, but I am not one of them. It’s like when people see one of my tapestries or bead pieces and say: “Oh my gosh, you must have so much patience to do that!” Which is a little strange, if you think about it, because if it required “patience” to create art I am not sure I would create art. Patience sounds like work and creating art is anything but work (most of the time . . . except when sewing in a bunch of warp threads!). But I imagine there are people who find sewing in warp ends cathartic, just like I find spinning cathartic and that certainly is not for everyone. In conclusion: I am not going to address sewing in warp ends as an option because I am the last person to steer you correctly on that subject. Rather, I will present to you all the many ways I have found to NOT sew in warp threads.
I am going to start with the most relevant way. On Tuesday last Elena and I had the pleasure of teaching a webinar for Interweave Press. It took a lot of prep work, but the actual presenting was a lot of fun. Jennifer of Beading Daily fame was our mentor in this project and although it would have been beter to get to see her live and in person, it was still nice to hear her voice live! The webinar was about using the Mirrix No-Warp Ends Kit to weave a checkerboard cuff bracelet a kit we sell exclusively through Interweave Press.
There were 16 warp threads which would have meant 32 warps threads to sew in. We were left with only two. While I am at it, I am going to give you a link to that webinar.
How does this magic work? With the help of a could of thin bars, some S-hooks and not a whole lot of patience you warp the loom such that you put on exactly the length of warp you need. When you are done there is only the beginning and end of the warp thread to weave in. The rest exists as loops which kindly slide between the end beads. We’ve trimmed this piece with pico stitch (which I like doing). The clasp is a button because while we wove the piece we created a button hole.
Here is another example of a bracelet made with that kit: Mirrix No Warps to Weave in Bracelet kit.
Method one for not having to weave in warp ends: don’t create any!
Method two for not having to weave in warp ends: make the warp part of the design. I really love doing this. Use a thicker and pretty warp thread and allow it to show both around the beads and at the ends. This makes a funkier kind of piece, but I love them. We call them wrap bracelets because you can make them one, two, three, four or more wraps. (By the way, we just passed under one of those cool bridges that lifts in the air so our mast doesn’t get knocked off when we go under.)
Below is not that particular kit, but an example of a wrap bracelet using those very cool two hole beads (a bunch of different kinds) on a hand painted silk warp
And another one . . . this one using tile beads and duos (the ones on the edge) plus some porcelain beads and a pewter button.
Above piece still on the loom.
If those two options don’t appeal to you, there is always the tried and true third method which allows you to warp the Mirrix loom in the normal fashion, but eliminates the need to sew in warp ends by simply tying them off, sticking them behind the piece and sticking the piece on some kind of cuff. For example, a piece on a leather cuff.
Some other examples of beaded work attached to a brass cuff.
In conclusion, if you are like me and refuse to sew in a bunch of warp ends when you find yourself at the end of your piece, there are a bunch of creative ways to either eliminating warp ends completely or bury them underneath your piece and incorporate them in to the piece as a design element. I am sure that we will all discover more and interesting ways to avoid the warp end dilemma. If you have ideas of your own, please tell us about it in the comments section.
Just for fun! We’ve created a new kit in a basket that is both great for giving to others and to yourself! It includes: lots of beads and hand-painted silk and gold thread and tools and crystals. You can make a variety of fiber and/or bead projects of your own design or following some of the weave-alongs we’ve already posted in this blog.
The Mirrix Shedding Device can seem a puzzling contraption to those unfamiliar with weaving. Today, I hope to clear up what a shedding device is and why you might want one.
Called: Shedding Device
Not Called: Shredder, Shredding Device, Shedder
Shedding devices are devices used to lift warps in order to pass fiber or beads through them more easily. The space between the warps is called the SHED, which is where the term SHEDding device comes from.
On a Mirrix shedding device, when you change the position of the handle, the shedding device shifts position and opposite sets of warps are raised, securing your beads or weft between the warp threads. The wooden clips hold your shedding device on the loom, but also serve to hold your warping bar in place when warping your loom (and before you install the shedding device).
When weaving tapestry, if you do not use the shedding device, you must weave each piece of fiber under and over the warp threads.
By using the shedding device, you can lift half of your warp threads all at the same time, so instead of weaving over and under, you can just place your weft (the thread you are using) between the raised and lowered warp threads.
The shedding device is attached to the warp threads with heddles. These heddles pull up on the correct warp threads when the shedding device is engaged.
When weaving beads with the shedding device, you string up a row of beads and then place them between the raised and lowered warp threads. Then you change the position of the shedding device, securing those beads between the warp threads.
On a Mirrix Loom, using the shedding device is recommended for tapestry weaving as it makes the process much faster and easier. For combining beads and fiber, a shedding device is also very useful. For beads, both the traditional bead weaving method of placing your beads behind your warp threads and then sewing through and the method using the shedding device and placing the beads between raised and lowered warp threads work. The method using the shedding device takes a little more time to set up, but once you get the hang of it it’s a fast and fun way to weave beads!
Do you still have questions about the Mirrix shedding device? Ask in the comments!
Just received some gorgeous coppery-colored 14 karat gold thread. I thought it would be fun to mix the gold-gold and the coppery gold and I was correct. The combination is stunning. I have wound some of this onto bobbins. The amount is still 75 yards, but doubled so in fact it’s 37 and 1/2 yards of each thread. I think many of you double the gold thread anyway when you use it, so this will make that option easier. If you are interested in purchasing these ($15 for 75 yards or $25 for 150 yards). You can now find it on our online store: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/store/14karatgoldthread.html#goldthreadtwoshades
Now for the pictures!
For many, putting heddles on the loom (heddles connect your warp to your shedding device) is the most challenging part of warping simply because it’s easy to make a mistake. Even after warping and heddling many, many looms, I still make my fair share of mistakes.
The key is: patience. You can’t put your heddles on in a rush or while watching TV or while having a conversation with your friends. Trust me, I’ve tried, and usually when I do that I make a mistake. In the long run, it’s a lot easier if you take your time and make sure every heddle is on the right warp thread because one crossed heddle or one missed heddle means you’re going to have a lot of not-so-fun troubleshooting ahead of you.
Although you still should follow our warping instructions (the .pdf can be found here: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/warpinginstructions.html) I made a few small diagrams that might be helpful to see how the heddles should be put on your loom and what mistakes you might make.