By Mirrix CEO Claudia Chase
Every art and/or craft medium has its rules. When approaching a new medium, you have choices. You can learn a few of the basic techniques in any given medium and then start playing, learning more techniques as you explore. Or maybe you will just stop with a few techniques. Or possibly you will start with your gut and just play from the very beginning, in which case you are bound to make some classic “mistakes” that others who are advanced in that medium will spot right away.
The Mirrix Looms Ambassador program hopes to unite Mirrix Looms (both the company and the products) with talented bead and tapestry weavers from around the world. By connecting these gifted artists, quality weaving equipment and the networks of both, the hope is to simultaneously increase awareness of each ambassador and of Mirrix products.
Each ambassador will have a unique role, but you can expect instructional blog posts, project ebooks, inspiration and more from these amazing artists.
The manual treadle made its arrival within the first year of the birth of Mirrix. We loved that treadle and still do. But sadly, we are phasing it out after we eliminate our current inventory. The reason? The Electric Spencer Treadle was born. It’s lighter, much more portable and even easier to use than the manual treadle. It took us a couple of months to work out all the kinks (like figuring out where to get certain components to guarantee many, many years of use), but we’ve finally done it and we are thrilled.
This new treadle has been tested and tested and the unanimous opinion is that it makes weaving tapestry and/or fiber so much faster on the Mirrix. Since your hands are free to just weave and not change the shed, you can weave twice as fast. It also gives the shed-changing arm a break helping to eliminate shoulder stress.
We want you to have fun with the Electric Spencer Treadle too and so we are offering you some big incentives to jump in and test the waters of “speed tapestry.”
Start thinking (How about next to your bed? Maybe over your desk?) because we are now offering a free ebook detailing how to make this beautiful and simple piece!
In this ebook you will learn:
- How to set-up and warp a Mirrix Loom for tapestry weaving
- The techniques needed to make an adorable heart tapestry
- How to finish a small tapestry piece
Use your own materials or get the kit here (for only $18)
Still need a loom? Consider our Heart Tapestry Loom Starter Package or click below for a free loom recommendation!
For #throwbackthursday we’re looking back at some old bracelet projects from around Claudia’s studio. Looking through these projects makes me want to take the rest of the day off and head to my loom! For more inspiration, visit our free projects page!
This is a guest post by Rebecca Mezoff
If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that I teach a lot of things about tapestry. There are times when I want to weave something insanely complicated. If I actually let this wish get the better of me, I might end up feeling like this.
When this happens, I go back to some old tried and true tricks. My favorite is regular hatching. If you’ve had a class from me, you’ve probably tried this technique. I used it in the spirals in many of my Emergence pieces and sometimes I just weave it on a sampler to calm down a little bit, dork dedicated practitioner that I am.
For the past 6 months or so I’ve been offering free weaving, knitting, embroidery and natural dyeing workshops in public spaces in Manhattan. Most of time we are weaving since people seem to really respond to my lovely Mirrix loom, and I love any excuse to weave so I’ve planned a lot of tapestry skill-shares. They have taken a few forms:
I weave/knit/dye in public spaces, usually on the subway or in a parks and invite people to join me, usually with a sign. These are an attempt to thwart people’s tendencies to isolate themselves, usually via digital devices, with the hopes of complicating their ideas of how public space is perceived and used. My goal is to encourage people to engage, and even learn something instead of tune out of the world around them. Admittedly, I too am often one of these people engrossed in my book on the subway. So, I’m not saying there isn’t a place for tuning out – everyone needs their personal time, and God love you if for you that time occurs on the subway. I do however think it could be good to interrupt people’s habituated actions from time to time.
These are usually the result of no one joining me to learn the respective craft of the day, and this usually happens on the subway. I’m not dissapointed about having the skill-share concept morph into a performance in this way, and am still grappling with the ideas that occur as a result. But, so far it means I feel I’m being perceived as more of a spectacle than an educator or artist, and because it’s such an unlikely place to do this sort of thing I sometimes feel a bit awkward. In my first attempts I even felt kind of pathetic, forgetting my purpose and instead imagining what people must think of this crazy girl with a textile contraption and sign inviting people to join her. But one day, several days after one of my first subway skill-shares, a woman approached me on the street Read More
One of the biggest problems beginning tapestry weavers have is that, as they weave up, they begin to pull in the edges of their piece. In the language of tapestry we’d call this drawing in your selvedges. This can cause the piece to look sloppy and uneven.
While even a seasoned tapestry weaver is susceptible to pulling-in, there are a few tricks that can help you to weave with straight selvedges!
Being cognizant of whether or not you are pulling in is a good way to prevent it. Measure often (every inch and a half or so) and reweave if you notice you are pulling in.
2.) Don’t weave selvedge to selvedge for large sections
If you lay a straight line of tapestry weft into the shed the line of weft remains straight until you change the shed. Once you change the shed the weft becomes scalloped in every place there is a warp. If you’ve just laid in a straight weft, in order to produce enough weft to allow for those scallops, extra weft will be pulled from the selvedges of your tapestry. There just isn’t enough weft to go around. When using discontinuous wefts (not weaving straight across), compensation for this almost happens naturally. You’ve got the extra weft just because every start and ending creates a little more yarn in the joining places.
Bubbling (see the picture to the left) is important for making sure you are using plenty of weft thread so you don’t pull in on the sides. Here’s how:
Make sure the weft is wrapped tightly enough around the side warp to not have a baggy loop but not so tightly that it draws in at all. Lay the weft in to the warp in a curve and then take your finger and push down on that curve about every three or four inches so that the curve becomes a series of humps. Change the shed. Do this again. Change the shed. do this again. Then take your beater and beat it all together. If you’ve done this correctly there will be no loops of wefts at the selvedges, the selvedges will not pull in at all, and there will not be little extra blobs of weft sticking out anywhere in the weaving. What you will see is a smooth patch of flat weaving. The best way to test your skill at this is to weave simple stripes for a long distance. If you can accomplish that, you’ve mastered the art of straight selvedges. And seriously, accomplishing stripes that travel from selvedge to selvedge and don’t pull in is quite the feat!
This is where a good loom comes in! You need really good tension to weave tapestry. On a Mirrix Loom, you have the ability to get just that. If you are using a Mirrix Loom and your warp threads feel loose, simply tighten them up.
Don’t have a loom and ready to get started? We’ll give you a personalized loom recommendation here!
Fringe is in!
We’ve been getting requests from customers for information on how to add fringe to tapestries. While there may be other ways to do it, “fringe” in tapestry is typically created with rya knotting, which is a Swedish technique used to make pile-rugs as well wall-hangings.
I’ve never experimented with rya before, but thought I’d give it a try. The very basic technique was easier than I thought it would be, and fun to do.
Tapestry weaver Kathe Todd-Hooker (visit her blog here) has done some really neat tapestry pieces with rya, like this one of her dog Chene (Chene is as cute in person as in the tapestry):
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.