Greetings Weaving Friends! How many times have we been asked “How long did it take you to make that?” I think I will start answering with “Which version?” It has been 3 weeks and I am still working with my Homage to Victor pattern. Each version improves upon the last. I’ve changed out my warp threads and turned to matte black beads for the outlines. I went with more primary and contrasting colors, and relied less on subtle differences in finish to create the necessary contrast. I am developing an edging using the off loom beading techniques of brick and square stitch. Even as I work this one, I am planning the next version, with white warps. And still, I wonder how it might look with a warp space for every bead..so there might be another do-over after that. Meanwhile…I am thrilled with the pattern and the shifting optical illusion. Stay tuned…I hope it ends up a “finished” version at some point.
Julia L. Hecht
Owner / Designer
Poppyfield Bead Company
Here it is the middle of the night. I haven’t had lots of time this past week to work on the surprise piece I am working I have started, but I will have lots of time in a few more days and it is going to be all about this project! I have a half a panel done so far. It seems to take me about a day and a half for half a panel. It was moving slower than I had anticipated the 2 solid days I worked on it. I am still excited though because this is going to be different. Here is what I have so far. The threads hanging on the left are the start and finish threads. I usually weave them in when I am all done looming a piece.
I have been also plotting and planning my next 2 pieces of loomwork and have purchased the proper items I will be working with. I am pretty excited about them as well! I will be heavily back into this piece in one more day. 😀
Finally, I am happy to say I started the ‘secret project’ today. Thrilled to get it underway, but as I started a bit on the loom I realized this was quite the undertaking. I think it is going to take me longer to loom than I thought. We’ll see 😉 That being said, the design below, with your input, is the one I decided on.
As it turned out, I had made it larger originally than I ended up needing and had to ‘shave’ rows off the top and bottom. This will be what it looks like all finished. So I printed up my trusty word chart. 7 pages in total. I prefer a word chart for loom work and peyote work. It works up way faster than using the colored graph with the symbols!! The faster I go, the quicker I can do something else. That’s how I roll.
This is what I have done so far. I have to make 4 of these, so this will definitely run into a week or two. That is the only hint you get. You can guess what I am doing, if you like, but I will not confirm it 🙂
See you next week, hopefully a good chunk done by then.
Every once in a while an idea doesn’t pan out. I have been thinking hard about what to do with the split loom piece I made and wanted to try something different. I think I may have messed up the piece when I took it off the loom and take it on vacation with me before I finished it. This is very sad to me after all the work. Now I will not be able to see if my idea works out, at least not any time soon. After much handling and being toted about gently here and there while on our Oklahoma trip, the piece decided to bunch together a bit in places and crowd itself. When I took it off the loom, it was beautiful, flat and not bunched anywhere. I tried to fix that, but it has not worked out very well.
A definite design flaw is that I didn’t make it long enough, although it is pretty long. When you go to put it around your neck, the area at the top of the pendant buckles. If I had made it longer that wouldn’t have happened, or if I had made a wider opening. Usually I am pretty good about fixing something, but not this time.
I saw someone post a Facebook entry about designers making mistakes and wishing they would share them occasionally. Well, here it is 😉 I do make mistakes and like many humans, I hate to own them. I think I am going to have to tear this apart and redo the entire piece. Not now though because right now, I am too discouraged to look at it LOL So tomorrow, I shall warp the loom for something else in the meantime.
Anyone else willing to share their mistakes?? What did you mess up? Was it a design flaw or the work itself? Were you able to fix it without doing a complete start over? If so, how did you fix it?
“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt, Looking Forward
While working on my last piece (see my previous post), I became excited about how to combine silver lined 15/0 seed beads in a loom piece. I knew if I put different silver lined colors right up against each other they would reflect off each other and compete. I found a way to do this and be easy on the eye by separating each block of color with a black and white border. The matte black beads absorb the reflections, while the white opaque has just enough shine to stand up to the brilliance of the silver lined beads. The border design was inspired by the black and white mosaic floors and splashes in the pre-war apartment buildings in New York City…my hometown. I used SoNo 330dtex thread from Japan as my warp and weft threads. I have a little bit of vertical rippling in my piece, which still may be a tension issue…even though I did let my piece rest overnight after removing it from the loom. Perhaps the SoNo is just too stretchy? I will have to experiment some more..
Meanwhile, I plan to embellish this piece with some off-loom beading techniques. So, we’ll see what comes up for me as I go.
Til next time….
Julia L. Hecht
As a “recovering perfectionist” I strive to accept the misalignment of much of my life. I see what isn’t “how it should be” and it bugs me. Of course, this discernment makes it possible to create beautiful, technically advanced, high quality beadwork. But, outside the beading sphere, it threatens my serenity. I am making huge strides towards enjoying the imperfection and mess that makes up most of life. I pray “May I be happy just as I am, May I accept whatever comes…” and such words do offer me peace. On Saturday, I spent the entire day doing yard work in preparation for a Mother’s Day gathering at my home. On Sunday, the winds blew strong, and threatened to undo the order I created, and the party I had planned. It was a perfect opportunity to “Accept whatever comes…”. I love to use my art to bolster and celebrate my own healing and validate my struggles. This pattern is a modification of a square “tile design” I purchased on the internet at beadiefriends.com. What speaks to me is the load of colors and how they come at each other in beautiful misalignment – not quite right. I separated the “units” with geometric “order” in black and white, both to contrast the beautiful chaos, and to pull it all together. I do believe in a mysterious “order” that I may never fully perceive or understand. But I am learning to live (and thrive) in the colorful mess that makes this life truly worthwhile.
Julia L. Hecht
After several redesigns from my last post, the remake I came up with, I was finally happy with. Thursday morning of this past week, I found a moment to warp the loom. I was very precise and accurate this time, as I didn’t have time constraints. I decided to do this split loom in round Miyuki beads, instead of Delica beads. I have done 2 split loom pieces before and one was Czech seed beads and the next one was Delicas, so I thought I would try Miyuki rounds this time, and quite glad I did! The loomed bead ‘fabric’ feels absolutely luscious in my hand. It is super soft and beautifully supple.
This is a work in progress photo from a few days ago.
Initially, I wanted this to be a full around the neck wrap (no closure, just put over your head), mounted on lambskin. Since I have finished the work and an hour or so ago took it off the loom, I have decided I would put a closure on it, still mount it on leather, except I found amazingly gorgeous and even more supple goatskin in my leather stash. So goatskin will back this piece and it won’t be as ‘stiff’ as lambskin would have been. The lambskin I have is soft and supple, but not as much as the goatskin. By putting a backing on this, this will also allow fringe, if I should chose to, and I think this will also make it more sturdy for longer durability, less fragility to the owner.
I have woven in a bulk of the threads. The threads I have left to weave in are going to be stitched directly through the leather and tied off on the back side. When all of that is done, I will add a second leather back and put them together as I would a bead embroidery. I bought 2 gorgeous buttons for the closure today. Not sure if I will use one or both yet. Below is what it looks like right now.
It is a nice length. I didn’t use pure white, the white is a gold-lined white opal in color with opaque black as the contrast. I am going to try to finish it this week, but for now I have to put it down for a few days.
While waiting to get some beads for my mega project, I haven’t been able to quite decide what I have wanted to do for quick items. Today I thought I would discuss the designing of a piece on a bead program. I found a design I had worked up and come to find out, it was 4 years ago, probably right at the end of my last ‘Social Market for a Mirrix’ in 2010. I opened it in the program I had used then and was looking at it thinking it was pretty cool, but needed more. As I was working on a slight redesign, I realized one of the rows had 4 and not 3 like all the rest. That is going to be some work to repair as I will have to erase all the work above to make it right. This is the original concept:
I used Bead Tool 4 to make this design. My alterations look like this as it stands right now:
I like this version much better. It is more airy and has more design going on. I think I am going to change the shape on the bottom, but not sure quite how yet, and I may decide to keep it that way. Also at the bottom it shows the fringe I plan to put, the feathers. That is a benefit of doing loom patterns, you can lay the fringe out underneath. This is just a 2 color piece. Black is the definitive color and not sure on the other one, I don’t want white white.
I just got a copy of Bead Creator and haven’t had time to play around in it yet. I am anxious to see some results from that design program!
In designing, you have to know what you are doing before you start, then pick out the dimensions for the project. Both programs have a Palette creator which you can put what you have on hand into a custom palette. That would probably be a Delica collection. I have yet to that, I don’t have tons of Delicas, but enough so I put this off 🙂
Because of the narrowness of this design, I will probably have to make it longer so the center gap isn’t spreading unattractively too far apart when worn. I think of a lady whose blouse it too tight and the buttons are straining with gaps between button holes. We don’t want that.
Ultimately, designing for loomed beadwork is not difficult. You don’t even need a program, colored pencils and graph paper work great and I have certainly done that. You will probably just have to do some simple math to figure out width and dimension on graph paper, and you can get graph paper in smaller boxes or larger ones.
Tomorrow I plan on warping the loom for this project. I have also determined, that because I am unsure of how I am going to do my center piece, I will start at strap level until I decide. I shall have some project pics mid-week.
I’ve been playing with my new pattern (First Step) and my Mirrix Loom. In this picture you can see the fruits of my labor…some more appealing than others. The finished bracelet that I posted last week took me just as long to sew up to the leather, as it did to do the actual weaving. I love wearing it, and I love the leather backing. But I wanted to experiment with quicker finishing. For the top bracelet I folded over leather tabs and glued them together with the warp threads sandwiched in between. When I place the eyelets it will secure the tabs further. The bottom bracelet uses ribbon crimps. I wove the weft threads without beads to create tabs that could be grabbed with the crimps. Nevertheless, I could hear the delica beads being crushed beneath the crimps. I’ve clearly got more to practice.
You can see that the beads bunched up on the crimped version. As I learn about tension, I have learned that the beads will sometimes bunch up if the piece is not allowed to “rest” after being cut from the loom. I had used S-Lon bead cord for my other work, and this was my first go with One G for the warp threads. It is clearly more “sensitive”. Here’s a closer view.
With the middle bracelet, you can see the woven portion without the beads. I am discovering how little I know when it comes to predicting how a loom-woven piece will look. I’ve been working with seed beads for over 10 years…but I am stunned to see that with weaving in only one plane, the outcome does not match my expectations. Some very pretty beads that I would use together for a more structural piece of beadwork, just don’t work together with the loom. I am learning to think about the beads differently and paying close attention to not only color but also finish. I guess I’ll just have to keep playing!
– Julia L. Hecht – Poppyfield Bead Company – poppybeads.com
It’s a milestone for me! I have my first piece of finished loom-woven jewelry. My “First Step” Bracelet is an original pattern that I made up while I was weaving it. There was no planning involved, other than deciding to use 11 warp threads and 11/0 Delica cylinder beads. I used S-Lon bead cord, which is rather thick, and does show. But, it proved to be very user-friendly for a brand newbie like me, as it didn’t stretch and and was very forgiving with my ignorance about proper tension. I did make another bracelet using One G thread to warp, and the beads bunched up when I took it off the loom. I understand this is a tension issue, so I need to learn more about that. I really made this bracelet up – somewhat out of thin air. I didn’t follow any instructions for finishing. Poppyfield Bead Company, my bead shop, is in the middle of “Indian Country*” which means I am privileged to see original Native American handwork in progress, as well as finished. Many of my Native American customers are happy to share their techniques with me and talk with me about the materials they like to use. This style of finishing was inspired by one of my Dine (Navajo) customers who is working for a women’s empowerment enterprise called Etkie. The pattern represents the 4 cardinal directions: North, South, East, and West…and the theme for me was taking my first step with the loom. I don’t know my way with the loom, and so the Social Market for a Mirrix program is my compass pointing me in a direction. In the end, we all have to take our own “first steps into the unknown”. Finishing this bracelet involved securing the beadwork to cowhide with craft glue and then using the whip stitch to sew the beadwork down to the leather. I used a glovers #6 needle and Nymo thread. I folded over the leather and glued it over the warp thread ends – which are sandwiched in between. I used a leather punch and then a setter to fix the eyelets. Not only does the eyelet look nicer than a plain punched hole, but it also secures the leather ends and they don’t require much stitching. I like the drawstring, but I am going to experiment with other clasp methods. Not everyone wants leather lace hanging off their bracelet. Leather work is another unknown for me. If you want to read more about my first steps with leather click here to go to my personal / professional blog @ www.poppybeads.com * Please note that I use the term “Indian Country” with respect, because that is the term used by Native American people in the media, such as press and radio and it denotes their belonging to the land.