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.
A few years ago, Mirrix’s CEO Claudia Chase came up with a fun and easy way to combine beads and fiber on a Mirrix Loom. Using the shedding device, beading cord, 8/0 beads, silk and novelty yarn Claudia came up with the first Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet.
The project took off almost immediately and has been featured in Beadwork Magazine, Beads, Baubles & Jewels and in our class on Craftsy.
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.
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.
Claudia was here in Seattle with me for the last couple of weeks and last week we had the pleasure of getting coffee with Mary Lane of The American Tapestry Alliance. After, we all stopped by the monthly tapestry group meeting of the Seattle Weavers’ Guild.
It got me thinking about the benefits of joining weaving or beading guilds and associations. In high school and college I had friends who went to a different group meeting every day of the week. I was never one of those people. It’s partly because I’m not very good at being a little bit involved in things; it’s either all or nothing with me. It’s also because I am painfully shy and walking into a new group is always a little scary.
That noted, I believe that every weaver can benefit from being a member of some kind of weaving group if not for the camaraderie (I don’t know what it is, but weavers have a tendency to be pretty awesome people), for the resources. The first Seattle Weavers’ Guild meeting I attended a few years ago impressed me immensely and their tapestry group is the best source of inspiration I can think of.
The American Tapestry Alliance is a national (international, actually) tapestry organization that does everything from putting on exhibitions to workshops and member retreats. It’s a fabulous organization and it isn’t just for professional weavers. In fact, new tapestry weavers can really benefit from membership. From their tapestry mentoring program to educational articles and a chance to rub shoulders with some tapestry celebrities, it’s a group I wholeheartedly encourage all level of tapestry weavers to join!
You can learn more about joining the American Tapestry Alliance here.
You can learn more about joining the Seattle Weavers’ Guild here. I just noticed the picture on that page is of the tapestry group. Recognize those looms?
I encourage you to look up your local weavers’ guild or bead society!
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.
When I was a little girl, my mom made me a tapestry that hung in my bedroom all through my childhood. It was a simple tapestry, just a heart on a white background, but it is one I always have and always will treasure because of what that heart represents.
This Valentine’s Day, give a heart tapestry to someone you love just like my mom did all those years ago with our Heart Tapestry Loom Starter Package.
In this package, you’ll get:
- A 12″, 16″ or 22″ Loom with shedding device
- A Mini Heart Tapestry Kit
- 100 Heddles
- A Heart-shaped Tape Measure
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I was born a yarn snob. It’s inevitable when your mom is a tapestry weaver. When you’re putting as much time, love and energy into something as you do when you weave, you want to use the best materials you can. But let’s face it, when you’re just beginning with tapestry, figuring out what to use for weft can be difficult and confusing.
We thought it might be helpful to put together a list of what tapestry yarns people use and what sett they warp at. We’ve started putting together a spreadsheet, which can be viewed here.
If you’d like to add to this crowdsourced list, you can fill out this form here.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. We hope this is useful to all of you new weavers!