Warping any loom can be scary if you haven't done it before. Hopefully this blog post can help you get past any fear you have of warping a Mirrix loom and you can embrace the process and enjoy that moment of possibility when you have in front of you a warped loom ready to weave on!
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There are several ways you can warp a Mirrix loom. The "regular" way is with continuous warping, which is where you put a long warp on the loom that can actually be moved around the loom so you can weave a piece on it longer than the loom is tall. Neat, right? This is the type of warping we'll be discussing here. We will not go into putting on heddles, which are used with the shedding device, just the basic warping process. (Looking for full warping instructions? Check out our warping .PDFs here)
There are also other warping options if you aren't quite ready for this method. For example, the Easy Warp warping method or using the Mirrix Shasta Combs. You can also get a Saffron Loom, which is very easy to warp!
Ready? Let's get started!
First, let me say one thing: I am terrible at memorizing things. I can't tell you how many times someone has given me simple driving directions: Turn left at the light, go straight two blocks, turn right on Elm. And then I get to the light and I have already forgotten if I was supposed to go left or right. If you give me a series of instructions for warping a loom, I will immediately forget what you said. Wrap around the loom from front to back, do a U-turn, go under the bottom beam from back to front WHAT? But if you teach me the concept behind warping a loom, I'll be able to remember that and apply it to actually warping the loom. The following exercises are my attempt at teaching you the idea behind warping a Mirrix loom rather than giving you a series of instructions that might sound like gobbledygook! These exercises might not be for everyone, just as our warping videos or .PDFs might not be ideal for all learning types, but if you're like me, they just might help!
-A Mirrix Loom with wooden clips and a warping bar
-A thick piece of cord or string
The concept of warping a Mirrix using continuous warping is actually quite simple, though it can look deceptively complicated. Here's the basic concept you need to remember:
Tie your warp to your warping bar. Wrap your warp around the outside of the loom. When you come back to the warping bar, do a U-turn around the bar and head back in the direction you just came from. Continuing wrapping your warp around the loom. When you come back to the warping bar, do a U-turn around the bar and head back in the direction you just came from. REPEAT. Note: When you're actually warping a loom, you will place your warp thread in between two spaces in the warp coil or spring (called a dent) at the top (and maybe bottom, if you have a Bottom Spring Kit) of the loom, moving over one (or two or three) dents as you warp.
-Turn your wooden clips so they are facing the back of the loom about 3/4 of the way up the loom. Tighten them to the loom using the white plastic screws on the back of each clip. (Make sure the screw is on the back of the clip, not on the side.)
-Place your warping bar (the thick aluminum bar) in between the two wooden clips in the holes in the clips and press the clips slightly inward to hold the bar.
Exercise One: Don't go through the center
-Tie your string or cord (this is your "warp") to the warping bar
-Now, wrap your warp around the loom a few times, making sure to never cross through the center of the loom.
-As your wrap, note the turns you make: If you begin wrapping UP from the warping bar, you will wrap your warp from back to front at the top of the loom, bring your warp down the front of the loom, move it from front to back under the loom and bring it up the back of the loom.
-Now, unwrap your warp and do the same thing again, this time going in the opposite direction.
What you've learned: The basic idea of warping is simply wrapping your warp around the outside of the loom. Never bring your warp through the center of the loom!
Wasn't that easy? We just have to add in one more concept and you'll be warping in no time!
Exercise Two: Do a U-turn
-Tie your warp to the warping bar
-Begin to wrap your warp around the loom like you did in the first exercise. This time, make sure you begin wrapping UP from the warping bar. Then take your warp over the top beam of the loom, under the loom from the front to the back and up the back of the loom.
-When you arrive at the warping bar again: STOP
-Now, instead of continuing to wrap around the loom, move your warp over the warping bar and bring it back down the back of the loom. Now, continue wrapping your warp around the loom, just in the opposite direction of how you began. I like to imagine that my warp is a car I'm driving and the warping bar is a median. I drive up the road from the bottom of the loom, do a U-turn around the median and then go back in the direction I came, back towards the bottom of the loom.
Note: It doesn't matter if you do your U-turn from the front of the bar to the back or the back of the bar to the front and you don't need to stay consistent in which direction you do that.
What you've learned: The only difference between just wrapping your warp around the loom and continuous warping is that once you hit the warping bar, you do a U-turn around it and come back in the direction you came from.
Exercise Three: Do a U-turn in the other direction
-Tie your warp to the warping bar
-Begin to wrap your warp around the loom like you did in the first two exercises, but this time begin wrapping around the loom in the opposite direction that you wrapped the first time, so DOWN the loom in the back instead of up. Bring your warp down the back of the loom, from the back to front of the loom under the bottom beam, up the front of the loom, from the front of the loom to the back of the loom over the top beam and down the back of the loom until you hit the warping bar.
-I bet you know what to do now! When you hit the warping bar, do a U-turn around it and go back in the direction you came. Continue wrapping around the loom in this direction.
What you've learned: You can begin warping by going up over the top of the loom or down under the bottom. Either way, the concept is the same: Wrap your warp around the outside of the loom and do a U-turn each time you hit the warping bar.
Exercise Four: Put it all together.
-Tie your warp to the warping bar
-Begin to wrap your warp around the loom, starting by going UP the back of the loom from the warping bar. Wrap all the way around your loom until you hit your warping bar.
-Do a U-turn around your warping bar, so you are now heading down the back of the loom. Wrap all the way around your loom until you hit the warping bar again. Remember never to cross through the center of the loom!
-Do you know what to do here? You sure do! Because you've memorized the concept behind warping: Wrap around the loom in one direction, when you hit the warping bar do a U-turn, wrap around the loom in the other direction, when you hit the warping bar do a U-turn, wrap around the loom in the other direction, etc. etc.
If you're flying through exercise four, you have all the tools to begin warping! Head over to our YouTube Channel to see the whole process in action.
Don't have a Mirrix yet and can't decide which one to buy? We can help with a personalized loom recommendation!