I wanted to make a simple, quick beaded bracelet. I haven’t woven beads in a while because lately I’ve been kind of obsessed with hand-painted silk bracelets and small tapestries. But the beads started calling.
Sometimes I just really crave simple: simple materials, simple design, but great colors. So I wanted this bracelet to be just that.
I decided I wanted to use the same clasp I’ve been using for the hand-painted silk bracelets. I figured out that I needed to use either 11/0 Delica or 15/0 beads in order for the bracelet to fit correctly into the clasp (obviously, smaller beads would work but that’s my limit!).
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.
I am away from my studio/office for a while. A much needed break to both have a bit of a vacation as well as to get the kind of work done Elena and I have a hard time accomplishing on FaceTime (ie., making a whole new slew of ebooks and, of course, doing our tapestry/bead cuff weave-along). We also have the great fortune of having good friends who live in Hawaii (Elena is in Seattle) so it was only a hop, skip and a jump to get to them. My first time; Elena’s second. Heavenly friends and paradise. Who could ask for more.
But the point of this post is to talk about hand-painted silk. I am analyzing the colors of Hawaii, of course, because they are amazing. And when I do return to NH (I am now in Seattle) I will paint many, many kilos of silk.
That picture of my hand painted silk yarn you see above . . . well, it was taken in the sand at a beach in Hawaii. Oh my gosh, the colors are exactly replicated in that photo. I always thought that taking photos in direct sunlight would wash out the image. But in this case it just made it so real. Want to see some more?
Mostly my looms travel in reusable shopping bags. It isn’t pretty, but I don’t have even one nice bag (besides some large travel bags, which aren’t terribly practical) that fits a loom bigger than my Mini. A few months ago I brought a few looms to a local store that was interested in selling them. I parked several blocks away and had three haphazardly packed shopping bags full of looms and other supplies. When I arrived I couldn’t find a thing in the jumble I had created at the bottom of the bags.
The topic of loom bags is something we’ve talked about endlessly at Mirrix. We’ve contacted bag manufacturers, talked to customers who have made their own bags and have looked into finding pre-made (Made in America) bags that would fit our needs. While there are many options out there, we haven’t gotten it together to even find the perfect bags for our own looms (as you can see from the picture above).
A couple weeks ago Claudia taught a weaving class in Groton, MA. We talked after the class and she couldn’t stop talking about what a wonderful class it was (see her blog post on it here). She also couldn’t stop talking about a bag one of the students had made for her loom.
This student was Bunny Pepin, author of the blog “La Sewista“. I’d seen her blog and her gorgeous bag, but Claudia says it’s even more amazing in person. “It even has a place for the shedding device” she shrieked over the phone.
The ultimate loom bag by Bunny Pepin
You can read through Bunny’s blog posts about her bag here:
I know, I know, now you’re looking at the canvas bag your loom has been traveling in and thinking, “Do I need to learn to sew?” Fear not, friends, for in the near future Bunny is going to start selling her bags! The details aren’t worked out yet, but it looks like she will have a range from a basic bag to one with all the bells and whistles. We’ll keep you informed when we know more!
Thank you to Bunny for sharing your work!
I can’t seem to stop weaving silk (which, by the way, is on sale until that big day with a heart involved). But lately the finishing is as much fun as the weaving. I’ve showed you this one before, but this time Elena took the photographs and put them in a neat little package. I love it. And of course I need to pause here to remind you that I will be teaching this sort of thing at NOA Gallery on March 14th and 15th in Groton, MA. http://www.mirrixlooms.com/noagallery/ We have a few more spots, so don’t hesitate to sign up.
I’m not typically a last-minute type of person, but I always have last-minute shopping to do during the holidays. This morning, as a looked over my list, I realized that I still don’t have a present for one of my girl-friends. I think I want to make to her something. I thought I’d share a few of my ideas in case any of you are in a similar situation and want to weave some last-minute gifts! Do you have any suggestions for last-minute gifts? Let us know in the comments and share your handmade gift-giving stories!
A Bracelet using the No Warp-Ends Kit
One of the things I love about the No Warp-Ends Kit is that you can whip out several pieces of the same size with the same kit set-up. That means faster present-production if you have more than one gift to make! Plus, finishing is so easy and fast. I may make a bracelet like our Changing Seasons Bracelet with wire (fun fact: you can get the ebook for this project free with any Mirrix Looms purchase of $10 of more. Learn more here.) or the perennial favorite, the Checkerboard Cuff Bracelet. Get a free instructional ebook for this project here.
A Mini Tapestry
This one is a little more time consuming, but a tiny tapestry, like our Scribble Landscape or Heart Mini Tapestries, is such a wonderful gift that the lucky recipient will cherish forever. I’m not sure I have time to make one for my friend this year, but I wish I did!
A Wrap Bracelet
Wrap bracelets are great because they are both super fast and really easy to finish. Try one on silk like this Crystal & Bead Wrap Bracelet!
Did you ever watch Reading Rainbow? It was a PBS kid’s show that started in the 80s about the wonder of books and reading. At the end of every show there was a segment of book reviews by kids. LeVar Burton, the host, would start off the segment by saying, “But you don’t have to take my word for it!” And then the kids would launch into their reviews. This phrase came to mind when I started planning this post.
We love our new Spencer Power Treadle and have become addicted to using it pretty fast (seriously, it saves so much time!) but we know that hearing that from the manufacturer doesn’t mean quite as much as hearing it from impartial sources. We asked three famous tapestry weavers (full-disclosure, Rebecca and Kathe did help us with beta-testing of the treadle) to write up a little review of the treadle.
We love the Spencer Power Treadle, but you don’t have to take our word for it!
“First of all I love treadles on my Mirrixes. Treadles increase my weaving speed. The Spencer treadle is an incredible addition so much more versatile then my older treadles. It is very easy to affix to the loom. It travels well because of its small size, light weight, and ease of assemblage. Physically it takes less effort to use. Because of the way it is designed it gives a deeper shed and holds the shed open until I change it. It is very easy on hands, because of the the way the shed is held open until it is shifted. The Spencer can be operated with a very small movement of the foot or either foot making it ideal for people with limited motion and/or strength or for those of us who weave long hours each day on the Mirrix. ”
-Kathe Todd-Hooker. Professional tapestry weaver, teacher, author.
Visit her blog here.
“The new Spencer Treadle from Mirrix looms was waiting for me when I returned home from the American Tapestry Alliance Retreat and I was able to put it to good use at a show I was doing the following weekend. I usually take along a 16 inch loom, treadle and easel to demonstrate when I do shows with my Mirrix Looms and tapestry supplies. The first thing I noticed is that the smaller footprint and lighter weight of the Spencer Treadle is going to make my life much easier. Not only is it easier to pack but it is also easier to detach and attach the treadle to the loom which makes it much nicer to travel with. The action of the treadle is so fast and easy that it is much more convenient for changing sheds, weaving and talking at the same time. In a very short time it was becoming an automatic movement for me which should speed up my weaving when I am not demonstrating. There were many watching who had seen me demonstrate before who were impressed with the smooth and effortless action to open the sheds. I was even filmed and interviewed by a local channel 6 special report team about people following their passion while demonstrating at the show. In short, it took less than a weekend for me to become quite spoiled by my new Spencer Treadle!”
-Janette Meetze. Professional weaver/artist and teacher. Visit her blog here.
“I love my Mirrix looms unabashedly. I have a small fleet at this point and I love to use them for my tapestry workshops. They are sturdy, reliable, and they meet my high demands for tension. So it is not surprising that I had great expectations for the Spencer electric treadle by Mirrix. Tapestry weaving is slow and shifting the shed the normal way works well enough (and I can’t even talk about picking sheds—I don’t know how some tapestry weavers do it). Frankly, I wasn’t sure the treadle would make that much difference. I have to say I was horribly, irrevocably, undeniably wrong. This treadle is wonderful. I have really enjoyed being able to shift the shed with my foot instead of reaching for the shedding mechanism. I have tested it on my 12, 16, and 22 inch Mirrix looms and it works well on all of them. I’m afraid I might need a second treadle pretty soon! I love the added speed, I love that I don’t have to reach up to shift the shed all the time, I love that it is quiet and only switches when my foot tells it to, and I love how small it is. My only fear is that the power will go out and I’ll have to go back to the handle. Maybe I should get a generator.”
-Rebecca Mezoff. Professional tapestry weaver and teacher. Visit her website here.
Want to get started with the first ever (we think) electric treadle for a portable tapestry loom? You can get your very own Spencer Power Treadle here!
As I was packing beads and way too many kits to haul off to Convergence where we had a booth in July, Elena said: “These are fiber weavers. They are not going to buy beads and kits.”
“Sure they will,” I said with complete certainty.
Guess who was correct? Turns out the customers at Convergence were looking for . . . drum roll . . . LOOMS.
The good news is I didn’t haul that much stuff. There isn’t really enough to put on the website, so I thought I would list them here. All you have to do is add up your total and send a PayPal payment to: [email protected]. Shipping is $6.00 no matter how much you buy, so please remember to add that.
Eleven five gram tubes of those amazing CzechMates. These beads all have two holes and YES you can weave them on a Mirrix Loom.
What can you do with these beads and a Mirrix Loom? I’ll show you.
A combination of super duos and size 8/0 beads on a leather cuff.
Weave this on a hand-painted silk warp. You can find the silk here. The beads are a combination of ChechMate Tile beads and Superduos as edging.
This last one is a little wild. Silk warp and a combination of every bead in this collection. I threw in some porcelain beads at both ends. Yes, it was fun to weave and just as fun to wear.
Here are the beads: The colors are beautiful. Some are mixes I made and some are single colors. You’ll love them all and then work really well together: 1 box each of 6mm Lentils, 3/6 mm bricks, 5/16 mm two hole daggers; 2 boxes each of 5/16 mm triangles and 6 mm tiles; 4 boxes of Superduos (my favorite!). Eleven 5 gram boxes in all for $35 (plus $6 shipping). The bad news is there are only five bags of these beads left.
I thought I would play with the Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet’s size both beads and cuff. Instead of using size 8/0 beads, I wanted to use 11/0 beads. The cuff became a 3/4 inch cuff versus a one inch cuff. The spring is a 14 dent spring instead of a 10 dent spring. It’s a finer version of the original cuff and I am sure someday we will get around to listing it on the website. But if you want it now (price $69 plus $6 shipping) you can order by just making a payment to our paypal account: [email protected] We have nine of these kits available, but if they are popular we will make more!
Kit includes: two 3/4 inch brass cuffs, hand-painted silk, novelty yarn, 20 grams of 11/0 seed beads,C-Lon beading cord and thread, E-6000 glue, ultra-suede.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at: [email protected]. Flat shipping $6 even if you buy them all.
We love to share out “toys” and supplies with our customers so when we run into something we love to use we eventually find a way to get it out to you. Our most recent additions to the Mirrix Store are:
A set of three curved bamboo needles. I had bought these from a distributor a couple of years ago. They sat in their packaging until the other day. I realized that those curved tips would make “picking” the shed on my Lani Loom without shedding device to try to achieve some more complex weave structures would be a lot easier with a curved needle. I broke into the package and got to work. I was right. These needles are great. They have nice big “eyes” and hence are easy to thread. They feel great in your hand and they don’t seem to want to break no matter how much I batter them around. You can find them here: bamboo needles.
A while back we introduced the very colorful Stork scissors. They work as well as they are beautiful to look at. I have a pair on every work surface in my studio and in my bedroom and in the living room. You can find them here: stork scissors.
The other day we added mother-of-pearl buttons. They are great for using as findings for jewelry as well as closures for woven pouches. I have always loved anything made of mother-of-pearl and these little gems are not exception. You can find them here: Mother-of-Pearl Buttons.
I have been playing with sari silk ribbon for a couple of months now and I still haven’t gotten over my addiction to the stuff. It’s very similar to cotton rag strips, but it’s softer and, I think, much easier to work with. Plus I like the final results much better. You can find it here: Sari Silk Strips.
And speaking of silk . . . our six packs of silk ribbon are pretty magical. I use them as accents in just about anything I weave. They are different from our other hand painted silk because they are actually ribbons whereas the other is spun plied silk. We hand painted white silk ribbon just for you! No weaving studio is complete without a set of these. They can be found here: Hand painted silk ribbon.
Last but not least: Kangfa crystals. Made in China, these crystals are just as nice as the other leading brands but less expensive. We have put together a big range of colors. I have been weaving with these crystals a lot lately. They can be found here: Kangfa Crystal Soup.
Then of course there is the Spencer Power Treadle. It was a long time coming. We are thrilled with the results as are the tapestry weavers we had test it. Janette Meetze said about the treadle: “The new Spencer Treadle from Mirrix looms was waiting for me when I returned home from the American Tapestry Alliance Retreat and I was able to put it to good use at a show I was doing the following weekend. I usually take along a 16 inch loom, treadle and easel to demonstrate when I do shows with my Mirrix Looms and tapestry supplies. The first thing I noticed is that the smaller footprint and lighter weight of the Spencer Treadle is going to make my life much easier. Not only is it easier to pack but it is also easier to detach and attach the treadle to the loom which makes it much nicer to travel with. The action of the treadle is so fast and easy that it is much more convenient for changing sheds, weaving and talking at the same time. In a very short time it was becoming an automatic movement for me which should speed up my weaving when I am not demonstrating. There were many watching who had seen me demonstrate before who were impressed with the smooth and effortless action to open the sheds. I was even filmed and interviewed by a local channel 6 special report team about people following their passion while demonstrating at the show. In short, it took less than a weekend for me to become quite spoiled by my new Spencer Treadle!”
You can find it here: Spencer Power Treadle.
We love to hear what you would like to see in the Mirrix Store. Please leave a comment on this blog and if it’s a “toy” or supply we like, we will do our best to find a source for it. Or if we can’t find it, we can try to make it. Our customers are often our best inspiration.