For this tapestry, we will be using Mirrix’s regular warping method.
We will demonstrate how to warp with the Shasta Combs for the next piece. If you’d like to warp this piece using the Shasta Combs, you can find instructions here. If you are warping with the combs, make sure to leave some warp at the bottom of the loom for the fringe (4" to 6").
If you’d like to use the shedding device for this piece, feel free to add one on (you’ll need a shedding device and heddles), but we will NOT be using one in our demonstrations.
If you have a 5” Mini Mirrix, warping will be slightly different. You can find instructions on how to warp the Mini Mirrix here. (Note: If you are using a Mini Mirrix, you will not be able to warp the full 23 warps across. Warp as far as you can across, making sure you have an ODD number of warp threads.)
What Do You Need to Get Started?
-A Mirrix Loom
-A Tiny Tapestry Kit (warp and weft) You will choose four colors of the wool for this piece.
-A tapestry needle
-A good pair of scissors
-A measuring tape
If you already know how to warp: Warp your loom with an 8 dent coil 23 warp threads across.
Below we go over warping for this particular project.
First, fold out the legs (or leg) of your loom and ready your supplies.
Set the height of your loom by turning the wing-nuts on either side of the loom. You want at least 3 inches of threaded rod showing regardless of the loom size you have. Measure to make sure the sides of the loom are even.
You want about 15 inches of warp for this piece (including warp waste for finishing), so your smallest Mirrix Loom will work best. We recommend a 5", 8", 12" or 16" Loom.
Next, put your 8-dent warp coil (also referred to as a spring) in the coil tray on the top bar of the loom.
This warp coil comes with all looms that have a shedding device. To check which is your 8-dent coil, place the coil on the loom, measure an inch and count the dents (spaces in the spring). There should be 8 dents in one inch. It will be your shortest coil if you have a set of four.
Next, measure where on the loom the wooden clips are to make sure they are at same height. You want the clips somewhere on the top third of the loom. Turn them so the longer part is facing the back of the loom. If you have a newer loom that has not yet been used, you will have to unscrew the white plastic screw, swing it to the back of the clip and re-screw it in to secure the clip to the loom.
Place the warping bar (the thicker aluminum bar) in the indentations in the wooden clips and push the clips slightly inward to secure the bar.
If you have a loom larger than a 12′ Loom, it is best to warp this piece on one side of the loom instead of in the center. The reason you would want to do this is to balance the warping bar. If we were to weave a relatively thin piece in the center of a wide loom, once the loom is warped, the warping bar would be unbalanced. By warping on one side of the loom and then balancing the warping bar with a piece of string, cord or ribbon the other side (or warping another piece on the other side of the loom) we guarantee that our warping bar is balanced.
You will warp your loom in every dent (a dent is a space in the spring) across until you have 23 warp threads (counted at the top of the loom).
The concept of warping is fairly straightforward. First, you tie your warp to the warping bar. Then, you wrap the warp around the outside of the loom. Every time you reach the warping bar, you loop around it and go back in the direction you just came from. That’s it.
These are my four rules of warping a Mirrix:
Rule One: Never bring your warp through the center of your loom. You will ALWAYS be wrapping AROUND the loom. Periodically check to see that you haven’t accidentally brought your warp through the center of the loom.
Rule Two: Never try to hold a conversation, watch a television show or read a book while warping. Maybe when you’re an expert you can do that, but for now, concentrate. In that same vein, you don’t want to drop your warp while you are warping if you can help it because that could cause issues with your tension. When warping a Mirrix, you don’t need TIGHT tension (the loom will do that for you later) but you do need EVEN tension.
Rule Three: Be a perfectionist. I’m not a perfectionist and I tend to do things at, pardon the pun, warp speed. But warping needs perfection. One mistake can cause you trouble and confusion, so your best bet is to go slowly and make sure everything is even and not messy from the get go. Trust me on this one.
Rule Four: Be patient with yourself. I’ve taught a lot of people how to warp. Some people get it right away. Others don’t. If you’re in the latter category, don’t beat yourself up. Keep trying and pretty soon it will be second nature!
To make warping easier, place your loom on some heavy books. This way you can easily pass your warp under your loom.
Figure out where you want the center of your piece to be on the loom. Then, measure 1.5 inches to the left . This is where you will begin warping. (Unless you are warping on one side of your loom because you are using a larger loom, as discussed above.)
At this place, take your warp thread and tie it in a double knot to the warping bar.
Next, bring your warp thread from the warping bar over the top of the loom from the back.
When you hit the warp coil, place your warp thread into one of the spaces in the coil. Again, this is called a dent.
Bring your warp thread down the front of the loom and then under the loom from the front to the back.
Continue up the back of the loom until you hit the warping bar. Then, loop your warp around the warping bar and bring it back towards the bottom of the loom. This loop can be from the front to the back of the warping bar or the back to the front.
Continue bringing your warp down the loom in the back and then under the loom and up the front.
When you hit the warp coil, you will want to place it in the next dent over from where the first warp thread is.
Continue over the top of the loom and down the back until you hit the warping bar. Again, loop around the bar and come back in the direction that you came from. When you hit the warp coil again (this time coming over the top from the back of the loom) you will again place the warp in the next dent over.
Now, keep repeating these steps, bringing your warp thread around the loom, looping around and coming back the way you came when you hit the warping bar and placing your warp thread in the warp coil.
When you have warped 23 warp threads across, tie off on the bar, making sure to keep even tension.
Make sure you have an ODD number of warp threads (23).
Place your spring bar (if you have one) in your top warp coil, making sure it goes over the warp threads to keep them securely in the warp coil.
Next, take the warping bar out of the clips by swinging them outward and move it down to bottom of loom, about two inches from the bottom beam and below the wing-nuts. If it is difficult to do this, loosen your tension slightly.
If you have warped on one side of the loom, now is the time to tie a ribbon/string on the other side to balance warping bar.
Now, tighten your tension slightly by turning the wing-nuts counter-clockwise.
At this point, take some time to make sure your warp threads are spaced evenly. Adjust them at the bottom of the loom and measure at both the top and bottom of the loom to make sure the width of your piece is even.
Tapestry is a type of fiber weaving. It is weft-faced, the wefts are generally discontinuous (they do not go from selvedge (edge) to selvedge (edge)) and it is generally pictorial (like painting a picture with fiber).
Weaving where the warp does not show.
The thread or yarn that is put on the loom to serve as the base for your weaving. Think of it as your canvas.
What you weave into the warp.
Warp Coil (or spring)
The spring at the top (and optional for the bottom) of your loom that separates the warp threads.
The vertical space between warp threads
Pass, Half Pass, Line & Shed
When weaving tapestry, it is important to know that weaving across your warp threads once does not make a line. In tapestry, we call this a half pass. Going back the other direction (and therefore covering all of the warp threads: once during the first half pass and once during the second) creates a full pass or a line, meaning all the warp threads are covered.
How to Not Pull-In
Pulling-in is when your tapestry starts at one width and gets thinner and thinner as you weave. It is one of the most common problems that beginning tapestry students encounter.
Some tips to not pull in:
-Keep high tension on your loom
-Avoid weaving from edge to edge (selvedge to selvedge)
-Measure the width of your piece every few rows and adjust if it seems you are pulling in
-Bubble (More on this below)
For more on these tips, check out this blog post, “Prevent Pulling In”.
Bubbling helps you to use enough weft in a given half-pass. Bring your weft through your warp threads, making 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 into 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. Then, beat down your weft using your tapestry needle.
When weaving tapestry, you want to make sure all of your weft ends are at the back of the piece. Sometimes an end on the edge of your piece might end facing the front of the piece rather than the back. To fix that, you simply need to make what is called a “pigtail”. To do this, bring your weft behind the last two threads and then loop it around the edge thread so it is facing towards the back.
Starting and Ending Weft Threads
If you are starting or ending a weft thread on the edge of a piece, you will either leave the end behind the piece or, if the shed is such that the end is sticking forward, you will make a pigtail (as we mentioned before). If you are starting or ending a weft in the middle of a piece, you simply stick your wefts behind the piece and end or start them there.
Choosing Your Colors
Your kit for this weave-along came with a variety of colors. Choose four colors that you want to use for this piece and in what order you want to use them.
If you want to be creative in your color use, one suggestion is to do some color blending. The wool we are using is three-ply, so you can pull it apart and combine different colors to create different effects.