Latest Tapestry

I have made some progress on the latest tapestry weaving.  Not has much as I would have liked.  My first revelation, as I shared, was putting on the treadle.  My next revelation was to take it off the table in my studio and put it in my bedroom on a stand.  Why?  The table height in my studio is off.  It’s too high and the chair I was using was actually a bench and I was doing some amazingly weird things with my back and my posture.  Besides, I caught some nasty bug and have been hanging out in my bedroom with my laptop. So I thought if I put the loom in the bedroom on a stand with the treadle I might be inspired to weave more.  It worked.

I happen to have a huge bedroom, which is good, so there was ample space for all this stuff.  My only fear is that I’ll run it all over in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom.  Turns out I have a habit of running into things. I thought it was just in the darkness (we have no street lights so when it’s dark here, it’s dark).  But yesterday (okay, I am getting to the photos . . . be patient) I was visiting the NH Institute of Art trying to get a teaching gig (which I did!) with Layna.  We are walking along headed for the copy machine (all the stuff you have to go through to teach there . . . you know name badge and parking permit, etc.) and suddenly this exhibit of student’s work on the wall catches my eye.  Each student had a big filled with a drawing of a room’s interior and then various samples like tile or carpet.  This one piece had as a sample a hand-hooked swatch of a rug.  Now there is nothing like that to catch the eye of a fiber addict.  So I am turning my head to the right and walking straight and the next thing you know, to Elena’s horror who was closely following me, I run right into a temporary wall.  The edge of it.  Glasses smash into my face and I am thinking: Please don’t let me be bleeding.

I wasn’t bleeding.  I was stunned though.  However, the only person who noticed was Elena so I pretended it didn’t happen although I was darn happy to get back to the car where I could assess the damage.  Glasses survived.  Bump over eye where glasses smashed.  Dizzy.  Elena drove home.  (I did a similar thing last summer involving trying to carry my incontinent dog outside in the middle of the night and in the dark.  I swung open the door and headed out but not before it has started to swing closed.  Hit the edge with my brand new glasses.  So much for those glasses.  They didn’t really survive.  And so much for my nose.  Big gash where the glasses hit and lots of black and blue.)

Okay, now for the pictures.  I will avoid interviews for teaching gigs in the future if I am sick.

A New Technique of Expanding a Beading Project by Joe Dennard, Mirrix Owner

One of my projects, a contemporary reproduction of an antique Native American tobacco bag, developed a problem.Well, I should confess, it was my problem and doing. In preparing the layout for this project, the borders were too small for the embellishment border treatment. Hence, the problem: I did not allow enough beadwork to support the border textile binding. My options to attach the binding were very limited, and not satisfactory.

The solution was to weave 5 more beads on both sides of the beaded bag. The piece was still on the Mirrix loom, thank goodness! Adding the additional warp threads was easy. Tie the additional warp thead on to the warping bar and start adding the warp threads in the usual manner. Since there was a side thread to attach to, only 5 warp threads were added. Actually, added 6, with the outside warp thread doubled for strength and protection. On the original bead weaving there are double threads on the outside warp right side.

The first photo shows the progress I made in weaving on one side of the tobacco bag along with the added warp threads in the background. The second image shows a close up of the beaded piece and the back warp threads. Image 3 is the start of weaving one line of 5 beads to the original piece. Image 4 shows the needle picking two beads from the original weaving, and going through them through the back side of the bead. See the needle behind the warp threads. The needle and beading thread are pulled through, and 5 beads are added on the
thread. Image 5 shows the new added beads with the needle passing through them on the front side of the beaded matrix. In image 6 you can see the needle passing through a couple additional beads for the next pass of  added beads. Pull the thread through with the estimated same tension as the original weaving.

In image 4, there are two beads which were the connection to the original weaving, in image 6 you can see there are four beads. It is not critical on an exact number but between 2-5 beads gave a good spread of tension on the added weaving. After 5 lines, there was a regular technique involved to solve this problem. Surprisingly, it has moved quite quickly with no glitches. But, I would rather have done this in one piece originally. All future projects will be examined even more closely before starting.

This add-on bead-weaving technique could also be used to add larger sized beads on the sides of various beaded projects. For example, adding two lines of size 8 beads to a bead woven of size 11 beads. This could be very attractive with cylinder beads. The size of the larger added beads will not line up with the small beads, but the attachment could be through the double warped outside threads on both sides. With my next bead project which lends itself to this technique, I will send images to Claudia for  distribution. The stability, strength and flexibility of the Mirrix loom enables a weaver to expand the decorative
presentation of finishing techniques.

I thought my experience might be of benefit to all Mirrix loom weavers. Hope you don’t have to use this technique, but if you should, it is not that difficult. If it were not on the Mirrix loom, I don’t know what my solution would have been, i.e. thanks Claudia! 


Looming Video

I was finally able to get a video going of me working on the loom. I am not totally comfortable doing this, but it will get better as time goes on. This was my biggest ‘fear’ taking on this challenge LOL I plan on my next video to be when I take the piece off from the loom and start to work in the threads. I am hoping to achieve that this coming week/weekend. I am really enjoying working on this!

I am not sure what I will do next on the loom. I was thinking about something simple like a bracelet. I was also thinking a beaded bag would be fun to do..not sure if amulet size or small purse, but plenty of time to consider my options. I have also been thinking for a very long time about a guitar strap. My oldest son is a manager of a music store and he handed me a strap a long time ago to attach a piece of beadwork to, so that may be a really fun option as well ;) I am waiting for measurements on my daughter’s brow band for the bridle of her horse….decisions, decisions LOL

Little Shortcut for that first pesky row of beads

This weekend I warped my 22 inch loom with a 10 inch wide piece for beading. I have really missed having a larger beading piece, missed the way the beads click into place, how I get to see the design take shape.

Usually the first row or two of these larger pieces are tough. The warp threads have not yet been perfectly spaced and there is nothing to push down onto. This time even the first row was easy. I have a little trick I use. The first row always needs to be sewn in, as if there was no shedding device. When I tie on the first weft thread, I leave a LONG tail, on this piece, since it is 10 inches wide, the tail is about 16 inches long. I thread the longer end on my regular beading needle and start placing my first 20-40 beads, but at the same time, I put another, shorter beading needle on the other end, and follow the beads with the tail of the thread. Now the beads stay where they are supposed to be while I weave in more beads. I do about 20-40 beads at a time until I get across the whole piece. This holds the beads better immediately, while making less ends to weave in. I no longer have to thread up an additional thread just to sew in the first row. I am not sure this is that new, but I think I unvented it, and it makes my life easier, so I thought I would share.

The tapestry project continues Using THE TREADLE

I am weaving away, finding that I am engaging the shedding device handle in one direction as the shapes get smaller and just picking the threads by hand for the other because I can’t be bothered to reach up and change the shed.  I am one of those weavers who builds up small shapes at a time when I can.  Others weave all the way across the fell line.  For that second type, changing the shed doesn’t happen nearly as frequently as those of us who weave up small shapes.  So finally I get it.  Claudia, maybe time to hook up the treadle?  Isn’t that why you had the thing designed and manufactured in the first place?  What is the big deal girl?

So I steal the treadle off the 32 inch loom that is getting dusty on a stand and hook it onto the 22 inch which is sitting on a cluttered table.  The whole process to hook on the treadle takes about a minute.  So what the heck was I waiting for?

Suddenly, my weaving is at warp speed.  Okay, realistically, my speed is at least doubled and because the tapestry is starting to take shape, I am happy. Unfortunately, the light starts to fade and I don’t have a particularly good light in that part of my studio and am too lazy to go get my ott light.  Hey, at least I got the treadle hooked up.

This is what I found this morning.  It is starting to take shape.  Below is a comparison to the previous tapestry.

Some profound Saturday morning conclusions.  I LOVE the TREADLE.  It’s magic.  I had been doing so much bead weaving that I had forgotten my love for tapestry and hence my love for tools that make tapestry weaving easier, like the treadle.  It’s really a great design.  It’s only fallback is that the cables do wear out over time in some cases but we include an extra pair in the box and if those wear out we’ll send you another pair for free.  So, really no down side.

You can either put each foot on one side of the treadle and rock it back and forth that way or you can use just one foot.  The treadle does not need a lot of pressure to work and it does pretty much stay in position so you don’t have to keep a heavy foot on it.  Just a light touch will do.

Now back to weaving!

Tapestry Weaving

I got about a third of a way through that ipad case and I got bored.  I guess it’s because I hadn’t planned the piece well.  I was randomly making stripes and then some stripes that weren’t straight.  In the end, I did not like anything about it.  I don’t do so well with stripes.  I love them, but better to let someone else weave them.

I was going through pictures of tapestries past (the ones that are no longer living here and especially the ones I miss that are no longer living here).  I found a copy of “fragment cloth.”

I have never copied a previous tapestry.  And I am not planning to copy this one.  However, I do plan on using the theme of diamonds moving into the sky.  I will use the wool from our new tapestry wool collection so rather than the colors being deep pastels, they will be much brighter. A lot more orange and purple.

I am going to use linen warp.  Why?  Because “Fragment Cloth” was woven on a linen warp.  What makes linen different/special?  Linen is famously considered hard to use as warp for any kind of weaving.  Why?  Because, unlike cotton and wool warp, linen has no stretch.  On most looms, you tie pairs of warps or groups of warps to attach them to the bottom beam.  Trying to get the tension even is somewhat of a nightmare.  If a pair or group of threads is not under the right tension, they will be tighter or baggier than the rest.  Ugh!  That is NOT something you want.  Can you imagine some gloppy, slack threads in the middle of your tapestry?  Wool and cotton are way more forgiving.   You don’t have to be quite as perfect because unlike linen they are not either tight or baggy with nothing in between.  It’s the “nothing in between” characteristic of linen that can drive you to throw cones of it at the wall.

However, on the Mirrix this is NOT the case because of the continuous warp.  Linen works beautifully on the Mirrix. Yes, because of its lack of spring it is harder on your fingers.  But the final product is heavenly:  very stiff and perfect.  The piece on the loom is the same size when you take it off the loom (not so, obviously, for tapestries woven on cotton or wool warp, which shrink quite a bit when left to rest when taken off the loom).

You don’t have to let your linen piece rest.  It did all its resting on the loom already.  Just cut it off and tie the tends.  You will note that with this piece I left the warps on the bottom as fringe.  I just thought they were part of the piece. I don’t normally do this.  I will do this again with “Fragment Cloth Two” which I plan to start in about one minute.  Time to dust off that tube of wetspun linen warp and have a go at it.

I will be using a 22 inch loom.  Eighty warps at eight ends per inch.  If I decide I can even turn this one into an ipad case because it will be the right size.

Lesson learned:  every tapestry has to be approached as if it is your masterpiece and not as something with random stripes just to get through to a finished product for your daughter’s ipad!  The whole point of weaving tapestry is to turn it into a meditation that you don’t want to end, not a final product you can’t wait to get through.

Plugging Away

Good morning all you Mirrix lovers!

I have been working like crazy on the split loom piece. Because I have made one before, I have not run into any snags, which is terrific! I love being able to occasionally tighten my warp threads, it is so easy with a twist on each side to just give it some better tension. SOO easy! I have had many many questions asked of me about the loom on Facebook. One lady asked me if looming is easier or harder than bead weaving. I have to answer that is about the same, the techniques are just different. I think because of the warp threads, people are intimidated, understandably! Warping the loom is super easy! I believe to have a full and well rounded repertoire in beading, all beaders should have a loom and particularly, a Mirrix!

On to the fun stuff! I took lots of photos yesterday, and will today too, of my progress. I am having so much fun I did not want to go to bed last night!

I hope you are enjoying watching the progress as much as I am having fun doing this ;)

WIP and a Free Loom Pattern

Happy Sunday everyone! We had SNOW here in Maine (at least in MY area on the Western side near the White Mts) yesterday! How wrong is that?! LOL
I did a whole day of looming on my most fantabulous Mirrix yesterday! It went smoothly until I posted a photo of it then saw a few errors..being human can be interesting LOL I, inadvertently, decided my butterfly would look nicer a bit different then the colored graph, so after many friends on Facebook commented, I decided I would just keep it as it is instead of the grueling process of ripping out a WHOLE days worth of work. There is an old saying/tale/myth ( I believe it is Native American) that there should be a mistake in every piece. I have heard there is a beader who puts one red bead in every piece she does for this very saying. If anyone knows of a link to this Native American way, please leave it in a comment, I would love to see it and reference it properly.
So without further ado here is the WIP pic:

I also should tell you, since I forgot, that I started a webpage for everything Mirrix on my website. If you would like to see everything on one page, please go here: http://goodquillhunting.com/Fun_With_Mirrix.html I think there may even be a free loom pattern for a 1.5″ wide bracelet on there ;) It may look like this:

Have a great day and I shall talk to you all soon!

Split Loom Work In Progress

Hello everyone. My name is Christina Neit, from Good Quill Hunting, and I was the beady Winner of the ‘Social Market for a Mirrix’. I would like to take this moment to thank Claudia and her daughter, Elena, for choosing me for this project! I am very excited to share with you all things ‘Mirrix’ over the next 3 months!

I made a video the other night as I warped my new Mirrix Loom, but alas, I have been struck with a technical difficulty (Vista versus camcorder driver) and will be posting it this coming weekend.

I started weaving beads last night on the loom and am very excited to see this piece progress. I wove on it late into the night then realized it was 2AM! The 1st few rows were the hardest as I am making a split loom piece (no shedder) and it is rounded at the bottom. The photos below are the progress I made last night and the graph of the piece I am doing. I hope you like it, it is very summery.

I will keep photos coming frequently, so stay tuned to the progress. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

A New Way To Warp? (For bead weaving.)

On Sunday we visited Caravan Beads and while Claudia taught, Barry (the lovely owner of Caravan) and I sat down and tried to figure out an easier way to warp. (All his idea.) We expanded a bit on a fairly new method that was developed at our last workshop and although this has not been sufficiently tested I thought I’d share our ideas with you blog-readers out there and perhaps I could get some input.

This new warping method has two parts. Those of you who are already pros at putting heddles on might not need the second part (the comb). It was developed with beginners in mind and just helps to separate the warp threads and allows you to see what you’re doing much more clearly. (Note: This blog post is meant to be understood by those who have warped the loom before. Once tested more thoroughly, we will post more detailed instructions.

Here we go:

The first step is to make a small, cardboard comb from anything you have lying around. Cut slits in it (as shown) on both sides. You should have as many slits on one side as warp threads you plan to have. On the other side, cut the same amount plus one extra. We will assume that you will be working on the left side of your loom, and putting your heddles on right to left. In this case, the extra notch should be on the front right. (see picture.) If you were warping in the other direction, the extra notch would be on the front left.

Tie onto the warping bar like you would when you are warping the loom normally. 
Loop the warp over the loom and through one dent in the coil. Then put the warp in the first RIGHT BACK slit of the cardboard comb. 
Bring your thread around the bottom of the loom and back to the warping bar. Instead of doing a U-turn at this point, simply WRAP YOUR WARP THREAD AROUND THE BAR and CONTINUE BACK TO THE TOP. (This is the new, easier way to warp and can be done without the comb.)
When you bring your warp thread back to the top, put it through the same dent in the spring as your last warp. (Note: This is only done when bead weaving with the shedding device.)
Bring this warp thread down and into the front notch of the comb. Make sure you put it in the notch that is on the exact opposite side of the one your last warp thread was put in. Leave the extra notch empty. 
Bring your warp thread under the loom, around the warping bar and back up to the spring as you did before. This time, bring your warp thread to the next dent over. 
Continue to do this. (This is the sequence: Up over the loom, into one dent of the spring, into a back notch of the comb, under the loom, around the warping bar, over the top, back into the same dent as the last warp thread, into a front notch of the comb (make sure this is done sequentially), under the loom, around the warping bar, into another dent of the spring… etc. etc. etc…..) This should create a scenario where you have two warp threads per dent in the top spring of your loom and each of those is separated in the comb, front and back. 
Two warps in each dent: 
Tie off on the warping bar when finished. Remove clips. 
Move warping bar down, and then move comb down to just above where shedding device will be. 
Place shedding device on loom. Unscrew bar. Take one heddle at a time and loop it around the FRONT warp threads, one at a time, right to left. Because of the comb, they will be well separated and easier to see. 
Next, flip the warping bar around so the bottom small bar is on the top. 
Move the front right warp over from the current notch it is in to the “extra notch”This will leave room for you to grab the warp thread behind and make it easier to see. It will also insure that you bring the back warp thread to the RIGHT of the one in front (If you were doing this in the opposite direction, to the LEFT.) At this point you may want to loosen your tension slightly to make it easier to grab the back warp threads. 
Loop your heddle around the first back warp thread and onto the bar. Easy to see, isn’t it?
Now, move the front warp thread that is second to the right over one notch to the right. This opens up a space for you to see the next thread you will be looping your heddle around. 
Continue to do this in sequential order, remembering to move each front warp thread over to the right before you grab the next back warp thread. It isn’t hard to remember to do this since the comb sets everything up very clearly. 
Remove the comb.
And you’re done! Ta da!
*We recommend any of the C-Lon threads of cords for warping your loom depending on the size of bead you use.