Class at New Hampshire Institute of Art

Fall class to be taught by Claudia at the New Hampshire Institute of Art:  www.nhia.edu

Bead and Bead/Fiber Weaving on the Mirrix Loom 

Five classes taught over the course of five weeks.  Learn how to weave both beads and beads combined with fiber on the Mirrix Loom.  Complete at least three pieces.

Check www.nhia.edu for more information.  It’s not posted yet, but will be soon.

When:  Wednesdays, 9:30 to 12:30 from October 18th until November 15th

Where:  New Hampshire Institute of Art
148 Concord St.
Manchester, NH  03104
603-623-0313

Bianca’s Brow Band

I started Bianca’s Brow Band the other day. It doesn’t look like much right now, but it is going to be fabulous I think. I drew the shape of the piece on 2 pieces of paper taped together and then she drew the design out with my help and picked out a pile and a half of colors. I will be incorporating some bead embroidery to this piece as well. You will see all of this on the video when I post it, which will be all inclusive at the end of the piece. Here are pics of what I have so far.

This is a pic of the pattern, half of it. I use Bead Tool to design my patterns.


I cannot wait to take my final image, which will be on her horse!

Tasks and the dye studio

image Correction for yesterday’s post. Thanks to Camille for pointing out (on FB) that I calculated the warp width incorrectly. I was thinking in terms of the width necessary for two 4-inch squares, without taking into account that the two squares are joined in different sections. Therefore, I need a warp width for three 4-inch squares. That’s why I talk about these things out loud!

Have you noticed that sometimes before you can do one task, that three more tasks need to be completed? Since I have been talking about having a real dye studio, I did the first task on Wednesday—clean and reorganized the carport. Being a carport, lots of leaves had blown in, so those are now bagged and ready for the compost. I’ve always been able to park my car, but lately winding my way into the house had become more wind than a straight line. Now I am ready to start on the room that will become a better organized dye studio, with the dyes on open shelves, a utility sink, and stoves that are not in the middle of the space. There will even be a table for painting either warps or fabric. Now that the carport is cleaned, I can begin emptying the dye space, reorganizing, and getting rid of the trash.

One of the benefits of cleaning the carport was that I found my aluminum easel, which I am hoping I can use with the Mirrix. Not sure it’s sturdy enough, but keeping my fingers crossed.

Another task was organizing a visit for my grandchildren to visit here this summer. They are too young to fly alone (in my humble opinion and that of their parents), so this involves my flying to them, spending one night, and then flying back here. Lots of coordination involved in getting dates, flight times, etc. Every time I thought something was nailed down, I was timed out on the reservation. Or if I changed one date, the price increased so much that it was no longer an option. All of this took three hours on the internet, and believe me, I was tense at the end of the process! We’re using two different airlines to make this work. Whew! But it’s worth it to be able to spend time with them this summer.

If you don’t have anything else to do and want to start a new kind of garden…

This from NPRimage

And this from NY Times image

And another from the Times. The picture below actually seems very practical. The buckets are on pulleys so that the plants can be protected from deer.image

Friday, May 21, 2010


Look, Ma! No masking tape! or Warped again

Warped the Mirrix today and it went soooo much better than the last time. That could be attributed to the fact that I actually put the warp bar where it’s supposed to be. Warp-bar No masking tape today! And it didn’t fall out. I decided to warp at 6 epi this time instead of the 8 epi that I used last time. You can see that I used the 12 epi spring, warping every other one.6-epiHere’s my pile of heddles. I’m hoping that I tied them better this time and don’t have knots coming loose.

HeddlesOne thing that was holding me back was the decision of what to weave next, but today the decision has been made. I am going to attempt a pulled warp tapestry. I can’t remember for sure where I first heard about doing this type of weaving, but it may have been from an ATA newsletter. After a little research, I found a blog post about using pulled warp to form a dodecahedron. I will not attempt anything that advanced my first time out. I plan to weave a simple cube first and see how that goes. There are several patterns for polyhedra here, including that famous dodecahedron. Here’s what the net of a cube looks like: image

I will just weave the squares without the tabs that one would need if making this of paper. Now, if my calculations are correct, for a 4-inch cube, I will need an 8-inch wide warp. I guess I could weave a 6-inch cube—just decided to keep it simple. I don’t know how to do any bead weaving, but I do know how to stitch beads on to fabric. So that may be an option for this cube, before it gets its warp pulled.

If anyone is interested, Kathe Todd-Hooker has designed a couple of bumper stickers that might be of interest to weavers. Check them out here and contact her about them

Talutah Choker

HI everyone! This piece was started and finished fairly fast, I think anyway LOL I designed this piece up several years ago and decided on a whim to do it, since it was very different from my first loomed piece. I had a lot of fun with this, but there were challenging moments on here. Here are a few work in progress photos and the finished photos. I loom merely on instinct and without teachings. ;)

Just a reminder that I have an entire web page set up for Mirrix Loom endeavors. ‘Fun With Mirrix‘. I have everything archived on that page, although I think I am going to have to rethink it and organize it better ;)

My next project is going to be for my daughter, Bianca. She received a horse, ‘Street Fox Discovery’ for her 10th birthday this past March. I am going to be making him a loomed decorative brow band. I am, again, working off an idea and have no clue how I am going to achieve certain parts of this LOL I will be making an all inclusive video of this process, start to finish! So it will be a good week or so before my next video, but it will be fun! I will post pics as I go. Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Twisted is off and I’ve got issues…

…besides the psychological ones.

Monday-I finished the twisted warp section. I had twisted it two more time, but then decided that was too much, so I unwove the top section and redid it with less twist. After cutting it off, I think that at least one more twist would have been better. What do you think? It’s an interesting idea, though, and I’m glad I did it. Twisted

The good news is that I had nice straight selvedges! I was expecting more draw-in, but it didn’t happen. Some of the issues that came up while weaving:

  1. Some of the heddles came undone, which means my knots weren’t sufficient. Maybe a drop of glue on the knot? Or maybe I just need to learn how to do knots.
  2. Unknotting and putting the warp back into heddles is difficult to do with this loom, but I’m not sure it would be any easier with a different type of loom. The hard part is the heddles, but, since it was a narrow section of warp, I didn’t put those warp threads into the heddles again, especially since I was having trouble with the heddles—see #1.
  3. Weaving on the dining room table may not be the best location. The loom needs to be higher and
  4. The lighting needs to be improved.

Taking those things into consideration, maybe the next project will be more pictorial, although I have other ideas for some shaped tapestry pieces.

Next up—warping again. Maybe I’ll do it right this time! I’ve scanned a couple of drawings and experimented with color. That means using a cartoon, another something new for me on this loom.

Later Monday—Just tied more heddles. Going to try for the entire width of the loom (12 inch weaving width) at 6 epi this time. It’s really nice to be able to experiment like this. And I did put a drop of glue on the heddle knots. Now if I can just figure out a better way to keep up with the warp thread as I warp.

Oh, and by the way, I’ve decided that I really don’t want to do a three hour seminar about tapestry with no looms. You can read more about my thoughts about possibilities for a seminar here.

Elena just added me as a guest blogger here, so I have done a little cutting and pasting of what’s been going on with my Mirrix adventures. Unfortunately, in the middle of my adventures, I have had to put things on “pause” so that I could do the finish work on three pieces, sew up the covers for five pieces, and prepare them for shipping. Today I am making a trip to the photographer, so I will post pictures of those later.

If you would like to see the other parts of my blog unrelated to Mirrix, you can go here. The excerpted posts below are in chronological order. In one of the posts is a list of possible weavings that I would like to try on the Mirrix. I also tell you about my frustrations with warping, but be sure to go to the end to find the addendum to warping. The next warping experience should be totally different. In fact, I am thinking of cutting off the current piece and warping again with an actual plan (gasp!), except that…see next paragraph.

Currently I am working on doing a warp-manipulated section, which will let me twist a section in kind of an elongated three-dimensional spiral. I also plan to weave a drawing by my four year old grandson of some sort of creature, so I thought I would use some metallic threads for that. Kids love all that gaudy stuff, and it would give me an opportunity to experiment, right? A little trip to Joann’s to look at metallics–boy, those threads are very fine! We’ll see about that idea.

Tuesday, May 4

image

I am so excited! I have been notified by Elena at Mirrix Looms that I am one of the winners in their Social Media Marketing experiment. I wrote about the contest here. I really am very excited to be able to do this! So, first, I am going to make a list of the possible projects to do on this loom. It will be my first real effort at using an upright loom, so I imagine that just warping this puppy will come with a learning curve. Just deciding on the warp sett will be important—this coming from someone who uses a sett of 4 epi! One of the positives, besides having an opportunity to use this loom that I’ve heard so much about, is that there is a commitment attached. That means I have a great incentive to try new things and experiment.

I am including this list to help me remember, ‘cause I know I’ll forget all my ideas when the creativity muse goes on vacation. If anyone wants to suggest other things to add to my list, please do.

  • Drawing by my grandson—maybe I’ll start with this one
  • Tapestry of a sign that was photographed in Peru of a man and woman
  • Warp painting while on loom Maybe not since I mostly do weft-faced weaves—something to think about
  • Several small but related pieces to be mounted on canvas (similar to this) or some other format
  • Series of faces or masks
  • Spontaneous piece using my leftover butterflies
  • Use a double warp to experiment with using two different warp setts in the same piece
  • Incorporate beads in a piece a la Jon Eric Riis (although never with as much skill and creativity as his work)
  • Use metallic threads and silk
  • Weave a piece that incorporates sticks (a client asked about this; will practice small before attempting big)
  • A Miro wannbe
  • Incorporate conductive threads/LED lights into a piece and here-articles/information by Lynn Bruning
  • Alex Friedman-type tapestry
  • Shaped tapestry with pulled warps here and here.

Gosh! The possibilities are endless! And after my weekend workshop with Holly Brackmann, I may need to add weaving a piece on which to do some surface design.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Lessons in frustration

image

This is a picture from the Mirrix website

loom-unpackedMonday-Let me say here and now that this is not the problem of the loom. I have heard about the Mirrix loom for ages, and know that everyone loves their loom. This is a problem with my brain. Since my new Mirrix has a weaving width of 13 inches, I thought I’d make a warp of 13 inches. Makes since, right? But I am having trouble with this concept of a continuous warp of the kind that is used on a frame loom. I use a horizontal loom, put on 30-40 yards of warp at a time with a sectional beam. I don’t warp constantly.

Watching the DVD that comes with the Mirrix, pausing constantly to make sure I’m understanding the direction the warp has to go, I start warping. Then I went back to the written instructions, trying to make sure if I’m supposed to go behind or in front of a beam. I thought I was getting it, then the warp bar fell out. With that, I decided that a 4- inch warp will be wide enough for practice. I know, it’s not rocket science and soon it will be second nature. Just not today.

Later on Monday- The four-inch warp is on. The warp bar kept falling out, so I resorted to masking tape. Masking-tapeWorked great! I’ve measured the threads for the heddles, tied a few heddles and attached them to the heddle bars. Now I’m really wondering about what kind of shed I should expect. I am not going to worry about that right now, though.

Here you can see the loom with the warp. In addition you get to see all the surrounding notes, instructions, the small DVD player, and a finished piece in the background.

WithNarrow-warp

The lesson that I don’t seem to learn from days (or hours)like this is that sometimes it’s best to just walk away, get some rest, and start fresh at another time!

Does anyone know of a source for polyester yarn suitable for weaving? Nothing really fine. I though I’d weave a small piece on this loom and do some surface stuff to it. I never use anything but natural fibers, so my sources are limited. Maybe a trip to the yarn department of Joann’s is in order.

Monday, May 10

Mirrix Adventures-Today I started weaving a rectangular shape out of the black that is in the beginning part of my Mirrix tapestry, with red on each side. Since I want to manipulate this black part in some way, I am weaving it in slit tapestry. Gotta tell you—This is the best slit I have ever done! I’m lovin’ this loom!

  • I’ve developed a rhythm now
  • On advice from J Austin, I’ve put a colored cardstock between the front and back warps
  • I have a tendency to grab the lower warp bar when changing sheds, so have trained myself to steer clear of the warping rod

For those of you who have been wanting a small portable loom, this one is the best, and I have tried several! You’ve got a stand built in, so you can use it in a hotel room on whatever surface is provided. You can move the stand legs out of the way, and weave in the car—as a passenger, of course! Although, how much worse can weavers be than all those text-ers driving down the highway!


Wednesday, May 12

So far I’m a little ahead of schedule with the tasks to be completed this week, so I’m hoping to get more done on the slit piece on the Mirrix—besides it’s relaxing after all the “have-tos.” After the slit gets to be about 4 inches, I am going to try twisting it and then to start weaving again. I suspect that I will have to cut the warp in that section, though, before I can twist it. If anyone has any suggestions about how to handle warp manipulation on the Mirrix or any continuous warp loom, please send them my way.


Thursday, May 13

Twisting

I found my three tapestry books by Kathe Todd-Hooker. Whew! As I have been weaving this small piece with the slit section, I have been wondering how to twist that black section for a three-dimensional effect. Well, it’s in Kathe’s book Shaped Tapestry. That brings me to another issue. The method used in the book is to unknot the affected warp threads, twist them, and retie them before starting the weaving again. Guess that will require preplanning, huh?

SlitProbably the quality of this slit has something to do with my warp sett (8 epi vs. 4 epi). If all the slits looked like this, well … There is a light blue piece of cardstock between the warp layers.

I’ll know more about how much warp I will be able to use after I weave this small piece on the loom now, but it might be possible to tie on to the warping rod as one would do with a “regular” loom, and weave whatever that fixed length would be. More to learn. The Grand Experiment continues! It’s nice to have this small project, since I am having to spend so much of my day on finish work, muslin wrappers, steaming, cloth labels, etc. By the way, Kathe’s blog is here and her American Tapestry Alliance page is here.

Yesterday-I cut the warp ends of the black section, added more to the warp ends, and tied that section onto the warp bar separately. I quickly realized that in order to twist this section, I will also have to do the heddles again. I’m going to weave several more inches (perhaps in a different, more showy color), then untie the section, twist, re-heddle, and tie on again before weaving again. Thank goodness there are only 8 warp ends in this section! A suggestion was made by Merna that a second warp bar might be useful for a section which will be manipulated.

Addendum to warping: I just realized last night (after looking at the written directions again), that I had the warp bar in the wrong location. No wonder it kept falling out! Will try the correct way next time. My only defense is that I put the warp bar in based on what I thought I saw on the DVD. How embarrassing!

Split Loom Videos

After much craziness in my household and stressful tech problems, we have finally got everything running and now we are video taping everything! Even the dog playing frisbee! LOL With that progress I was finally able to finish the piece I was working on, for what seemed like forever! I had been putting parts of it off so I could tape it, so it dragged on far too long ;)
The first video is how I put the closure on the split loom piece:

This next video is of the edging I did on this piece:

This is the finished product. The feel of the finished piece is like that of glorious fabric. It is supple and sleek feeling, not to mention the shimmer in the gorgeous Miyuki Delica colors! I hope you like it!

Tapestry Bead Cuff



I had a pretty yucky couple of weeks simply because I had this dumb bronchitis and it just wore me out.  I am usually a very hyper person, bouncing all over the place (that is sometimes good and sometimes bad) but I was dragging my sad tail for two weeks and hacking away, which means I didn’t sleep a lot.  I am only half complaining because the reality is I rarely get sick.  But what I am complaining about is I had NO creativity.  Zip.  I couldn’t even do mindless creative things like knit a scarf.  There is nothing worse than not having that intense desire constantly to create something or many somethings.  It’s what fuels my passion in life and without it the world seems very gray.
So, this morning I woke up at about six and then again at about seven and then again at about eight and then again at about nine and then again at about ten and then again at about eleven.  Each time I woke up I told myself I would just have to go back to sleep with this idea for a weaving I had finally gotten stuck in my head, back to dreams where it would all get worked out and my energy would come back and I would feel just fine.  I let the guilt stay far away because I wasn’t going to let a little bit of guilt ruin my healing.  
When I jumped out of bed at twelve I rushed to the espresso machine first and then to my loom (well, one of the six Mirrix looms I have in my studio) and threw on a warp (19 epi, one warp in each dent using a 14 dent coil) using the tube of C-Lon cord Barry at Caravan Beads (www.caravanbeads.net) had asked me to try out (weeks ago!).  It’s a new thinner size and I knew it would be perfect for what I had in mind.  
Then I dug into my hand-dyed silk collection.  I hand dyed this silk for braiding but it comes in handy for a lot of things.  My vision was that I would finally create a piece combining both tapestry and beads.  I had set the loom up for tapestry.  The beads would have to be woven in a pattern of two beads, one warp, two beads.
I wanted to turn this piece into a cuff bracelet using a brass cuff.  The amazing thing is that my vision turned into reality in four hours.  I am now wearing the cuff.  I have just thrown two more warps on a loom and will experiment more tomorrow.  I also need to dye some more silk.  I plan to dye some of my hand-spun silk as well to see if that works.
The great thing about this project is you can play with tapestry, but not have to master all those tapestry skills.  It’s easy to keep the selvedges straight (especially with the fine tensioning on the Mirrix Loom).  It is the perfect Mirrix Loom project that even a beginner can accomplish.
You can use anything for the weft.  Scraps of silk or cotton are perfect.  Embroidery thread would be wonderful.  Novelty yarns and even a fine wool or rayon can be used.  I used Delica beads, two between each warp thread. 
All in all it was a fine adventure and I am so excited about teaching this new project and maybe even putting together kits for it.  Can’t wait to jump out of bed at six tomorrow and try my hand at using hand-spun, hand-dyed silk. 
So nice to feel my self again!
Picture time: