‘Weighted Warps’ with a Mirrix Loom

I have recently purchased a Mirrix Loom with much anticipation to use a well crafted, assembled loom which can handle some unique techniques I have been perfecting. One of these techniques is called the ‘Weighted Warp Method’. This method allows a ‘wavy edge’ to be loomed, as opposed to the standard thought of ‘straight edges only’. The Mirrix Loom is perfect for this method, because of being vertical, but also because of the accessories which can be purchased. I am talking about ‘Tension Bead Looming’ and not the ‘Heddle Bead Looming’ method.

To create the wavy edge, you will be stringing up the warps with ‘weighted warps’ on either side of the your loomed width. String up the loom as usual, but do not include the number of warps needed to create an ‘indent’ or ‘wavy’ look to your looming edge. You much keep the number of indents to an even number, as these warps are ‘looped with a weight’ to keep them taught, yet movable. Here is a close up of the weights attached to my four outside warps.

The spring you see in the upper portion of that photo, is actually an additional spring, stretched to hook onto a clamp of the lower warp bar. (I suggest purchasing an additional warp bar, when you purchase a Mirrix Loom for Tension Looming, so you won’t have ‘two layers’ of warp thread, which only ends up in waste. The cost of a second warp bar is much less then the cost of spools of thread.) Here is a close up of that center spring, used to center and stable the ‘weighted warps’.

Notice the rod running inside of this spring. This too is an addition to your Mirrix Loom, which hold the weighted warps from moving out of the ‘spring grooves’ while looming this particular method.

Here is the outcome of looming with ‘weighted warps’,

Notice the indentations and increases on each side of this looming. To accomplish this look, it is necessary for the warps to be ‘weighted’ or ‘movable’ on each side, as I pictured above.

Once the loom is strung, for tension looming, and the weights are in place, loom rows of your longest point to stabilize the rest of your work.

When the pattern calls for the ‘indent’, you will add the beads to your needle, leaving off the end bead. Loom as usual, but when you run your needle back through the row, be sure to loop the weft ‘around’ the end warp.

When you pull your weft taught, to finish this row, you will continue to pull until the loop is gone and the weft is now pulling the end warp snug against the last bead in the row. The weighted warp, as seen in pictures above, is what allows this warp to comfortably move ‘up and inward’. The center spring, also pictured above, is what will keep your warps in line, for future rows.

You will be keeping track of each ‘weighted warp’ so you can not only indent, like that above, but also ‘increase’.

As you continue, you can also use the ‘weighted warps’ on the opposite side of your looming, to ‘increase and decrease’.

There are some fine points to discuss, about this method. For instance, be sure to keep your end beads, of each added row, very loose, till you can add that bead to your needle. Don’t allow your warps to twist and stay in line with how you strung them, or wait till the further decrease is complete to swap out warps. Claudia Chase, of Mirrix Looms, even suggested using ‘bobbins’, similar to what you purchase for Kumi Looming, or ‘Kumihimo’. This way, your ‘weighted warps’ could be ‘unwrapped’ as you need the length. I haven’t tried this means and wonder if bobbins would be heavy enough to ‘weight’ the ‘warps’, as needed.

I have many other points to share, and techniques that will change your thought process about the ‘tension bead looming’ method of bead weaving. You can visit my website and keep track of my Face Book Group Page, ‘A Bead Looming Intervention’, or watch for a notice that I have published a book to include many more techniques.

Right now, I am enjoying my work with this wonderful Mirrix Loom. I’ll be sharing more of my looming, on this loom, as this cuff and others are completed on the ‘Mirrix’.

Weaving and dyeing

June21_squares In this picture, strips of index cards are holding the spaces that will not be woven. This really does not work very well, so I am going to try cutting a couple of pieces of cardboard to hold the space. Or maybe plastic bag strips, something that will be “gripped” better by the warp. By the way, has anyone bought index cards lately? They’re now only slightly heavier than copy paper. Very disappointing. I would be interested in knowing what others do to hold space in a weft-faced weave structure. Ideas, anyone?

You can see my marking of space with the Sharpie (think I misspelled this yesterday), which I do instead of using a cartoon. The square above the blue one is going to have wavy diagonal stripes. I might practice clipping a cartoon on with that section so that I can see what works best for me from all of the suggestions that I posted yesterday.

I got some blues dyed yesterday. I decided to use a 2% formula for these yarns that I will then use for ikat. When I overdye, I am hoping that the tied portion will be a good 2% while the overdyed portion will be an even more intense blue. When I dyed the yarns for Peruvian Mask,Peruvian Mask I had to try several formulas to get the colors that I wanted. I ended up using a 2.5% red and a 4% red.

How do you keep your cartoon in place? I forgot to ask that in yesterday’s post. I also meant to look up the link for rare earth magnets. Here it is.

Sherri Woodard Coffey




June21_squares On my large loom where most of my work is done, I don’t usually use a cartoon. Everything is drawn to scale on graph paper, and I work from that. I also mark lines and shapes with a Sharpee, as seen above. Occasionally, with curvy pieces, I find that a cartoon is more practical, but I still just hold a small portion of the total design in place and mark with the Sharpee pen. With some of the pieces that I plan to do on the Mirrix, a cartoon will be necessary. So, I was glad that the topic came up on the Yahoo group. I have found that weavers use lace, vellum, or interfacing to draw the cartoon in order to make it sturdy enough to stitch onto the warp. Other ideas for attaching the cartoon:

From Lany:

I’ve found binder clips (in various sizes) to be the duct tape of tapestry.  I’ve also used lapel pins and earrings (pierced, no dangles) to hold things in place.

Many years ago when I first started weaving and I still do on my Shannock I hold the cartoon ion lace with wine corks and thumbtacks.  With my designs I really need to keep the cartoon where I can see the outlines and make sure there is no shifting of the cartoon. I have never found a method that holds better then stitching through the vellum I use for my cartoons.

From Karen King of Aubusson House:

Someon in this discussion mentioned the problem of attaching cartoons on a mirrix loom.  I have been using rare earth magnets, which can hold a cartoon to the inside of the upper  or lower beams, or when used in pairs can hold a cartoon directly to the weaving.

I bought the 1/4 inch from Lee Valley Tools.  I have the 1/2 inch for my big loom, but you need strong fingers to use that size.

From Shelley

One of the things I do to help me with my cartoon is I pin it to the hem.. Carpet pins are great.. Recently I have been using packing tape on my transparencies to stabilize the weave structure before I pin the cartoon to the piece..

From Kathe

I can’t get my fingers between the two warps either without messing everything up. I stick something solid- half inch  thick  a piece of 1×6- between the two  front and back warps-not sheds  and use a curved needle. It isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it gets easier with practice.  If it’s a particular bad day I can use the board to shove the cartoon against the back of the tapestry so I can catch it with the curved needle. The board gives me something solid to push the curved needle against as it grabs the distance of the stitch. . I also  use really big curved needles because I have trouble with one finger grabbing and holding tight as I grab the curved needle. My longest part of the stitch is on the back, which is easier then doing all the smaller stitches evenly.

I have been known to start the stitching through a button and use the little clippers that you find at homed depot to hold the cartoon in place while I start the stitching.

Bottom line—we all have to find what works best for us. At least these ideas are a starting point for finding out what what method might be best.

I definitely plan on buying Kathe’s book So Warped.image I think it will have much useful information. And, as we know, I’ve definitely got a warping problem when it comes to the continuous kind! I couldn’t get the web page to load this morning, but do a search for Fine Fiber Press to find the book.

Sherri Woodard Coffey



One A Day Bracelets

I have finished 3 days of loomed bracelets for my One-A-Day challenge. I am playing with colors and patterns. It is taking most of the time to replace the bead charts with beads I actually have instead of buying more, which don’t get me wrong, any excuse will do to buy some, but alas, the wallet says ‘you’re not going anywhere or calling anyone and don’t bother trying online ordering either’ LOL So this is a case of making due with what one has already ;)

Wednesday’s bracelet:

Thursday’s bracelet:

and Friday’s bracelet:

I have a cool idea, I think, on how to finish these off and look forward to my grand attempt LOL See you soon with the rest, off to work on Saturday’s ;)

A break

image I have small houseguests for the rest of the week, so will be taking a small weaving break. Instead I will be doing things like finding cardboard to make Ancient Greek props, going to the pool, seeing kids’ movies (who knew there were so many new ones right now), discovering the new MOLA herpetarium (and seeing Iggy), and going to the Museum of Science and History for the Da Vinci exhibit. I’m hoping to squeeze in a little time for measuring ikat and other small weaving work, but if you remember, children are quite busy all the time. Plus, the boys have been asking to weave, so will need to get the little loom set up. A busy week!

Extreme Beading

After a brief hiatus, I am back. Sometimes it is just necessary to hang back a bit instead of going full throttle. I hate being human sometimes, I just really don’t have time ;) I have called this project ‘Extreme Beading’, but have changed it to ‘One-A-Day’, like the vitamins.
I took all 16″ of my loom and warped it for 7 bracelets. I will work them all up, one a day for a week, and then cut them all down and finish them. I know I still have to finish my brow band as well, but figured since the rest of that work is off loom, I will do that in ‘down time’, hoping to finish that by this Sunday (crossing fingers). Here is a pic of the seven loom designs. I did not run out and purchase the bead colors they show, I used from my stash this time around.

This next image shows the loom all warped and ready for me.

and this is the first piece, still on the loom

I have my next one all ready with the colors from my stash, so I will post it tomorrow. Have a wonderful Wednesday! (PS-I think I came up with my next project all ready! Maybe…)

Thirty eight inch Mirrix Loom Deal

The thirty-eight inch loom we used for a model (he was out of his box for a week primping) had to get repacked. Unfortunately, the folks who are good at that are a thousand miles away from my studio so I did it myself. The loom is perfectly safe back in its box but the packing job is less than beautiful. So I am offering this Zeus loom at a $50 discount. Add that to our father’s day special and you’ve got quite a deal. Email Claudia at Claudia@mirrixlooms.com for details on how to get that discount.

Working Small

Peruvian Mask Peruvian Mask, hand-dyed wool tapestry, 47 x 79.5 inches

I’m a rug weaver. Or at least, that’s what I started out weaving, but nobody will put them on the floor. And rugs are big—at least 36 x 60 inches. So I’ve started trying to think smaller, but for me, that still means about 30 x 30 inches. Today while weaving on the Mirrix, I was thinking about how different it is to weave in a small format. The logical part of my brain doesn’t think it should make any difference, but it does. All movements are small and constrained compared to weaving on my large horizontal loom. I am not saying that’s a bad thing, but it is an adjustment. The Peruvian Mask piece at the top of the page is big. I had many more butterflies going than I usually do, and I was standing while weaving, just trying to get this one finished. This one talked to me until I wove it, but I though I’d never get it finished. Of course, the fact that some health-related, family issues were happening at the same time didn’t help!

Now, for a total change of subject—did you think you’d ever hear the words “Elton John sings at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding” used in a sentence? Evidently, it’s true. He’s 59, she’s 33, hmmm… it’s like coming from different countries.

Creativity–I love the creativity and innovation that artists have. Take a look at the jewelry of Kate Cusack, if you haven’t already. Zippers! What I want to know is where she finds metal zippers!

And from Eye/Hand you have these Oaxacan Wonders.








I have a couple of these that I bought in Oaxaca many years ago. Mine are not the mythical creatures shown here, but the common, everyday animals made mythical with their bright colors and geometric designs. The ones show here are by Jacobo Angeles Ojeda and Maria del Carmen Mendoza Mendez.

Sherri Woodard Coffey:      Website   Blog

Instructions to make the Tapestry Cuff


Brass Cuff:  1 1/4 inches wide
Ultra Suede:  slightly bigger piece than cuff
C-Lon cord (medium weight) for warp\
C-Lon thread for weaving beads
Silk yarn (I dyed my own)
Delica beads in a few different colors
15/0 seed beads for edges


A Mirrix Loom with shedding device
14 dent coil

You need to warp for tapestry (not beadwork). Put 20 warps on the loom. 
Put on heddles.
Weave a heading of warp material.
Weave a few rows of silk yarn.
Attach a length of C-Lon thread to the back of the piece (anyway you can do it so you can’t see it).  String 19 beads.  Weave them in, with two beads between every raised thread (except at the ends, where there will be one bead).  Because this is warped for tapestry, there will not be a bead, a thread, a bead, a thread.  Instead, there will be a bead, a bead, a thread, a bead, a bead, etc.

Weave some more rows of silk.  Carry the bead thread up through the woven tapestry, thread 19 beads, weave them in.

Just keep playing like this alternating tapestry and beads until you’ve reached approximately 7 1/4 inches (not including the header and footer which will be folded under).  Remember that you piece will shrink once you take it off the loom, so be sure to not make your piece too short.  You can accommodate for a longer piece, but it’s hard to work with a piece that is too short.

Tie the warp thread pairs with over-hand knots.  Trim to about 3/4 inch.

Place the piece of ultra suede on top of the finished piece.  Trim it so that is slightly larger than the weaving (about 1/16th of an inch on all sides.

You will be glueing the tapestry and the ultra suede to the cuff.  The point is to keep these two pieces in place while you sew them together.  The point is NOT to cover the backs of each piece with lots of glue.  Use the glue sparingly.

Glue tapestry to top of cuff with header and footer folded under so that only the silk thread shows.

Glue ultra suede to bottom of cuff.

Sew the tapestry and ultra suede together all around the cuff.  Keep your stitches as small as possible.  See piece below.

Sew size 15/0 beads to the edges to completely cover the joining of the tapestry and the ultra suede.

Now wasn’t that fun and pretty easy!