Small Tapestry Started

A new piece has been started which will be a small tapestry. Originally I had planned to incorporate beads into the weaving but I wasn’t satisfied with the way they looked so I removed them. They may make an appearance later in the piece or I may just wait and add them as an embellishment after the tapestry is completed.

I’m finally adjusting to weaving on a different loom so I’m starting to get back into the flow and not feel as though I’m all thumbs. Still getting a bit organized though… heddles and a bottom spring kit have been ordered which should smooth out some of the rough spots and speed things up. Although, I’m one of those weavers who likes to work without much of a plan so I tend to try things and if I’m not happy, I spend time undoing what I did instead of just living with it. This piece is actually moving along fairly quickly though.

I’m working with Feza Fiona yarn which is a combination of a narrow plied strand, superfine nylon string, and a fluffy single fiber of acrylic, nylon, and mohair all twisted together. I love the color and texture variations but it’s kind of a pain to work with.

Since I do most of my weaving on Saturday and Sunday, I will be posting to the Inside Mirrix blog on Wednesdays and Saturdays and I will be posting a video to YouTube on Sundays.

String-Me-Along Project Bags!

Okay, I have been searching for the perfect project bags for my bead and fiber stuff.  I have a bunch of different not so practical or functional methods for hauling my stuff around.  I am one of those people who “cannot leave home without it.”  “It” is defined as some kind of project.  If I leave home without one I panic.  What will I do if I have three minutes to wait for that kid to get off the bus?  What if I end up at a friend’s house and I have nothing to make while there?  And more recently, I spent six years doing bead work at the State House in order to keep myself calm while I listened to endless rhetoric.  It worked.  I did stay calm.  I should handed out bead projects to all the other politicians.  Maybe we could have reached a Zen state of calm and actually gotten something done.

In any case, I have little fold up things that become a surface for bead work.  I have a variety of little pouches to hold beads.  And I have these things hanging out in my glove compartment, in my purse, in my briefcase, on tables, in drawers . . . and I have been in love with none of these systems because none of them really worked.

The other day I was hanging out on the Caravan Bead site (which has recently become a daily activity) and low and behold I stumbled across the “Project Bag.”  First of all, I knew that if Caravan is carrying this item which I have seen nowhere else that they must think it’s a pretty wonderful product.  I knew I wanted one.  Well, I knew I wanted more than one.  Then and there I decided it was time to make a visit to Caravan.  I needed some beads for kits anyway and I was really in the mood to hang out in the “stacks” (where all the beads live) and a nice long talk with Barry, Caravan’s owner, is always inspiring.  The next day I drove the two and half hours to Caravan.  Now I am not an impulse driver.  I hate to drive.  So this urge to go to Caravan must have been pretty compelling.

After our two hour chat Barry lead me to the project bags.  I bought twenty-four and twenty-four of the refill bags.  They are gorgeous, they are practical, they are amazing and they are affordable.

The manufacturer description of these wonderful bags:  We designed String-Me-Along based on every crafter’s need for organization and portability. String-Me-Along opens to an ample work surface, and includes a clear, removable Project Exchange Bag to hold your crafting supplies. String-Me-Along rolls up and is secured with a strong elastic band for travel. Extra Project Exchange Bags are sold separately in packs of two–choose the one you need, snap it into your String-Me-Along, and go!

This is the concept.  You buy the bag itself which consists of a lovely surface for doing bead work and a plastic (yes, that would be see-through so you can SEE what’s in it!) case with a cool kind of wire mesh design on the side and a zipper.  This case snaps onto the inside of the case.   The case folds up into thirds to produce a case that is 9 1/2 by 5 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches.

These are the replacement bags.  We might sell them singly.  And if fact, we are thinking of packing some of our kits in these bags.  Is that fun or what?

Picture of bag all closed up and ready to travel!
We don’t have the bags on our site yet.  Will get them on by Monday.  You can buy them retail from Caravan (www.caravanbeads.com) or from us.  If you want to resell these bags, contact Caravan Beads because they are the distributors for these cases.  Turn around time for an order there is a day!  

Welcome to Social Market for a Mirrix

As you can see, the 16″ Mirrix loom has arrived.

Not having worked on this type of loom before, I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get it set up and warped. But Mirrix has really great documentation available on their website that took me through the process step-by-step. So, all things considered, the first warping experience was fairly quick and painless. I haven’t worked on a tapestry loom in a while so things felt awkward at first then I got into the flow.

My goal is to complete at least 2 different projects per month during the next 4 months of the “Social Market for a Mirrix” campaign. This first project was started using #5 DMC pearl cotton and will basically be a sampler for me to get used to working on the loom and for me to test different fibers and beads before embarking on a larger and more ambitious project.

There is a multitude of ways to follow the projects depending on your social media preferences…blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can follow the projects at:

Mirrix’s blog: Inside Mirrix

My blog: Dakini Dreams

Twitter: Sapphire_Dakini (hashtag #mirrix)

Mirrix’s Facebook Page

My Facebook Profile

My Facebook Page

Tapestry/Bead Cuff

First class at NH Institute of Art yesterday.  Students had a great time.  Got well underway with tapestry/Bead Cuff.  But it was when I showed them the hand-dyed balls of silk that they could use in their weavings and everyone just went totally silent and slipped into one of those “I am looking at color” trances.  It was perfect.

What were they looking at.

Securing Beaded Panels

Since my last updated post about this cell phone bag, I have completed finishing off the warps, which I complete while still on the loom. Now I can begin the assembly of each panel and the strap.

My first step is to connect the two panels. I am using 11/0 jet black ‘cut’ seed beads, for shine. I’ll layer them in groups of (3) beads between the panel, allowing the ‘bend’ for the bag. The looming is not forgiving when it needs to lay in a circular shape, unless I loomed this from the other direction (beads loomed top to bottom). For ease of looming, I like looming ‘side-to-side’. So the connection between the two panels have to be more bendable. With each pass, in between the loomed beads, I am adding one 11/0 Permanent Silver Metallic Glass Bead. This gives more support for ‘pull’ if the sides are stressed, as opposed to me running the thread directly in-and-out of the looming, only.

The underside is just as flexible. I don’t include the additional bead on this side, but I do make sure my needle passes in the outer edge of each bead, not below the looming threads. If you look close, you can see the looming threads but on the top, you can only see the bead edges.

I have also been planning the strap, for the bag. These are the beads I have selected, which are colors from ‘both’ sides of the bag. The large round black beads, at the top, were a great find. They are ‘matte’ finish with a ‘glossy’ dot, again, picking up the finish from the black used on both panels! I’ll also be creating a beaded spiral section, to go behind the neck, using matte cut beads and weaving a few bead tubes to include in the strap.

I am still thinking about the fringes, what-how-beads-length, which is something we all do ‘while still beading’….planning (dreaming) ahead!

New Beaded Tapestry Cuff Bracelet Kit

Either buy the kit or just follow these instructions!

Instructions for Making a pastel cuff Bead Bracelet using the Mirrix Loom

Materials Included for making one bracelet:
Nine different colors of Delica beads
A brass cuff
Ultra suede
C-Lon beading thread
Bead pattern
Necessary tools not included in the kit:
A Mirrix Loom with or without a shedding device
14 dent warp coil
A piece of cloth for holding beads; a beading needle, a blunt edge needle
glue
Warping your Mirrix Loom:
Warp Coil size:  18 dents
Number of warps:  22
Number of rows:  99
You can use any of the Mirrix Looms to create this lovely bracelet.  This piece can be woven with or without the shedding device.  It’s your choice.  Try Both!
You will want to reduce your loom’s height to minimize the amount of warp you will use.  If you have a larger Mirrix Loom, this can be accomplished by using the extra warping bar.  Use the 18 dent coil for this project.  You will need to have 22 warp threads. We have included a bead pattern to demonstrate the placement of colors.
To Begin Weaving:
Place nine piles of the different colored cylinder beads on a cloth in front of your loom.
Cut a length of C-lon thread about a yard long.  Tie the end of this thread to the bottom of the left threaded rod on your loom using a slip knot so that you can easily release it and weave it back into your piece later.  Beginning with the first row, pick up three of each bead color according to the pattern provided.  Continue weaving by following the pattern, stopping at 99 rows. 
To remove the weaving from the loom, loosen the tension on the loom and remove the warp bar. Lay your piece flat and trim the ends so that you have at least four inches left to work with (the longer the better).  Tie overhand knots with warp pairs.  When you’ve tied all the knots, trim the warp to about an inch in length.
Assembly:
Ultrasuede:  Lay the beadwork on the Ultrasuede and trace the outline of the beadwork onto the Ultrasuede.  Trim the Ultrasuede to match the size of the beadwork. 
Gluing:
Use a toothpick to spread a thin, even layer of adhesive over the back of the beadwork and to one side of the Ultrasuede.  Place the brass cuff blank between the two and sandwich them together.  Smooth both pieces to remove any gaps and make sure they two pieces are aligned.  Allow to dry overnight.
Sewing: Sew the Ultrasuede to the bead work using C-Lon thread.  Use a whip stitch.  Try to be as neat as possible but don’t obsess because you will be disguising imperfect stitches with a pico edging.
Edging:  Cut a yard length of C-Lon thread.  Bury the end between a corner of the beadwork and the Ultrasuede.  You will begin a pico stitch by entering the back of the first bead, picking up three beads and entering the front of the next bead.  Come out through the back to the front of the next bead, string up three beads and enter the front of the next bead.  Continue in this fashion until you reach the end of the row.  The picot stitch for the two ends will consist of coming out the side of a bead, stringing three beads, entering the bead again.  These stitches will be closer together and might ruffle a bit, which is pretty.
ENJOY!

Adding a bead, ‘Sticky Style’!


I am finishing up the last few rows of this panel, for the cell phone bag. (I got a bit ‘side tracked’ with another beading projects and some book writing!) There have been times, through out my looming, where I missed a count or left a bead color off a row, having to pull all the beads off and recount or find the place I dropped. There are many ways of correcting this mishap, but I found one way to be the easiest.

Enlarge the row of beads, in the picture below. Notice how many different colors are added to the needle, row for row. At any given time, a bead color can be over looked or a count of any bead can be missed. Instead of pulling the entire row off the needle, I like to use my ‘sticky method’ of replacing that ‘missed bead’.

Using a white ‘paper tape’, I tape down a strip, sticky side up. This is something I keep by my side, while I loom, often. The paper tape does not leave any ‘glue residue’ and is ‘just as adherent as any other tape.

After noticing there is a bead missing, while punching the beads upwards, between the warps, I recount to find the bead I must be missing. My first thought is how I hope it is one of the last beads put on the needle. Of course, it can’t always be that easy! When I find the ‘needed bead’, I’ll stick the row of ‘keeper beads’ on to the sticky side-up, of the paper tape. Then I pull out the thread and needle, exiting the entire row. The tape will keep the row in order, so I can re-thread the same beads, without having to follow the pattern again!

After I add the ‘needed bead’, then I run the needle back into the row, stuck on the tape. I can then continue to loom!

I wrote an earlier post, on how I remove an ‘extra’ bead, from my needle and thread. Again, I use a pair of pliers or small wire cutters, to catch ‘just the edge of the bead I want to remove’ and ‘crack it’ away-from-the-thread. Cracking any glass bead, directly over the thread it is threaded, will cut the thread.

Mirrix Project: Cat Collar (dog collars could be done in a similar manner)

My cat doesn’t like collars. Since she’s an indoor kitty, we usually let her go without one. Sometimes, though, like on trips to the vet, she needs identification. Her current collar was a $4 number I bought when she was a kitten (it still fits, she’s furry but little).

The other day it came to me. I should make her a new collar! I would use the hardware from her old collar and just weave a new one. Easy!

Follow my collar-making experience here!

Tala. Waiting for her new collar. 
The little one in the middle is the new collar.

Wave Good-Bye to ‘First Row Ripples’!

This present bead looming is considered a ‘wide looming’, 67 beads wide, opposed to many pieces loomed by beaders. Cuffs can get wide, maybe even 40 beads wide (2 1/2″), but not as wide as this cell phone bag panel. This is a good time to reiterate how to deal with a ‘long wavy first row’.

I receive numerous emails, asking me this very question, “Is it OK that my first row is not laying straight?”. To answer this question, I will share some of my first few rows, on this cell phone bag panel. It may have been discussed before, here on my Blog or in my Website, but I feel it is worth discussing again.

Below is a picture of my first row, 67 beads wide, secured on the warps, as any other loomed row of beads. Notice how wavy this looks. This is exactly why some loom companies offer a loom they feel is created for ‘various types of beads’, (Czech, Delica, etc., but all 11/0). It’s the spacing of the ‘weft separator’ that we are told makes all the difference. I strongly disagree, with this assumption. I use the same loom, some width separators, for most of my loomings, (The only time I change up looms is to acquire a larger ‘loom table’, for larger pieces, sized larger then the loom.). If you start in the center of your loom, center of your pattern, any loom will work. The other option is to just ignore the wavy reaction, as I do here.

If you prefer to start out with a ‘straight row’ of bead looming, or feel you just are not sure it will work out as planned, then cut a length of 24 gauge craft wire. Thread this through the entire first row of beads. You can see in the picture below, it will straighten out the beads perfectly. Since you are not running your needle back through that row, then it can sit till you feel comfortable enough to pull it out, or if you need to remove it for your finishing techniques.

I feel comfortable keeping the row of beading as it is, without the wire support, especially for long rows. My hand is not wide enough to reach across the row, without rippling the beads, to run the needle through the rows that follow. Therefore, I can almost, ‘grab my long row of beads’ in my hand and release the row as my needle is threaded into the next row.

Below is a picture of how the rows will ‘shake out’ straight, if you don’t thread the row with wire. You can still notice a wave, but it is getting much better.

Now that I have completed 28 rows, of the pattern I created, the ‘wavy first row’ is no longer an issue! It gets even better, after the piece is cut from the loom!

The best advice is to make yourself feel comfortable about what you are looming. Use the wire technique if you feel you need to see a more uniform look, or just let it work itself out, as the rows increase. Looming takes a lot of ‘special time’ and the last thing anyone wants is to feel they have to cut the warps and start over!