Sharing ‘A Glorious Day’, completed!

I named this Cell Phone Bag ‘A Glorious Day’ because the inspiration photograph was taken by Jean Upton, while she was on a walk/bike ride. The most appealing part of this photograph is the solid black background. I have been sharing stages of completion, but now I am glad to share completed pictures!

Below is a close up picture of the ‘3D Butterfly Wing’, added as a focal to this panel.

The opposite side is loomed using the same color palette, of 44 different Delica Beads, but different Delicas were used as the predominate colors. My choice to keep the color theme going, had to do with how the fringe and strap are finished, reflecting both sides, of the cell phone bag.

Creating a spiral rope section, seems to be a good answer, keeping the strap strong. In this case, I used 10/0 hex cut, matte finish glass Japaneses beads. It spiraled up faster and offered that chunkier feel I wanted to acquire. The bead tubes carry out the same colors, as in both panels. Gems and Stones were also selected to match. I prefer to include sterling silver in between every bead, stone, gem or spiral, when I string up a strap.

As with many bags, cell phone or otherwise, they are more heavily used. Therefore, I always bead an epaulet, for each side. This way, I secure the four sides of the epaulet and attach the closed jump ring to the center. This gives a more security to the attached strap. I use jewelry wire to string my straps, ending with a lobster claw clasp. This can be removed, from the bag, for use as a wallet, or can be easily swapped out with an alternate handle. Notice that I also include three jump rings for the lobster claw clasp to hook on to, so there is additional strength.

A close up of the fringe shows how I used sterling silver caps. This, along with the opaque bicone Crystals, created the weight I was looking to acquire, making the fringe lay perfetly.

Looming a cell phone bag seemed to be something no one wanted to consider trying, thinking of all the warps needing to be managed. What I love about the loomed bag, is how they are supple yet sturdy and have no need to be fabric lined!

Social Market for a Mirrix

Well, the weaving is off the loom and the warp threads are tied off. Now I can start thinking about the additional fibers that will be integrated into the piece, as well as the beads. It definitely needs more texture and color and I think it’s going to be one of those pieces that has to be totally over-the-top in order to work. I’m still not a fan of the Ozark Handspun so I probably won’t be working with it again.

But, enough of this silly experimentation and down to serious business. I just received the Call for Entries for Small Expressions 2011 from the Handweavers Guild of America. Three pieces (less than 15 in any direction) can be entered and the deadline is March 7, 2011 so that gives me plenty of time. Unfortunately, this also reminded me that the deadline for the American Tapestry Alliances show Small Tapestry International 2: Passages is November 30, 2010. Oh well, theres always next year. I need a better system for tracking deadlines.

Anyway, the next piece that Ill be working on will be a more traditional tapestry for entry into the HGA show. Ill have the first cartoon done, the colors selected, and the loom warped and ready to start for Saturdays post.

The Treadle

Lately, I’ve only been using the treadle when weaving on the Mirrix Loom (I have been using the 16, 22 and 32 inch looms).  Of course, silly me, I only have one treadle here so I have to keep moving it around.  Fortunately, the switch only takes a couple of minutes.  However, Layna would say:  that’s a couple of minutes you could be writing about the treadle in your blog.

I am writing this blog and eating a cheese sandwich which I am trying to keep away from the cat who loves to eat anything I am eating.   My treadle is currently attached to loom with a tapestry/bead weaving on it.  And that’s the surprising thing.  Well, not really surprising.  You just have to think about it for a few seconds to realize how logical it is that using the treadle for a thin piece is even more logical than using it for a wider piece.  Why?  Because with a thin piece you are constantly changing the shed.  With a wider piece, if you are sticking to the fell line (weaving a straight line of different threads versus building up individual shapes) you change the shed, weave in all your wefts, change the shed again.  It might be many seconds before you change the shed again.  But when you are weaving a thin piece you are changing the shed every few seconds. Obviously, this adds quite a bit of time to the weaving process.  This might not matter to you.  When I am trying to pound out a bunch of tapestry/bead cuffs it does matter to me.  Also, it is less tiring to simply step on one side of the treadle since there is little movement and you barely have to touch it to make change the shed.

Another situation where the treadle is perfect is when you are building up individual shapes.  I do this a lot.  For example, if you are weaving triangle and you have decided to weave the triangle before you weave the space around the triangle.  You will be changing the shed constantly in a short period of time.  The treadle makes quick work of it, if anything in tapestry can be quick work.

I have re-fallen in love with the treadle.  I’ve always loved it.  It was the first thing we designed after designing the loom because in a way it was why we designed the loom.  I wanted a portable loom that could accommodate a treadle (and a stand, but I wanted the treadle more!).

Kathe Todd-Hooker inspired me to be re-inspired about the treadle.  She fell in love with it.  So I dusted mine off and hooked it up and said to myself:  What gives girl?  Why aren’t you always using it?

I think the answer was almost as simple as:  complete laziness or I forgot to put it on or it’s in the other room and I don’t want to get it . . . great excuses like that.  Come on Claudia!

So I will be asking manufacturing to send me a few of these treadles so I can just hook one up to the three looms I am using and not find an excuse not to use it.  I have a bunch of cuffs I have to weave.

Treadle:  http://www.mirrixlooms.com/accessories.html

There she is!

Social Market for a Mirrix

And now for Plan B. As I mentioned in the previous post, I wasn’t all that warm and fuzzy about the way the new weaving was turning out. So, I pulled out what I had done and started fresh with a new direction. This is much more what I had envisioned so I’m feeling better about the piece now.

Here’s what the beginning of the first weaving looked like before I dismantled it. Yep, that’s it… pink and lumpy.

I thought I would show you a picture of the warped loom with shedding device and heddles attached. The loom is warped with black C-Lon Fine Weight Bead Cord.

And here’s the new yarn I’m starting with. This is Maya cotton bulky yarn by Tahki Yarns in black.

And here’s where I’m at with the new piece.

The pinkish / grayish areas are sections of the Ozark Handspun from the previous piece that I’m using to randomly fill in areas. Once the piece is finished and off the loom, I will be turning it 90 degrees and embellishing with beads and maybe some found objects. I want the texture to be running vertically instead of horizontally because I think it gives the weaving more of a feeling of movement.

Social Market for a Mirrix

Well, after several false starts, the pieces seem to be holding together. But, it’s not quite what I had originally envisioned.

I started by weaving a ½ border at the bottom with #5 pearl cotton embroidery thread in order to give it some stability. The piece is 10 inches wide and right now is feeling a little too “bunchy”. I’m not sure I’m all that wild about the Ozark Handspun yarn either. So, here’s where I’m at right now…

The first picture below shows the Ozark Handspun yarn. As you can see, it’s a very rough, unfinished fiber. The second and third pictures show the additional fibers I had planned to pull from.



Before I invest any more time going in a direction I don’t think I’m going to be happy with, I may pull out what I’ve done, start with selections from the random yarns, then fill in smaller sections with the Ozark Handspun because I really do like those “feathery” sections.

I’m still going for a fiber collage and I did say this was going to be experimental so please bear with me while I sort things out. I think once I get going in the right direction, the piece will come together fairly quickly.

Social Market for a Mirrix

The first small (5 inch x 7 inch) tapestry is finished. This first picture shows the completed piece before I cut it off the loom. As you can see, there was more than enough space to warp for a second weaving if I had planned ahead.

This second picture is a close-up of the piece while it was still on the loom. You can get a better idea of the colors and texture in this photo. It still feels like a southwestern landscape to me. I’m going to live with it for a couple of weeks before I make a decision on embellishing it with beads.

This is before I tied off the warp threads. For some reason, in this photo the weaving looks really uneven but my ruler says it isn’t.
And a close up to show the color and texture variation.

One of the things that I really like about the loom is that it’s very well-constructed, and at 6 lbs., doesn’t shift around while I’m weaving.
So, lessons learned and things I would do differently:
  • Using the shedding device would definitely have made weaving this piece much easier and faster especially because of the fibers I selected.
  • In order to incorporate the beads I want to use into the weaving, I’m going to have to experiment a bit more to come up with a solution that I’m happy with. I spent a lot of time unweaving sections to remove beads because I didn’t like the way they looked.
I’ll be posting video #2 tomorrow showing the start of the next piece. Also, I’m getting the projects set up on Weavolution so you’ll be able to follow along there if you’re so inclined. I’ll post a link to the projects when they’re ready. There’s also a Mirrix Looms group on Weavolution.
I’ll leave you with some eye candy… Maximo Laura, a Peruvian tapestry weaver. I want to be him when I grow up.

The Adorable Mini Mirrix!


I just received the ‘Mini Mirrix’. It is so cute! The looming table is appx. 2″ wide, so that will relate to about 36 beads wide. This also extends to a 7″ looming length, unless you want to turn your looming as you continue to loom. I’ll bet you could also add extensions, if you don’t want to turn your work, but that will have to be looked into.

It also comes with a warp bar, which is necessary to hold the warps. I opted for ‘two’ warps bars, in hopes to save thread and not have the warps running behind my looming, while I loom. I’ll have to give more thoughts on this, after I work, with the loom.

It would be a perfect size for cuffs, credit card cases, glass cases, or even a small change purse. I plan on working up some ‘earring’ patterns! Yes, I did say, “earrings on the loom”! I promise to share!

Adding Character Using Beads for Lift!

A few more stages, including the addition of a ‘3D’ wing to recreate a more realistic feel of the butterfly, have been completed.


After hand weaving a wing, using the same colors and sizing larger then the one in the beaded panel, I stitched the one edge, of the butterfly wing securely. To complete this lift and secure the opposite side, but not sew down, I attached the other side of the wing by including a 6mm Permanent Metallic Silver bead.


This will give the wing the ‘lift’ I wanted to keep, and allow it to stay secure enough that it won’t be ‘flapping’ around, while wearing the bag. This is a technique I do often, in my 3D building, adding beads underneath!


I have also completed a ‘beaded spiral’ and beaded some bead tubes, to finish the strap. The beads in the spiral are 8mm cut glass, matte finish. I love how they give the texture, in this spiral. I also used them in the center of two bead tubes! These, along with stones and gems I purchased and showed earlier, I will string the entire strap and secure.

The bottom of the bag is also closed, at this point, and I’ll be fringing it with a short fringe, to include all the colors of the bag.