Swarovski crystal and gold delica bracelet, take three

It’s finally finished.  Of course I incorrectly calculated the number of rows I would need, but fortunately I erred on too many.  I thought I would need 99, based on the number of rows I’ve needed in the past for a bracelet made just from Delicas.  Apparently, the Swarovski crystals added more width, so I only needed 89.  I was able to remove the excess rows without damaging the piece.  The next step will be to add beads around the piece to cover up any sewing that might show and to give it a more finished look.

Piece off the loom with ends tied and trimmed

Close-up of three parts of the piece

Bead weaving attached to brass cuff

Inside shot of finished piece


The twenty-two inch Mirrix loom models for you

Seems I cannot take a picture of anything around here without a cat showing up.  Today I put up the photo tent and of course Butter decided it would be a perfect place to play. I kicked him out no less than ten times. Granted, a Mirrix Loom is made even more beautiful by an adorable cat (although that is not always the case when I am trying to weave while also playing tug of rope with my weft yarn and a cat) . . . just not all the time.

I’ve sent these off to Elena to be cropped, lightened or darkened.  Her photoshop skills and patience way exceeds mine.  Now back to the weaving.

Butter clearly has weaving in his future

Close-up of bottom spring kit

Profile, just the loom

Close up of heddles in place

The LaniLoom just had to get into the picture with the ZachLoom . . . oh this family of mine!
Yup, that’s the handle!


The Mirrix Family of Looms

A sneak preview of the photography session yesterday.  We decided to take a picture of the entire family so you can really see how they compare in size.

Photo credit:  Jon Webb

In order of appearance:  Loreli, Lani, Little Guy, Big Sister, Zach, Joni and Zeus.

They all behaved very well while they posed although we had to lock the cats in the bedroom because they didn’t understand why they could not get in the picture too.  Although that would have been kind of cute.

I spent today drawing a picture for our next free bead pattern.  When I scanned it into the bead pattern program . . . well, I hated it.  The colors didn’t translate and the detail completely disappeared.  So after an hour or two of despairing over my failure I decided to use my wacom pen and design directly on the computer in the bead software.  A lot more fun because I actually knew what I was getting.  It’s a spring abstract.  But you are going to have to wait until next Tuesday to see and download it.  Now onto the next one.  Hmmmmmm . . . I think I have an idea.


Today is the Day

I know you thought I meant the day I finish the bracelet.  Yeah, it’s almost done.  But Jon, the photographer, is here right now taking the family Mirrix photos and boy is Elena going to be happy.  She’s been complaining about our photographs for months now.  So we hired a friend of Elena’s who happens to be a fantastic photographer.  And he’s here right now!  The loom are all behaving themselves, waiting patiently for their turn.  I made a mess of everything taking them out of their boxes.  You see manufacturing does this perfect job of packing them and I’ve just destroyed their perfect packing job.

That’s the Joni Loom getting her picture taken

Mirrix Family Members sitting around the living room waiting for their turn with the old grandma Tissart Leclerc in the background glaring at everyone!

That’s the Zeus loom thinking he’s going to get warm by the woodstove, but doesn’t have a fire in it!

Social Market for a Mirrix

I’m currently working up the left side of the weaving and starting to level it off so I can cut the weaving off the loom. I’m also trying to finish off the two remaining pieces that were completed earlier in the campaign so I can get those posted by the end of the month.

Susan left a couple of questions for me on my blog…

What tapestry books do I recommend and do I have a favorite?

Based on personal use, I can recommend “Tapestry Weaving: A Comprehensive Study Guide” by Nancy Harvey, “Tapestry Weaving” by Kirsten Glasbrook, and “Shaped Tapestry” by Kathe Todd-Hooker. Those are the ones I have sitting on my bookshelves. I think the Glasbrook book is an excellent guide for beginning tapestry weavers to start with. Harvey’s book is more detailed but it’s also out of print.

The American Tapestry Alliance offers a distance learning program, Helping Hands, designed for beginning weavers who want to explore tapestry weaving with guidance and mentoring from a more experienced tapestry weaver. The details are available on the American Tapestry Alliance website.

What do I like best about the Mirrix Loom?

I really like how easy it is to warp the loom and to be able to get sufficient tension on the warp threads. The coils make it easy to keep your warp threads evenly spaced. I also like the fact that the loom has a nice solid feel to it and it doesn’t wobble, shift, or slide when I’m weaving.

Twisted Fringe Accents

I just completed the entire width, of the Lotus SLN, with a ‘twisted fringe’ and opal glass dagger drops. This was my first attempt to make such a fringe. Going on line, to look at all the tips offered to complete this type of fringe, I realized much of what I read didn’t pertain to how I was able to finish these. I’ll share my exact methods.

Each strand was loaded with beads, not counted, but measured. I threaded a four inch portion of beads, then added my drops. The second half of the fringe was also load with beads, but measured against the first half’s length, (still appx. 4 inches). The tricky part comes now. I found the best way to make the perfect twist was to use ‘rubber finger tips’, similar to what can be purchased in an office supply store. Holding the thread, closest to the last bead added, and pushing taut to make the beads set very close together, I began my twist in one direction. As I twisted, I made sure my efforts were twisting more towards the beads and not allowing both halves of the thread (thread length on each side of my finger hold), was also twisting. At the same time, I was turning the ‘dagger’ or focal at the bottom of the fringe. I did not count the number of twists, as is suggested in many online directions, but continued to twist the thread (still taut against the last bead) until the entire length of beads were twisted around.

To secure the twist and keep it into place, I used a ‘spring bead stop’ to hold my twist and not allow it to unravel. My needle was then thread into two beads, of the row I was adding the fringe, and passed through two additional beads, for the next fringe to begin. I pulled the thread through the four beads, still holding the original twist in the same position. Once all the thread was pulled, I made a ‘half hitch’ knot onto the end warp, between the two last beads I just passed through.

The best advice I can give, is to measure the length you want to twist, hold the twist taut against the last bead and keep that same twist from unraveling until you are able to make the half hitch, somewhere, to secure.

I love how this finish drapes. It has such a great feel and will add more dimension to my SLN then if I completed a ‘one strand’ fringe accent.

My Mirrix loom is becoming the perfect loom for adding all types of creative accents. The loom is holding my SLN, while I am making the twisted fringe. I’ll bet, not that far yet, but I’ll just bet, I won’t be cutting this ‘Lotus SLN’ from the Mirrix, until it is time to attach the clasp!!

Swarovski crystal and gold delica bracelet

This is a story of failure, failure and soon to be success.  I will post the success story once it is completed, but I thought I would share with you the  journey thus far in the hopes that it will make you feel better about your weaving journey when it doesn’t always go as planned.

I ordered five bags of 2 mm Swarovski crystals with the idea that I would create a beaded cuff on the Mirrix loom integrating the crystals with glass beads.  Once I received those tiny tiny tiny crystals I realized that I would have to use them with size 11/0 Delicas.  I was really surprised at how tiny these crystals were.  In the past I’ve tried to integrate size 3 mm Swarovski crystals with size 10/0 Delicas, but the crystals were too large.  I had imagined the size 2 mm crystals would work with the size 10/0 Delicas but that was not the case.

I set up a mini-Mirrix to weave this cuff.  I had calculated that I would need to string up 17 warps in order for the piece to fit on a 3/4 inch cuff.  I happily wove for a couple of hours, using the crystals to create diamond patterns among the Delicas.  I was very happy with the results until I compared the size of the weaving to the cuff.  My weaving was too wide for the cuff!

I cut the piece off the loom.  I decided at that point to put the warp on the LaniLoom.  I happened to have a piece almost completed on that loom but there was room on the left to add another warp for the new weaving.  I put on 15 warps, which was the correct amount and happily began weaving.

At some point I decided to move the loom to a different table and as I did so the loom fell apart! Apparently, the loom had been extended as far as it could be extended before I put on the new warp.  By cranking up the tension a couple of turns, I went past the point of no return and by moving the loom the copper bar disengaged from the threaded rod.  What I had was a loom in two pieces with both weavings turned into a tangled mess.  There was no way to save either.  To do so I would have had to somehow remove the pieces from the LaniLoom and mount them on a larger loom.  It didn’t seem possible without creating even more of a mess.  Below is the incomplete weaving.

As you can see, I used a combination of gold-plated and rhodium-plated Delicas.  Although the crystals are slightly larger than the Delicas, they worked well together as long as I didn’t use too many crystals in one row.  I was loving the piece.  Too bad  it had to be cut up.

Without pause, I rewarped the LaniLoom with the correct number of warps and began once again, the third time in one day.  I was able to weave three and a half inches before the sun betrayed me!  I plan to finish the piece today and will show you the results either later on today or tomorrow.

One thing I am good at is failure.  I am not a particularly patient person and don’t understand why I can channel patients when it comes to creating art.  Maybe because for me it is all about the journey and not so much about the end result.  Yes, I love end results when they are as wonderful as my fantasy, but often that is not the case.  Rather than beat myself up when I fail, I doggedly start over again.  Removing the offending piece is always a great relief because it gives me an opportunity to begin fresh.  Well, in this case I really had no choice.  The tangled mess on my loom was going to cause more stress than starting again.

I am loving the piece that is now on the loom.  With luck and good math, I will make it the right length.  Experience has told me that to fit the brass cuffs I use, I will need to weaving 99 rows.  This does not factor in the fact that the crystals are slightly larger than the Delicas, but I don’t think that will change the math by more than a fraction of a bead.

What I won’t know until I’ve finished weaving the piece and attached it to the cuff is how exactly the crystals will integrate with the Delicas.  In other words, will it have been worth it?  Will the crystals add the intended interest to the piece?  That is important because the crystals are not cheap.  I figure that if the piece were entirely crystals, the retail cost of those crystals would be $180.  I am trying to keep the number of crystals down to 300, which would cost $40 retail, a much more reasonable amount.  The Delica beads, all of which are the most expensive one can buy, will cost about $20.  $60 is not unreasonable if this piece is really stunning.  I also don’t like too much glitz and feel that the crystals really do need to be balanced with the Delicas.  Factor in the fact that the Delicas are in their own right just as beautiful as the crystals (I am especially in love with the pink gold Delicas!).  I think the final product will justify all my failures.

Check back tomorrow for the final results!


Social Market for a Mirrix

We’re quickly approaching the end of the “Social Market for a Mirrix” campaign. Only 3 more blog posts and 2 more videos before I ride off into the Southwest sunset.

You’ll see there’s been a bit of progress since the last posting. And that orange section in the middle is still bothering me but I’m trying to let it go. If you look at that section on the far right of the weaving, that’s approximately 1/3 the height of the cartoon so this weaving definitely won’t be finished by the end of February. But, it’s coming off the loom at the end of the month no matter where I’m at in the weaving in order to be incorporated into a collage. To be honest, it will probably be far more interesting in an unfinished state.

Right now the plan is to start to level the weaving off so you’ll have a better idea how it would look. I’m finding myself making a lot more adjustments now, especially with the black areas. Actually, now that I’m looking at the picture and have some distance, I think I would be a lot happier with that orange section if I had separated it from the brick red with black.