The Janice Lynn Memorial & The Isla Women’s Beading Collective

Recently, we were contacted by the family of a woman, Janice Lynn, who had recently passed away. They wanted to give her loom back to us for us to give it to a person or organization in need of a loom. We  ended up giving the loom to the Isla Women’s Beading Collective in Mexico. The following are some pictures of them with the loom. How fantastic! On our new site (launching very soon!) we have a page dedicated to the Janice Lynn Memorial and we will give away looms on occasion in her name to organizations such as this one. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. 

Beaded Woven Cuff Bracelet

Mirrix projects in the News, sort of

Got a call from Elena today.  “Did you read Beading Daily yet?”  I hadn’t.

I am including this Beading Daily issue below.  Now granted, Jean is using a bead loom to weave fiber and hence does not have the luxury of a shedding device, which I believe is really necessary to make our version of a tapestry cuff.  Still, Jean is combing fiber and beads and giving me the credit for doing so.    I love sharing and being shared.

At the bottom of this issue was some information about beads, baubles and jewels series 1400 as well.  The below picture was included.  Nice.

Beading Daily
Learn How to Add Fiber to Bead Loom Projects

One of the nicest gifts I’ve received from a bead friend is my custom-made bead loom, designed/made/gifted by David Dean. It’s nice because it’s really long so that there’s lots of room for hand movement, it has a handmade heddle, and heck, it looks nice on the wall of my studio. I did a few beadweaving projects when I received this mighty loom, but there’s been a project sitting on this thing for a couple years now, just waiting to be finished. As most of you know, there are some projects that just aren’t going to get finished, no matter how good your intentions are. This was definitely one of them. Just about the time I admitted this and was going to chop the threads to clear the loom, I ran across a project by Claudia Chase that got me excited about reviving this project and weaving on a loom again. In Claudia’s project, which can be found on the latest Beads, Baubles, and Jewels DVD (series 1400), she incorporates fibers into her bead loom designs. Brilliant! The resulting cuff bracelets are colorful, textural, and simply wonderful.

So, yes, the thought of adding fiber to bead loom projects made me turn my attention back to my ignored little bead loom project. My project, which started as a design for a book I was writing, was super pattern-oriented. It made me realize that I’m truly not a pattern-follower, and when you’re not a pattern-follower, designing patterns isn’t really that fun. Anyway, I liked the idea of saving this project with a little freeform fiber addition, so I did a little playing:
1) When I weave beads, I start by stringing enough beads to fit between the warp threads. (The “warp” is the threads I prepared the loom with; just check with your bead loom manufacturer to learn how to warp your particular loom.) Next, I pass under the warp threads, pop the individual beads between the threads, then pass through the beads over the warp threads to keep them in place.
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2) To add fiber to the project, I start a separate thread (apart from the beading thread that I’ve already been using). I can either thread the needle with the fiber I want to use or, if the fiber is too thick for a needle (like this ribbon), I can stitch into the fiber with a small bit of beading thread or use a Big Eye needle to pull the fiber along as I weave.
3) With beads, I pass back through them to lock them in place on the warp as I did in Step 1. With fiber, it’s a little different since there’s nothing to pass back through. So, to lock the fiber in place, I’ll weave over and under each individual warp thread when I go one way, then under/over when I come back. (You can see the over/under, under/over pattern in this photo.)

4) Next, I press the fiber down the warp to tighten it against previous work. I can switch fibers as I go, add a bit of bead loomwork next, then switch back to fiberwork. The possibilities are vast!
I sure liked playing with this idea. Thank you, Ms. Chase. If you’d like to find out more about weaving on a loom, check out Claudia’s presentation on Beads, Baubles, and Jewels. While you’re at it, view the dozens of other great projects, tips, and techniques that come in every series of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels.
Happy beading!

A Split-Loom Bracelet: Part Two

I was never the kid that hid under the covers with a flashlight reading a book when I was supposed to be sleeping. I was the kid that hid under the covers without a flashlight reading a book when I was supposed to be sleeping. Still, my husband will find me on the couch with no lights on just after the sun has gone down squinting at a book. He even bought me a book light to try to remedy my stubbornness, but of course it sits unused on my bedside table.

Point is, I have some strange aversion to turning on lights. Maybe it’s the environmentalist in me. Maybe if I had an Ott-Lite all would change. The lesson I learned last night is… don’t bead in the dark. Just don’t do it. If you do, you might end up having to take out eight rows because you thought one pink was another pink. So… here is my progress minus eight rows.

You can begin to see the three columns that will eventually all be split. The one on the right is already split. (Just the width of one bead.) 

Also, we’ve got some fun news!

The June/July 2011 issue of Beadwork is out and it contains (on page 70) Claudia’s tapestry/bead cuff project. It’s well illustrated.
Get a copy at your local large bookstore or online at Beadwork
And … streaming video to your local PBS station for Beads, Baubles and Jewels’ 1400 series is happening now. Claudia’s project is part of the 1410 series. Check out details at:

Beadwork Magazine and beads, baubles and jewels

Just yesterday Elena asked me when the beads, baubles and jewels episode I was on would be available.  The answer was sitting in the mailbox, but I hadn’t checked the mail.  I did just now because I just received an email from someone who read my article in Beadwork on weaving a tapestry/bead cuff.  Oh, I thought, it must be available and maybe, just maybe, a copy is in my mailbox.  So I scurried up the driveway to discover that indeed there was a copy of Beadwork . . .

. . . lying right on top of the disc from beads,  baubles and jewels.  Pay dirt!

For your own copy of Beadwork, check out your local big book store or purchase online at:  I am going to see if I can get some copies to sell on our site.  Stay tuned.

As for beads, baubles and jewels . . .  check this out:  Scroll down to the 1410 series.  Then find out where you can see it.  I know that after it airs you can find it on this site.  Since I don’t have a television, I can’t really give you any more information than that.  

Now to watch it myself.  Egads.

Split Loom Bracelet: Warping & First Rows

The first step to making this bracelet is warping the loom. It’s a foreign concept if you’ve never warped before but, especially with a piece like this, it’s an easy process. I’ll go through some of the steps here (just to give you an idea) but I suggest looking at our step-by-step .pdf warping instructions for a (much) more detailed explanation. 

After making sure the loom was even and placing the warping bar in the clips,  I tied my warp (C-Lon) to the warping bar.

Next, I warped the loom. The process is rather simple. You wrap the warp around the loom but each time you hit the warping bar, you come back from where you came. Each dent (the space in the spring) has two warps in it because I am using the shedding device. (If you are doing traditional bead weaving on a Mirrix Loom you would only put one warp in each dent. You would also only put one warp in each dent for tapestry weaving.)
My little bags of beads and the loom warped (but not heddled). After I tied off I released the warping bar from the clips and moved it to the bottom of the loom. I also tied a string to the other side of the loom to keep the warping bar balanced. On a side note… See those little pigs in the background? They’re salt and pepper shakers given to me for my birthday… their little faces magnetize to each other. Love them!
I put my first set of heddles on one of the threads in each dent. Then I flipped the shedding device and put heddles on the other treads. I used a bar woven through each pair of warps to help me see which thread was which. Now, when I move the shedding device up and down I will be lifting opposite sets of warps, giving me a place to stick my beads. Easy! 
The first row I wove in the traditional way (you do this to make a base for the weaving), using pairs of warps as if they were one. 
Three rows done! I engaged my shedding device, strung my beads and placed them between the threads.  No need to use a needle (except to pick up your beads), which is really nice for those of us who shy from any craft (or really, any activity…) involving needles. 
Notes and Numbers:
I am using an 18 dent coil. The piece is 18 warps and 17 beads across. 

A Split-Loom Bracelet

Tomorrow I will begin my new split-loom bracelet. (A little revised from my first plan.) I will warp the loom 18 warps across and then gradually split the bracelet into three parts (with 5 beads in each part). I will do the same when I end the bracelet. The first 10 rows will look something like this:


I am going to show the whole process, including warping,  throughout my next series of blog posts. Here is my loom, ready to go: 

Easy Weaving

Apologies for the lack of posts lately. I have decided to re-start my split-loom bracelet using new beads in different spring colors. I will post here as the piece progresses.

I wanted to write here tonight to talk about ease of use regarding Mirrix Looms.

Weaving is an art. No one begins as an expert. That said, you can be successful on your very first project on a Mirrix.

A Mirrix Loom is built to make weaving as easy and as fast as possible. They are strong, with great tension, a fantastic shedding device and great accessories meant to make your weaving experience better.

Plus, we are here for you! Have a problem? Just ask. We also have lots of resources online including videos and instructions.

My goal with this blog is to give you projects that a beginner can do and be successful doing. With a Mirrix, anyone really can be an artist.

One of my favorite projects that is so beautiful and so beginner-friendly is the tapestry cuff bracelet. If you’re thinking of beginning to weave, this is such a fun project to start with and we even have a kit get you started.

Happy Weaving!

Zentangle jewelry tags

First the cats:  yes they are wonderful and yes they are the most adorable teenage boys you’ve ever seen.  Very cuddly when you can get a moment with them.  Currently, they are in hiding.  They miss their human Mom who spent the first eight and a half month of their lives with her.  So although it’s not the same situation as rescuing an abused or neglected cat, but it still will take a week or so for them to trust me.  Yesterday, I spent the entire day locked in my bedroom with them.  Got to hold each one twice.  But now they’ve snuck out and our house has a thousand hiding places.  Just have to wait for them to reappear.  I am hoping food will help.  But I digress from the topic of this blog:  Zentangle jewelry tags.

Since I will be putting my work on our website for sale in the near future as well as taking pieces to shows (I normally just sell my work in galleries) I decided I needed jewelry tags.  I have a stamp that says:  Mirrix Studio.  But just the stamp alone looked really uninteresting on a small square of white paper. So I whipped out my color pencils and a black pen and went to town.  Not exactly works of art, but colorful and give a nice balance to the beadwork.  At least I think so.  Plus, it gives me a chance to scribble.

Here they are: