Wow

So much going on I sometimes find myself walking in circles because I cannot figure out what to start or finish first.  I am getting used to my newly arranged studio.  Haven’t yet put up paintings or tapestries.  Just not willing to put holes in the wall yet and afraid I might hang something in the wrong place.  So I will sit with it until something speaks to me.  Unfortunately, what is really speaking to me is weaving a huge multi-panel piece.  I just don’t have time today!

Meanwhile, little steps.

We at Mirrix have decided to do our best to fill in our online store with all the “stuff” you could possible need.  Hence, we were so excited to run into the tulip beading needles.  Received my first order the other day and did not waste time breaking out a needle and breaking it in.  They are indeed beautiful, functional and they don’t bend easily.  I can even thread them.  What is more they seem to be able to squeeze through tiny bead spaces again and again. I was amazed.  So whether your are using the shedding device or not (and especially when not) these are the needles for you.  They come in a nice little package to keep them safe.

Second thing we are adding to our online store.  Yup, I am finally willing to part with some of this gold. We are including it in the elegant and wedding bracelet kits, but we thought you might want to buy some of it for other projects.  We’ve combined three strands of gold.  They are all slight different colors so the total effect is perfect.  The gold skeins are each twenty-four yards.  It’s hard to photograph.  Will take a bunch of photos today to come up with a clearer depiction of this amazing thread.  Sneak preview:
Have you heard?  The weave-along after the September one (which will be the elegant or wedding cuff bracelet) will be a double-header.  Yes, you will have the option of weaving a wool tapestry cellphone case or the beaded one.  Both cases are large enough to hold the largest smartphones.  Also could be used as a purse for other small items.  Let me show the pictures of the beaded case which is not yet put together completely.


This is the piece right off the loom.  I used the shedding device and the piece smooth and perfect.  Not one mistake.  I was so proud of myself!




I tied overhand knots to finish the warp threads, trimmed them and then folded over a couple of rows of beads and glued it down.  Easier than having to sew it down.



Sewed Duponi silk to back before folding it up and sewing it together.

Will show more pictures later.  Right now I have to finish those bracelet kits.

Thank you & a winner!

We want to sincerely thank everyone who participated in and followed along with the weave-along. We feel it was a great success and we hope everyone involved agrees. If you are still working on your cuff, please feel free to keep posting pictures online and answering questions.

Before the weave-along began, we said we would choose one active participant in the weave along (randomly) to win a wedding cuff bracelet kit. The winner is… dun dun dun…. Carol Eldridge. Congratulations! Carol, please email elena@mirrixlooms.com with a shipping address.

We will be starting another weave-along in September doing another cuff, either the wedding cuff or the elegant cuff. We will also be doing a more in-depth one in September doing a small purse. Read our last blog post for more details.

Weave-Along #2 & #3

Due to the great success of our first weave-along, we’re planning not one but TWO more. The first will begin on September 25th. The second will begin on October 30th  November 13th  and will be a more in-depth and complex weave-along which is why we’re leaving a little more time for us to plan for it.

The October 30th  November 13th Weave-Along: 

This project will be a small woven purse OR a small beaded purse.

Beaded Purse 





You can purchase our beaded purse kit here: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/beadsthreadbeadkits.html


Tapestry Purse


Coming October 14th


Email elena@mirrixlooms.com to join the weave-along and for a 25% discount code on both kits for participants!





The September 25th Weave-Along: IN PROGRESS
We will weave either a black “elegant cuff” bracelet or a white “wedding cuff” bracelet. Kits, with real 24 k gold thread, are available for purchase, or use your own materials!
CLICK HERE to PURCHASE A KIT *email elena@mirrixlooms.com for a 25% discount code for participants!

This kit contains the following:

Brass cuff one inch wide
C-Lon Cord size 135
14k gold thread on a silk core, white silk thread
8/0 and 11/0 seed beads for weaving and embellishment
ultra-suede

Welcome back to me!

I have been here all along but blogging was not in the cards.  At least Elena was blogging and we were both working on the tapestry/bead cuff weave-along that she has been posting on her blog.  We were in the same house, which is not the usual configuration, because, as you probably already know, Elena married Alex and the reception happened here!  Okay, I’ll post a picture (credit to Jonathan Webb, the most amazing photographer ever):

Okay, yes, gorgeous.  The wedding was held at the Meeting House two miles down the hill from us.  As you can imagine by the name, this building has been around for a very long time.  The reception was held in our home.  The space I normally use for Mirrix is huge . . . more than 1,000 square feet with a ceiling that peaks at 22 feet.  I, in my infinite wisdom, decided it was time to paint this area.  It was much in need of such a face lift (last paint job to this space was done before we moved here in 1996 and it was done badly plus sad cobwebs were attached so high up I could not swipe them down no matter what big stick and ladder I used).  Months before the wedding I had been trying to figure out how exactly I was going to dismantle Mirrix and still run it.  I basically shoved a lot of it into my husband’s office (he could have cared less), into my bedroom (which also is quite huge and can absorb a lot of stuff), into closets and upstairs where we created a sort of temporary office.  It was a mess but somewhat under control.

Okay time for another photo of the gorgeous bride walking down (or up) the steps of the meeting house.

So, for five to six weeks my Mirrix life was in disarray.  Meanwhile, Elena and I were working on the tapestry/bead cuff weave-along.  The day before and after the wedding we were working on the weave-along.  Either we were getting our minds off the wedding to work on the weave-along or getting our minds off of the weave-along to work on the wedding.  In the end, it wasn’t so bad that both happened at the same time.

I now have a beautifully painted, newly organized studio/office.  I would take photos but of course my camera battery is dead.  So instead I will upload another wedding photo.  This is of Joni (second wedding Mom because I needed help with that job), Elena and yours truly, the human garden.

I am charging said battery now.  I am also working on the second weave-along, which will be a rather elegant black silk, gold thread (real gold thread), with a couple of additional colors small purse intended to hold a phone, a key, a credit card, etc.  We will be exploring some interesting tapestry techniques with this new piece.  I should have the whole thing figured out by next week with kits to follow shortly.  This weave-along starts in September.   The exact date has slipped my mind.  Will have to check in with Elena.

The Finished Cuff

Here are some pictures of the finished cuff! 
Please feel free to email us with any questions you have. (Email elena@mirrixlooms.com) Take your time finishing, we’ll be here to help if you need it. A final email with tips, tricks and a recap will go out next Sunday. 
Thank you for participating!
Claudia & Elena

Weave-Along: Week Four, finishing the cuff!

We’re almost done! Follow these steps for finishing instructions. Remember to share pictures of your pieces, finished or almost-finished (no matter how far along you are!) on Facebook, Ravelry or via email!

1) Weave your tapestry until the inner section (excluding header and footer) is seven inches.  Yes, this is a tad more length than you need.  However, whenever I have gotten impatient and skimped on length, I have found my piece is just tiny bit short making finishing a nightmare.  So, better longer than shorter and better safe than sorry because there is nothing worse weaving wise to create a beautiful piece that cannot be finished because it’s too short.  



2) Cut your piece off the loom.  I cut as near to the bar as possible.  This is most important for the bottom warps as you need them to be at least four inches in length in order to easily tie overhand knots.  




3) Weight one end of piece with something heavy.  I’ve used my brass beater.  I have been known to use bricks, books . . . whatever is handy.  This allows you to tie the knots on the other end.  




4) Begin on one side of the piece by tying the first part of a half hitch knot. 




5) Pull half-hitch knot until it is flush with weaving.




6) Make an overhand knot. 



7) Insert a needle in knot. 




8) Tighten knot with needle inserted.  Push needle toward weaving.  This will tighten the knot but not allow it to tighten before you’ve reached the weaving.  




9) Tie all knots on that side.  Since you have thirteen warps you will need to make one of the knots three warps: one warp tied to two warps. 





10) Trim knots so they are about a quarter inches plus long. 



11) Trim tails on back of weaving so that they are about half an inch long. 




12) Size piece to metal cuff to decide hem placement.


13) Fold over end of piece to back of piece and sew with a whip stitch. 






14) Size piece again to determine second hem. 


15) Glue ultra suede to inside of cuff.  We use E6000 but any glue that bonds fabric to metal is fine.  You will be sewing the two lawyers together (the ultra suede and the tapestry) so this bond is not one that permanently holds the fabric to the cuff, but one that holds it in place while you sew up the edges. 



16) Trim the edges of the ultra suede so that you have about an eighth an inch on all sides.  Don’t worry if this is not perfect.  When you sew the edges to the weaving all errors will be covered up.  Do not over trim.  Er on the wide of too much, not too little, fabric.  While you are sewing you can trim a little more if need be.  As in every case with this piece, more is better.  Less can cause huge problems.


17)  Put glue on back of weaving.  Push the strands of yarn inward and try to calm them down with the glue.  This makes glueing this piece to the cuff much easier because those stray ends will not be poking out all over the place .


18) Glue tapestry to cuff.


19) Start at a corner of the cuff.  Pull your thread through the back of the tapestry to the front.  Then start whip stitching the ultra-sued and tapestry together.


20) Once you are finished sewing the two edges together you can add your beads!  Bury the end of a new thread inside the cuff.  Pick up three beads.  Whip stitch around the edge of the tapestry and the ultra-suede.  Continue around the whole piece until finished.  You can add more than three beads if you like.  The goal is to cover the stitching and to make the piece looked finished and beautiful.  However you get there is your own personal and lovely touch.


We are still sewing beads to our piece.  Will show you our finished product tomorrow.  

Hoping you all send us yours as well!







Weave-Along: Week Three, Tapestry Techniques

This week we’re going to show you some basic tapestry techniques that can (but don’t have to) be incorporated into your cuffs.

(Just a note… when this is posted, Elena will have gotten married yesterday so please be patient with us if you write to us and we don’t respond today.)

Definitions:
Selvages: The four sides of your piece.
Warp interlock: When the two ends of weft meet at a warp thread and wrap around that thread before changing direction. 

If you’re interested in better explanations of tapestry techniques or want to learn tapestry, we suggest you purchase a book. Kathe Todd-Hooker’s book, “Tapestry 101″ and “Tapestry Weaving” by Kirsten Glasbrook are both great books for beginners with lots of detail and easy-to-follow instructions.

Tapestry techniques we’re trying today: Pick and Pick, Wavy Lines, Hatching.

A short explanation of pick and pick and wavy lines:
Both of these techniques require that you alternate the weaving of two different color threads. In pick and pick, you alternate them one after another. In other words, thread one, thread two, thread one, thread two, etc.. Wavy line technique requires that you weave thread one twice, thread two twice, thread one twice, thread two twice. Pick and pick produces vertical stripes, wavy lines produces the effect of wavy lines. These two have in common the necessity to deal with the selvages in a slightly unusual manner. You will have to manage these two threads in a way that will guarantee the selvage thread has enough weft around it. In the first case, depending on the position of your threads you will have to wrap one of your weft threads around the selvage thread in order to guarantee complete coverage.

In the second case, the top thread will pull the second thread and by doing so the top thread will cover the selvage thread twice. These techniques take some time to master but are well worth the effort. If you’re feeling intimidated, it is by no means necessary to use these techniques in your cuff but we do suggest you try the hatching technique (described last) at the very least.

Pick and Pick: 


In our example, we’ve used magenta and a golden yellow to begin our pick and pick. We alternate the colors thereby creating vertical stripes. In other words, weave the yellow thread once, and then the magenta thread once (making sure to change sheds every time you weave a new thread) then the yellow, then the magenta, etc… Follow the pictures for a visual of what we did:

First line of yellow

Second line of magenta (refer to earlier in this post to learn how to deal with your edges). Remember to change your shed every time you bring a thread across. 

Notice the beautiful vertical stripes emerging 
To continue with this design, but to add something extra, we stopped the magenta in the middle of the piece and started a purple thread at that place, thereby replacing the magenta with the purple. This allows us to continue the design but with a different color scheme. You could theoretically keep replacing threads as they run out with new ones for the entire bracelet and allow that to be your design. One way to approach this would be continue with the yellow thread and only replace the other ones. That would give you the most interesting effect. This kit may not include enough of any one shade of one color to do that, but we wanted to give you an idea of future design possibilities. We switched to using green after the purple thread as an example of this.
Changing the color to purple
Wavy Lines:

Wavy lines are very similar to pick and pick but instead of making one pass with a color, you make two passes creating what looks like wavy lines. 
Here, we started with two passes weaving with green, then two with yellow, then two with green, etc… 


Follow the pictures to see what we did:
The first pass through with green

Hatching:

This technique also involves two threads but the left thread will stay on the left and the right thread will stay on the right. In a full scale tapestry this is a great way to blend two colors together to create shading. This technique also involves warp interlock because when the two ends meet at a warp thread they each wrap around it before changing direction.

The way hatching works:  The two threads will come meet each other at any place within the tapestry you would like.  The threads must be woven toward each other.  They will then wrap around a common warp thread and head away from each other in the next shed.  These two colors will dovetail into each other.  A lot of other techniques can spring from this one including adding additional colors.  For now and for such a small piece we suggest you keep it simple and just use two colors.

The yellow and blue thread heading toward each other.
Wrap the two threads around the common warp, change sheds and head in opposite directions.
A clear visual of the threads wrapping around a common warp.
See how the dovetailing is beginning to reveal itself!
You can see how useful this technique can be!
Remember that these techniques can take some time to master. Play around! Have fun!
Elena & Claudia