Mirrix Weave-Along 4: Getting Started

Welcome to our 4th Mirrix Weave-Along! This weave along will go over basic warping techniques and then go on to show how to weave a tapestry/bead cuff bracelet. If you do not own a kit, you can purchase one in our online store. 
Here at our studio, we will be warping our looms for different types of weaving over a very short period of time to show you how. You can choose the way you’d like to warp your loom and warp your loom with us and then go on to weave your own piece, or you can warp samples just to get an idea of how to warp in different ways. If you do decide to go on and weave the tapestry/bead cuff bracelet, note that you warp the loom for tapestry for this project. We will re-warp when we begin this project. 
This is the schedule:
January 15th: Introduction, different kinds of warping. Learning about heddles & making heddles.
January 17th: Warping for Tapestry
January 19th: Warping for Bead Weaving Without The Shedding Device
January 24th: Warping for Bead Weaving WITH the Shedding Device
January: 27th: Using the No Warp-Ends Kit to Warp
January 29th: Warping for the tapestry/bead cuff bracelet and weaving the header
February 5th: Beginning to weave, learning how to put in beads
February 12th: Learning different tapestry techniques
February 19th: Finishing weaving and cutting off your piece
February: 26th: Finishing your piece and assembling the final product


Just The Basics
Before beginning to warp and weave, it is helpful to learn a bit about the different parts of a loom and the different parts of a weaving.
Labeled Loom
Definitions

Warp: The thread or yarn that is put on the loom to serve as the base for your weaving. Think of it as your canvas.
Weft: What you weave into the warp. This can be anything from beads to wool to silk to novelty threads . . . whatever your heart desires.
Warp Coil: The spring at the top (and optional for the bottom) of your loom that separates the warp threads. They come in a variety of sizes to accommodate various warp setts.
Warp Sett: the space between warp threads
Shed: The space between a lowered and raised set of warps through which you pass your weft or your beads in order to weave them into the warp threads.
Shedding Device: A mechanism that serves to create the shed by raising and lowering alternate warp threads.
Selvages: The four sides of your piece.

Video about the different parts of the loom and what comes with the loom:


Labeled Items That Come With The Loom
Four coils: 8, 12, 14, 18 dents, shedding device and handle, two large wooden clips, warping bar, flat wrench, allen wrench and coil bar.

The Mirrix Shedding Device

This device comes with the all looms eight inches and larger except the dedicated bead looms which come with a bottom spring kit instead of a shedding device.

 A shedding device is typically used for tapestry but can also be used for bead weaving on a Mirrix Loom. It lifts your warps creating a space between them to place your beads or your weft. When you change the position of the handle, opposite sets of warps are raised, securing your bead or weft between the warp threads. The clips hold your shedding device on the loom and also work to hold your warping bar while you warp your loom. 
                               
Warp Coil (or, spring) 

The 12″, 16″, 22″, 28″, 32″ and 38″ looms all come with 8, 12, 14 and 18 dent warp coils. These numbers correspond to have many dents (spaces) are in an inch when the warp coil is on the loom. These springs are attached to the top bar (in the warp coil tray) and help to space your warp threads. You can also purchase a bottom spring kit to have springs on the bottom of your loom as well as the top. This is helpful for larger bead weavings as well as small scale tapestry. Our dedicated bead looms come without a shedding device, but with a bottom spring kit. 
How to know what warp coil to use for a project:
For bead weaving:
Place the beads you plan on weaving on a needle and measure an inch. Then, count how many beads are in that inch. The number of beads minus one is the warp coil that will be used. For example, if you are using Delicas you would find 19 Delicas are in one inch, so you would use the 18 dent coil. There is some leeway in this, and depending on the beads you are using, it might not work out perfectly (numerically), just close. Using a smaller (lower number) coil is better than using a larger (higher number) coil. 
For tapestry: 
This is something you have to experiment with as a tapestry weaver. For finer weft, you will want to use a warp coil with more dents per inch. For thicker weft, you will want to use a warp coil with more dents per inch or even warp every other dent. (For example, an 18 dent warp coil every other dent is equal to a 9 dent warp coil.) 
The basic thing to remember is to make sure your warps threads aren’t showing and you must consider the warp set (how far apart your warp threads are, or what warp coil you are using), how thick your weft is and how thick your warp is. One way to determine your weft size is to put your weft in between your warp threads vertically when your loom is warped. If your weft threads are much thicker than the space between the two warp threads, then your weft is probably too thick and if your weft threads are much thinner than you know your weft is too thin. 

Warping Bar

The warping bar is held between two clips while warping and is then held up by the warp. When you want to advance your weaving (move it to the back of the loom to give you more space to weave on the front), you do this by moving the warping bar, which moves the entire weaving. 
Flat Wrench

The flat wrench helps you to tighten and loosen the wing-nuts on your loom. 
Allan Wrench

The Allan wrench loosens and tightens the bars on your shedding device.

Spring Bar

The spring bar is places in your warp coil (spring) after you’ve warped to prevent your warp from coming out. 
Labeled Bead Weaving


Labeled Tapestry



Explanation of Basic Accessories (these can be purchased separately)

Add-on Warp Beam

Clip this add-on beam to the back of the bottom beam of your loom with the included C-Clamps and you increase the distance between the front and back warps by an inch and a half, providing a total of two and a half inches of space between the two layers of warp. This is perfect for those who weave wide bead pieces using the traditional method because you can easily get your hand behind the warp to hold the beads in place. It also works for tapestry weavers who want more space between the front and back warps.

(pictured: bottom spring kit with springs) 

Bottom Spring Kit


Intended primarily for bead weavers and small format tapestry weavers, the bottom spring kit allows you to attach a warp coil on the bottom of your loom. The warp coil on the bottom is useful for keeping the warps correctly aligned when putting on that first row of beads or for evenly spacing the warp for small format tapestry weaving. It is simply and easily attached with permanent 2-sided tape. Additional warp coils must be purchased separately unless you buy one of the bottom spring kit with springs packages. 

Heddles

Specially made for us in Sweden from the same texlov used to make all non-metal heddles for floor looms, these one-eye Mirrix heddles come in a roll of 100. These strong (they should last as long as you and your loom do), easy to use heddles are good at any sett on the loom because they are thin. They are the best choice for bead weavers and tapestry weavers who weave at the finer setts. These are the only pre-made heddles you can buy that work on the Mirrix Loom if you choose not to make your own. 
Click here for information on how to make your own heddles.
Loom Extenders

The Mirrix loom extenders give your 12 and 16 inch loom an additional two feet of weaving length. These are ideal for people who want to weave belts, guitar straps and longer, thin pieces without having to purchase one of the large looms. Included are two lengths of threaded rod, a coupling device to attach it to the threaded rod side bars of the loom, and feet extenders to give your loom its original stability. 

The Mirrix Stand and Treadle

Stand: This five and a half foot tripod stand holds any of our looms at six different heights. Your loom snaps on and off in an instant. A convenient tray holds tools, yarn and beads. You will be able to find the perfect loom height for you whether you want to sit or stand. This is a great alternative to using up table space!
Treadle:  The Mirrix add-on treadle replaces the shedding device handle. It can be placed anywhere beneath the loom since it is attached by a cable system. Set your Mirrix loom on a table or on a stand, attach your treadle, and experience floor loom weaving for a fraction of the price and space. Tapestry weaving doesn’t get better than this.

The No Warp-Ends Kit

The no warp-ends kit eliminates the need to weave-in warp ends when bead weaving. It can only be used without the shedding device. It is perfect for using with any kind of warp material including wire. Set up with the no warp-ends kit is very easy and once you have it in place, you can weave as many pieces as you want (as long as they are the same size) using the same set up. Read more here.

The Extra Mirrix Shedding Device

For those of you who purchased one of our dedicated bead looms (8″ and larger) but decided you want to try your hand at using the shedding device. An extra shedding device can also be used for creating twill or other complex weaving techniques.

Tapestry Beater 

Tapestry beaters are used to beat down your weft. We sell both weighted and unweighted beaters. Alternatively, you could use a fork. 

Warp Coils

(Note: depending on the size of your loom, one to four warp coils came with your loom)

Warp coils can be purchased in several different lengths to provide different warp setts (the number of ends per inch). You can either purchase different springs than the ones that came with your loom or you can purchase springs that match ones you already have to go on your bottom spring kit.

Extra Warping Bar/ Texlov Cord Package

This kit allows you to put on a shorter warp. In so doing you will reduce warp waste. Because it also eliminates having a layer of warp on both the front and back of the loom, it allows you to better position your hand for weaving wider pieces with the traditional method of bead weaving. 
Back of loom with extra warping bar on loom. (The front of the loom would look like a regular warped loom.) We made this diagram for a customer the other day and thought we’d include it here,

Where to Start
There are many types of weaving you can do on a Mirrix Loom, but the two most common are tapestry and bead weaving. If you’re not sure which one you’re most interested in, a project that combines both such as our tapestry/bead cuff bracelet would be a great start. If you know if you are interested in one or another, start small and work your way up and, especially if you’re trying tapestry, books and other resources online are very helpful.

Bead and Bead Weaving Resources
All About Heddles
What are heddles? 


A heddle attaches your warp to your shedding device. When bead weaving in the traditional method, you do not use a shedding device (or heddles) but for bead weaving with the shedding device or for (most) tapestry, you use the shedding device and will need heddles. You can buy texlov heddles pre-made from us, but you can also make your own.
Making Heddles
You will need to make as many individual heddles as there will be warps in your weaving.  These heddles (as well as the Mirrix heddles you can buy) will be reusable.  The thinner and stronger the string you use, the better.  For bead weavers, cotton quilting or beading thread works great.  For tapestry weavers, cotton crochet thread, linen warp or single-ply cotton warp works well.
Nail two finishing nails into a piece of wood three and one-eighth inches apart.  You will use this little tool to tie your warps.  Cut ten inch lengths of your heddle material, one for each heddle you will make.  Tie them around the nails, using an overhand knot to secure the ends.  In order to get that knot to sit right next to the nail, slip a needle into the knot before it is pulled tight and push the knot toward the nail.  Then tighten it.  Trim off the ends of the heddles to within a quarter of an inch of the knot.
Alternatively, you can cut a piece of cardboard three and one-eighth inches apart and use that to tie your heddles around.
Different Types of Warping
Warping is the process of wrapping warp thread (this could be many different materials depending on what you are weaving) around a loom and creating a base to weave on. 
Because a Mirrix Loom can be used in many different ways, there are many different ways to warp. Each of these ways is similar, but the slight differences are important.
On a Mirrix Loom you begin to warp by securing a bar called the warping bar to the loom and tying on your warp. Then, you begin to wrap your warp around the loom and through one dent (space in the warp coil) in the warp coil (spring) at the top of the loom. [[note: There is also a warp coil that can be purchased for the bottom of the loom (and if this is on the loom, when coming back down the front of the loom, you would go through a dent in that warp coil as well). This accessory helps with the warping process for wide bead pieces or small-scale tapestry.]] Bring your warp thread down the front of the loom, under the bottom bar to the back of the loom and back up towards the warping bar. When you hit the warping bar, you wrap around it and then change directions and come back down under the loom to the front, into a dent in the coil on the top bar and back down the back. Again, when you hit the warping bar you will go around it and switch direction.
Variations:
Depending on what kind of weaving you want to do, there are slightly different ways to warp your loom. All come back to the basic figure eight concept described above. Before you begin warping, please check out each of our warping slideshows

Warping for Tapestry
When warping for tapestry, each warp thread goes in only one dent.

Warping for Bead Weaving Without the Shedding Device
Warping for bead weaving without the shedding device is exactly like warping for tapestry, with only one warp in each dent. 

Warping for Bead Weaving With the Shedding Device
When warping for bead weaving with the shedding device, two warp threads go in each dent. 

Warping with the No Warp-Ends Kit
When warping with the no warp-ends kit (which is for bead weaving), you use paper clips and two small bars to eliminate having warp-ends to weave in.
We will begin learning to warp for tapestry in a few days! Please remember to ask if you have any questions! We look forward to answering your questions and hearing from you on Facebook and Ravelry today! 


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