A Visit to Mirrix Manufacturing

Mirrix’s manufacturing facility is located at Sunshine House, an amazing place that provides services and supported employment to Door County, Wisconsin residents with special needs and/or disabilities. Our amazing manager Sandy works with other fantastic Sunshine House employees to make every Mirrix Loom with love and care. We are so happy to be a part of such a fantastic organization. With manufacturing being in Wisconsin (while we’re in New Hampshire and Seattle), we don’t get to visit manufacturing enough and seeing them fills our hearts with joy. 
Some Minis, ready to be sent!

Claudia teaching Sandy to weave. Sandy is our right-hand woman and does an absolutely fantastic job. 

This is a 10″ loom! Only a few were ever made. This is a collector’s item. 

aLOOMinum

Eric making looms bottoms

Eric and Sandy and a 12″ loom

Jason and Claudia

Milling machines

Everything needs trying at least once

I cut the blue bracelet off the Mirrix the other day, and wanted to try using the shedding device with the next looming. I think that was a little too ambitious for the first try. Before I began, I watched YouTube video on setting up the loom for bead weaving with a shedding device. The warping was easy enough, and is now embedded in my mind.

I thought it was all systems go! Unfortunately one of the sheds was not defined. I did follow instructions to place the second lot of heddles to the right of the first lot of heddles, but it wasn’t working! Through sheer frustration, I removed the second lot of heddles and started again. I continued attaching the heddles the next day, and sat back happy. I went to check the sheds and NO!!! It wasn’t working!! I removed all heddles and cut the warps off! I warped for 9 beads wide and stopped for lunch. I read through the sheet that came with the loom, as well as the PDF from the Mirrix site. There was an AHA! moment. I’d rotated the shedding device the wrong way after attaching the first set of heddles! I also used the trick of passing the spring bar through the warps. I set the heddles and when I checked the sheds…THEY WORKED! I worked the first row as in traditional looming, then proceeded with working with the shedding device. I think this needs LOTS and LOTS of practice to get the hang of. It seemed ok with one or two rows before going pear-shaped!

I found it difficult to get the beads between the warps, and then get them to stay put as I pushed them down towards the V formed by the shed. I seem to have misplaced some, as you can see in the photo above. I find it too time consuming and difficult to work with. And the warp threads show more when you use the shedding device – theyre doubled. All this is most likely due to my not doing it properly. I think for next time (yes I like to punish myself), I may use larger beads to get the basics down. In the meantime, there is another bracelet in browns, gold and white, on the loom. Much faster :)

A nifty way of storing your thread and yarn stash

I love buying vintage crochet cotton at the thrift shop. It speaks to me of the hands that it has passed through, and the pleasure it has brought to other thread lovers.
I like to use it in my weaving, crochet and tatting, as it gives me a sense of connection to needlewomen of the past.
BUT… storing balls of crochet cotton can be a problem. Those hollow cores take up a LOT of space!
So, for many years, I have been upcycling old credit cards or pieces of cardstock to make bobbins like this:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Because, storing yarn or thread on a small flat bobbin is so much more efficient than leaving it on the cardboard tubes:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Last night, I had insomnia, and was thinking about winding off a pile of vintage crochet cotton, when I had a flash of inspiration!!
Instead of making chubby little embroidery style bobbins,  if I made ‘dog bone’ shape bobbins, I could use my bobbin winder to speed up the process of winding them. AND, they’d take up less room, as it would be a longer, leaner shape.
I jumped out of bed, and started cutting the new shape bobbins:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

And, winding up balls of cotton:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

In a twinkling of an eye, I have compactly wound bobbins that won’t tangle with other bobbins, as the thread is taken through a slot and secured. Another bonus! No snaggles!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

This shape of bobbin is great for warping the Mirrix loom, as it’s so compact.

Yep – it’s a win!

And, they can be easily stored in unusual containers, like this:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I made a  video to show how quickly and easily this works:

I haven’t tried using these bobbins for tapestry weaving, but I will, and will let you know how I like them.
I love making tapestry bobbins from wood- especially upcycled wood, so I will be showing you how I do that in an upcoming post.
Happy weaving, and here’s to creative ways of storing yarn and thread stash! :D
~Noreen ~

Onto a good thing!

The Mirrix had not been posted yet, so I suggested going to collect it from the affiliated London shop – The Hand Weavers Studio! David handed me my loom, and showed me a 12″ with a tapestry in progress. He also introduced me to the owner, Wendy, who wished me well and offered to link to my blog on their Facebook page. The first thing I like is that the loom comes already assembled. All you need to add is the warping bar and spring bar, and the shedding device if you are using it (after you warp the loom). There are printed instructions that come with the loom. You can also find PDFs on the Mirrix site with pictures of warping step by step, for each setup – bead weaving with/without the shedding device, and tapestry weaving.

Armed with these two, I warped for my first looming – a bracelet. It was not as difficult as I (for some reason) expected. Once I remembered which way to go round the warp bar and the bottom/top ends, it went quickly. The only issue I had (on my part because I’m spoilt!) was counting the warps. On my other looms, I marked the threaded rod in groups of 10 so I have to do minimal counting. I think I’ll find a way to do the same with this.

I usually loom standing up, even with small pieces such as bracelets. The looms I have also need propping up, even when I, standing, so I don’t strain myself leaning over etc. This loom has legs!! It is a great thing because it stands on its’ own without the need for additional ‘equipment’ to prop it up. That’s a big box ticked for me. I actually tried it sitting. It was ok, but I still prefer to stand. I believe I work faster that way. Anyway with all that rambling, here is what I managed to loom yesterday. It was a late finish but worth it :)

Social Market for a Mirrix

Today, June 1st, marks day one of our four month Social Market for a Mirrix Project. Congratulations to Noreen Crone-Findlay and Brenda Kigozi. Each participant was given a loom in exchange for blogging (as well as posting on social media, making videos and more) about their experience with the loom.

Follow along and learn with them! You’ll see new projects, new tutorials and a great fresh perspective!

Keep up with all the blog posts on our Social Market for a Mirrix blog. You can also follow along on several social media sites and on Noreen and Brenda’s blogs.

Social Media Sites:
Twitter
Facebook Page
Facebook Group
Ravelry
Weavolution
Pinterest
YouTube

Follow their blogs:
Noreen: http://tottietalkscrafts.com/
Brenda: http://brendakbeading.blogspot.com/


Follow them on Twitter:
Noreen @NCroneFindlay
Brenda: @BKHandcrafted!

A quick and easy way to make string heddles for your Mirrix loom

At the beginning of May,  a ‘new-to-me’ loom , a large  Mirrix tapestry loom, arrived in my studio. (Courtesy of my son and daughter in law who picked her up in the city 4 hours away, that used to be her home- the previous owner didn’t want to ship her).

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I immediately sat down and made a whole lot of heddles for her, as she didn’t come with them.
And then, I warped her up- ooooooooohhhhhhhhhh, I love how easily she warps! Bliss!
As I was warping her up and starting to weave,  I thought…. ‘Hmmmm…. there must be a group for Mirrix weavers on Ravelry’
(Ravelry= the facebook of the yarn world)
I looked, and sure enough! There is a Mirrix group…. which I joined, pronto.
And the first thing I saw was that Claudia (the inventor of the magical Mirrix looms) and Elena, her talented daughter, had posted that they were accepting applications for their annual ‘Social Networking for a Mirrix Loom’ campaign. Link
Well… I had decided within hours of starting to weave on my ‘Joni’ loom that I wanted to fill my studio with Mirrix looms.
So, I sent off an application….
Um… I wanted to fill the studio with ~Smaller~ Mirrix looms!
MEANWHILE>>>> The Joni is one big Mamma, and even though I am tall, my arms are short, so I found that I was having shoulder pain.
My  clever daughter in law subtly sneaked the information out of me that I was longing for the treadle kit for the Mirrix loom. Then, she orchestrated the family buying me the treadle kit for Mother’s Day! What a sweetheart!
To say that I was thrilled was an understatement!
THEN!  on the 18th of May, was just tickled pink to hear from Elena that they had picked me as one of their team for the 4 months of the ‘Social Networking’ campaign. Whee!  What a couple of thrilling days!
And, now… I am starting to keep my part of the bargain, which is to chronicle my experiences with the Mirrix loom(s).
So, since I began my Mirrix adventures with making string heddles, I am going to show you my quick and easy way of making the string heddles for the Mirrix looms (or inkle or frame looms, too).

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

And, here is the video:

Happy Weaving!