The Colorblock Bracelet

One of the great things about weaving (and crafts in general) is that you have the ability to make things exactly how you want them. No searching in stores or compromising on quality.
I’ve jumped on the whole “colorblock” bandwagon this summer and I keep thinking how a colorblock bracelet would be the perfect pop to add to a bland outfit. I chose bright salmon, purply blue and black Delicas and some turquoise stones to make this simple but fun bracelet. The only trick was that my stones only had one hole and each stone equaled just about two rows of the Delicas so I had to somehow weave two rows of Delicas for each one row with a stone in it. I did this like this:
three salmon, one turquoise, three salmon
three salmon
then back through the previous row of three salmon, one turquoise, three salmon
three salmon
and then a new row of three salmon, one turquoise, three salmon
Using this method you build up one side at a time and then sew back through your previous row, build up the other side, and then begin a new row. This means that you are not always sewing through in the same direction like you would be if you were just weaving rows, but if the holes in your beads are big enough it’s an easy way to get a nice big bead in the middle of your piece. I should also note that I used an 18 dent spring and left two dents in the middle of the piece without warps on them.
1/3 of the way up the piece I will switch to my black Delicas and 2/3 of the way up the piece I will switch to the purply blue. A fun weekend project perfect for anyone in your life who needs a little color!

 

Everything Old is New Again…Plus Another Tip!

As I tackle the second No Warp Ends project in this Craftsy course, I am reminded of the first bead weaving I did many years ago. Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies, many young girls were obsessed with making simple little necklaces, bracelets and even rings using what we then called Indian seed beads. For years I kept my “Navajo Bead Loom” in its original box but of course, as I awaited the arrival of my new Mirrix, I naturally could not find the old loom. Since they are still widely available and cost next to nothing, I purchased a new one. I felt thirteen years old again!

 
This no warp ends project uses a simple charted design much like my Sixties weavings did. Who would have thought that my crafting life would come full circle as it has? (If someone had told me back then that nearly forty years later I would again be making seed bead jewelry…) Fortunately though, someone had the vision to improve upon the original primitive bead weaving loom. I can tell you that it sure is a whole lot faster and more enjoyable using a Mirrix.
Like Claudia, I have a real problem following these simple little charts. I don’t know why but if there’s a mistake to be made, I’ll make it. Of course, this involves a fair amount of UN-weaving so my progress is a little slower than I’d like… and alot more tedious. However, I persevere.

 

 

 

By the way, I have another tip for you. Although many of you may use bead mats, I have another idea for easy beading for when you’re not sitting at a table or otherwise on the go. I cannot take credit for this. I learned it while attending a sewing workshop with Natalie Chanin, the brilliant hand-sewn clothing designer for Alabama Chanin. (www.alabamachanin.com). Her artisans have created a “beading cuff” from a cast off cotton jersey sleeve. By applying heavy duty double-faced tape to it, tiny beads easily stick to it. Voila, beads right at your fingertip just when and where you want them. Easy, cheap and up-cycled, what could be better?
 
 
 
 
 

Try it and let me know how it works out for you.

And Happy Labor Day!

xxx, Karen 

The worst is over!

I’m over the worst of it, yay!!! I sewed the lining on Friday, and also shortened the zip. I couldn’t find a zip the right length, and the closest one wasn’t the look I wanted.

zip

There was some redrawing of the measurements on the lining before i could cut it.

Anyway, I sewed the zip to the lining on the third attempt. Yes, that says the third attempt! That was after having a little trouble winding the bobbin! While doing all this, I was reminded of the fact I don’t like sewing! But needs must so I gritted my teeth and got on with it. Sewing the other seams closed was easy enough. And, stitching the lining into the purse was also easy. I thought that would be a nice video to do.

Because I was working on a black background (the lining and zip) with black thread, I couldn’t find a good enough angle to video while I stitched it in. So, I resorted to using close up photos. Hopefully they show the steps well enough.

Lining

Now, I need to do the handle and the fringe then I’ll be done! I can’t wait to see it all finished. I bought some Swarovski bicones, and what I’ll be using for part of the handle. I went with the purse so I could pick colours correctly. Hopefully they will work out.

I managed to clear the loom this morning. So I can make a start on the Nelson Mandela bracelet. I’m just going to warp and make a start, with the face!! I just need to find one colour (DB357). I know I have it, just have to find t now!

Hopefully I’ll have made enough progress to perhaps blog and share tomorrow. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the video.

Have a good evening!

Happy Birthday Claudia

Today, August 30th, is Mirrix President Claudia Chase’s birthday. I won’t tell you how old she is, but she is old enough to have me as a daughter and I’m 27. I’ve said too much. Point is, all of you should wish her a happy birthday! Head on over to our Facebook page and give her a little birthday shout out. Want to go a step further? Email her claudia@mirrixlooms.com claudia@mirrixlooms.com with a little birthday love!

In honor of her birthday we’re having a 50% off sale on our 5 for $30.00 pattern package (designed by her). Code happybirthdayclaudia will get you all 5 kits for $15 at checkout.

Scroll down on page to purchase: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/patterns.html

Look Ma, No Warp Ends!

After previewing this lesson, I was actually a little nervous about getting started. Just when I was beginning to feel confident with the ease of bead weaving in the previous lessons, I would now have to actually do something drastically different. Those innocent-looking paper clips and tex-solv cord seemed more than just a little intimidating. Well, fear not. I’m here to tell you that like everything else so far in this course, the learning curve is swift and before long I was on my way.
 
 
 
I will admit to making good use of the thirty second replay button that Craftsyoffers. After several replays, I finally realized that TWO lengths of tex-solv were necessary. Duh! (This was also a good time to actually READ the course material provided.) Getting all the new cords adjusted and evened  out was a bit of a challenge but once the paper clips were in place, the warping was surprisingly painless. I’ve since watched my fellow blogger Noreen’s excellent video tutorial where she uses S-hooks in lieu of the paper clips. (http://tottietalkscrafts.com/2012/06/22/a-slightly-different-approach-to-the-no-warp-ends-on-the-mirrix/). I may try that next as my biggest difficulty was figuring out which direction to actually place the paper clips. Again, not a huge problem but using the S-hooks will eliminate that confusion. As Claudia promised, the actual weaving part is lightening fast and in no time flat, I had completed another beautiful fully beaded cuff.


Now who doesn’t love the final result? Really…no warp ends to deal with! This is just genius, don’t you think? The strength that using the wire warps is a bonus as it gives a very professional look. I also love having the option of choosing how to finish the bracelet with either the peyote clasp or by using an unusual or vintage button as I did. How cool!
 
Off to the hardware store to purchase S-hooks. I may never use real warps again.
 
xxx, Karen 

 

 

Two more pouches for the Soumak Pouch Weave Along

I’ve been shooting videos for the weave along  that begins on September 2nd.
As I was shooting, I was weaving along on a couple of pouches.

Here they are:

A Stripey one, with some beads and other embellishments:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

and the back:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I wove it with Lion Brand Bonbon yarn- cotton for the body of the pouch and metallic for the embellishment.

The size 8 beads along the sides are from Mirrix and the bone beads at the lower edge were in my stash.

The medallion on the back of the pouch is one that I snitched from a box of stuff that my daughter in law was going to give away. 
(She gave it away, but to ~me~ instead of giving it to ‘anonymous’ –  I can be shameless when it comes to pretty goodies! )

My daughter in law grinned at me when she saw the finished pouch, and said:
 ‘This one is yours, isn’t it, Mum?’
‘Yes! but how did you guess?’
She just laughed.
  I guess it’s because I adore these colors and use them all the time!

I was concerned about this pouch:

copyright  Noreen Crone-Findlay

Why?  Well, because both my daughter and my daughter in law declared that they loved it and would love to have SantaMamma leave it in their Christmas stocking.

I didn’t want to make two pouches that were exactly alike, so I had to have a big old think about it.

And, I came up with the perfect answer!!!!!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

TADAH!!!!   I wove it up in the same colorway, but using the drop dead luscious wool yarn from the Mirrix kit   [LINK to purchase]
(and, please note,: I don’t profit by raving about the delicious and gorgeous yarns I am using for these pouches, but I am just tickled pink with them, and VERY happy to say: WHEEEEEEEEEEE about them and to say: Yup… thumbs up, order and love ‘em, too)   :o)

Here’s the back of the woolie pouch:

www.kreinik.com supplied me with the gorgeous embroidery thread and edging cord for this pouch.
Here are the links for them:
The edging is 3/8 ” trim:  # 170 Natural Pewter    
http://www.kreinik.com/kshop/product.php?productid=17023&cat=0&page=1

The embroidery thread is: Ombre: http://www.kreinik.com/kshop/product.php?productid=622&cat=0&page=1  1000 – Solid Silver
I love the combination of the soft loftiness of the wool with the sparkle of the metallic embroidery floss. The embroidery thread is soft and lovely to work with. Some metallics can be barky and sharky. This is soft and nooshy.

!AND! 

Happy dance!
and   ~whew~

My daughter in law (who happens to be an incredibly gifted and talented handspinner, so she is naturally inclined to be more drawn to wool),  likes the woolie pouch -

HURRAH! SantaMamma is so relieved! 

My girls will have their lovely pouches in their Christmas stockings, and they are ‘sister pouches’…. similar, but each unique!  
Alright… time for me to get back to editing video…..  :o)
~Noreen~

Magnatamas, Tilas & Silk, Oh My… Plus A Quick Tip

I’m really cooking now. Finished the latest Affinity Bracelet in under thirty minutes and that includes warping! They’re just so easy. Using the no. 8 beads again makes bead weaving a breeze. There’s plenty of room to squeeze a needle and thread through without nasty mishaps like catching warps. The tilas are fun and aptly named- they resemble little rows of tiles. My favorites though are the magnatamas-they look like little pudgy off-centered donuts. Love ‘em. Although I’ve seen them at the bead shop before, I now intend to purchase lots more and play around with design possibilities. Anybody know why they’re named such? Just curious.
What I’m really excited about though is the ability perhaps to teach you all something…me teaching you, for a change. Many weavers might already be familiar with “fringe twisters” but in case there are some newbies who are not, read on.
3 Clip Fringe Twister
These magical little thingies are a life saver when you need to make lots of fringe. I first spotted them at the many sheep and wool festivals that I attend. Again, I guess they’re more of a fiber thing. Smart knitters use them regularly to assist in the tedious chore of finishing the fringe at the end of scarves. The most popular ones I believe are made by Leclerc although there are other brands. (http://www.leclerclooms.com/twister.htm). They come in various sizes and run about $25 depending on the size. Trust me, they’re worth every nickel. The one shown here is designed to make a three-strand fringe however if you only employ only two clips, as I do here, you can use it for the two-strand fringe necessary for this bracelet.

The how-to? Simply insert each strand of fringe into its own alligator clip. Turn the handle in the same direction as the twist in the thread/yarn. Count you turns until you’ve reached the desired crimp. Next you must place all strands into the same clip and turn in the handle in the opposite direction. Again, you should count the revolutions to maintain consistency between all fringes. When the twist in the resulting rope is to your liking release the strands while holding the ends together and knot. That’s it. (It takes longer to explain than actually do).



Perfect fringe, every time!



What’s wonderful about this tool is that you get tight consistent fringe every time. Although I was initially unsure if it would work on such a tiny scale as these bracelets, I was thrilled to learn that it works perfectly. No more twisting delicate fibers between your fingers or accidentally letting go. It’s really almost hands free and takes a fraction of the time as traditional twisting by hand.
(Note to Claudia & Elena: you should stock these babies. Very useful).
Off to the beach again. When you live on Long Island, you go to the beach. And haven’t you heard? Summer’s almost over. (sniffle sniffle)
xxx, Karen  

Furoshiki wrap technique to carry a small loom

Furoshiki wrap technique to carry a small loom

I rarely leave home without a small loom.
If I am the passenger in a car, I  weave.
If I have to wait for an appointment, I weave.
When in an airport or flying…. I weave.
If I am sitting, listening to my husband’s Jazz trio/quartette/quintette, I weave.
I like to be able to to port along my small looms in  tote bags, backpacks or baskets.
But…. the warp strands and bobbins and needles can get seriously disarranged by being jostled in transit.
I have been mulling over the best way of protecting them while they are being trundled about…. and then it struck me….

By using the Japanese technique of creating perfect wraps and carriers from a scarf or cloth! :
FUROSHIKI  (link to a ton of ways of doing furoshiki wraps)

3 Mirrix looms wrapped with Furoshiki techniques
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I always carry headscarves in my purse or bag, to use as instant tote bags.
The other day, it struck me that the perfect way to protect my beloved small looms when I am slipping them into bags or baskets for their travels, is to ‘Furoshiki’ them.
It works BRILLIANTLY!
I usually use square headscarves- and any size will work… smaller scarves are great for small looms or bundles of books and tools; larger scarves for larger bundles of looms and stuff.
But, you don’t have to use scarves: This is a great upcycling opportunity!
You can use squares of fabric cut from old shirts or skirts or dresses :)
You can also use cloth squares to gift wrap presies. Do check that link at the top of the page. Impressive :)
Here’s a video, showing how to use Furoshiki wrapping techniques to make an instant, customized carrier for your small loom:
The models in the video are my 3 smallest Mirrix looms.  I call them the Three Sisters.
I love, love LOVE my Three Little Sisters!  I have renamed them: The Mini is ‘Molly Whuppie’ (you can read her story in my book, Soul Mate Dolls), ‘Vasilisa’ (heroine of a wonderful Russian fairytale) is the name of the 8 inch loom, and the 12 inch is now known as ‘Jane’, after my beloved Jane Austen.
I do believe they quite like their travel wraps! :)
Here’s the video that I made to show how I wrap my looms :

 :o) Noreen

Almost there

It’s been a good week! I’ve made good progress on joining the sides of the purse. Since the last post, I’ve finished joining one side, and I’m left with about 1/4 on the other seam. And I have to say I like the way it’s looking!

Untitled

It was also easy enough to figure out how to stitch the peyote section and base together so it’s completely sealed on the ‘corners’. I took some close ups for when I have to the other side, and for future reference. Those extension tubes for my camera are very handy now!

Closeup

I’m thinking about the strap/handle and fringe while I work. For the strap I’m thinking perhaps this. I’ll leave you to imagine what it may look like :)

I haven’t had time to work on those bracelets and the strip for the violin yet. I work an extra day from home now, so it’s one less day of beading. But more money at least :) I’ve been waking up by about 7:10 these days to get some in before the minis wake up. I’ve also learnt to take (more) regular breaks. So now I (try to) bead for about 15-20mins then break for about 5-10mins. I find it hard to start-stop so much, but I shall just grin and bear it because it’s for my benefit.

This morning as has become my routine, I woke early and worked on joining the side. I managed to do quite a bit but had to put away for work and then having my hair done. I would have gone back to it this evening but my thumb is feeling the strain!

I have a commission to start planning for. It will be another (colour) portrait of newlyweds. I will probably try and work on the pattern over the coming days. I don’t know if I’m allowed to share it online so, erring on the side of caution, I will keep it hidden unless I’m told otherwise.

Hopefully the next time I blog the seam will be done and I’ll be doing the lining. The part I’m most dreading as it involves a sewing machine :D That grin is pure front! But good enough I have enough lining material to make mistakes!

Tomorrow is an early start so I bid you goodnight. Enjoy your Saturday :)