Cheerio and tootle pip!

Four hectic and busy months have passed since I  signed on for the ‘Social Networking’ summer 2012 campaign, and now my time here ends.

Hmmmm…. wrapping up….. well…. I’ve been mulling over what I would say to sum up my 4 month long adventure exploring the possibilities  of the Mirrix looms.


I’ve made 25 video tutorials, and posted 35 blog posts about the things I have discovered while working with my Mirrix looms.

I’ve figured out some new ways of working with the looms ( ‘s’ hooks for the no warp ends techniques) and enjoyed trying out as many ways as I could think of to use the looms in innovative and creative ways.

One of the loveliest things has been connecting with other Mirrix aficionados and making friends with dear people.

So, even though I won’t be posting here or on Elena’s blog anymore (where all the Weave Along posts are), I will continue to share my love of weaving and my pleasure in using Mirrix looms on my blog: www.tottietalkscrafts.com

Cheerio my friends, tootle pip, and fare thee well!
Happy weaving, go gently, and be well!

Embroidering Leno Lace

I am passionate about lace and lace making.
I love to tat, crochet and knit lace.
And, recently, I have been experimenting with weaving lace.
Well… weaving leno lace and then embroidering it…..

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This was my first attempt, and to be honest,  it’s wonky and woobley and ‘real weavers’ would consider it to be a messy failure.

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But, I really learned a lot while I was working on it- and am intrigued and intend to keep working with this technique.
By the way, this was woven on my 16 inch Mirrix loom, with loom extenders attached.
When I was warping up for my second embroidered Leno lace scarf, I made  a video about the things I figured out while  warping with loom extenders:

I got so overwhelmed with all the work for the Soumak Weave Along that I didn’t have time to do much more with the embroidered leno lace.
I needed my 16 inch loom for a tapestry, so I wove off the blue scarf to get it off the loom, and will be doing the embroidery with the scarf being off loom.

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I am pleased with the progress I have made with the embroidery, and look forward to doing more of this technique.
I love scarves and wear them year round.
Leno lace scarves are light enough to be comfortable even in the summer, especially in the evening.

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I haven’t had a chance to wash and block this one yet, so it’s not as nice as it will be.
I am planning on working a twisted cord with beads on it for the fringes.
Leno lace is so wonderful and has so much design potential that I intend to continue experimenting with it!
Happy Weaving!
:o) Noreen

Finally something for me!

Ok, that’s not entirely true! The first project I wove on the loom was to be a bracelet for me. But it’s still languishing in a drawer unfinished! I’m not one to wear much jewellery – necklaces and bracelets. Day to day I only wear stud earrings (yes, very plain!) plus my wedding and engagement rings. If we are going somewhere and I (try to) dress up, I’ll wear the drop earrings I made.

So, I figured I would Mae something that’s a little more functional. I’ve got a little black dress (with a hint of white) that has belt loops. But I don’t have the belt to go with it. The only one I have us cream, that wont work!. As mentioned before, I was in a bead shop for something else when I spotted the buckle. I hadn’t thought about doing a belt, but did when I saw it.

All that remained was to come up with a design. Being just two colours, it was going to be easy enough. I first wanted to design for a scroll like pattern. I played (very briefly) in Photoshop but figured it’s not how I want to do it. So I just went into BeadTool. I played with circles then diamonds before I settled on the final pattern.

I’d measured the length I need, and calculated five repeats of the design would give the required length. So far i have completed one repeat. And there is a (minor) MISTAKE! I could easily correct it but I’m not going to.

I’m making use of advancing the beadwork. The loom doesn’t give me enough length to work the belt in one go, and I’ve yet to make extenders for it. So the beadwork will be moved to the back as I weave (bottom up). I’ll work half the length then cut off and work the other half. Joining isn’t daunting anymore so will be just fine.

Then it went wrong! I don’t know why but one of the sheds just refused to set itself. I had to fidget with it, and even then it wasn’t correct. So I cut it all off and went back to the usual method. I will try again, but with something narrower and not so important!

On another note, I went to a local bead shop hoping to buy more DB1765 for the fringe on the purse, but they don’t stock it. I had to order it online (and it arrived on Friday). But, I did get a cone of black Nymo! That should keep me going for a while yet :)

In the meantime, today I’ll be resting and visiting our friends. It’s a miserable day but I’m feeling chirpy! Enjoy yours :)

Weave along #8- Part Seven Finishing Techniques

And, so, the Soumak Pouch Weave Along draws to a close with a very long video on finishing techniques.

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Here are the chapters in the final installment:
1- Steam, Press and block the finished weaving
2- Overcast the straight edge of the inside front of the pouch
3- Making the point for the tip of the pouch
4- How to do the chain stitch embroidery
5- Cut out a lining
6- How to stitch the lining to the pouch invisibly
7- Stitch the side seams
8- Sew on the snaps
9- Stitching the edging cords to the pouch – in the video, I show how to add things like large beads at the ends and center of the cord, as well as the swivel clip hook. I also show how to stitch size 8 seed beads to the edging to embellish it.  You don’t have to add these extra flourishes, but I thought that it made sense to show you how to do it so you ~could~ do it, if you want to.
It’s the embellishments that make the pouch the truly individual statement of your creativity!
And, here’s the video:

Happy Weaving!
I hope that you have had fun weaving your Soumak pouch!
And, cheerio, this is my last post on ‘A Word From Elena’
:o) Noreen

Soumak Pouch Weave Along # 8 Part 6- Edging Cords

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Part Six of the Soumak Pouch Weave Along is all about the edging cords for the pouches.
You can use purchased braid like the Kreinik cord  on the edges of this pouch:
The edging is 3/8 ” trim:  # 170 Natural Pewter
http://www.kreinik.com/kshop/product.php?productid=17023&cat=0&page=1

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Or you can make  your own edging cord:

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Starting at the left hand side, the cords are:
Square cord spool knitted with 2 colors on 4 pegs,
Cord Spool knitted with 3 pegs
Kumihimo cords – the directions for how to braid the round cords come with the Kumihimo kit from Mirrix
Tubular Peyote stitch cord- instructions are available in beading books and when you google ‘tubular peyote stitch’.
And last, but certainly NOT least, and definitely the fastest, easiest cord of all to make is the Simple Twisted cord, using the method that I have developed, using a spool and a crochet hook.
You will need a cord that is about 15 inches (37.5 cm) long to go around the sides and upper edge of your pouch.
The instructions for how to attach them to your pouch will be in the final installment of the Weave Along: Finishing Techniques.

Here are some videos that I have made to help you make your decorative edging cords:
How to spool knit a cord with just 3 of the 4 pegs on the spool knitter:

youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjL1O7kjV0
Sorry! couldn’t get the video to upload, so you’ll have to  click the link… hopefully it will work.

How to spool knit a square cord with 2 colors on a 4 peg spool knitter:

How to make a twisted cord with a spool and crochet hook:

Hope your pouches are coming along nicely!

Wrapping Things Up

…Or should I say warping things up?  ;)

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been four weeks since my little adventure with Mirrix first began. Time really does fly by. You know how when, if you’re lucky, you meet someone for the first time and really hit it off? You quickly become fast friends, cherish the time spent and can’t wait to see them again. Well that’s how it is with my Mirrix loom. I probably shouldn’t admit wanting to get up out of bed in the middle of the night -I do have insomnia- and start weaving, should I? 

                                                       Two bracelets down, one to go 

As I have mentioned, I was initially reluctant to accept the offer to blog for the Social Market for a Craftsy Course because of my lack of weaving skills. Having already purchased the class, I knew what I would be facing. Initially the lessons seemed to blend into each other and the many little warping and weaving details seemed overwhelming. And with so many weavers far more experienced than myself, what could I possibly have to offer? And when would I even find the time? Besides the actual weaving, there’s the writing part and we all know how difficult that can be.

                                                      Notice my homemade heddles?  

Well I can safely say that all my fears and reluctance melted away upon receiving my package from Mirrix. The loom itself is so UN-intimidating and user friendly, and the fibers just seemed to talk to me as I knew they would. I dove in head first and haven’t look back since. My family has grown quite accustomed to Mom sitting at her loom ignoring everyone around her. (Needless to say, they’re not as fond of Mirrix as I am.) 

 

Each Craftsy lesson is so carefully laid out and slowly builds upon the knowledge learned in the previous one. Claudia is a superb teacher with a wonderful dry sense of humor. (Have you noticed?) And the finished projects, are they ever stunning. (Random note: in my day job I have occasion to spend time with some rather famous knitters. Last week, I was complimented by both Debbie Bliss -herself- and separately, Louisa Harding, on the Bead and Tapestry Cuff bracelet that I was wearing. When I took it off and told them I had made it, they were even more impressed. Fashion mavens both and definitely arbiters of good taste when it comes to fiber. Maybe they should be taking the Craftsy class, eh?)
As I have now completed all twelve sections of the class and woven every project, my blogging job is done. Claudia and Elena have kindly invited me to stay on to blog about some future projects so it is not goodbye as yet. I wish to thank all of you for bothering to read this at all and for all the warmth and encouragement you’ve shown. Truly, it would not have been nearly as enjoyable without all of your wonderful support.

 

Until we talk again soon, happy weaving!
xxx, Karen

Weave Along #8 Soumak Pouch- Part 5 Checkerboard borders

Part 5 of the Soumak Pouch Weave Along is a step by step series of photos that I took while we were on holidays at the end of August.
I adapted the pattern to have checkerboard borders and  wove  the Soumak pouch on my Mirrix Mini (5 inches wide… perfect traveling loom).

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Here’s how the pattern looks with the black and white checked borders:

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If I had wanted to make the pouch wider, I could have added ‘s’ hooks to the side and just added the checked squares to the pattern.
Adding 2 more ‘s’ hooks at the top and bottom on both sides would have added one inch (2.5 cm) to the width of the pouch.
I wanted the squares to be symmetrical off a central square, so I had to do some fancy footwork with working out the size of the squares.
Here’s what I decided: Here’s the graph for the lower border of the pouch:
Each square represents one strand of warp:

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And now… to the step by step photos: Photographed in Jasper Alberta Canada

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And, here is the finished pouch: Woven in Lamb’s Pride yarn from the Mirrix kit:

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copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

The embroidery is worked with Kreinik threads.
There is an amethyst bead on the center of the back of the pouch.
Happy Weaving! :o)

Soumak Pouch Weave Along #8 Part Four Weaving Techniques

The video for Part 4 of the Soumak Pouch Weave Along is a really big one because it’s the ‘how to’s’ for the actual weaving of the pouch.

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Here’s what’s covered in this video:

  • How to weave the 4:2 Soumak border
  • How to weave the 2:1 body of the pouch
  • How to add more weft yarn when you run out
  • How to add new colors
  • How to change colors and make perfect joins between the color blocks
  • How to  step colors sideways in an outward direction
  • How to step colors sideways in an inward direction
  • How to work horizontal stripes
  • How to do the ‘Topsy Turvey Trick’ with the Mini loom
  • How to remove the weaving from the Mini

When I went through the video after the final rendering, I smacked my hand to my forehead a couple of times as my directional challenges clearly pop up in the video-  arghhhhhhhhh………. several times, I call the left hand side of the loom, the ~right~ hand side.  arghhhhhhh
And, at one point, I called the weft, ‘warp’………….   oh sigh…………. so please forgive me for the errors.
Luckily, pretty quickly, I do say the ~correct~ thing.   But still……….. arghhhhhhhhhhhh………….
And, no, I am not willing to re-shoot the video….. there are days and days and days of shooting, and so I am not going back to do it again.
Said in the nicest possible way, with really the minimum of snarls and snaps.  :D
Anyhow…. I hope that you will have a WONDERFUL time weaving your pouches!
Without further ado, here’s the video: (bugs and all- and dogs barking and rain raining and thunder thundering…. the dogs were freaked out by the lighting and thunder, so they were indulging in a LOT of vocalizing about the bad bad sky!)

To do or not to do

Saturday was a day of rest…well at least when it came to weaving. I had to take care of some chores, and we were also out till late (into sunday). I was too tired to do the usual early start.

I haven’t done any more on the bracelet as I don’t know what size is needed. I may be forced to guesstimate. Hmmm!…

So, Sunday I made a start on the fringe or the purse. This was after a lot of ‘research’ (read looking at eye candy) of fringes! I looked through some three books on looming that I have, and chose a style. I bought some Swarovski bicones last week to use in the fringe. I also went through my stash to make up the numbers. Now, yesterday evening I sat down to make a start. But then I had to choose the colours to use in the fringe. This took a while as I wanted to choose colours that would work with both sides. The fringe will be on both sides of the purse so they have to be matching. I’m not daring enough to try using different colours on each side!

So, I chose the colours and lay them out with some of the bicones. I made a start, held it up to admire and rapidly changed my mind. So, I was back to thinking about what to do again. In the end I went with my original idea, and here is how it is looking so far.

I’m thinking of changing it up a little, but hesitant. I’m not sure why. Partly because I don’t know if it would work, and I don’t want to undo and redo if that happens to be wrong.

My next project to go on the loom will be a portrait. I promised my husband a long time ago that I would make him a portrait of his (late) parents.

It’s been more than a year since i promised, so I think it’s about time I got on with it! I’m hoping to surprise him with it. It would mean I can’t work on it while he is home. He doesn’t look in the cupboard where I keep the loom so I wouldn’t worry too much about him seeing it. I need to order the remainder of the beads so I can start. I was considering fireline for the warps but think will just buy the large bobbin of white Nymo. That will do the job just as well.

So still quite a bit to do. I think I may try and do a video on warping for wide pieces. The portrait will be about 150 wide. Delicas of course. I I had planned and saved I could have done it in 15s! They’re a bit steeply priced but one of these days I will do a picture with them! Perhaps something with less colours :)

I’m off to decide how to continue this fringe. Happy reading and a good night when you get to bed!

Advanced Tapestry Techniques

Lesson 10 of the Craftsy Bead & Tapestry Cuff class teaches advanced tapestry techniques. Upon first viewing it, I felt as if I’d been suddenly thrown into the deep end of the pool. After many slow and steady lessons, this class uses frequent new terms and I must admit, unfortunately does not always employ the best photography. The techniques themselves are not really all that difficult but if it is one’s first time attempting them, I am certain that you will need to watch multiple times before catching on. The thirty-second rewind feature is useful although I found I required more than just the quick thirty seconds to review certain sections. (I cannot speak for everyone’s experience however it seems that the Craftsy platform does not always allow for smooth rewinding and fast forwarding although this could perhaps just be a problem with my own computer.) My criticism of the photography concerns the bad angles that are sometimes used and the need for more close ups. As Claudia does admit however, if you are seriously interested in learning more about tapestry, any of the many books available at www.mirrixlooms.com will provide the necessary depth that is beyond the scope of this class. I’ve purchased Kirsten Glasbrook’s classic and look forward to diving into it as soon as I’ve completed this course.


Pick and Pick

          

                                                    Wavy Lines & Lazy Lines

Minor concerns aside, I seriously love the results of “pick and pick” or what I prefer to call simply vertical striping. The beauty of these advanced techniques is that suddenly the whole process of weaving becomes quite clear in a novel way. Of course, if you weave in one shed with one color and the following shed in another, you will get vertical stripes. Two passes with one color followed by two passes with a second color will yield horizontal stripes. Brilliant. For me, the term “lazy line” seems a little too close to “wavy line.” (And why not just call it “diagonal line” which is what it is?) And if anyone can explain the difference to me between hatching and shading, I’m all ears. Also, those special situations when the edge warps are lowered are a little confusing but once again I’m sure a little more experience will clear this up.
 

                                                        Finished on the loom

                                                         Weaving two at a time!

                                                           

Well, as they say, practice makes perfect and I’m more than willing. My first cuff has attracted so much attention that I’m afraid I’ve already overextended myself gift-wise. This should keep me busy for quite some time.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be weaving tapestry cuffs.

xxx, Karen