Soumak Pouch Weave Along #8 Part Three Warping the Looms

Today’s installment of the Soumak Pouch  Weave Along is a video tutorial about warping the looms for the ‘no warp ends’ technique that will be the foundation of the Soumak Pouches.

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There are a number of hints and tips that I have found that make warping for the  pouches much quicker and easier.
The video shows how to warp  the 8 inch and 12 inch  Mirrix looms, using ‘s’ hooks.
The Mini (5 inch loom) is warped using the ‘no warp ends’ kit from Mirrix.
The looms are almost gift wrapped after warping!
Really?  Yes :)
I have found that using ribbons to tie around the ‘s’ hooks on the lower edge of the 8 inch, 12 inch or larger Mirrix looms keeps the weft yarn from getting snagged on the hooks while weaving.
And, the Mini wears little babushkas or headscarves!
Yep. I tie bias tape or ribbon around the ends to cover the paper clips and keep them from snagging on clothing and to protect them.
I know it may seem odd, but it makes the weaving go more  smoothly.

Here’s the video that shows how the warping is done for the Weave Along:

Travels with Mini

When a weaver and a musician go on holidays, what do they take with them?

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Their dogs, of course!
But of course, they never leave home without a guitar

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Or, a loom:

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The Mini is the most perfect little loom for traveling.
Because she’s so portable, I was able to keep working on the Weave Along #8 as we were out and about on our travels.

I was weaving away on this pouch while we were away:

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So, I took advantage of the gorgeous scenery to photograph the step by step photos of weaving the pouch:

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Mini has her own wee suitcase which she snuggles very happily into, along with all the bits and pieces needed for the weaving.
(It began life as a case for a drill that lives in a toolbox, so Jim gave the un-used case to me and I love it for  Ms Mini!)

When we are on holidays, I tend to photograph the smaller things, like lichens:

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and flowers (ahem… the wind was crazy, so trying to get the flower to sit still was a lost cause)

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and small looms on beautiful stony beaches:

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and the patterns in tree roots:

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and shadows:

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and gorgeous driftwood:

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and the patterns in nature:

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and small dogs having great adventures … (Yikes! Wolves ATE a dog here? eegads!)

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Speaking of wild animals, last year when we went to Jasper (in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada), we saw 13 bears!
This year, we only saw one:

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But we did see one VERY thrilling wild animal- the first time I have ever seen a wild mountain goat, in fact:

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It was rainy, windy and cold for the entire time we were there, which made perfect weather for weaving and making music :o)

But then, as far as I am concerned, ANY weather is perfect for weaving and making music :o)

I will be posting the step by step photos for the checkered Soumak Pouch on the 19th of September.

And, of course, the installments of the  Soumak Pouch weave along will continue to be posted on Elena’s blog, A Word From Elena,  every Sunday and Wednesday through out September.

I hope that you had a lovely summer and that the sun shone upon you, and music swirled around you and that the yarn was sweet in your hands!

Productive times

The early rising is helping me get in some weaving before the minis descend on me! The past two weeks have also been fairly productive. I finished off a bracelet, and also cleared the loom. The strip for the side of the violin is sorted – the warps on one side have been rewoven. The other warps will be used to join to the next length that I loom. I’m debating whether to make it 19 and not 20 beads wide. The 20-wide fits into the side with a little manipulation. 19-wide would sit in the space nicely.

Right now, I’m working on the Nelson Mandela bracelet. After a worrying start (as usual!), it’s looking fabulous – if I say so myself! The worrying start? Well, I split it into three sections. I was planning to start at the top of the head and work down, then go back up and finish the top. However, I laid out the beads for the bottom so have ended up working from the bottom up. It’s not entirely ‘comfortable’ but I can do it if needed.

So onto the worrying part. I had finished weaving the hand, and was happy with it after making some changes to the colour choices. When I moved onto the face is when the worry set in. I continued weaving despite making nothing out. I figured if it was wrong I’d just undo it.

Yesterday when I stepped away from it to start work, is when all fear was dissipated and I have my OH MY moment!! The image was there!!! The relief was palpable!

So, last night I finished weaving the face. I’ve not got to decide what to weave above the head. The pattern stopped at that point, but I needed to shift it down. I’m sure I’ll figure something out anyway.

In the meantime, I’ve began the handle section of the purse. And I think I made a good choice. I’ve got an image (of sorts) in my head for the actual handle. I’ll see if I can get it on paper then weave it. I also better get thinking about that fringe too!!

So those are the two projects I’m concentrating on at the moment. I would like to get my late in-laws’ portrait on next. This will be for my husband. To make a change from framing I’m thinking I could back it with ultra suede or something similar, so it’s a hanging. I’ll think on it while I order more beads

For now I’m resting and will continue weaving later. Have a good afternoon and apply weaving/beading!

Ain’t No Stopping Me Now

I’ve said it before but these Mirrix Loom bracelets really do weave themselves. After years of painstaking pattern-following, row-by-row stitch count knitting, what a pleasure it is to obtain such instant gratification. In less time than it takes to watch an episode of Law & Order, another bracelet is woven and finished off. The only problem, if you could call it that, is what to do with all the resulting bracelets. (Another random note: I once started making handmade herbal soap as a hobby. Well, it was so much fun that I wound up with far more soap than I could ever use. The upshot: a fairly successful cottage industry with customers that included Bed, Bath & Beyond and HomeGoods. It nearly killed me though. Not again, please.)


Using the shedding device, admittedly, takes a little getting used to. At first I couldn’t figure out how to keep the shed open. Only after several rewinds of the video did I catch on to the fact that the black part of the handle must actually wind around the bar, hugging it, to keep the shed open. Duh. Also, I’m still not entirely happy with how my bead rows are sitting- not quite even and a little wobbly for sure. I must be doing something wrong or else I prefer the other method of sewing the row in as it seems more secure. Oh well, good to know that I’m not exactly an expert at this yet ;)

The finishing…well, let’s see…the glue is a little messy. Be sparing. I would definitely use clothes pins or clamps to temporarily hold the three layers of tapestry, brass cuff and ultrasuede together while the glue dries. And while I enjoy the Zen-like process of sewing the three bead picot edge around the perimeter of the piece, I would definitely set aside some quiet time for this, and don’t plan it for too late an hour. It’s a little tedious for sure but the results, you must admit, are spectacular.

                                                            Freshly cut off the loom


                                                 Backside before being trimmed & glued

Backside after being trimmed & glued
Clamped while glue dries

 After beading
 The finished bracelet
Lookin’ good!

I think they’ll fit perfectly in several Christmas stockings, don’t you? Who will be the recipients of your Mirrix weavings this year?

xxx, Karen

Soumak Pouch Weave Along #8 Part Two: Design Notes

I am sure that everyone who is participating in the Soumak Pouch Weave Along wants to create a finished piece that is completely unique.
So, that’s why I am sharing a few design notes.

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In Part One of the Weave Along LINK   I posted my design for the Soumak Pouch.
How did I come up with this design, and how can you make it be a reflection of your personality?
I started the design process by thinking of the rug that was in my grandmother’s dining room when I was a little girl:

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I spent many a happy hour on that carpet, when I was a child, playing with my cousins.
The flowers became a deeply ingrained part of my ‘pattern language’.
So, when I was designing the pouch, it was natural to look at the flowers in the carpet and see if there was a starting point there.
Indeed there was, and I sketched and played with variations on carpet flowers:

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I  traced out lots of copies of the prototype pattern.
I find that tracing the pattern by hand is better for me than scanning and printing the pattern.
When my hand and eyes are quietly engaged in tracing the design, then connections are made that are really helpful in making creative leaps.
I choose aquarelles (watercolor pencils) that matched my weft colors.
Then, I colored lots and lots of variations on the theme, playing with combinations of colors and trying to push myself to use the weft colors in ways that I might not have considered.
I also would make little sidebar colorways when I was uncertain about a specific motif in the pattern.
And, then, when I was happy, I started weaving.
As I wove the prototype pouches, I discovered a few things:  OOPS! The weaving contracts when it’s released from the loom, so it NEEDS a header and footer beyond the pattern!
Also, I felt that making the pattern more geometrical would make it more weaver-friendly, so I re-designed the pattern to make it conform more closely to the warp strands:

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I felt constrained to stick to using only the colors of yarn that were in the various kits and packages supplied by the yarn companies.
I didn’t mix and match, BUT… you can feel totally free to use yarn from your stash to personalize your pouch.
The only exception to the ‘no stash’ rule that I was following was that, for the black and white checkered pouch, I did pull white wool from my stash (well, my daughter in law’s stash to be perfectly honest… bless her for her donation to the cause <3 and :D )

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In this photo, you’ll see that I traced the pattern onto graph paper (4 squares to the inch or 2.5 cm).
(The photo of the pouch at the beginning of this post was woven with the Mirrix Soumak Pouch Kit yarns and this colorway.)
Graph paper is the top of the list of my favorite design tools…. it’s a weaver’s very good friend indeed!
Playing with graph paper allows you to try out all manner of interesting things.
So, in a nutshell, what are the key points of designing a unique project?
1-  Look for a starting point in something that you love or are inspired by.
2-  Be willing to make mistakes and to start over
3-  Trace, don’t print the extra copies of the design.
4-  Use colors in ways that you might not usually consider when you are experimenting with your coloring pages.
BUT… if you have signature colors, then, of course, feel free to use them.
5-  Make multiple color combination sidebars if you are uncertain about a part of the design.
6-  Use graph paper to work out colorways and patterns.
7- The ways that you choose to embellish your pouch will make your pouch TOTALLY unique, as the finishing and embellishment techniques are incredibly expressive :)

Here’s the Design Notes Video:

 Happy weaving! :o) Noreen

The Big Leagues

Whoever designed the Mirrix class for Craftsy really knows their stuff. (Claudia/ Elena?) Each lesson builds on knowledge learned in the previous one and progresses so gradually that nothing ever seems too difficult. Although I’ve been moving through it all rather smoothly, secretly I’ve been terrified of that odd looking metal tube lurking in the box. Ever since first becoming interested in Mirrix looms, I‘ve been fascinated with the concept of this shedding device. The name itself is so unusual, don’t you think? I’ve wondered if the term is unique to Mirrix and if not, who invented it? Of course, I had to google it. Wikipedia explains “a shedding device is the device used to raise or open the shed.” Ok, so the term exists out there in the greater world of weaving and the definition definitely makes sense. But still…you have to admit is does sound strange. (Random note: in describing the shedding device to my husband -who I warn you has a strange sense of humor- he responds by pointing to Ollie, our beloved Old English Sheepdog and says “Now that is a real shedding device.” Yuk yuk.)

Ollie, the original “shedding device”

Clearly, I had no idea, when the time came, how I was going to deal with this contraption. I would have remained perfectly content to continue using my loom as is, sans shedding device, making Affinity Bracelets from now ’til doomsday. But captivated as I was by the sheer beauty of the Tapestry Cuff, I knew that sooner or later, like it or not, I would have to conquer the dreaded shedding device!

Almost as terrifying a concept as the shedding device are those devilish little bits of string called heddles. How confusing they seemed and could I figure out a way to avoid using them? Well, was I ever pleasantly surprised. Following Claudia’s step by step instructions in Lesson 9, I was warped for tapestry, with shedding device and both sets of heddles in place in the wink of…well, you know. I cannot describe my joy while using the shedding device handle and seeing the shed move back and forth before my eyes. Magic. And how brilliant! I’m happy to report that I am well on my way to creating my very own magnificent beaded tapestry cuff. Wait ‘til you see it. Won’t you be jealous!

Warped, heddled & ready to go



Oh and by the way, think only Claudia’s Mirrix gets to go sailing?

xxx, Karen


Weave Along #8- Soumak Pouch Part One- Setting up the Looms

Welcome to the first installment of the Soumak Pouch Weave Along!
I hope that you are going to have a wonderful time, weaving one of a kind pouches for your business cards and cellphone, or using it in any way that appeals to you.
If you would like to join in the conversation, you can leave comments here on this blog,
as well as on the Mirrix facebook page LINK and the Mirrix Ravelry page: LINK

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I will be demonstrating on the Mirrix 12 inch, 8 inch and 5 inch Mini, which is a totally magical little loom.
Because of the small (but oh so perfect) size of the Mini, I have had to come up with some fairly ‘outside the box’ ways of working with it for the weave along- which certainly add to the functionality of this delightful little loom!

I have made six video tutorials and one slide show (so far) for the Weave Along.
I will be posting installments of the Weave Along every Sunday and Wednesday from September 2, 2012 to September 23, 2012.
BUT… you don’t have to keep up with this pace…. you can follow along at your own speed, as the blog posts are going to be here for as long as Tottie still Talks Crafts! 
I have covered a TON of information, and some of the videos are very long.
To make them as user friendly as possible, I have made chapter headings for each segment of the videos.
This means that you can stop the video and move back or forward to review anything you want to, at any time in the video.
Here’s what the chapter headings look like:

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So, without further ado, lets get started!
Here is the pattern for the Soumak Pouch:

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Print the pattern so that it is 3 inches wide and 10 inches long.
Print several copies.
And, now, for the video tutorial: (hope you enjoy it!)