Ask Elena

Do you have a question about Mirrix Looms? Wondering how to choose a warp coil? Not sure what a bottom spring kit is? Puzzled by the warping bar?

We’ve got your answers… just ASK ELENA.

askelena

Email elena@mirrixlooms.com with your question in the traditional “ask someone” form and we’ll choose our favorites to put up on the blog. (But don’t worry, we’ll answer them all!)

Sample Question:

Dear Elena-

I have never warped a loom before and I am wondering what kind of instruction you have online for a beginner. 

Sincerely, Warpless in Washington

Sample Answer:

Dear Warpless in Washington-

Never fear! We have great .pdf warping instructions available online. Just choose the “type” of warping you need to do (for tapestry, for bead weaving, with the shedding device, without…) and go to that .pdf for written instructions with lots of pictures! You can see them here. 

Elena

What is a Shedding Device?

The Mirrix Shedding Device can seem a puzzling contraption to those unfamiliar with weaving. Today, I hope to clear up what a shedding device is and why you might want one.

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The Mirrix Shedding Device

Called: Shedding Device
Not Called: Shredder, Shredding Device, Shedder

Shedding devices are devices used to lift warps in order to pass fiber or beads through them more easily. The space between the warps is called the SHED, which is where the term SHEDding device comes from.

On a Mirrix shedding device, when you change the position of the handle, the shedding device shifts position and opposite sets of warps are raised, securing your beads or weft between the warp threads. The wooden clips hold your shedding device on the loom, but also serve to hold your warping bar in place when warping your loom (and before you install the shedding device).

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By changing the position of the shedding device using the handle, you change which warp threads are raised or lowered

When weaving tapestry, if you do not use the shedding device, you must weave each piece of fiber under and over the warp threads.

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By using the shedding device, you can lift half of your warp threads all at the same time, so instead of weaving over and under, you can just place your weft (the thread you are using) between the raised and lowered warp threads.

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The shedding device is attached to the warp threads with heddles. These heddles pull up on the correct warp threads when the shedding device is engaged.

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The shedding device engaged in one direction, picking up half the warp threads.

When weaving beads with the shedding device, you string up a row of beads and then place them between the raised and lowered warp threads. Then you change the position of the shedding device, securing those beads between the warp threads.

bead weaving

bead weaving

On a Mirrix Loom, using the shedding device is recommended for tapestry weaving as it makes the process much faster and easier. For combining beads and fiber, a shedding device is also very useful. For beads, both the traditional bead weaving method of placing your beads behind your warp threads and then sewing through and the method using the shedding device and placing the beads between raised and lowered warp threads work. The method using the shedding device takes a little more time to set up, but once you get the hang of it it’s a fast and fun way to weave beads!

Do you still have questions about the Mirrix shedding device? Ask in the comments!

Crystal and Bead Bracelet # Two

So I did weave the bracelet and I did take it off the loom, but the day got ahead (or behind?) me and I didn’t get to add the clasp.  That gives me an entire grade off starting at a B although I do like this bracelet better than the first AND the photos are a lot better.  At least you will be able to see the detail and get a feel for how this was set up on the loom and how the beads fit in their little places.  I have used both 11/0 and 8/0 seeds beads as well as the 4mm crystals.  One crystal, three 11/0 seed beads and two 8/0 seeds beads fit in the space between the warp threads.  I’ve used C-Lon fine beading cord for warp and C-Lon size D beading thread to string and weave the beads.

Half way there!

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Finished on loom

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Off loom taking a little rest

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Close up of resting bracelet

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First thing tomorrow when there is sun I will finish this one and weave and finish bracelet number three!

Seven bracelets in Seven Days

I do well with goals.  And when those goals fit in with what I want to do anyway, there is a good chance those goals will be realized.

I got it in my head that I wanted to weave a series of bead and crystal bracelets.  So I hauled out my supply of crystals and 11/0 and 8/0 seed beads, arranged them all over every available surface in my studio and started to ponder my desired results.  Of course, I immediately determined I was missing certain colors I absolutely needed.  That’s one way to stall!  Then I got over it and decided I had actually what I needed and would work with what I saw.  That freed me to start working on my first bracelet.  And here she is, wrapped around a cone of gold thread.  I wish I had a wrist not attached to my body on which to wrap it but my husband’s wrist just would not do!

IMG_2693How hard are these to weave n a Mirrix Loom? Easy.  I almost hate to reveal how easy.  How long did the actual weaving take?  About an hour.  Warping? About a minute.  You can weave this piece on any Mirrix Loom.  You don’t need a warp coil.  All you need is a loom, warp material, beads, crystals, a scissor, thread, a good needle, a clasp or some way to create a clasp and you are good to go.

Below is the bracelet finished on the loom.  Sorry about the light.  Yesterday was particularly grey and dull and light just would not sneak into my studio.  The OTT light wasn’t helping much either.  But you can still see the overall design.  This particular bracelet only uses size 8/0 beads and size 4 mm crystals.  All the bracelets will use 4 mm crystals because they take up the space of either two 8/0 beads or three 11/0 beads.  I put four warps on the loom for three spaces in which to weave either one crystal or two 8/0 beads.  If 8/0 beads and crystals are in the same row the method is to weave the first row, let’s say of two 8/0 beads, one crystal, two 8/0 beads.  The next row, string up two 8/0 beads, sew through the crystal and string up two more 8/0 beads.  On the return, go through the 8/0 beads and the crystal.  The crystal is twice as tall as the 8/0 beads so now your two rows will be the same height.  Easy.

 

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For the clasp, I wrapped a rubber O-ring with hand-painted silk yarn.  I’ve used a mother-of-pearl button for the clasp.  The piece is a tad more than six inches long.  The bracelet should fit snugly on one’s wrist.  Adjustments can be made by adding or removing beads from when attaching the O-ring or button.

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I lined the back with ultra-suede.  This allowed me to bury the warp ends behind the piece and also to give the bracelet more stability and a really nice feel on one’s wrist.  I sewed a series of three beads around the edges to give it a more finished look and to disguise the stitches that attach the bead piece to the ultra-suede.  Those gold crystals are 24 karat gold plated and well worth the expense because I used only a few of them.

 

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Here is a photo of the finished bracelet.  Total time to make this:  two hours!

 

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Tomorrow’s bracelet (which I wove today!):  A combination of 8/0 and 11/0 beads and 4 mm crystals!  Check back.

 

Confetti and Bead Necklace Weave-Along Week 2

Welcome to the second week of Mirrix’s Weave-Along! We’re ready to get to the fun part- weaving! This is the bulk of the weave-along, so remember to ask questions if you have them! We can always be reached directly (email: elena@mirrixlooms.com) or via social media sites like Facebook or Ravelry

This is how the LaniLoom looks with her warp on. You want to lift the bar in back so that there is at least seven inches of warp between the bar and where you will begin weaving.  That should leave seven inches on the other end as well.  I you’ve extended your loom more than 18 inches, you can increase the fringe by half the number of inches you increased your height by.  So that if your loom is now 20 inches high, you can make your fringe 8 inches.

Let’s begin weaving!  Your first row will be two crystals.  Once you’ve woven the row, tie and knot the the thread to adjust the initial width of the piece.  You can sew that end in later.

Next weave one solid row of beads (I used the pink) followed by that bead, two of another bead color (I used the gold), repeat that row and end with a solid row of the original color.  Then add another row of crystals in whatever color you want.  I used the pink.  Remember, you goal is to evenly distribute these colors throughout the piece.

Continue weaving this pattern until there are 41 sections of beads and 42 rows of crystals.

You are going to have to advance your piece several times.  Note how at one point, I move the warping bar to the top of the loom.

In this next photo you will see that the bar has been moved down to the front of the loom to create room for those final rows of beads.  Again, you will leave at least seven inches of empty warp ending with a row of cyrstals.

You can see now how easy this project is to do! It’s simple traditional bead weaving, but the results are stunning with the different sized beads and crystals. You can use this technique elsewhere and really experiment using different sized beads, crystals, stones or anything else you can think of!

What different materials would you use in a similar project?