It’s a new weave-along: The Crystal Cuff

Crystal Cuffs

Concept: The concept of a weave-along is simple. Once a week on Sunday during the span of the weave-along participants receive an email from us going over (in detail and with pictures, descriptions and sometimes even video) the steps of how to make a particular project. The project is split into seperate parts, each part being a different email, allowing participants to work on the section detailed in the email sent on Sunday during the following week.

Typically we archive weave-alongs, but this one will NOT BE ARCHIVED and will only be available “live”. This doesn’t mean you can’t save your emails and work at your own pace, but it should encourage you to work at the pace of the weave-along.

A very important aspect of the weave-along is the social aspect. Each week we encourage you to ask questions, to share pictures of your progress, to answer questions and to interact with other participants on Facebook, Ravelry, Twitter (hashtag #weavealong10) and via email (if you aren’t a social media user we’d be happy to post your pictures and progress for you!). A weave-along is meant to be an online re-creation of a class with friends. Learn, share and be inspired! When you sign up, we ask you to click “YES” and agree to “Participate, ask questions, etc.”. Please do, and help make this weave-along a more social experience for everyone involved!

Project: The Crystal Cuff is a gorgeous bead and crystal bracelet on a resizable brass cuff.

Get $5.00 off as a weave-along participant (for those of you who have already signed up before we have the kit available, we will email you your discount codes when the weave-along launches)

What do you need? Any size Mirrix Loom, a Cyrstal Cuff Kit (or similar supplies) (CUFF KIT COMING SOON)

Sign-up here

 

Quality Workmanship: Better for your wallet, better for the environment. Happy Earth Day

It seems like many products these days aren’t built to last. We buy things knowing they’ll only work for a few years and then we replace them and start the cycle over. We’re all aware that this isn’t a great system, for our wallets or for the environment, but a lot of the time there isn’t much we can do. This morning as I struggled with a broken (AGAIN) espresso machine, I thought about this and reflected upon the seemingly-outdated concept of quality workmanship.

As I sat down at my computer with my half-made cup of coffee (the steamer is broken, I really craved a soy latte) and began checking my emails I realized how proud I am to be part of a company that makes products the old fashioned way. Each loom is hand-crafted by our wonderful employees at our manufacturing facility in Wisconsin and meant to last not one year, not ten years, but a lifetime. You may need to replace a spring or a clip, but a Mirrix Loom should be able to be passed down from generation to generation. That means no broken looms in the trash can and no need to buy another (unless, of course, you want more than one).

And that’s how it should be, for our earth and for our wallets.

Happy Earth Day! (I leave you with a picture of the Mirrix pup, Sam, when he was a little guy working hard for the environment at grist.org)

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Three new bracelets

I decided to revisit the beaded cuff design and ramp down the number of colors as well as simplify the pattern.  This is not quite as interesting to weave as a more colorful piece with several or more bead and crystal shapes, but still fun to weave and finish and I really like the final results.

Crystal Cuffs


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Here is the trio!

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This one is made of gold finished beads only.  Some are rose gold, some are iris gold, some are pink or yellow gold.  The shapes are all round and the sizes range from 15/0 to 11/0 to 8/0.  The fire polish crystals in the middle are 24 karat gold plated (and yes, they cost a fortune!).

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This piece combines  rhodium plated size 11/0 Delica beads with fire polish crystals and size 11/0 beads for the sides.

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The last in the trip is again all gold but this time a combination of Delica beads in both rose and yellow gold finishes.  The crystals are swarovski in colors in the rose, purple, green range.  The trim beads are 11/0 and 15/0 round beads.

What follows are some more angles on these three bracelets:

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And lastly, the wrap bracelet revisited with pictures on an arm and spread out.

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More Beaded cuffs and a wrap bracelet

I have been busy.  I have been knocking off three of these a day.  The thing I love about bead weaving (besides the fact that I love bead weaving) is that it is not hard on my hands.  Eventually, every other craft I do starts to anger my hands and so I have to stop.  I can weave on a loom all day (with breaks of course to stretch, etc.) but my hands never get tired.

We plan to create an amazing kit that will include beads and basic instruction for a variety of cuff and wrap bracelets.  I have run up the Mirrix credit card buying every bead and crystal I can find that I love and all these will go into the kit.  So be watching for it.

Meanwhile, some eye-candy to get you inspired!

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A stack of Cuffs: size 8/0 and 11/0 beads and 4mm fire polish crystals woven on a hand painted silk warp and attached to a brass cuff with an ultra-suede backing.

 

 

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About twenty inches of beads and crystals woven on a hand painted warp with a button an o-ring finding.  It wraps three times around your wrist.

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Wire & Suede: Another 20-minute Bracelet

ImageI’m addicted to using SoftFlex wire on leather or suede! I’ve ordered some more supplies, but in the meantime did some playing with the concept of weaving a wrap bracelet. My next one (when I get more leather) will be woven further across (maybe 5 or 7 warps across) to make an almost cuff-like bracelet (which will be slightly stiff because of the wire). Can’t wait!

 

The 20-Minute Bracelet

The 20 Minutes Wrap Bracelet

Weaving isn’t (usually) for the impatient (a trait which I more than occasionally identify with). A tapestry can easily take months to complete and even most bead weavings aren’t completed in an afternoon. But sometimes you need a bracelet to wear with your favorite brown wedges and your brand-new Kate Spade mint-green purse and you need it now. I mean, hypothetically… (ha).

Anyway, I’ve been playing with leather as warp on my Mini and found a partial tube of gorgeous  fire-polished crystals that just screamed spring. I also dug up a tube of SoftFlex Econoflex very fine wire in a pretty blue (it was this). It was like the universe was telling me to create this bracelet. I’d never used wire on leather before and wasn’t sure how it would react, but the results were so much fun and SO EASY. Like, do-this-with-your-child easy (disclaimer: all loom work with children should be done under supervised conditions. Small and sharp parts can be a hazard).

And it was FAST. Like 20-minutes fast. You could, of course, bead a whole lot more of the bracelet (and that would be gorgeous) but it would take a little bit longer and require more than the amount of crystals I had on-hand. purse and bracelet

The 20 Minutes Wrap Bracelet

Fold your leather piece in half and loop around the warping bar. Then bring the leather (keeping it flat) under the loom, around the front and tie the ends back around onto the warping bar. Then, tighten your tension. Make sure everything feels even.

The 20 Minutes Wrap Bracelet

This leather, looped around on one end and then tied on the other, to the warping

The 20 Minutes Wrap Bracelet

Make a slip knot with your warp thread. Here we used SoftFlex very fine wire in blue.

The 20 Minutes Wrap Bracelet

Take a crystal (we used 4mm fire Polished crystals), beads or gemstones and place it behind and between the two strips of leather. Then weave the wire through the front, securing the bead to the leather.

The 20 Minutes Wrap Bracelet

Continue to weave on your crystals, beads (in a few places I used three Delicas in place of a crystal) or gemstones onto the leather.

The 20 Minutes Wrap Bracelet

The 20 Minutes Wrap Bracelet

When you’ve finished (you can weave as long or as short as you’d like), discreetly double-knot your wire ends and trim then. Then remove the piece from the loom and tie on your wrist!

The 20 Minutes Wrap Bracelet

So easy and so cute!

The 20 Minutes Wrap Bracelet

New bracelets from Claudia

Fun to weave and easy to finish.  Inspired me to order way too many beads for other color combinations and, of course, future kits.  It’s attached to a brass cuff with an ultra-suede backing.

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Similar bracelets but not on a brass cuff and backed with ultra-suede with a pewter button and a silk covered o-ring for closure.

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Embroidery with hand painted silk yarn

This is not about weaving.  This is about embroidery, which I decided to learn how to do because I wanted another way to play with my hand painted silk yarn.  I can only do so much embroidery.  Weaving is gentle on my hands but embroidery seems to anger them after an hour or so.  It’s mainly my left hand.  My thumb has to grasp the cloth (maybe I need one of those wooden frames that hold the cloth?) and it doesn’t like it.  I am thinking I might combine the embroidery with weaving.  For example, doing embroidery on a weaving.  You don’t see much of that.  Once in a while a tapestry weaver will add some embroidery to achieve, for example, a thin vertical line without having to weave double weft interlock, which can be a real pain.  I am sure there are other examples of embroidery on tapestry, but it’s not that common.  That will be my next adventure.

I thought I would show you a sneak preview of two unfinished works.  The first two (almost full photo and close up):  It’s a combination of angelina fiber, hand painted silk yarn and beads. It took a long time and it’s not finished.  The swirls around the solid areas need to be finished.  I embroidered it on black hemp cloth. The last one is done on linen cloth with just hand painted silk.  I plan to completely fill the cloth.  It is a long way from being finished.

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