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

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!

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!)

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!
~Noreen~

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

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!

HOW WILL THE WEAVE ALONG WORK?
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!)

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:

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and the back:

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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:

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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!!!!!

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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~