What Do You Need to Begin Weaving?

One question we get a lot here at Mirrix is, "What do I need to begin weaving?" 

This depends, of course, but you may be surprised at how little you need to get started! 

For Tapestry Weaving:

-A Loom and. We recommend one with a shedding device like the 16" Big Sister Loom.
-Heddles. You only need these if you are using the shedding device. You can either purchase pre-made ones, or make your own. We have instructions on this page
-Warp. Warp can come in a variety of different fibers including cotton, linen or wool. Your warp is going to be under extreme tension and therefore has to be very strong. You should not be able to easily break it just using your hands.
-A Tapestry Beater. Tapestry beaters are available in wood, metal or a combination of the two. We sell two wooden versions. This weighted one is a great choice. You can also use a simple fork.
-Weft. The most important quality in a tapestry yarn (which is the weft) is beauty. It doesn’t have to be warm or soft or have any of the yarn qualities you would want for making a sweater. It just has to be beautiful and available in whatever colors you want. If you were to spin your own tapestry yarn you would use the fleece from a sheep with long, lustrous locks. You would not use the fiber from something like a Marino Sheep which has short fuzzy fleece. Short fuzzy fleece is warm, but it does not make for pretty tapestry yarn.

Optional:
-Tapestry bobbins
-A tapestry needle (especially if you are not using the shedding device)

You'll also want some basic supplies like a good pair of scissors and a measuring tape

Check out our tapestry basics guide for more on weaving tapestry! 

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Weaving a Crystal and Bead Bracelet Using the Shedding Device

A while back I wove a crystal and bead bracelet on a Lani Loom not using the shedding device. I loved the resulting piece but I have to admit I did not enjoy weaving it. Which was a problem because in theory I wanted to weave a lot of them. In practice, not so much. Why? You might ask. And by gosh, I am going to answer.

The crystals I was using were 2 mm. The beads were 11/0 Delicas. I alternated the beads with one row being: bead, crystal, bead, etc. and the next starting with a crystal, bead, crystal, etc. The holes for the crystals and beads were at a different level so when I strung up a crystal, a bead, a crystal, etc. and put it behind and in between the warp in order to sew through the beads on top, the sewing through part was not much fun. The needle is straight and the holes for the crystals and beads are not straight. So it was this battle to push the needle through the beads and crystals.

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keeping a weaving journal ...

 
 
I have been an avid journal keeper it seems my whole life. I have art journals, diaries, altered books and personal journals ... I love expressing myself, remembering incredible moments and ideas in my journals. There are so many moments and experiences I don't want to ever forget.
 
I have kept a weaving journal for a very long time. I have been a weaver over thirty years, so you can imagine just how many pages I have written in that amount of time! I love those rainy afternoons when I pour over the pages of past journals with a cup of hot tea, just filling myself with thoughts and memories.
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Macrame on a Mirrix

Macrame has been on my radar recently as it is experiencing a resurgence similar to tapestry. Yesterday, I came across a video showing some macrame techniques. The piece  shown was being made while it was hanging on a wall and the bar it was on kept tilting back and forth. I realized as I watched that if you wanted more stability, you could make a macrame piece on a Mirrix loom's warping bar held between the wooden clips.

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How to weave with Soumak Stitch

Allow yourself to make mistakes. Create room for failure. 

I've found that in order to be creative, to come with new ideas, you must be willing to allow yourself to make mistakes, something that I find easy to do when I'm drawing or painting, but much more challenging when weaving ( because it takes so long). However, since getting my Mirrix, I've allowed much more time and space for experimentation, because it allows for small work. I've started creating what I like to call "thumbnail weaving."

While I've been a tradtional floor loom weaver for years, working a tapestry loom is rather new to me, so I wanted to just experiment with ideas, stitches, and a variety of ways to create texture. One of my current favorite stitches is the soumak stitch, which looks like a braid. In the video below, I'm sharing how to do the stitch.

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Celebrate National Craft Month (With a Sale)

Through March 17th, get 15% off the following kits and silk packages PLUS get code for $10 off any order over $75 when you share picture of your finished project using the kit or materials!

The Eccentric Wefts Tapestry Eyeglass Case Kit $42.00 $35.70

The Queen Nefertiti Bracelet Kit $69.00 $58.65

6 Skeins of Hand-Painted Mulberry Silk $35.00 $29.75 

12 Skeins of Hand-Painted Mulberry Silk and one Skein of Gold Thread $65.00 $55.25

 

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Turning Your Photos into Art (plus a free bead pattern and a sale)

There is something so satisfying about taking a beautiful photo and then turning it into another medium such as bead weaving or tapestry.

For tapestry, you would blow up the photo into a cartoon (a full size rendering of the photo) and put it behind the warps, most likely keeping a copy of the photo in sight at the front of the loom. You can do this for bead weaving as well, which I know this because I come from a tapestry background. At first, I would just copy my tapestry weaving methods and apply them to beads. But that was before I discovered bead software that allows you to render a photo into a bead graph. I waded through a couple of bead pattern creation programs before I discovered that the best software for turning photos into bead graphs is BeadCreator Pro. I like other bead programs for other reasons, but PCP seems to be more sophisticated than other bead software in allowing you to tweak the colors of a photograph-turned-bead pattern until you come up with a final product that not only looks like the photo but that does not have five zillion different bead colors. I draw the line at 25 colors, but usually opt for fewer.

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Studio visit with Janna

Hey there,

I'm changing it up and trying out a video post in a sort of podcast style to see how it feels. Sorry about all the snapping sounds in the background - it's the fireplace crackling.

In this update I talk about my terrible habit of weaving with no design in mind, I share a bit of the history of Everlea Textiles, and show you why I'm weaving my next tapestry design on its side. Below are links to the items I talk about.

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Mirrix Tapestry & Bead Looms Demonstration @ The Handweavers Studio & Gallery

Will you be in or near London On Saturday, April 1st, 2017? From 11:00 - 16:00 I will be at The Handweavers Studio and Gallery in London demonstrating what a Mirrix can do, giving people the chance to weave on one and raffling off a 12” Little Guy Loom to one lucky weaver!

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The fun in starting a new weaving project!

I have been wanting to begin the Mirrix Beaded woven cuff project for months now and there is always something getting in the way to keep me from starting!  Do you ever have times like that? Perhaps not enough time or not enough looms?  The holidays have come and gone and I am still having a time carving out time to weave and play!

I don't know if you know it or not but Mirrix Looms has an amazing project section on their website and they willingly share there ideas, techniques and project notes for you to try too!  They also have weave a long projects, and sell their kits to accompany the weave a long.  You don't have to worry about finding all the materials, they are all in the kit ready for you to begin!

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