Today I got an email with a question I get every day and still haven't quite figured out how to answer: Are Mirrix Looms easy to warp?
The short answer is yes. The basic concept of warping is very simple: you wrap warp around the loom. There are different ways to warp with varying degrees of difficulty depending on if you are using the shedding device, want continuous warping, are using an add-on kit like the No Warp-Ends Kit or Extra Warping Bar Kit, are using our Easy Warp Method, etc.
The long answer is:
1.) Warping ease is in the mind of the beholder and depends on experience. Once anyone has some practice warping it becomes second nature. You just have to develop the motions and relax enough to get even tension. It is much easier to get even tension on a Mirrix because of the continuous warp method.
2.) The ease of warping depends a lot on what you're warping for. Want to warp for a bead piece at 18 EPI (meaning your warp threads are very close together) with the shedding device woven the width of a 38" Loom? You'll want practice before tackling that. We suggest, even if you have big dreams of large pieces, if you've never warped the Mirrix, try something little so you can figure out what mistakes there are to make and how to fix them. That way, when you move on to larger pieces you'll be able to troubleshoot better if you do make a mistake.
3.) Warping takes patience. There is nothing difficult about the process, but you have to pay attention so you don't make mistakes. The reason warping a wider piece is more difficult is simply because there are more places to make mistakes. And yes we all make mistakes. We still make mistakes when we are not paying full attention. And that's the thing about life though. Mistakes are part of life, part of learning. That doesn't take away from the fact that making them is such a bore!
4.) If you're a beginner and want to weave but are afraid that warping will be too difficult, fear not: There are easy options to get you started. The easiest? Our new "Easy Warp" method. This method simply has you wrap your warp in a circle around the loom. You can even use a shedding device. The disadvantage is only that you won't have continuous warping (which allows you to weave a piece longer than the length of your loom), so the pieces you weave using this method will be shorter.
Here are some different warping methods ranked by difficulty:
Warping using the "Easy Warp" Method
If you are at all tentative about warping, we suggest going on the bunny slope a couple of times. Just to be really clear, there is no warping method for any other loom on earth that is easier than warping with the "Easy Warp" Method. Once you've sailed down the bunny slope with nary a hitch, you will be ready to advance to more difficult methods of warping.
Warping for bead or tapestry weaving without the shedding device using the standard Mirrix warping method
Warping without the shedding device is the next easiest. You should definitely look at our instructional videos and ebooks first to get a sense of the pattern and to be forewarned of possible mistakes. For example, crossing your warp through the body of the loom instead of making sure the warp is always going around the loom is a mistake that frequently crops up for newbies. But it's a mistake you will only make a few times once you've figured out the pattern. And this mistake is a show stopper because once you've crossed through the loom you cannot properly advance your weaving. So stay out of the proverbial loom gutter and keep your ball of warp rolling around the outside of the loom only. And keep that tension even. You will tighten it when you are done warping.
Warping with the No Warp-Ends Kit
The No Warp-Ends Kit is probably a tie with the method above in terms of difficulty. But that really depends on how your mind works! This method requires that you suspend two bars in front of the loom that are adorned with S-hooks. You tie onto the first s-hook and then loop around the one on the other bar, going back and forth until you are sufficiently warped. Tie off the final end and then apply tension.
Warping using the Extra Warping Bar Kit
Warping with the extra warping bar allows you to put on a much shorter warp (so as not to waste it) and it also eliminates the warp on the back of the loom so that if you are weaving wide pieces without the shedding device you will have ample room to get your hand in there to hold the beads in place while sewing through them. Again, depending on how your mind works, this method might actually be the easiest of all.
Warping for tapestry with the shedding device adds only one thing to the standard Mirrix warping method: once the loom is warped, you add the shedding device. This is actually very easy to do. But it's also fairly easy to mess up. If you cross your heddles or miss putting a heddle on a warp thread, you will find yourself with an unworkable situation. You will have to hunt down and fix the recalcitrant heddle before you can move forward. And sometimes this does require removing a bunch of heddles to find the naughty one. Ah but once the bad heddle is put in his place, all will be well with the world and your weaving.
The most difficult warping situation for the Mirrix is for bead weaving using the shedding device. The time made up for with the ease of weaving certainly makes up for this. But there are a few things that can go wrong. First of all, you are putting on twice as many warp threads (two in each dent of the spring) and then all those threads are going to need to be paired with heddles. So it's not so much difficulty as just paying close attention and making sure everything goes in its proper place. But the one thing you will notice is that getting even tension is so much easier on the Mirrix than any other loom we know of. And tension, even tension, is everything!
The lesson? You can warp! If you're nervous about warping, start slow. Once you understand the concept, you'll have no problem moving on to slightly more complex warping methods. Pretty soon, warping will be second nature!
Want to learn more about Mirrix Looms? Click below to download our "Get Started Guide"!