Beadwoven Wall Art Inspired by Katerina Art (Part 1)

Today I am starting on a new project on my Big Sister Loom with the No Warp-Ends Kit as part of the Social Marketing Program from Mirrix Looms.  I have designed a pattern from a piece of artwork from one of my favorite artists – Katerina Art (Katerina Koukiotis).  I am so excited about using one of her drawings!!  As I looked through her beautiful art (many of which I have) I had to find – just the right one – and boy did I!!  You can go through her page and find it….or wait and I’ll SHOW you!!  She is excited to see what I do with this ‘version’ of her art too! 

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My first Mirrix Loom Experience!

I have to say that when I received the Mirrix Loom - a Big Sister Loom - I was so impressed!! Not only did it come with complete instructions, but there are many videos to help you get started and make it through!! My first project was a simple one...with only 2 colors. When I designed the pattern I was hoping for something simple and fun!! And boy did I get it!! Just watch this video to see how I created the DREAM a Little DREAM Project and how I finished it. I am very proud of this creation and I have to say...I can't wait to show you my next creations!!!

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Should You Purchase a Bottom Spring Kit?

What's a Bottom Spring Kit?

A Bottom Spring Kit is a kit that allows you to put a warp coil (spring) on the bottom of your Mirrix Loom, just like you have one on the top. 

What does it do?  

Having a spring on the bottom beam of your loom helps you to keep your warp threads organized while warping and beginning to weave. 

(Image Credit: Susan Murry -left- & Jacqui Johnson -right-)
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The Ultimate Guide to Bead Weaving Using the Shedding Device

It’s been a long time since I’ve woven a wide bead piece using the Mirrix shedding device. I decided it was time to try this method of bead weaving again and to write a blog post about it since we often get questions about this process. I am always telling people that the set up is more complicated, but the actual weaving of beads using a shedding device is much easier and quicker. I am happy to be reminded after weaving this piece that it really is easier!

I asked myself the following questions: Besides the more complicated set up, are there any drawbacks that would push someone to just skip the shedding device? Was the final product as nice as a product made without using the shedding device? Is it actually faster to weave beads using the shedding device when you are making a wider piece? I have all my pat answers to these questions but felt I needed to re-explore this old territory and to update my opinions. I can happily report that my experience using the shedding device to weave a wide bead piece was absolutely positive. I really can’t imagine weaving a wide bead piece without it. That might be slightly particular to me because I tend to miss sewing through beads when not using the shedding device. That can be corrected even after the piece is off the loom by sewing through the beads correctly off the loom. But that is so annoying. One of the best things about using the shedding device is that it is much more unlikely that you will make any weaving mistakes. I did notice when I took this piece off the loom that there was one place where about ten beads seemed to be floating on the back of the piece. Why? Because I weave beads in sections and that particular section did not go into the shed. Rather it went behind the warp threads. I was able to sew through those beads and correctly attach them to the warp. But on a piece this long one little mistake is not bad. Had I not used the shedding device, there would have been many, many more mistakes. 

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The Mirrix Looms 2017 Summer Weaving Challenge

Summer is here and we’re looking forward to sunshine, longer days and weaving in the sunshine on those longer days. To help keep our wonderful community inspired this July and August, today we are launching Mirrix’s very first Summer Weaving Challenge. 

Every Monday through the end of August members of the challenge group will get an email with a new weaving-related (we are going to focus on bead and tapestry/weft-faced weaving, but all weavers are welcome to join) challenge. Challenges will be about the weaving process rather than the product and can be completed at any time through the end of August.

Here are some challenge examples:
-Give someone a weaving lesson. This could be a young person, a family
member, a friend, a stranger… anyone! Even if you’re a beginner, there’s always someone who can learn from you.
-Take your loom out of the house. Go weave in a coffee shop, on the beach, in a park… somewhere where you’ve never taken your loom before. 
-Weave something totally out of your comfort zone. This challenge gives you permission to make mistakes, to do something crazy or silly and wildly creative.  

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Learn How to Weave Beads From a 7-Year-Old!

When it comes to the arts, kids are often markedly good teachers. There is a certain innocence and fearlessness children possess that allows them to be creative and unbound to expectation. I have seen this again and again watching young people weave both tapestry and beads, but I'm still pleasantly surprised each time a child reminds me of the innocent glee weaving can bring to someone. 

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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.

-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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New Free Beaded Bracelet Ebook + Save $10 or $20!

If you're looking for a stunning beaded bracelet project that's simple to weave and even easier to finish, the Queen Nefertiti Bracelet is perfect for you! 

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Mirrix Looms Holiday Guide Guide 2016

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