Mirrix Looms Mixed Media Challenge: aka The Feather Project

The possibilities of materials and combinations of materials that you can weave on a Mirrix are endless and so much fun to explore.

That's why we've decided to issue a challenge to Mirrix owners: Make a mixed-media piece to share with the Mirrix community and let your imagination run wild!

Here are the rules of the challenge:

1.) Choose a material group from the list below, or come up with your own!

-Cut-up clothing/fabric 
-Shells, sea glass
-Recycled items (plastic bags, cardboard, magazines, etc.)
-Plant fibers (natural or dyed) 
-Dried flowers
-Hardware items 

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Why Warp Spacing Matters

This blog post is part of a series on the basics of weaving tapestry
Tapestry is by definition weft-faced weaving. This means that you can see the weft (the fiber that you weave back and forth) and cannot see the warp (the fiber you wrap around your loom). To achieve this, a weaver must figure out the correct combination of warp spacing (this is called "sett"), warp size and weft size.

On a Mirrix, warp spacing is determined by the warp coil (or spring) at the top of the loom. We identify different warp coils by how many dents (the spaces between the coils) are in an inch. This is called DPI (dents per inch) or EPI (ends per inch). Choosing the correct warp coil for the warp and weft you are using is very important when planning your tapestry.

Generally speaking, if you are using a finer weft you will want to use a warp coil with more dents per inch and if you are a using a thicker weft, you will want to use a warp coil with fewer dents per inch or even warp every other dent (For example, an 18 dent warp coil every other dent is equal to a 9 dent warp coil.)

How do you determine the correct sett?

Unfortunately there is not a simple trick for figuring out your warp spacing. Every weft and warp combination is different and it might take some time to begin to get a sense of what warp coil should be used each time you weave a new piece.

A good way to determine if your sett is correct is to put your weft in between your warp threads vertically when your loom is warped. If your weft threads are much thicker than the space between the two warp threads, then your weft is probably too thick and if your weft threads are much thinner than you know your weft is too thin.

One way to choose your warp sett is to look at what sett others have used with the same warp and weft you are using. Check out some of our free projects and weave-alongs and look at the warp and weft and sett that we are using. Imitation is a good way to get started!

We also have a handy crowd-sourced list of different tapestry yarns people have used and the EPI/DPI they set their loom at.

You can see the list here. You can add to it here (please do!)

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The Sam-estry

I've wanted a tapestry of my dog, Sam, for a few years now. I think I decided that the first time I saw Kathe Todd-Hooker's tapestry of her dog Chene (this one).

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How to weave Leno Lace on the Mirrix loom

I am fascinated by exploring all the different things that I can do with Mirrix looms.
While I am involved in this four month long co-creation with Mirrix looms, I am going to be looking at what I can and can't do with the Mirrix looms.
(Guess what I am NO GOOD at? Bead weaving on the Mirrix!
Yep. All my bead weaving has been off loom and I am TERRIBLE at bead weaving on the loom.
That one came as a surprise... ah well... we shall see if that changes! )
In my previous blog post, LINK, I showed how I set up my Lani Mirrix loom, using the 'No Warp Ends' warping technique.

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A slightly different approach to the 'No Warp Ends' technique

I hate wasting yarn... so I really don't like loom waste - who wants to toss their yarn in the trash? Really :)
That's why I love Claudia Chase's 'No Warp Ends' technique for the Mirrix looms.

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Saved warp thread

I my last blog post, I talked about two projects that I rally want to loom, and how I couldn't choose which to do first. Someone then suggested I could get them both on the loom. There are two options for this. Firstly, I could loom one, then advance the completed weaving and then loom the other. secondly, I could warp as usual and push the warping bar all the way down. Then I would be free to use both sides of the loom simultaneously. The latter sounded more like what would be the suitable method.

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How to wind butterflies and make upcycled wooden tapestry bobbins

Some people love weaving with yarn butterflies.
And some people (like me) don't.
I love wooden tapestry bobbins and I love making each one a unique piece- and I especially like using upcycled wood to make them.
So, for those of you who like yarn butterflies, here's a video tutorial on how to make yarn butterflies:

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Working with handspun painted yarn in tapestry

My daughter-in-law spins gorgeous yarn. Which makes me very happy.
Because, sometimes a skein or two finds its way into my studio.
Recently, she spun Merino and silk and dyed it turquoise and purple, separated by short sneezes of sunshine yellow.

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A pin a stick and a loop of string to open sheds

If you have a loom that doesn't have a shedding device, picking up the warp strands for every row you weave can be a tedious process.
I like to use a stick, a pin and a loop of string to open the sheds. It's a huge time saver!
I've made a video tutorial on how to do this for narrow bands, but this technique also works on wider pieces, too.

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