One of the reasons that I love textiles, is because I LOVE texture and am always looking to find new ways to bring texture into my weaving. A good place to start is with a chunky yarn, in the video you'll see that I"m using roving, which makes great texture, and is also very forgiving because it's bulky.
For a long time I never finished any of my work. There were always a few ends left untied and one or two random threads that needed to be cut. It was safer not to finish.
Every artist has a moment when they're sitting staring at the blank page , blank canvas, or empty loom wondering what in the world they want to make. It can be hard and frustrating place to be. In the video below, I'll walk you though a simple and fun exercise to help get your creative juices flowing, and push you to try some new ideas on your mirrix.
It has been said that painting is the poor man's tapestry. This probably seems anomalous to most people, but if you've seen a castle-wall-sized tapestry, you get it. Imagine being able to afford one of those!
Until recently, I had only seen pictures of ancient tapestries and they didn't seem nearly as breathtakingly amazing as they are in real life.
The first few of these awe-inspiring pieces were at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I walked into the climate-controlled tapestry room and I swear I had to hold back tears. I'm not one for Stendhal Syndrome, so this took me by surprise.
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.
Check out our tapestry basics guide for more on weaving tapestry!
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.