A few years ago, Mirrix’s CEO Claudia Chase came up with a fun and easy way to combine beads and fiber on a Mirrix Loom. Using the shedding device, beading cord, 8/0 beads, silk and novelty yarn Claudia came up with the first Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet.
The project took off almost immediately and has been featured in Beadwork Magazine, Beads, Baubles & Jewels and in our class on Craftsy.
For #throwbackthursday we’re looking back at some old bracelet projects from around Claudia’s studio. Looking through these projects makes me want to take the rest of the day off and head to my loom! For more inspiration, visit our free projects page!
The title sounds like we have a new product but we don’t. We have a new suggestion for a product you should make on your Mirrix Loom for you. Just for you. The big season of gift giving is over and now all you makers of wonderful things can think about making something just for you.
First I have to tell you that once again it was a customer who inspired me to think up this idea. He suggested we drill a hole in the wooden clip to hold the tiny wrench because it’s one of those things that loves to get lost. And it was a great idea except if you watch the making of a clip video you will see that doing so will involve a whole other step to what are a lot of steps already. And hence it would add cost to the clips . . . well, you know the drill. And then I thought: it’s not just the wrench that goes missing. Springs (especially if you own more than one Mirrix) go missing as well. You get this pile of springs and have no idea which loom they belong to. The big wrench falls on the floor and you can’t find it just when you need it most. Tapestry needles go for a long walk. So my idea is to weave a tapestry pouch that will velcro to the back of the loom and hold all the items for that loom.
The velcro idea was lifted from my DH. He has velcro tabs stuck all over the cabin of his boat and the coordinating side stuck to very useful items like: cellphone, flashlight, screw driver, etc. The idea is that if you shove these things into one of the zillions of drawers/cabinets found on a boat you will never find them when you most need them (either just because you need them or because if you don’t find that screw driver to unstick something on the engine it might just blow up). It works.
Velcro could be stuck vertically (you get the one with a sticky side, not the one you sew on . . . .and trust me this stuff sticks because it’s stayed on that boat!) to the left of brass nut on the top beam and on the back. You can make a little extra tab on your tapestry to be the same size as the velcro so it isn’t unsightly.
Challenge: will you join me in making a Mirrix Tapestry Accessory Pouch? How many do you need to make? Which translates into: how many Mirrix Looms do you own?
This is by Claudia. And to that end I want to tell you that if I don’t identify my posts and you want a clue as to who wrote it: I follow the old fashion rule of double spacing after a period and Elena only spaces once! I can’t break the habit.
Last night I noticed that beads were a big part of many Oscar looks and I decided to take some notes to see what additional fashion trends might be able to be parlayed into bead or tapestry weaving projects on a Mirrix Loom!
Here are my top three!
- Black & White Colorblock
Patricia Arquette, winner of best supporting actress, wore a beautiful Rosetta Getty black and white colorblock dress last night. Reese Witherspoon stuck to the same palette, wearing an off-the-shoulder Tom Ford gown. They were both gorgeous and definitely provided me with some black and white weaving inspiration.
Pearls are in, and I can’t wait to add some to my next beaded bracelet! Last year’s best supporting actress winner, Lupita Nyong’o, wore a stunning Calvin Klein gown covered in pearls and Best Actress nominee Felicity Jones donned pearls on the bodice of her Alexander McQueen gown.
- Beads, Beads, Beads
The Oscars are all about sparkle, and this year beads were in. Naomi Watts sported beads in her Armani Privé gown and best supporting actress nominee Emma Stone dazzled in a custom beaded Elie Saab gown.
If you don’t have a Mirrix yet and are inspired to start weaving (who knows, maybe your jewelry design will make it to the red carpet next year) you can get a free loom recommendation here.
If you want to make the beautiful black and white silk and bead cuffs shown here? Learn how by following the instructions in this throwback weave-along.
It was two and a half years ago that Elena and I headed off to Colorado to make our Craftsy class. Although there was a huge amount of preparation before hand and I nearly had a nervous breakdown making sure that I sent them all the stuff I would need (like a cooking show, I had to have projects at various stages of completion on looms which meant a lot of looms with a lot of stuff on them plus I needed all the materials I was going to use . . . the list filled two huge boxes!) and before even that planning out the projects. But once we got there and they slapped some make-up on me and made my hair pretty, steamed my first of nine outfits, I was ready to go . . . and I stumbled through about ten takes before I could even spit out my introductory lines. Finally, with Elena directing me from the far side of the room, I got the hang of it.
In three days we filmed what became six hours of instruction. The crew at Craftsy was amazing. Everyone was nice. We were treated really well. The hotel was fabulous. It was one of those great experiences. And the class itself was really, really good. The editing was fabulous. My nine outfits were all very well pressed! The make up artist did wonders.
Yeah, we worked really hard but we also laughed really hard, sometimes collapsing in a pile on the floor after a particularly insane mistake. And they were so patient. Twenty-one hours of filming condensed to six hours. I don’t know how they survived that.
We have sold 5,500 of this class. Amazing. The price is right . . . never more than $19.95 and sometimes on sale for half that.
It’s nice to still be proud of something we did a while back. My tendency is to start disliking something I’ve worked hard on in this past. But for some reason, I seem to like this class more and more as time goes by. Maybe because I just can’t believe what a great job Craftsy did to edit it into something really worthwhile. I guess that’s what happens when you deal with pros.
For a preview please go here: http://www.craftsy.com/video/course?courseId=78 If nothing else you can see what a great job they did on my hair and make-up.
I can’t seem to stop weaving silk (which, by the way, is on sale until that big day with a heart involved). But lately the finishing is as much fun as the weaving. I’ve showed you this one before, but this time Elena took the photographs and put them in a neat little package. I love it. And of course I need to pause here to remind you that I will be teaching this sort of thing at NOA Gallery on March 14th and 15th in Groton, MA. http://blog.mirrixlooms.com/noagallery/ We have a few more spots, so don’t hesitate to sign up.
This weekend I warped up my loom with the intention of weaving two strips of tapestry for two cuffs. I was having a great time weaving when all of a sudden, while adding just a little more tension, four warp threads snapped. Yeah that can be an issue with the Mirrix sometimes. You can get so much tension that if you go overboard, you can break the warps threads. Hasn’t happen to me a lot, but I was due for a disaster. So much for weaving two strips of tapestry for two cuffs. So much for even having one strip of tapestry for one cuff since the pieces was way too short. And then I got an idea: What if I extend the tapestry strip with something else. I thought about beads, but that didn’t seem to fit into the theme. The light bulb over my head screamed: silk wrapped O-rings which would also allow the cuff to fit a range of wrist sizes. I then attached the button to another silk wrapped O-ring so it extended farther (this strip was too short by a full 2 1/2 inches.
Turns out I liked it better than the longer ones without the O-rings. The O-rings make it much more interesting.
I might continue to make my silk tapestry strips shorter and add the O-rings. Just for the fact that one can then adjust the cuff to one’s wrist size is a big plus since I will be selling these cuffs in a gallery.
What things have you done to turn your failure into a greater success?
This is what I made. They took longer than I thought they would but hey I was in the mood for some slow-tapestry (isn’t that kind of redundant!). I wove both of these on the same warp so I couldn’t cut one off and finish it. I had to finish both. The idea was to create a cuff without a brass cuff insert. I backed it with ultra-suede, sewed on a button and a rubber washer wrapped in silk. I really can’t wait to make some more. Let me show you the progression of these pieces if I can sort out all the photos I took over the course of week (and yes that is the the time frame in which these were woven). Let me also note that I was NOT using a shedding device which made the weaving probably a third as fast as it could have been. Why did I not use the shedding device? I was using a lot of techniques that weren’t simple weaving over and under singe warps. I could have put on a second shedding device, which I think I will do in the future so I can easily do both single and basket weave (weaving over and under double warps). I did a lot of Soumack knotting, which I love. It’s very meditative. Additionally, I wanted to show that it could be woven on the mini-Mirrix or the 8 and 12 inch looms without shedding devices.
What I used to make these pieces:
Size 15/0 seed beads
I used a couple of techniques in these pieces. In some places I wove under and over every other warp but in other places I wove under and over two warps at a time (also known as basket weave). Sometimes I used one strand of silk and other times I used two strands of silk. I also did quite a lot of Soumak knotting both using one strand and two strands of silk. In a couple of places I did twill weave (over three and under one in progression).From top to bottom I will list the techniques:
Single strand Soumack knotting with double silk; basket weave (over and under two warps) with two strands of silk; Soumack knotting with single strand of silk; basket weave with one strand of silk; single strand regular weave; double strand knotting; double strand basket weave; single strand regular weave; double strand basket weave; twill weave; double strand Soumack knotting.
Below are some close ups.
Obviously, I had a lot of fun with color because these pieces are just saturated in it. I wasn’t too picky about what hand-painted silk I used because it all seemed to want to go together.
You can see the little bit of tapestry technique both in the bottom of the piece while on the loom and in the bottom finished piece. I’ve used two different wefts going in opposite directions to create a little shading, shaping and pick and pick. Not sure why I only did it in that one spot because I really like it!
Now some photos of the backs of the pieces. You can see that I edged the cuffs in beads (size 15/0). I like my pieces to look very finished and I find that I cannot produce perfect enough stitches when sewing on the ultra-suede to not need to cover them up with some beads.
Just have to show them off again. I think I am going to be sending them off to one of the galleries on the East Coast that sells my work. Apparently, I am supposed to be stocking up for Valentine’s Day!
Here are some close-ups of the button and silk wrapped O-ring.
Finished on the loom.
I hope I have inspired you to weave your own Cuff-less cuff bracelets. You can use embroider floss or perle cotton . . . anything that is pretty. Of course I am madly in love with the hand-painted silk because it provides such an amazing variety of color and it just glows.
It seems like forever ago that Elena and I went to Colorado to create the “Bead & Tapestry Cuff Bracelet” class. It was both difficult and exciting. The Craftsy people were wonderful and held my hand very well. Elena sat behind the camera giving me silent directions if I got off course. She knew the drill. She knew what needed to be said or not said so it was essential to have her there.
The Craftsy crew, from camera people to producers to to editors make-up people, were rather magical. It was a blur of three days of hard work. The results were excellent. The Craftsy editors took 22 hours of filming and turned it into a 6 hour class.
These are the lessons you will find in the class (besides loom set up and discussions about looms in general):
Silk & Bead Affinity Bracelet
Gold Thread & Bead Affinity Bracelet
No Warp Ends Bracelet (there are two: the one below and one with just Delica Beads in a simple design for which I cannot find a photo!)
Tapestry Cuff Bracelet (both simple and complex)
Where can you find this class? Here: craftsy.com/beadcuffs
Where can you get the kits? Here you go, everything you need: http://blog.mirrixlooms.com/product-category/craftsy/
If you’re anything like me, your dog is pretty much the center of your universe. We spoil our little Sam (left) in every way possible. That’s why when Claudia (Mirrix’s President) came up with a fiber and bead dog collar, I was thrilled. Doesn’t he look cute?
The fact is, pretty much any dog can rock this collar. It’s the PERFECT holiday gift for a dog-loving friend or for your own special pup.
Recently we did a weave-along featuring this collar and it resulted in some very happy puppies. Here (below) are two gorgeous collars that weave-along participant Denise Jonon made for her dogs Fig and Walnut. She did an amazing job and I think her pups might just have a career in modeling!