I call it weaving-lite. It’s what I do when I want to weave but don’t really want to think. My go-to material is hand-painted silk because of its no-fail qualities. If you want to just play with fiber on your Mirrix, use great materials and you probably will create something that is pleasing if not out-right amazing. And it will get you through the moments when your creativity light is not shining at its brightest. After all, creating art is really 95% doing it and 5% true creativity. Often we are repeating something we’ve already done with slight alterations. These baby steps keep us moving toward the rare but wonderful huge insights. And if you are like me, you can’t help but make things constantly.
Let me begin with the beginning which wasn’t weaving, but was actually turning an already woven silk strip into a wearable item. I was inspired by the below findings that I had just received in the mail. I thought they would be perfect for making a silk bracelet, and I was right.
Maybe you’ve played around with a wooden frame weaving loom or a little wire bead loom and you’re ready to take the next step in your weaving journey. Perhaps you’ve just discovered weaving and you’re looking to start out weaving with the best loom you can buy. It could be that you can’t decide if you’re into fiber art or bead art and you want a loom that can do it all. Whatever the reason, here are our top ten reasons why you might want to choose a Mirrix for your weaving needs.
From tapestry weaving to bead weaving to wire weaving and free-form fiber weaving, Mirrix Looms are incredibly versatile.
2.) Size Options
Mirrix Looms come in eight sizes, from the 5″ wide Mini Mirrix to the 38″ wide Zeus Loom, allowing you to choose a loom size that best fits your needs. Need help deciding? Get a free loom recommendation here.
Even the largest Mirrix can fit in a relatively small space and can be easily moved, and the smaller looms are perfect for taking on vacation, to workshops and really anywhere where you want to do some weaving!
A Mirrix Loom is built to last a lifetime. Made out of high-quality materials, your Mirrix may need to be polished once in a while, but it won’t need to be replaced for many, many years (we’ve had looms in use for 19 years that are still going strong).
When it comes to bead or fiber weaving, providing good tension is the number one job of a loom. With its continuous warping system and the ability to increase or decrease your tension anytime, Mirrix Looms do this job incredibly well.
From the No Warp-Ends Kit that allows you to weave beads without having to deal with finishing all your warp threads to the amazing Spencer Power Treadle, we have accessories for all your weaving needs (even the ones you didn’t know you had).
7.) The Shedding Device
The Mirrix shedding device allows you to weave faster and easier with both beads and fiber. You can learn more about it here.
8.) The Mirrix Community
When you purchase a Mirrix, you join an amazing community of weavers. From online classes and webinars to weave-alongs and free projects, being a part of the Mirrix community will keep you inspired for years to come.
9.) Made in America
Not only are Mirrix Looms made in America, but our manufacturing facility is housed in a really amazing place that employs some really amazing people. You can learn more about Sunshine House and Mirrix Looms here.
10.) Customer Service
When you buy a Mirrix, we’ll be there for you long after you make your purchase. Need advice on a project? Want some inspiration? Not sure how something works? We’re always happy to help!
Do you have anything you’d add? Tell us in the comments!
I am not an artist.
This statement, of course, begs the question, “Who is an artist?”
This answer varies from person to person, from medium to medium and from age to age (I’m pretty sure all children are artists). But most artists I know… they know they are artists. These are the people who can’t function without creating: The ones who try to smuggle knitting needles on airplanes; those who can never leave the beach without leaving behind a sculpture; individuals who sink into a deep depression after only a few days not behind their wheel, their loom or their canvas.
I read a post by Rebecca Mezoff the other day (side note: If you want to learn tapestry, you need to check out her online class). The post was titled, “The Desperate Joy of Making Art” and in it she said:
Almost 19 years ago my mom started Mirrix. She was a professional tapestry weaver simply looking for a better portable loom. It turned out a lot of other people were looking for that same thing. When mom started Mirrix I was 11 and didn’t have much of an interest in parental business ventures. As long as she was still always around when we got home from school, I was happy. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I really became aware of her success and her accomplishments with Mirrix. There she was, this artist without a business degree, running a successful business on her own. That pride has only burgeoned since.
My mom and I were always close. Like other-mothers-probably-hated-her-for-it kind of close. She was always my favorite person in the world, and she will continue to be until I have a child of my own (sorry, hubby, mom wins).
When I was a freshman in college I got this idea in my head that my mom should run for State Representative. For some reason she listened to my crazy idea and that summer we ran her campaign together. We did nothing the normal way. We rode our horses to the town hall to register her as a candidate playing Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved” from a CD player perched on my saddle. We had magenta signs and glittery bumper stickers. We made t-shirts with puff paint. We knocked on nearly every door in our district. She lost the election by a few votes, which broke my heart. But it turned out there were some issues at one of the polling stations and a recount was called. I was back at school on the day it happened. I had just arrived home from class when I got a call from a friend. “I just saw your mom on TV. She won the recount.” All she said during that interview was, “My daughter is going to be so happy!” That day she became the first female Democrat to ever win her district.
During that campaign was when we realized that we work very well together. Our strengths and weaknesses played off each other perfectly during that campaign, as they do today running Mirrix.
Years later, after graduating from college, living abroad and having my first real-world job; I started working for Mirrix. At the time I didn’t know if it would be a long-term just or if it was just a placeholder while I figured out what I really wanted to do. It became clear fairly quickly, though, that working for Mirrix was what I wanted to do. Now that I’m at an age where I’m beginning to think about having children myself, I’m happy to know that my job will offer me the flexibility to be available to my future kids in a similar way to how my mom was available to me, and I’m happy to imagine that one day my kids will look up to me the way I look up to her.
When I grow up, I want to be just like her.
Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful mother and to all of you mothers out there who have loved, cherished and inspired your children in similar ways or in totally different ones.
Side Note: While I do hope to be able to be a work-at-home mom someday (hopefully with a nanny, so I can actually work), in no way do I disparage the lifestyles of mothers and future mothers who have found and will find different ways to balance work, life and motherhood.
Mostly my looms travel in reusable shopping bags. It isn’t pretty, but I don’t have even one nice bag (besides some large travel bags, which aren’t terribly practical) that fits a loom bigger than my Mini. A few months ago I brought a few looms to a local store that was interested in selling them. I parked several blocks away and had three haphazardly packed shopping bags full of looms and other supplies. When I arrived I couldn’t find a thing in the jumble I had created at the bottom of the bags.
The topic of loom bags is something we’ve talked about endlessly at Mirrix. We’ve contacted bag manufacturers, talked to customers who have made their own bags and have looked into finding pre-made (Made in America) bags that would fit our needs. While there are many options out there, we haven’t gotten it together to even find the perfect bags for our own looms (as you can see from the picture above).
A couple weeks ago Claudia taught a weaving class in Groton, MA. We talked after the class and she couldn’t stop talking about what a wonderful class it was (see her blog post on it here). She also couldn’t stop talking about a bag one of the students had made for her loom.
This student was Bunny Pepin, author of the blog “La Sewista“. I’d seen her blog and her gorgeous bag, but Claudia says it’s even more amazing in person. “It even has a place for the shedding device” she shrieked over the phone.
The ultimate loom bag by Bunny Pepin
You can read through Bunny’s blog posts about her bag here:
I know, I know, now you’re looking at the canvas bag your loom has been traveling in and thinking, “Do I need to learn to sew?” Fear not, friends, for in the near future Bunny is going to start selling her bags! The details aren’t worked out yet, but it looks like she will have a range from a basic bag to one with all the bells and whistles. We’ll keep you informed when we know more!
Thank you to Bunny for sharing your work!
Above is my take on free-form crochet
Imagine this: You are taking a walk with some friends. You are kind of spread out, maybe one behind and a couple ahead of you. Being that you are not talking to anyone at the moment, you automatically start singing very quietly to yourself. It’s that Joni Mitchell song you got stuck in your head because you recently heard it and now it just won’t leave. But that feels good and you know it’s a good sign to be singing to yourself and you don’t even notice you are doing it. The person behind you says: “Gee, you have a nice voice.” You don’t say anything because it’s at this point that you realize you are singing quietly to yourself and you are a tad embarrassed that someone heard you. But you continue singing never-the-less and then maybe ten seconds later someone in front of you turns and says: “Don’t quit your day job.” And all you can think is: why would someone say that?
I’m not sure if being a tapestry weaver makes you interested in fiber or if being interested in fiber makes you interested in tapestry; but my tapestry weaving mother instilled in me a love for and snobbery about fibers from an early age.
When I was a kid, we would go shopping and she would have to touch everything. “That’s acrylic!” she would say, and I’d have to put the sweater back on the rack.
I remember her telling me where silk comes from. It was definitely the fiber with the best story. Wool from sheep? Old news. Silk from the larvae of insects going through metamorphosis? That’s pretty neat.
Today a customer asked what the difference between Mulberry Silk (which is what our hand-painted silk is) and other types of silk is. I thought this was a great question and wanted to share the answer with all of you.
Mulberry Silk is widely considered the best silk you can buy and is the most common silk available commercially. It is made by the domesticated Bombyx Mori Moth. The silkworms are raised completely indoors and are fed only Mulberry Leaves. Bombyx mori is actually Latin for “silkworm of the Mulberry Tree”. The process to make this silk was developed in China.
There are several other types of silk from both wild and domesticated silkworms including Tasar Silk, Eri Silk and Muga Silk.
Not all silk is made by insects, though. An example is Sea Silk. This silk is made with the long filaments (called byssus) that come from a gland of large saltwater clams (specifically the Pinna nobilis). This silk is very fine, light and warm. Some spiders also produce silk, but this is not used for textiles.
Differences in silk also come from how the silk is processed. The cocoon that produces Mulberry Silk is one long fiber that is very shiny and strong. When you put that cocoon in hot water, you remove some of the sericin (which basically keeps the fibers glued together) and release the strands of silk.
There are two main ways of processing the silk after this. One is simply to reel it (or unwrap it). This reeled silk can then be plied or twisted, but it does not need to be twisted to hold together because the fiber are so long.
Silk can also be spun. In that case, the silk is combed out and cut into shorter length before being spun.
Isn’t fiber cool?
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.
A while back we asked the Mirrix community to submit ideas for projects using Mirrix’s hand-painted silk. We chose two people to whom we gave free silk. We are excited to share their projects here today!
Today we are excited to share the final projects!
Do you want to make your own pieces with this gorgeous silk? Get some here!
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.