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!
If you are like me . . . a compulsive maker of things . . . you take a lot of pleasure in giving your hand made items as gifts. I have my “go-to” projects that never bore me because each one is always different even though the concept remains the same.
It feeds my soul to see a friend wearing a gift I’ve made for them. And it removes the commercial away from gift giving, turning it into a really personal experience.
I have always been fascinated with triangle beads. Taho used to make the ones with straight edges and Myuki made the ones with rounded edges. Now Myuki makes a line with straight edges, my favorites. I mean a triangle is not really a triangle unless in has straight lines!
I have a collection of them in all my favorite colors. But since I am a non-hoarder (I like to use things up and get overwhelmed when it seems my studio is filling up with too much stuff) I like to find the offending hoards and break into them. I found my box of triangles. Then I tried to figure out what to do with them.
The answer was easy: a dog collar for Sam with a lot of glitz. I am sure he will love the silk tapestry dog collar (and upcoming weave-along: I just have to finish the instructions) but there may days when he, for example, has to go to a party and just requires a little glitz.
I used a 12 dent coil, although technically there are 11 triangles per inch. Eleven warps were required. I used C-Lon beading thread. The piece was six and three-quarter inches when finished on the loom. It’s still on the loom.
Oh, I did add some size 8/0 beads just for fun. They are about the same size as the triangles. Notice that my theme is simple. I love complicated pieces as much as the next person, but I am also a fan of really, really simple. If you use beautiful materials, you can get away with some very basic techniques. In this case: simple bead weaving. I wove rows of one color. You can mix it up however you like. And yes, I will post the final project. I may decide to embellish the sides with small seed beads but I need to see how it looks on the collar before I make that decision.
What are your favorite go to beads?
At last, I have finished the Silk Smart Phone Case. And I am a little sad. I really enjoyed the process and need to move swiftly on to a new one. I loved the finishing once it was off the loom. I took my time because I was going for as close to a perfect finish as possible. Did I achieve it? Of course not. Perfection is not possible, but trying for it is!
The good news: I used fewer than twelve bobbins of silk. I started with twelve of the regular silk (not the silk ribbon) and then added two bobbins of the silk ribbon (which has only 12, not 24 yards, on a bobbin). I still had the equivalent of two and a half bobbins of the regular silk left, which tells me that even if you are weaving a slightly larger piece (the final dimensions of my piece once all sewn together is: 6 inches tall and 3 3/4 inches wide. Because of shrinkage, my piece before I took it off the loom was thirteen inches wide. I also used up a bit of length by folding a the ends to the back.
Here are some pictures just before I took the piece off the loom:
Remember back to the very beginning of this piece. My first row was a row of beads. But before I removed the piece from the loom I realized that I didn’t want that row of beads to be at the very edge of my piece. I wanted some fabric that I could fold over for a neater edge. So before I cut the piece off the loom, I turned it around and wove a few rows of silk. This is the piece on the back of the loom with the added rows of fiber.
Here is the piece off the loom: the back with all the hairy ends that need to be trimmed to from one to one and half inches; the front of the piece.
Turn the top and bottom edges to the back and sew down with a whip stitch. This stitch isn’t going to show so no worries about being too neat. Just get the job done.
Pin lining material to the back. I’ve used silk fabric but you could also use ultra-suede. Sew all around with small stitches (again, they will be disguised by a braid so they don’t have to be perfect, but the smaller the better).
Fold the piece in two and sew the edges together.
Next I took my 33 inch long braid and sewed it up one side of the piece. I then sewed the other end up the other side of the piece.
I then sewed the top part of the loop across one edge of the opening to that a loop was formed on one side.
These are the braided tales at the bottom of the piece.
That’s it. A lovely little Silk Smart Phone purse to give to one of your favorite people or to keep for yourself and make another one.
I wanted to share my progress on the Silk Smart Phone Case. I got distracted making braids and thin silk bands, but not so distracted to ignore it completely.
I wish I could tell you in advance how many hand-painted silk bobbins it will require. I have used the twelve pack of hand-painted silk bobbins and still have quite a lot yet however I also still have a bunch to weave. So stay tuned.
I am adding to this blog (although I plan to write a new one later today). Just wanted to mention that I have been using double strands of silk in some places. The sett is wide enough that it can accommodate two strands of silk and the color combinations can be really beautiful.
Recently I found a roll of orange SoftFlex wire in my stash. Maybe it’s the hint of autumn in the air, but I was really in the mood for orange. I warped up my loom using the No Warp-Ends Kit with the SoftFlex as warp.
I had some pretty orange crystals that I wove up with green beads in between for five rows and then I switched to green crystals and orange beads. I will keep alternating in this pattern.
Because of the thickness of the warp and the size of the beads, you can still see the orange SoftFlex between the beads, which I really love. The green C-Lon D I used to string up the beads also peeks through if you look really closely. It gives the piece an almost deconstructed look which I really love.
The reason the No Warp-Ends Kit is so great for weaving with wire is because you don’t have many warp-ends to finish (yay!). That said, there are still two knots at the bottom of this piece that will need to be taken care of. I got some end crimps and a cute little pair of crimping pliers from SoftFlex to secure those ends without having bulky wire knots.
I’ll update you all on the finishing process soon! I have a beautiful blown glass button I plan to use as a clasp and will weave the buttonhole into the piece.
What beading projects are you working on this fall? Answer in the comments!
Want to weave wire, too? Our No Warp-Ends Kit will make it so easy!
It was suggested to me that this is a topic of interest to many bead weavers. I have to confess, I am writing this from the cockpit of a sailboat boat (husband’s midlife crisis was to fix up a salvage /wrecked sailboat . . .I think he had fantasies of us selling our house and sailing the world on it, or some such notion, forgetting that I can’t fit Mirrix on a boat despite the three little cabinets he reserved for that purpose. What a hoot! In any case, I am putting in my three days.) I only mention this tidbit of personal information because the only loom I have with me (and of course I have a loom with me!) has a tapestry on it which needs another four hours or so to finish and I have no bead supplies here so, in short, I can’t take pictures of finishing bead work because I don’t have any. I am hoping I can troll the Mirrix website, my photos on this computer and the internet to find some suitable pictures to accompany this piece.
I am the perfect person to talk about finishing bead work because I have spent years figuring out how not to, at least how not to in the usual sense. The method where you cut your piece off the loom and weave in ten thousand warp ends . . . well, for someone who hates to thread a needle because she just can’t seem to do it well or fast or without screaming a few choice words, the idea of threading and rethreading a needle in order to sew those ends back into the beads of a woven piece . . . I have to confess, I have never done it and I never will. I can’t imagine with a wide piece how it is even possible to find beads after a point in which to shove all that thread. I know, I know, there are plenty of people who do it, and the more power to them, but I am not one of them. It’s like when people see one of my tapestries or bead pieces and say: “Oh my gosh, you must have so much patience to do that!” Which is a little strange, if you think about it, because if it required “patience” to create art I am not sure I would create art. Patience sounds like work and creating art is anything but work (most of the time . . . except when sewing in a bunch of warp threads!). But I imagine there are people who find sewing in warp ends cathartic, just like I find spinning cathartic and that certainly is not for everyone. In conclusion: I am not going to address sewing in warp ends as an option because I am the last person to steer you correctly on that subject. Rather, I will present to you all the many ways I have found to NOT sew in warp threads.
I am going to start with the most relevant way. On Tuesday last Elena and I had the pleasure of teaching a webinar for Interweave Press. It took a lot of prep work, but the actual presenting was a lot of fun. Jennifer of Beading Daily fame was our mentor in this project and although it would have been beter to get to see her live and in person, it was still nice to hear her voice live! The webinar was about using the Mirrix No-Warp Ends Kit to weave a checkerboard cuff bracelet a kit we sell exclusively through Interweave Press.
There were 16 warp threads which would have meant 32 warps threads to sew in. We were left with only two. While I am at it, I am going to give you a link to that webinar.
How does this magic work? With the help of a could of thin bars, some S-hooks and not a whole lot of patience you warp the loom such that you put on exactly the length of warp you need. When you are done there is only the beginning and end of the warp thread to weave in. The rest exists as loops which kindly slide between the end beads. We’ve trimmed this piece with pico stitch (which I like doing). The clasp is a button because while we wove the piece we created a button hole.
Here is another example of a bracelet made with that kit: Mirrix No Warps to Weave in Bracelet kit.
Method one for not having to weave in warp ends: don’t create any!
Method two for not having to weave in warp ends: make the warp part of the design. I really love doing this. Use a thicker and pretty warp thread and allow it to show both around the beads and at the ends. This makes a funkier kind of piece, but I love them. We call them wrap bracelets because you can make them one, two, three, four or more wraps. (By the way, we just passed under one of those cool bridges that lifts in the air so our mast doesn’t get knocked off when we go under.)
Below is not that particular kit, but an example of a wrap bracelet using those very cool two hole beads (a bunch of different kinds) on a hand painted silk warp
And another one . . . this one using tile beads and duos (the ones on the edge) plus some porcelain beads and a pewter button.
Above piece still on the loom.
If those two options don’t appeal to you, there is always the tried and true third method which allows you to warp the Mirrix loom in the normal fashion, but eliminates the need to sew in warp ends by simply tying them off, sticking them behind the piece and sticking the piece on some kind of cuff. For example, a piece on a leather cuff.
Some other examples of beaded work attached to a brass cuff.
In conclusion, if you are like me and refuse to sew in a bunch of warp ends when you find yourself at the end of your piece, there are a bunch of creative ways to either eliminating warp ends completely or bury them underneath your piece and incorporate them in to the piece as a design element. I am sure that we will all discover more and interesting ways to avoid the warp end dilemma. If you have ideas of your own, please tell us about it in the comments section.
As I was packing beads and way too many kits to haul off to Convergence where we had a booth in July, Elena said: “These are fiber weavers. They are not going to buy beads and kits.”
“Sure they will,” I said with complete certainty.
Guess who was correct? Turns out the customers at Convergence were looking for . . . drum roll . . . LOOMS.
The good news is I didn’t haul that much stuff. There isn’t really enough to put on the website, so I thought I would list them here. All you have to do is add up your total and send a PayPal payment to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Shipping is $6.00 no matter how much you buy, so please remember to add that.
Eleven five gram tubes of those amazing CzechMates. These beads all have two holes and YES you can weave them on a Mirrix Loom.
What can you do with these beads and a Mirrix Loom? I’ll show you.
A combination of super duos and size 8/0 beads on a leather cuff.
Weave this on a hand-painted silk warp. You can find the silk here. The beads are a combination of ChechMate Tile beads and Superduos as edging.
This last one is a little wild. Silk warp and a combination of every bead in this collection. I threw in some porcelain beads at both ends. Yes, it was fun to weave and just as fun to wear.
Here are the beads: The colors are beautiful. Some are mixes I made and some are single colors. You’ll love them all and then work really well together: 1 box each of 6mm Lentils, 3/6 mm bricks, 5/16 mm two hole daggers; 2 boxes each of 5/16 mm triangles and 6 mm tiles; 4 boxes of Superduos (my favorite!). Eleven 5 gram boxes in all for $35 (plus $6 shipping). The bad news is there are only five bags of these beads left.
I thought I would play with the Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet’s size both beads and cuff. Instead of using size 8/0 beads, I wanted to use 11/0 beads. The cuff became a 3/4 inch cuff versus a one inch cuff. The spring is a 14 dent spring instead of a 10 dent spring. It’s a finer version of the original cuff and I am sure someday we will get around to listing it on the website. But if you want it now (price $69 plus $6 shipping) you can order by just making a payment to our paypal account: email@example.com. We have nine of these kits available, but if they are popular we will make more!
Kit includes: two 3/4 inch brass cuffs, hand-painted silk, novelty yarn, 20 grams of 11/0 seed beads,C-Lon beading cord and thread, E-6000 glue, ultra-suede.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Flat shipping $6 even if you buy them all.
The fun continues! I am using two shedding devices to create a textured weaving as I mentioned in a previous post when I started this adventure (click here to read the previous post). I had seared into my brain how I thought this would work and how it would look, but I am surprised that my vision is so close to reality. I don’t know about you, but I fail as much as I succeed. I guess that’s the result of taking risks. I am a devoted risk taker.
To recap: I warped the loom with two shedding devices at 14 ends per inch. The top shedding device raises two neighboring threads at a time. The bottom shedding device raises every other thread (i.e., the “normal” way to weave tapestry). I have been using two strands of a fairly thin tapestry yarn (please don’t ask what . . . I found a bunch of this beautiful stuff I purchased a thousand years ago in a basket . . . I know it’s not American) as well as Brown Sheep Waverly Yarn (the same yarn we include in our two tapestry kits: woven purse kit; smart phone kit to weave the double warps. And I’ve been using our hand-painted silk for the tabby weave (single warp threads). You will also note some of that wonderfuld the real gold thread near the top. The result is a combination of a lot of texture and a lot of possible detail. It reminds me of doing regular needle point and petit point on the same canvas. I have always loved that effect.
Some detailed photos of progress since my first post on this project:
View of the Loom with two shedding devices:
I have been anxious to try two shedding devices in a different way: attaching warp threads 1, 5, 9 etc. to one shed; attaching warp threads 2, 6, 10 etc. to the second shed; attaching warp threads 3, 7, 11 to the third shed; attaching warp threads 4, 8, 12 etc. to the final shed. Yes, this is a little confusing to do, but well worth the effort. That being said, I was in too much of a hurry to see what this would look like. I decided to hand pick the warp threads before taking time to set up a second loom with two shedding devices. I whipped out my Lani Loom without the shedding device (I also wanted to be able to play with her in my lap which cannot happen when a Mirrix Loom has two shedding devices attached because you really need to extend them fully and that goes beyond any size lap I know of!) and grabbed some of those cool (and new to our website) curved bamboo needles: I love these needles because that little curve on the end allows you to pick the shed easily. Plus the wood just feels good in your hand and the eyes are really large. They are really well made and worth adding to your accessory stash.
I put on a warp of 12 ends per inch. I tried my luck at a twill (under one, over three moving that pattern over so you are progressively going under one and over three put moving that pattern over one.) The visual below explains it a lot better. In tapestry, you do not see the warp threads but you see the texture of the pattern. It will be a lot easier to weave this using the shedding devices because I know at least for me I tend to get a bit confused trying to figure out how to move the pattern over correctly. I made a lot of mistakes. But hey, you can’t tell.
Let me show you some pictures of the Lani Loom project. The bottom right is the twill. The shiny stuff is tabby with silk. Tabby is when you go over one and under one, etc. It’s what is considered “normal” for tapestry. The gold wool pattern is twill and the rest of the wool patterns are under two, over two. I could do this forever.
My next goal is to design a weaving using the second shedding device. For now I am just playing. I am having a lot of fun with color (my addiction) and, of course, with all these amazing textures.
I just wanted to know that some people don’t consider anything other than weft-faced tabby weaving (the warp doesn’t show, and it actually doesn’t in my examples, but there are “tapestry” weavers who weave in tabby and do let some of their warp show). But I think that’s a bit silly. Have you ever seen Helena Hernmarck’s work? Check out her website: http://www.hernmarck.com/.
Do you want to weave with two shedding devices? You can purchase a second one for your Mirrix here.
Update: We now sell this silk in our store. Click here to purchase!
I have finally, after much delay, produced two final products with the Sari Silk. I had started one large weaving but because I hadn’t figured out what it wanted to be, I just couldn’t get myself to finish it. Then one day I told myself I was going to finish it that day no matter what. I measured my iPad and figured out that indeed it was just wide enough to become a cozy home for it. All I had to do was make the piece twelve inches bigger. Since soumak is slow craft at its best, this made my day turn to night. But finish it I did. And the more I worked on it, the more involved I got. I guess it was just a matter of inspiration. I had a goal, a finished product in mind.
Once it was off the loom I allowed myself to go to sleep.
There she is sewn together but without the final touches. I knew I just was not really finished. And this was slow craft after all, so why not make it a really long effort.
I found a strip of woven hand painted silk I posted about a while ago. I hadn’t used it for anything yet. I didn’t like the sewn edges where the lining meets the opening (the lining is silk) so I decided to sew the strip to the opening. That changed everything.
It has this cute little loop at the end for carrying or just because it looks cute!
I sewed another piece of hand painted silk strip to the sides and it was complete!
I was on a roll. It was time to weave a smaller piece. A house for my iphone seemed like a small and good idea. I was all out of hand painted silk strips, but I did have some silk braids on hand. I sewed that around the top edge of the iphone case. Done!
These pieces are so sweet. And yes, a ebook is in the works. And yes also, we will be selling the Sari silk. The warp is C-Lon cord. Time to get to that third piece with camera in hand so I can share this fun and satisfying project.