I have been weaving on my Tapestry pouch pretty steady and I must say, these handyed silks of Claudia’s are not only beautiful in color, but such a joy to work with! I wove at a 10 dent sett and the weaving process just flowed along for me. I decided to add a few beaded rows along the way! Sometimes that can be a little tricky, but with patience it all flows perfectly.
I wrote notes along the way during the entire weaving process. Things I discovered, didn’t want to try again, things I enjoyed and wanted to remember. In honor of Poetry Month (always in April) I even wrote a poem! Why not write about what you love . . . right?
This has been such a fun project for me. I have woven many pouches with chunky fibers, mixed threads and elements of nature, so weaving with strictly hand-dyed silks, at a fine sett was a different experience for me. I really enjoyed the slow rhythmic feeling it gave me along the way. I do encourage you to try something different, we all learn from new experiences.
I would have to say the only challenge that I had was choosing to add a row of Rya Knots for the front flap of the pouch. So I wove along and realized, I weave from back to front, interesting process for adding Rya Knots! So I put a few questions out on Social Media for advice, all I got was turn the loom around. So I did! Remember me talking about my paper towel pattern? Well it came in use again for the Rya Knots, I realized they would be upside down when it was folded and finished!!! So the entire row of RYA knots for this piece was WOVEN BACKWARDS AND UPSIDE DOWN!!!! It certainly worked, but oh my silk is slippery and it was a challenge!
When I took the woven piece off the loom, I trimmed the threads I had left and decided what fabric I wanted for my inner lining. I used a sweet piece of hand-painted fabric given to me from a sweet creative sister of mine. I wanted something special for this pouch. I measured the finished size of my pouch, added an additional 1/4″ all around. I then hand pressed under the 1/4″ hem and placed it on top of the wrong side of my woven pouch. I hand sewed the lining to my woven piece. This process was taught to me in the Mirrix Weave A Long for the Eccentric Eyeglass Case. I like to use a very fine clear fishing twine when sewing, something I have used for years. It really hides into the weaving when sewing!
Once I finished sewing the lining in, I folded over the pouch to the size that I wanted and sewed up the sides as well. Can you see the Rya knots on the front of the flap?? It was well worth the effort it took to weave them! The only thing left is the beaded necklace ~ the fun part! Measure how long you want the necklace to be. Then attach a double knot to the inside of one side of the pouch, begin beading! I wanted something strong so I used gold 0.15 Beadalon cord. I love to use an assortment of ornamental, seed, E , charms etc for my necklaces but this time I decided to use the 08 seed beads I had used in the woven tapestry. I created a small repetitive pattern and I think it turned out well!
While I am beading, I am just enjoying the process. Just on a personal note, if I am creating for someone I think blessings on the piece I am working on, sending it out to it’s new owner. Just a little love and blessing along the way! Trust me on this, if you take the time to create such a sweet gift, you must truly love the recipient!!! As I was creating this piece, I was sending out a gift of Peace and Contentment … not yet knowing who it’s owner would be!
That is it! Wasn’t that fun? I surely hope that you will give this fun project a try, once, or twice or more. Each piece can take on it’s own personality. I love to tuck a small word, quote, or even a sweet gemstone inside for whoever is going to receive it. For this one … the message was simple “Weave Tapestry” and the gemstone tucked inside was Rose Quartz, a stone of Calmness, Harmony and Clarity … all of which I truly believe weaving tapestry gives to me.
Please let us know if you enjoyed this project, leave your comments for us. If you have enhanced the design, please share that with us also, we learn from each other. Tapestry artists are very loving and giving individuals who aren’t afraid to share their knowledge and talents with others.
There is a surprise coming from Mirrix Looms and Me, look for the details soon!
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.
By Amber Kane
After doing a demo on how to cut t-shirts into one continuous strip, I decided that I was going to dive in and weave with t-shirt yarn I’d created. When I’d set up my Mirrix, I decided that I wanted this piece to be full of experimentation, allowing myself not to worry about the finished product, and to pay more attention to trying some new things.
1. I experimented with my warp set up
2. I played with several different tapestry sections
3. I wove with the t-shirt yarn
4. I played a bit with my tension
In the video below, I share in more detail the things that I tried.
Sometimes when I experiment, I love the results, and others, well , I learn that I don’t want to repeat any of the things that I tried, but that’s important to learn as well.
Below, I share a bit more about my creative process, and what you can do with pieces that you just don’t love.
Today, Claudia and I dyed roving for a project that you will learn more about as this blog series progresses. Or, rather, Claudia dyed and I took pictures and marveled at how easy she makes it look. Our goal was “imperfect”, which is a really fun goal to have and allowed us to play and experiment with color.
The biggest lesson I learned? Don’t be afraid. “If worst comes to worst,” Claudia said, “You can dye it black.”
First, we soaked roving in citric acid. Then, we boiled pots of water with more citric acid. Usually, you also add salt as well, which slows the process down, but because we wanted imperfect we skipped that part. Next, we added dye to the pots.
After that, it was mostly about adjusting colors until we got what we wanted. Once you understand how the process works, you can really make magic. For example, we wanted to dye some roving purple. We mixed magenta and turquoise dye and threw in some roving. Claudia knew that the magenta dye would get absorbed faster, so once that color was absorbed she added in more roving to the same pot that just absorbed the leftover turquoise dye.
Once the dye was fully absorbed for each color, we rinsed the roving (rinse water should run clear) and set it out to dry.
Stay tuned for more on this project and see where this roving will be used!
I’ve always been a fan of rag rugs, but not so much a fan of cutting sheets or t-shirts into strips, until I discovered this method of cutting that makes it nice and easy to make one long strip.
To get started we’ll use a scrap piece of paper because it’s much less intimidating than diving right into cutting fabric.
Now that you’ve mastered, let’s move onto some fabric.
By Dani Dias
What to do, or not do, when going through an artist block
Have you ever hit an artist block? That awful, almost stifling feeling that happens when you, the artist, can’t seem to produce—or even entertain the thought of creating a single piece of art. It’s that virginia-woolf-like-moment where you’re wondering ‘fie, whereto hast’ all my creativity forth-gone’ (or at least I like to imagine that’s what she’d say).
I know that this does not happen to everyone. Case in point: my mom. That lady can get up every day and start a new project at the drop of a crochet pin. But I believe my art is directly tied to my emotions (yah, yuck—I’m that kind of artist). It can be a good thing! Once *inspired* …there’s nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing stopping me. Food—who needs that! Sleep—that’s for the weak! I believe this is where my ‘binge weaving’ habit stems from. Because once I feel that wave of inspiration I know I must fully embrace and ride it for all it’s worth. A surreal “I-want-to-feel-creative-forever” sort of feeling. It completely rushes over me, and I let that energy flow and freely produce whatever wonder it decides to bring.But.
But when that flow of creativity clogs up, things can get rough. Man—do those creative droughts stink. I recently had a weaving drought that I had absolutely no clue how to get out of. Have you had those artist blocks? One where you absolutely cannot seem to move past?
The evolution of my thoughts during my block? “Maybe I just need to take a break….Have I hit a plateau? Did I even spell plateau correctly? Actually, I think this may just be it—I’ve reached my creative ceiling, IT’S BECOMING HARD TO BREATHE, WHERE ARE MY IDEAS—I’m done for…over. Elizabeth, I’m coming home!”
Again, to artists like my mother this is a completely foreign concept. And I ask you to comment below and let me in on the secret. Because I’m gonna call it—this past block, this drought, may have been my worst to date. I tried all of my usual tricks, and none seemed to kick it in the pants and make it go away. I *do* know that since being diagnosed with a chronic illness—MS, I have learned that stress does quite a number on the creative part of my brain. I’m not sure if my brain goes into “safe mode” and shuts off every part that does not have to do with survival and general everyday functions (eating, mom-ing). If I hit a certain level of stress or distress GONE is my ability to create, gone is my ability to express myself in any form of artistry. And let’s just say that my stress level the past oh, 5-6 months has been on level 11. In fact, even the super smart doctor community details how stress ‘kills’ creativity.
So for my fellow emotionally driven artists, here are my tips to get things flowing when in the midst of a creative drought.
Spoiler: This is kinda mostly almost all conflicting advice. (Ok this is all a bunch of conflicting advice. But isn’t art the product of conflict and passion filtered through your medium of choice?). Nevertheless, I’ve made it through the drought—and if you are suffering through an artist block of sorts, or if you’re currently w’rassling with your warp and frowning at your wefts, I have all the answers (well, that’s a lie too). I have my truth, of how I got through it. Because all jokes aside, when my will and/or drive to create is dulled—a part of dani feels off-kilter and lost inside. Art, including weaving has wove its way that deep into my being. And no, I will not take back that pun. 🙂
ADDITIONAL WARNING: When trying to get back on the proverbial horse, do not by any means take that particular moment to attempt to channel your inner craft she-hulk, and dive into a complicated project. I somehow thought it would be empowering and freeing but I ended up weaving myself into questioning my sanity.
1. Go OUT in search of things that inspire you. Whether it’s colors, nature, smells—texture, other people’s tapestry work that inspires you, just get out of wherever you are. Get out of your head and just breathe in some of the beauty that attracted you to this craft originally. It’s all about creating that spark again!
Alternatively, you can vow to not leave your room or loom until you produce magic. Having tried both I can say that this one does not seem to produce magic.
By Amber Kane
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.
When you’re weaving beads or tapestry, how your warp threads (the threads that go around the loom) are spaced is very important. That spacing will allow you to weave the size beads you want (imagine trying to stick 8/0 beads into warp threads spaced for 11/0 beads) or the yarn you want (different thicknesses of warp -and weft- need different warp spacing.)
On some looms, you have a fixed sett. There are grooves or pegs set a certain distance apart at the top (or top and bottom) of the loom. You can get more than one sett from these fixed sett systems because you can warp every other dent (a dent is a space -between the grooves, pegs, spring -we’ll get to that soon, etc.) or every two dents. So if your loom had a fixed sett of 12 DPI, you could also warp at 6 DPI or 3 DPI.
Other looms don’t have any way to fix your sett, so you have to make sure your warps are spaced correctly and STAY spaced correctly.
On a Mirrix, we know it is important for both bead and tapestry weaving to be able to easily weave at a variety of setts. Sometimes you’re weaving with fine silk and sometimes you’re weaving with chunky wool. Today you might want to weave with 11/0 Delicas and tomorrow you could be weaving with 8/0 beads. That’s where warp coils come in. They are springs (we use the terms warp coils and springs interchangeably) that you put at the top of your loom (or the bottom if you have a Bottom Spring Kit) that allow for different setts. Any Mirrix with a shedding device comes with four of these warp coils at 8, 12, 14 and 18 dents. We also have 10, 20 and 22 dent coils available. These coils will allow you to weave at pretty much any sett. The 8 dent coil can give you 4 or 8 DPI. The 12, 6 or 12. The 14, 7 or 14. Etc.
For more on why warp spacing matters for tapestry, check out this blog post.
For a bead weaving warp coil cheat sheet (and a little more on warp spacing for bead weaving) click here.