Thank you & a winner!

We want to sincerely thank everyone who participated in and followed along with the weave-along. We feel it was a great success and we hope everyone involved agrees. If you are still working on your cuff, please feel free to keep posting pictures online and answering questions.

Before the weave-along began, we said we would choose one active participant in the weave along (randomly) to win a wedding cuff bracelet kit. The winner is… dun dun dun…. Carol Eldridge. Congratulations! Carol, please email elena@mirrixlooms.com with a shipping address.

We will be starting another weave-along in September doing another cuff, either the wedding cuff or the elegant cuff. We will also be doing a more in-depth one in September doing a small purse. Read our last blog post for more details.

The Finished Cuff

Here are some pictures of the finished cuff! 
Please feel free to email us with any questions you have. (Email elena@mirrixlooms.com) Take your time finishing, we’ll be here to help if you need it. A final email with tips, tricks and a recap will go out next Sunday. 
Thank you for participating!
Claudia & Elena

Weave-Along: Week Four, finishing the cuff!

We’re almost done! Follow these steps for finishing instructions. Remember to share pictures of your pieces, finished or almost-finished (no matter how far along you are!) on Facebook, Ravelry or via email!

1) Weave your tapestry until the inner section (excluding header and footer) is seven inches.  Yes, this is a tad more length than you need.  However, whenever I have gotten impatient and skimped on length, I have found my piece is just tiny bit short making finishing a nightmare.  So, better longer than shorter and better safe than sorry because there is nothing worse weaving wise to create a beautiful piece that cannot be finished because it’s too short.  



2) Cut your piece off the loom.  I cut as near to the bar as possible.  This is most important for the bottom warps as you need them to be at least four inches in length in order to easily tie overhand knots.  




3) Weight one end of piece with something heavy.  I’ve used my brass beater.  I have been known to use bricks, books . . . whatever is handy.  This allows you to tie the knots on the other end.  




4) Begin on one side of the piece by tying the first part of a half hitch knot. 




5) Pull half-hitch knot until it is flush with weaving.




6) Make an overhand knot. 



7) Insert a needle in knot. 




8) Tighten knot with needle inserted.  Push needle toward weaving.  This will tighten the knot but not allow it to tighten before you’ve reached the weaving.  




9) Tie all knots on that side.  Since you have thirteen warps you will need to make one of the knots three warps: one warp tied to two warps. 





10) Trim knots so they are about a quarter inches plus long. 



11) Trim tails on back of weaving so that they are about half an inch long. 




12) Size piece to metal cuff to decide hem placement.


13) Fold over end of piece to back of piece and sew with a whip stitch. 






14) Size piece again to determine second hem. 


15) Glue ultra suede to inside of cuff.  We use E6000 but any glue that bonds fabric to metal is fine.  You will be sewing the two lawyers together (the ultra suede and the tapestry) so this bond is not one that permanently holds the fabric to the cuff, but one that holds it in place while you sew up the edges. 



16) Trim the edges of the ultra suede so that you have about an eighth an inch on all sides.  Don’t worry if this is not perfect.  When you sew the edges to the weaving all errors will be covered up.  Do not over trim.  Er on the wide of too much, not too little, fabric.  While you are sewing you can trim a little more if need be.  As in every case with this piece, more is better.  Less can cause huge problems.


17)  Put glue on back of weaving.  Push the strands of yarn inward and try to calm them down with the glue.  This makes glueing this piece to the cuff much easier because those stray ends will not be poking out all over the place .


18) Glue tapestry to cuff.


19) Start at a corner of the cuff.  Pull your thread through the back of the tapestry to the front.  Then start whip stitching the ultra-sued and tapestry together.


20) Once you are finished sewing the two edges together you can add your beads!  Bury the end of a new thread inside the cuff.  Pick up three beads.  Whip stitch around the edge of the tapestry and the ultra-suede.  Continue around the whole piece until finished.  You can add more than three beads if you like.  The goal is to cover the stitching and to make the piece looked finished and beautiful.  However you get there is your own personal and lovely touch.


We are still sewing beads to our piece.  Will show you our finished product tomorrow.  

Hoping you all send us yours as well!







Weave-Along: Week Three, Tapestry Techniques

This week we’re going to show you some basic tapestry techniques that can (but don’t have to) be incorporated into your cuffs.

(Just a note… when this is posted, Elena will have gotten married yesterday so please be patient with us if you write to us and we don’t respond today.)

Definitions:
Selvages: The four sides of your piece.
Warp interlock: When the two ends of weft meet at a warp thread and wrap around that thread before changing direction. 

If you’re interested in better explanations of tapestry techniques or want to learn tapestry, we suggest you purchase a book. Kathe Todd-Hooker’s book, “Tapestry 101″ and “Tapestry Weaving” by Kirsten Glasbrook are both great books for beginners with lots of detail and easy-to-follow instructions.

Tapestry techniques we’re trying today: Pick and Pick, Wavy Lines, Hatching.

A short explanation of pick and pick and wavy lines:
Both of these techniques require that you alternate the weaving of two different color threads. In pick and pick, you alternate them one after another. In other words, thread one, thread two, thread one, thread two, etc.. Wavy line technique requires that you weave thread one twice, thread two twice, thread one twice, thread two twice. Pick and pick produces vertical stripes, wavy lines produces the effect of wavy lines. These two have in common the necessity to deal with the selvages in a slightly unusual manner. You will have to manage these two threads in a way that will guarantee the selvage thread has enough weft around it. In the first case, depending on the position of your threads you will have to wrap one of your weft threads around the selvage thread in order to guarantee complete coverage.

In the second case, the top thread will pull the second thread and by doing so the top thread will cover the selvage thread twice. These techniques take some time to master but are well worth the effort. If you’re feeling intimidated, it is by no means necessary to use these techniques in your cuff but we do suggest you try the hatching technique (described last) at the very least.

Pick and Pick: 


In our example, we’ve used magenta and a golden yellow to begin our pick and pick. We alternate the colors thereby creating vertical stripes. In other words, weave the yellow thread once, and then the magenta thread once (making sure to change sheds every time you weave a new thread) then the yellow, then the magenta, etc… Follow the pictures for a visual of what we did:

First line of yellow

Second line of magenta (refer to earlier in this post to learn how to deal with your edges). Remember to change your shed every time you bring a thread across. 

Notice the beautiful vertical stripes emerging 
To continue with this design, but to add something extra, we stopped the magenta in the middle of the piece and started a purple thread at that place, thereby replacing the magenta with the purple. This allows us to continue the design but with a different color scheme. You could theoretically keep replacing threads as they run out with new ones for the entire bracelet and allow that to be your design. One way to approach this would be continue with the yellow thread and only replace the other ones. That would give you the most interesting effect. This kit may not include enough of any one shade of one color to do that, but we wanted to give you an idea of future design possibilities. We switched to using green after the purple thread as an example of this.
Changing the color to purple
Wavy Lines:

Wavy lines are very similar to pick and pick but instead of making one pass with a color, you make two passes creating what looks like wavy lines. 
Here, we started with two passes weaving with green, then two with yellow, then two with green, etc… 


Follow the pictures to see what we did:
The first pass through with green

Hatching:

This technique also involves two threads but the left thread will stay on the left and the right thread will stay on the right. In a full scale tapestry this is a great way to blend two colors together to create shading. This technique also involves warp interlock because when the two ends meet at a warp thread they each wrap around it before changing direction.

The way hatching works:  The two threads will come meet each other at any place within the tapestry you would like.  The threads must be woven toward each other.  They will then wrap around a common warp thread and head away from each other in the next shed.  These two colors will dovetail into each other.  A lot of other techniques can spring from this one including adding additional colors.  For now and for such a small piece we suggest you keep it simple and just use two colors.

The yellow and blue thread heading toward each other.
Wrap the two threads around the common warp, change sheds and head in opposite directions.
A clear visual of the threads wrapping around a common warp.
See how the dovetailing is beginning to reveal itself!
You can see how useful this technique can be!
Remember that these techniques can take some time to master. Play around! Have fun!
Elena & Claudia




Weave-Along: Week Two

This week we will work on beginning weaving your cuff and adding beads to your weaving. There are many different tapestry techniques you can use when weaving a cuff, but if you are a beginner you may want to just begin with straight lines. One of the difficult things about weaving tapestry is that there is a tendency to “pull in”, which means you pull your edges in too tight making the edges (or “selvages”) of the piece not straight. This piece makes keeping your selvages straight easy, both because it is thin and because the rows of beads help space the piece. 



On a more personal note, my soon-to-be mother-in-law (on August 6th!) is visiting from Ukraine. She wanted to learn to weave so I am having her (under my supervision… although this mostly means me hanging over her with my camera) make her own tapestry/bead cuff bracelet on my warped loom. The pictures following are of her work. This is the first time she’s touched a loom and she barely needs any instructions… which is good since we can only communicate in Greek (Alex, my fiance, and I met in Greece where he was living, his mom was living and I was living) and I’ve never taught anyone in another language before. 


If you haven’t woven tapestry before, do some research:


http://www.americantapestryalliance.org/
http://www.tapestrywine.blogspot.com/
http://www.canadiantapestrynetwork.com/


Picture your final product: 
Because these cuffs seem to look awesome no matter what, we often weave them with no solid plan. But, some of you may want to decide what you will weave before you begin. You may want to decide on some basic design elements before you begin. For example, do you want to put in beads in regular increments or randomly? Do you want to have stripes? What types of tapestry techniques so you want to use? 


Choose your colors (and your materials):
If you have a tapestry/bead cuff bracelet kit purchased from us, you have a variety of hand-dyed silk and other yarns to choose from when making your cuff. Before you begin weaving, take a look at what colors you have available and try to decide what ones you want to use. If you do not have a kit purchased from us, decide on what types of yarn you want to use as well as what colors. 





Begin weaving:
The concept of tapestry weaving in this format is very simple. You engage the shedding device (just like you did when weaving your header) and weave through. We recommend starting your weft threads in the middle of the piece instead of on the edges so your ends are all facing the back (if you don’t, make sure to wrap the ends around so they do face the back). 


Weave through once, change the position of the shedding device and then weave through again. Continue doing this. You can mix colors (two silks together make a gorgeous pattern), mix different types of yarn (the silk and novelty railroad yarn look great together) or just stick with solid stripes. We will discuss different tapestry techniques you can use next week. 


Two silks mixed together make a neat pattern
Beginning to weave


Add beads: 
Using beads is what makes the tapestry/bead cuff bracelet unique. The beads are actually woven into the cuff on whatever you are using for weft. 


The first step to doing this is to take a piece of beading thread (as you know, we use C-Lon thread) and tie a loop of it onto a needle. You will then put your weft thread (let’s say you having been weaving with yellow silk, you will put that piece of silk through the loop you made with the beading thread and then put 14 size 8.0 beads on the needle, moving them over the loop and onto the silk (or whatever your weft thread is, make sure it is thin enough to put the beads on it). 


Thread tied in a loop threaded through a needle.
The beads on the yellow silk

Next, (making sure you remembered to change sheds) place the beads on the silk between the spaces in the warp threads. They should fit exactly (this is why it is important to have the ten dent spring… spacing matters a lot when you are using beads in tapestry). Then, continue weaving with the same thread. 

Beads inserted!
Weaving along! 
Keep experimenting mixing fibers and adding beads. Next week we will discuss different tapestry techniques you can use in your cuff!




Welcome to The Mirrix Tapestry and Bead Looms Weave-Along!

Welcome to the first official day of the Mirrix Tapestry and Bead Looms Weave-Along. If you are a participant, we look forward to getting to know you and your work! If you are just observing, enjoy! We hope everyone will learn a lot from this experience.






This is a basic outline of this weave-along:


Week One: July 24th (starting set-up on the 23rd)- July 30th
Loom set-up, Warping, weaving header

Week Two: July 31st- August 6th
Beginning weaving, adding beads

Week Three: August 7th- August 13th
Tapestry techniques

Week Four: August 14th- August 20th
Finishing weaving, cutting off the loom, preparing to put on cuff

Week Five: August 21st- August 27th
Finishing the cuff. finishing with beads

Week Six: August 28th- September 3rd
Catch-up for those who are behind.


This week we will set up our looms, warp and weave a header. For those of us who have warped before, this won’t take very long at all. For beginners, take your time and read all the directions and you will be fine. 


Loom set-up: Please refer to yesterday’s blog post


Warping: For the tapestry/bead cuff you will warp your loom for tapestry rather than bead weaving (this means one warp in each dent instead of two). 


Please refer to our online warping instructions for detailed directions on warping your loom. (CLICK HERE


You can also refer to the instructions that came with your tapestry/bead cuff bracelet kit if you have one. 



You will need to warp fifteen dents across for this project.


Following are pictures and brief explanations of how to warp for this project (if you have never warped before you will still want to refer to the warping instructions) using my loom as an example. 


First, place the warping bar between the two clips (turn the clips backwards and push them in slightly to hold the warping bar while warping. (Note: I have a bottom spring kit on this loom, although one is not necessary for this project. A bottom spring kit is used to organize your warps and is especially useful when weaving wide bead pieces or small-scale tapestry pieces. They can be purchased on our website: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/accessories.html).


Loom with warping bar between the two clips.

My loom, just as I finished putting the warp on. 
The top of the loom, fifteen warps across. 

Because this is a relatively thin project, I warped my piece on one side of the loom. When I was done warping, I tied a piece of cord (any string can be used) on the other side of the loom to the warping bar to keep it balanced. Alternatively, you can warp another piece on the other side to weave later. 


Loom with warp on it. The cord on the right side helps balance the warping bar (which has been pulled down lower on the loom).
Looking down at the warping bar towards the bottom of the loom.
Next, I placed my shedding device in the clips (turning them around so they stick forward) and began putting heddles on.


Beginning to put heddles on. They attach the warp threads to the shedding device, allowing you to change sheds when you change the position of the shedding device handle. 
After putting heddles on every other warp, I rotated the warping bar and began to put heddles on the warps that did not already have heddles on them.

The shedding device, rotated and ready for more heddles on the other side. 
The loom, warped and with heddles on both sides of the shedding device. I’m almost done!
Close-up of the heddles on the loom.



The loom, ready to be woven on with the shedding device handle attached.

Weave a header:

A header is woven before you start your piece to provide a strong base that will eventually be folded over during the finishing process. I used the C-Lon cord that I warped the loom with to weave this header. It should be about 1/2 inch of weaving. 

C-Lon cord to be used for my header.

Once the shedding device was put on the loom, all I had to do was engage the shedding device (the shedding device raises half the warps) and place my weft between those warps. (When you are doing this, make sure your weft ends face the back of the piece, this can be accomplished either by wrapping your end around so it faces back or by starting your weft in the middle of the piece.) Then, I changed the shed by moving the shedding device into the other position (and therefore raising the other half of the warps) and wove through again.

My header, woven.
All set to weave the cuff!!!

That’s it, warped and ready! Next week we will begin weaving the actual cuff and learning how to add beads! 


Please, post pictures this week of your loom warped and ask questions on this blog (as a comment),

Happy warping!


Saturday, July 23rd: Pre Weave-Along Set-Up

Welcome to our first ever Mirrix Looms weave-along. The weave-along will officially begin tomorrow, but today we wanted to go over the basics of how the weave-along will work and make sure you have everything set up for tomorrow.

How it works:
On Sunday, July 24th we will begin warping! We will send out an email (At about noon EDT and 9 in the morning PDT) going over what we want to accomplish for the week including tips and tricks. At that time, we will welcome comments on the blog (where we will repeat this information), on Facebook, on Ravelry and by email. As a member of the weave-along, we hope you will post on one of these forums at least once a week on Sunday to tell us your progress and ask questions or give some advice. We also encourage all participants to continue posting throughout the week. All forums will be closely monitored.

           Every Sunday after the weave-along begins we will send out another email discussing progress from the week before and plans for the week ahead and discuss progress online.

The weave-along will be over mid to late August. If participants fall behind, we will keep forums open after that period for weave-along related discussion.


What you need:



-A Mirrix Loom (preferably size 12 or larger with a shedding device) and all that comes with one.
-A ten-dent spring (if you do NOT have one we can work with a twelve-dent spring by stretching it but we do recommend having one). Remember having a ten-dent spring means that there are ten dents (spaces in the warp coil) in an inch when on the loom.
-A tapestry/bead cuff bracelet kit (or similar materials: Yarn (for example: silk, rayon floss, perle cotton, novelty yarns); A spool of beading cord; beading thread, a brass cuff; a piece of ultra suede; size 8/0 and 11/0 seed beads)
-Heddles (To make them yourself: You will need to make as many individual heddles as there will be warps in your weaving.  These heddles (as well as the Mirrix heddles you can buy) will be reusable.  The thinner and stronger the string you use, the better.  For bead weavers, cotton quilting or beading thread works great.  For tapestry weavers, cotton crochet thread, linen warp or single-ply cotton warp works well.


Nail two finishing nails into a piece of wood three and one-eight inches apart.  You will use this little tool to tie your warps.  Cut ten inch lengths of your heddle material, one for each heddle you will make.  Tie them around the nails, using an overhand knot to secure the ends.  In order to get that knot to sit right next to the nail, slip a needle into the knot before it is pulled tight and push the knot toward the nail.  Then tighten it.  Trim off the ends of the heddles to within a quarter of an inch of the knot.)
-A pair of scissors
-A bead mat (optional)
-A needle (or needles) 
-Glue that can bond fabric to metal. These types of glue are available through craft outlets. You will only need this for finishing your cuff. 
-A Phillips head screw driver IF you have wooden clips


Set-Up: 
How you want to set up your work space is up to you, but we suggest finding a flat surface and organizing everything you will need to warp the loom and begin weaving. Swing out the two (or one if you are using an 8″ loom) legs under the loom and place it on a flat surface.

Make sure your loom is at a height so you have about 2″ of threaded rod showing on each side. Measure to make sure the loom is even. We suggest if you are using a size 12″ loom or larger that you put your weaving on the left or right side of the loom. You will need some kind of string to tie around the warping bar on the opposite side of where you will put your piece. You will do this after you have warped your loom. It will help to stabilize the warping bar. The reason you don’t put it in the middle of the loom is, because it is such a thin piece, it is difficult to balance the bar. You may want to warp the loom on both sides and make another piece on the other side at a later date. For example you could warp the other side 10 warps wide and make a little purse. The tapestry/bead cuff bracelet cuffs come with enough extra yarn to make another piece.

Perks & Participation 
Everyone taking part in the weave-along will be entered to win a wedding cuff bracelet kit at the end of the weave-along. You must participate regularly to be qualified to win.

If you have a question at any point during the weave along, you can either ask everyone by posting as a comment on the “A Word From Elena” blog, as a post on our Mirrix Facebook Page, or in our weave-along thread on the Mirrix Ravelry Page. You can also email us directly. 


We will have occasional chats on Ravelry and our Mirrix “group” to discuss the weave-along live with others and with us. You can join that group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mirrixlooms?ap=1


More tomorrow! We suggest checking out the warping instructions on our site today if you haven’t done so before. 



Weave-Along Update!

The Mirrix Looms Weave-Along is starting in just a few weeks! Learn the basics here

If you are participating please make sure you have the following:
-A Mirrix Loom (because of the use of the shedding device, we really do recommend using our looms)
-A Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet kit OR similar materials to those in the kit **Update, for those in the contiguous united states the last day to buy a kit and have it arrive in time for the start of the weave-along is July 18th**
-A ten-dent spring (this size spring does NOT come with loom)

This is how the weave-along will work.

*On Saturday, July 23rd I will send out a preliminary email going over the weave-along tentative schedule.
*On Sunday, July 24th we will begin weaving! We will send out an email (At about noon EDT and 9 in the morning PDT) going over what we want to accomplish for the week including tips and tricks. At that time, we will welcome comments on the blog (where we will repeat this information), on Facebook, on Ravelry and by email. As a member of the weave-along, we hope you will post on one of these forums at least once a week on Sunday to tell us your progress and ask questions or give some advice. We also encourage all participants to continue posting throughout the week. All forums will be closely monitored.
*Every Sunday after the weave-along begins we will send out another email discussing progress from the week before and plans for the week ahead and discuss progress online.

The weave-along will be over mid to late August. If participants fall behind, we will keep forums open after that period for weave-along related discussion.

We look forward to beginning and have been very happy with the great response to this project!

If you have not already signed up, please email elena@mirrixlooms.com to express your official interest and receive updates!

Weave-a-long, Win-a-kit!

Our weave-along is gaining momentum and we’ve decided to give you one more incentive to participate: One participant (defined by those of you who post at least weekly) will be randomly chosen to win this not-even-for-sale-yet wedding cuff kit. It includes real gold thread, 25 karat gold beads, white silk, thread, a brass cuff and ultra-suede. 
Sign up for the weave-along today! Email elena@mirrixlooms.com to get your name on the list. 

Introducing: The Mirrix Weave-Along

What? A Mirrix Looms Weave-Along
Start Date: July 23rd, 2011
Where? “A Word From Elena” blog, Mirrix Facebook Page, Mirrix Ravelry Page 
What are we weaving? A Tapestry Cuff Bracelet

What do you need? A Mirrix Loom, a ten dent spring (these do NOT come with the looms), warp, weft, beads, a cuff base, beading thread, glue (Or you can purchase our tapestry/bead cuff bracelet kit for 25% off if you’re taking part in the weave-along. Email elena@mirrixlooms.com for discount code. Cannot be combined with any other offers.) **Update, for those in the contiguous united states the last day to buy a kit and have it arrive in time for the start of the weave-along is July 18th** You’ll also need basic supplies like a pair of scissors and a needle. (That said, if you want to participate and want to do a slightly different project, we can certainly accomodate you, just let us know what you plan to do.) 
How does this work? From warping to finishing Claudia and I will walk you through the steps of completing this bracelet. Once a week we will all check-in on Facebook and via email thread, post pictures and discuss progress. Throughout the week questions and comments can be discussed via an email thread, comments on this blog, the Facebook page and our Ravelry page.

Please email elena@mirrixlooms.com to express your official interest and receive updates!

Let’s get weaving!