I have to say that when I received the Mirrix Loom – a Big Sister Loom – I was so impressed!! Not only did it come with complete instructions, but there are many videos to help you get started and make it through!! My first project was a simple one…with only 2 colors. When I designed the pattern I was hoping for something simple and fun!! And boy did I get it!! Just watch this video to see how I created the DREAM a Little DREAM Project and how I finished it. I am very proud of this creation and I have to say…I can’t wait to show you my next creations!!!
Krafty Max for Krafty Max Originals www.kraftymax.net
Our customers are the best because they are so creative and are always coming up with new ideas for the Mirrix Loom. One such customer asked if one could use the loom extenders on the Mini Mirrix. My first response inside my head was no way. And then I paused, reconsidered and found a Mini Mirrix and some threaded rod that must have come from a loom I took apart for some research. I do have a pair of regular extenders, but I wanted these to be a little shorter. They were exactly the size I wanted then to be: one foot.
So how does this work? Obviously the Mini Mirrix has no legs. Well that’s the point, you aren’t going to be standing it up. You will either lay the loom down on a table or prop its bottom in your lap and lean her against a table.
Let me show you how this looks.
Alice in Wonderland surely!
The cords that come with the Mini Mirrix are not long enough to accommodate the extenders so we have two options to get your Mini warped with extenders.
First, you can add a set of small clips. Aren’t these adorable?
Or, you can buy additional Texsolv cord to get the length you need.
When you purchase loom extenders for the Mini, you have the option to add on more cord or the mini clips at a discount.
After I wove on the Mini with extenders, I discovered they can be used on the Lani Loom as well. In this case, you will need to add an extra leg for stability unless you decide to rest the bottom of the loom in your lap and lean it against a table or clamp it to the Mirrix Loom Stand.
How many inches can you weave with this set up? My piece will be 40 inches long! The maximum weaving length on the Mini Mirrix without the extenders is 16 inches. The extenders add 24.
The math for the Lani Loom is: 24 inches of weaving length without the extenders. The extenders increase it to 48 inches.
What can you weave on the Mini Mirrix or Lani Loom with extenders? My go-to project seems to be straps for things such as purses and guitars. Long thin strips also make a great edging on weavings that you want to turn into functional items such as purses. You could also make them into reins or attach the strips to reigns. Why not turn a lovely woven strip into a dog leash or a lead rope for a horse? You will be the envy of all those dragging around plain store bought leashes and lead ropes. You could use them for tie-backs for curtains. They could also be turned into a necklace or a wrap bracelet. You could also sew strips together to make a pouch. Use them for a hatband, necktie, suspenders and, of course, a belt.
We would love to hear what you use your Mirrix woven strips (beads or fiber) for.
What’s a Bottom Spring Kit?
A Bottom Spring Kit is a kit that allows you to put a warp coil (spring) on the bottom of your Mirrix Loom, just like you have one on the top.
What does it do?
Having a spring on the bottom beam of your loom helps you to keep your warp threads organized while warping and beginning to weave.
1.) You are weaving beads using the shedding device and you don’t want to deal with trying to keep those pairs of warp threads neatly divided on the bottom while putting on heddles and weaving in the first row. Can you do this without the bottom coil? Yes, you can. But especially for wider bead woven pieces using the shedding device, this handy add-on does make it easier.2.) You are weaving a wide bead piece without the shedding device. When you’re dealing with lots of warp threads very close together, having a spring to help keep them organized at the bottom of the loom can be very helpful.
3.) You are weaving a tapestry at a very fine sett. While the Bottom Spring Kit was initially developed for bead weaving, many who weave tapestry at very fine setts (18, 20, 22 dpi) like the Bottom Spring Kit to help organize their warp threads while warping.
4.) You feel more confident warping when your warp threads are well organized at both the top and bottom of the loom. A Bottom Spring Kit is great for every perfectionist! It also precludes you from having to weave in a thread at the bottom that you tie to the threaded rod to provide a stable surface to start weaving.
Why isn’t one included with every loom?
The bottom spring kit is not included with every loom because there are people who simply do not want or need a spring at the bottom of their loom. With this add-on kit, we give you the choice to have one or not. Note that if you do get the Bottom Spring Kit you don’t have to use it for every piece you make. Simply don’t put a spring in it and you can warp around it with no problem.
Can you rotate the weaving to advance it with the spring on the bottom?
You will have to loosen the tension on the loom and actually remove the spring in order to do this. Once the spring is removed, you will have no problem rotating your weaving.
Do extra coils come with the bottom spring kit?
You can purchase a few different Bottom Spring Kit sets:
The Bottom Spring Kit with 8, 12, 14 and 18 Dent Warp Coils. Want a Bottom Spring Kit with all the warp coils to match the ones that came with your loom (that has a shedding device)? This version is our most popular loom accessory.
The Bottom Spring Kit with Two 20 and 22 Dent Warp Coils. No looms come with 20 and 22 dent warp coils, so this version of the kit has two of each: one for the bottom and one for the top.
The Bottom Spring Kit with Two 16 Dent Warp Coils. If you weave wide bead pieces with 11/0 Delica beads, you may find the 16 dent coil works best for you. This version fo the kit comes with two 16 dent coils, one for the bottom and one for the top.
The Bottom spring Kit and 14 Dent Coil. If you have an 8″ or 12″ Loom without the shedding device, it came with only one 14 dent wap coil. This Bottom Spring Kit adds one more 14 dent coil to the bottom!
It can be tough to find a Mirrix Loom on sale, but if you join American Tapestry Alliance you’ll get a code for 10% off any size Mirrix Loom good for three months after you join AND you get to benefit from being a part of a wonderful organization dedicated to the art of tapestry weaving.
American Tapestry Alliance offers inspiration, networking, education, discounts and more. Interested? Click here to learn more about membership!
You’ve seeing these adorable woven wall-hangings on Instagram and Pinterest and you’re ready to take the plung e to learn how to make your own woven art. Maybe you take a class on a basic frame loom or you make your own loom from a picture frame and follow some instructions you find online. Now, you’re ready to take this craft to the next level. What’s first? A high-quality loom! You’ve heard of Mirrix Looms, but they’re tapestry looms… is tapestry the type of weaving you’re interested in? What exactly IS tapestry?
Imagine a woven scarf or a blanket. It might be one color, stripes or a pattern, but usually it doesn’t depict an image or a varying design. Tapestry, however, does. A tapestry might represent a realistic image, a complex design or even an abstract picture.
Generally tapestry has discontinuous wefts. This mean the weft (again, these are the threads that go across the loom) do not go from selvedge (edge) to selvedge (edge).
So is the type of weaving you want to do tapestry? If it is weft-faced and pictorial, it probably falls somewhere on the tapestry spectrum. What does this mean?
1.) You can use, and benefit from, a dedicated tapestry loom like a Mirrix. Great tension, a shedding device and accessory options are just a few reasons why. Check out this blog post for a few more reasons.
2.) You can weave using tapestry techniques. Stripes and fringe are fun, but there are so many more amazing tapestry techniques. Pick and Pick is a great example. Learn how to create these fun vertical stripes here.
Want to learn more about weaving? Click here to get a FREE weaving consultation!
Last week I did the first 7 days of a summer residency in the yurts of Fibreworks Studio & Gallery in beautiful Madeira Park on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. It was the hottest week of the year so I experimented with weaving both inside the yurts where I’ve got a fan, and outside in the shade. The two spaces were about the same comfortable tempurture so I opted to stay inside on most days since I had the best of both worlds with a skylight above me and the kind of shade that I didn’t have to chase all day. I did end up spending plenty of time outside for a natural dye adventure which had me dyeing and overdyeing a single skein of yarn to achieve the perfect yellow, over two days. I ended up dyeing with osage and then overdyeing with fustic to achieve the dark yellow-orange seen in the photos below.
When it comes to the arts, kids are often markedly good teachers. There is a certain innocence and fearlessness children possess that allows them to be creative and unbound to expectation. I have seen this again and again watching young people weave both tapestry and beads, but I’m still pleasantly surprised each time a child reminds me of the innocent glee weaving can bring to someone.
Recently Dani Dias shared a video with us of her daughter, Ava, teaching bead weaving on her 5″ Mini Mirrix Loreli Loom. Dani and Ava have graciously allowed us to share this video with all of you.
This will be my last blog post as part of the Social Marketing team for Mirrix Looms and I must say it certainly was a fast year! What a joy it was to represent an amazing company so full of passion for weaving and design! Thank you Claudia and Elena for giving so much of your life’s effort to make Mirrix such a strong and successful company!
So it got me to thinking … what would I like my final blog post to be about? The word Connection kept coming to mind and how could I relate that to living my life as a Tapestry Weaver? Weaving is all about connected threads; fibers crossing over one other, creating a texture or a single design. Isn’t that what our lives are truly about as well?
My personal philosophy on Weaving is this … I relate the Warp to my foundation in life, whatever it is that grounds me (my spiritual walk, family, love, friendships). You hopefully know what that understanding is for you as well. I relate the Weft to all the scrumptious opportunities that come our way, the people we meet along life’s journey, those that cross our paths each and every day, relationships we hold dear, the experiences we walk through on a daily basis. These things make us who we are today, simply creating the woven Cloth of our Lives. Some things are brighter and more exciting than others, some experiences are subdued and quiet .. all the while creating and adding to the fabric of our own life. It is certainly different for each and every one of us!
So for me, Living the Woven Life is staying connected with all that brings me peace and serenity. Every time I sit at my looms to create, I feel a sense of calmness take over. In fact, how I wish I had more time to receive that gift weaving brings to me. Tapestry Weaving is all about slowing ourselves down, enjoying the process, listening within, designing work that comes from observing the world around us, feeling the magical rhythm that happens while weaving, and asking the creative “what if” questions. I know of no other art form that gives such a sense of peace and contentment. I think that is why you and I are drawn to this amazing art form that has been handed down from generation to generation.
We are Tapestry Weavers, always looking for something new to inspire our next creative work. The designs never shut off in my head, how about yours? With the use of Social Media, (if used properly) it can be a gift, a way of connecting all of us … sharing what we love most, what we have created and perhaps what we hope to design in the future.
I began as a Tapestry Weaver over thirty years ago, when it was much simpler. I strayed away to pursue harness weaving, all the while still living a “Woven Life”. How lucky for me that I returned solely to Tapestry Weaving a few years ago and all that I knew and had learned came right back to me! You see, I had finally found my “weaving home” and I am striving each and every day to live the Woven Life. I am learning as much as I can, reading about Tapestry History and learning from so many amazing current day Tapestry Artists. There is a wealth of knowledge for us to grasp from these Tapestry leaders. I am grateful for their willingness to share their techniques so openly with all of us.
Claudia and Elena, here at Mirrix, are doing a wonderful job to inspire new and seasoned weavers. They are constantly coming up with new techniques, products and weave along projects along the way. Follow them closely, they have much to share! There are wonderful teachers out there, teaching online and in a workshop experience. I am a devoted student of Rebecca Mezoff and I have learned so much from her. I have used my Mirrix Loom for each of her Tapestry courses I have taken. Consider joining ATA (American Tapestry Alliance). I am proud to be a member and serving an organization that nourishes my Tapestry experience. Connect with local weavers if you can, join a guild, find like minded fiber artists like yourself. Surround yourself with weaving! Each and every experience will lead you one step closer to truly living your own Woven Life! Absorb as much knowledge and experience as you can!
I encourage you to breathe it all in, weave as much as you can and share your knowledge and love for this art form with others. Step lightly, observe all that is around you … keep notebooks, sketchbooks and design notes. You never know what might show up in a Tapestry of yours one day! The next time you sit down to your loom, take a deep breath in, don’t rush the process and enjoy every minute you get to sit with your weaving. Be happy to be there, Be present, Learn from it, be inspired by it. If you believe you are truly working on building your own special weaving life … I ask you … What will it say about you? What do others see, what do you want it to reflect? Find time just for you and your weaving. Get to know each other again, inspire and teach each other. I promise you won’t regret living this Woven Life of ours.
I leave you with this thought … One of my favorite Tapestry Weavers of all time is the late Sylvia Heyden. A weaver who truly lived the Woven Life, every moment of every day. I have watched her beautiful video over and over again, each time learning something new. She states that “We cannot learn this process quickly, for it takes a lifetime.” Her words have stuck with me ever since. Her works were beautiful, Her spirit true, Her words so eloquently spoke how I feel about being a Tapestry Weaver. There simply isn’t enough time to accomplish all that I want to!
It’s been pure joy being here, thanks Mirrix for letting me have a woven voice! The pleasure has been all mine! Can’t wait to see who wins my woven pouch at the end of this month! What a fun experience it has all been!
Sometimes you have the urge to do something crazy and fun and break all the rules. That’s what this project was all about. I won’t call this piece a tapestry because it isn’t. It’s a weaving. A weird, colorful, fluffy weaving. After we dyed the yarn for this piece (more on that here), we got to warping the loom. Here’s Claudia warping so I could take pictures:
Here’s the loom all warped and on a stand. I don’t own my own Sitting/Standing Loom Stand so I haven’t used one very often, but weaving this piece with the stand made me want one.
And then, I began to weave. I used plain weave and soumak and Claudia spun some of the roving we were using to weave in between rows to give the piece a little more stability.
I wove this whole piece in a few days, mostly at night, sometimes with a glass of rosé.
Off the loom!
We finished it with ribbon sewed on the edges and then put a dowl through the ribbon on the top (which is actually the side) of the piece.
Here it is up on the wall!
Ready to start weaving your own wall-hangings? Click here to download our free Weaving is Easy Ebook to learn more!
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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.