Welcome to Mirrix's "Get to Know Your Loom" Online Course!
Thank you for joining and welcome to the Mirrix Community. If you haven’t already, we recommend joining our two fantastic groups on Facebook and Ravelry. They are both wonderful places to get to know other Mirrix weavers, ask questions, answer questions and to be inspired!
Are you ready to get started? For the next two weeks, you will receive an email like you did today with a link to a page just like this one. In it will be videos, links and other information to help get you started. We won’t be working on a specific project through this class, but we suggest either grabbing some beads and/or fiber to experiment with or deciding on your first project. While we love ambition, we do recommend starting with something small and simple if you’re a beginner.
Here’s our schedule:
Week One (today)
About Mirrix Looms
Unboxing your Mirrix
Kits and projects
Preparing to weave
Set-up and warping
The basics of weaving tapestry
The basics of weaving beads
The basics of combining beads and fiber
Accessories to get the most out of your Mirrix Loom
If you’re taking this course, you probably already have a pretty good idea of what a Mirrix Loom is, but do you know all it can do? From weaving tapestries to rugs to beaded jewelry on thread or wire to combining beads and fiber or even weaving mixed-media pieces; a Mirrix can do it. Check out our Your Work Gallery for some amazing examples of work our customers have made on their looms!
While Mirrix Looms are made to meet the needs of a professional bead or tapestry weaver; our looms are great for every level weaver. Check out this blog post for more on this. Can a beginner use a Mirrix? Absolutely!
This course will walk you through most of the basics of weaving beads and/or fiber on a Mirrix Loom, but we also recommend checking out our bead and tapestry webinars as well as some of our free ebooks like our Weaving is Easy Ebook and our Get Started Guide.
We build Mirrix Looms to last a lifetime and to work as hard as you do. Each loom is put together by hand in our wonderful Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin manufacturing facility. Mirrix Manufacturing is housed at a very special place called Sunshine House. Sunshine House offers supported employment to people who are mentally or physically disabled. You can learn more about Mirrix at Sunshine House here.
Depending on which loom you purchased, your loom might come with a variety of things. Above is an image of a labeled loom with what your loom might come with. There might be more (looms with the shedding device come with four warp coils, Craftsy looms come with heddles) or less, but this should give you a basic idea of what all the parts are called.
Top Beam: The top beam of every Mirrix Loom is made of aluminum and has rounded edges. Looms size 28″ and larger have double top beams for strength.
Bottom Beam: The bottom beam of every Mirrix Loom is made of aluminum and has rounded edges. Looms size 28″ and larger have double bottom beams for strength.
Copper Side Bar: Each loom has copper side bars.
Threaded Rod: Threaded rod that fits into the copper side bars allows you to adjust the height of your loom and tighten the tension.
Wing-Nut: Wing-nuts are used to adjust the tension on your warp and the height of your loom.
Warp Coil Tray: This tray (which is not on the Mini Mirrix or Sam Loom) holds your springs/warp coils in place at the top of the loom.
Wooden Clip: Wooden clips (not on the Mini Mirrix or Sam Looms) have two functions: To hold your warping bar when warping and to (optionally) hold the shedding device.
Fold-Out Leg: These legs fold-out to allow your loom to stand steadily on any flat surface. The Mini Mirrix does not have legs, the Lani Loom has one and the rest have two.
Shedding Device: This device raises warp threads to make weaving tapestry or beads faster and easier. It comes standard on all looms 16″ and larger, but does not have to be used. You can learn more about it here.
Shedding Device Handle: This handle operates the shedding device. It can be replaced by an electric treadle if you are weaving tapestry.
Warp Coil: Warp coils (also called springs) space your warp threads. Choose different warp coils depending on the size or thickness of the beads or warp and weft you are using.
Warping Bar: This bar is what your warp gets tied to when warping. It also helps you to ‘advance’ your weaving to the back of the loom for more weaving room. This bar is not used for the “easy warp” method of warping.
Allen Wrench: This wrench loosens and tightens the bars on the shedding device.
Flat Wrench: The flat wrench is helpful for tightening and loosening the wing-nuts.
When you receive your loom, open up that box, fold out the loom’s leg/s (unless it’s a Mini) and place it on a flat surface. Make sure you have everything you need in the box. Now you’re ready to decide what you’re going to make first!
The video above shows you how to warp for bead weaving with or without the shedding device.
If this is your first time warping and you’re feeling a little nervous about the process, we recommend first trying our “Easy Warp” method for bead weaving. You can learn more about it here and in the video below.
Another warping option for weaving beads (without the shedding device) is warping with the No Warp-Ends Kit. This kit eliminates the need to weave-in warp ends when bead weaving. It can only be used without the shedding device. It is perfect for using with any kind of warp material, including wire. Set up with this kit is very easy and once you have it in place, you can weave as many pieces as you want (as long as they are the same size) using the same set up.
Find our comprehensive warping .pdfs for bead weaving here:
Note, this shows how to do this for tapestry, but the same method can be used for bead weaving (as we discuss above)
Warping with the No Warp-Ends Kit (.PDF) (Note: These instructions show warping with paperclips, not s-hooks. The concept is the same as with the s-hooks)
Warping with the No Warp-Ends Kit (.PDF) (Note: These are more basic instructions, shown with s-hooks)
Warping can be scary at first. But don’t worry, it isn’t hard! If you’re a beginner and are feeling a little nervous about warping, try our Easy Warp Method first. This way of warping has one main restriction: Your warp cannot be advanced for continuous warping (where you can move your piece to the back of your loom as you weave). This means the length of your piece is restrained by the height of your loom. That said, with this warping method you can weave a piece on one side of the loom and then turn the loom around, move the legs to the other side, and weave another smaller piece on that side.
If you’re ready to jump into our regular warping process (which is really just making a figure-8 around the loom), we have a great warping .pdf on our website, as well a very detailed warping video (shown below). Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be warping at warp-speed (pun intended)!
Find our comprehensive warping .pdfs for tapestry weaving here:
Warping for Tapestry with the Shedding Device (.PDF)
If you don’t want to use the shedding device, stop at the step where you add the shedding device onto the loom
This method can also be used for bead weaving.
Combining beads and fiber may seem pretty straightforward, but it takes some planning to make it work properly. You need your warp sett (how far apart your warp threads are) to work for both the thickness of your fiber and the size of your beads.
For 8/0 beads, a 10 dent coil is a good set. For 11/0 beads, a 14 dent coil works. As far as fiber goes, you’ll want to use fairly thin fibers, but you have some leeway in this. For more on warp spacing for fiber, check out this blog post.
They are perfect beginner projects for those of you learning to incorporate beads and fiber with or without the shedding device.
We have a great (seriously, this class is a gem, and it is so inexpensive) class with Craftsy that focuses on fiber and bead projects that you may want to consider checking out if you are new to weaving. You can get 50% off the class with this link.
Your Assignment (Did we mention there would be homework?)
Warp your loom! Unless you’re weaving a pre-planned kit or project (you can find some project and kit suggestions linked above) this takes some planning, even if you’re just going to weave a sampler. Remember to ask yourself these questions:
Will I be weaving beads, fiber or both?
What size piece do I want to make?
Will I be using the shedding device?
What will I be using for warp, weft and/or beads?
Thanks for checking out week one of this course!