Handpainted Silk Braclet with Clasp
I discovered some new findings. The light bulb appeared. I could use them to make bracelets out of woven silk tapestry. I patiently waited while they winged their way to me and was thrilled once they arrived to find out my light bulb was shinning on something very possible indeed.
I quickly wove a strip of silk tapestry and attached a finding. It was perfect.
We started selling the kit for this a couple of weeks ago and they have been flying off the shelf. The kit allows you to make two bracelets: one half an inch wide and one three-quarters of an inch wide. I thought it was time to write an instructional blog about it in case some of you need some operating instructions to get started (and to finish it).
You will need the following to weave this bracelet:
-Silk for weft (we like our hand-painted silk that comes with the kit or can be purchased here)
-A couple of Clasps like the ones shown in the kit picture above. Currently, we only sell them with the kit. One is meant for a half inch piece and the other is meant for a three-quarter inch piece.
–A Mirrix Loom: any size and no need for a shedding device.
The concept behind weaving this silk piece is very simple. The only technique I employ is slit tapestry. All this means is there is a slit created between two color areas. The slits become part of the design. The other important aspect to this piece is it is two-sided, which means there will be no weft tails on the back of the piece.
I am going to show you how I wove this piece, but basically it’s pretty free-form. Once you get the concept down, you are going to want to explore your own designs, colors, etc.
To start you will warp your loom for either one or two bracelets (if you are using an 8″ Lani Loom or larger you can fit two bracelets on one loom). The silk strips are sized to match the two sizes of clasps. The half inch piece will require 8 warps and the three-quarter inch piece other will require 11 warps.
First, warp your loom for tapestry weaving (either 8 warps across for the half inch piece or 11 warps across for the three-quarter inch piece) using the 14 dent warp coil the top of your loom (this coil comes with all looms). You can use the shedding device or just needle weave without it.
Note how I wove in a piece of warp thread at the bottom and wrapped it around the side bars. This prevents the weaving from moving down the loom. Once you’ve woven a couple of inches and want to advance your weaving you can cut those threads.
First, weave a header from the warp material. Weave six passes or so. This part will be turned under when finishing the bracelet. Because this is a two sided bracelet, you will not be allowing the weft tails to hang behind the piece. Rather, you will leave the ends in the weaving itself and then overlap a new thread. We will be exploring other ways to do this as we weave on. The weight of the subsequent rows will keep the threads from popping out of the weaving.
I’ve woven with the first silk weft thread for an inch and a bit. You want this part to be solid weaving because it will be folded over to form a loop which will hold one end of the clasp. The loop on the other end of the bracelet will allow for the insertion of the other end of the clasp. The way I ended the first weft this time is just to bring it in front of the weaving. I started the purple weft by allowing its tail to hang out in front of the weaving. Then I wove the purple on just the left making sure it’s in the same shed as the green so that the two wefts can travel into one another’s space. Once I’ve covered the right side, I will trim those weft ends and they should stay buried in the weaving. But you need to wait until they are covered before trimming because otherwise they have a habit of sneaking out.
Because the silk weft is variegated it looks like I am changing colors more often than I really am. The concept is to build up color areas with slits in between and then join those slits by stopping one weft and weaving the existing weft into its territory.
In the below photo you can see an alternative way to start a new color. You can leave the tail hanging off to the side of the weaving. Once you’ve built some weft passes on top of that you can trim the weft ends.
In the below photo you can see how I’ve created two slits.
To add all these new colors, I am just following the same rules: letting the weft tail stick in front of the weaving until enough weft yarn has been built up above it to trim it. Remember to weave the colors in opposite directions so that they are always in the correct shed in relationship to one another. The only new thing here is the part where the green weft goes around not just one warp on the left, but around the already woven two warps (the salmon color). It adds a bit of texture and interest.
I’ve started weaving the right piece. That’s the one where you get to do anything you want!
How long to make it? My wrist is 6 1/2 inches in diameter. I made my piece 7 1/2 inches long. It could be as much as 8 inches to be safe. The edges will be folded over to form a space to hold one end of the clasp and to insert the other end into. I like the bracelet to fit perfectly . . . not too baggy, but not too tight.
Remove the piece from the loom and tie the warp threads in overhand knots. Insert one end of the weaving into the closed end of the clasp. Fold the warp knots to the back and sew it down as neatly as possible.
You are done!