Let’s Talk Bead Looms!
We frequnetly get the question: how is a Mirrix Loom better than all the other bead looms, all or most of which are cheaper than a Mirrix.
First I want to ask you to do an image search for bead looms. There are a lot of them out there. Some of them have beams that roll so you can make a longer piece on a shorter loom. The warp threads are often wrapped around pegs and tied together in bunches. The most typical ofStop right there! Why I don’t recommend these looms. The most typical ubiquitous of these is the metal bead loom which I think at one point was called an “Indian Bead Loom.” At least the one I had as a child was called that. It has the rollers, a little nail of sorts to tie the warp to as well as spacer on either end that most likely accommodates size 14 seed beads. Let me start by tearing this loom apart.
Problem number one: (and this applies to any bead loom that has rollers for advancing your weaving and giving you the option of making a piece that is much longer than the loom). Just like with any kind of weaving, tension, and especially even tension, is so important to create a piece that is flat and perfect. When you roll your piece onto rollers, you are changing the tension of the warp threads as you add layer upon layer of bead woven material onto the rollers. So in fact, these looms are really only good for spanning the length of the loom and don’t function well at all when you do a longer piece.
Problem number two:Tying on to a little warp peg or nail with groups of warp threads makes for kind of a mess. It’s really hard to get all those threads under the same tension. Plus it’s hard to keep the threads in the guide above the roller while tying on.
Problem number three: The tensioning device is really whimpy. It’s basically a wing nut at the end of the rollers. It can’t keep high tension because the rollers will just slip. And when you don’t have good tension there is a good chance that while weaving you will not correctly attach all the beads to the warp.
Problem number four: For the most part, these looms do not have the option of a shedding device. The only ones that do are the “heddle looms” which are pretty hard to come by. I’ve never actually seen one. And using a shedding device to weave beads is a great option especially when weaving wider pieces.
Problem number five: Most bead looms are horizontal. It’s much easier to weave beads on a vertical loom.
There are many looms that are based on this theme or slight variations of this theme. For the most part though, the absence of a good tensioning system is pretty standard. I am not sure why that is true but it seems to happen in the fiber weaving world as well. I cannot tell you how many looms that should have a good tensioning system, do not. For example, I had a huge vertical tapestry floor loom at one point. It had a worm gear (a piece of metal wraps around the end of the beam where there is a metal ring.) But it slipped. I finally realized that if I stuck a piece of sandpaper folded in half between the worm gear and the metal it sat on, I could keep tension on that loom. What amazed me is that this big, expensive loom didn’t have a different system to hold tension.
That being said, why is a Mirrix better?
Postive number one: Mirrix is ALL about tension. Not just tension, even tension as well since you don’t tie the warp threads at the end. The warp is put on continuously which is the best way to get totally even tension.
Positive number two: The Mirrix shedding device allows you to actually weave beads. It’s a great option. It also allows you to easily combine fiber and beads.
Postitve number five: The Mirrix Loom stands up on its cute little feet so it’s right in front of your face. You don’t have to bend over your work. It’s more like painting on a canvas.
Postitive number six: The Mirrix comes with and/or has available a bunch of different warp coils for warp sett. Which means you can weave beads as tiny as size fifteen to the biggest bead you can buy.
Positive number six: All sorts of accessories are availble for the Mirrix which allow you to put on short warps, create pieces with no warp ends to weave back in, weave really long pieces, etc .