New Online Tapestry Course

Our tapestry course at Craftsy was a huge success (and if you haven’t seen it yet, now is the time to since it’s selling from $14.95.  Six hours of instruction for $14.95 is really inexpensive.  Check it out here:  http://www.craftsy.com/class/Bead-and-Tapestry-Cuffs/78.

 

If you want to read about someone else’s experience with this class, please check out this fabulous blog:

http://www.mirrixlooms.com/socialmarketforacraftsycourse.html.

But right now we are working on another online class, this one for craftartedu.org.  This one is straight tapestry.  It’s done in a different format.  Lots of photos and voice overs and possible some videos thrown in here and there.  It’s designed such that it can be endless updated and changed, which I love.  But right now I have to survive the voice overs, which are taken a huge amount of time.  We plan on having this launched on Nov. 15th.  The kits that go with the class are available now on our website:  ooms.com/store/craftartedutapestrykit.html.  Here is a picture of the kit wool/mohair yarn, a 100 gram tube of Navajo wool warp, twill binding tape and velcro for finishing.  

Here is a picture of the sampler you will weave for this class:  

You will learn a bunch of techniques in this class including: slit tapestry; weft interlock; warp interlock; weaving in opposite directions; geometrical shapes; hatching; shading; making organic shapes; dotting.  You will be armed with all the techniques you need to go on to the next stage:  designing and creating a tapestry.

Bead Loom, Kit & Class Package

What’s the perfect gift to give any craft-addict? A Mirrix Loom, Kit and Class package gives any  bead lover everything they need to get started weaving including a class that will lead students through everything they need to weave a beautiful beaded bracelet with the kit provided.

loom, class, kit package

The package comes with a 5″ Mini Mirrix Loom, a stunning Desert Beaded Braclet Kit and and the online class.

The class will be offered in January (6th to the 27th), February (3rd to the 24th) and March (3rd to the 24th) of 2013 and will function much-like one of our famous weave-alongs, but private. We will also archive these classes in case someone can’t participate at these times. Once a class date range is chosen, paricipants will get an email once a week for four weeks walking them step-by-step through the set-up, warping and weaving processes. Instructors will be available to answer questions via email throughout the class.

This kit includes:
-One 5″ Mini Mirrix Loom 
-One Desert Braclet Kit
-One private online class with Mirrix’s Claudia Chase and Elena Zuyok (a sign-up link will be sent with your package)

You can learn more and purchase the package here.

They say time flies

When you’re having fun. And the Social market for a Mirrix has been just that…if you scrap the fear! It feels like yesterday when I was one of the chosen ones! I have to admit, at first I thought I’d chewed off more than I could handle. But it’s been great!! It’s helped me enjoy weaving even more…as if that were possible!

It forced me to weave regularly! Yes, that is a good thing :) I sometimes become lax when I’ve been working on something for a while. Having to blog regularly meant I had to have done something!

Lastly, I’ve (somewhat) conquered my fear of doing videos for YouTube. I really do hope the ones I did we’re useful and helpful.

The one thing that I refuse to let beat me is beadweaving with the shedding device. Yes, that old chestnut. I WILL try until I get it. Lets hope that’s sooner rather than later though! I become more frustrated each time I fail. I don’t want to end up a mess lying in my own puddle of tears! Ok that is quite an exaggeration.

The good thing about the Mirrix is its’ multi-purposeness. In future I hope I can do some (basic) tapestry weaving. For now I have plenty of projects I need to get on with. As a last show, I took the first half of the belt off the loom. The warps on the end are almost done sorting. The others will be needed to join this to the other section. I’m still debating whether to edge it or not. I hope to wear it on a week from the coming Saturday! Must. Weave. Fast! :)

It has been a worthwhile and fulfilling journey. Hopefully I can continue in the same vein. Thank you for reading, commenting and watching. And for providing motivation when I lost it sometimes. It doesn’t end here – you cn check on me at http://brendakbeading.blogspot.com

Happy reading, beading, weaving and ciao all!

Finally something for me!

Ok, that’s not entirely true! The first project I wove on the loom was to be a bracelet for me. But it’s still languishing in a drawer unfinished! I’m not one to wear much jewellery – necklaces and bracelets. Day to day I only wear stud earrings (yes, very plain!) plus my wedding and engagement rings. If we are going somewhere and I (try to) dress up, I’ll wear the drop earrings I made.

So, I figured I would Mae something that’s a little more functional. I’ve got a little black dress (with a hint of white) that has belt loops. But I don’t have the belt to go with it. The only one I have us cream, that wont work!. As mentioned before, I was in a bead shop for something else when I spotted the buckle. I hadn’t thought about doing a belt, but did when I saw it.

All that remained was to come up with a design. Being just two colours, it was going to be easy enough. I first wanted to design for a scroll like pattern. I played (very briefly) in Photoshop but figured it’s not how I want to do it. So I just went into BeadTool. I played with circles then diamonds before I settled on the final pattern.

I’d measured the length I need, and calculated five repeats of the design would give the required length. So far i have completed one repeat. And there is a (minor) MISTAKE! I could easily correct it but I’m not going to.

I’m making use of advancing the beadwork. The loom doesn’t give me enough length to work the belt in one go, and I’ve yet to make extenders for it. So the beadwork will be moved to the back as I weave (bottom up). I’ll work half the length then cut off and work the other half. Joining isn’t daunting anymore so will be just fine.

Then it went wrong! I don’t know why but one of the sheds just refused to set itself. I had to fidget with it, and even then it wasn’t correct. So I cut it all off and went back to the usual method. I will try again, but with something narrower and not so important!

On another note, I went to a local bead shop hoping to buy more DB1765 for the fringe on the purse, but they don’t stock it. I had to order it online (and it arrived on Friday). But, I did get a cone of black Nymo! That should keep me going for a while yet :)

In the meantime, today I’ll be resting and visiting our friends. It’s a miserable day but I’m feeling chirpy! Enjoy yours :)

The Colorblock Bracelet

One of the great things about weaving (and crafts in general) is that you have the ability to make things exactly how you want them. No searching in stores or compromising on quality.
I’ve jumped on the whole “colorblock” bandwagon this summer and I keep thinking how a colorblock bracelet would be the perfect pop to add to a bland outfit. I chose bright salmon, purply blue and black Delicas and some turquoise stones to make this simple but fun bracelet. The only trick was that my stones only had one hole and each stone equaled just about two rows of the Delicas so I had to somehow weave two rows of Delicas for each one row with a stone in it. I did this like this:
three salmon, one turquoise, three salmon
three salmon
then back through the previous row of three salmon, one turquoise, three salmon
three salmon
and then a new row of three salmon, one turquoise, three salmon
Using this method you build up one side at a time and then sew back through your previous row, build up the other side, and then begin a new row. This means that you are not always sewing through in the same direction like you would be if you were just weaving rows, but if the holes in your beads are big enough it’s an easy way to get a nice big bead in the middle of your piece. I should also note that I used an 18 dent spring and left two dents in the middle of the piece without warps on them.
1/3 of the way up the piece I will switch to my black Delicas and 2/3 of the way up the piece I will switch to the purply blue. A fun weekend project perfect for anyone in your life who needs a little color!

 

Look Ma, No Warp Ends!

After previewing this lesson, I was actually a little nervous about getting started. Just when I was beginning to feel confident with the ease of bead weaving in the previous lessons, I would now have to actually do something drastically different. Those innocent-looking paper clips and tex-solv cord seemed more than just a little intimidating. Well, fear not. I’m here to tell you that like everything else so far in this course, the learning curve is swift and before long I was on my way.
 
 
 
I will admit to making good use of the thirty second replay button that Craftsyoffers. After several replays, I finally realized that TWO lengths of tex-solv were necessary. Duh! (This was also a good time to actually READ the course material provided.) Getting all the new cords adjusted and evened  out was a bit of a challenge but once the paper clips were in place, the warping was surprisingly painless. I’ve since watched my fellow blogger Noreen’s excellent video tutorial where she uses S-hooks in lieu of the paper clips. (http://tottietalkscrafts.com/2012/06/22/a-slightly-different-approach-to-the-no-warp-ends-on-the-mirrix/). I may try that next as my biggest difficulty was figuring out which direction to actually place the paper clips. Again, not a huge problem but using the S-hooks will eliminate that confusion. As Claudia promised, the actual weaving part is lightening fast and in no time flat, I had completed another beautiful fully beaded cuff.


Now who doesn’t love the final result? Really…no warp ends to deal with! This is just genius, don’t you think? The strength that using the wire warps is a bonus as it gives a very professional look. I also love having the option of choosing how to finish the bracelet with either the peyote clasp or by using an unusual or vintage button as I did. How cool!
 
Off to the hardware store to purchase S-hooks. I may never use real warps again.
 
xxx, Karen 

 

 

Magnatamas, Tilas & Silk, Oh My… Plus A Quick Tip

I’m really cooking now. Finished the latest Affinity Bracelet in under thirty minutes and that includes warping! They’re just so easy. Using the no. 8 beads again makes bead weaving a breeze. There’s plenty of room to squeeze a needle and thread through without nasty mishaps like catching warps. The tilas are fun and aptly named- they resemble little rows of tiles. My favorites though are the magnatamas-they look like little pudgy off-centered donuts. Love ‘em. Although I’ve seen them at the bead shop before, I now intend to purchase lots more and play around with design possibilities. Anybody know why they’re named such? Just curious.
What I’m really excited about though is the ability perhaps to teach you all something…me teaching you, for a change. Many weavers might already be familiar with “fringe twisters” but in case there are some newbies who are not, read on.
3 Clip Fringe Twister
These magical little thingies are a life saver when you need to make lots of fringe. I first spotted them at the many sheep and wool festivals that I attend. Again, I guess they’re more of a fiber thing. Smart knitters use them regularly to assist in the tedious chore of finishing the fringe at the end of scarves. The most popular ones I believe are made by Leclerc although there are other brands. (http://www.leclerclooms.com/twister.htm). They come in various sizes and run about $25 depending on the size. Trust me, they’re worth every nickel. The one shown here is designed to make a three-strand fringe however if you only employ only two clips, as I do here, you can use it for the two-strand fringe necessary for this bracelet.

The how-to? Simply insert each strand of fringe into its own alligator clip. Turn the handle in the same direction as the twist in the thread/yarn. Count you turns until you’ve reached the desired crimp. Next you must place all strands into the same clip and turn in the handle in the opposite direction. Again, you should count the revolutions to maintain consistency between all fringes. When the twist in the resulting rope is to your liking release the strands while holding the ends together and knot. That’s it. (It takes longer to explain than actually do).



Perfect fringe, every time!



What’s wonderful about this tool is that you get tight consistent fringe every time. Although I was initially unsure if it would work on such a tiny scale as these bracelets, I was thrilled to learn that it works perfectly. No more twisting delicate fibers between your fingers or accidentally letting go. It’s really almost hands free and takes a fraction of the time as traditional twisting by hand.
(Note to Claudia & Elena: you should stock these babies. Very useful).
Off to the beach again. When you live on Long Island, you go to the beach. And haven’t you heard? Summer’s almost over. (sniffle sniffle)
xxx, Karen  

Bead Weaving: A Love-Hate Relationship

Craftsy Class 5: Affinity Bracelet Variations
 


The second Affinity Bracelet variation uses 4mm crystals & hex-cut beads. Besides being entirely bead woven, it employs the technique of substituting a larger bead for two smaller ones in specific rows. As Claudia explains, one can always replace any two smaller beads with a larger one if the larger one is exactly twice as long and wide as the two smaller ones. Pretty cool concept if you think about it and it opens up a world of creative interpretation using a variety of beads. Of course now I can imagine obsessively trying to measure all kinds of itsy bitsy roll-y beads. (Thanks, Claudia). Then again, I suppose I can just eyeball them and hope for the best which is really much more my usual m.o. anyway. 

I admit to starting this project with a little trepidation. With all due respect to the fabulous bead weavers reading this (you know who you are. I won’t mention my fellow blogger, Brenda’s name here), I’m just not a big fan…not for myself, at least. Lots of blinding work weaving with microscopic beads and where’s the fiber anyway? By know you must know that I always need my beautiful fibers. For this reason, I predict that I will be more of a tapestry girl. I can’t wait to begin the Tapestry Cuff but I really must complete the lessons in their proper order and that one, sadly, is last.


Several missteps thwarted my initial attempts. I kept splitting the bead thread and piercing (or missing entirely) the warps. Very frustrating. The ability to count to six posed a problem as well. (Hey it was after 10PM when I started…first mistake). The other thing I learned about bead weaving is that you need amazingly good light. In fact, more light than I have in my entire house- at least at that late hour. Note to self: must save these projects for daylight hours only or suffer the consequences. Still, I forged ahead…straight through David Letterman. As Dave said goodnight, so did I. With a mere 16 bleary-eyed rows completed, I called it quits. “G’night folks,” as Dave says. Yeah, I’ll say.



Stealing some time from my lunch break the following day (who needs to eat anyway? Not me lately…but that’s an entirely different blog post topic), I took my loom outside and was able to finally make some serious progress. I really love how the beads line up in this pattern and my choice of lime green silk warp matches my green 4mm beads to perfection. (Almost like I planned it but we know better). The four row pattern repeat, as we knitters would call it, is an easy one to remember and after a short while comes quite naturally.



I find that the near-instant results seen in these bracelets are incredibly gratifying. Within a very short period of time, you’ve completed another little work of art. Fabulous!

As I’m beginning to expect from Mirrix, this bracelet has turned out to be another winner. This really is becoming addicting.

xxx, Karen

Gold, Gold Everywhere!

Craftsy Class 4: Gold Thread & Hex Bead Bracelet
If I thought I loved the hand painted silk floss introduced in Class 3, that was before I discovered this gold plated “wonder thread” in Class 4. What IS this fabulous stuff? Claudia describes it as a silk base with real gold fused to it. Whatever it is, it weaves up fabulously and really does in fact look like the real thing. That’s the good news. The bad news: Don’t let this happen to you:
Gold Thread…Before



Gold Thread…After



Really, I should have known better. After all the various yarns I’ve wound, skeined, unwound, untangled, got-so-frustrated-and-thrown-away, over the course of so many years, you’d think I would have done a better job with this one. And it’s not that I wasn’t prepared. “It’s got a mind of its own,” Claudia warns. Yep, it sure does. (It’s like letting a tightly wound spring out of a small box). And it surely is one of the finest threads I’ve ever encountered- it’s nearly invisible. So now I’m warning YOU: take your time and be patient with this stuff because it is all so worth it. Once you do get it wound and threaded on the needle, it’s a breeze to weave with. In fact it practically weaves itself. And it is also very forgiving as it fills itself in almost magically. Just be sure to keep those six plies together. As far as the hex beads are concerned, after using the larger size 8s for the Affinity Bracelets, these smaller beads seem a bit more challenging but you’ll see that it’s nothing unmanageable. Of course, I had to add my own personal spin to the finished product by adding a little bit of purple/pink mulberry silk between the gold and the beads. I kind of like it, what do you think?  



The finished bracelet



Weaving at the beach…the best of all possible worlds!



So, Class 4…Just stay calm, keep at it and you’ll get a truly beautiful result. And be prepared for lots of requests from friends for this one. It’s a stunner!
Now onto Class 5. See you there.
xxx, Karen

Mirrix Goes to Montauk

As it happens, my Mirrix loom arrived the day prior to our little holiday in Montauk. (I know you’ve heard of Montauk Point. You know, at the very tip of Long Island, NY?)  Well, I couldn’t leave her home alone, now could I? Certainly not with all that fabulous fiber haunting me from afar. So, unbeknownst to the family, I sneakily stuffed her into yet another canvas bag and she made the two hour trip to the beach. Here she is on the deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean looking rather majestic, don’t you think?

Craftsy Class: Introduction & Looms

Claudia’s introduction, besides doing a great job of whetting one’s appetite, speaks for itself. Not much need for comment, I believe. The second “lesson” concerning various looms is significant particularly if you are not yet fortunate enough to own a Mirrix. (Notice I say yet. Don’t worry, you will). Prior to receiving the Mirrix, I fiddled with both a $10 craft-store seed bead loom as well as my Cricket, both with excellent results. They really do weave beautiful bracelets. However, tensioning problems as well as awkward warping renders them less than perfect. Learning to warp a Mirrix is a snap and the tensioning is a dream. I think the Volkswagen/ Mercedes analogy applies here; there’s simply no comparison. If you can, by all means, get a Mirrix!
  
Craftsy Class Lesson: The Silk and Bead Affinity Bracelet

I have a thing for silk… always have. It is by far my favorite fiber to work with, be it knitting, crochet, sewing or weaving. I love the tiny little crunch it makes when you fondle it which I confess I do. The vibrant colors that Claudia has created make all the difference in the final product, I can assure you. Not wanting to waste the precious silk, I practiced my first few Affinity Bracelets using lesser fibers- some pedestrian embroidery floss and even some commercially dyed silk floss. I can tell you that they can’t compare to the subtle color variations of Mirrix hand painted silk. (Pssst, Claudia, have you considered offering a silk dyeing workshop? Hint hint.)

I wish I could write about some problem or difficulty that I encountered while attempting to weave but honestly, it is so simple and enjoyable that I cannot find anything to critique. Ok, my selvedges are less than perfect and I probably could use a pair of magnifying glasses to thread that blasted bead needle but that’s about it. Come to think of it, I’m not crazy about that peyote stitch yet either but I’m sure that will improve with more experience. Heaven knows, I’ve got a long way to go.

When one chooses to forego an afternoon at the beach in order to stay back to weave, I think that’s really saying something. Here are my results. Whaddaya think? Not bad, eh.

xxx, Karen