If you’ve ever tried to weave tapestry on a loom not intended for weaving tapestry, you understand how frustrating it is to not have the kind of tension necessary to weave a tapestry that will not look like something you imagine might have emerged from weaving day at summer camp. Tapestry is a demanding medium full of must have requirements. If you give her what she wants, she is as lovely as can be. But if you deny her the simple requirement of a dedicated and worthy tapestry loom, she can be quite the adversary. Forget even selvedges unless you are some kind of magician. Forget evenly spaced warps. And if you have an inferior shedding mechanism or none at all, forget your sanity. It’s bound to march off to the wistful world or potholder looms while slashing the warps on your inadequate loom with a sharp and deadly scissor.
Good tapestry looms are necessary for weaving tapestry. Period. Four harness jack looms don’t work. Rigid heddle looms don’t work. Flimsy portable wooden tapestry looms don’t work. Little home-made frames work for about two rows and then you might as well just stop because it goes downhill after that and you won’t be hanging that thing on anyone’s wall.
So what are the exacting requirement of a good or even great portable tapestry loom? (The same requirements apply mostly to a floor loom but since you won’t be hauling a floor loom around the house or to your next workshop which is necessary to be called a portable loom, we will leave them off this list. Okay, here comes the list.) We are talking portable looms here.
Maybe you’ve played around with a wooden frame weaving loom or a little wire bead loom and you’re ready to take the next step in your weaving journey. Perhaps you’ve just discovered weaving and you’re looking to start out weaving with the best loom you can buy. It could be that you can’t decide if you’re into fiber art or bead art and you want a loom that can do it all. Whatever the reason, here are our top ten reasons why you might want to choose a Mirrix for your weaving needs.
From tapestry weaving to bead weaving to wire weaving and free-form fiber weaving, Mirrix Looms are incredibly versatile.
2.) Size Options
Mirrix Looms come in eight sizes, from the 5″ wide Mini Mirrix to the 38″ wide Zeus Loom, allowing you to choose a loom size that best fits your needs. Need help deciding? Get a free loom recommendation here.
Even the largest Mirrix can fit in a relatively small space and can be easily moved, and the smaller looms are perfect for taking on vacation, to workshops and really anywhere where you want to do some weaving!
A Mirrix Loom is built to last a lifetime. Made out of high-quality materials, your Mirrix may need to be polished once in a while, but it won’t need to be replaced for many, many years (we’ve had looms in use for 19 years that are still going strong).
When it comes to bead or fiber weaving, providing good tension is the number one job of a loom. With its continuous warping system and the ability to increase or decrease your tension anytime, Mirrix Looms do this job incredibly well.
From the No Warp-Ends Kit that allows you to weave beads without having to deal with finishing all your warp threads to the amazing Spencer Power Treadle, we have accessories for all your weaving needs (even the ones you didn’t know you had).
7.) The Shedding Device
The Mirrix shedding device allows you to weave faster and easier with both beads and fiber. You can learn more about it here.
8.) The Mirrix Community
When you purchase a Mirrix, you join an amazing community of weavers. From online classes and webinars to weave-alongs and free projects, being a part of the Mirrix community will keep you inspired for years to come.
9.) Made in America
Mirrix Looms are made in America at our Sturgeon Bay, WI manufacturing facility.
10.) Customer Service
When you buy a Mirrix, we’ll be there for you long after you make your purchase. Need advice on a project? Want some inspiration? Not sure how something works? We’re always happy to help!
Do you have anything you’d add? Tell us in the comments!
I’m not sure if being a tapestry weaver makes you interested in fiber or if being interested in fiber makes you interested in tapestry; but my tapestry weaving mother instilled in me a love for and snobbery about fibers from an early age.
When I was a kid, we would go shopping and she would have to touch everything. “That’s acrylic!” she would say, and I’d have to put the sweater back on the rack.
I remember her telling me where silk comes from. It was definitely the fiber with the best story. Wool from sheep? Old news. Silk from the larvae of insects going through metamorphosis? That’s pretty neat.
Today a customer asked what the difference between Mulberry Silk (which is what our hand-painted silk is) and other types of silk is. I thought this was a great question and wanted to share the answer with all of you.
Mulberry Silk is widely considered the best silk you can buy and is the most common silk available commercially. It is made by the domesticated Bombyx Mori Moth. The silkworms are raised completely indoors and are fed only Mulberry Leaves. Bombyx mori is actually Latin for “silkworm of the Mulberry Tree”. The process to make this silk was developed in China.
There are several other types of silk from both wild and domesticated silkworms including Tasar Silk, Eri Silk and Muga Silk.
Not all silk is made by insects, though. An example is Sea Silk. This silk is made with the long filaments (called byssus) that come from a gland of large saltwater clams (specifically the Pinna nobilis). This silk is very fine, light and warm. Some spiders also produce silk, but this is not used for textiles.
Differences in silk also come from how the silk is processed. The cocoon that produces Mulberry Silk is one long fiber that is very shiny and strong. When you put that cocoon in hot water, you remove some of the sericin (which basically keeps the fibers glued together) and release the strands of silk.
There are two main ways of processing the silk after this. One is simply to reel it (or unwrap it). This reeled silk can then be plied or twisted, but it does not need to be twisted to hold together because the fiber are so long.
Silk can also be spun. In that case, the silk is combed out and cut into shorter length before being spun.
Isn’t fiber cool?
Sometimes you just want to weave slowly, picking warp threads with a needle as you go. For very thin pieces, this works just fine. It can be very meditative.
But most of the time, when weaving tapestry, picking each warp as you go can get tedious and very time consuming, especially with wider pieces. For this reason, even the very first Mirrix Loom was designed with a shedding device. The word “shedding device” is derived from the word “shed” which means the space between lowered and raised warps. It raises the threads for you so rather than have to weave under and over warp threads with a needle, you can simply engage the shedding device and raise every other thread all at once. The shedding device is attached to the warp threads with heddles, which wrap around the individual warp threads and are hooked onto one of the two bars on the shedding device.
So you want to weave tapestry and you’re trying to decide on a loom. Congratulations! You’re going to love the journey you are about to embark on. Tapestry, as we say, is like painting with fiber and provides endless creative opportunities.
As with most art forms, your success weaving depends partly on the tools and materials you use.
Here we will discuss the differences between a simple frame loom and a Mirrix for weaving tapestry.
Whether is it tapestry weaving, Inkle weaving, Saori weaving or even adding fiber to your bead pieces, Mirrix Looms are the perfect looms for weaving fiber.
We believe that the best craft supplies make the best pieces, and the happiest artists. Once you invest in a Mirrix, it will give you a lifetime of weaving enjoyment.
We have a brand new ebook available to download that goes over all the basics of weaving fiber on a Mirrix Loom!
- The basics of set-up & warping
- What types of fiber pieces you can make on a Mirrix
- All about weaving tapestry & some basic tapestry techniques
- About Mirrix’s great weaving accessories
- And more!
Click below to download the free ebook !
I love buying vintage crochet cotton at the thrift shop. It speaks to me of the hands that it has passed through, and the pleasure it has brought to other thread lovers.
I like to use it in my weaving, crochet and tatting, as it gives me a sense of connection to needlewomen of the past.
BUT… storing balls of crochet cotton can be a problem. Those hollow cores take up a LOT of space!
So, for many years, I have been upcycling old credit cards or pieces of cardstock to make bobbins like this:
Because, storing yarn or thread on a small flat bobbin is so much more efficient than leaving it on the cardboard tubes:
Last night, I had insomnia, and was thinking about winding off a pile of vintage crochet cotton, when I had a flash of inspiration!!
Instead of making chubby little embroidery style bobbins, if I made ‘dog bone’ shape bobbins, I could use my bobbin winder to speed up the process of winding them. AND, they’d take up less room, as it would be a longer, leaner shape.
I jumped out of bed, and started cutting the new shape bobbins:
And, winding up balls of cotton:
In a twinkling of an eye, I have compactly wound bobbins that won’t tangle with other bobbins, as the thread is taken through a slot and secured. Another bonus! No snaggles!
This shape of bobbin is great for warping the Mirrix loom, as it’s so compact.
Yep – it’s a win!
And, they can be easily stored in unusual containers, like this:
I made a video to show how quickly and easily this works:
I haven’t tried using these bobbins for tapestry weaving, but I will, and will let you know how I like them.
I love making tapestry bobbins from wood- especially upcycled wood, so I will be showing you how I do that in an upcoming post.
Happy weaving, and here’s to creative ways of storing yarn and thread stash! 😀
At the beginning of May, a ‘new-to-me’ loom , a large Mirrix tapestry loom, arrived in my studio. (Courtesy of my son and daughter in law who picked her up in the city 4 hours away, that used to be her home- the previous owner didn’t want to ship her).
I immediately sat down and made a whole lot of heddles for her, as she didn’t come with them.
And then, I warped her up- ooooooooohhhhhhhhhh, I love how easily she warps! Bliss!
As I was warping her up and starting to weave, I thought…. ‘Hmmmm…. there must be a group for Mirrix weavers on Ravelry’
(Ravelry= the facebook of the yarn world)
I looked, and sure enough! There is a Mirrix group…. which I joined, pronto.
And the first thing I saw was that Claudia (the inventor of the magical Mirrix looms) and Elena, her talented daughter, had posted that they were accepting applications for their annual ‘Social Networking for a Mirrix Loom’ campaign. Link
Well… I had decided within hours of starting to weave on my ‘Joni’ loom that I wanted to fill my studio with Mirrix looms.
So, I sent off an application….
Um… I wanted to fill the studio with ~Smaller~ Mirrix looms!
MEANWHILE>>>> The Joni is one big Mamma, and even though I am tall, my arms are short, so I found that I was having shoulder pain.
My clever daughter in law subtly sneaked the information out of me that I was longing for the treadle kit for the Mirrix loom. Then, she orchestrated the family buying me the treadle kit for Mother’s Day! What a sweetheart!
To say that I was thrilled was an understatement!
THEN! on the 18th of May, was just tickled pink to hear from Elena that they had picked me as one of their team for the 4 months of the ‘Social Networking’ campaign. Whee! What a couple of thrilling days!
And, now… I am starting to keep my part of the bargain, which is to chronicle my experiences with the Mirrix loom(s).
So, since I began my Mirrix adventures with making string heddles, I am going to show you my quick and easy way of making the string heddles for the Mirrix looms (or inkle or frame looms, too).
And, here is the video: