Weave-Along 7: Continuing to Weave

Today we will weave the rest of the piece.  Next week we finish it.
Our first technique will be wavey lines.  They are simple to do and have a fun effect.  All you do is weave two passes of one color and then two passes of another color.  Keep repeating this pattern and you will get the effect of wavey lines.  Why?  Because, in tapestry, in order to weave an entire line, you need to weave two lines.  The first pass covers the odd warps, let’s say; the second pass covers the even warps.  And although you essentially have a line, it’s a staggered line.  So when you create sets of lines with different colors it creates a wavey pattern.  Hence:  wavey lines.
After weaving the two passes of pink, I add a blue weft.
The blue weft is woven twice.
Then the pink weft is woven tw ice.
Here you can fully see the effect.  It’s easy, fast and pretty.
Below, I have marked the warps to separate ten warps on the left, twenty warps in the middle and ten warps on the right. We are going to make a triangle!
The three wefts will be woven in opposite directions so that their joins are in the right shed.  Weave the right weft to the left, the middle weft to the right and the left weft to the left.
Weave each weft until they have passed around both their end warps twice.  The triangle is going to be stepped up two lines at a time.
Now it’s time to increase the outer wefts and decrease the middle weft.
Because the wefts were woven in opposite directions, you can encroach on the middle wefts territory and have your weft be in the correct shed.
Keep weaving this pattern making sure each weft passes around its side warps twice before increasing or decreasing.
Done with the triangle.  Kill one of the side wefts and take the other weft all the way across the piece.  Add more weft if you need to.
I then added some railroad yarn to the single blue weft.
I strung some beads on just the silk.  Wove the beads.  And then continued with the railroad yarn and silk.
Wove with just silk weft for a while and then added a new color of silk weft.
Added another color of silk weft.
Added some railroad yarn to the silk weft.
Below, I’ve marked the warps at ten, twenty and ten again in order to weave slit tapestry blocks.
The wefts were inserted going in the same direction.  They will not be crossing into one another’s territory so it was not necessary to weave them in opposite directions.
Just build up the individual wefts forming slits in between.
I buried all the weft tails. . .
. . . and started a new weft.
Added some beads and continued with the silk weft.
Just weaving single wefts and adding new ones when I ran out.
Added some railroad yarn.
Added beads . . .
Just follow the pictures.
Wavey lines again (or whatever you want to do).
Ended at 12 inches.
Wove a header.
Next week:  FINISHING your sweet little silk and bead purse!

Weave-Along Week Three: Weft Interlock

Time for some weft interlock.
Using some scrap yarn, divide your warps into roughly four evenly spaced sections.
Insert your four wefts going in the same direction, from left to right.  Then head back to the right starting with the weft on the right.  When you weave the second weft, catch it around the first weft and weave.  Do this with the following two wefts.  Essentially, the wefts, where they meet, loop around one another.  The line between the wefts will be in between warps making this very different from warp interlock, where you wrap your weft around the same warp.  With weft interlock, which is frequently used in Navajo technique, there is less building up of higher weft areas where they interlock making it a better technique for building up straight lines.  The best technique is obviously slit technique where there is no build up, but then you have those pesky slits to sew up.
Next weave back from right to left.  Your wefts are already caught around one another so you are just weaving back.
The next step is to weave from left to right, catching the wefts with one another until you get to the right side of the weaving.
Continue this process with the next wefts.   Weave until you’ve built up about half an inch.
End your wefts except for the far right one.  Weave that back to the left slightly and replace it with two silk wefts.

Add two silk wefts and weave for a bit.  Then replace with single silk weft.

Add a row of beads.

Weave a the silk weft.

For a bit!

Add another color of single silk weft.  Weave for another bit and then add another row of beads.

Continue with some single silk weft.

Add some railroad yarn to the silk weft.

Weave a bunch of it.

Add some single silk weft.  The double it up.

Weave some doubled silk weft.

Change it up a bit by replacing one silk weft with a new color.  Play!

Play with some of these techniques (maybe try those fun squares again) until you’ve woven another four inches!

Silk Purse Weave-Along Week 2 (Weave-Along 7)

If you have a bottom spring kit, as I do here, start weaving your header.  If you don’t have a bottom spring kit, cut a thread three times the width of your loom.  Engage the shedding device, weave it to the threaded bar, wrap it around the threaded bar, change the she and weave it back to the other threaded rod.  Tie the two ends tightly around the threaded bar.  This will serve as a base for starting your weaving.  Make sure the two threads make a straight line.  Arrange the warps so that they are evening spaced at ten ends per inch.   Then begin weaving a header.
Two weave a header:  cut a manageable length of warp thread and weave it back and forth for about a third of an inch.  This header will be folded over to the back of your weaving when you finish your piece.  Be mindful to not pull too tightly at the sides of your weaving but also to not leave loops at the edges.   Beat it down with a tapestry beater or, if you don’t own one  a kitchen fork.
End your header about six warps in and begin a weft of just silk where the header ends.  Remember, you always want your ends hanging to the back of the piece.  You will begin new threads when old ones end, if possible.  The back will not show.  It will be lined in silk.  So it can be a complete mess.
Thread a beading needle with beading thread.  Tie a knot so that it forms a loop.  Loop the silk weft into the loop and load your beads onto the needle.  They will easily slide onto the silk weft.  Place the strung beads into the shed (the space between the raised and lowered warps) and push them down into the V.  Pull tightly on the silk weft so that there is no loop at the end and it is wrapped snugly against the opposite warp thread.  The beads are hard so they will prevent your from pulling in at the edges.  In fact, if you warp was at all uneven, the beads will even everything out nicely.
Warp the silk around the warp thread to keep that last bead in place.  Change the shed and weave the silk weft to the other side.  Weave until your run out of weft and then begin a new color where the original weft ended.  Weave that color for two passes.  You are now ready to add a second and third color.
You will be inserting these two additional wefts in opposite directions.  The second weft (the salmon colored weft in my example) will head toward the existing turquoise weft.  The sage weft will be headed away from the turqoise weft.  By doing this, your wefts can cross into each other’s territory and still be in the correct shed.  This is a kind of difficult concept to understand before you’ve played with it.  So now that we’ve got our silk wefts in place, let’s play with them.
Weave the sage weft into the salmon wefts territory but don’t go past the tail of the salmon weft.  Weave the salmon weft back to meet the sage weft, wrapping around a common warp.  Weave the turqoise weft back to the right.  In this case, I’ve wrapped it around the next door warp but could have wrapped it around a common warp.
Keep playing with this method for a while.  I will show you pictures of each row I weave.  As I mentioned, you can either wrap around common warps or not.  For this technique it makes little difference although one does have a natural tendency to wrap around common warps.
You have just learned how to:
Weave several wefts in opposite directions.
Create shading.
Create shapes (note the salmon shape you’ve created).
To end the three wefts, first weave the right ones toward each other and end them by sticking their ends to the back of the weaving.  Then weave the left weft to the left warp.  Weave it until it is used up and then replace it with an entirely new color.  I used the color we began with.  Weave a few passes and then thread with beads and weave a row of beads.
Weave the silk weft until it runs out.  Add another silk weft and weave a couple of rows.
Add some railroad yarn to the silk and weave the two at the same time.  This will add both texture and some great color to your piece.
End the silk/railroad combination weft and replace with two different colors of silk also to be woven at the same time.
Next we are going to weave sections of diagonal shapes.  End the double silk weft by wrapping around the outside warp so it hangs to the back of the piece.
My piece is 40 warps so I will make each shape 10 warps wide.  The best way to guide yourself through this is to stick markers in the warp so you can see where you will begin and end a shape.  You are going to be weaving these four single silk wefts in the same direction.
Start like this:  The four wefts begin and end where the markers are.
Weave the right weft to the left first.  Weave the next three wefts in order to the left.

Next, weave the left weft to the right but weave over one more warp.  Do the same for the other three wefts.  The goal is to create a diagnol shapes by weaving over one warp when you go to the left and reducing by one warp when you weave to the right.

Follow the pictures.  Your left shape is gong to get bigger and bigger whereas your right shape is going to shrink.

At some point you can remove the guide threads as they won’t be necessary.

To end the left weft wrap around the end warp so it is hanging to the back.

Weave back all the other wefts.

Stick the ends of the other wefts to the back of the piece.


Insert a new silk weft.

Weave it for a few passes.

Add a second weft to the existing weft that is longer.

Weave until you run out of the first silk.  Replace with a new silk weft to add to the existing weft.

Weave until you run out of one of the silk threads and replace with railroad yarn.

End the railroad yarn and replace with silk weft.

Weave a couple of rows of silk weft.

You can continue to play with adding and replacing wefts.  I will be teaching additional techniques but they can be anywhere on this piece.  What we have just woven will actually be the flap of your piece.  Or you can wait until next week and weave along with me.

First attempt at iphone/smartphone case

A while back I started the silk purse for the latest weave-along.  I was so proud of myself for starting it a while few weeks before I needed to.  I took a bunch of photos but took no notes.  When I finally got around the compiling all the photos into something that resembles instructions, it was clear I had both screwed a bunch of things up and missed a bunch of essential photographs.  Elena said:  do it again!But I decided at very least to finish the piece on the loom in adequate as it was.  Who wants to cut off and toss ten inches or so of weaving.  So I grit my teeth and wove away.  And this is what I just finished.  The strap is a flat braid.  I’ve used mostly hand painted silk with a little bit of railroad yarn.  I lined it with silk.  It will work.  It’s just not what I envisioned at all for the weave along.  I will spend the rest of today an tomorrow working on the new one.

And below, of course, is where this purse comes from!

Weave-Along 7, Day One: Silk and Bead Purse

Welcome to Mirrix’s 7th Weave-Along! 

The first step to weaving this fiber and bead purse is to decide how big you want your purse to be. 

My piece will be just big enough to fit an iPhone and a few credit cards. If you are making this piece for another phone or for something else, you may want to make your piece a different size. 

For example, if you plan to use this for a different sized phone, measure the width of the phone and add another inch to the width of the piece.

Then, measure the height of the phone, double that, add an inch and then add two and a half inches for the flap or whatever you decide you want your flap to be.

If your phone is 3 inches wide and 5 inches tall your piece would be 4 inches wide and 13.5 inches tall including the flap. 

When you warp there should be about 10 warps in one inch. (So if your piece is 4 inches wide, you’d warp 40 warps across.)

My piece is warped 40 warps wide using a ten-dent spring. If you are using a twelve dent spring, you will warp the same amount of warps across but when you have finished warping you will loosen your tension slightly, spread your spring out where your piece is (until there are ten spaces in an inch instead of twelve) and then put tension back on the loom. This will make the twelve-dent coil act like a ten-dent coil. 

My piece will be thirteen inches long (including the flap). To accommodate this, the loom is set at about 14 inches high (measure from the bottom of one beam to the top of the other).

Now that you’ve figured out how wide and long your piece will be, it’s time to begin warping!

Have you never warped before? Don’t worry, it’s easy!

For this project we will warp for tapestry with the shedding device. We have detailed warping  instructions here: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/images/warpinginstructions/tapestry.pdf. 

If you have any questions about how wide or long your piece should be or how to do any of these steps, just ask us! Email claudia@mirrixlooms.com or elena@mirrixlooms.com.

Crafty Class Has Launched

It’s here.  In the middle of April Elena and I traveled to Denver for five days.  Claudia spent three days behind a camera talking and moving her hands around a loom to demonstrate the weaving of a bunch of projects on the Mirrix Loom (primarily . . . although she (I. . . why am I talking in the third person) since there was a brief demonstration on a hand made loom and a rigid heddle loom).  Getting ready for it was hard.  Had to have everything in Denver in advance for the filming.  Couldn’t just run back to my studio to pick up some forgotten loom or material.  I was very stressed.  The filming itself was fun although hard.  I am afraid to watch the whole thing all the way through.  That is your job.

So What do you get for your $29.99?  A lot.  You get to watch six hours of instruction.  If you can stand watching me for six hours, this is a good thing.  I show you how to make nine bracelets!  Two tapestry/bead cuff bracelets; two No Warps to Weave in Bracelets; Five affinity bracelets.  The course is designed to flow so that you keep piling on skills.  The goal is for you to move into your own territory . . . take the skills and concepts you’ve learned and create your own masterpieces.

I think it’s a great class for both beginners and those who haven’t tried these projects yet and are ready for something new.

So how does this format work? It’s a great format combining the best of a real in-person workshop with the best of video.  First of all, it’s longer than any video you’d ever find.  Secondly, you can access it on the Craftsy site any time you want.  There is a forum for asking your questions and I will get on a million times a day to check for these questions and answer them.  There is also a place for you to post your projects.  The whole thing is very interactive and community like and you can keep interacting for as long as I am still hanging out on this planet.

And even better: there is a special Craftsy/Mirrix store where you can buy some really amazing kits created just for the show at really, really great prices.  Those same kits will not be in our regular store.  The kits are cheaper when you buy all three and even cheaper when bought with a loom.

So sign up for a lifetime (literally) adventure in the world of Mirrix: craftsy

Book Giveaway!

Chris Franchetti Michaels, (you may know her as beadwork.about.com‘s fabulous guide) recently released a new jewelry making book “Teach Yourself VISUALLY More Jewelry Making”. Now, I know this blog is dedicated to weaving on a loom, but I’m sure many of you are multi-talented when it comes to your crafting skills and I wanted to offer one reader a FREE copy of Chris’ book! 

Not that I need new crafts to take up, but this book has some seriously tempting projects. From learning wire jewelry making techniques to bending and shaping metals to making your own rivets to using chain, to working with leather (that tempts me the most… do you think my husband would mind if I turned our bedroom into storage for craft supplies?) and clay and resin and… lots more. Twelve chapters are filled with easy-to-follow instructions to teach techniques as well as projects. Amazon will give you a little sneak peak (click “Click to Look Inside”). This book is the follow-up to Chris’ first book, which I haven’t read but I’m sure is fantastic, “Teach Yourself VISUALLY Jewelry Making and Beading“.
How to Enter:
Comment on this post anytime before midnight (PDT) on May 7th, 2012, Like us (Mirrix Looms) on Facebook and be sure to check out beadwork.about.com!
Giveaway Rules:
Entries must be received by midnight on May 7th, 2012
Spam will not be entered.
You must live in the continental United States to win
You must be at least 18 years old to enter

Oh, and you should probably check out Chris’s Affinity Bracelets she made on her Mirrix

Weave-Along 6: Crystal and Two-Cut Bead Affinity Bracelet

Necessary materials: 
Warp:  Hand painted silk is nice but anything strong and beautiful will do
Beads:  We are using lovely two cut size 11/0 iris beads (www.caravanbeads.net)
Crystals:  any size 4mm round crystals will do
Warp your loom with the hand painted silk warp (or something beautiful).  You will essentially have six warps, but we suggest you double the end warps so that you have more silk to create the rope or braid at the ends.  You will also be leaving a space twice as wide as the other spaces between the two middle warps.  This is to accommodate the crystal, which is twice as wide as the beads.
String up six of the two cut beads and put behind and between the warp threads.  Sew through the front of the warp making sure to capture all the beads
 For row two, you will string up two beads, one crystal, two beads.
I have skipped a row, but what I am doing here is what you need to do with your first crystal.  Pick up two beads.  Bring thread in front of piece after warp three.  Sew through crystal.  Bring thread behind warp before warp four.  String two beads.  Then sew back through the two beads, the crystal and the remaining two beads.
 Weave two rows of just beads.  Repeat two rows with one crystal.
  Weave until you’ve woven fifteen crystals  Remove from loom.
Trim loops on end of warp.
Tie overhand knots in the pairs of warps.  For fun, we slipped on two glazed clay beads.  You must have something fun around your house you can slip on before creating the rope.
We made just one rope by dividing the warps in half, twisting in the direction of twist already in the warp and then back twisting on itself to create one rope on each end.  Recently, we’ve figured out that C-clamps come in handy for this operation.  Just clamp the body of your piece to a table to keep it stable while making the ropes.
For the cl asp, make a small rope with the warp material and then wrap it twice around the over-lapped warp ends and pulling it tightly.  Tie a knot.
Your bracelet is now ready to wear or to gift!


It was a year ago next month that we posted our first project to the then brand-new website Craftsy. We watched as they grew from a simple place to post projects to a great resource for patterns, instructional videos and inspiration. We connected with them fairly early on and eventually planned an online instructional course that we’ve been shooting this week!

Claudia, filming!
The course will be sold on Craftsy and is more detailed than anything we’ve done before. It covers aspects of tapestry, bead weaving and combining the two and will presented on the fantastic Craftsy platform, allowing students to ask questions and share their work online!
We had a lot of fun shooting. The people at Craftsy are so incredibly nice and fun and funny too.

Claudia’s hair and makeup was done by the fabulous Danica. Check out her website: http://danicajardien.com/

Expect this course to be available in the next month or so. Thanks to everyone at Craftsy and remember to check out their website at www.craftsy.com.



You can view Claudia’s Craftsy Class Here

Weave-Along 6: Week Two, The Second Bracelet

This second Affinity bracelet is made entirely of seed beads (in this case we’ve used 2 cut 11/0 seed beads, but you can use just regular 11/0 seed beads.  The warp is  hand painted so we only used one “color” which turns out to be a lot of colors.

The supplies you need other than the warp and the beads include:  C-Lon (or some kind of) beading thread, a bead weaving needle, a tapestry needle and a scissors.

We used eight warps.  You can use as many or as few as you’d like, but we like this number of warps for this particular weave.

Tie the end of threaded C-Lon thread to side bar of loom using a slip knot.

Weave one row of beads.  Remove tied end from side bar and make half of square knot and pull so that the warp threads are arranged so that there is no space between the threads and the beads.

Sew in the tail end of the bead thread, tying a knot around a warp thread and sewing some more.  

Trim weft tail.

Start the gold thread.  We have used six strands.

On your return pass, catch the end of the thread so that it travels up the side of the weaving and is buried.  Use this same method to conceal the bead weft, so that it too travels up the side of your weaving.

Once you’ve woven six or so rows, trim the gold weft tail.

 Weave another row of beads, burying the gold thread along the side of the piece.

Wasn’t that fast!  We are almost done weaving.  See how tight and GOLD this piece looks.

Close up of that magic gold thread.

We discovered a way to keep the piece from  running all round when trying to finish the ends.  Just use a nice big C-clamp and clamp the body of your piece to a table edge.  Works great.  Do not break asn beads though.  You will notice that the piece we are finishing is not the one that was on the loom.  The finished piece uses size 11/0 seed beads.

Tie over hand knots in  half the threads.  Use your tapestry needle to push the knot toward the base of the piece.

We have braided our ends instead of making roes.

Make a peyote tube for closing.  Instructions for this are in Affinity bracelet One tutorial.

Now it’s time for you to explore your bead stash and make up new design to share with us!