You can find an updated version of this post here: https://www.mirrixlooms.com/blogs/mirrix-blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-bead-weaving-using-the-shedding-device-updated
Heddles attach your shedding device (which raises and lowers warp threads) to your warp. We sell pre-made Texsolv heddles, but you can also make your own. You can learn more about heddles and the Mirrix shedding device here.
The concept of putting on heddles is fairly straightforward, but there are a lot of chances to make mistakes when putting them on. It is important to pay attention to what you are doing and keep checking to make sure you aren’t making mistakes, as one mistake can make it so your shedding device does not work properly.
Heddles go on every-other warp thread on the top of your shedding device and then the shedding device is flipped over and heddles are put on the warp threads that do not have heddles (again, going on every other heddle.)
Below we’ve gone over some common mistakes people make when putting on heddles.
This is probably the most common mistake made by beginners, but one that is easy to prevent. Make sure you do not skip a warp thread that needs a heddle and then go back and put a heddle on out of order. This will cause your heddles to cross.
Heddle on Two Warp Threads
This is an easy one to do if you aren’t paying close attention. It is a good idea to go back and check periodically when you are putting heddles on to make sure you haven’t accidentally put one heddle around two warp threads. If you do, it will get your heddle placement out of order. For example, if you were supposed to put heddles on warps 1, 3, 5, etc. and you put them on 1, 3 and 4, you will put the next one on warp 6, the even warps, which will be the same as what the other side is doing. It’s very easy to make this mistake, so look carefully at each heddle/warp thread before you move on to the next.
Heddle on the Wrong Warp Thread
Sometimes when putting on heddles, you accidentally skip one and continue putting your heddles on incorrect warp threads. This will cause you to have two heddles (top and bottom) on the same warp thread (just like putting one heddle on two warp threads will do.) You may also simply miss putting a heddle on a warp thread, but continue putting your heddles on correctly. Either way, you will need to go back and fix the mistake.
We see this a lot when people are having trouble getting their shedding device to work. You’ve made sure your heddles are put on correctly, but why are you having trouble getting a good shed? The answer is usually that the heddles are tangled or crossing one another. They need to be facing all in the same direction and not rubbing up against each other. When they are tangled, they can prevent you from getting a good shed.
This is how heddles should look when they are organized. See how all the tails are on the side of the bar facing you? That is where they should be!
The lesson here is simple: Be careful. Don’t try to watch television or have a conversation when you’re putting on your heddles. Concentrate, and check often that you’re doing everything right. If you do that, you won’t have any problems and won’t have to go back and troubleshoot!
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.
A weave-along is a FREE online course. Claudia Chase and Elena Zuyok of Mirrix Looms will lead participants through a project woven on a loom. Every Sunday participants will get an email going over what participants worked on week before and giving instructions and tips for the week ahead. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and engage with other members of the weave-along via email and social media sites including the Mirrix Facebook Page, Mirrix Facebook Group and Mirrix Ravelry Page. This is a community event!
Weave-Along 14, which will begin in September, is for people who have woven at least some tapestry before. (If you need a little experience, check out Rebecca Mezoff’s online tapestry class before the weave-along begins.)
In this weave-along, participants will learn a technique of weaving with two shedding devices. This technique allows you to make a more textured tapestry. You’ll be able to weave, let’s say, 14 dents per inch and, at the same time, 7 dent per inch.
The piece will not have a pattern, but will be a tapestry done with silk and Waverly wool. You will be able to buy supplies from our website, but can also use your own!
As part of the weave-along, we will give a discount on
purchasing a second shedding device.
More information to come next week! Let us know if you’re interested in the comments, by email or via social media!
The Mirrix Shedding Device can seem a puzzling contraption to those unfamiliar with weaving. Today, I hope to clear up what a shedding device is and why you might want one.
Called: Shedding Device
Not Called: Shredder, Shredding Device, Shedder
Shedding devices are devices used to lift warps in order to pass fiber or beads through them more easily. The space between the warps is called the SHED, which is where the term SHEDding device comes from.
On a Mirrix shedding device, when you change the position of the handle, the shedding device shifts position and opposite sets of warps are raised, securing your beads or weft between the warp threads. The wooden clips hold your shedding device on the loom, but also serve to hold your warping bar in place when warping your loom (and before you install the shedding device).
When weaving tapestry, if you do not use the shedding device, you must weave each piece of fiber under and over the warp threads.
By using the shedding device, you can lift half of your warp threads all at the same time, so instead of weaving over and under, you can just place your weft (the thread you are using) between the raised and lowered warp threads.
The shedding device is attached to the warp threads with heddles. These heddles pull up on the correct warp threads when the shedding device is engaged.
When weaving beads with the shedding device, you string up a row of beads and then place them between the raised and lowered warp threads. Then you change the position of the shedding device, securing those beads between the warp threads.
On a Mirrix Loom, using the shedding device is recommended for tapestry weaving as it makes the process much faster and easier. For combining beads and fiber, a shedding device is also very useful. For beads, both the traditional bead weaving method of placing your beads behind your warp threads and then sewing through and the method using the shedding device and placing the beads between raised and lowered warp threads work. The method using the shedding device takes a little more time to set up, but once you get the hang of it it’s a fast and fun way to weave beads!
Do you still have questions about the Mirrix shedding device? Ask in the comments!
Three of our looms, the 8″ Lani Loom, 12″ Little Guy Loom and 16″ Big Sister will now come two ways. The first way: WITH the shedding device and the second way: WITHOUT the shedding device. That’s that. The price will be reflected in whether or not you get the shedding device and, if you do decide not to, a shedding device can always be purchased separately.
Please note that previously we were offering these looms without a shedding device but WITH a bottom spring kit at the same price. This option is no longer available, but the bottom spring kits can be purchased seperately.
For many, putting heddles on the loom (heddles connect your warp to your shedding device) is the most challenging part of warping simply because it’s easy to make a mistake. Even after warping and heddling many, many looms, I still make my fair share of mistakes.
The key is: patience. You can’t put your heddles on in a rush or while watching TV or while having a conversation with your friends. Trust me, I’ve tried, and usually when I do that I make a mistake. In the long run, it’s a lot easier if you take your time and make sure every heddle is on the right warp thread because one crossed heddle or one missed heddle means you’re going to have a lot of not-so-fun troubleshooting ahead of you.
Although you still should follow our warping instructions, I made a few small diagrams that might be helpful to see how the heddles should be put on your loom and what mistakes you might make.