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!
The Mirrix Looms Ambassador program hopes to unite Mirrix Looms (both the company and the products) with talented bead and tapestry weavers from around the world. By connecting these gifted artists, quality weaving equipment and the networks of both, the hope is to simultaneously increase awareness of each ambassador and of Mirrix products.
Each ambassador will have a unique role, but you can expect instructional blog posts, project ebooks, inspiration and more from these amazing artists.
A few years ago, Mirrix’s CEO Claudia Chase came up with a fun and easy way to combine beads and fiber on a Mirrix Loom. Using the shedding device, beading cord, 8/0 beads, silk and novelty yarn Claudia came up with the first Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet.
The project took off almost immediately and has been featured in Beadwork Magazine, Beads, Baubles & Jewels and in our class on Craftsy.
This is a guest post by Rebecca Mezoff
If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that I teach a lot of things about tapestry. There are times when I want to weave something insanely complicated. If I actually let this wish get the better of me, I might end up feeling like this.
When this happens, I go back to some old tried and true tricks. My favorite is regular hatching. If you’ve had a class from me, you’ve probably tried this technique. I used it in the spirals in many of my Emergence pieces and sometimes I just weave it on a sampler to calm down a little bit, dork dedicated practitioner that I am.
One of the biggest problems beginning tapestry weavers have is that, as they weave up, they begin to pull in the edges of their piece. In the language of tapestry, we’d call this drawing in your selvedges. This can cause the piece to look sloppy and uneven.
While even a seasoned tapestry weaver is susceptible to pulling-in, there are a few tricks that can help you to weave with straight selvedges!
Being cognizant of whether or not you are pulling in is a good way to prevent it. Measure often (every inch and a half or so) and reweave if you notice you are pulling in.
2.) Don’t weave selvedge to selvedge for large sections
If you lay a straight line of tapestry weft into the shed the line of weft remains straight until you change the shed. Once you change the shed the weft becomes scalloped in every place there is a warp. If you’ve just laid in a straight weft, in order to produce enough weft to allow for those scallops, extra weft will be pulled from the selvedges of your tapestry. There just isn’t enough weft to go around. When using discontinuous wefts (not weaving straight across), compensation for this almost happens naturally. You’ve got the extra weft just because every start and ending creates a little more yarn in the joining places.
Bubbling (see the picture to the left) is important for making sure you are using plenty of weft thread so you don’t pull in on the sides. Here’s how:
Make sure the weft is wrapped tightly enough around the side warp to not have a baggy loop but not so tightly that it draws in at all. Lay the weft into the warp in a curve and then take your finger and push down on that curve about every three or four inches so that the curve becomes a series of humps. Change the shed. Do this again. Change the shed. do this again. Then take your beater and beat it all together. If you’ve done this correctly there will be no loops of wefts at the selvedges, the selvedges will not pull in at all, and there will not be little extra blobs of weft sticking out anywhere in the weaving. What you will see is a smooth patch of flat weaving. The best way to test your skill at this is to weave simple stripes for a long distance. If you can accomplish that, you’ve mastered the art of straight selvedges. And seriously, accomplishing stripes that travel from selvedge to selvedge and don’t pull in is quite the feat!
This is where a good loom comes in! You need really good tension to weave tapestry. On a Mirrix Loom, you have the ability to get just that. If you are using a Mirrix Loom and your warp threads feel loose, simply tighten them up.
Don’t have a loom and ready to get started? We’ll give you a personalized Mirrix loom recommendation here!
Fringe is in!
We’ve been getting requests from customers for information on how to add fringe to tapestries. While there may be other ways to do it, “fringe” in tapestry is typically created with rya knotting, which is a Swedish technique used to make pile-rugs as well wall-hangings.
I’ve never experimented with rya before, but thought I’d give it a try. The very basic technique was easier than I thought it would be, and fun to do.
Tapestry weaver Kathe Todd-Hooker (visit her blog here) has done some really neat tapestry pieces with rya, like this one of her dog Chene (Chene is as cute in person as in the tapestry):
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?
Claudia was here in Seattle with me for the last couple of weeks and last week we had the pleasure of getting coffee with Mary Lane of The American Tapestry Alliance. After, we all stopped by the monthly tapestry group meeting of the Seattle Weavers’ Guild.
It got me thinking about the benefits of joining weaving or beading guilds and associations. In high school and college I had friends who went to a different group meeting every day of the week. I was never one of those people. It’s partly because I’m not very good at being a little bit involved in things; it’s either all or nothing with me. It’s also because I am painfully shy and walking into a new group is always a little scary.
That noted, I believe that every weaver can benefit from being a member of some kind of weaving group if not for the camaraderie (I don’t know what it is, but weavers have a tendency to be pretty awesome people), for the resources. The first Seattle Weavers’ Guild meeting I attended a few years ago impressed me immensely and their tapestry group is the best source of inspiration I can think of.
The American Tapestry Alliance is a national (international, actually) tapestry organization that does everything from putting on exhibitions to workshops and member retreats. It’s a fabulous organization and it isn’t just for professional weavers. In fact, new tapestry weavers can really benefit from membership. From their tapestry mentoring program to educational articles and a chance to rub shoulders with some tapestry celebrities, it’s a group I wholeheartedly encourage all level of tapestry weavers to join!
You can learn more about joining the American Tapestry Alliance here.
You can learn more about joining the Seattle Weavers’ Guild here. I just noticed the picture on that page is of the tapestry group. Recognize those looms?
I encourage you to look up your local weavers’ guild or bead society!
I’m Spencer Chase, brother of Mirrix CEO Claudia Chase and designer and engineer of the Spencer Power Treadle.
The Power Treadle is an electronic foot treadle that changes the shed so you don’t have to do it manually. It’s perfect for weaving tapestry (and makes the process so much faster)!
Check them out on our YouTube channel!
Now is a great time to get a treadle for your Mirrix Loom. Get 15% off the Spencer Treadle* through 2/25/15 with code spencersays15off at checkout.
*Expires 2/25/2015. Can only be used once. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Only valid on mirrixlooms.com.
When I was a little girl, my mom made me a tapestry that hung in my bedroom all through my childhood. It was a simple tapestry, just a heart on a white background, but it is one I always have and always will treasure because of what that heart represents.
This Valentine’s Day, give a heart tapestry to someone you love just like my mom did all those years ago with our Heart Tapestry Loom Starter Package.
In this package, you’ll get:
- A 12″, 16″ or 22″ Loom with shedding device
- A Mini Heart Tapestry Kit
- 100 Heddles
- A Heart-shaped Tape Measure
Happy Valentine’s Day!