Today I got an email with a question I get every day and still haven’t quite figured out how to answer: Are Mirrix Looms easy to warp?
The short answer is yes. The basic concept of warping is very simple: you wrap warp around the loom. There are different ways to warp with varying degrees of difficulty depending on if you are using the shedding device, want continuous warping, are using an add-on kit like the No Warp-Ends Kit or Extra Warping Bar Kit, are using our Easy Warp Method, etc.
The long answer is:
1.) Warping ease is in the mind of the beholder and depends on experience. Once anyone has some practice warping it becomes second nature. You just have to develop the motions and relax enough to get even tension. It is much easier to get even tension on a Mirrix because of the continuous warp method.2.) The ease of warping depends a lot on what you’re warping for. Want to warp for a bead piece at 18 EPI (meaning your warp threads are very close together) with the shedding device woven the width of a
2.) The ease of warping depends a lot on what you’re warping for. Want to warp for a bead piece at 18 EPI (meaning your warp threads are very close together) with the shedding device woven the width of a 38″ Loom? You’ll want practice before tackling that. We suggest, even if you have big dreams of large pieces, if you’ve never warped the Mirrix, try something little so you can figure out what mistakes there are to make and how to fix them. That way, when you move on to larger pieces you’ll be able to troubleshoot better if you do make a mistake.
3.) Warping takes patience. There is nothing difficult about the process, but you have to pay attention so you don’t make mistakes. The reason warping a wider piece is more difficult is simply because there are more places to make mistakes. And yes we all make mistakes. We still make mistakes when we are not paying full attention. And that’s the thing about life though. Mistakes are part of life, part of learning. That doesn’t take away from the fact that making them is such a bore!
4.) If you’re a beginner and want to weave but are afraid that warping will be too difficult, fear not: There are easy options to get you started. The easiest? Our new “Easy Warp” method. This method simply has you wrap your warp in a circle around the loom. You can even use a shedding device. The disadvantage is only that you won’t have continuous warping (which allows you to weave a piece longer than the length of your loom), so the pieces you weave using this method will be shorter.
Here are some different warping methods ranked by difficulty:
Warping using the “Easy Warp” Method
If you are at all tentative about warping, we suggest going on the bunny slope a couple of times. Just to be really clear, there is no warping method for any other loom on earth that is easier than warping with the “Easy Warp” Method. Once you’ve sailed down the bunny slope with nary a hitch, you will be ready to advance to more difficult methods of warping.
Warping for bead or tapestry weaving without the shedding device using the standard Mirrix warping method
Warping without the shedding device is the next easiest. You should definitely look at our instructional videos and ebooks first to get a sense of the pattern and to be forewarned of possible mistakes. For example, crossing your warp through the body of the loom instead of making sure the warp is always going around the loom is a mistake that frequently crops up for newbies. But it’s a mistake you will only make a few times once you’ve figured out the pattern. And this mistake is a show stopper because once you’ve crossed through the loom you cannot properly advance your weaving. So stay out of the proverbial loom gutter and keep your ball of warp rolling around the outside of the loom only. And keep that tension even. You will tighten it when you are done warping.
Warping with the No Warp-Ends Kit
The No Warp-Ends Kit is probably a tie with the method above in terms of difficulty. But that really depends on how your mind works! This method requires that you suspend two bars in front of the loom that are adorned with S-hooks. You tie onto the first s-hook and then loop around the one on the other bar, going back and forth until you are sufficiently warped. Tie off the final end and then apply tension.
Warping using the Extra Warping Bar Kit
Warping with the extra warping bar allows you to put on a much shorter warp (so as not to waste it) and it also eliminates the warp on the back of the loom so that if you are weaving wide pieces without the shedding device you will have ample room to get your hand in there to hold the beads in place while sewing through them. Again, depending on how your mind works, this method might actually be the easiest of all.
Warping for tapestry with the shedding device adds only one thing to the standard Mirrix warping method: once the loom is warped, you add the shedding device. This is actually very easy to do. But it’s also fairly easy to mess up. If you cross your heddles or miss putting a heddle on a warp thread, you will find yourself with an unworkable situation. You will have to hunt down and fix the recalcitrant heddle before you can move forward. And sometimes this does require removing a bunch of heddles to find the naughty one. Ah but once the bad heddle is put in his place, all will be well with the world and your weaving.
The most difficult warping situation for the Mirrix is for bead weaving using the shedding device. The time made up for with the ease of weaving certainly makes up for this. But there are a few things that can go wrong. First of all, you are putting on twice as many warp threads (two in each dent of the spring) and then all those threads are going to need to be paired with heddles. So it’s not so much difficulty as just paying close attention and making sure everything goes in its proper place. But the one thing you will notice is that getting even tension is so much easier on the Mirrix than any other loom we know of. And tension, even tension, is everything!
The lesson? You can warp! If you’re nervous about warping, start slow. Once you understand the concept, you’ll have no problem moving on to slightly more complex warping methods. Pretty soon, warping will be second nature!
Want to learn more about Mirrix Looms? Click here to download our free “Weaving is Easy” Ebook
Okay, so I know Mirrix has introduced a new and easy way to warp up by wrapping the warp around your entire loom as opposed to making a u-turn using a warping bar, but I wanted to share a similar method that I dreamt up. I’m sure some of you Mirrix users have thought of this, too. My thinking is that many people will eventually move to warping up the original Mirrix way, but that using one of the alternatives is less intimidating for people who are new weavers.
The gist of my method is tying your warp yarn to the bottom beam of the loom, wrapping your yarn around your entire loom as many times as desired across, and then to finish tie it to the bottom beam again. It’s essentially the same way I instruct you to do on a pipe loom, here. In this method, in lieu of being able to make one long weaving by advancing it (as with the original Mirrix warp up method), you plan on doing two small weavings – one weaving on the front warps and another on the back. So, when you’re done your first weaving you simply loosen your tension, remove your spring and move your heddles to the other side of the loom, as well as change the direction your loom feet are pointing. Voila – ready to start your second weaving!
Here’s where I tie my warp before I wrap the yarn around the loom over and over before tying off on the bottom beam again…
And watch this video to see me moving the heddles over the loom…
Sometimes you want to make a piece that’s much thinner than the width of the loom you’re weaving on. If you weave a thin piece in the center of your loom, you may have the problem of an unstable warping bar when you remove the bar from the clips after you warp. To prevent this, we recommend weaving either two thin pieces on either side of your loom, or weaving one thin piece on one side of your loom and then balancing the warping bar on the other side of the loom with a string or ribbon.
Here is an example of a piece woven on one side of the loom where the warping bar is being balanced by a piece of ribbon:
There is, however, an easier way if you are not using the shedding device (because you need the clips to hold the shedding device) and you do not need to advance your piece. (Note: You advance your piece when you are weaving a piece that is longer than the front of your loom. To do this, you bring your warping bar down to the bottom of the loom before weaving. Once you have woven up as far you can on the front of the loom, you loosen your tension and slowly begin to bring the warping bar up the back of the loom. This moves your piece from the front to the back of the loom, leaving you more room to weave on the front).
The warping bar is unbalanced here
This method is something that many of you already do. Simply keep your warping bar in the clips when you begin weaving. It balances the warping bar perfectly and you can warp your piece on one side or in the middle of your loom! Depending on how extended your loom is, you can even advance your weaving some using this method by simply moving the warping bar and the clips up the loom.
Easy! What other Mirrix tricks do you use? Let us know in the comments!
The question we get the most at Mirrix is some variation of: Is warping difficult?
The simple answer is: Warping is easy!
Warping a basic piece on a Mirrix is very simple. It just takes a little practice to become an expert. Doing a very wide piece and adding the shedding device and heddles is a little more complicated, but once you get the basics down you’ll be ready to take on any warping challenge! Following are 15 pictures that go over the basic warping procedure. For more detailed warping instructions take a look at one of our warping .pdfs here.
1.) Your Mirrix Loom comes already set up. Simply fold out the leg/s, set the loom to your desired height and make sure both sides are even.
2.) Take your wooden clips and flip them backwards, so the white screws are facing the front of the loom.
3.) Place your warping bar in the indentations between the clips on the back of your loom. Press the clips together slightly to hold the bar securely.
4.) Place a warp coil (also called a spring) in the top tray. This will help set the spacing for your piece. Some thin pieces don’t need a coil.
6.) Bring your warp thread down the back of the loom and under the bottom beam (note: you could also go in the opposite direction, but we’ll just show you one direction here).
8.) Bring your thread over the top of the top beam and down the back of the loom until you reach the warping bar.
11.) When you reach the bottom beam, bring your warp thread under the bottom beam from the front to the back.
14.) Bring your warp thread under the bottom of the loom front back to front and start heading up the front of the loom.
15.) Head back up the front of the loom and place your warp thread in the next space (or “dent”) over.
That’s it! Keep warping in this pattern. It really is as easy as wrapping your warp thread around your loom and changing direction when you hit the warping bar.
You must have someone who loves you very much out there, because you got a Mirrix Loom as a gift. Or maybe you you gifted one to yourself, that’s just as good! Whatever the reason, you may be wondering how to get started! Our website and this blog are both packed to the brim with information about how to warp, weave beads, weave tapestry and weave with fiber and beads together.
Here’s a quick cheat-sheet to get you to these resources quickly and easily:
The Bead Weaving beginner’s guide
The Tapestry beginner’s guide
Weaving Beads and Fiber Together:
Combining Beads and Fiber (without the shedding device) Tutorial
Combining Beads and Fiber (with the shedding device) Tutorial
There seem to be a lot of people out there who think weaving beads is difficult. The goal of this blog post is to show you that, really and truly, it isn’t.
At the bead show we just attended I demonstrated the basics of weaving beads to many people and they all seemed shocked at how easy it was. When I told people that bracelet I wore for most of the show took about an hour to make (from warping to finishing) it often came as a huge surprise.
It’s true, there are a lot of advanced bead weaving techniques that can be used on a Mirrix and a lot of stunning and complex projects that some of our customers do. BUT… there are also many, many easy projects that can be done too, and with gorgeous results. Weaving beads isn’t hard, we promise, and our goal at Mirrix Looms is to prove that to you with easy projects and lots of available instruction.
I know, I know, it seems scary. All those warp threads and springs and dents and warping bars… if you’ve never warped before it can be a little overwhelming. The truth is, though, it isn’t hard at all. Start with a thin piece and you’ll learn fast. Tie on to the warping bar, go over the top of the loom and into one space in the spring, around the front to the back and when you hit the warping bar again, go back in the direction you came from. Continue doing this until you’ve warped as wide as you want and then just tie off onto the warping bar. It really is easy and we have lots and instruction available including our great warping .pdfs!
We talk about all kinds of bead weaving methods: The no warp-ends kit, the shedding device, combining beads and fiber… But the fact is that weaving beads at the most basic level is as easy as stringing up your beads, placing them behind your warp threads and sewing back through the other way. So easy that the other day an eight year old did it after only being shown briefly how it’s done.
Finishing Warp Ends
Nobody wants to finish their warp ends which is why we’ve come up with lots of ways to avoid that.
Have questions? Feel free to email me anytime and I can answer any bead weaving (or tapestry) related questions you have!