Welcome to Mirrix’s 21st weave-along! We can’t wait to get started!
Remember, to participate in this weave-along we require two things.
First, we are asking that everyone participating purchases the kit or loom and kit package. If you have not ordered yet you can still order today or tomorrow. We will try to get any new kit orders out ASAP.
To get $10 off the Eccentric Wefts Tapestry Eyeglass Case Kit for this weave-along use code eccentricwefts10 at checkout.
To get $20 off the Eccentric Wefts Tapestry Eyeglass Case Kit Loom Package, use code eccentricweftsloom20 at checkout.
Second, by signing up and/or using the kit and/or loom package discount, you have agreed to post on one of our social media pages (including the Mirrix Facebook Page, Mirrix Facebook Group and Mirrix Ravelry Page) or to email us at least once during the weave-along with updates on your progress, questions or simply a picture of your work.
Here is our weave-along schedule:
This week: Set-Up and Warping
April 10th- 16th: Weaving
April 17th – 23rd: Finishing
Let’s get started!
The concept behind this tapestry is really very simple although at first glance it looks quite complicated. But if you follow the rules and make sure all your wefts stay in the correct shed, you will find yourself “weft dancing” like a pro. You’ll also find, especially if you are new to tapestry, how amazing the results can be. In fact, I still find them quite surprising. I will be weaving along, following the rules, and suddenly I will see something in my piece that is totally unexpected and exhilarating. You will be able to take these important tapestry techniques and apply them to all your tapestries.
This tapestry is not about making geometric shapes. It is not about rendering a realistic image. Rather it’s about a kind of organic and flowing way of playing with your wefts so that, in my mind at least, you seem to mimic the rules of nature.
Okay, so what is this “weft dancing” concept anyway? At its root, you just insert (in this case) five wefts in opposing directions to one another. Your one serious job is to make sure you do not get your wefts out of synch. Once you’ve mastered that, you are on your way to creating an exciting and inspiring design. You will in fact NOT be following my design since the whole point is just to follow my “rules,” rules that are basic and fundamental to tapestry.
Because we will be using quite a few wefts at once, you will have a tendency not to encounter some of the foibles of tapestry weaving: you won’t pull in at the selvedges and most likely all your warps will stay equally spaced. So not only is “weft dancing” a blast, it also really lends itself to the beginning weaver.
This is the technique I use to lead off most of my tapestry workshops when I teach the fundamentals of tapestry. Why? Because after a few minutes of figuring out what the heck is going on, students almost immediately see results they did not expect. Suddenly they are weaving these cool patterns and shapes and although it might be slightly confusing at first (and it can be confusing for quite a while as you come to understand the nature of what you are doing) still the results speak of anything but frustration. It’s like leaping into the deep end and discovering that in fact you are not going to drown because you have suddenly discovered how to swim.
The other technique that will be taught in this weave along is the concept of not weaving on the fell line. This is called “eccentric wefts,” a term I, of course, love. The fell line is the straight line you see when you are weaving all your wefts at the same time. It’s a straight line. Now I’ve never been a fan of that kind of tapestry weaving. I like to go off the grid. You are going to learn how to weave some of your wefts for a bit and then others, covering lumps and mountain like shapes with neighboring wefts so that your wefts will curve. Because we are aiming for a rectangular piece, you will be filling in valleys so that when you are finished you will have four straight edges. But before that point, anything goes (as long as you follow the rules of tapestry!).
I promise this could be the most fun you’ve ever had with tapestry and it will change how you look at it, making it into a more fluid, surprising and exciting art form that you’ve ever imagined. I know when I discovered this it changed everything in tapestry for me and I’ve never gone back!
Techniques and skills you will learn:
Inserting, deleting and replacing wefts while keeping everything in the correct shed
Changing the position of neighboring wefts
Weaving in opposite directions
Internal pick and pick
Lining a tapestry meant for use
Sewing the eyeglass together
Warp: the threads that are on your loom.
Weft: the threads you weave into the warp.
Shed: the space between lowered and raised warp threads.
Header: the band of warp thread you weave at the beginning of your piece that will not show.
Footer: the final band of warp thread you weave to finish your piece.
Selvedge: the sides of your tapestry.
What you will need:
A Mirrix Loom size 12 inches wide or larger with a fourteen dent warp coil (you will be using every other dent, for seven warp ends per inch).
Warp (we’ve used the Navajo wool warp sold here).
Warping Your Loom:
Place the 14 dent spring in the black plastic tray at the top of your loom. Adjust the height of your loom so that there about two inches of threaded rod showing. Because this is a rather short piece, you don’t need to extend the length of your loom very much.
Note: To check which coil is the 14 dent coil, put the coil on the loom and count how many dents (spaces) are in an inch. The 14 dent coil will have 14 dents in one inch.
You will be putting 49 warp threads on your loom. This will measure approximately seven inches wide. Your piece will be seven and a half inches high. This size should accommodate most eyeglass sizes but if you feel you want a slightly larger case than just add the required number of warp threads (remembering that seven warp threads across equals one inch when using the fourteen dent warp coil warped every other dent). Have no fear of running out of yarn if you do make a larger kit. We have included at least fifty percent more yarn than you will need to make this piece so there is lots of room to go bigger.
In order to make a tapestry seven inches wide at seven ends per inch, put 49 warp threads using every other dent. If you desire a wider piece, just add more warp threads.
Add heddles and you are almost ready to weave!
Cut a length of warp thread approximately three times the width of your loom. Engage the shedding device, a weave one pass. Wrap the warp thread around the side bar of the loom. Change the shed and weave the thread back across the loom. Tie the two ends tightly around the opposite side bar. This will give you a base on which to begin your weaving.
Adjust the warp threads so that are evenly spaced. The warp threads should cover the same width going through the spring as at the bottom. In my case, seven inches.
Next you are going to weave a header. Since the selvedge warp thread is raised, if I just started weaving that thread would lie to the front of the tapestry. We want all our tails on the back. So in order to start this thread make a pigtail. To do so, place the end of the thread behind warp one and two and then stick it between those two warps to the back of the weaving.
Arch your warp thread across the length of the weaving, and then take your finger and press down in a couple of places. This is called bubbling and helps prevent pulling in at the selvedges when weaving from selvedge to selvedge. When you change the shed, the thread will go from being a straight to having a bunch of scallops. And if you don’t put extra thread in the shed, your piece will start to pull in at the selvedges.
Weave six rows or so and then end your header by sticking the end of the thread to the back of the weaving.
You are now ready to begin weaving next week!