Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A New Technique of Expanding a Beading Project by Joe Dennard, Mirrix Owner

One of my projects, a contemporary reproduction of an antique Native American tobacco bag, developed a problem.Well, I should confess, it was my problem and doing. In preparing the layout for this project, the borders were too small for the embellishment border treatment. Hence, the problem: I did not allow enough beadwork to support the border textile binding. My options to attach the binding were very limited, and not satisfactory.

The solution was to weave 5 more beads on both sides of the beaded bag. The piece was still on the Mirrix loom, thank goodness! Adding the additional warp threads was easy. Tie the additional warp thead on to the warping bar and start adding the warp threads in the usual manner. Since there was a side thread to attach to, only 5 warp threads were added. Actually, added 6, with the outside warp thread doubled for strength and protection. On the original bead weaving there are double threads on the outside warp right side.

The first photo shows the progress I made in weaving on one side of the tobacco bag along with the added warp threads in the background. The second image shows a close up of the beaded piece and the back warp threads. Image 3 is the start of weaving one line of 5 beads to the original piece. Image 4 shows the needle picking two beads from the original weaving, and going through them through the back side of the bead. See the needle behind the warp threads. The needle and beading thread are pulled through, and 5 beads are added on the
thread. Image 5 shows the new added beads with the needle passing through them on the front side of the beaded matrix. In image 6 you can see the needle passing through a couple additional beads for the next pass of  added beads. Pull the thread through with the estimated same tension as the original weaving.

In image 4, there are two beads which were the connection to the original weaving, in image 6 you can see there are four beads. It is not critical on an exact number but between 2-5 beads gave a good spread of tension on the added weaving. After 5 lines, there was a regular technique involved to solve this problem. Surprisingly, it has moved quite quickly with no glitches. But, I would rather have done this in one piece originally. All future projects will be examined even more closely before starting.

This add-on bead-weaving technique could also be used to add larger sized beads on the sides of various beaded projects. For example, adding two lines of size 8 beads to a bead woven of size 11 beads. This could be very attractive with cylinder beads. The size of the larger added beads will not line up with the small beads, but the attachment could be through the double warped outside threads on both sides. With my next bead project which lends itself to this technique, I will send images to Claudia for  distribution. The stability, strength and flexibility of the Mirrix loom enables a weaver to expand the decorative
presentation of finishing techniques.

I thought my experience might be of benefit to all Mirrix loom weavers. Hope you don’t have to use this technique, but if you should, it is not that difficult. If it were not on the Mirrix loom, I don’t know what my solution would have been, i.e. thanks Claudia! 

Looming Video

I was finally able to get a video going of me working on the loom. I am not totally comfortable doing this, but it will get better as time goes on. This was my biggest 'fear' taking on this challenge LOL I plan on my next video to be when I take the piece off from the loom and start to work in the threads. I am hoping to achieve that this coming week/weekend. I am really enjoying working on this!

I am not sure what I will do next on the loom. I was thinking about something simple like a bracelet. I was also thinking a beaded bag would be fun to do..not sure if amulet size or small purse, but plenty of time to consider my options. I have also been thinking for a very long time about a guitar strap. My oldest son is a manager of a music store and he handed me a strap a long time ago to attach a piece of beadwork to, so that may be a really fun option as well ;) I am waiting for measurements on my daughter's brow band for the bridle of her horse....decisions, decisions LOL

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Little Shortcut for that first pesky row of beads

This weekend I warped my 22 inch loom with a 10 inch wide piece for beading. I have really missed having a larger beading piece, missed the way the beads click into place, how I get to see the design take shape.

Usually the first row or two of these larger pieces are tough. The warp threads have not yet been perfectly spaced and there is nothing to push down onto. This time even the first row was easy. I have a little trick I use. The first row always needs to be sewn in, as if there was no shedding device. When I tie on the first weft thread, I leave a LONG tail, on this piece, since it is 10 inches wide, the tail is about 16 inches long. I thread the longer end on my regular beading needle and start placing my first 20-40 beads, but at the same time, I put another, shorter beading needle on the other end, and follow the beads with the tail of the thread. Now the beads stay where they are supposed to be while I weave in more beads. I do about 20-40 beads at a time until I get across the whole piece. This holds the beads better immediately, while making less ends to weave in. I no longer have to thread up an additional thread just to sew in the first row. I am not sure this is that new, but I think I unvented it, and it makes my life easier, so I thought I would share.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Plugging Away

Good morning all you Mirrix lovers!

I have been working like crazy on the split loom piece. Because I have made one before, I have not run into any snags, which is terrific! I love being able to occasionally tighten my warp threads, it is so easy with a twist on each side to just give it some better tension. SOO easy! I have had many many questions asked of me about the loom on Facebook. One lady asked me if looming is easier or harder than bead weaving. I have to answer that is about the same, the techniques are just different. I think because of the warp threads, people are intimidated, understandably! Warping the loom is super easy! I believe to have a full and well rounded repertoire in beading, all beaders should have a loom and particularly, a Mirrix!

On to the fun stuff! I took lots of photos yesterday, and will today too, of my progress. I am having so much fun I did not want to go to bed last night!

I hope you are enjoying watching the progress as much as I am having fun doing this ;)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

WIP and a Free Loom Pattern

Happy Sunday everyone! We had SNOW here in Maine (at least in MY area on the Western side near the White Mts) yesterday! How wrong is that?! LOL
I did a whole day of looming on my most fantabulous Mirrix yesterday! It went smoothly until I posted a photo of it then saw a few errors..being human can be interesting LOL I, inadvertently, decided my butterfly would look nicer a bit different then the colored graph, so after many friends on Facebook commented, I decided I would just keep it as it is instead of the grueling process of ripping out a WHOLE days worth of work. There is an old saying/tale/myth ( I believe it is Native American) that there should be a mistake in every piece. I have heard there is a beader who puts one red bead in every piece she does for this very saying. If anyone knows of a link to this Native American way, please leave it in a comment, I would love to see it and reference it properly.
So without further ado here is the WIP pic:

I also should tell you, since I forgot, that I started a webpage for everything Mirrix on my website. If you would like to see everything on one page, please go here: I think there may even be a free loom pattern for a 1.5" wide bracelet on there ;) It may look like this:

Have a great day and I shall talk to you all soon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Split Loom Work In Progress

Hello everyone. My name is Christina Neit, from Good Quill Hunting, and I was the beady Winner of the 'Social Market for a Mirrix'. I would like to take this moment to thank Claudia and her daughter, Elena, for choosing me for this project! I am very excited to share with you all things 'Mirrix' over the next 3 months!

I made a video the other night as I warped my new Mirrix Loom, but alas, I have been struck with a technical difficulty (Vista versus camcorder driver) and will be posting it this coming weekend.

I started weaving beads last night on the loom and am very excited to see this piece progress. I wove on it late into the night then realized it was 2AM! The 1st few rows were the hardest as I am making a split loom piece (no shedder) and it is rounded at the bottom. The photos below are the progress I made last night and the graph of the piece I am doing. I hope you like it, it is very summery.

I will keep photos coming frequently, so stay tuned to the progress. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A New Way To Warp? (For bead weaving.)

On Sunday we visited Caravan Beads and while Claudia taught, Barry (the lovely owner of Caravan) and I sat down and tried to figure out an easier way to warp. (All his idea.) We expanded a bit on a fairly new method that was developed at our last workshop and although this has not been sufficiently tested I thought I'd share our ideas with you blog-readers out there and perhaps I could get some input.

This new warping method has two parts. Those of you who are already pros at putting heddles on might not need the second part (the comb). It was developed with beginners in mind and just helps to separate the warp threads and allows you to see what you're doing much more clearly. (Note: This blog post is meant to be understood by those who have warped the loom before. Once tested more thoroughly, we will post more detailed instructions.

Here we go:

The first step is to make a small, cardboard comb from anything you have lying around. Cut slits in it (as shown) on both sides. You should have as many slits on one side as warp threads you plan to have. On the other side, cut the same amount plus one extra. We will assume that you will be working on the left side of your loom, and putting your heddles on right to left. In this case, the extra notch should be on the front right. (see picture.) If you were warping in the other direction, the extra notch would be on the front left.

Tie onto the warping bar like you would when you are warping the loom normally. 

Loop the warp over the loom and through one dent in the coil. Then put the warp in the first RIGHT BACK slit of the cardboard comb. 

Bring your thread around the bottom of the loom and back to the warping bar. Instead of doing a U-turn at this point, simply WRAP YOUR WARP THREAD AROUND THE BAR and CONTINUE BACK TO THE TOP. (This is the new, easier way to warp and can be done without the comb.)

When you bring your warp thread back to the top, put it through the same dent in the spring as your last warp. (Note: This is only done when bead weaving with the shedding device.)

Bring this warp thread down and into the front notch of the comb. Make sure you put it in the notch that is on the exact opposite side of the one your last warp thread was put in. Leave the extra notch empty. 

Bring your warp thread under the loom, around the warping bar and back up to the spring as you did before. This time, bring your warp thread to the next dent over. 

Continue to do this. (This is the sequence: Up over the loom, into one dent of the spring, into a back notch of the comb, under the loom, around the warping bar, over the top, back into the same dent as the last warp thread, into a front notch of the comb (make sure this is done sequentially), under the loom, around the warping bar, into another dent of the spring... etc. etc. etc.....) This should create a scenario where you have two warp threads per dent in the top spring of your loom and each of those is separated in the comb, front and back. 

Two warps in each dent: 

Tie off on the warping bar when finished. Remove clips. 

Move warping bar down, and then move comb down to just above where shedding device will be. 

Place shedding device on loom. Unscrew bar. Take one heddle at a time and loop it around the FRONT warp threads, one at a time, right to left. Because of the comb, they will be well separated and easier to see. 

Next, flip the warping bar around so the bottom small bar is on the top. 

Move the front right warp over from the current notch it is in to the "extra notch"This will leave room for you to grab the warp thread behind and make it easier to see. It will also insure that you bring the back warp thread to the RIGHT of the one in front (If you were doing this in the opposite direction, to the LEFT.) At this point you may want to loosen your tension slightly to make it easier to grab the back warp threads. 

Loop your heddle around the first back warp thread and onto the bar. Easy to see, isn't it?

Now, move the front warp thread that is second to the right over one notch to the right. This opens up a space for you to see the next thread you will be looping your heddle around. 

Continue to do this in sequential order, remembering to move each front warp thread over to the right before you grab the next back warp thread. It isn't hard to remember to do this since the comb sets everything up very clearly. 

Remove the comb.

And you're done! Ta da!

*We recommend any of the C-Lon threads of cords for warping your loom depending on the size of bead you use. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

We're Ready!

Yesterday Claudia and I went up to Caravan Beads in Portland, Maine  to visit with Barry and his family and employees and so Claudia could teach his employees on the Mirrix Loom. We also met Christina Neit (one of the participants in Social Market for a Mirrix) there and gave her her loom! We can't wait for her to start blogging! This blog will now be handed over to our social marketers although I'll probably still poke my head in and write sometimes. Check back!!!


Thursday, April 8, 2010


This is very exciting! Christina Neit & Sherri Woodard Coffey were chosen yesterday as the two main participants in our campaign, "Social Market for a Mirrix"! We also chose four (I know, I know, we said two... but it was so hard!) runners-up who get a discount and, if they decide to purchase, will also do a bit of blogging for us. 

Congratulations to everyone! We were very impressed with both the quality and quantity of applications!

Now we need to spend a little time sorting out contracts and sending looms and making sure everyone is on the same page. Keep checking back, though, because soon this blog will be about Christina and Sherri. We hope you're as excited as we are!

In other news... Claudia has been working hard making fantastic tapestry kits. They will include all you need to begin tapestry weaving and the yarn is GORGEOUS! I'll be happy when the first batch is done and the studio is no longer filled the the squeal of the yarn winder, but I think it will be worth it. 

Right now I am in the middle of a big huge giant site redesign. We have a new logo, a new look for the site and even new navigation. Hopefully this will make the site uber-easy to navigate! We're really trying to get things polished up! I'm hoping to get the new site launched by the end of April, but we'll see. Keep checking back! 


Friday, April 2, 2010

So much going on!

You should see my list of Mirrix to-dos. It contains everything from "work on new website" to "buy new boxes for kits". We're doing an overhaul here at Mirrix and everything is going to get bigger and better! Our newest undertaking is creating kits. Lots and lots of kits. Bead kits and tapestry kits that will be made for three different levels of weavers. We'll have "easy" kits for beginners, "intermediate" kits for those with a bit more experience and "expert" kits that will be a bit more complicated. We will color code the kits and are buying cute boxes to make the whole package as fun to look at as it is to use! 

Would you buy a Mirrix Kit? 

At this very minute, Claudia Chase (Mirrix President) is weaving an inkle band on [one of] her Mirrix Loom[s]! This is a whole new way to use a Mirrix!

As always, remember to check out our Facebook page for up-to-the-minute information on what's happening at Mirrix Looms!