Friday, May 14, 2010

Elena just added me as a guest blogger here, so I have done a little cutting and pasting of what's been going on with my Mirrix adventures. Unfortunately, in the middle of my adventures, I have had to put things on "pause" so that I could do the finish work on three pieces, sew up the covers for five pieces, and prepare them for shipping. Today I am making a trip to the photographer, so I will post pictures of those later.

If you would like to see the other parts of my blog unrelated to Mirrix, you can go here. The excerpted posts below are in chronological order. In one of the posts is a list of possible weavings that I would like to try on the Mirrix. I also tell you about my frustrations with warping, but be sure to go to the end to find the addendum to warping. The next warping experience should be totally different. In fact, I am thinking of cutting off the current piece and warping again with an actual plan (gasp!), except that...see next paragraph.

Currently I am working on doing a warp-manipulated section, which will let me twist a section in kind of an elongated three-dimensional spiral. I also plan to weave a drawing by my four year old grandson of some sort of creature, so I thought I would use some metallic threads for that. Kids love all that gaudy stuff, and it would give me an opportunity to experiment, right? A little trip to Joann's to look at metallics--boy, those threads are very fine! We'll see about that idea.

Tuesday, May 4


I am so excited! I have been notified by Elena at Mirrix Looms that I am one of the winners in their Social Media Marketing experiment. I wrote about the contest here. I really am very excited to be able to do this! So, first, I am going to make a list of the possible projects to do on this loom. It will be my first real effort at using an upright loom, so I imagine that just warping this puppy will come with a learning curve. Just deciding on the warp sett will be important—this coming from someone who uses a sett of 4 epi! One of the positives, besides having an opportunity to use this loom that I’ve heard so much about, is that there is a commitment attached. That means I have a great incentive to try new things and experiment.

I am including this list to help me remember, ‘cause I know I’ll forget all my ideas when the creativity muse goes on vacation. If anyone wants to suggest other things to add to my list, please do.

  • Drawing by my grandson—maybe I’ll start with this one
  • Tapestry of a sign that was photographed in Peru of a man and woman
  • Warp painting while on loom Maybe not since I mostly do weft-faced weaves—something to think about
  • Several small but related pieces to be mounted on canvas (similar to this) or some other format
  • Series of faces or masks
  • Spontaneous piece using my leftover butterflies
  • Use a double warp to experiment with using two different warp setts in the same piece
  • Incorporate beads in a piece a la Jon Eric Riis (although never with as much skill and creativity as his work)
  • Use metallic threads and silk
  • Weave a piece that incorporates sticks (a client asked about this; will practice small before attempting big)
  • A Miro wannbe
  • Incorporate conductive threads/LED lights into a piece and here-articles/information by Lynn Bruning
  • Alex Friedman-type tapestry
  • Shaped tapestry with pulled warps here and here.

Gosh! The possibilities are endless! And after my weekend workshop with Holly Brackmann, I may need to add weaving a piece on which to do some surface design.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lessons in frustration


This is a picture from the Mirrix website

loom-unpackedMonday-Let me say here and now that this is not the problem of the loom. I have heard about the Mirrix loom for ages, and know that everyone loves their loom. This is a problem with my brain. Since my new Mirrix has a weaving width of 13 inches, I thought I’d make a warp of 13 inches. Makes since, right? But I am having trouble with this concept of a continuous warp of the kind that is used on a frame loom. I use a horizontal loom, put on 30-40 yards of warp at a time with a sectional beam. I don’t warp constantly.

Watching the DVD that comes with the Mirrix, pausing constantly to make sure I’m understanding the direction the warp has to go, I start warping. Then I went back to the written instructions, trying to make sure if I’m supposed to go behind or in front of a beam. I thought I was getting it, then the warp bar fell out. With that, I decided that a 4- inch warp will be wide enough for practice. I know, it’s not rocket science and soon it will be second nature. Just not today.

Later on Monday- The four-inch warp is on. The warp bar kept falling out, so I resorted to masking tape. Masking-tapeWorked great! I’ve measured the threads for the heddles, tied a few heddles and attached them to the heddle bars. Now I’m really wondering about what kind of shed I should expect. I am not going to worry about that right now, though.

Here you can see the loom with the warp. In addition you get to see all the surrounding notes, instructions, the small DVD player, and a finished piece in the background.


The lesson that I don’t seem to learn from days (or hours)like this is that sometimes it’s best to just walk away, get some rest, and start fresh at another time!

Does anyone know of a source for polyester yarn suitable for weaving? Nothing really fine. I though I’d weave a small piece on this loom and do some surface stuff to it. I never use anything but natural fibers, so my sources are limited. Maybe a trip to the yarn department of Joann’s is in order.

Monday, May 10

Mirrix Adventures-Today I started weaving a rectangular shape out of the black that is in the beginning part of my Mirrix tapestry, with red on each side. Since I want to manipulate this black part in some way, I am weaving it in slit tapestry. Gotta tell you—This is the best slit I have ever done! I’m lovin’ this loom!

  • I’ve developed a rhythm now
  • On advice from J Austin, I’ve put a colored cardstock between the front and back warps
  • I have a tendency to grab the lower warp bar when changing sheds, so have trained myself to steer clear of the warping rod

For those of you who have been wanting a small portable loom, this one is the best, and I have tried several! You’ve got a stand built in, so you can use it in a hotel room on whatever surface is provided. You can move the stand legs out of the way, and weave in the car—as a passenger, of course! Although, how much worse can weavers be than all those text-ers driving down the highway!

Wednesday, May 12

So far I’m a little ahead of schedule with the tasks to be completed this week, so I’m hoping to get more done on the slit piece on the Mirrix—besides it’s relaxing after all the “have-tos.” After the slit gets to be about 4 inches, I am going to try twisting it and then to start weaving again. I suspect that I will have to cut the warp in that section, though, before I can twist it. If anyone has any suggestions about how to handle warp manipulation on the Mirrix or any continuous warp loom, please send them my way.

Thursday, May 13


I found my three tapestry books by Kathe Todd-Hooker. Whew! As I have been weaving this small piece with the slit section, I have been wondering how to twist that black section for a three-dimensional effect. Well, it’s in Kathe’s book Shaped Tapestry. That brings me to another issue. The method used in the book is to unknot the affected warp threads, twist them, and retie them before starting the weaving again. Guess that will require preplanning, huh?

SlitProbably the quality of this slit has something to do with my warp sett (8 epi vs. 4 epi). If all the slits looked like this, well … There is a light blue piece of cardstock between the warp layers.

I’ll know more about how much warp I will be able to use after I weave this small piece on the loom now, but it might be possible to tie on to the warping rod as one would do with a “regular” loom, and weave whatever that fixed length would be. More to learn. The Grand Experiment continues! It’s nice to have this small project, since I am having to spend so much of my day on finish work, muslin wrappers, steaming, cloth labels, etc. By the way, Kathe’s blog is here and her American Tapestry Alliance page is here.

Yesterday-I cut the warp ends of the black section, added more to the warp ends, and tied that section onto the warp bar separately. I quickly realized that in order to twist this section, I will also have to do the heddles again. I’m going to weave several more inches (perhaps in a different, more showy color), then untie the section, twist, re-heddle, and tie on again before weaving again. Thank goodness there are only 8 warp ends in this section! A suggestion was made by Merna that a second warp bar might be useful for a section which will be manipulated.

Addendum to warping: I just realized last night (after looking at the written directions again), that I had the warp bar in the wrong location. No wonder it kept falling out! Will try the correct way next time. My only defense is that I put the warp bar in based on what I thought I saw on the DVD. How embarrassing!

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