Sunday, September 30, 2012

They say time flies

When you're having fun. And the Social market for a Mirrix has been just that...if you scrap the fear! It feels like yesterday when I was one of the chosen ones! I have to admit, at first I thought I'd chewed off more than I could handle. But it's been great!! It's helped me enjoy weaving even if that were possible!

It forced me to weave regularly! Yes, that is a good thing :) I sometimes become lax when I've been working on something for a while. Having to blog regularly meant I had to have done something!

Lastly, I've (somewhat) conquered my fear of doing videos for YouTube. I really do hope the ones I did we're useful and helpful.

The one thing that I refuse to let beat me is beadweaving with the shedding device. Yes, that old chestnut. I WILL try until I get it. Lets hope that's sooner rather than later though! I become more frustrated each time I fail. I don't want to end up a mess lying in my own puddle of tears! Ok that is quite an exaggeration.

The good thing about the Mirrix is its' multi-purposeness. In future I hope I can do some (basic) tapestry weaving. For now I have plenty of projects I need to get on with. As a last show, I took the first half of the belt off the loom. The warps on the end are almost done sorting. The others will be needed to join this to the other section. I'm still debating whether to edge it or not. I hope to wear it on a week from the coming Saturday! Must. Weave. Fast! :)

It has been a worthwhile and fulfilling journey. Hopefully I can continue in the same vein. Thank you for reading, commenting and watching. And for providing motivation when I lost it sometimes. It doesn't end here - you cn check on me at

Happy reading, beading, weaving and ciao all!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cheerio and tootle pip!

Four hectic and busy months have passed since I  signed on for the 'Social Networking' summer 2012 campaign, and now my time here ends.

Hmmmm.... wrapping up..... well.... I've been mulling over what I would say to sum up my 4 month long adventure exploring the possibilities  of the Mirrix looms.

I've made 25 video tutorials, and posted 35 blog posts about the things I have discovered while working with my Mirrix looms.

I've figured out some new ways of working with the looms ( 's' hooks for the no warp ends techniques) and enjoyed trying out as many ways as I could think of to use the looms in innovative and creative ways.

One of the loveliest things has been connecting with other Mirrix aficionados and making friends with dear people.

So, even though I won't be posting here or on Elena's blog anymore (where all the Weave Along posts are), I will continue to share my love of weaving and my pleasure in using Mirrix looms on my blog:

Cheerio my friends, tootle pip, and fare thee well! 
Happy weaving, go gently, and be well!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Embroidering Leno Lace

I am passionate about lace and lace making. 
I love to tat, crochet and knit lace.
And, recently, I have been experimenting with weaving lace.
Well... weaving leno lace and then embroidering it.....
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
This was my first attempt, and to be honest,  it's wonky and woobley and 'real weavers' would consider it to be a messy failure.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
But, I really learned a lot while I was working on it- and am intrigued and intend to keep working with this technique.
By the way, this was woven on my 16 inch Mirrix loom, with loom extenders attached.
When I was warping up for my second embroidered Leno lace scarf, I made  a video about the things I figured out while  warping with loom extenders:

I got so overwhelmed with all the work for the Soumak Weave Along that I didn't have time to do much more with the embroidered leno lace. 
I needed my 16 inch loom for a tapestry, so I wove off the blue scarf to get it off the loom, and will be doing the embroidery with the scarf being off loom.
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
I am pleased with the progress I have made with the embroidery, and look forward to doing more of this technique.
I love scarves and wear them year round. 
Leno lace scarves are light enough to be comfortable even in the summer, especially in the evening.
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
I haven't had a chance to wash and block this one yet, so it's not as nice as it will be.
I am planning on working a twisted cord with beads on it for the fringes.  
Leno lace is so wonderful and has so much design potential that I intend to continue experimenting with it!
Happy Weaving!
:o) Noreen

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Finally something for me!

Ok, that's not entirely true! The first project I wove on the loom was to be a bracelet for me. But it's still languishing in a drawer unfinished! I'm not one to wear much jewellery - necklaces and bracelets. Day to day I only wear stud earrings (yes, very plain!) plus my wedding and engagement rings. If we are going somewhere and I (try to) dress up, I'll wear the drop earrings I made.

So, I figured I would Mae something that's a little more functional. I've got a little black dress (with a hint of white) that has belt loops. But I don't have the belt to go with it. The only one I have us cream, that wont work!. As mentioned before, I was in a bead shop for something else when I spotted the buckle. I hadn't thought about doing a belt, but did when I saw it.

All that remained was to come up with a design. Being just two colours, it was going to be easy enough. I first wanted to design for a scroll like pattern. I played (very briefly) in Photoshop but figured it's not how I want to do it. So I just went into BeadTool. I played with circles then diamonds before I settled on the final pattern.

I'd measured the length I need, and calculated five repeats of the design would give the required length. So far i have completed one repeat. And there is a (minor) MISTAKE! I could easily correct it but I'm not going to.

I'm making use of advancing the beadwork. The loom doesn't give me enough length to work the belt in one go, and I've yet to make extenders for it. So the beadwork will be moved to the back as I weave (bottom up). I'll work half the length then cut off and work the other half. Joining isn't daunting anymore so will be just fine.

Then it went wrong! I don't know why but one of the sheds just refused to set itself. I had to fidget with it, and even then it wasn't correct. So I cut it all off and went back to the usual method. I will try again, but with something narrower and not so important!

On another note, I went to a local bead shop hoping to buy more DB1765 for the fringe on the purse, but they don't stock it. I had to order it online (and it arrived on Friday). But, I did get a cone of black Nymo! That should keep me going for a while yet :)

In the meantime, today I'll be resting and visiting our friends. It's a miserable day but I'm feeling chirpy! Enjoy yours :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fringing and planning

The fringe is coming along very nicely indeed. In the last post, I was still thinking about whether the design I had in mind would work. I didn't want to start it only to have to take it out! But, luckily for me, it worked great! Unfortunately I've run out of the colour that goes at the bottom of the fringe. So I'll have to wait till the coming week to continue. Monday to Wednesday are work days. Unless I have time in the evenings (read not too tired or lazy), then I'll be able to squeeze in some fringing. Otherwise it will likely be Thursday at the earliest.

This is the result of my 'decision'. The plan I to have the same on the other side. I considered doing the opposite on the other side, but I'm very unsure and nervous about that. I'll see if I have the gumption to try it out before settling on the same look.

Twisted fringe

And to go along with that, is a video on how to do the twisted fringe.

I don't twist as much as I have read you should on my 'research' on fringing, but it is enough to give me the look I have. I hope you find it useful.

The Nelson Mandela bracelet is still on the loom. I'll have to study the closure I have to use once again. Best now than to wait till its needed and start panicking! The issue that is holding me back is the fact I don't know what size is needed. I'll try asking again. If I hear nothing back, I will think about taking it off the loom to make way for something else. and my next video will be a result of this :) I hope it's not been done before...*starts searching*

I have several projects that I want to work on. The camera strap for someone, the strap for this purse and another that has been languishing in the drawers for a while, and two portraits. One for my Husband and the other to match one I did a long while ago - my first one. And, a belt. While in the shop buying more of the Swarovski crystals I need for the fringe, I spotted this little thing.

I have a black dress that would do nicely with a belt. Probably white as the trim around the arm is white. But of course that would be too plain so perhaps white with a design in black. I wanted to try looming with seed beads, but don't have decent black ones. I'll seep what to do when get round to it.

For now, I have to start seriously planning for the portrait that as commissioned a few weeks ago. I did a rough draft, but have to sit down and look at the colours before I can proceed. I think start time will be next month.

With that, I must be off. Thanks for reading and have a good afternoon/evening/night.

Wrapping Things Up

…Or should I say warping things up?  ;)

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been four weeks since my little adventure with Mirrix first began. Time really does fly by. You know how when, if you’re lucky, you meet someone for the first time and really hit it off? You quickly become fast friends, cherish the time spent and can’t wait to see them again. Well that’s how it is with my Mirrix loom. I probably shouldn’t admit wanting to get up out of bed in the middle of the night -I do have insomnia- and start weaving, should I? 

                                                       Two bracelets down, one to go 

As I have mentioned, I was initially reluctant to accept the offer to blog for the Social Market for a Craftsy Course because of my lack of weaving skills. Having already purchased the class, I knew what I would be facing. Initially the lessons seemed to blend into each other and the many little warping and weaving details seemed overwhelming. And with so many weavers far more experienced than myself, what could I possibly have to offer? And when would I even find the time? Besides the actual weaving, there’s the writing part and we all know how difficult that can be.

                                                      Notice my homemade heddles?  

Well I can safely say that all my fears and reluctance melted away upon receiving my package from Mirrix. The loom itself is so UN-intimidating and user friendly, and the fibers just seemed to talk to me as I knew they would. I dove in head first and haven't look back since. My family has grown quite accustomed to Mom sitting at her loom ignoring everyone around her. (Needless to say, they're not as fond of Mirrix as I am.) 

Each Craftsy lesson is so carefully laid out and slowly builds upon the knowledge learned in the previous one. Claudia is a superb teacher with a wonderful dry sense of humor. (Have you noticed?) And the finished projects, are they ever stunning. (Random note: in my day job I have occasion to spend time with some rather famous knitters. Last week, I was complimented by both Debbie Bliss -herself- and separately, Louisa Harding, on the Bead and Tapestry Cuff bracelet that I was wearing. When I took it off and told them I had made it, they were even more impressed. Fashion mavens both and definitely arbiters of good taste when it comes to fiber. Maybe they should be taking the Craftsy class, eh?)

As I have now completed all twelve sections of the class and woven every project, my blogging job is done. Claudia and Elena have kindly invited me to stay on to blog about some future projects so it is not goodbye as yet. I wish to thank all of you for bothering to read this at all and for all the warmth and encouragement you've shown. Truly, it would not have been nearly as enjoyable without all of your wonderful support.


Until we talk again soon, happy weaving!

xxx, Karen

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Variations on a Theme

Gorgeous Hand Painted Silk Fiber

Prior to receiving my 12" Mirrix loom, I practiced for a brief time weaving Affinity bracelets on my little rigid heddle Cricket loom. As I’ve explained before, the Cricket works remarkably well however it really doesn’t stand up to the Mirrix in terms of ease, convenience and efficiency. Also I did not as yet have the wonderful fibers that Mirrix provides for the Craftsy course. And if you don’t think their unique fibers make a huge difference, I can tell you that you are wrong. As evidence, some of my earlier results can be seen below using a variety of bits and scraps that I already had in my stash.

From left to right, the first bracelet was woven using raw sari silk waste yarn as the weft and a matching cotton blend yarn as the warp. I've noticed that the size 6 beads that I used seem a little too large for this design. Second from left is a diminutive little girl’s bracelet using extra fine Finca no. 8 perle cotton with size 11 delicas and 4mm gold beads (although what little girl would want an all brown bracelet?) Third from left is a wool/silk DK-weight yarn with square-shaped size 6s. Huge. (And notice my wonky selvedges. Yikes. I can always say that it's a design feature though, right?) I especially like the fourth from left which uses another multi cotton warp and a matching boucle as weft. The rainbow design next was woven entirely from multicolored embroidery floss. Boring. C-lon macramé floss and railroad yarn with a bit of unskilled "advanced tapestry techniques" are used on the last bracelet. Hey, I was winging it.

The bracelet shown above was inspired by some bracelets that I saw on Etsy. I decided to get fancy by adding a little bling with a pin that I purchased at Michaels. (It’s not really a pin but a sew-on bead made by Bead Landing and is still available the last time I looked.) Although when worn it covers a good deal of the weaving, I couldn’t resist the way it matched the Araucania linen/ cotton blend yarn used in the bracelet. Perfect.

The Columbian Clay bracelet shown below is from the final bonus section of the Craftsy class. I really like how the clunkiness of the clay beads plays against the fanciness of the hand painted silk fibers.


The wonderful thing about Affinity bracelets is that you can never tire of making them and of course, you can never have too many. My high school aged daughter and her friends are smitten with them so I suspect I'll be making lots more or better yet purchasing another loom and teaching them to make their own.

xxx, Karen



Monday, September 10, 2012

To do or not to do

Saturday was a day of rest...well at least when it came to weaving. I had to take care of some chores, and we were also out till late (into sunday). I was too tired to do the usual early start.

I haven't done any more on the bracelet as I don't know what size is needed. I may be forced to guesstimate. Hmmm!...

So, Sunday I made a start on the fringe or the purse. This was after a lot of 'research' (read looking at eye candy) of fringes! I looked through some three books on looming that I have, and chose a style. I bought some Swarovski bicones last week to use in the fringe. I also went through my stash to make up the numbers. Now, yesterday evening I sat down to make a start. But then I had to choose the colours to use in the fringe. This took a while as I wanted to choose colours that would work with both sides. The fringe will be on both sides of the purse so they have to be matching. I'm not daring enough to try using different colours on each side!

So, I chose the colours and lay them out with some of the bicones. I made a start, held it up to admire and rapidly changed my mind. So, I was back to thinking about what to do again. In the end I went with my original idea, and here is how it is looking so far.

I'm thinking of changing it up a little, but hesitant. I'm not sure why. Partly because I don't know if it would work, and I don't want to undo and redo if that happens to be wrong.

My next project to go on the loom will be a portrait. I promised my husband a long time ago that I would make him a portrait of his (late) parents.

It's been more than a year since i promised, so I think it's about time I got on with it! I'm hoping to surprise him with it. It would mean I can't work on it while he is home. He doesn't look in the cupboard where I keep the loom so I wouldn't worry too much about him seeing it. I need to order the remainder of the beads so I can start. I was considering fireline for the warps but think will just buy the large bobbin of white Nymo. That will do the job just as well.

So still quite a bit to do. I think I may try and do a video on warping for wide pieces. The portrait will be about 150 wide. Delicas of course. I I had planned and saved I could have done it in 15s! They're a bit steeply priced but one of these days I will do a picture with them! Perhaps something with less colours :)

I'm off to decide how to continue this fringe. Happy reading and a good night when you get to bed!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Advanced Tapestry Techniques

Lesson 10 of the Craftsy Bead & Tapestry Cuff class teaches advanced tapestry techniques. Upon first viewing it, I felt as if I’d been suddenly thrown into the deep end of the pool. After many slow and steady lessons, this class uses frequent new terms and I must admit, unfortunately does not always employ the best photography. The techniques themselves are not really all that difficult but if it is one’s first time attempting them, I am certain that you will need to watch multiple times before catching on. The thirty-second rewind feature is useful although I found I required more than just the quick thirty seconds to review certain sections. (I cannot speak for everyone’s experience however it seems that the Craftsy platform does not always allow for smooth rewinding and fast forwarding although this could perhaps just be a problem with my own computer.) My criticism of the photography concerns the bad angles that are sometimes used and the need for more close ups. As Claudia does admit however, if you are seriously interested in learning more about tapestry, any of the many books available at will provide the necessary depth that is beyond the scope of this class. I've purchased Kirsten Glasbrook's classic and look forward to diving into it as soon as I've completed this course.

Pick and Pick


                                                    Wavy Lines & Lazy Lines

Minor concerns aside, I seriously love the results of “pick and pick” or what I prefer to call simply vertical striping. The beauty of these advanced techniques is that suddenly the whole process of weaving becomes quite clear in a novel way. Of course, if you weave in one shed with one color and the following shed in another, you will get vertical stripes. Two passes with one color followed by two passes with a second color will yield horizontal stripes. Brilliant. For me, the term “lazy line” seems a little too close to “wavy line.” (And why not just call it “diagonal line” which is what it is?) And if anyone can explain the difference to me between hatching and shading, I’m all ears. Also, those special situations when the edge warps are lowered are a little confusing but once again I’m sure a little more experience will clear this up.

                                                        Finished on the loom

                                                         Weaving two at a time!


Well, as they say, practice makes perfect and I’m more than willing. My first cuff has attracted so much attention that I’m afraid I’ve already overextended myself gift-wise. This should keep me busy for quite some time.

If anyone needs me, I'll be weaving tapestry cuffs.

xxx, Karen

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Travels with Mini

When a weaver and a musician go on holidays, what do they take with them?
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
Their dogs, of course!
But of course, they never leave home without a guitar
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
Or, a loom:
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
The Mini is the most perfect little loom for traveling.
Because she's so portable, I was able to keep working on the Weave Along #8 as we were out and about on our travels.

I was weaving away on this pouch while we were away:
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
So, I took advantage of the gorgeous scenery to photograph the step by step photos of weaving the pouch:
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
Mini has her own wee suitcase which she snuggles very happily into, along with all the bits and pieces needed for the weaving.
(It began life as a case for a drill that lives in a toolbox, so Jim gave the un-used case to me and I love it for  Ms Mini!)

When we are on holidays, I tend to photograph the smaller things, like lichens:
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and flowers (ahem... the wind was crazy, so trying to get the flower to sit still was a lost cause)

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and small looms on beautiful stony beaches:
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and the patterns in tree roots:
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and shadows:
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and gorgeous driftwood:
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and the patterns in nature:
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and small dogs having great adventures ... (Yikes! Wolves ATE a dog here? eegads!)
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
Speaking of wild animals, last year when we went to Jasper (in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada), we saw 13 bears!
This year, we only saw one:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
But we did see one VERY thrilling wild animal- the first time I have ever seen a wild mountain goat, in fact:
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It was rainy, windy and cold for the entire time we were there, which made perfect weather for weaving and making music :o)

But then, as far as I am concerned, ANY weather is perfect for weaving and making music :o)

 I will be posting the step by step photos for the checkered Soumak Pouch on the 19th of September.

And, of course, the installments of the  Soumak Pouch weave along will continue to be posted on Elena's blog, A Word From Elena,  every Sunday and Wednesday through out September.

I hope that you had a lovely summer and that the sun shone upon you, and music swirled around you and that the yarn was sweet in your hands! 

Productive times

The early rising is helping me get in some weaving before the minis descend on me! The past two weeks have also been fairly productive. I finished off a bracelet, and also cleared the loom. The strip for the side of the violin is sorted - the warps on one side have been rewoven. The other warps will be used to join to the next length that I loom. I'm debating whether to make it 19 and not 20 beads wide. The 20-wide fits into the side with a little manipulation. 19-wide would sit in the space nicely.

Right now, I'm working on the Nelson Mandela bracelet. After a worrying start (as usual!), it's looking fabulous - if I say so myself! The worrying start? Well, I split it into three sections. I was planning to start at the top of the head and work down, then go back up and finish the top. However, I laid out the beads for the bottom so have ended up working from the bottom up. It's not entirely 'comfortable' but I can do it if needed.

So onto the worrying part. I had finished weaving the hand, and was happy with it after making some changes to the colour choices. When I moved onto the face is when the worry set in. I continued weaving despite making nothing out. I figured if it was wrong I'd just undo it.

Yesterday when I stepped away from it to start work, is when all fear was dissipated and I have my OH MY moment!! The image was there!!! The relief was palpable!

So, last night I finished weaving the face. I've not got to decide what to weave above the head. The pattern stopped at that point, but I needed to shift it down. I'm sure I'll figure something out anyway.

In the meantime, I've began the handle section of the purse. And I think I made a good choice. I've got an image (of sorts) in my head for the actual handle. I'll see if I can get it on paper then weave it. I also better get thinking about that fringe too!!

So those are the two projects I'm concentrating on at the moment. I would like to get my late in-laws' portrait on next. This will be for my husband. To make a change from framing I'm thinking I could back it with ultra suede or something similar, so it's a hanging. I'll think on it while I order more beads

For now I'm resting and will continue weaving later. Have a good afternoon and apply weaving/beading!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ain’t No Stopping Me Now

I’ve said it before but these Mirrix Loom bracelets really do weave themselves. After years of painstaking pattern-following, row-by-row stitch count knitting, what a pleasure it is to obtain such instant gratification. In less time than it takes to watch an episode of Law & Order, another bracelet is woven and finished off. The only problem, if you could call it that, is what to do with all the resulting bracelets. (Another random note: I once started making handmade herbal soap as a hobby. Well, it was so much fun that I wound up with far more soap than I could ever use. The upshot: a fairly successful cottage industry with customers that included Bed, Bath & Beyond and HomeGoods. It nearly killed me though. Not again, please.)

Using the shedding device, admittedly, takes a little getting used to. At first I couldn’t figure out how to keep the shed open. Only after several rewinds of the video did I catch on to the fact that the black part of the handle must actually wind around the bar, hugging it, to keep the shed open. Duh. Also, I’m still not entirely happy with how my bead rows are sitting- not quite even and a little wobbly for sure. I must be doing something wrong or else I prefer the other method of sewing the row in as it seems more secure. Oh well, good to know that I’m not exactly an expert at this yet ;)

The finishing...well, let’s see…the glue is a little messy. Be sparing. I would definitely use clothes pins or clamps to temporarily hold the three layers of tapestry, brass cuff and ultrasuede together while the glue dries. And while I enjoy the Zen-like process of sewing the three bead picot edge around the perimeter of the piece, I would definitely set aside some quiet time for this, and don’t plan it for too late an hour. It’s a little tedious for sure but the results, you must admit, are spectacular.

                                                            Freshly cut off the loom

                                                 Backside before being trimmed & glued

Backside after being trimmed & glued

Clamped while glue dries

 After beading
 The finished bracelet
Lookin' good!
I think they’ll fit perfectly in several Christmas stockings, don’t you? Who will be the recipients of your Mirrix weavings this year?

xxx, Karen