Tag Archives: Mirrix looms

Sketching Swatching and Sampling are such valuable weaving tools

I am working hard on a new tapestry. It’s inching along, as tapestry does, when you are in focused mode.

BUT… I found myself feeling really stuck when I finished one section, and couldn’t move forward onto the next section.

So, I fell back on my ultimate design tool.

I got out my sketchbooks and aquarelles (watercolor pencils), and did the thing that my drawing master back in my art school days drilled into me: Sketch, sketch, sketch!

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He also drilled into his students that it is essential to carry your sketchbook or notebook with you ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE, and to sketch every single day.

AND, even more important: Don’t worry about making ‘good’ sketches.

Just catch thoughts, dreams, words, and other fleeting moments on the paper and let them build a vocabulary for you.

The part of the tapestry that had me flummoxed is a child’s costume.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, until I worked my way through a bunch of really rough, ‘thinking on paper’ sketches.

That took me through the roadblock to the ‘AHA’….

And I knew that I needed to move onto sampling and swatching.

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I set up my 8 inch Lani Mirrix loom with a ‘no warp ends’ warp, using ‘S’ hooks… in the video, I show some pointers about this setup.

As a professional designer, I cannot underestimate the importance of swatches and  sampling.

I am always amazed by knitters and crocheters who skip this foundation aspect of the creative process!

So much is revealed in the swatching and sampling stages of creation.

AND… something else that is a huge bonus- so often, the sampling and swatching will reveal that there is something new to explore!

(Which of course, leads back to the sketching…) !

Even though the feeling stuck part of working on this tapestry really stank while I was in it, I ended up feeling really grateful for being forced to move back to basic problem solving techniques.

Why? Because I am now inspired to explore soumak weaving, which I have not done before.

I am fascinated and intrigued…. there will be more about this!

In the mean time, here’s the video about sketching, sampling and swatching.

And, even though I don’t normally like to show pieces while they are in progress, I did do a little ‘reveal’ of the new tapestry.

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How to weave inkle bands on Mirrix looms part 4

This is the fourth video tutorial about how to weave inkle bands on Mirrix looms.

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A dear friend asked me: “Why are you spending all this time figuring out how to weave inkle bands on the Mirrix loom? You have inkle looms! ”

Yes, I do… an open sided one, a closed side one that my husband built me from upcycled pallet wood, and a mini.

And, I love them…. but, I find that the open side and mini inkle looms both kind of flop when I have one end on the desk edge and one end in my lap. This is the way that I like to weave with inkle looms, and I find the wobble/flop rather frustrating.

I really like how stable the Mirrix is when I have the lower edge in my lap and the upper edge against a workbench, table or desk.

Also, I love the precision of the tensioning on the Mirrix… those thumbscrews are sweet!

And, I also love the shedding device………. soooooooooo smooth.  😀

Besides, the Mirrix takes up sooooooooooooo little room to store it- inkle looms do take up a chunk of space in the studio!

That’s four good reasons that have made this rather challenging learning curve worthy of the time I have invested.

Here’s the video for the finishing process of weaving inkle bands on the Mirrix loom:

When you have woven your bands to the point that the warping rod is sitting on top of the loom, you will need to remove the spring:

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Loosen the tension up  a lot….

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Lift the spring rod out of the spring.

Release the ends of the springs from the knobs.

Gently, ease the spring out of the warp strands by spreading the warp strands out slightly and pushing on the spring to disengage it.

Continue weaving until the shuttle almost can’t make it through the shed.

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Weave one row.

Keep the shuttle in the shed, and place a darning or tapestry needle in the shed with the point pointing in the direction that the shuttle exits the shed.

Weave the next row, and repeat with a second darning needle.

The needles now point in opposite directions.

Weave one more row.

Cut the weft strand, and thread it into the first needle.

Pull it through, and remove the needle.

Thread the weft strand into the remaining needle and pull it through.

La de dah! you have finished your inkle band!

Wheee! 😀

I always weave the tail end in a little bit more before I trim it off.

Loosen the tension wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy off, and slide the warping rod out of the loops.

Trim the ends, and pull them through the heddles.

Congratulations, you’ve woven some scrumptious new inkle bands! 🙂

Happy Weaving!

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How to weave inkle bands on the Mirrix loom part 3

Part 3 of the video tutorial series on how to weave inkle bands on Mirrix looms is about the weaving process:

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Something that I learned as I trundled up my ever so steep learning curve with figuring out how to weave inkle bands on the Mirrix loom:

I started out by weaving one row on one band, putting it’s shuttle down, then picking up the second shuttle and weaving one row on the other band.

Sounds slow and clunky, doesn’t it? Well, you’re right.

The most efficient way to weave 2 bands at once is to weave as far as you can on one band, then set that shuttle aside, and weave away on the second band.

Oh… speaking of shuttles, here’s the tracing of my most favorite inkle shuttle:

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I designed this one several years ago, and I love it. Works like a charm.

Here’s the video that shows the weaving process:

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When you need to advance the warp, loosen the tension quite a lot.

Support the spring as you gently ooze the warp rod around and up the back of the loom.

Pat the warp strands back into the channel, and tighten up the tension again.

Remember, you do not need to have the tension as tight as when you are weaving a tapestry or beading.

You’ll find the perfect tension that suits you best.

Keep on weaving until the warp rod is sitting on top of the loom, and then check into the 4 th video in the series:

How to finish the bands.

🙂

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How to weave inkle bands on the Mirrix loom part one

I love weaving inkle (warp face) bands.

I use  in dollmaking:

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Link to purchase pattern for Inkle dolls: Inkle Dolls

And, they are wonderful for trimming handwoven clothing:

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Link to post that shows how to shape inkle bands to make a yoke or other shaped pieces of garments: Warp pulling

Over the years,  I have also made hat bands, book marks, all kinds of jewelry, key fobs,  vests, bags, bag handles, the garters for the men’s kilt hose for my son’s wedding, shawls, freeform pieces that combine inkle weaving, knitting, embroidery, spool knitting and crochet, as well as rugs.

Yep. I love inkle weaving.

So, as I have been exploring the possibilities of weaving with my Mirrix looms, I had to give inkle weaving a try.

I found that it was quite challenging at first. But, I don’t give up easily 🙂

I ended up spending waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more hours than I should have, experimenting and obsessing over making inkle bands on the Mirrix.

Well… I finally succeeded.

Since it was so challenging, I figured that I should share what I have learned, so that other intrepid inkle weavers can leap right in, without all the trial,  error and frogging that I went through!

There are definitely tricks to weaving inkle bands on the Mirrix looms, and I have made 4 videos to share those tricks.

Here’s part one of the video:

Here is the draft for the bands that I wove in the videos:

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To read the draft: Each square represents one warp strand.

You can check your warping by looking at each shed to see that it has the same number of strands, in the order that they appear in the line.

You will be  putting a total of 8 green strands on, followed by 4 orange strands, 3 sets of  (1 orange, 1 green) for a total of 6 strands, then 4 orange strands and ending with 8 green strands.

At the top and bottom of the loom, you’ll see the full count of warp strands.

At the warping bar, the 2 sheds will be separated into their correct (we hope!) configuration for each shed.

The chart will give you bands like this:

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The upper band is the band on the right hand side of the loom in videos 2 – 4.

I only used the center of the draft for it, without the green border strands.

The yarn is Lion Brand Cotton.

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Setting up the loom for inkle bands is different than normal warping.

You need to have the warping bar at the front of the loom.

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Tie the green yarn onto the warping bar and take it up and around the loom, just the same as if the warping bar was in the back.

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You will need to cut the warp strand of color 1 to tie on color 2 at the warping bar, for EVERY color change.

WHAT?!?!?!

Yes. really.

It sounds insane, but this is the biggest key to making the whole inkle thing work on the Mirrix loom.

Trust me. You ~can~ twist your yarns around each other, and are welcome to, I’m sure, if that would make you happy….

BUT…. the quickest, easiest way to have problem free warping for inkle is to cut those little darlin’s and tie the knots between the colors.

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Yay! Warped!  Insert the spring rod into the spring to keep the warp strands locked into their notches.

This is sooooooooooo important!  (yep… voice of ‘oops’ experience here 😦 )

And in Part 2…. it’s on to the heddles.

I have a nifty, super friendly way of using a crochet hook and weaving stick to make the heddling process go like a breeze.

That’s coming up next…. so stay tuned! 🙂

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How to weave Leno Lace on the Mirrix loom

I am fascinated by exploring all  the different things that I can do with Mirrix looms.

While I am involved in this four month long co-creation with Mirrix looms, I am going to be  looking at what I can and can’t do with the Mirrix looms.

(Guess what I am NO GOOD at? Bead weaving on the Mirrix!

Yep. All my bead weaving has been off loom and I am TERRIBLE at bead weaving on the loom. 

That one came as a surprise…  ah well… we shall see if that changes! )

In my previous blog post, LINK, I showed how I set up my Lani Mirrix loom, using the ‘No Warp Ends’ warping technique.

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There are several advantages in setting up your Mirrix loom for the ‘No Warp Ends’ technique:

It allows you to sample different weaving techniques quickly and efficiently.

You won’t waste time OR yarn when using the ‘No Warp Ends’ technique.

I love that!

Because the ‘No Warp Ends’ warping technique precludes using a shedding device, it is perfect for weaving techniques that are hand manipulated, like: LENO lace! Yay!

I think that Leno lace is the bee’s knees.

It’s kind of a miniature version of the ancient technique of twisting fibers, called, Sprang.

You do this nifty twist thing, and tadah! You get a  bonus free row that is cheerfully waiting for you, gratis! Whee!

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Leno can seem a little challenging at first, so I figured that a video  tutorial is a good idea.

Here it is:

Happy Weaving!

🙂

 

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Working with handpainted handspun yarn in tapestry

My daughter-in-law spins gorgeous yarn. Which makes me very happy.

Because, sometimes a skein or two finds its way into my studio.

Recently, she spun Merino and silk and dyed it turquoise and purple, separated by short sneezes of sunshine yellow.

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I love it, and have been puzzling over how to use it in one of my new tapestries in a way that keeps the integrity of the colorway, while working across the entire width of the tapestry. Weaving narrow bands of it in vertical columns would not be a problem with maintaining the colors as units… but… horizontally- ah, well… that’s another cup of soup entirely.

I didn’t want to have the colors end up in little splats of one color arguing with another.

That meant working in short segments, weaving small blocks of each color.

I could have woven little squares of each color, with little slits that would need to be stitched or interlocked. Myech…

I sat down with my trusty little pencil and thought about this conundrum….

and came up with this:

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If I started at the left hand edge, and wove a little triangle with one length of turquoise, then, I could use the little bursts of yellow to tell me when to nip down, and start a slanting wedge of purple.

This completely worked for me! I wouldn’t have any joins to deal with, and I could work each little section of color in order, so the colorway of the yarn stays intact.

It’s a happy solution to an interesting problem!

Tapestry weaving is full of nifty little voyages of discovery 🙂

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My first little purple patch was not so perfect, but by the time I had woven across to the right hand side I was pleased with it.

Here’s the video:

Working with handpainted handspun yarn in tapestry

My daughter in law will be uploading some of her new yarns and batts and braids to her website soon.  LINK

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A neat variation on Card stock bobbins for storing threads and yarn

I love buying vintage crochet cotton at the thrift shop. It speaks to me of the hands that it has passed through, and the pleasure it has brought to other thread lovers.

I like to use it in my weaving, crochet and tatting, as it gives me a sense of connection to needlewomen of the past.

BUT… storing balls of crochet cotton can be a problem. Those hollow cores take up a LOT of space!

So, for many years, I have been upcycling old credit cards or pieces of cardstock to make bobbins like this:

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Because, storing yarn or thread on a small flat bobbin is so much more efficient than leaving it on the cardboard tubes:

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Last night, I had insomnia, and was thinking about winding off a pile of vintage crochet cotton, when I had a flash of inspiration!!

Instead of making chubby little embroidery style bobbins,  if I made ‘dog bone’ shape bobbins, I could use my bobbin winder to speed up the process of winding them. AND, they’d take up less room, as it would be a longer, leaner shape.

I jumped out of bed, and started cutting the new shape bobbins:

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And, winding up balls of cotton:

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In a twinkling of an eye, I have compactly wound bobbins that won’t tangle with other bobbins, as the thread is taken through a slot and secured. Another bonus! No snaggles!

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This shape of bobbin is great for warping the Mirrix loom, as it’s so compact.  Yep – it’s a win!

And, they can be easily stored in unusual containers, like this:

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I made a video to show how quickly and easily this works:

I haven’t tried using these bobbins for tapestry weaving, but I will, and will let you know how I like them.

I love making tapestry bobbins from wood- especially upcycled wood, so I will be showing you how I do that in an upcoming post.

Happy weaving, and here’s to creative ways of storing yarn and thread stash! 😀

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Making string heddles for my Mirrix loom

At the beginning of May,  a ‘new-to-me’ loom , a large  Mirrix tapestry loom, arrived in my studio. (Courtesy of my son and daughter in law who picked her up in the city 4 hours away, that used to be her home- the previous owner didn’t want to ship her).

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I immediately sat down and made a whole lot of heddles for her, as she didn’t come with them.

And then, I warped her up- ooooooooohhhhhhhhhh, I love how easily she warps! Bliss!

As I was warping her up and starting to weave,  I thought…. ‘Hmmmm…. there must be a group for Mirrix weavers on Ravelry’

(Ravelry= the facebook of the yarn world)

I looked, and sure enough! There is a Mirrix group…. which I joined, pronto.

And the first thing I saw was that Claudia (the inventor of the magical Mirrix looms) and Elena, her talented daughter, had posted that they were accepting applications for their annual ‘Social Networking for a Mirrix Loom’ campaign. Link

Well… I had decided within hours of starting to weave on my ‘Joni’ loom that I wanted to fill my studio with Mirrix looms.

So, I sent off an application….

Um… I wanted to fill the studio with ~Smaller~ Mirrix looms!

MEANWHILE>>>> The Joni is one big Mamma, and even though I am tall, my arms are short, so I found that I was having shoulder pain.

My  clever daughter in law subtly sneaked the information out of me that I was longing for the treadle kit for the Mirrix loom. Then, she orchestrated the family buying me the treadle kit for Mother’s Day! What a sweetheart!

To say that I was thrilled was an understatement!

THEN!  on the 18th of May, was just tickled pink to hear from Elena that they had picked me as one of their team for the 4 months of the ‘Social Networking’ campaign. Whee!  What a couple of thrilling days!

And, now… I am starting to keep my part of the bargain, which is to chronicle my experiences with the Mirrix loom(s).

So, since I began my Mirrix adventures with making string heddles, I am going to show you my quick and easy way of making the string heddles for the Mirrix looms (or inkle or frame looms, too).

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And, here is the video:

How to make string heddles by Noreen Crone-Findlay (c)

Happy Weaving!

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