Fear of Warping

I have a lot of fears. The fear of accidentally leaving the stove on. The fear of the alarm clock not going off. The fear of forgetting to turn off my hair straightener. The list goes on. One fear that has always eluded me, though, is the (quite common) Fear of Warping. (Cue horror movie music.) 

Yes, warping a loom is probably not the most enjoyable part of bead or tapestry weaving. It takes a bit of concentration and a few repetitive motions, but it is not beyond anyone’s reach. Once you have decided what you are warping for (Tapestry with the shedding device? Bead weaving without?), what spring size to use (which determines how close together your warps are) and how big you want your piece to be, you’re all set to begin. 
Perhaps going a little bit into the reason we warp the Mirrix Looms the way we do will help ease your fears. The concept is simple: The warp is the canvas on which you will create your masterpiece. It is typically not seen (although in some types of weaving, it is) and needs to be both even and tight. This, I should mention, is one advantage a Mirrix Loom has over other looms. Its strength and design create the basis for excellent tension, which can mean the difference between a perfect piece and a failed piece. 
Depending on what type of weaving you are doing and whether or not you are using a shedding device you will warp your loom slightly differently. For bead weaving with a shedding device, you will put two warps in each dent of the spring and then put heddles on those warps to separate them and allow you to place your beads between them. This makes for fast, even bead weaving. For tapestry weaving with a shedding device you will put one warp in a dent (or every other dent if you so desire) and then will insert heddles in order to pick up every other warp. The tension on a Mirrix Loom makes keeping your tapestry even during the weaving process much, much easier. For weaving without a shedding device, you will simply put warp in every (or every other if necessary) dent of the spring and weave from there. 
The basic concept of warping is simple. Tie your warp to the warping bar (which should be suspended on the back of the loom using clips) and start wrapping around the loom. 
The sequence goes roughly like this:
1) Tie warp around warping bar
2) Bring the warp over the top of the loom, around the front and under the loom until you reach the warping bar again
3) Do a u-turn around the warping bar and bring the warp back down and under the loom, this time from the back
4) Continue up the loom and over the top until you hit the warping bar again
5) Do a u-turn around the warping bar 
7 Tie off on the warping bar
As you can see, it is simply the repetition of a few simple steps. Make sure you are doing these correctly when you begin, and warping will be an easy success. 
Make sure to use our .pdf step-by-step warping instructions the first time you warp!
Easy, easy! Are your fears at rest?

A Bead Loomed Cell Phone Bag!

I completed the cell phone bag! Some of the steps were shared in early blog posts, but now that I have finished, I’d like to say that this has to be the absolute best way to create a beaded bag, either cell or otherwise! Looming a purse or bag, is faster and more enjoyable then if you were to ‘hand weave’ similar size bags! Not only that, I think I was able to make better decisions on thread choices, also working towards making the cell phone bag more secure and strong, to the point of not adding a lining!

The picture above is one side of this cell phone bag. I loomed 67 beads wide, making the finished bag approximately 3 3/4″ – 4″ wide. It is also 81 bead rows deep, with the finished depth being approximately 5″ long. I added some fringe, which increased the depth of the finished project, 7″.

The other side is a different picture, but still representing something from the owners life…..in particular, her Dad’s life as a Tuskegee Airmen! Notice the medal I attached. This was purchased from the internet, bead bezeled, then attached to the beaded bag.

The fringe was something I felt could have been added or not. Because of the way this is loomed, I was able to complete the bottom seem, using some 11/0 Permanent Metallic Toho beads. This way, fringe could have been optional, as this ‘zipping’ looked just fine as it was!

Using those 11/0 metallic beads, I attached a fringe. I also beaded some matching earrings.

Not to get off this topic, but I did include a pair of matching earrings because such a piece, worn around the neck, will take on an appearance of jewelry, so the earrings help lessen the gap of what to wear with this cell phone bag!

The Mirrix Loom is perfect for looming larger pieces, like a purse or cell phone bag. Not only because of the ‘large loom table’ you have to create each large size panel, but you are offered a choice on which loom process you would like to use, heddle or tension looming method.

This cell phone bag was loomed in the ‘tension looming’ method. This means I did not use a shuttle or heddle, but my warps were tied taught, top to bottom of the loom frame, creating the proper ‘tension’ needed for looming. Then a weft thread passed across the width of the panel, adding the 67 beads. Tension Looming needs ‘two’ passes of weft thread, to properly loom. Therefore, you will need to make sure the beads you loom have wide holes, like Delicas or other fine Japanese Seed Beads. If this same cell phone bag was loomed using the ‘heddle looming method’, then there are double warp threads for each one needed, and only one weft thread passes through the rows of beads, 67 beads wide. This is good to use if your beads have smaller holes, similar to what is found in Czech or Chinese Glass Beads.

Of course, either way of looming makes a very sturdy purse or bag. You’ll either work with double warps or double wefts. The Mirrix allows you to make that decision, based on your beads being loomed. I love having the freedom to use any bead I want with one loom, as opposed to having to settle for the beads needed to complete!

I hope to offer more insight, in to finishing the warps, but need to take some time to get instructions printed and offered to the beading world. In the meantime, I am using my loom to create various pieces of wearable art, i.e., cell phone bag, wide loomed cuff, split loomed necklace, etc., so I can work out perfect warp finishing techniques for whatever can be created. AT this point, I have figured out that my method of ‘finishing the warps’ can work with either looming method, tension or heddle looming!

Sherri Woodard Coffey’s End-Of-Blogging Survey

End of Blogging Survey:
How would you rate your overall Mirrix experience?  Once I finally warped, I enjoyed the loom–its sturdiness and portability are real pluses.
What did you like best about it? Whoops! See above
What (if any) faults did you find in it? Warping was my big bête noire.
What would you change about “Social Market for a Mirrix” for next time? My problem was that I felt like I should be writing about Mirrix every post, but there’s just not much one can say while in the middle of a slow project–had to branch out to other ideas
Did you find the criteria for “Social Market for a Mirrix” to be too stringent? No
What was your favorite piece created on the Mirrix? I don’t have a favorite yet.
What is your favorite thing about the Mirrix? The shedding, sturdiness, portability
What is your least favorite thing about the Mirrix? Warping…but it should get better with practice, practice, practice
What plans do you have for weaving on your Mirrix in the future? I still have ideas that will work best in this smaller format that I hope to complete in the next year. Time is the issue!