2011 Association of NW Weavers’ Guilds Conference

After a wee bit of a mix up (our application was sent to the past president whose address is on the application but who does not necessarily forward the mail she receives to the current president) we have now bought ourselves a booth at the Northwest Weavers’ Guild event from May 30 until June 5.  We will be there Friday and Saturday (3rd and 4th).  We means Elena and Claudia and the Mirrix family of looms.  We might not have all sizes, but if we don’t have what you want we will ship within the contiguous U.S. for free if you order at the Conference.  We will have looms set up for a variety of weavings from tapestry to bead to tapestry/bead combined to warp-faced.  We will happily answer any of your Mirrix questions as well as demonstrate how to warp and weave on the loom.  It’s the first of many shows Claudia and Elena will be doing together.  So come join us.  If you are not attending the event, come anyway because it’s free to get into the Vendor hall.  Oh, and you might want to know where it is!  Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.  I think that’s about an hour from Portland.


Social Market for a Mirrix Video #18

If you would like to continue to follow me on my journey through life exploring collage, fiber and textile art, marketing for artists, the art scene in Santa Fe, etc. you can connect with me at…

Facebook Profile or Page
Thanks for joining me on the “Social Market for a Mirrix” campaign.

Social Market for a Mirrix

One of my loves is mask making… the use of masks by indigenous cultures, the symbolism of masks, the masks we hide behind every day as we journey through our lives. So, for some reason, it seemed appropriate to end “Social Market for a Mirrix” with one of my mask collages utilizing one of the weavings completed during the campaign.

This collage / assemblage isn’t finished yet but it will be completed in time for the final video on Monday. Once the paint is dry, I’ll be able to pull the pieces together relatively quickly.

As promised, I’ve put together a resource list of vendors I’ve worked with and can personally recommend. So, in addition to the equipment and supplies offered by Mirrix, you might want to check out the following:
Professional Organizations
Weaving Supplies
Books, Magazines, etc.
Online Communities
When purchasing supplies, please try and support the smaller, independent sellers in your area or online.
Some of my favorite weavers…
And so Claudia and Elena can track any direct ROI for the “Social Market for a Mirrix” campaign, please leave a comment if you purchased a loom or supplies from Mirrix as a result of this campaign.

Inkle cuff bracelet on the Mirrix Loom

 All sorts of poses from the two inkle weave bracelets I got from the strip I wove.  The last part of the strip could probably be turned into a bracelet, but it was a little wider than the first part of it (or last part of it . . . I don’t know which end is which).  My next attempt will be to put a 20 or 22 dent spring on the loom so that the warps don’t have any space in between on the sides making this a genuine inkle band.  I will once again use the railroad novelty yarn as weft because I love the way the little squares of color pop up here and there.  If the warps are correctly spaced the little color squares won’t show as much.  That’s the tradeoff, I guess.  Now to warp!


Creating a ‘picture fringe’!

Not too long ago, I shared a picture of the ‘picture fringe’ I completed on the Lotus SLN. Now I would like to explain how I completed this to keep the ‘design/pattern’ in order.

Here is the picture of what I shared. You will notice that the fringe is holding the graphed design, very well. You can actually make out the design I graphed. Not often, does the fringe work out in that way, especially with a graphed picture.

To keep the fringe ‘picture’ in order, I ran a thread through each of the fringes, after completing the over all picture. It didn’t matter where I ran the tread, just that it held each of the fringes together. Notice the red lines, in the picture below. This is the direction I ran a new black thread, picking up a few on one fringe then going to the fringe next to it and picking up a few more beads, then back again. I completed this trail throughout the entire fringed area.

Holding the fringe spread apart with my fingers, you can see the thread holding each strand together. However, it is not noticeable in the first picture, after I complete sewing each strand together. This will now hold my design and still resemble a fringed picture!

Not every fringe needs this extra attention, but it is nice to do when you want to create a picture or extend a picture from your looming, into the fringe.

Inkle weave cuff on the Mirrix Loom

The loom loomed on my table for weeks and I hadn’t finished the piece that was on it.  I had warped the loom with hand-dyed silk.  My concept was to create a warp-faced weaving to make into a cuff, which I’ve done before.  However, the past attempt used perle cotton as warp and I wanted to translate that into the gorgeous hand-dyed silk we use for our tapestry/bead cuff kits.  I wasn’t thinking so I just threw the warp on the loom using the spring that was on it, a 14 dent spring..  I should have used either a 20 or 22 dent spring.  I thought I could just fake it by pulling the warps closer together while weaving.  My loom had another opinion.  The sides of the weaving were spreading out while the center was as it should be.  This makes sense for variety of reasons . . . the side warps would drift while the center warps are sandwiched in the middle and kept closer together.  Thinking this whole project was going to be a complete flop, I left it on the loom.  And left it on the loom.  And left it on the loom . . . until yesterday.

This has been the week of finishing things.  Last week was the week of looking at things I should finish and feeling guilty about not doing so (especially the ones begun with a blog and never completed).  The week before that was the week of beginning things I planned to finish last week.  Well, you get the picture.  I have a hard time moving forward with projects when others are waiting for completion.  So I either have to destroy them or finish them, but they just can’t sit on my table and stare at me from across the room.  Okay, I know they are not alive, but they sure all seem to have eyes.

So yesterday I took the loom with the silk mess on it, put it on a wicker coffee table in my office, stoked up a netflix movie on the big iMac, turned it so I could actually see it and began to finish this weaving.  I wove really quickly because I figured I wouldn’t use or keep the final result.  Half an hour later (yeah, this is fast to weave) I had another foot and a half woven and it was time to take it off the loom.  Shockingly, even though the sides were looser than the middle, it didn’t seem to matter.  After all, the plan was to sew those edges to the ultra-suede with the brass cuff sandwiched in between and it could very possibly be disguised with beads.

Hate to make this a cliff hanger by showing you only the on-loom and off-loom photos but not the one of the cuff.  Yesterday, my studio was filled with sun and taking pictures was easy.  Today, it is snowing and grey and no matter how hard I try I can’t get good pictures.  The cuff itself is almost done and I love it.  I need to sew on some more beads along the edge, but I would say I have about five minutes left before completion.  I have a second piece glued to the cuff ready to sew on.  So by tomorrow I should have both completed and if there is sun I will photograph them and show them to you.  Meanwhile, this is the back story in pictures:


Spinning and Knitting

Last night, after I finally finished the previous project and my eyes were simply exhausted trying to fix those nasty little weft floats, I dragged my Jensen spinning wheel over to my computer, stoked up a movie on netflix and sat down with a basket of alpaca, silk and mohair roving.  I kind of mushed it all together with my hands before heading over to the drum carder (couldn’t watch netflix at this point, however) and carding it all a couple of times, not very neatly.  I then sat down a spun a ball of this stuff.  I have to admit I was getting a little bored spinning white fiber and I really could not wait to finish because I wanted to see how it would knit up.  What I really wanted was a warm scarf.  I seem to make a lot of pretty scarves out of hand-dyed, hand-spun silk but I’ve never made one out of alpaca.  The whole process took quite a while because it was about two o’clock when my husband emerged in my doorway wondering why the heck I hadn’t gone to bed four hours ago, at my bedtime (I don’t stay late).  But I was just so taken with spinning and the idea of knitting what I had spun that I could not stop spinning until this ball of yarn was done.  I like that feeling.  In fact I am dreaming up a post about feeling blocked and feeling open when it comes to creativity.  For me, it’s often the difference between a good day and a bad day.  Sure, other things can factor in, but if I am feeling dead creatively I have a hard time making it through the day with a bounce in my steps.  Later on that.  Now look at that beautiful spinning wheel below.

That’s my beautiful Jensen, my only wheel.

My ball of yarn and some knitting.
Just the knitting . . . I love the lace feeling of it.

Swarovski Crystal and gold delica bracelet, take four

My final task was to finish this bracelet along the edges with beads in a picot pattern in order to cover up any out of control stitching, etc.  This is the final piece:

Now for what I did wrong.  Other than the fact that I started this piece three times before I could get my act together enough to usher in the final product, I made a mistake I’ve made before.  Rather than take the extra ten minutes to warp a Mirrix with a shedding device, I took the short cut route and at first used the LoreliLoom (which I really just badly wanted to use), then the LaniLoom once I realized my sizing was off on the LoreliLoom and then the LaniLoom again once that one imploded.  All along the way a little voice should have been screaming:  this is all leading you to use a loom with a shedding device.  But like many little voices I didn’t listen.
Now was not using the shedding device with this particular piece a problem?  Quite simply, it’s the difference in shape between the Swarovski crystals and the Delica beads that causes the issue.  When sewing through one to the other the needle really needs to change angles in order to capture both kinds of beads.  In many cases when a Delica followed a crystal, the warp thread between them ended up floating on top of the weft thread.  Actually this happened in both directions.  Lots of floaters in this piece that had to be manually fixed when I added the edging piece.  That was a pain.  I almost marched off to the eye doctor to get me a new set of glasses because I could barely see what I was doing.
My conclusion is this:  Use the shedding device when you are weaving beads of different shapes always.  You can skip the shedding device if you like when using just one bead size and especially for thinner pieces. For me though I might just be better off always using the shedding device because I seem to harbor no talent for being able to sew through the top of the beads without those annoying weft floats all over the place.  I know others can do this way better than I can.
The beautiful little girl Maia shows up for work!

Social Market for a Mirrix

Remember this piece? The first weaving I completed in the “Social Market for a Mirrix” campaign? The piece I keep referring to as the Southwestern landscape?

Well, it grew up to be this piece. And now it’s finished and ready to go to its new home.

I took the original weaving and beaded the bottom half to give it the illusion of flowers. Then I tied off the warp threads leaving them long enough to form a fringe at the bottom of the weaving. And the warp threads at the top of the weaving were left long enough to hang down to form a veil. I like that the veil breaks up the surface of the weaving and makes the viewer have to work with the piece a bit to understand it. I attached the weaving to a canvas board that had been covered with rice paper and painted with metallic acrylic paint then topped off with iridescent watercolor. I finished the piece off by embellishing it with an old Southwestern style earring. All things considered, I’m pretty happy with how this piece turned out.

One down, two more to go. Tick, tock!

Next Mirrix Free Bead Pattern

This is my ode to spring, which must be right around some corner.  I designed directly with the bead software.  At first I tried to draw the pattern on paper, photograph it and then open it in the software.  I hated the results.  The black lines got blurred and the colors were muddy.  So I put my six hour drawing aside and went right to the software with the help of my Bamboo tablet and pen.  Turns out I could quite a lot of control drawing in the grid and was able to pick exactly the bead colors I wanted versus the bead colors the software wanted.   This is the result that will be posted as a download to our website next Tuesday: