I ordered five bags of 2 mm Swarovski crystals with the idea that I would create a beaded cuff on the Mirrix loom integrating the crystals with glass beads. Once I received those tiny tiny tiny crystals I realized that I would have to use them with size 11/0 Delicas. I was really surprised at how tiny these crystals were. In the past I’ve tried to integrate size 3 mm Swarovski crystals with size 10/0 Delicas, but the crystals were too large. I had imagined the size 2 mm crystals would work with the size 10/0 Delicas but that was not the case.
I set up a mini-Mirrix to weave this cuff. I had calculated that I would need to string up 17 warps in order for the piece to fit on a 3/4 inch cuff. I happily wove for a couple of hours, using the crystals to create diamond patterns among the Delicas. I was very happy with the results until I compared the size of the weaving to the cuff. My weaving was too wide for the cuff!
I cut the piece off the loom. I decided at that point to put the warp on the LaniLoom. I happened to have a piece almost completed on that loom but there was room on the left to add another warp for the new weaving. I put on 15 warps, which was the correct amount and happily began weaving.
At some point I decided to move the loom to a different table and as I did so the loom fell apart! Apparently, the loom had been extended as far as it could be extended before I put on the new warp. By cranking up the tension a couple of turns, I went past the point of no return and by moving the loom the copper bar disengaged from the threaded rod. What I had was a loom in two pieces with both weavings turned into a tangled mess. There was no way to save either. To do so I would have had to somehow remove the pieces from the LaniLoom and mount them on a larger loom. It didn’t seem possible without creating even more of a mess. Below is the incomplete weaving.
As you can see, I used a combination of gold-plated and rhodium-plated Delicas. Although the crystals are slightly larger than the Delicas, they worked well together as long as I didn’t use too many crystals in one row. I was loving the piece. Too bad it had to be cut up.
Without pause, I rewarped the LaniLoom with the correct number of warps and began once again, the third time in one day. I was able to weave three and a half inches before the sun betrayed me! I plan to finish the piece today and will show you the results either later on today or tomorrow.
One thing I am good at is failure. I am not a particularly patient person and don’t understand why I can channel patients when it comes to creating art. Maybe because for me it is all about the journey and not so much about the end result. Yes, I love end results when they are as wonderful as my fantasy, but often that is not the case. Rather than beat myself up when I fail, I doggedly start over again. Removing the offending piece is always a great relief because it gives me an opportunity to begin fresh. Well, in this case I really had no choice. The tangled mess on my loom was going to cause more stress than starting again.
I am loving the piece that is now on the loom. With luck and good math, I will make it the right length. Experience has told me that to fit the brass cuffs I use, I will need to weaving 99 rows. This does not factor in the fact that the crystals are slightly larger than the Delicas, but I don’t think that will change the math by more than a fraction of a bead.
What I won’t know until I’ve finished weaving the piece and attached it to the cuff is how exactly the crystals will integrate with the Delicas. In other words, will it have been worth it? Will the crystals add the intended interest to the piece? That is important because the crystals are not cheap. I figure that if the piece were entirely crystals, the retail cost of those crystals would be $180. I am trying to keep the number of crystals down to 300, which would cost $40 retail, a much more reasonable amount. The Delica beads, all of which are the most expensive one can buy, will cost about $20. $60 is not unreasonable if this piece is really stunning. I also don’t like too much glitz and feel that the crystals really do need to be balanced with the Delicas. Factor in the fact that the Delicas are in their own right just as beautiful as the crystals (I am especially in love with the pink gold Delicas!). I think the final product will justify all my failures.
Check back tomorrow for the final results!