Mirrix’s Weave-Along 3: The Woven Purse

This kit contains the following: 
-Ten 20 yard skeins of wool/mohair yarn
-A 100 gram tube of Navajo wool warp
-12 yards of five different novelty yarns for the strap
-7 ½ grams of 11/0 seed beads
-7 ½ grams of 8/0 seed beads
-One bobbin of C-Lon beading thread
-A semi-precious stone for a clasp
-Silk fabric for lining
If you have not purchased the kit, gather similar materials to weave this purse.
Other items you will need to weave this purse:
A tapestry loom
A 12 or 14 dent coil (or reed)
A pair of scissors
A beater or fork
A measuring tape
Some definitions:
Warp:  the threads that are on the loom which act as your canvas
Weft:  the threads that are woven into the warp
Selvedge:  the sides of the weaving
Discontinuous weft: when the weft does not travel from selvedge to selvedge
Weft faced:  the warp is completely covered by the weft
Slit tapestry:  where the join between the discontinuous wefts is a slit
Fell line:  the last completed row of weaving
Shed:  space between lowered and raised threads
Header:  the beginning rows of weft using the warp thread
Footer:  the ending rows of weft using the warp thread
Our example was woven using every other dent of the 14 dent coil.  You can also use every other dent of the 12 dent coil.  
14 dent coil:  39 warps
12 dent coil:  33 warps
The tapestry will be 6 inches wide and 13 inches long.  Make sure your warp is long enough to accommodate this length.  You can make your pure a little longer if you’d like depending on what it will be used for.  For example, my cellphone is a little longer than most so I will probably make my purse 14 inches long.  The example above is probably a tad shy of 13 inches because I was too excited and wanted to finish it.  

If you need a reminder of how to warp the Mirrix Loom for tapestry, please go to our instructions link:  


Note:  if you are weaving on the eight inch loom using the shedding device you will not be able to make your purse the full six inches wide.  You will get five inches wide using that loom with is perfectly fine.  In fact, the original design for this purse was only five inches wide.  
We are going to be incorporating two main techniques:
-Weaving wefts in opposite directions
-Slit tapestry

from Basic Tribal and Village Weaves (http://www.marlamallett.com/techniques.htm) I found this definition of slit tapestry:

In tapestry weaving, weft yarns are discontinuous; the artisan interlaces each colored weft back and forth in its own small pattern area.  With slit tapestry, at each point where colors meet, a small slit occurs if the pattern boundary is vertical.  Other tapestry techniques, in which wefts are dovetailed or interlocked, overcome this potential problem but have their own disadvantages.  Slit tapestry produces the sharpest pattern delineation and the smoothest weave.  It also permits the most freedom and spontaneity; thus it is a favorite technique among  weavers worldwide.  Slit tapestry is fun to weave.

You can see in the loom photo that slit-tapestry kilims are woven in separate sections, in a very free-form sort of way.  Rarely are pattern parts woven with single wefts, one and then another, right across the loom.  Usually tapestry designs are bolder and more dramatic than those produced with other nomadic weaving techniques.  
Since the weaver avoids long vertical lines in her pattern (to avoid long slits), designs are composed primarily of diagonal and horizontal elements.  To construct a strong piece, intersecting diagonal pattern lines are also avoided.  Because most kilim designs have been shaped significantly by structural considerations, most tapestry motifs have developed directly on the loom; they have not been copied from other sources.  This is why we find designs similar in character wherever slit tapestry is produced around the world–whether by Anatolian, Navajo, Pre-Columbian Peruvian, or other weavers. 

This is exactly what we will be doing in this piece.  I love it because we will be using the most ancient tapestry technique which is a great place to start or continue your adventure into tapestry.  I often use this technique combined with other techniques.  When completed you will need to sew up some of the longer slits, but that is not very time consuming.  

Warped Mirrix Loom ready for weaving.

Let’s Begin!
Before you start weaving, cut a piece of warp thread two times the width of your loom plus a foot.  Weave the thread twice, wrapping around one side bar and tying at the other.  Tie it tightly.  This will be your starting base and will keep your tapestry in place when you beat the wefts.  When you need to rotate your tapestry toward the back of the loom, you will need to cut this thread.  Once you’ve woven this thread, make sure your warps are all evenly spaced. 
Please note:  We used a loom with a bottom spring kit.  This is not necessary.  We wanted to show both ways.  If you use the bottom spring kit you do not have to weave in the two rows of warp before weaving your header.  The spring will prevent your piece from beating down below the bottom beam.  So, in summary:  if you do use a bottom spring kit, you can begin right away weaving your header.  If you don’t use this kit, which again is not necessary, you must weave in the below thread and tie it to the side bar of your loom to prevent your weaving from migrating down as you beat it.  This thread, as we mentioned, will be removed when you advance your weaving.

Thread woven and attached to side bars.

Thread tied to side bar.

Weaving the header:

If your side warp is raised, you can just insert your yarn (we are using warp yarn to weave the header) and weave across.  If that thread is lowered start weaving one warp in so that your weft yarn does not come to the from of the weaving.  You want all your weft yarns to be in the back of the weaving and never coming to the front.

Bubbling:  Weave about a half an inch of warp thread going from selvedge.  Place the thread in the shed in the shape of a hill.  Take your finger and push down the thread in a couple of different places.  Weave a few more threads using this technique.  Then beat the several rows of yarn.  You want to make sure you do not pull in at the selvedges and also that you don’t have loops at the selvedges.  End this thread by sticking the end between two warp threads so that the end is at the back of the tapestry.

Several rows of header yarn not yet beaten.

Beat the threads so that they form straight lines.

After you’ve woven about three-quarters of an inch of this thread you will be ready to start weaving your weft thread.


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