Dyeing Today!

I said I was going to do it, and I did.  But now I am out of silk so I have to order some more before I can continue dyeing.

I dyed some solid colors but then I decided to teach myself space dyeing.  Since these affinity bracelets can use warps of different colors, I thought it would make sense to have one warp with a bunch of colors just for fun.  It was successful.  I surprised myself.  And so much fun.  Got out my paint brushes and painted the silk.

This is what I got:

The dye pots!

The dyes.
My first attempt at dye painting.

Two dye painted warps cooling off in some water.

The solid colors and three painted silk warps drying on the porch.

Close up of my day’s work.

Affinity bracelets!

Three completely different styles of affinity bracelets.  The top has lots of gold thread, some gold plated beads, some two cut beads.  The middle one uses our 11/0 bead mix.  The last one combines tila beads and 11/0 seed beads.

I made peyote tubes for the closures.

Another version of the eye-candy.

Weaving with gold thread and beads

Weaving tapestry and beads but without the shedding device is both simple and quick when you are weaving only a very thin piece.  Using a tapestry needle (the ones intended for needle point or for finishing knitting garments) you can weave under and over the warps.  The only trick is remembering to bury the bead thread so that it can be carried up the piece until you need to use it again.  Once you have woven under and over your warp threads, pull the needle through.

When weaving back, go under the bead thread so it gets caught by the gold thread.

Weave the gold thread back.

Then string up some beads, and weave them using the traditional method of bead weaving.  You want to catch the gold thread underneath the bead thread so it travels up the side of the piece until you need to use it again.

 It’s really fun and simple.  In no time you will have a finished piece!

Finishing The Cuff

When you’ve finished weaving (using any combination of straight lines, different fiber combinations, beads and tapestry techniques) you are ready to cut your piece off the loom. Then, you’ll finish your ends and begin sewing your weaving onto a brass cuff. Easy! 

Weave your tapestry until the inner section (excluding header and footer) is seven inches.  Yes, this is a tad more length than you need.  However, whenever I have gotten impatient and skimped on length, I have found my piece is just tiny bit short making finishing a nightmare.  So, better longer than shorter and better safe than sorry because there is nothing worse weaving wise to create a beautiful piece that cannot be finished because it’s too short.  

Cut your piece off the loom.  I cut as near to the bar as possible.  This is most important for the bottom warps as you need them to be at least four inches in length in order to easily tie overhand knots.  

Weight one end of piece with something heavy.  I’ve used my brass beater.  I have been known to use bricks, books . . . whatever is handy.  This allows you to tie the knots on the other end.  

Begin on one side of the piece by tying the first part of a half hitch knot. 

Pull half-hitch knot until it is flush with weaving.

Make an overhand knot. 

Insert a needle in knot. 

Tighten knot with needle inserted.  Push needle toward weaving.  This will tighten the knot but not allow it to tighten before you’ve reached the weaving.  

Tie all knots on that side.  Since you have fifteen warps you will need to make one of the knots three warps: one warp tied to two warps. 

Trim knots so they are about a quarter inches plus long. 

Trim tails on back of weaving so that they are about half an inch long. 

Size piece to metal cuff to decide hem placement.

Fold over end of piece to back of piece and sew with a whip stitch. 

Size piece again to determine second hem. 

Glue ultra suede to inside of cuff.  We use E6000 but any glue that bonds fabric to metal is fine.  You will be sewing the two lawyers together (the ultra suede and the tapestry) so this bond is not one that permanently holds the fabric to the cuff, but one that holds it in place while you sew up the edges. 

Trim the edges of the ultra suede so that you have about an eighth an inch on all sides.  Don’t worry if this is not perfect.  When you sew the edges to the weaving all errors will be covered up.  Do not over trim.  Err on the wide of too much, not too little, fabric.  While you are sewing you can trim a little more if need be.  As in every case with this piece, more is better.  Less can cause huge problems.

Put glue on back of weaving.  Push the strands of yarn inward and try to calm them down with the glue.  This makes glueing this piece to the cuff much easier because those stray ends will not be poking out all over the place .

 Glue tapestry to cuff.

Start at a corner of the cuff.  Pull your thread through the back of the tapestry to the front.  Then start whip stitching the ultra-sued and tapestry together.

Once you are finished sewing the two edges together you can add your beads!  Bury the end of a new thread inside the cuff.  Pick up three beads.  Whip stitch around the edge of the tapestry and the ultra-suede.  Continue around the whole piece until finished.  You can add more than three beads if you like.  The goal is to cover the stitching and to make the piece looked finished and beautiful.  However you get there is your own personal and lovely touch.

Remember, there are so many different variations of this bracelet. You may want to finish with beads, you may not want to. Experiment and have fun!

Affinity Bracelets (aka grown-up friendship bracelets)

I can’t stop weaving.  I held back until ten until starting weaving. I entertained myself with replacing the belt on the vacuum and then even using it in my studio.  Then I went full tilt.  Warped up the mini for my fantasy of a friendship bracelet:  one using tila beads. Why not?  This is as far as I’ve gotten because I already knew I loved it but had my head swelling with other ideas I needed to try immediately.  
Tila beads and 8/0 seed beads on a rust/orange silk warp.
Next I moved over to the Sixteen inch Mirrix that I now have at the ready on a stand.  It was empty.  I put on three silk warps in different colors.  I forgot to take a picture of it.  Took literally minutes.  Ah, such gratification!    I decided that one of these bracelets just had to include the gold thread.  So I took three strands of it, long strands because I wanted the thread to last for the entire piece.  This is my same approach to the beading thread.  Make it last.  Whatever you are not using gets carried under the thread you are using.  Just wrap around it before weaving and it will get caught and pressed next to the weaving resulting in no finishing work and no need for a backing.  Next time I will take photos of this process.  I was just in too much of a hurry and too excited to pause and take photos.  In this piece I used some two cut 11/0 beads, some 24 karat gold plated 11/0 seed beads, some 10/ 24 karat plate delica beads.  

The next piece is a simple mixture of 8/0 seeds beads and 10/delicas.  I stuck some gold delicas in there toward the right  just for fun.

This next one was woven using http://www.mirrixlooms.com/7bagsofbeads.html.  I created little blocks playing the matt beads off the glossy ones.  Lots of fun.

 This is how I finished the first bracelet.  Just little rings of gold beads holding the two looped ends together.  It’s adjustable.  No need to tie.  I also made little ropes.  Took a matter of minutes.  By noon I had accomplished everything you see here.

Friendship Bracelet from the Mind of Elena

The other day Elena had this brainstorm:  why not weave friendship-like bracelets on the Mirrix loom?  Would be a perfect project for the Mini, she thought.  And was she ever correct.  And the amusing piece is after my silk warp failure, this was a silk warp success!  And the reason for this is that the silk is part of the finishing.  I did not use the no warps kit.  This is very much not for that kit.  In fact, for this you want those warp ends because they become part of the design.  These bracelets are quick and addictive and actually fun to finish.  Why did it take Elena so long to figure this out?

For my first piece I put eight warps on the loom in four different colors.  I wove size 11/0 two cut beads and size 11/0 seed beads, alternating them in both directions so they fit together well for the first inch and a quarter.  I then replaced the 11/0 seed beads with 8/0 seed beads to make the center a little wider. I finished it with another inch and a quarter of 11/0 beads.

 To finish this piece, I twisted together four warps at a time to form ropes.  I then made a peyote stitch tube which I sewed around the two strings.  The bracelet is tightened by pulling on the ends of the strings while on your wrist.  I made the tube tight.  You cold also use a large bead (put it on before tying knots at ends of silk) or even use silk to wrap around the two ends.

 The piece in total took about an hour to make.  Every piece of making it was enjoyable.  The frustration level was 0.  This is a great piece for beginners and advanced weavers who want something fun, easy and satisfying to make.  You could have a whole lot of friends with this bracelet!

For the piece below, I put on only six warps and wove exclusively with two cut 11/0 beads and 8/0 beads.  I twisted all the silk warps together to form one rope.  Again, I made a peyote tube as a closure. This one took even less time to make.

Of course my head is spinning with all the other possibilities.  The concept:  a beautiful, strong, mulit-colored warp that shows and is also part of the bracelet and even the clasp . . . has no limitations for one’s imagination.  And best of all, it can be done on the Mini Mirrix (any Mini Mirrix).

Future ideas:  including some gold thread, of course!  This weekend.

Friendship Bracelet on The Mini

Remember friendship bracelets? This is the grown-up version. Make lots in different colors, give them away, wear them, have fun! This project is super easy and so is the finishing (yay!). From warping to tying on my wrist, this took an hour.

Last weekend Claudia had a little failure using silk warp. This project uses the exact same warp, but because the warp is integrated into the piece, it worked perfectly.

We will be making a kit for this that will come with silk, pretty C-Lon colors (I wasn’t happy with the tan color I used), beads and some of our favorite bead weaving needles.

Here’s a brief overview of what I did: 

First, I tied onto the bar. I used the Mini Mirrix for this project but you could use any loom (including the old Mini that is a little shorter). 
I warped 6 warps across, two of each of three colors of silk. 
To use different color warps, simply tie back onto the warping bar after you have two warp threads of one color. Then, tie back on with a new color and continue as if you were using the old piece of warp. (This means you will go back in the direction you were coming from since you always do a u-turn around the bar when warping.) 
Then, I wove size 8.0 beads using the traditional method. 
Weaving was so fast and easy!
I tied my ends off in pairs using a square knot. 
Then, I braided the pairs of warps together and tied a knot at the end. 
The finished bracelet. Gorgeous, easy and lots of fun! 
If you want to get a little fancier, you might want to try using crystals or even incorporating gold thread. The possibilities are endless and I am so excited to fill my wrists with these!

Crystal and dagger bracelet failure and success

I tried weaving using the No warps method and silk warp.  The silk warp was meant to show and provide nice drape.  It was a failure because it seemed too flimsy and I could not figure out a way to make the two warp ends disappear.

Piece just was not stable

Those yucky ends just were not going to work.

I ripped it out and used a softflex warp instead.  Piece turned out much better and is a keeper.  It also will withstand the test of time whereas the silk piece felt like it could fall apart.

Tapestry Techniques

Weaving tapestry is painting with fiber.  As you learn new techniques you gain the skills to weave different shapes and patterns and to better translate your ideas. The tapestry/bead cuff bracelet is a great place to begin playing with tapestry techniques. Here we will go over three techniques. If you don’t understand them right away don’t get frustrated, as tapestry takes time to master.

If you’re interested in better explanations of tapestry techniques or want to learn more about tapestry we suggest you purchase a book. Kathe Todd-Hooker’s book, “Tapestry 101” and “Tapestry Weaving” by Kirsten Glasbrook are both great books for beginners with lots of detail and easy-to-follow instructions. What we show you here is just a taste! 

I began to take new pictures of my current weave-along bracelet to show tapestry techniques, but realized the pictures we had already taken were very clear. Have fun this week, experiment and play! Remember also that you don’t need to use these techniques in your bracelet. Using them (and/or how many techniques you use) is all up to you and your design.

Selvages: The four sides of your piece.
Warp interlock: When the two ends of weft meet at a warp thread and wrap around that thread before changing direction. 

Tapestry techniques we’re trying today: Pick and Pick, Wavy Lines, Hatching.

A short explanation of pick and pick and wavy lines:
Both of these techniques require that you alternate the weaving of two different color threads. In pick and pick, you alternate them one after another. In other words, thread one, thread two, thread one, thread two, etc.. Wavy line technique requires that you weave thread one twice, thread two twice, thread one twice, thread two twice. Pick and pick produces vertical stripes, wavy lines produces the effect of wavy lines. These two have in common the necessity to deal with the selvages in a slightly unusual manner. You will have to manage these two threads in a way that will guarantee the selvage thread has enough weft around it.In the first case, depending on the position of your threads you will have to wrap one of your weft threads around the selvage thread in order to guarantee complete coverage.

In the second case, the top thread will pull the second thread and by doing so the top thread will cover the selvage thread twice. These techniques take some time to master but are well worth the effort. If you’re feeling intimidated, it is by no means necessary to use these techniques in your cuff but we do suggest you try the hatching technique (described last) at the very least.

Pick and Pick: 

In our example, we’ve used magenta and a golden yellow to begin our pick and pick. We alternate the colors thereby creating vertical stripes. In other words, weave the yellow thread once, and then the magenta thread once (making sure to change sheds every time you weave a new thread) then the yellow, then the magenta, etc… Follow the pictures for a visual of what we did:

First line of yellow

Second line of magenta (refer to earlier in this post to learn how to deal with your edges). Remember to change your shed every time you bring a thread across. 

Notice the beautiful vertical stripes emerging 
To continue with this design, but to add something extra, we stopped the magenta in the middle of the piece and started a purple thread at that place, thereby replacing the magenta with the purple. This allows us to continue the design but with a different color scheme. You could theoretically keep replacing threads as they run out with new ones for the entire bracelet and allow that to be your design. One way to approach this would be continue with the yellow thread and only replace the other ones. That would give you the most interesting effect. This kit may not include enough of any one shade of one color to do that, but we wanted to give you an idea of future design possibilities. We switched to using green after the purple thread as an example of this.

Changing the color to purple
Wavy Lines:

Wavy lines are very similar to pick and pick but instead of making one pass with a color, you make two passes creating what looks like wavy lines. 

Here, we started with two passes weaving with green, then two with yellow, then two with green, etc… 

Follow the pictures to see what we did:

The first pass through with green


This technique also involves two threads but the left thread will stay on the left and the right thread will stay on the right. In a full scale tapestry this is a great way to blend two colors together to create shading. This technique also involves warp interlock because when the two ends meet at a warp thread they each wrap around it before changing direction.

The way hatching works:  The two threads will come meet each other at any place within the tapestry you would like.  The threads must be woven toward each other.  They will then wrap around a common warp thread and head away from each other in the next shed.  These two colors will dovetail into each other.  A lot of other techniques can spring from this one including adding additional colors.  For now and for such a small piece we suggest you keep it simple and just use two colors.

The yellow and blue thread heading toward each other.

Wrap the two threads around the common warp, change sheds and head in opposite directions.

A clear visual of the threads wrapping around a common warp.

See how the dovetailing is beginning to reveal itself!

You can see how useful this technique can be!

Remember that these techniques can take some time to master. Play around! Have fun! And, as always, contact us with any questions and post YOUR tapestry technique pictures on our Facebook Group.


You would think that considering we worked most of the time I was in Seattle with our marketing mavin that returning home wouldn’t be a big deal work wise.  Think again.  I have just raised myself out of the pile of work and disasters (mostly) and feel almost caught up.  I literally have not had a chance to blog, although I’ve really wanted to.  My desktop is filled with photos I wanted to share.  My looms seem to look mournfully at me from all parts of my studio as if they are asking: why are you not weaving?  And my head is full of ideas.

Before I begin the photo essay of my Seattle visit, I want to share this one idea I want to develop.  It’s pretty simple.  I ordered some suede string.  I don’t know what to call it.  Maybe it’s called lace.  In any case, it’s fairly thin.  My idea is, using the no warps kit, run the suede along the outside warp threads with a loop on one end (this will be a bracelet).  While weaving the suede will get caught in the bracelet.  Somehow I will turn the loop on one end and the two loose ends into a clasp.  Maybe I will use some kind of bead on the non loop ends.  It looks wonderful in my head, but I really need to try it.

Okay, Seattle:

Capitol Hill where Mirrix Marketing and Elena live . . . and that is Sam.

Claudia with Squirm worm.

There we are again.

The big moment . . . Layna gets her Mirrix birthday gift.

Another day, another walk with Sam-I-Am

Tourist trap, but I love it:  Pike Place Market

They throw the fish here.  It’s hilariouos.

Future Bead patterns to follow.

Look at that view!

And that one from downtown Seattle.  

Those two . . . so sweet!

Sam is always making friends.

Out of work actor!

Happy Claudia with Sam.

One last Sam and me picture!