Weave-Along 3: Finishing The Beaded Purse

Frantically weaving to get this done.  Just wove the last three black rows but want to chat a bit before I begin the final finishing and photos.  How exciting.  I will actually be able to give this as a gift.  I am jealous of whoever will receive it!  Okay, I do have one of my own.  So I am not completely jealous.  But you know how you like to have two of something you love and I love this case!

I found the final Greek keys a little tricky to weave.  It’s so easy to pick up too many of one bead and mess up the pattern.  I have a great tool that I use when I discover I’ve strung up one too many of a color and it’s in the middle of the strung beads and I don’t want to unstring and restring them.  Yup, it’s called my two front teeth.  Why I can’t just have a pair of pliers near by to do the same thing.  Why do I always revert to my teeth?  And every time I do that I risk breaking the thread.  Haven’t broken the thread on this piece yet so I continue with this silly risky behavior.  How many beads did I have to break?  Today, three.  That’s quite a lot.  But once I got through the final finicky small Greek keys I was pretty much good to go.  Hey, I didn’t mess up the final three black rows at all!!!

Now to finish it.

The last row and cutting off loom

Before you remove piece from the loom SEW THROUGH THE LAST ROW OF BEADS.  If you don’t, the piece will start to fall apart because the beads are held in by the crossing of the warp threads.

Loosen the tension on the loom.  Cut off leaving as much warp thread as possible (you need at least four inches to make an overhand knot . . . but more is always a better).  Don’t let the piece crash on the table.  A bead could break.

Next, tie off the ends.  This is how to go about that.  Put some kind of weight on your piece.  I use my heavy brass beater, but anything from a stack of books to a brick (and yes I have one of those in my studio too!) will do.

Take a pair of warp ends and tie the beginning of a square knot (the knot you use to tie your shoes).  This is illustrated by the figure 1 in the above diagram.  Just do that first one.  Do not do figure 2 and 3.

This will get the beginning of the knot firmly against the edge of the tapestry.  Do not pull so hard that you distort the piece.  Just keep the edge line of the tapestry straight.

Now find yourself a thick needle or a thin knitting needle . . . anything that’s pretty thin and sturdy. You will use this to help place the overhand knot close to the square knot.  Let me first show you an image of an overhand knot:

You are simply treating the pairs like one thread and tying it around itself.  Okay, so what’s up with the needle?  Well, when you tie this knot it’s not particular about where it lands and chances are it will not land very close to the edge of your tapestry.  So, if you stick a needle in that hole before you knot is secure and push it toward the edge of the tapestry you will be able to control exactly where that knot will land.  Once it’s flush with the edge of the tapestry, remove the needle and tighten the knot.  You can use this trick for so many things.

Tie off end warp pairs first

Then tie all the rest.

Trim your warp ends but not that short.  I left about an inch and a half.  

Make a hem at each end of weaving.  You will fold over two rows.  Either glue or use an invisible hem stitch to keep the hems in place. 

Line the inside of the purse with the silk, with the wrong side of the silk face down and the right side facing you.  You will have to fold over all the edges of the silk.  It is helpful to pin the silk to the bead weaving.  Stitch around the edges of the silk/bead weaving with small, invisible stitches.  The only place these stitches will show is on the flap of the purse.

Neatly pin down the silk lining.

There is a reason I don’t sew for a living!

All sewn up and ready to become a case.

Fold the purse so that the body of it is 3 and a 1/2 inches long.  Starting at the bottom of one end, sew through one of the two bottom rows of beads to start a thread.  Have the thread emerge from the last bead in one of the rows.  String three beads (in the instructions we said to string five beads after the initial three. . . you can either continue to string three or string five depending on how deep you want your case to be) and enter the corresponding row’s last bead.  Sew through the bead in the row above, again coming out of the row’s last bead.  String three beads this time.  Sew through corresponding rows last bead.  Continue to travel up the piece with this stitch.  Repeat on other side of the purse. This gives a lovely edge to your purse as well as a bit of depth.

Folded up and ready to stitch together.

The two black rows should be the bottom edge of the piece.

Starting to stitch with beads the bottom edge.

Keep doing this!

This is as far as I got.  I am supposed to go to Boston in three minutes and I have not packed yet.  Yes, I left this until the last minute.  I did not think it would take all day, but it has!  I am going to take this with me and finish it tonight.  It’s Saturday, by the way, and Elena will post this for me Sunday morning.  When I come back Sunday afternoon I will have my purse finished and will provide some more photographs.  Otherwise, I will not get out of here for another hour or so.

I am leaving that last bit because we ended up not publishing this yesterday.  I did go on my visit and then, to my surprise, ended up driving to Albany, NY the next day to meet my son at the bus station.  At least I didn’t have to drive all the way to Ithaca, which is seven and a half hours from here. 

But while I was in Boston I did finish my purse and because I was relaxed and enjoying the company I had a blast doing it.  While trying to rush out the door and get it done, I wasn’t having so much fun.

So these are my final pictures:

I used the gold iris beads to do the sides of the flap.

Picture of side of purse where I’ve used beads to sew it up.

That’s it folks.  I am done!  And it was fun.  Please post your pictures!


Finishing The Tapestry Purse

-This week we will be finishing the tapestry purse. We will give everyone one more week to finish their beaded purses, since that project tends to take longer and it seems most people are still working. We’ll do the finishing of that project next week!


We are at the end of this project.  I hope you’ve had fun weaving it.  Those of you who have posted pictures have done an amazing job.  I truly am impressed and inspired by your work and hope that you will continue on your tapestry journey.  Clearly, we need to do another tapestry weave-along.  I have a great idea for a project.  It’s a piece I taught years ago in a workshop.  Once the New Year has rolled around we can start on this.  But now back to the work at hand.

Weave your piece to at least thirteen inches.  You can make it longer if you’d like.  Compare the size to what you would like to put inside.  A little longer will better accommodate an iPhone, for example.

The last thing you need to do once you are finished weaving the body of our tapestry, is to weave a footer.  This, along with the header, will be folded under your piece and not seen.

Now it is time to cut the piece off the loom.  Loosen the tension a bit and cut the threads so that they are at least four inches long.  More is fine, less causes problems when tying off your ends with overhand knots.

Next, tie off the ends.  This is how to go about that.  Put some kind of weight on your piece.  I use my heavy brass beater, but anything from a stack of books to a brick (and yes I have one of those in my studio too!) will do.

Take a pair of warp ends and tie the beginning of a square knot (the knot you use to tie your shoes).  This is illustrated by the figure 1 in the above diagram.  Just do that first one.  Do not do figure 2 and 3.
This will get the beginning of the knot firmly against the edge of the tapestry.  Do not pull so hard that you distort the piece.  Just keep the edge line of the tapestry straight.

Now fnd yourself a thick needle or a thin knitting needle . . . anything that’s pretty thin and sturdy. You will use this to help place the overhand knot close to the square knot.  Let me first show you an image of an overhand knot:

You are simply treating the pairs like one thread and tying it around itself.  Okay, so what’s up with the needle?  Well, when you tie this knot it’s not particular about where it lands and chances are it will not land very close to the edge of your tapestry.  So, if you stick a needle in that hole before you knot is secure and push it toward the edge of the tapestry you will be able to control exactly where that knot will land.  Once it’s flush with the edge of the tapestry, remove the needle and tighten the knot.  You can use this trick for so many things.

In the below photo my warps are all tied off and trimmed to about a half inch and a tad.  The thing about overhand knots (and this is why we did not continue with the square knot) is that they stay without being under pressure.  A square knot is great, for example, for tying on warp that will remain under tension but they can be pretty uncooperative when not under tension.  They like to come undone.  It does depend on what you are tying.  For example, any kind of knot in wire tends to not want to come undone but knots in, let’s say, rayon love to come undone.

You will notice I’ve also cut the wefts so that they are uniform length.  At least one inch but not more than one and a half.  We don’t want them to sneak through to the front but we also don’t want them to be too bulky.

Close up for those cool knots!
The back side with all knots in place and weft trimmed.

This is how it looks from the front.  Our next step is to sew under the header and footer and to sew up the slits.  In the below photo they are not yet sewn up.  They look fine.  You can barely see the spaces but once you turn this piece into a functional item those slits might cause a problem.  First of all, the weft ends will want to creep through them to the surface of your tapestry.

The front side before sewing up slits and sewing down header and footer.

 Turn the header or footer to the back enough so that the white does not show on the front and sew it down.  Doesn’t have to be fancy, just has to stay in place while you sew on the silk liner.

Now do sew down the other end.

Now to sew the slits.  Do it from the back making sure your stitches do not show on the front.  I just carry the thread to the next slit after I’ve put a little knot at the end of the former slit by sewing under some weft yarn and around the thread.  Sew up any slit that is longer than a quarter of an inch.  Ones smaller than that will not cause any problems.

It is really easy to make is not show not he front because the weft is so thick so even if you have sewing phobia, you should survive this activity.

Now for the lining.  We have provided in your kit a piece of silk which is well beyond the size you will need.  Place your piece on the silk and trim the silk so that you have an inch left over on each side.  Then place the silk on the back of your tapestry.

Fold the edges of the silk underneath the linking and pin down all around the tapestry to hold it in place for sewing.

Once that is sewn in place, fold your tapestry so that there is enough flap left to suit you.  Ours is about two and a half inches.  You want to sew up the sides leaving a small hole (about half an inch at the bottom corners).  This is where you will be hiding the ends of your strap.  If you are not going to use a strap, then just sew to the corners.

Making as strap can be done two ways.  You can either make a rope or a braid.  Below is a rope.  I’ve combined the novelty yarns with yarn from the kit.  
Making a Rope:
-Cut a piece of yarn two and half times as long as the desired final length. Cut at least four-to-six pieces of yarn.
-Tie one end to a post or doorknob.
-Have a helper nearby for when the yarn is twisted tight. 
-Hold the other end and step backwards until the yarn is in a taut, straight line.
-Start twisting and keep twisting until the rope is very tight. Always twist the yarn in the same direction, don’t let go, and stay in place – as the yarn becomes tighter don’t release the tension by stepping forward. The tighter the twist is, the better the end result.
-Get the helper to hold the yarn firmly at the halfway point.
-Bring the end toward the tied end, keeping the yarn as straight and tight as possible.
-Ask the helper to release the yarn. It will twist around itself although it may need some adjusts by hand so the twist is smooth.
-Cut the end from the doorknob and tie a knot at this end.
-Tie a knot at the end that was folded and cut so there is a knot with fringe at both end.

My rope using novelty yarn and wool weft yarn.

A braided rope using a kumihimo disk or stand.  This is my braided rope in the making.  Follow the directions for the disc.

Using beads to disguise your sewing and to attach the strap

Once you have made your strap, tie knots at either end if they are not already tied.  Stick the knots into the two holes you left at the corners of your purse.  You are going to use beads to sew on the strap.  String up a few beads (a variety of 8/0s and 11/0s of your choice) and sew together that hole at the bottom, making sure to stick your needle through the strap as well as the purse.  The goal is to make it pretty and secure.  Then head up one side of the strap, threading three beads at a time and sewing through the edge of the strap and the purse.  Once you’ve sewn up one side, you will head back down the strap and sew on the other.  The strap will be pretty much covered by all those beads, showing just slight in the center.

Once you’ve got the strap in place you will want to sew beads around the flap (covering the seam between the silk and the tapestry) as well as around the top edge of the purse.  The final product will have a beautiful finished look because you will see beads where all the seams are.  And beads are beautiful!

Then using your gem stone as a guide, make a loop of beads in the center of the edge of the strap.  I made a loop and then sewed in a extra beads to make it a little thicker.   But one loop of beads is fine.  Just make sure you sew back through it a few times with your thread to make it sturdy.

Determine where you should sew your gem stone.  To do so come up through the purse with your thread.  Pick up eight 11/0 seed beads. Sew through the stone and then pick up eight more 11/0 seed beads and sew back through the purse exactly where you thread came out of the purse.  Sew throughout the beads and stone at least one more time for strength.

And you are done.  Look at that gorgeous purse you just made!

You should be so proud of yourself.

Weave-Along 3: Weaving and Weaving Those Beads

Not a lot to  report here except that I diligently wove this piece and had a great time doing it.  Once you get into the more detailed patterns, it’s easy to pick up the wrong beads.  At least for me it is.  I am not so great at following directions, even my own directions.  So I had a reasonable failure rate, but mostly I just hummed along and got really annoyed when the light started to fade because I prefer working in daylight.

Bead weaving is pretty straight forward once you get going.  Pick up beads, weave them.  Pick up beads, weave them.  When not using the shedding device you have to be careful to sew through all the beads.  When using the shedding device you have to make sure to change the shed every time.  Other than picking up the beads in the wrong order, that’s about all you have to worry about.

My progress:

Actually, I am five rows past there.  I am a little bit into the Greek keys and have about one third to go.

The piece is ready to be rotated to the back somewhat because I can no longer operate the shedding device.  Just loosen your wing nuts and pull up on the warping bar until your piece is at a comfortable position.  Before tensioning your loom again, feel how nice that woven fabric is.  It is ironically drapey and lovely.  One would not expect glass beads to have such drape and softness.

Your goal is to try to finish weaving this piece this week so we can cut it off next weekend and begin finishing it.


Weave-Along 3: Finishing The Tapestry Eyeglass Case

I decided to finish the eyeglass case (or it could be an iPod case if you make it a tad wider).  Those of you who are working on the original purse, just keep on weaving and we will post finishing for that next weekend.  I am going to post the finishing for the smaller piece.

I have to tell you, it was really fun to finish.  I was sort of hoping I could get away with not using any beads simply so it would be more “manly” but there were stitches I needed to cover up and the beads were the only option.  I love the way the beads look.  I don’t know if my brother-in-law will like the beads as much.  I might have to try a second one where I am really careful with my sewing so that it doesn’t require beads.  But being a lover of beads and especially the way they can cover things up so beautifully . . . . it’s hard to not use them.

Last weekend we ended with the piece off the loom and the warps tied off, weft ends trimmed.

The next step is to back the piece with silk.  Silk makes everything just that much more beautiful!  These stitches will only show at the opening of the eyeglass case, so be careful if you are not going to finish with beads to make those top stitches as neat and invisible as possible.

My stitches below.  I’d give them about a C plus, maybe.

The next step is to sew the bottom and one side together.  The other side, obviously, is where you fold the case.  This is where you want those neat little stitches again if you are not going to fall back on the beads to make it look good.

You could be done now.  I wasn’t.  I used about three seed beads for each pass.

 Then I sewed beads on the side and bottom.  Sometimes I used three, sometimes four or five.  I also used a combination of size 11/0 and 8/0 beads just for fun.

I really loved the final result.  Even snuck my eyeglasses into it just to see . . .

You don’t have to give it away.  You can keep it and make another one!

Continuing to Weave

We hope you got some time out this Thanksgiving weekend to do some weaving between cooking and eating, but if not, you won’t be falling too far behind in the weave-along. This week, we’re continuing to weave and have explored (below) another option for finishing your tapestry purse. Take your time and enjoy it! Remember to post pictures of your progress. Our Facebook group is a great place to do that.

Happy beginning of the holiday season!

Claudia & Elena

PS: We’ll have some fantastic deals for Cyber Monday tomorrow! Remember to check back!

The Beaded Purse

We will post pictures of the beaded purse with a little more progress later in the week, but basically for this week, you’ll just keep on weaving! Please let us know if you have any problems or questions. If you’re still stuck on warping or putting heddles on, check out the little videos we made to help guide you!

The Tapestry Purse

For those of you who are weaving the original design for the small tapestry purse, keep on weaving until it is at least thirteen or fourteen inches long or even longer.  It’s your choice.  Decide what will live inside it and how long it needs to be to have enough depth to fit those items.  I felt  at thirteen inches mine was a tad too short because my cellphone only fits in it sideways.  It’s too long to fit in it vertically.

For those of you who have decided to weave using the second method (weaving your wefts in one direction and then ending them all and starting a new set) I have completed that piece.  But just to give you more food for thought or food for weaving, I made this one shorter so that it will be an eyeglass case. That was six inches and a half long.  If I had gone for maybe seven and a half inches it would have worked as a cellphone case.  But it’s just shy in width to fit my cellphone.  I wanted to show you all the possibilities of weaving with this yarn on this warp.  Plus, since I started the second piece on the same warp as the first I did not have enough warp length to weave another full tapestry piece.  Another reason was:  this is a great gift for a guy and I do plan to give this eyeglass case to a male for the holidays.  I really am making as many gifts as I can, all of them based on our current kits.

Ready for some pictures!

Not quite done!

Getting there!  Note the straight edges.  Very important.

Adding the header.

Header done.

That is a measuring stick.  But you can’t really see the numbers.

PIece with all her hair before tying off the ends in overhand knots.  Weight the piece with a brick or book or whatever and then tie overhand knots.  Stick a needle into the knot before it is closed and push it toward the piece.  That way the knot will land where you need it to land.

I’ve trimmed the ends to about a half an inch.  I also trimmed the weft ends to about two thirds of an inch.

Next steps:

1) Fold header and footer over and sew to back of tapestry.
2) Sew up slits.
3) Line back of tapestry with silk fabric.
4) Sew together (fringed edges and bottom) to form an eyeglass case/cellphone case.
5) Bead around sewn up edge and around top of case to decorate/disguise sloppy sewing job (in my case) although since this is being given to a man I might step up my sewing skills and skip the beads.

Next week:  Finishing this piece and cutting the other tapestry piece off the loom.

Weave on!

The Woven Purse: Beginning to Weave

Quite a few years ago when Elena was a “wee babe” and I was determined to learn how to weave tapestry, there was no internet.  I had briefly taken a tapestry class while living in San Francisco when pregnant with Elena.  We were given rigid heddle looms and not a whole lot of guidance.  They were also doing “natural” dyeing.  Which sounds good.  But even though the color producing material was “natural” the chemicals they were using to make those colors stick (mordants) weren’t so great, I thought, for that little fetus.  So I quit.  By then I had bought my own rigid heddle loom but rather than weave tapestry, I wove about ten alpaca scarves which I gave away to family and friends.  It wasn’t until after Elena was born and we were living on the East Coast in Northern New Hampshire that I decided to learn tapestry.  I had no books (they weren’t in my local bookstore or library) and only a vague notion of what I was meant do do.  I knew that the warp needed to be covered.  I knew that I was intended to weave shapes of some sort.  But I didn’t know much more.  OH my gosh. I made every mistake possible about a thousand times over.  I have this very stubborn personality that doesn’t let me give up.  So I plowed through my self instruction in tapestry for several years.  I came to realize a couple of things within the first year:  rigid heddle looms are really bad for weaving tapestry, tension is the single most important things when weaving tapestry and it was time to buy a tapestry book.

A wooden tapestry floor loom was just waiting in someone’s barn for me to buy.  I hauled it home an set it up and learned that tension is indeed the most important thing.  Weaving on this loom was a dream.  Now it was time to really understand and learn tapestry.

It took me a few years to get good at tapestry.  I created a bunch of really grand failures.  I saved some of them just to remind me of my roots.  Certain concepts seemed so hard to get inside my head even with a couple of decent tapestry books (although some of the really great ones to be found today were then just a gleam in someone’s eye).  What shed?  What weft?  Who can cross over whom and why and when?  Weaving in opposite directions?  Are you kidding me?  Why???  But as these concepts settled in tapestry became easier and easier and I tore out less and less.  I am pretty comfortable with most tapestry techniques now (not all, though) but I still make mistakes.  You just can’t take this medium for granted.  It always wants to test you.  Ah, but worth learning it is!

So get ready for a fun, frustrating, time-consuming ride.  This is not going to come to you over night (or maybe it will and aren’t you the lucky one!) and this purse may not be perfect.  But it will be a great beginning to, I hope, a life time of tapestry weaving.

We suggest you get a good book on tapestry.  We sell them on our site but you can also get them elsewhere including the library.  It’s like having a dictionary when you write.  It’s a good place to look up things when yo aren’t sure or need reminding.

I realize that not everyone will want to jump into this piece for their first foray into tapestry:

Thinking about it, I realized that although in some ways it is the perfect first piece because it teaches you two very valuable techniques:  weaving in opposite directions and slit tapestry.  However, as I wove and photographed the details of this technique I realized that for those of you who have never woven tapestry before this might turn out to be very frustrating.  So last night I sat in bed in the dark for hours and hours thinking about what I could do to make sure everyone has a great experience weaving this small purse.  I had already created the beginning weaving of the above purse for this blog and was planning to just add a little more before posting.  But last night I realized I would have to create a secondary piece for those who want to experience a somewhat simpler piece and yet still experience tapestry.  Maybe the above piece should be a second project, not a first, for some.  Or maybe some of you will want to combine the techniques.  Start off with the “easier” one and end with the more difficult one.  In any case, no matter what path you choose, you are going to have fun.

That being said, I am going to post first the above purse and then below I am going to post and entirely different approach.  So PLEASE read or at least look through this entire blog before deciding which path you want to take.  And remember, you can start with one, decide it’s not your journey, unweave and begin a different journey.  The goal is to learn, to have fun and to create something you are proud of.  Let’s begin.

The Tapestry Purse employing the techniques of weaving in opposite directions and slit tapestry

A few words about this piece before we begin.  I am going to show you a picture of the finished piece before it was sewn into a purse.  This design is not set in stone.  In fact this piece is not the piece I am weaving for this weave-along.  I am weaving a different piece and I can promise you it will not be identical to the first piece.  It will have the same feel, the same pattern idea, and the same colors, but it won’t be identical.  I don’t want you to copy me exactly.  I want you to get a feel for the techniques and then make your own color combinations, your own shapes.  Yes, this is sort of a sampler, but not really because the same technique  keeps getting repeated which gives you room to fly.

There she is:  my first tapestry made from this kit.  

Let’s begin . . .

To begin with, you are going to start four weft yarns, all traveling in opposite directions.  By doing this, wefts can travel into each other’s areas and be in the correct shed.  That most likely will make no sense to you.  It might take this whole weave-along for that to make sense to you.  It might take a year to make sense as it did with me.  But someday it will become second nature.  Don’t get frustrated, just try.
Your first weft thread will start where your warp thread ended. See how the tails meet behind the warp threads?

To start your second weft, push it’s tail in between warps 20 and 21 or thereabouts.  Don’t start getting to specific about where you begin or end these wefts.  If your square is a little smaller than mine, so be it.  We aren’t going for a carbon copy of my piece.  I want you to start off sort of copying me to get the  hang of it.  For example, you do need to start with four wefts.

The orange weft tail starts where the green tail ends.  It travels away from the green weft (whereas the blue and green wefts travel toward each other).

And lastly, the orange weft heads toward the yellow weft.  Because the end warp is raised, the orange tail is in fact in back of the weaving.

From a little distance you can see what we’ve done.

Change sheds and weave every thread once.  The blue will be woven to the left to the edge of the weaving.  The green will be woven right until it reaches the yellow thread.  The yellow thread will be woven left until it meets the green thread and the orange thread will be woven all the way to the right edge of the weaving.

How it looks thus far.

Change the shed and weave back from whence you came with each thread.  I want you to just build up color areas with slits in between.

I don’t seem to have a photo of this but please weave one more time after the above photo so that your blue thread ends to the right of the blue square, the green thread ends to the left of the green square, your yellow thread ends to the right of the yellow square and your orange thread ends to the left of the orange square.
Now we are going to throw in a new element.  We are going to make a pink square in the middle of the blue area.  The nature of tapestry being what it is, you can’t add or take away just one weft unless it is at the very edge of the weaving.  Otherwise, you’ve got to add two wefts.  Stick the tail of the blue weft in between warps 5 and 6 and weave to the left.  Stick the end of the pink weft between warps 6 and 7 and weave under one warp thread. Weave the existing blue weft to meet the pink weft.

Weave the rest of the squares.  Then weave the left blue toward the pink, the pink toward the blue and the blue to the green.

Weave the green four warps into the yellow area (this is what I mean about being able to weave into another color area when your wefts are traveling in opposite directions).  Weave the yellow to meet the green.

Continue weaving these color areas.

And look what you get!

Weave the pink and right blue weft toward each other and bury ends behind tapestry.

Change shed and weave the left blue weft over the pink and the right blue weft.

Weave the green weft for a couple of warps and then bury tail behind weaving.  Begin a pink weft where it ends and weave as far as the blue weft.

Weave the yellow weft a couple of warps and then bury end behind weaving.  Start a purple weft where the yellow weft ends and weave into the orange territory a couple of warps.  Weave the orange weft to meet the purple weft. We’ve started some new shapes!

Weave everything back.

And one more time.

Stick the end of the orange weft behind the tapestry and start rose/purple weft.

Keep weaving these new colors.

Remember how  I said you can begin just one weft at the edge of the weaving?  Here we want to add a yellow weft. Because the warp thread is up, if we just inserted the weft, the tail would essentially be in front of the weaving.  So wrap that tail around that warp and stick it into the weaving between warps 1 and 2.  It will then be behind the weaving.

 Weave everything back once.  You now have a yellow square starting on the left.

Keep weaving all these color areas.

This is how it looks!

Continue with this concept.  You pick where the colors change and the width of your shapes.  That’s a tall order but it makes this your piece.  Trust me, when I tried to copy exactly the finish purse I was not having a lot of fun.  This piece is all about trying to master the two techniques of weaving in opposite directions and being able to add and take away wefts as well as slit tapestry.  
More photos of weaving with this method:

What you should have finished by next weekend (or more if you’d like!):

The Tapestry Purse employing the techniques of weaving in the same direction and slit tapestry (easier, but just as pretty!)

After weaving your header, stick four pieces of yarn between warp threads to determine the width of each of the squares you will be weaving.  Make each space a slightly different size.  Don’t stress.  Whatever you do will be fine.

Insert your first piece of weft yarn where your header yarn ended.  Weave to the first marker yarn.

Insert the next color where in the space occupied by the next marker yarn. Weave in the SAME direction as the last weft.  Do this for all five weft yarns, weaving them all in the same direction and sticking their ends where the marker yarns are.

Weave each weft back not going past the marker yarn.

Keep weaving these weft yarns back and forth until you build up rectangular shapes.

Remove the marker yarns.

End each weft end by sticking it in between the warp yarns where they end.

 Weave the yarn at the each of the piece in a few warps.  You will start a new weft where this ends.

Start a new weft yarn where the edge weft yarn ended.

Place a new set of markers.  Make sure they occupy a different place from where the old markers were.
Start new weft yarns at the markers and weave to next marker where you will start a new yarn.  Remember, these weft yarns all travel in the same direction.

Remove the markers when you can clearly see where your new shapes should be placed.  Weave these shapes until they are approximately as tall as the previous shapes.  Use your eye to gauge what you feel looks best.

Once again, end your weft yarns at the edge of your shape with the exception of the side weft, which will get woven back a few warps.

Place new markers.  This time I’ve used only four.

Begin new wefts.

Remove markers and continue weaving new wefts.  The following records my progress using this method.

Continue with this method.  Have fun.  See you next week!

Welcome to the 3rd Mirrix Weave-Along

Welcome to the 3rd Mirrix Weave-Along 

We are very happy to be starting our third weave-along today. This is a very exciting event not only because we’re doing two different projects, but because we are taking on more advanced projects than we did in our previous two weave-alongs. As participants, we hope that you will learn new skills through the process. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions, that’s what we’re here for. 

Remember to share for a chance to win! 

Our weave-alongs are not meant to be experienced alone! Participants are encouraged to ask questions and engage with other members of the weave-along via email and social media sites. 
Post pictures of your progress, ask questions, answer questions and discuss your projects via our Mirrix Facebook PageMirrix Facebook Group and our Mirrix Ravelry Page. You can also check out our new Google+ page!

Remember, one active participant (this is key, you must be actively posting your progress to be eligible) will win an OttLite at the end of the weave-along. It could be you! Check out OttLite’s website here.

Following are the two blog posts with warping instructions for the woven and beaded purses. 

Thank you and good luck! 

Claudia Chase & Elena Zuyok
Mirrix Tapestry & Bead Looms

Mirrix’s Weave-Along 3: The Beaded Purse

We are ready to Begin!

Pull out your patience and your love of beads and weaving, and let’s embark  on an adventure in bead weaving that is sure to be the first of many.

Tools needed to weave this piece:
A Mirrix Loom 8 inches wide or wider
A twelve dent warp coil
A beading needle
Materials need to weave this piece:  

Myuki Size 10 Delica Beads:
50 grams of black
10 grams of Met Patina Iris
15 grams Met Gold Iris
2 bobbins black C-Lon beading thread
Duponi silk for lining

If you do not own the Mirrix kit and pattern, please email claudia@mirrixlooms.com and I will send you a PDF of the full printable pattern.

Setting up your Mirrix Loom:
The minimum warp length is 22 inches.  This can be accomplished using a Mirrix Laniloom or 12 inch loom.  Larger looms, because of their added height, require an extra warping bar kit to put on a 22 inch warp or simply make the loom as short as possible (leaving two inches of threaded rod showing for adjustment purposes) if you do not have the kit.
Warp the loom for use with or without the shedding device using the 12 dent warp coil. Use whichever method with which you feel the most comfortable.  You will need 43 rows of warp.  The final piece will be 3 inches wide and 13 inches tall.

Please click on one of the two links below to refresh yourself about warping with or without the shedding device for bead weaving.  

Please note:  We have used the bottom spring kit for this piece.  If you use kit you will not have to weave in the two threads to help isolate your pairs of threads before weaving your first row.

Below are some photos from my warping moment.

I ran out of warp at the very end.  All I had to do was tie off the old thread and tie on a new one and continue in the correct direction.
You see I was almost done!

A big nod and thanks to the McKinley family who both pointed out that one can balance the warping bar with something pretty.  They sent me a lovely collection of ribbons for this purpose.  I did not center my piece to avoid the the center screw in the shedding device.

Ready for heddles!

A ribbon holding in place the bar that has been woven underneath one warp in each dent to more easily identify which warp to put the heddle around.

Heddles on and ready to go.  Just have to remove the bar and stick it in the  top spring.

I am ready to weave this purse!

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.

Weave-Along #2 & #3

Due to the great success of our first weave-along, we’re planning not one but TWO more. The first will begin on September 25th. The second will begin on October 30th  November 13th  and will be a more in-depth and complex weave-along which is why we’re leaving a little more time for us to plan for it.

The October 30th  November 13th Weave-Along: 

This project will be a small woven purse OR a small beaded purse.

Beaded Purse 

You can purchase our beaded purse kit here: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/beadsthreadbeadkits.html

Tapestry Purse

Coming October 14th

Email elena@mirrixlooms.com to join the weave-along and for a 25% discount code on both kits for participants!

The September 25th Weave-Along: IN PROGRESS
We will weave either a black “elegant cuff” bracelet or a white “wedding cuff” bracelet. Kits, with real 24 k gold thread, are available for purchase, or use your own materials!
CLICK HERE to PURCHASE A KIT *email elena@mirrixlooms.com for a 25% discount code for participants!

This kit contains the following:

Brass cuff one inch wide
C-Lon Cord size 135
14k gold thread on a silk core, white silk thread
8/0 and 11/0 seed beads for weaving and embellishment