tracking

About Me

My photo
Francestown, New Hampshire, United States
I am the owner of Mirrix Tapestry & Bead Looms (www.mirrixlooms.com) and an avid tapestry and bead weaver, among other things. Needless to say, I love my job!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New Bead and Bead and Tapestry Cuffs

Guess what I have been doing?  Yup, weaving endless cuffs on the loom.  Had to get a bunch done for the show, but also for Beadwork magazine for my June article on the tapestry/bead cuff.  It was starting to seem a bit stressful because I had deadlines and you can only weave so fast.  Let me show you some of the results. Want to learn how to make these?  Join our workshop in Solvang, CA in February.  http://www.mirrixlooms.com/workshopsandevents.html  It is going to be so much fun.  You get two teachers and the class maximum is ten.

Before the workshop, we will let you pick your two projects.  At first I thought we would just offer the Delica bead cuff as shown on site, but I am thinking the one below could also be an option.  It's larger beads with two sizes.  I just love it.  Whatever you pick, it's going to be fun and you will learn how to warp the Mirrix Loom and weave on it using the shedding device.  You will learn to weave both fiber and beads.













Beads, Baubles and Jewels

It's been too long since I wrote in this blog.  I do have an excuse.  I have been really busy.  I have proof.  I have pictures.

Let's begin at the end.  As some of you already know, I flew to Cleveland, Ohio last week to film a segment for Beads, Baubles and Jewels.  What an adventure that turned out to be.  Add snow storms to fun and meeting some incredible designers/women who were also on the show plus having to wear make-up and then not flub my lines.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  One thing I've learned as I've aged is that I am up for just about any new (legal!) experience no matter how difficult or how much it makes my adrenalin sore.  In this case, though, because of my six years of having to speak in public as a State Rep., I wasn't even nervous.  I was more worried about the state of my nails.  Let me explain that.  My nails had been trimmed and buffed and the cuticles fixed.  All was well with the nails.  Until I decided to put nail polish on at the last minute in my hotel room and I did a really lousy job.  I had no nail polish remover. I freaked out just a bit until I realized I could push most of it off with my nails and then remove the rest with an emery board.  In the end, they looked fine.  Not as good at the other women's nails who had the good sense to have theirs professionally done the day before the show.

Let me show you some pictures from that day:


Another guest getting ready for her segement.


A picture of the television monitor with another guest.



As I was setting up for the segment.  That's the wrong side of the studio.


Another setup photo.


Claudia wearing makekup.



More back stage photos.

The segment will air in May on PBS.  I am not sure exactly when.  I will announce it on the blog, facebook, etc.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Warping for Bead Weaving on the Mirrix

I had a three hour session today with a lovely woman who was new to bead weaving on a loom and was purchasing her first Mirrix.  It was so much fun to watch her go from the: "I don't quite get what this is about stage" to the "Ah ha, I totally get this shedding device."

But she wasn't the only one who learned something.

We were both having a hard time putting on the second set of heddles. This was a function of the color of the warp and the lousy light today due to overcast yuck out there (I am most often blessed with deep, brilliant, fabulous light and hence am very spoiled).  But it was also a function of:  that second set of heddles is harder to put on than the first.

So I came up with a new idea that worked.  In our PDF instructions we tell you to use the thin metal rod that ends up inside the spring to pick up one warp in each dent.  You then put your first set of heddles around these warps.  This helps you see the second set of warps in relationship to the first set of warps.  What I discovered is:  if you use another rod (this could be anything from a piece of cardboard to a chop stick) to pick up the second set of warps, making sure to bring those warps to the right of the first set, this makes putting on the heddles easy. You don't have to pause to look for the warp because all the warps are clearly marked by the second rod.  They are also already placed on the correct side of the warps with heddles.  Failure rate goes down to zero.

Don't have pictures though.  I will take pictures the next time I warp a loom for bead weaving.  Right now I am trying to get though a zillion tapestry/bead cuffs for my upcoming debut on Beads, Baubles and Jewels.

Have a great Thanksgiving!!!

Warping for Bead Weaving on the Mirrix

I had a three hour session today with a lovely woman who was new to bead weaving on a loom and was purchasing her first Mirrix.  It was so much fun to watch her go from the: "I don't quite get what this is about stage" to the "Ah ha, I totally get this shedding device."

But she wasn't the only one who learned something.

We were both having a hard time putting on the second set of heddles. This was a function of the color of the warp and the lousy light today due to overcast yuck out there (I am most often blessed with deep, brilliant, fabulous light and hence am very spoiled).  But it was also a function of:  that second set of heddles is harder to put on than the first.

So I came up with a new idea that worked.  In our PDF instructions we tell you to use the thin metal rod that ends up inside the spring to pick up one warp in each dent.  You then put your first set of heddles around these warps.  This helps you see the second set of warps in relationship to the first set of warps.  What I discovered is:  if you use another rod (this could be anything from a piece of cardboard to a chop stick) to pick up the second set of warps, making sure to bring those warps to the right of the first set, this makes putting on the heddles easy. You don't have to pause to look for the warp because all the warps are clearly marked by the second rod.  They are also already placed on the correct side of the warps with heddles.  Failure rate goes down to zero.

Don't have pictures though.  I will take pictures the next time I warp a loom for bead weaving.  Right now I am trying to get though a zillion tapestry/bead cuffs for my upcoming debut on Beads, Baubles and Jewels.

Have a great Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weavezine Podcast with Claudia

We recorded this podcast with Syne Mitchell last spring.  I am thrilled to announce that it is now on the Weavezine website:  http://www.weavezine.com/audio/54-claudia-chase-mirrix-looms

"This episode our guest is Claudia Chase, the founder and owner of Mirrix Looms.  We talk about tapestry and bead weaving, and her journey with Mirrix.  We also discuss politics, what it's like to hear color, and other fascinating topics.  After the interview, Claudia features in a special holiday-themed out take."




Please listen to it.  I think you will find it entertaining.

Happy Thanksgiving . . . I love this holiday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Treadle

Lately, I've only been using the treadle when weaving on the Mirrix Loom (I have been using the 16, 22 and 32 inch looms).  Of course, silly me, I only have one treadle here so I have to keep moving it around.  Fortunately, the switch only takes a couple of minutes.  However, Layna would say:  that's a couple of minutes you could be writing about the treadle in your blog.

I am writing this blog and eating a cheese sandwich which I am trying to keep away from the cat who loves to eat anything I am eating.   My treadle is currently attached to loom with a tapestry/bead weaving on it.  And that's the surprising thing.  Well, not really surprising.  You just have to think about it for a few seconds to realize how logical it is that using the treadle for a thin piece is even more logical than using it for a wider piece.  Why?  Because with a thin piece you are constantly changing the shed.  With a wider piece, if you are sticking to the fell line (weaving a straight line of different threads versus building up individual shapes) you change the shed, weave in all your wefts, change the shed again.  It might be many seconds before you change the shed again.  But when you are weaving a thin piece you are changing the shed every few seconds. Obviously, this adds quite a bit of time to the weaving process.  This might not matter to you.  When I am trying to pound out a bunch of tapestry/bead cuffs it does matter to me.  Also, it is less tiring to simply step on one side of the treadle since there is little movement and you barely have to touch it to make change the shed.

Another situation where the treadle is perfect is when you are building up individual shapes.  I do this a lot.  For example, if you are weaving triangle and you have decided to weave the triangle before you weave the space around the triangle.  You will be changing the shed constantly in a short period of time.  The treadle makes quick work of it, if anything in tapestry can be quick work.

I have re-fallen in love with the treadle.  I've always loved it.  It was the first thing we designed after designing the loom because in a way it was why we designed the loom.  I wanted a portable loom that could accommodate a treadle (and a stand, but I wanted the treadle more!).

Kathe Todd-Hooker inspired me to be re-inspired about the treadle.  She fell in love with it.  So I dusted mine off and hooked it up and said to myself:  What gives girl?  Why aren't you always using it?

I think the answer was almost as simple as:  complete laziness or I forgot to put it on or it's in the other room and I don't want to get it . . . great excuses like that.  Come on Claudia!

So I will be asking manufacturing to send me a few of these treadles so I can just hook one up to the three looms I am using and not find an excuse not to use it.  I have a bunch of cuffs I have to weave.

Treadle:  http://www.mirrixlooms.com/accessories.html

There she is!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

String-Me-Along Project Bags!

Okay, I have been searching for the perfect project bags for my bead and fiber stuff.  I have a bunch of different not so practical or functional methods for hauling my stuff around.  I am one of those people who "cannot leave home without it."  "It" is defined as some kind of project.  If I leave home without one I panic.  What will I do if I have three minutes to wait for that kid to get off the bus?  What if I end up at a friend's house and I have nothing to make while there?  And more recently, I spent six years doing bead work at the State House in order to keep myself calm while I listened to endless rhetoric.  It worked.  I did stay calm.  I should handed out bead projects to all the other politicians.  Maybe we could have reached a Zen state of calm and actually gotten something done.

In any case, I have little fold up things that become a surface for bead work.  I have a variety of little pouches to hold beads.  And I have these things hanging out in my glove compartment, in my purse, in my briefcase, on tables, in drawers . . . and I have been in love with none of these systems because none of them really worked.

The other day I was hanging out on the Caravan Bead site (which has recently become a daily activity) and low and behold I stumbled across the "Project Bag."  First of all, I knew that if Caravan is carrying this item which I have seen nowhere else that they must think it's a pretty wonderful product.  I knew I wanted one.  Well, I knew I wanted more than one.  Then and there I decided it was time to make a visit to Caravan.  I needed some beads for kits anyway and I was really in the mood to hang out in the "stacks" (where all the beads live) and a nice long talk with Barry, Caravan's owner, is always inspiring.  The next day I drove the two and half hours to Caravan.  Now I am not an impulse driver.  I hate to drive.  So this urge to go to Caravan must have been pretty compelling.

After our two hour chat Barry lead me to the project bags.  I bought twenty-four and twenty-four of the refill bags.  They are gorgeous, they are practical, they are amazing and they are affordable.

The manufacturer description of these wonderful bags:  We designed String-Me-Along based on every crafter's need for organization and portability. String-Me-Along opens to an ample work surface, and includes a clear, removable Project Exchange Bag to hold your crafting supplies. String-Me-Along rolls up and is secured with a strong elastic band for travel. Extra Project Exchange Bags are sold separately in packs of two--choose the one you need, snap it into your String-Me-Along, and go!

This is the concept.  You buy the bag itself which consists of a lovely surface for doing bead work and a plastic (yes, that would be see-through so you can SEE what's in it!) case with a cool kind of wire mesh design on the side and a zipper.  This case snaps onto the inside of the case.   The case folds up into thirds to produce a case that is 9 1/2 by 5 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches.


These are the replacement bags.  We might sell them singly.  And if fact, we are thinking of packing some of our kits in these bags.  Is that fun or what?


Picture of bag all closed up and ready to travel!



We don't have the bags on our site yet.  Will get them on by Monday.  You can buy them retail from Caravan (www.caravanbeads.com) or from us.  If you want to resell these bags, contact Caravan Beads because they are the distributors for these cases.  Turn around time for an order there is a day!  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tapestry/Bead Cuff

First class at NH Institute of Art yesterday.  Students had a great time.  Got well underway with tapestry/Bead Cuff.  But it was when I showed them the hand-dyed balls of silk that they could use in their weavings and everyone just went totally silent and slipped into one of those "I am looking at color" trances.  It was perfect.

What were they looking at.




Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Workshop in California










Claudia Chase Teaches "Tapestry/Bead Cuffs" and "Bead Cuffs" on The Mirrix Loom
CLASS DESCRIPTION:

This weekend workshop will be about both tapestry and beads!




You will have the choice of doing one beaded cuff bracelet and one woven cuff bracelet or 
two of one type. We need at least 10 students before we can guarantee this workshop. (We will refund your money if we do not get 10 students.

if we do not get 10 students.
*Note: Beginners are welcome in this workshop
WHEN:
February 5th and 6th from 10 am to 6 pm each day.
WHERE:
Village Spinning and Weaving in beautiful Solvang, CA.
COST:
$320 + $95 material fee for the whole weekend
Payment Deadline is December 15th
NO REFUNDS AFTER CLASS IS FILLED (we will offer workshop credits on a case by case basis)
REGISTRATION:
Please email Elena at elena@mirrixlooms.com for more information or to register.
You can also register online here: (click buy)
AREA DETAIL:
Pictures of Solvang:
solvang1.jpg solvang2.jpg*

*photos from http://www.solvangca.com/1/photo/index.html

Note: If you do not have a loom already, You can purcase one from The Village Spinning and Weaving Shop, where the class will be held.
dividerlong.jpg



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Beaded Tapestry Cuff Bracelet Kit

Either buy the kit or just follow these instructions!


Instructions for Making a pastel cuff Bead Bracelet using the Mirrix Loom



Materials Included for making one bracelet:

Nine different colors of Delica beads
A brass cuff
Ultra suede
C-Lon beading thread
Bead pattern

Necessary tools not included in the kit:

A Mirrix Loom with or without a shedding device
14 dent warp coil
A piece of cloth for holding beads; a beading needle, a blunt edge needle
glue

Warping your Mirrix Loom:

Warp Coil size:  18 dents
Number of warps:  22
Number of rows:  99

You can use any of the Mirrix Looms to create this lovely bracelet.  This piece can be woven with or without the shedding device.  It’s your choice.  Try Both!

You will want to reduce your loom’s height to minimize the amount of warp you will use.  If you have a larger Mirrix Loom, this can be accomplished by using the extra warping bar.  Use the 18 dent coil for this project.  You will need to have 22 warp threads. We have included a bead pattern to demonstrate the placement of colors.



To Begin Weaving:

Place nine piles of the different colored cylinder beads on a cloth in front of your loom.

Cut a length of C-lon thread about a yard long.  Tie the end of this thread to the bottom of the left threaded rod on your loom using a slip knot so that you can easily release it and weave it back into your piece later.  Beginning with the first row, pick up three of each bead color according to the pattern provided.  Continue weaving by following the pattern, stopping at 99 rows. 

To remove the weaving from the loom, loosen the tension on the loom and remove the warp bar. Lay your piece flat and trim the ends so that you have at least four inches left to work with (the longer the better).  Tie overhand knots with warp pairs.  When you’ve tied all the knots, trim the warp to about an inch in length.

Assembly:

Ultrasuede:  Lay the beadwork on the Ultrasuede and trace the outline of the beadwork onto the Ultrasuede.  Trim the Ultrasuede to match the size of the beadwork. 

Gluing:

Use a toothpick to spread a thin, even layer of adhesive over the back of the beadwork and to one side of the Ultrasuede.  Place the brass cuff blank between the two and sandwich them together.  Smooth both pieces to remove any gaps and make sure they two pieces are aligned.  Allow to dry overnight.

Sewing: Sew the Ultrasuede to the bead work using C-Lon thread.  Use a whip stitch.  Try to be as neat as possible but don’t obsess because you will be disguising imperfect stitches with a pico edging.

Edging:  Cut a yard length of C-Lon thread.  Bury the end between a corner of the beadwork and the Ultrasuede.  You will begin a pico stitch by entering the back of the first bead, picking up three beads and entering the front of the next bead.  Come out through the back to the front of the next bead, string up three beads and enter the front of the next bead.  Continue in this fashion until you reach the end of the row.  The picot stitch for the two ends will consist of coming out the side of a bead, stringing three beads, entering the bead again.  These stitches will be closer together and might ruffle a bit, which is pretty.


ENJOY!


Friday, October 8, 2010

New beaded cuff bracelet kit

Designing a new kit can be lots of fun. Or it can be pure torture. The second experience describes the grand time I had on Tuesday and Wednesday doing something I normally love to do: designing a new kit.

All I wanted to do was revise the colors for the current tapestry bead cuff. For one who loves color and normally finds it easy to work with, this should have been a fun task. However, my mind has been flooded lately with fiber. I have been dyeing silk in gorgeous autumn colors. Those colors are saturated and rich and really very different from the colors one finds in beads. So since my mind was filled with these colors plus traces of turquoise and maybe even a little black I thought I would translate that into a new beaded cuff kit.

What a complete failure. I did not take pictures of my failures. Suffice it to sat they were awful. Besides the inability to translate my fiber vision into beads was a secondary problem: my based stash was not adequate. I was trying to design from bead sample cards. It it is not possible because one cannot address the interplay of color. I was ready to get in my car and drive to Caravan beads to play in their show room. Eventually, I may have to head up there. Maybe even buy one tube of each color. Now that that would make designing a lot easier.


What i wound up doing? I scrapped my original idea completely. I kept some of the pastels, added a nice rich magenta and also added a lot of metallic green iris beads to accent the pastels. It worked. After two days of trial and error, I finally had a design and colors I loved. But the process was anything but fun.

What I learned. Color in fiber and beads is two very different stories. They don't always translate well if at all. One has to make a huge shift to accommodate each one. I might get my rich reds and magnet as and blues and yellows and oranges in a beaded piece yet but it's going to take more than two days of thought.

Now to wait for the beads and put together those new, now lovely, kits.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dyeing, tapestry, autumn

I have been dyeing silk (commercially spun and my own handspun (for the tapestry cuff kits).  Having been away from this activity for quite some time, I had to get my feet wet all over again.   I made all the mistakes you make when you have forgotten an art form.  But I went through them pretty fast and by day three I almost had almost recaptured all the knowledge that had seeped out of me over the years while the dye pots got a little rusty.  I knew I had arrived when finally I was able to do what I do best:  look out the window, see colors and somehow get those colors in the dye pot and on the yarn.  Autumn has just begun to arrive here.  Embedded in the green trees there are splashes of orange/yellow/dull red.  Below are the colors I dyed based on those leaves.


The results happened so fast.  I had been dreaming about these colors the night before.  I focused on trying to dye that perfect salmon color.  I have a thing for that color.  It's in that pile two the left.  Then I went for a slight more orange salmon (next to it) before launching into some pretty bold pinks and a darker salmon that is pretending to be orange.

Along with the rest of the dyed silk I have pretty much dyed the complete silk palette for the kits.  Of course in addition to the silk is rayon floss in a bunch of colors, perle cotton and some great novelty yarns.  

Below is a photo of a tapestry for a bracelet and a tapestry for a cell phone pouch.  These reflect some of the colors in the kit.




Monday, August 30, 2010

The End of Summer

When you have kids in school and a husband who is a teacher, summer is a redundancy of excitement and let down.  It ends.  Routine resumes.  Although for me personally there is little difference between summer and the other seasons except the weather.  And the fact that my mind started to sink into that summer mode and I managed to put off lots of deadlines and then entirely forgot they existed.  I did this with my new gig at the NH Institute of Art.  I forgot to show up for the first faculty meeting, forgot to get my ID, forgot to log into my Institute email account and read the fifty emails that were waiting for me and forgot to deliver piece for faculty exhibit (it will get there today, a week late).  And I forgot, when agreeing to give a talk to the Bead Society of NH that I would be in Seattle that day, a far cry from Manchester, NH.  Let me see, what else did I allow to pass to the other side, the non-working side, of my brain?  Oh, forgot to deliver loom with weaving on it for an exhibit on Labor Day.

I am trying to remember today all those things I forgot.  I might even tackle that pile of bills.  Spent this morning changing my credit card for all automated payments because the only card I ever used was cancelled after twelve years because I paid it off every month and was reaping way too many miles and points.  I kid you not.  They just up and cancelled it and now all sorts of payments are forgetting to be paid.

You know summer is over when you drive seven hours to deliver your kid to college.  Ms. Joni (on left) accompanied Zach (on right) and me.  Despite the hugeness of Cornell, it was a pretty gentle experience.    They didn't tow or ticket your car even if it was in a no parking zone which mine was quite frequently.




Returned just in time to utterly fail at our first attempt at a Webinar.  Gathered our wits about us, and simply filmed a video on how to weave that famous tapestry cuff.

http://www.mirrixlooms.com/video.html

Then I got really ambitious and started putting together the tapestry cuff bracelet kits.  Here is a sneak preview of one of those:


Waiting for beads to arrive . . . I hope today . . . so that I can finalize the kit and get it in the shopping cart.

New Webinar scheduled for Wednesday.  We will finish weaving the cuff, remove it from the loom and attach it to the brass base.  




Monday, August 2, 2010

New tapestry cuffs

Three new ones in medium size and small.  The ones on the left and bottom are silk, lots of woven beads and perle cotton with a little bit of novelty yarn.  The one on the right was woven on a closely spaced warp of perle cotton which shows.  The weft thread is a railroad ribbon yarn.


More shots of the three.  I love bracelet towers!


This is the tapestry cuff collection thus far.  I am shipping out most of them tomorrow.  They are going to land at Semantics gallery in Edmonds Washington (near Seattle) where I am teaching a workshop all day September 18th.  The cost is $155 and includes all the materials you need to make a tapestry cuff excluding a Mirrix Loom.  You can email me (claudia@mirrixlooms.com) or Elena (elena@mirrixlooms.com) for more information.  It's going to be a blast.  Maximum students will be eight and  it's filling up fast.  Don't you want to make one of these?

Hand-dyed/hand-spun Tapestry yarn in little skeins

Ten skeins of this fun stuff.  I had as much fun dyeing and spinning it as you will have weaving with it.  There is a deal for it hiding somewhere on our website.  I don't know where it is.  Elena does.


 You also can win it along with other cool stuff if you enter our contest:

My Mirrix's Day Out.  One of the great things about the Mirrix family of looms is their portability. Even our biggest looms can be picked up and thrown in the back of the station wagon. The smaller looms were designed to be so portable that no one would think twice about taking their Mirrix to the beach or a soccer game or that workshop across the country. We want to know where you've taken YOUR Mirrix. Take a picture of your Mirrix somewhere fun and exciting (on top of a mountain, on a sailboat, at the top of a famous landmark, at work… you get the picture) and email us that picture with a short description of the location. We will choose one winner and put all our contestants pictures in an online gallery. The winner will receive:


-Everything to make a beautiful bead cuff bracelet
-Ten small but beautiful skeins of Claudia's own and-washed, hand-dyed, hand-spun tapestry yarn.
 -Two inspiring books: "The Sea" and "Myths and Folktales" (Check out our store for more information on these fantastic books.)
-15% off your next order of $100 or more (you will receive a special code).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Claudia teaches at New Hampshire Institute of Art

For details about this workshop please go to:  http://www.nhia.edu/assets/Uploads/PDFs/CE--CT/Fall-2010-Course-Schedule.pdf

I will share here though:


Bead Weaving on a Mirrix
Bead and Tapestry Loom

DEC025 5 Weeks Chase (LO 002) Mon. 9:30 – 12:20 pm (Oct. 18 – Nov. 15) This foundation class will introduce students to the art of weaving on a high-end bead/tapestry loom. Three projects will teach a variety of weaving and finishing techniques. Students will finish the course equipped with the skills necessary to design and create woven bead and bead/fiber pieces independ-ently. Projects will include a beaded cuff bracelet, a bead/fiber pouch, and a beaded split-loom necklace. A loom will be provided for use in class. If students want to take their looms home, a $250 deposit will be required. Additional materials will be available for sale from the instructor. Prerequisite: None. Limit: 8

TUITION: $132 STUDIO FEE: $80 payable to the instructor on the first class MATERIALS: sharp scissors, graph paper, pen or pencil.


Should be fun.  I can't wait!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Poem I found from past

A Violent Change of Season

Today,
I cut the white warp
off the loom,

removed all trace of failure.
Another day,
it might have been worth

repairing.
Not today:
today I cut things off,

I cut things free.
I make a ball of the wool
I dispose of.

Last night
I looked at the clean white square
of wall

and I was terrified
of the loneliness in
a clean white square of wall.

The baby is not
a baby
any longer.

When she discovered
the workman's truck
had squashed her little red hoe

her red heart beat thunderous
sobs and chokes,
inconsolable despair.

For two hours
the clench of arms, the
promise of replacements,

sympathy
did not ease that first
traumatic shock,

that sense of first loss.
I did not stand on the sideline
of pain.

I jumped into those crowded waters
naked and nervous;
I got wet.

My little girl cannot save me
from the wall's insistent
whiteness.

Even a charged hug
won't do,
won't remove the glare.

I float off on wretched
little seas of sickening ebb and flow,
a violent change of season.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tapestry/Bead Cuffs

A beginning piece with beads being inserted.  Very poetic, I thought.



More beginnings:



The Cuffs!








Leaning Tower of Cuffs!


Want kits?  Leave a comment if you do.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend Tapestry Cuff Experiment

Inspired again finally.  Inspired in that way that you can't wait to wake up so you can return to the experiment with nice new day light.

So this was the idea:  to make four tapestry weavings to turn into tapestry cuffs using a brass cuff as a base.  I have thus far succeeded in making one that I like that is a few posts down in this blog.  I wanted to experiment with a different warp sett and different materials so see what would work.  The previous cuff was woven at 14 ends per inch.  For this experiment I put two warps on the loom at 10 ends per inch.  There was enough warp to weave two bracelets and then rotate them to the back to weave two more.

The results were:

The left piece is made entirely from a commercially dyed and spun worsted weight yarn.  The second piece was made from hand-spun/hand-dyed silk, perle cotton, commercially spun/hand-dyed silk and some novelty railroad ribbon yarn.  The third piece was made from hand-spun/hand-dyed wool and a little bit of hand-spun/hand-dyed silk.  The last piece was made from commercially dyed and spun worsted weight yarn and some rayon ribbon yarn.

I turned the far left piece into a cuff and this is the result:  



I haven't bothered to "finish" it yet with beads because I think I dislike it although it is starting to grow on me.  It just seems too thick, too much like a something you would wear to stay warm!  However, I love the colors.  At first I literally threw it in the trash until I realized that I had to show you my failures as well as my successes!  But this morning, a day later and not quite as judgmental, I am thinking maybe I will do some bead work on it just for fun and to see if I can even out the edges and make it presentable and maybe even wearable.  But certainly I will resist throwing it in the trash again.

Next piece:



After not liking the previous results too much, I didn't bother to turn this one into anything.  Also, it was a bit short.  Actually, all of them were a bit short so I had to rearrange the weft a bit off the loom to make them a little longer.  I had woven them about six and a half inches long.  They need to be SEVEN inches long on the loom to be the right size when taken off the loom.  That does NOT include the headers which can be any length you want from about a quarter of an inch to a half an inch.  They get folded over so do not count in the final measurement.

I am going to go to the fourth piece now:



All I can say is:  DULL.  Also too short and I didn't think it was worth messing with.  It didn't "speak to me" at all.  I think in the future I would use thinner hand-spun wool and mix it up more with the hand-spun/hand-dyed silk which has a lot more of that very necessary shine.  Otherwise, again, it looks like something to keep you warm more than beautiful.  Jewelry is supposed to be about beauty.

Now for the final one:



What does she have that the others lack?  She's not as bulky; her colors are bright with a lot of shine and depth; the novelty yarn works and gives it texture and interest; she's delicate on your wrist even though she's quite wide (inch and a half).



So this is the direction I am going in.  I need to dye and spin some more silk, gather up some other delicate yarns and experiment with more of these cuffs.  I like the sett of ten ends per inch.  I double up a lot of the yarns.  In fact, the method is to start with two yarns and then eliminate one of them and replace it so that you have this gradual shift in color and not just bold stripes.  All the yarns were woven from edge to edge.  I would like to experiment a little with shapes and maybe some designs, although just letting the yarn speak for itself worked pretty well.  I also want to add a stone to the middle and maybe some beads before attaching to the brass cuff.  Right now the only beads are the ones I used to embellish the sides (necessary to cover up the stitches and give it a nice finish).

Back to the loom!