About Me

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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Claudia teaches at New Hampshire Institute of Art

For details about this workshop please go to:

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

I cut the white warp
off the loom,

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

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,

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

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!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Heather Kahn's article in Beadwork Magazine!

Congratulations to Heather Kahn for her article in Beadwork Magazine.  Not only did they publish her article, they put her on the front cover!  Lovely crystal bracelets in stunning graduated colors.  Not done on a loom, but we'll forgive her for that.  Maybe next time.  Heather Kahn, by the way, is the daughter of Barry Kahn who is the owner of Caravan Beads.  Both Barry and I have been blessed with children who have decided working for the family business (at least part time) is kind of fun.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I am spinning again

I stopped spinning in earnest about seven years ago.  Mirrix, family and then politics got in the way.  I just didn't have the stretch of hours necessary to clean and wash the fleece, dye the fleece, comb and card the fleece and then spin it.  I had forgotten the bliss of standing in front of dye pots and making color magic.  But you can literally stand there for hours.  An entire day will disappear and you find colored fleece hanging everywhere in the house.  The next step is to blend those colors either with a drum carder or combs.  Then comes the spinning.  I still love spinning but there is a point where I've had enough.  It's good for watching movies.  Yesterday I spent probably six hours straight spinning and watched two movies.  My son  asked me if I was serial movie watching.  Yeah, well I was.  And spinning frantically.

My wheel.  She still feels new.  Made of cherry.  Gorgeous.  Double treadle.  

The colors do not come through.  The red and dark green were grey fleeces so the result is very heathered.  The front purplish one is actually rose and green and blue and purple.  You can sort of see the variation in the photo.  The light green is actually yellow and green and little bit of blue. The back purple ball is a rose purple.

I dye in the fleece so I can combine colors to get exactly what I want in the final product.  Plus, it is so much easier to dye in the fleece.  You don't have to worry about even distribution of the dye, which can be a problem when dyeing already spun yarn .  I am a very sloppy dyer and am perfectly suited to this method.  

The problem with dye is that certain color absorb faster than others.  You can mix up yellow and blue to get green but once the dye hits the pot one of those colors might get absorbed faster than the other.  Let's say it's the blue.  So the blue gets sucked into the wool slightly faster than the yellow.  Those dye sites are now full and will not absorb the yellow.  The yellow will go into the sites that haven't absorbed the blue.  It's not that you are going to get blobs of blue and yellow and an absence of green, but you might get an uneven spread of color.  The way to avoid this is to manage your acid and base chemicals and stir a lot and fast in the beginning, with a high ratio of water to yarn.  You can see why I prefer the easier path .

Before I learned how to spin I did dye all my commercially spun wool.  Yes, I did get pretty good at it.  But I prefer this method.

I am toying with the idea of selling kits of hand spun.  Anyone interested?  It's almost impossible to buy hand-dyed, hand-spun tapestry yarn.  

Friday, July 2, 2010


Just talked to one of the founders of Weavolution (also a Claudia and grew up just a few miles from me at about the same time . . . you don't meet many Claudias).  What fun.  So much to talk about.  So I am directing you to that site so you can play there:  Have a blast.  Join up. There is a tapestry forum.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canoe adventure

We are back and I survived without any major damage to body parts.  Three days exploring white water on a river and one hike up a very steep mountain to view cliffs my husband imagines I would like to climb someday.

Claudia in a canoe

But the "best" photo is of me getting ready to do some white water.  Dig the get-up.  Maybe I can use it as a Halloween costume someday.  It's scary enough.

Don't you just love the color scheme?

And then there is the reason for that get-up:

So I am back and yes we did the above.  Four miles of it the first day.  The second day we did the worse part a couple of times and then went for a hike to calm Claudia's nerves.  The last day we did eight miles of it with enough calm water breaks to keep me calm.  I thought I had done my adrenalin thing as a State Rep. but this, well, it's different.  Ever try to spot rocks under the water (you can see them only because you can see what the water does around them) wearing tri-focals?  I think I need to break down and get a pair of distance glasses because it's kind of hard to see when one third of the time you are looking through a reading lens.