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!

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 ( 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

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
February 5th and 6th from 10 am to 6 pm each day.
Village Spinning and Weaving in beautiful Solvang, CA.
$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)
Please email Elena at for more information or to register.
You can also register online here: (click buy)
Pictures of Solvang:
solvang1.jpg solvang2.jpg*

*photos from

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.

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

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.


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. 


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.


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.