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!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Raven Rocks Studio

Crossed a little bit of water on a ferry and drove for a little bit as well to arrive at Raven Rocks Studio on Widbey Island in Washington.  I finally got to meet Windwalker nad his lovely wife Mary Jo, both amazing artists but also amazing people.  Elena had already had the pleasure of meeting them so finally it was my turn!  What follows are some pictures from the lovely afternoon. 

Raven Rock Studio

Windkwalker doing what he loves to do best.  I can sure relate to that!

Pam, a Mirrix Lom customer, standing in back and and Anne, a weaver sho has her work for sale at Raven Rock Studio.  Her work is absolutely gorgeous.  I showed her how to put beads on a weft thread in order to weave them into her scarves.

That's Mary Jo on the left and Lynn (she works at Raven Rocks and also has artwork there) in the middle.


That's a copy of the current issue of Beadwork turned to my tapestry/bead cuff article.

Weaving talk!

Elena working hard on her new beaded bracelet design.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Going West

Leaving for Seattle in a couple of hours.  Bye bye to the beautiful lilacs that have just finally come out.  

Maia will take care of the studio.

Butter and Noodle will certainly take over the chair in the sun with the lovely smell of lilacs behind.

The beautiful tree (have no idea what it is) with the canoes.

More beautiful lilacs.  They will be gone when I return.

Bear is finally out and about and part of the house not just hiding in our bedroom.

See some of you in Washington, some of you in Oregon.  I can't wait.  Here we come Elena!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bear and Noodle

The boys are finally feeling comfortable around here.  Took a while because they really missed Julie, the woman who rescued them.  They are finally warming up to me.  It was worth the wait.  What sweet teenage boys they are.  I am starting to understand their personalities  Bear (the grey one) is very verbal. He yells until he gets what he wants.  Noodle hangs back more and watches.  If you want to get Bear's attention, just pet Noodle.  He goes nut because he wants the attention.  So he jumps on Noodle and covers him so that you have to pet Bear.

I left for a couple of days and Bear was so mad at me.  I have to leave again in a few days for ten days.  I can't imagine what a state he will be in when I return.  Julie says she will visit regularly.

So here is the picture I just took of the two new boys:

Noodle is on top.

You can't see it, but Bear has double front paws.

Thank you Elena

For winning that pendant ( and inspiring me to weave these two tapestry pendants.  Well, it was your idea, after all.

Yesterday, I warped up a sixteen inch loom (could have been a smaller loom, but one with a shedding device) which happened to be sitting empty on my work table.  I used an 18 dent spring and some C-Lon beading cord.  I made the piece about 24 warps wide.  I used 100% hand-dyed silk for one and 100% commercial rayon floss for the second one.  There are no hard fast rules for this piece except maybe to make sure you use fairly thin warp and fine weft so that this piece is a miniature and not just a small tapestry.

I finished the two piece by folding over the ends and backing them with ultra-suede.  I then trimmed them with beads.  I filled each piece with a penny for weight and good luck.  Lastly, I sewed a circle of beads for hanging.

I think these pieces would do best on a piece of rattail or a thin strand of leather.  A complicated necklace would take away from the pendant.  A simple beaded necklace would also work.

Silk tapestry

Rayon floss tapestry

Compare the two!

I threw on a silk cord, but I think I can do better than this.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Picture of Claudia doing Beads, Baubles and Jewels episode

There are am after ten minutes of filming or maybe before the ten minutes of filming.  

Okay, so it's rainy and I just wanted to post something.  Tried to post this photo before but it didn't work.  Now back to the rain and the fact that my husband plans to force march me up a nearby mountain in the rain because he thinks that sounds like fun.  I will be so proud of myself if I come down in one piece.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beaded Cuff Bracelet finished

As I promised, I finished the beaded cuff bracelet today.  Not so pleased with the results.  Pleased with the pattern itself and how it should have turned out, but because I made it too long (did not realize that the 3/4 inch cuff is five beads shorter than the one inch cuff (go figure!).  I did remove four three or four rows of beads, but it was still a couple of rows too long.  I wasn't able to remove those rows because it was becoming a tangled mess.  The result is I did not stretch the piece on top of the cuff and it is bunched up i places.  Also, the interface between the ultra-suede and the bead piece at the ends is a little floppy and a tiny bit of thread shows.  These pieces really need to be perfect, and I could never sell this one although I could wear it and no one would notice the mistakes that to me are glaring.

There is no sun today (might as well be living in Seattle, where I hear there is sun today) so I had to use my ott light to take the picture.  Wasn't bright enough.  But it's going to be cloudy and rainy for four days so I will not have an opportunity to take a picture with real sunlight until Wednesday.

The bracelet, imperfect as it is:

See the ripples in the middle there .. . . really annoying.

Looks better at this angle although because of the light not a great picture.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mirrix projects in the News, sort of

Got a call from Elena today.  "Did you read Beading Daily yet?"  I hadn't.

I am including this Beading Daily issue below.  Now granted, Jean is using a bead loom to weave fiber and hence does not have the luxury of a shedding device, which I believe is really necessary to make our version of a tapestry cuff.  Still, Jean is combing fiber and beads and giving me the credit for doing so.    I love sharing and being shared.

At the bottom of this issue was some information about beads, baubles and jewels series 1400 as well.  The below picture was included.  Nice.

Beading Daily
Learn How to Add Fiber to Bead Loom Projects
One of the nicest gifts I've received from a bead friend is my custom-made bead loom, designed/made/gifted by David Dean. It's nice because it's really long so that there's lots of room for hand movement, it has a handmade heddle, and heck, it looks nice on the wall of my studio. I did a few beadweaving projects when I received this mighty loom, but there's been a project sitting on this thing for a couple years now, just waiting to be finished. As most of you know, there are some projects that just aren't going to get finished, no matter how good your intentions are. This was definitely one of them. Just about the time I admitted this and was going to chop the threads to clear the loom, I ran across a project by Claudia Chase that got me excited about reviving this project and weaving on a loom again. In Claudia's project, which can be found on the latest Beads, Baubles, and Jewels DVD (series 1400), she incorporates fibers into her bead loom designs. Brilliant! The resulting cuff bracelets are colorful, textural, and simply wonderful.

So, yes, the thought of adding fiber to bead loom projects made me turn my attention back to my ignored little bead loom project. My project, which started as a design for a book I was writing, was super pattern-oriented. It made me realize that I'm truly not a pattern-follower, and when you're not a pattern-follower, designing patterns isn't really that fun. Anyway, I liked the idea of saving this project with a little freeform fiber addition, so I did a little playing:

1) When I weave beads, I start by stringing enough beads to fit between the warp threads. (The "warp" is the threads I prepared the loom with; just check with your bead loom manufacturer to learn how to warp your particular loom.) Next, I pass under the warp threads, pop the individual beads between the threads, then pass through the beads over the warp threads to keep them in place.
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2) To add fiber to the project, I start a separate thread (apart from the beading thread that I've already been using). I can either thread the needle with the fiber I want to use or, if the fiber is too thick for a needle (like this ribbon), I can stitch into the fiber with a small bit of beading thread or use a Big Eye needle to pull the fiber along as I weave.

3) With beads, I pass back through them to lock them in place on the warp as I did in Step 1. With fiber, it's a little different since there's nothing to pass back through. So, to lock the fiber in place, I'll weave over and under each individual warp thread when I go one way, then under/over when I come back. (You can see the over/under, under/over pattern in this photo.)

4) Next, I press the fiber down the warp to tighten it against previous work. I can switch fibers as I go, add a bit of bead loomwork next, then switch back to fiberwork. The possibilities are vast!

I sure liked playing with this idea. Thank you, Ms. Chase. If you'd like to find out more about weaving on a loom, check out Claudia's presentation on Beads, Baubles, and Jewels. While you're at it, view the dozens of other great projects, tips, and techniques that come in every series of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels.

Happy beading!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Beadwork Magazine and beads, baubles and jewels

Just yesterday Elena asked me when the beads, baubles and jewels episode I was on would be available.  The answer was sitting in the mailbox, but I hadn't checked the mail.  I did just now because I just received an email from someone who read my article in Beadwork on weaving a tapestry/bead cuff.  Oh, I thought, it must be available and maybe, just maybe, a copy is in my mailbox.  So I scurried up the driveway to discover that indeed there was a copy of Beadwork . . .

. . . lying right on top of the disc from beads,  baubles and jewels.  Pay dirt!

For your own copy of Beadwork, check out your local big book store or purchase online at:  I am going to see if I can get some copies to sell on our site.  Stay tuned.

As for beads, baubles and jewels . . .  check this out:  Scroll down to the 1410 series.  Then find out where you can see it.  I know that after it airs you can find it on this site.  Since I don't have a television, I can't really give you any more information than that.  

Now to watch it myself.  Egads.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Zentangle jewelry tags

First the cats:  yes they are wonderful and yes they are the most adorable teenage boys you've ever seen.  Very cuddly when you can get a moment with them.  Currently, they are in hiding.  They miss their human Mom who spent the first eight and a half month of their lives with her.  So although it's not the same situation as rescuing an abused or neglected cat, but it still will take a week or so for them to trust me.  Yesterday, I spent the entire day locked in my bedroom with them.  Got to hold each one twice.  But now they've snuck out and our house has a thousand hiding places.  Just have to wait for them to reappear.  I am hoping food will help.  But I digress from the topic of this blog:  Zentangle jewelry tags.

Since I will be putting my work on our website for sale in the near future as well as taking pieces to shows (I normally just sell my work in galleries) I decided I needed jewelry tags.  I have a stamp that says:  Mirrix Studio.  But just the stamp alone looked really uninteresting on a small square of white paper. So I whipped out my color pencils and a black pen and went to town.  Not exactly works of art, but colorful and give a nice balance to the beadwork.  At least I think so.  Plus, it gives me a chance to scribble.

Here they are: