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About Me

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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!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Transferring a beaded piece from one loom to another

They said it could not be done!  Well, not really.  They hoped it could be done.

A while back Fire Mt. Gems asked me to create a bead tapestry on an eight inch loom.  The picture was to be somewhere in their catalogue or on their site.  I don't remember where it ended up and if it even ended up anywhere.

The other day I was asked if I could whip up a weaving on a loom with a shedding device (they realized they had not pictures of bead weavings on a loom with a shedding device).  They needed it yesterday.  I told them it would take me at least a month to weave such a piece and that I don't have time to do that but I could possibly transfer the piece that was on the eight inch loom onto a twelve inch loom.  They were shocked and pleasantly surprised.

The eight inch loom in question had been living at NOA Gallery for a long time.  I needed to retrieve the loom and work my magic.  I picked up the loom yesterday.  This is how she looked:

Eight inch loom with bead weaving

The transformation is below.  Granted, this is not a functional setup.  There are half the number of warps one needs to actually weave, but the piece is already woven and all they needed was it to look like the shedding device is functional.  Yes, I am endlessly patting myself on the back for this.

The reason I am sharing this is to show you that you can transfer a weaving from one Mirrix to the next or even from another loom to a Mirrix if the universe lines up correctly.  I have to say this was even fun to do and I was pleased as can be with the results.  Fire Mt. Gems is thrilled.

Transformation complete!




Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Making a rag tapestry purse

You can win this purse

I was in the mood to play with something new.  Reached into my warp stash and came up with lovely rose colored (they are slightly different in color) very high-quality cotton warp.  Rolled the two colors into a ball so I could use a double warp.  Without three hands trying to manage those two tubes would have been difficult at best.  Warped the loom.  Put on shedding device.  Used a ten dent coil every other dent.  A twelve (six dent in other words) dent coil would have worked just fine.  Make it as wide as you'd like.

I have a lovely stash of already stripped "rags."  It's actually beautiful first quality fabric but you can use rags.  What a great way to use up cotton shirts, etc. that you don't wear anymore.  Or you can go to the fabric store and buy something you love.  Stripping the fabric is a bit of pain and should probably done outdoors because it coughs up a lot of little cotton fibers you don't necessarily want floating around your house or studio.  I did this stripping twenty years ago.  I had to dig into that closet to find this stuff.  So glad I saved it.  In the past I've used these "rags" for table runners that last and last and last.  The deal is:  if you use high-quality warp and high-quality cotton rags your piece will last for a very long time.  I've also made a couple of rugs that unlike commercial rag rugs I've purchased have lasted for twenty years after dozens and dozens of washings.

It took me about four hours to:  warp loom, weave and finish purse.  Not bad for a whim.




Below is  the back of the purse after it was sewn together.



This is the front of the purse.  That's the thread I was using to sew it up.  I attached seam binding to both back ends to cover up the tied warp ends because I decided not to line the purse.

   Below finished purse with soon to be attached braided strap.




This is the finished purse.  I added a braid I had hanging around my studio for a strap.  I sewed the braid to the outside of the purse and the embellished the edges on both sides of the braid with bead soup.  The button is a hand-blown glass button I had hanging around.  I certainly was  using up leftovers on this piece!



Below and below and below:  detail shots of the bead soup edging.




Back of finished purse.


Front of finished purse.

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www.mirrixlooms.com


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sexy new Mirrix loom pictures: a sneak preview

The Little Guy Loom at his BEST!

Big Sister looking really good.

Inspiration at Cornell


Spent the weekend at Cornell visiting Zach, my son.  Managed to remember to have my camera on hand.  Even remembered to use it a few times.


An Eagle . . . I don't know exactly which Eagle.  I do know that he just sat on that branch even as we got closer and closer.  Finally, we were about five feet away.  At that point he turned his back on us.  Guess he wasn't too afraid!  He was so beautiful.  What a gift.  He lives on the Cornell "plantations".  I expect there is no hunting there so the wildlife feels pretty safe.




Frank Lloyd Wright . . . but who really made it?

Forget who this is . . . but I love it.  

I did manage to capture some of the amazing colors in this even though it was behind glass.


Name the artist who painted this and we'll give you a10% discount off your next Mirrix order.


Love the shape of this.

Can't you just see that woven?



Took a little tour of the campus art gallery.  She was our favorite.  Her back story:  take a real model and put some kind of material over her in sections. Once it stiffens, remove.  Then piece it altogether to make a mold.  Then fill with some kind of polymer.  Add hair and other details.  The hair was sewn in one strand at a time. It must be weird to know your exact likeness is sitting in a chair being stared at by the likes of us.  


She really does look real.  Eye balls are glass and when you are close to her you feel like she's going to slap you because you are staring at her.


And finally a nice meal at the Moosewood Restaurant with Zach!



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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finished Handspun Tapestry

I couldn't resist taking this picture of Maia (the shy one):





Now for the finished tapestry.  I've taken a photo of the back so you can see how I finish my tapestries.  I never sew a solid piece of material to the back because over time that can distort the piece.  The strips hold in stray pieces of yarn and give it a more finished look.  I usually attach a strip of velcro to the top and the accompanying piece to a wooden strip which attaches to the wall.  Because this piece is so small, I didn't bother to do that although I might later.

I've used bead soup to embellish the top and bottom of the piece.  I covered up the "house" with bead soup and hung glass leaves around it.  This piece is called "Shrine Two", the second in a series of very simple handspun pieces embellished with beads, glass and metal charms.  Quick and fun to do and a great way to play with handspun without getting very serious.

Back of piece


Front of PIece



Monday, March 14, 2011

Handspun yarn tapestry

I decided it was time to play around with handspun yarn and tapestry.  I have a very small stash of handspun yarn right now and no dyed fleece to spin.  Clearly, I need to stoke up the dye pots and and get some pretty dyed fleece to spin so that I can really play with handspun yarn and tapestry.

I dug into my tiny stash and came up with the beginnings of a very simple piece.  I added two bits of commercial yarn as well as some of that railroad yarn mixed with my hand-dyed silk.  Still, the colors I needed were missing.  I get colors stuck in my head and if I can't find them I get very frustrated.  So, I am a little frustrated with this attempt.

Here are the photos of what I've done thus far.  That box with a triangle on top looks like a house.  Not at all my intention!  When this piece comes off I am going to decorate it with beads and charms and I will tone down that weird house shape.  It's amazing how our preconceived notions of the world make us see things in shapes that are not at all intended.  Ever notice how you can see a face in just about anything . . . a shadow, a cloud, a tree branch.  I think we are programmed to see and recognize human faces whether they exist or not.

I will continue with this piece unless it gets me really angry.  But, as I said, I need more yarn.  This is ridiculous working with leftovers.





Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Those cuff bracelets again!

I am having so much fun with these things.  This is the latest made with that wonderful yarn from Thaki. I used my hand-dyed silk for the warp and just the Thaki (all four colors eventually in the strip) for the weft. The warps are closer in the middle and hence the Thaki shows more on the sides where there is more space.  I sort of did this on purpose.  Well, at first it wasn't on purpose but I realized I like the effect so now I've been trying to do it on purpose.

Dreaded cold/flu whatever.  I never get sick (or I say I never get sick but apparently I do and then refuse to remember being sick).  I need to get over this soon because I don't have the time or patience to be blowing my nose 24/7 and having my face feel like someone hit it with a baseball bat.

Now for the pictures!

On progress with Butter helping a whole lot







Closeup on loom






Saturday, March 5, 2011

Kiya and Kiowa: mustang rescue

For once, I brought my camera.  What follows are pictures of the two horses that will be living at my house in the spring.  My neighbor, Lisa, is rescuing these two beautiful mustangs.  Once she gets up the correct structures, the horses (along with our two horses) will be living at both places.

The grey Mustang is called Kiya.  She was on a truck bound for slaughter when some lady up in Maine removed her from the truck and rescued her.  Kiya ended up at the same place as Kiowa.  I will get to that in a second.  Kiowa, the dark brown mustang was living (I am not sure where) with three other horses.  They were all fine.  She was totally neglected.  Her coat was completed caked with two years of mud and her skin was infected.  She was bone thin.  Her hooves had grown into a pancake shape.  She also ended up at this wonderful place:  http://www.horsetenders.com/

Both horses are in training.  Because they are Mustangs, and don't come with a lot of negative human induced baggage, it will go pretty quickly.  Both horses are sweet and gentle.  We are lucky to bask in their gentleness.

Please check out the above the website.  These folks do amazing things with these wonderful Mustangs. Their training is kind and compassionate and puts the horse first.  Gone are the nasty days of hurting horses in order to "make them behave."  These horses just want to be respected and love.

I will be invited back when it's warmer to help give Kiowa a badly needed bath. She still has a bunch of matts, but at least she's not covered with them.  Still, they can't feel very good.  Her mane needs a good washing and combing, but it is so gorgeous.  






Kiowa

More Kiowa

Chris (the trainer) and Kiya

Claudia and Kiya

Claudia and Kiya





Claudia and Kiowa


Chris working with Kiya

Kiya's beautiful face


Is that one beautiful face or what:  Kiowa

Kiya wondering when she can stop training

Kiowa rolling

Kiowa going down for her second roll


Friday, March 4, 2011

I should have waited for the mail goddess to arrive

Because in the mail was both the railroad yarn (Tahki Scoop) and the Waverly yarn samples and a skein of the waverly yarn.

The light is getting a little iffy here, but let me describe the colors.  The one on top there is light blue, light green, yellow.  Very flowery/summer-like, sort of.  More the pastel range.  Go clock-wise around the circle and you've got the red, pink, orange yarn.  Love it.  Continue onto this rather amazing combination of purple, green, blue, orange.  It really works.  And then to the rather stunning orange, yellow, red, green yellow, purple . . . their rainbow version.  That is also a keeper.  My buy finger is itching.  I think I may have to buy some more this very minute for fear they might go away and I will have to search to the ends of the earth for more.




Now for the waverly samples.  There are about a thousand colors. Some are so close (the whites in particular) that I can barely tell the difference. Most are just variations on a shade.  But so many.  In the perfect world we would all have access to:  every color of waverly yarn and every color of Delica Bead. But since we don't, I will have to make choices.  I am going to stew over this for days and come up with some yarn kits to suit a variety of needs.  I am really going to have to play with this in my head.  This is my idea of fun, but I get so consumed by it that it's hard to do anything else.  Maybe climbing a mountain in between will help.  I wish Layna were here right now to help me.  She, by the way, is snow boarding, poor thing.  Yup, whooping it up with her hubby and that amazing guy Jon who just took all our loom photos.  But since she lives on the West Coast and I am in NH, she couldn't much help anyway except on Skype.

But you can help me:  do you want one complete kit that covers a bunch of  ranges as well as some specific and smaller kits that cover more limited ranges?  Maybe the kits should include some of this wonderful Tahki novelty yarn as well?

Your input will be very much considered.  Now for the pictures.  There are a lot of them. Each section has six yarn colors.  I think there are close to five hundred colors, give or take a few.  Haven't counted yet.