Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Little Big Guy

I have a new loom! Its a 12" Mirrix Little Guy tapestry/ beading loom. It came to me unexpectedly this week when I friend decided to reduce her equipment after adding a new Louet Hollandia floor loom to her space.

I have danced around with tapestry and wanted to try it in more depth since I started weaving in 1995. I had been doing embroidery since age 14 and so it seemed natural to me to try my hand at pictorial weaving such as tapestry. I was referred to a highly respected tapestry weaver in the region where we were living then and asked her for her best advise.  Sally told me to learn 'regular' weaving first and then see how I feel. She had done regular weaving for ten years before making the switch.  So off I went to learn regular weaving.

Along the way I did try to keep the tapestry goal alive. At one time, I even acquired a huge Navajo style pipe loom that measured 4' x 6'. It was a great deal and it came along before I was ready. It took a fair amount of room to store and so eventually it was downsized ahead of one move but I  kept the hand made tapestry bobbins!

I took a basic tapestry course with my friend and mentor Gudrun Weisinger back in 2005 or so and enjoyed it very much. Gudrun has found a balance between weaving stunning tapestries and 'regular' weaving so it can be done!  The issue of a loom was always there. I did research and Mirrix looms looked beautiful and strongly made and it went onto my someday wish list. I saw used Leclerc tapestry loom with a shedding device for sale but at the time I couldn't afford it and had no where to put it. Timing is everything....

So its been on a back burner as nice but someday.... and then I heard of the little Mirrix loom at last weeks guild meeting! I told Bruce and I do have a birthday this month so.... next thing I know, its here !

It uses a spring coil to keep the warp threads separate... and the length of the spring determines the sett. It has a shedding device  and you can weave roughly 9 inches by 22 inches. Loom extenders are available and they add another 24 inches in length. You can also get a bottom bar spring kit if you are doing fine close set tapestries or beading.

Here are two other spring coils for varying setts. I'm still working out which is which and there is one missing from a set of four.

Each loom is hand made and quality tested. I was pleasantly surprised by the literature and how to videos available at the Mirrix web site. I've had some questions (most likely stupid newbie questions!) and I get answers back right away at the Ravelry Mirrix group as I build my shopping list to kit this loom out. (If you haven't checked out all the various weaving groups at Ravelry, then you are really missing out!)

My friend had gently used the loom for a couple of classes and so it came along with her work in place. Here's the most recent effort:

Click any picture to enlarge. She had a wonderfully even stitches and no draw in! I should be so lucky....
On the reverse is what she calls her 'accidental Mexican':

It does look  like a little Mexican fellow doesn't it? The image is upside down on the back of the loom and so I had to flip the picture.... just in case you are wondering why there is a light on the bottom left and a weird perspective else where! I'll send him to Toni when the warp comes off; she made him after all!

Okay, now I have to think about exactly what I would like to weave and if my stash is up to the new challenge. So it maybe a while before you see show and tell!

So until next time... we'll mosey off into the sunset!

(Nice job Toni!)


Dyeingforewe said...

Very cool! I can't wait to see what you make with it.

On a similar note: I finished my first weaving project! I'm going to take a bunch of photos tomorrow when I have better lighting. But gosh I'm all excited and happy that it even looks decent off the loom. I thought it was going to be horrible, but I'm actually really proud. *preen* No clue what to do with the ends, or even with such a massive weird shaped woven item- but that is besides the point. I thought you'd like to hear that I'm hooked now!

Delighted Hands said...

I am so happy for you! Tapestry weaving is definitely in my future.

DebbieB said...

A spring coil for separating the warp threads and establishing sett - that's brilliant. What a cool loom - I mustn't be tempted!!!!!

LA said...

What a fun new direction you're going in....I think you'll enjoy working on your new loom!

Anonymous said...

Very nice! looking forward to seeing the beautiful tapestries.

dorothylochmaben said...

What an interesting post and no I mustn't even think about it !!! It does look like a nicely made loom though and I am sure you will have fun with it. Will look forward to the first project !!

Leola's Studio said...

Barbara Heller is speaking tomorrow night in Victoria for the guild at the annual Ruth Anstey lecture. She is not to be missed. I have had the pleasure of knowing Barbara for some years - we worked on the Dr. Peter tapestry together - she is not to be missed if you are interested in tapestry!

Susan said...

Thank you all for your comments!

Leola: I have met Barbara a few times and I agree, she's a lovely person and stunning weaver. Unfortunately, I will miss the talk as I have a prior engagement.
But I do know where her studio is and she is most welcoming.


Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

Well first of all....Happy Birthday! ;) Second...wow! ;) What a fun loom. I'm eager to see what you create! I'm working on my c.o.e and am a little apprehensive about the tapestry weaving part:) You've inspired me!.......again! :)