Monday, September 28, 2009

A Fascinating and Original Method to Weave Wide Bead Pieces on The Mirrix

This is a fascinating post I found in the Mirrix Loom email list archives.  It took me a bit to understand the method.  What you will love most are the amazing photos posted with it.  Look at the detail!  Just gorgeous.  Would love to see more work by Susan A.

I'm not sure if the technique I use with my mirrix loom is 'correct', it just evolved out of frustration with all those warp threads and heddles. I can needle weave a 12+ inch row in about 10 minutes, excluding the time to load the beads which would be the same for either technique.

1. I do a single warp, one thread for each dent - 235 in my current piece on the big sister loom. One for each bead in the design plusone extra. I also use the extra bottom coil to help line up the warp threads.

2. I put a masonite board behind the warp threads and in front of the upright posts. This gives me a firm surface braced against the loom. I then put a softer pad - one of those velveteen jewelry mats - immediately behind the warp threads. Sometimes I need to put a thin magazine between the mat and the board to get the right tension. Once that's set up, I can needle weave a wide row without needing to get my hands behind the piece.

3. I use two needles/threads to control the weft tension. I start by tying threads to each side of the warps. As I am right handed, the left hand thread is the 'beading' thread, the one I load up the row of beads onto. Once it's full, I use the thin rod from the shedding device with an eraser taped to it to pass the needle and thread behind the warp threads and in front of the board and mat.

4. The 'weaving thread' is on the right side and I use that one to pass the thread back in front of the warp threads. It's mostly a matter of pushing the warp threads back until the beads snap in front, there is an audible click. Once the weaving needle is full of beads (20-30 beads for my size 10 needles) I strum the warp threads to make sure I caught all of them, again, there is a distinctive sound when it's right. Using the two threads I can weave 20-30 beads into place before having to snap the next set of beads into place. I can also pull on both sides of the `beading thread' to position the
beads without affecting the weaving thread.

5. The row is now finished and the two threads have switched sides. Like I said, it goes fairly quickly and I'm not fighting with all those double warp threads. I figure even if you use the shedding device and weave, this technique may help with that first and last row which does need to be needle woven.

I've never seen this method described anywhere, but it works for me and might help someone else who gets dyslexic sorting through all those warp threads and heddles. I used the shedding device on narrower pieces, but once I moved to 12+ inches, my brain gave up. I posted photos of the loom with the boards in place in case that
helps. I love my loom and just purchased a wider one (oh the plans I have) with the stand, which I love. Of course I have to be contrary there too: I C-clamp a board over the tray so I can work off a wider flat surface, see photos.

PS – the blue tape is because I kept catching my threads on the bottom coil piece – I know someone will ask.

Posted by
- Susan A


  1. Two needle loom bead weaving is explained in the appendix of "Bead Weaving: Classics
    By Takako Sako".

  2. Wow! Beautiful work! Do you have a website, blog or facebook I can visit to see more Susan?

  3. Warm Greetings!

    Today, I visit your website and after reading your blog i realize that it is very informative. I'm highly impressed to see the comprehensive resources being offered by your site.

    Thanks and Regards

    Niddle loom

  4. Would be nice to see pictures its hard to understand what you're talking about

  5. Would be nice to see pictures its hard to understand what you're talking about