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Friday, May 21, 2010

A Mirrix is Looming

I have been interested in many looms, and own so many different types and sizes. I will include my take on each type of loom, in my book. Of course, as with any tools or supplies, we all have our preferences. Remember, 'keeping the tension' is the best way to describe what makes a loom 'good'.

Yesterday, I purchased my first Mirrix Loom. I decided on the 16 inch wide version, reading everything I could, about this loom, before I made my choice. What I found is that these looms arrive with nothing more then the frame, stand, one spring on top, a warp bar and a shuttle. I feel these looms were originally created for 'textile looming'. Since they have the warps, of course it can also accommodate beads! Again, not knowing much about textile looming, I can only guess at this conclusion.

From the description, it seems to be welded and fabricated sturdily out of metal. The frame is adjustable, if you purchase additional accessories. Speaking of accessories, this is what really shot the total cost up....the accessories. The base price of the loom is so much more then other wonderfully crafted looms on the market. Once you include the accessories, desired to make this a great bead loom, your cost can be overwhelming for a loom this size.

The one warp bar, that arrives with the loom, is movable and is the point where your first warp thread is tied. This same thread is to be wrapped up around the top bar, in between a groove of a spring, brought down the front, wrapped around the bottom bar, (no spring attached) and double looped around the original warp bar (where the knot was first tied). The thread is continued in this same three step pattern, until the entire loom is warped the proper number of warps you'll be using to loom.

What you find, after warping the way we are instructed, is a 'double wrap' of warp thread, appx. 1 1/2 inch apart. To begin looming, you will need to 'slip your hand' in between these warps to handle your beading. Not only could this be uncomfortable, until you can devise a way to make it comfortable, but you are threading this loom with double, maybe triple the amount of warp strings you will ever need! Such a large waste of thread. One of the accessories, offered for an additional purchase price, is another 'warp bar'. This is allowed to be clamped on the lower portion of the loom, with the original warp bar clamped on the upper portion of the loom. Then, you can warp your loom using these two warp bars, not having to make a complete pass around the back. The warp bars are also able to be moved, sometime during the beading process, so you can 'slip your work around' offering more room to continue bead looming. Therefore, the height of one of their looms, really wouldn't be an issue to consider, if purchasing one.

All of the looms include a top 'spring' for separating the warps. If you prefer to use a loom with a spring bar across the bottom of the loom, then this too is an additional purchase. Otherwise, you just wrap your warps around a bar. After looming some rows of beads, using just the one spring, the beads will keep the rows of warps separate. Because I prefer the spring, top and bottom of my warps, I also purchased an additional spring.

I mentioned above how close the front warps and back warps are wrapped, around this loom, with a small space in between. An additional bar and clamps are being sold, as an accessory, so you can clamp this in place which will 'widen' that space between the warps, when warped. But it only states that this additional bar increases the space another inch or so.

One other accessory that may have interested me, but I did not purchase at this time, is the 'extender' bar set. This would increase the 'height' of the loom. I may purchase this later, but will wait and see how it works without this extender, first.

My decision to purchase this loom was one I thought about for sometime, as the cost is quite high. A driving force was the fact that I receive many emails, with questions about looming. Over 1/3 of my emails are from Bead Loomers who were either 'gifted' a Mirrix Loom or 'purchased' one themselves. To be more helpful with my answers about looming, I thought I should have first-hand-knowledge, of this loom. It is disheartening I had to purchase so many additional accessories, to construct a loom I know will be productive, for my needs. But in the same light, I feel satisfied the fabrication will be sturdy and well made.

Following my purchase being completed, I received an email saying this order will take approximately two weeks to fill, as the loom is being constructed as ordered. I should be receiving the accessories I ordered prior, but the loom itself will take longer to arrive.

I will include further notes about my 'Mirrix Experience', after I receive it and start/finish a looming project. One cool thought I have about this loom, is how the 'warp bar' becomes adjustable! If it works out like I think it may, then there are some unbelievable techniques I can share, to offer even more of an interest in Bead Looming! If not, then my stand by 'Larry The Loom', could handle these thoughts, as the top and bottom panels are also adjustable!

2 comments:

  1. Just a few comments to clarify some points in your post. Yes, indeed, I originally designed the Mirrix to be a tapestry loom. A year or so later I decided it would be an excellent bead loom. It's way stronger than a bead loom needs to be, but that can't be a bad thing. That being said, the Mirrix looms size 12 inches and larger can accommodate both bead and tapestry weaving because they include (as does the loom you are getting) a shedding device. The two smaller looms do not and are dedicated bead looms. The shedding device allows you to weave the beads in two different ways. You can use the traditional method, which requires you put one warp in each space in the spring. When you use the shedding device, that is when you use double warps. One of those sets of warps will be raised. You will insert your strung beads in between the raised and lowered warps, set them in place between the raised set up warp threads, and then pull them down into the V that has been created where those two sets of threads meet. Once this is done and you've pulled the thread through, you can "change the shed" by rotating the shedding device in the opposite direction.

    The loom you bought comes equipped with: four springs to accommodate a variety of setts, a shedding device, a couple of wrenches and the loom itself. It is not welded. Rather the parts are milled to fit inside each other. The loom is extremely sturdy and will not degrade or bend under tension. There is a lot of adjustment possible to allow for a range of length.

    I am confused about the part where you talk about double wrapped threads and having to slip your hand in between those treads. I think you are referring to weaving with the shedding device. The device itself creates the space.

    The extra warp bar allows you to put on a shorter warp without waste on the back of the loom. However, some people prefer the extra length especially if they are doing longer pieces. The loom work can be rotated to the back of the loom to allow more length to be woven on the front.

    The extra bottom beam is great for when you are not using the shedding device and rather using the traditional style of weaving. It gives you a lot more space to put your hand when holding the beads in place.

    The accessories will arrive with the loom. When sold separately, accessories ship much faster than the loom, but when purchased together they arrive at the same time.

    I hope this helps!

    Claudia, president, Mirrix Looms

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  2. Thank you very, very much for taking the time to clarify my post. I realize there is much to learn, and you seem to offer wonderful Customer Support, this comment being a prime example. I look forward to learning more about the Mirrix Looms!

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