Sunday, April 13, 2008

Finishing School

Maybe I should have been intimidated by the idea of trying to make something out of 6,305 tiny glass beads. Instead, I was most concerned by everything I had read about how hard and messy it was to finish off loom-woven bead work.

So, I figured out a jig that I could place on my Mirrix loom. It not only takes care of my finishing worries, it also speeds up the warping process and creates more uniform spacing than when using the springs that came with the loom.

Coming Off The Loom
With this set-up, when all of the beading is complete, the warp is in loops above and below the beads. Carefully pulling the loops out--in sequence--results in an elegantly finished piece with only two warp ends to sew back into the work.

This is a variation of a method often referred to ominously as "Pull-and-Pray"--but, with a lot less pulling and a lot less dependence on prayer.

The key difference here is the ability to control the length of the warp loops that have to be pulled out. In the work pictured here, if I had calculated the spacing on top as closely as that on the bottom, I could have had a very short "pull." As it is, the total length of warp pulled through this piece was about five feet (and that lucky thread will find use a weft in my next masterwork).

Here you see the result of having finished the first dozen or so columns of beading. Click on the picture to enlarge it, and you can see how each loop, at both the top and bottom, has been pulled snuggly against the work.

The next action from this point was to pull down on the clip at the bottom to pull out the large loop at the top, and so on.

When the warp pulling is complete, there are 2 warp-ends to sew in--not 132 as would be the case if they could not be pulled through.

By the way, this is all made much easier by the use of 6 pound Fireline (Crystal) as both the warp and weft thread. This stuff is wonderfully thin, strong, slippery, and virtually impossible to pierce during weaving.

Article 01:
Finishing School
Article 02: How to Make A WarpsBead Jig
Article 03: Warping the Loom


positive said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks for making me feel ever so happy. I have the Mirrix Zeus Loom and often wondered how I could change the outcome of all the, left to sew in threads. I have now ordered the CRYSTAL FIRELINE BRAIDED BEADING THREAD and emailed a firm regards the #2 paper clips. I cannot thank you enough for being so generous with your magical ideas.
I feel very excited. Thanks for the gift, the possibilities it creates for such a large loom as the Zeus, makes for joyous times to come. Thank You.


Suanough said...

Hi Jim,
You have saved me from never working on my loom again!
I have a loom that I hand made (can't afford a Mirrix, yet, but I'm very proud of mine!) and love loom work but I must have six or seven pieces I have made but they all have these hundreds of warps hanging and I just cant' (won't) get it together to finish them off...
I'm going to tweek your design so I can use it on my hand-made...
Once it's finished I'll send you some pics.
I thank you, my loom thanks you,
Katy, TX

Jim A said...

Please do let me know how this works out for you. I love hearing how others take this basic idea and adapt it in ways I could have never thought of.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Jim A

mtwoman2 said...

wonderful idea!! since your the expert and im a beginner, we need you to fiqure out how to use another material besides heddle thread WITH the shed device the .
i would like to purchase the zeus loom but the heddles would run me broke for 624 warps. got any ideas?

Rhona said...

This is great, Thank-you a million times for sharing. You gave me the key to a project that I have agonized over for months.
I'm trying to find help with warping my loom with wire, Does anyone have ideas how to finish the wire warps?

bren001 said...

Hello Jim...
I saw someone working on a loom like this in a bead store but after i asked her what kind of loom that was, she replied in a not so nice voice.. didn't what to ask her anything else after that.. but thanks for all the info on your website.. but one question i have for you.. what happens if you need to add more thread to your needle, wont it be hard to pull the threads at the end..
have a great day..

Becky Hillman said...

Hi Jim, I am very intrigued, enough so that I ordered zillion paper clips...of #2 size....only to find out that a #2 is less than an inch long. I think you intended us to be using jumbos...please correct me if I misunderstood....Thanks....