Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Loom work - starting your first row

Yesterday I showed you how to warp your loom, today we will progress to your actual looming and those first couple of rows (which, in my opinion - are always the hardest).

If I have a pattern that I am following, I will start my looming around the 6th row.  This allows room for adjustments when you get to the end and room for you to come back and tighten up your finished looming.

I start by cutting a piece of weft thread about two arms length (the length of the weft thread depends on what you are comfortable with).  I tie the weft thread to the bar at the top of the loom.

I start my looming about an 1.5 to 2 inches down from the top of the loom. This process then allows you to come back at the end of the cuff to make adjustments.

After threading your weft thread with your beads - raise the thread so it sits under neath the warps.

You will then move the weft thread, and push the seed beads up through each of the warps as demonstrated below  Gently use your fingers to push the beads through the warps.

See the first few beads on the right hand side of the picture how they are now sitting nicely on top of the warp thread.

Take your needle and slowly start to re-thread your beads ensuring that each bead is located above the warps.

You can see as we near the end of the first row how the needle is above the warp thread.

To ensure that no beads are sitting below the warp, I leave my needle above the warp thread and run my nail over the top of the needle to see if any slide.  If you find that one bead hasn't made it to the top of the warps, gently pull the needle back out and pick up the missing bead, then repeat the process.

A closer view of how the weft should look just before you pull the needle all the way through the beads.

Tighten up your weft thread and tidy up the line of beads.

 For the next row, which will be slightly easier - commence the process again by bringing the next weft thread from left to right (dependent on which way you like to bead).

Again, thread your needle through the beads until you come to the end.  You can see that already the beads are settling into the pattern and the tension feels good.

Again, tidy up the row - you won't have to do this as much as you go along.  I call it beadkeeping and by tidying up the rows as you go along keeps the beadwork consistent all the way through.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to warp a loom!

I remember the first time I had to warp my loom ... it certainly was interesting!  I looked up every website that Google enabled, studied and studied the pictures and videos and then tentatively took my first steps.  It took a couple of turns, but I eventually got the hang of it.

So, I thought I would share and take another tentative first step and post instructions to help you through this process.

This is a standard loom, there are many types and variations out there - but most have a spring bar at both ends.  I line mine with a bead mat.  For this exercise I have used Nymo size D thread.

The back and front of the loom has some small nails in the tension bar - a small tack will suffice if you don't have this as a feature on your loom.

To start I tie the thread around the nail.

Depending on the size of the piece you are looming, for a cuff - I usually start about a third of the loom across.  Pull the thread up over the top of the spring bar, across the loom to the other side.

Here is a view of the other side, secure the thread around the nail to create a nice clean wrap.  Make sure you do this at both ends of the loom for each warp.

Pull the thread so that it is not too taut, to create a nice even tension.  For more information about tension, check out Beads, Beaded, Beading Warp Tension

This is about half way the loom warped, notice the tension is not too tight!

This is the completed warped loom. Notice the white threads on the end, this is Fireline and for more information about this technique click here.

An example picture of how the warps will look on the spring bar.

Voila - the finished warps.  If you have adjustment bolts on the side of the loom - remember to use them to adjust the tension as you go along.  Here is another fabulous link outlining some great bead techniques including how to check your tension.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Whats in a pattern

One of my favourite past times is creating patterns - I have a wealth of them sitting on my hard drive which I really need to share .. but (and there is always a but) hold back because they need some adjustment.

This adjustment is called "cleaning up" a pattern.  I use BeadCreatorPro 6 for my pattern designs - this program  has amazing design concepts allowing you to develop the depth and dimension of a design.

I'm involved in a facebook group "Bead Looming Intervention" and our first challenge is to design a an Art Deco inspired piece - this can be in the form of a cuff, necklace, hanging, etc which had some caveats attached to the design.  My piece was taken from this picture:

To commence the process, I worked in Adobe Photoshop to sharpen the image, cut back the unwanted areas and enchance the DPI.  When the pattern was first converted, it had over 100 colours and looked a little like this:

You can see that there is a lot happening in the image, it looks patchy, there are a lot of shadows that the pattern program has picked up and the overall picture doesn't blend.  Imagine looming that!  After many, many hours (I think 5 in total) the colours were blended together, I compared the "real" colours to the ones picked by the pattern program and the final "cleaned" up pattern is reduced to around 35 bead colours and now looks like this:-

If you scroll between the two pictures you can see there are  more clean lines, depth and dimension to the picture and the Art Deco Lady stands out more.

My beads have arrived and I'm now off to stage II of my cuff - the actual looming ... stay tuned.