The First Review is In: The 48" Lily Loom
The following post was written by Deb Bednarek who helped us test the 48" Lily Loom. She did receive the loom for free in exchange for testing it for us.
You can put a 48" Lily Loom on pre-order now by clicking here.
In August I was fortunate enough to be asked to try out Mirrix’s latest loom, the 48 inch Lily loom. My tapestry weavings are usually fairly small and woven on my 16 inch Big Sister or 12 inch Little Guy. However, this large size presented a challenge I couldn’t resist even though I’d never thought of trying it before.
Warping the Lily loom is just like warping any Mirrix loom, it just takes longer! I opted to use the coil for a 5 epi sett thinking there’d be less warp threads and heddles to thread, which is true. However, I normally work at 8-10 epi and my weft thread choices obviously had to change. I either had to make thicker bundles or use bulkier weft. I am basically using bulkier weft but that limited my available yarns and colors. I also enjoy bundling and blending colors in my work and am not able to do that as well with a wider sett. This isn’t the loom’s fault; it was weaver decision. Next time I will set it at a finer sett so I can use my usual yarns and make design decisions more readily. However, working on this larger scale gives you design possibilities that are different than the smaller scale and that can be bold and quite exciting.
With a loom this large, a working location has to be taken into consideration. Originally I knew sitting on the floor wouldn’t be that comfortable long term so I opted to put it on a table and sit on a stool. However, I warped it while the loom sat on the floor and that worked beautifully with me sitting on a chair when I added the heddles. I wound my warp thread onto a stick shuttle that easily passed under the loom without propping it up on books or anything. It took about 3 shuttles but I just tied onto the bar each time and had no tension problems at all.
I will admit that sitting a loom like this on a table and having it reach towards the ceiling was very intimidating! You are essentially now weaving a mural as compared to a more manageable picture size. I also opted to weave freely without a cartoon or really a strong idea of design in mind. I recommend at least having a rough plan in mind or sketched out unless you are just a free weaver. As it grew, my design began to form more clearly in my mind, but I have to frequently step back and analyze what’s happening and where I’m going with it. That’s a good part of the creative process working at any scale anyways. I have taken numerous pictures as I go along to refer to as the weaving scrolls to the backside and you can’t see your previous work. Next time I will have at least a rough sketch in mind.
The shed on this loom is excellent! Mirrix now offers a shed extender for all of their looms and this one comes with that so the shed is about 2 inches. You can use bobbins, your hands, small shuttles; it’s terrific. You can make your own heddles but I opted for purchasing the ones long enough for the shed extender.
It has 2 handles which can be helpful for a more comfortable reach when you are working close to one side. The second handle can catch on the side bar but, if rubber banded to the shedding bracket, it works very well. I often just have one handle in place and just use that easily too. A little stretching when you’re working on the far side isn’t a problem but it’s nice to have the second handle option available.
Advancing the warp the first time was a bit scary and I enlisted my husband to be on one side to help. I’ve now advanced it again and it was not a problem to do alone. The important thing is to make sure you keep everything aligned with the top and bottom of the loom and adjust the tension before beginning to weave again. As with all Mirrix looms, adjusting and keeping an even tension is a breeze.
Over the past few months the Lily loom has gone from being an interesting challenge for me to becoming a loom that needs a permanent place in my home. I will always work on smaller sized tapestries as well as my floor loom, but I intend to now also have a project going on this new loom. It is a long term commitment project but has given me a whole new outlook on what’s possible in the creative world of tapestry weaving. I could also easily see weaving a rug on this loom at some point. The possibilities are endless! I love that it fits anywhere, not taking up the space a floor loom does. It can easily be moved from floor or table or room to room when necessary, though with this width it is a two person job (I’m short and have a short wingspan!). It can slide under a bed if not being used though I doubt that’ll happen often to mine.
Thank you, Mirrix, for giving us yet another option for expressing ourselves through weaving!
You can put your own 48" Lily Loom on pre-order now by clicking here.
Deb Bednarek has been a multimedia artist her entire life. One of her high school Art teachers introduced her to the concept of “wearable art” and there was no turning back! She taught Art to grades K-12 for 34 years, but her creative passion has always been creating wearable art using fibers, metal, beads and wire. Since retiring from teaching, Deb has focused primarily on using fibers, weaving on her many Mirrix looms as well as her floor loom. Tapestry weaving has come to the forefront the past few years and she has taught tapestry classes at Fiberwood Studio in Milwaukee recently. Look for Deb to be teaching at Mirrix in Sturgeon Bay in the future!
You can find more about Deb on Facebook and Instagram @Debbednarek