Lily spindle

>> Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Christmas holidays have been great, lots of rushing around and family events. I'm not going to leave my shopping so late next year. Really. Anyway after everything it's been so nice to have a few sleepy days with Bradley still off work. He's been knitting his first sweater.

I've been working on a few crafts projects including finishing the yarn I was making for Bradley to use to knit him some warm socks. I didn't manage to finish it in time for Christmas. He's been reproachfully walking around in bare feet. But the yarn is all spun now! I'll post that soon.

Pictured here is one of my new favourite treats, a Lily Spindle I bought some time ago which arrived just before Christmas. I couldn't wait to do a little spinning with it so I've been using some of the fibre I got from Kristyn (Pleasurecraft) at City of Craft.
Here's a close up picture of the top, it has lovely detail and the scallop flower shape is perfect for holding the yarn in place. I also love the open style of the hook. It's made of olive wood from the pruning of the trees planted by the Romans 2000 years ago. They still produce olives and Gilbert Gonsalves purchases the prunings with no damage to the trees.

This one is 3/4 ounce which is for lace weight and a little bulkier. I'm still working out how to choose the weight of spindle to use (and which weight to spin) for various fibres. Generally I've just been trying out lots of things.

For example, this fibre is Cheviot. It's crimpy and springy. I'm guessing that spinning it this fine isn't what you would usually do, but it's turning out really nicely. It feels softer when spun for some reason. I also think the spindle is a bit lighter than you might normally use for this type of fibre, but I couldn't wait to try it.
The fibre is a pretty robin's egg blue, an icy blue, and I think it will be perfect for our new tea cosy!


Show today!

>> Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'll be at the Tranzac (located in the Annex at Bloor and Brunswick) for the Artisan's Gift Fair today. This is the last day of the show!

Artisan's Gift Fair
The Tranzac
292 Brunswick Ave.
Toronto, ON.
12 noon - 6pm

I finished a few needle books yesterday. I'm loving these new ones, my favourite colour scheme these days is mustard and icy blue. They are made up of combinations of linen, cotton prints, wool felt flowers, wool felt pages and vintage buttons. Here's a peek:p.s. I still have some Love shoppers left, free with purchases over $50.


New wristlets

>> Saturday, December 19, 2009

wool plaid and brown cordoruy

I made a new batch of wristlets for my show at the Tranzac.. and today I'm going to make some needle books!
wool plaid and brown cordoruy - inside

green upholstery fabric and barkcloth

green upholstery fabric and barkcloth - inside
green upholstery fabric and barkcloth 2

green upholstery fabric and barkcloth 2 - inside


The Melissa - new shop on Queen St. West

>> Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So after the show I had to nip into a shop I had noticed on the way over, a new flea markety type shop called "The Melissa". It's right across from The Theatre Centre, at 1080 Queen Street West. I had peeked in the window and it looked so tempting.

This shop is full of my favourite types of things: vintage tins, boxes, fabric and ceramics. I was browsing and chatting with the owner and mentioned that I was just at City of Craft. She wanted to have a look at my things, and we ended up doing some swapping! Amazing. This is what I chose:
This small box caught my eye right away. It is possibly a small toy box from the 50s - it isn't the right size to hold single records as you might think so we weren't sure what it was for originally. The outside has a picture of a dog in the corner, and the inside is papered with a toy motif paper.
I found a few small sewing/textile odds and ends, my favourites are the "Fascinating Trims", cards with lace trim wound on them.
I also found this large glass jar (so perfect for craft supplies)...
And a small Blue bird toffee tin with thatched cottages on it.
Then as I was heading out (Bradley was patiently waiting for me) Melissa gave me the blue needle book at the top of this post! The funny thing about my blog name is that every time I see the words "needle book" anywhere I feel like it's about me. Or mine. If you know what I mean.

Anyway, I recommend this shop, obviously, because it's full of wonderful things and has a very friendly owner.


City of Craft - crafty goodness

>> Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My favourite new display item for my table is this sign, a hoop with an embroidered owl showing you where to find the needle book things.

City of Craft was (as expected) amazing. I love everything about this show. I had a good time at my table, it was very busy, and there were so many friends and friendly people to chat with. Also I was too busy before the show to do any shopping, plus feeling poor, so I loved doing a bit of crafty shopping while I was there, and some swaps.. all thanks to Bradley manning my table while I snuck off to look around. Oddly enough both needle books sold while he was there alone, along with two requests for needle books after they had sold out. I will definitely make more soon!

Ok, now I don't know who decided I should be located right next to Pleasurecraft, but lucky for me, Kristyn was interested in swapping. We swapped a LOT. Yay! Thank you Kristyn, you are the best neighbour. Look at all this lovely fibre goodness (in my own basket):
I finally bought a merit badge from Lee Meszaros:
I've been eyeing these crocheted cookies by Shannon Gerard for a while, and also bought a wee cactus that comes in a thimble. We were sitting across from Shannon being hypnotized by the fastest crocheting I've ever seen.
This gorgeous vintage wool pillow with Elk motif (lines by: davis) came home with us too.
I bought this original artwork by Greasy Chicken Face... And now after seeing The Fantastic Mr. Fox, the characters in it kind of remind me of the ones in the movie. Love the artwork, loved the movie.
And last but absolutely not least, this beautiful bird brooch came from the talented and sweet Kalpna (Old Weston), who actually wanted to swap. Lucky me!Thank you so much to everyone who visited, and in case you couldn't and wish you had, I've booked a spot at the Tranzac for the Artisan's Gift Fair next Sunday, December 20th. But more about that later..


City of Craft - final sneak peek and coupon!

>> Friday, December 11, 2009

sleepy side detail

This is my last post before City of Craft tomorrow, and my last attempt to lure you out to my table. This first item looks like two items, but it's actually a doll ornament with two sides, one is a sleepy face, and the other is wide awake.

It's what I'm going to refer to as an heirloom ornament, because it took a looong time to make, and so it's more expensive than most of my things. All that detail! Sometimes I try out a new design like this and realize it isn't going to work out when it ends up taking days to complete. So this is the only one.
wide awake side

sleepy side

wide awake side detail

This is a little crochet jewellery box, for those favourite earrings you wear all the time and would like to keep handy beside your bed.
Inside of the jewellery box

There's a cardboard tube on the inside, lined with fabric, so it holds its shape nicely.
Last but not least, I made a few of these Love shoppers from a blue floral vintage sheet. They have an appliqued heart on the front in white. These are $10 each or free with any purchase over $50 (while supplies last). Sometimes you just feel like you need to buy a little special something to make you smile, and the Love shopper wants to carry it home for you.

And finally here's the coupon (I didn't manage to get it ready in time for the swag bags):
Reasonable facsimiles accepted (and will entertain Bradley no end). Hope to see you there!


City of Craft - sneak preview 2

>> Thursday, December 10, 2009

Grey wool wristlet with barkcloth front, lace ruffle detail and vintage white button.

Blue print and striped lining and strap.

Green upholstery fabric wristlet with barkcloth flap and brown fabric covered button.

Green faux bois fabric lining, with white, blue strap with barkcloth detail.

Embroidered felted wool crochet trivets: for your teapot!
Only two in this style, each is one-of-a-kind.


City of Craft - sneak preview

>> Monday, December 07, 2009

This week is all about preparing for City of Craft. The dining table is now covered with new creations! These are my favourite new items, embellished wristlets with a snap closure (covered by a button) and a wrist strap with extra little fabric detail.
Everything I make is mostly created from rescued craft supplies: fabric from thrift stores, yard sales, fabric shop remnants and discontinued fabric swatch booklets combined with lace, ribbon, buttons and trim from flea markets, second hand sales and swaps. These rescued materials are combined with special bits of fabric from lovely shops on etsy and from local craft havens such as the workroom.
Having so many odds and ends of fabric in my stash is so handy when I'm creating new items like this. I can mix and match prints and solids then find the perfect bit of trim to add the finishing touch.
I like using upholstery weight fabric for my bags so that they have a nice structure to them without having to use interfacing.
I hope to see you at the show!


Homemade spindles

>> Thursday, December 03, 2009

I forgot to mention, these beautiful knitting needles are from The Purple Purl, my new local knitting shop

As you know, I'm now a little spinning obsessed. I've bought a couple of spindles, because I love what they can do, and there are so many beautiful ones out there, plus it's a bit like knitting, you need extra ones so you can have more than one project on the go.

But I wanted more, and decided to figure out how I could make one myself. There's a few tutorials online, such as a cd spindle (just Google it for examples), this one made from a cardboard circle and a pencil, or even a potato on a stick. This is a good way to learn so that you can decide if you like spinning before you invest too much money. (If this has already happened feel free to mail me any spindles you don't want anymore. Just kidding. Sort of.)

My favourite idea is a drop spindle made from a wooden knob. Abby Franquemont's video Drop Spindle Basics shows you how to learn to spin with a low whorl drop spindle that is just a drawer pull (wooden knob) attached to a dowel.

I wanted to make one that was a little bit fancier, functional and even nice looking, while still not requiring any real woodworking skills. The results were better than I expected, and these handmade spindles work really well! The big trick was to use carved wooden knitting needles which added a nice decorative detail to the top and a smooth polished surface that tapers. But of course a piece of dowel is fine too.

Step 1:
Assemble your supplies. I used wooden knitting needles, vintage wooden knobs (in a variety of weights) from an antique store, a power drill, a scrap block of wood, hooks, pliers and wood glue.Step 2:
Use the pliers to open up the hooks. These ones have a triangular shape so that the yarn stays in place a bit better than a round hook.
Step 3:
Place the wooden knob on the piece of scrap wood so that you protect the work surface when you drill right through the knob. Make sure you drill right through the centre.Step 4:
Add wood glue to the top of the knitting needle (or dowel). Place the knob on the needle or dowel and let the glue dry.Wood glue starts out white but will dry clear:Step 5:
Drill a tiny pilot hole in the top of your knitting needle (or dowel). Use the smallest drill bit you have. Screw in the eyelet.
Extra options:
If you like you can saw a notch in the side of your whorl.

These are two of my finished spindles. They work beautifully!


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