Almost there… my book is almost finished

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I’ve been working ferociously hard on my peg loom  and weaving stick book and there are some things that have come so clear for me as I have put the thousands of hours into it:

1] The more I work with peg looms and weaving sticks, the more in awe of their creative potential I am and the more that I love weaving with them. I loved peg looms and weaving sticks before I began this book, which is why I worked so hard to find a publisher for it (YAY Stackpole Books!) and what has become deliciously obvious is that I am more and more in love with peg looms and weaving sticks!   AND, I am just thrilled with all the techniques and possibilities that I have come up with for the book.

I have realized that there is so much more to explore with peg looms and weaving sticks that as we downsized and moved into a MUCH smaller house (*don’t do that when you are writing a book!*)  I was quite happy to give away, long term loan and sell all my larger looms- but I could never sell or give away any of my peg looms or weaving sticks.

2] Working with the makers of weaving sticks and peg looms is absolutely amazing- Donna and Gary McFarland of  Dewberry Ridge Looms , Lynette Richter of  Daisy Hill Handiworks   and Dennis Riley of  Daegrad Tools  has been PURE JOY!

When I recommend these wonderful loom makers, I do so with a full and happy heart.
They make BEAUTIFUL looms and are incredibly responsive and generous with their time and energy- they love what they do, and it shows in the looms that they make.

3] I have also absolutely loved working with the glorious yarns that were so graciously supplied to me for the book from my main yarn company sponsor: Briggs & Little Woolen Mill and  to the kindness of Lion Brand yarns. My daughter in love, Alliston Findlay is a gifted hand spinner, and she supplied me with handspun yarn for the book, too: Nomad Fibreworks

You can’t have a weaving book without yarn, so I am REALLY grateful to them for their generosity. Bless their hearts!

4] It has been soooooooo exciting to design and make the projects for the book and in making them, to figure out neat ways of making the weaving sticks and peg looms do things that I had never imagined possible when I first began my voyage of discovery with peg looms and weaving sticks about 15 years ago.

I am looking so forward to seeing what people come up with when they read the book and are playing with these ideas.

The projects in the book may not speak to everyone, but I am hoping that the techniques that are used in the projects will ignite and inspire creativity!

5] And, now, I have to get back to work! Oh my word, I have a a gigantic ‘to-do’ list to work through in the last couple of weeks before I submit the manuscript!  eep!

Hugs all round,
Noreen

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Tottie Tomato settles into the new studio

Poor Tottie Tomato has been left sleeping in her antique wicker suitcase for the entire month since we moved to our new home.  That’s her suitcase behind her.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay tottietalkscrafts.com

I’ve been working so hard to set up our home and my studio, as well as working hard hard hard on the new book, that poor Tottie hasn’t seen the light of day.

But, it’s time to let little Ms Tomato settle into our new studio.

She likes it very much, even though it is waaaaaaaaay smaller than our old one.

She loves to help warp up the peg looms, which is good, as I am weaving and writing and photographing and and and … full steam ahead!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay tottietalkscrafts.com

It really feels like home, now that Tottie Tomato is out and about in the studio with me!

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Filed under Peg and Stick Loom weaving, personal stuff, Tottie Tomato Loves, weaving & handwoven, Writing a book

Writing a book while moving- eegads

Oh my word!

The flurry of activity at our house is just completely over the top!

My blog has ground to a stop, as I just can’t keep everything going all at once right now…

something had to give, and it’s been the blog.

Here’s a little (but no where near all) of what has been going on….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.crone-findlay.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

Really- there are things that simply shouldn’t be combined….

Like selling an acreage that you have lived on for 21 years and buying a house in the city….

Um… a large acreage that has accumulated a lot of stuff

(I know, I know, WE accumulated all that stuff…

it followed us home when we saw all it’s creative potential)

:)

While working to deadline on a book (and doing all the photography and illustrations and diagrams AS WELL AS designing all the projects and weaving them all yourself…. )

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.crone-findlay.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

eeks!  The deadline is looming – pardon the pun :)

BUT…. I am so incredibly inspired and excited by the designs and projects for the book that I am just over the moon.

And, am seeing rather a lot of the moon lately, as there aren’t enough hours in the day, so the hours in the night are full of the busy busy of it all.

I can’t show any of the projects yet, but, wheeeeeee!  I am just happy dancing and skippetty hopping over them.

I have been in love with peg loom weaving and weaving sticks for years, but that love has grown exponentially as I work on this book.

I am just boggled by the creative potential of the marvelously simple peg looms and weaving sticks.

In fact, I have passed along quite a few of my other, non-peg looms, because there is so much for me to explore with them that I just don’t have the time for many other of my looms.

Ah, the move: The downsizing, packing and dealing with all the insane bureaucratic hoop jumping has been epic.  Sheesh.

Just sheesh.

Oh yes… another leetle stressor in our lives is that we suddenly adopted a darling little puppy from a relative who couldn’t keep her.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.crone-findlay.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

She’s enchanting- but wasn’t housebroken, so that’s been a challenge- another of those ‘don’t do this at home’ kind of things.

House training a puppy in deep dreary freaking freezing cold mid winter is not fun.

That’s not quite true- she loves gazing at the birds and thinks trips outside are marvelous.  (When it’s a million below zero, I don’t share her enthusiasm)

She has taught me to keep my shoes in a box that she can’t get into…

(yes, she did chew my most expensive boots)

and to not leave my favorite glasses where she can get them

(yes,  she did chew them, and my ipod earbuds up)

and to not let balls of yarn drop to the floor

(she outdoes a kitten in her enthusiasm for yarnplay- face palm)

She’s a right proper little scalliwag but we do adore her and are so happy that she’s part of the family.

There’s a million other things going on in our lives right now, but I must get back to work, so I shall just zip away and weave up some wonderful-ness.

Cheerio and tootlepip… which is what we always say to our grandson when he heads home from our time together.

I probably won’t be posting again for a couple of weeks, as we are soon to be hefting and heaving ourselves into the new (smaller, much smaller) house in the city.

And, then, it’s serious overdrive on the book….

so…. cheerio for now….

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Filed under Peg and Stick Loom weaving, personal stuff, weaving & handwoven, Writing a book

Upcycling a little box into a band loom

I can’t share photographs of the weaving that I am doing for my new book, nor can I say anything about it, but, I can tell you about something else I have been up to.  :)

I absolutely love weaving Scandinavian style woven bands, using different styles of rigid heddles.

Many people weave narrow bands by using backstrap looms, which I find to be a complete misery to work with. ugh.

I love using my Norwegian cradle loom and other rigid heddle looms.

Weaving with a Norwegian cradle loom

Weaving with a Norwegian cradle loom

I’ve been mulling over the idea of making a smaller, more portable box loom based on the Norwegian cradle loom.

A few weeks ago, as we were cleaning and clearing in preparation for our big move, we found some sweet little drawers that my father in law had made many decades ago.

He had reclaimed some tiny little wooden butter boxes and made wee drawers for his workshop with them:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

And, since then, the idea for building a tiny, oh so portable band weaving box loom has been gestating in my mind….

After much trial and error, I have built the little loom, and absolutely adore it!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I have made a small video that shows what I did to build this little charmer:

This is the ratchet and pawl that I designed for my loom.

I made them from a scrap of marine plywood, which allowed me to curve the pawl.

I am going to make the next one from a piece of purpleheart that we’ve been saving, so I am going to make the pawl straight, to make it stronger and not risk breaking it by cutting a curve against the grain.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

If you are interested in learning more about weaving Scandinavian style narrow bands, definitely seek out the work of the marvelous weaver extraordinaire, Susan Foulkes:

And, if you’d like to see some of the ways that I use narrow bands please click:

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Filed under band loom, eco crafts & green projects, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, tutorial & how to, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven, woodwork

A new setup for shooting the photos for my new book

Our son and his wife have been living with us for 5 years- it was great, and we all enjoyed it enormously (except our dog and their cat, who hated each other. That was the pits)

They have just bought a darling little house and moved out, which means that I could set up a dandy place to do the photographs for my new peg loom weaving book.

I was trying to shoot the photos in a funny little room off my studio.

It was frustrating as all get out, as it has a south facing window, which = horrible glare and crazy shadows- erg!!!!

So, it has been such a huge happy dance for me to get a very workable photo station set up in the lovely north facing bedroom.

The light is even and the shadows are not a significant problem.

Happy dancing!

I was so excited about it that I had to make a little ‘wheeeee’ video to show you how I have set it up.

 

 

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Filed under personal stuff, weaving & handwoven, Writing a book

How to save a hardened paintbrush

I am embarrassed to say how many times I have had to resort to doing this.

Luckily, it works every time on acrylic and latex paints!  :)

This time it took longer, but it did fix my much loved old work horse of a paintbrush.  Yay!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, personal stuff, tutorial & how to

Thoughts about buying peg looms

I get asked so often for advice about buying peg looms that I decided to make a video with my thoughts about figuring out which is the perfect peg loom.

Here are the links that I mentioned in the video:

 leevalley.com 

dewberryridge.com

lacis.com

facebook.com/daisyhillhandiworks

weavingmehome.com

My peg loom patterns and eBooks are available at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/NCroneFindlay?section_id=16079467&ref=shopsection_leftnav_3

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Filed under Dewberry Ridge looms, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Peg and Stick Loom weaving, weaving & handwoven

Mermaid Bench

There are so many ways to say, ‘I love you’.

Our son and daughter in love have just bought their first house, and so to help them out, Jim and I are giving them the antique harvest table that we have had forever.  (We love you….)

It was our dining room table for decades, but it moved into my studio when we inherited his parent’s teak dining room table.

Of course, they need dining room chairs, too…. so, I cheerfully gave them 4 0f our dining room chairs.

(We love you….)

But, then… remembered…. oh, oh…. I just gave away half of our dining room chairs, and once a week, when the family is together for dinner, there are 8 of us…. oh, oh….

Okay…. so hold that thought…. (um, need to replace the dining room chairs)

Alright… on to a very big deal that has been happening in our lives.

The church that Jim’s parents were part of from their marriage right after WW2 to their death  was the center of their lives. It has just shut down. It was where Jim’s childhood and adolescence orbited, and where he plays guitar most Sunday mornings. The remains of the dwindling congregation has amalgamated with another diminished congregation and the building has been sold to developers.  

The beautiful old building will be demolished very soon-  and Jim has been grieving this very hard.

So many memories, so much history, so many stories, so much music, so much life…..

The church has been stripped out and the fixtures and fittings have been blended over to the new church, with what can’t be assimilated there, being sold or given to other churches or to church members.

It’s a lovely way of keeping the history and energy of the church going.

Transformed, but still embraced by the community.

I really wanted to have a piece of something from the church that I could somehow enfold into our home so that Jim would have that deep history and connection at his finger tips.  It’s been so hard for him to feel the loss of that precious space.

A thought popped into my mind, but I thought…. oh no…. probably couldn’t happen… hmmmm.

When we were walking the dogs last week, I asked Jim: ‘You know that bench in that little room off to the side of the nave?  Is it available?’

He turned to me in amazement and said- ‘I was thinking the same thing, but thought that you wouldn’t want it!’.

We both grinned like fools, and said: ‘Let’s go for it!’

So, he called the man who’s in charge of disbursement, and amazingly enough, the bench was still there, and needed to be moved out ASAP, as there was very little time before the building would be handed over to the developers.

That night, I lay in bed, with the size of the bench growing in immensity in my mind, and thought:

‘We can’t do this! It’s huge! We are supposed to downsizing! Ack’.

Jim calmly said: ‘It’s going to work fine’.  (I love you….)

Our son and his friends helped us lift it out (oh my! Heavy!), and then our son and son in love lugged it into the dining room:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I wanted to be very respectful of the bench, knowing how much work the gentleman who built it back in 1950 (It’s older than both of us!) put into it.

But, we really didn’t want it to look quite so ecclesiastical- it is retired now, after almost 65 years of noble service (well…. actually, it’s been tucked away in a back room for at least 36 of those years, but who’s counting?) and so now, it’s time for it to have a holiday, and become a well used and well loved domestic treasure.

So, I set to work, and started sanding. Whew.  (I love you….)

And, I asked Jim what he wanted on it, besides mermaids- we always knew that it was going to be ‘The Mermaid Bench’.

He loves sailing, so he suggested a compass rose.

A 60 year old book of maps from the thrift shop had a compass rose on one of the maps- it’s only a 1/2 in tall, but it was enough to inspire me.

So, I started drawing.  I added all kinds of things that we love, like trees, dragonflies, and a seahorse- Jim asked for that. I thought that it was most appropriate, as he is a fabulous father and grandfather, just like seahorses are.

I pulled some paint chips….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

And primed it….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

All the while, thinking: I love you!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I drew the compass rose and  mermaids on plywood, and then cut them out, sanded, burned and varnished the medallions.  (I love you….)

The seat cushions are temporary…. I’ll be weaving more appropriate ones soon.  (I love you….)

This is what it actually looks like in the dining room:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

It fits into our quirky, light hearted home perfectly.

And, it says, resoundingly: I LOVE YOU!!!!

Our wee grandson loves it, too, and is delighted that I sneaked a little portrait of him into the compass rose just to the right of the flower on the sun’s head.

Yes, indeed, there really are a million ways to say, ‘I love you’….. yes.

And, if I hadn’t impulsively given away half our chairs to our adored offspring, we would never have considered adopting our Mermaid Bench.

Well, love leads us in the most delightful ways, doesn’t it?

(I love you….)

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, personal stuff, woodwork

Sigh- this is NOT the background for the book pics

While I am weaving up a storm, working on projects for my new book, I can’t post pics of what I am weaving.

You know…. you just can’t ‘scoop’ yourself and let the cat out of the bag, no matter how enticing it would be to let it out for just a very little peek.

But, nope.  It’s zipped lips and fingers off the keyboard when the itch to do a tiny reveal has to be firmly pushed down.

On the other hand, when something gets vetoed by my editor and the art dept…. I can say:

“Guess what! Here’s something that you WON’T be seeing in my new book!” :)

I had this bright  obviously Not so bright, idea that I would weave the background for all the project and how to photos on the peg loom.

I liked the idea.

A lot.

I wove and wove and wove for many an hour…..

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

And wove a large background piece.

And, merrily shot photographs using it.

But…..

I am learning the nuts and bolts of my new camera and so I sent photos in to my editor to make sure that the photos will be acceptable for all the manipulations that have to happen for publishing.

Oops….

The art department nixed the background.

oops.

Should have checked in on that one sooner, shouldn’t I?

oops.

Building a book is never a straight line- it’s a ziggy, zaggy, loopy and sometimes, snaggy one, indeed.

Ah, the learning curve.

All part of the journey.

Back to work I go.

:)

But hey, at least I was able to show you something that I have been working (and working and working) on.

:)

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Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Peg and Stick Loom weaving, Writing a book

Permission Doll

I’ve just posted a new pdf pattern to my etsy shop: The Permission Doll LINK

The Permission Doll was inspired by a wonderful thing that my father once said to me.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I asked him if he thought that a coat that I was thinking of making for myself was going to be too wild.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

He thought about it for a long time, and then declared: “Just wear it with panache!”.
And so I did.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I often think about living my life with panache, and about how important it is to stretch ourselves and to try new things.
We have to give ourselves permission to be brave and to find delight in all kinds of ways.

So, when you knit yourself the Permission doll, remember to live your life with panache!

And, every time you look at her, I hope that she will make you smile and spark a little extra bravery, whimsy and delight in your life.

She has been a force for healing in my life, and I hope that she will be in yours, too. :)

 

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Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, knitting