Category Archives: eco crafts & green projects

Wearing my heart on my sleeve- 4 and 6 inch Heart Looms

I am so pleased!   I’ve been working with Donna and Gary McFarland of Dewberry Ridge Looms to create some absolutely lovely new Heart Looms.

They are 4 inches and 6 inches and have a wider sett than the tiny 2 inch looms.

This means that you can weave thicker yarns, roving, fabric strips, t shirt yarn on them. Lots of eco-friendly options!

And on the 6 inch Heart loom, you can even weave potholder loops, too.

One of the first things that I did with them was to mend my much loved, and very well worn woven jacket by stitching and felting one of the hearts to repair a frayed section on the sleeve.

Here are the links to buy the looms:

https://www.dewberryridge.com/products/lil-weaver-heart-loom-6

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Filed under Dewberry Ridge looms, eco crafts & green projects, Heart Loom, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, weaving & handwoven

Handspun Alpaca for ANOTHER new book

HURRAH!  In 2020, my publisher (Stackpole books) will be releasing not just one new book from me (I was hard at work for almost all of 2018 on it), but-

WHEEE-   while I was working sooooooooo hard on the book that will be released in January of 2020, I was also busting my chops on laying the foundation for the NEXT book that I am writing.

And, the good news is that they will be publishing the NEXT book  in the fall of 2020, so most of 2019 will have me hard at work on it.

In fact, I am happily working on it now.

Last summer, my friends, Teresa and Darren Griffith gave me a huge bag of fluffy, fabulous fuzz from 4 of their gorgeous alpacas.

I don’t have a drum carder, so I hand carded and carded and carded it all and spun and spun and spun….

this basket of yummy yarn….

It may not look like much, but there is over a kilogram of yarn in that basket!

I thought that Teresa was brilliant to staple a lock of fleece from each of the alpacas to a card, so I would remember the name of each of the sweet alpacas who donated their loveliness!

And, now, I am joyfully weaving the alpaca yarn and will be including it in the NEXT book.

Hurrah!

and a thousand thanks to Teresa and Darren for their amazing generosity! ❤ and blessings to them both

 

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, personal stuff, weaving & handwoven, Writing a book

How to Make a Niddy Noddy from Cardboard to Wind Skeins

My friend, Teresa gave me a bag of gorgeous Alpaca fiber – bliss!

I started spinning it up, but realized that I had misplaced my Niddy Noddy.

So, I thought… I can make one from cardboard.

One thing lead to another, and I soon ended up with 2 charming little characters who do acrobatics to help me wind a skein of yarn.

They are sturdy, work perfectly and are easy to store.

A totally successful upcycle of re-using cardboard. Yay!

Here’s the pattern that I finally settled on… after a LOT of tweaking and twiddling:

Print it full page:

And here’s a video that shows how to use it, as well as the inspiration for Niddy and Noddy’s faces:

Happy Spinning, Happy Weaving, Happy Upcycling!

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, tutorial & how to, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven

How to make buttons from twigs and branches

I love making one of a kind wooden buttons from twigs and branches that I find on the ground.

It’s a great eco-friendly project that is upcycling at its best.

They are a great way of embellishing hand woven, knitted, or crocheted fabric, or to make a sewn garment or accessory even more special.

You don’t have to have a woodworking shop full of power tools to make lovely wooden buttons- a few simple  hand tools are all that are necessary.

Here is the video that I made, showing how to make 3 different kinds of buttons from the same twig.

I hope that you will have a wonderful time making your own unique buttons:

 

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, tutorial & how to, video tutorial, woodwork

Cutting garments into fabric strips to weave and knit

The flu knocked me for a loop, and as I have been slowly pulling myself out of it, I haven’t had much energy, so my blog has slipped off the rails.

I did want to mention, however, that I made a video about cutting up garments to upcycle them by weaving or knitting with the fabric strips.

In early October, my son in law’s step-dad passed away.

This was, of course, very hard on our grandson.

I talked with him about what it meant to him to have his ‘other’ grampa (not my husband) pass away.

I asked him if he needed something of his grampa’s to hold onto, and he said yes.

So, I asked for a couple of Bill’s shirts so I could make comfort critters with them.

I cut them up and wove them into kittys, as that was what my grandson asked for, so he has one, and other family members have them too.  (I didn’t photograph all of them).

I also knitted a teddy bear for one of our relatives, as he is definitely a teddy bear guy 🙂

The bear and kittys have been well received and they do carry the love that went into every stitch of making them.

I’ve done this before, and have found that ‘compassion critters’ made from upcycled clothing of a dear one is very comforting for people in grief.

Every little thing helps….

Here’s the video:

The woven kitties and knitted bear are made from the following patterns:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/88710…

and https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/27430…

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Filed under blessing bear, charity knitting, crafting for charity, eco crafts & green projects, Findlay Bear and Flora Panda, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, knitting, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, personal stuff, potholder loom, teddy bear, tutorial & how to, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven

How to Carve a Weaving Hook from a Chopstick

I use weaving hooks in all kinds of weaving- everything from potholder looms and frame looms to triangle looms, and a fair few looms in between.

Crochet hooks are okay for some weaving, but they can be too short and too round for some weaving.

I have found that making weaving hooks from chopsticks is quick, easy and very satisfying. It’s a great way to upcycle.

Chopstick weaving hooks are longer than crochet hooks (afghan hooks can be hard to find) and are flatter, and work beautifully.

weaving-hook-from-chopstick

You can customize your weaving hook to be the absolute bees knees by fine tuning it with a little sanding or whittling as you work with it.

Here is a step by step ‘how to’ video tutorial that shows you how you can easily carve or whittle your own perfect weaving hook with just a few simple tools:

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

Memory Bears

Last summer, Marie,  a member of our extended family (through marriage and love) died.

I asked her daughter for one of Marie’s sweaters so I could upcycle it to make little bears for Marie’s close kin with it.

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

I unraveled the sleeves of the sweater and used the  Comfort Bear pattern LINK to pattern

It’s taken awhile, because, I think that I needed to design the Comfort Bears first.

I was so pleased when I had an ‘AHA!’ that I could use the Comfort Bear pattern  to make the Memory Bears for Marie’s daughter and her partner, her son and grandson and her grandson’s Mum.

They’ll be able to cuddle a little of their Mum and Grandma whenever they need a small bit of comfort…..

I am finding the Comfort Bears to be very inspiring…  They have many aspects, and more keep being revealed.

Tiny bears, made with love.  ❤

 

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Filed under blessing bear, charity knitting, crafting for charity, eco crafts & green projects, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, knitting, teddy bear, tutorial & how to

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:
Note: I have upgraded the little box loom…. it’s even better!  I will post photos of it soon.

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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

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

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