Category Archives: eco crafts & green projects

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 charity knitting, eco crafts & green projects, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, knitting, teddy bear

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

Lucet techniques- 5 – Shoelaces- upcycle to make aiglets

This is the 5th how to video in my series of Lucet technique tutorials.

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

In this video tutorial, I show how to make awesome shoelaces, and a great upcycling way of  making those little thingies at the end of the laces.

I couldn’t remember the right name for them when I was making the video, and called them ‘aplets’, but the correct name is ‘aglets or aiglets’.

Wikipedia defines them as: The word aglet (or aiglet) comes from Old French aguillette (or aiguillette), which is the diminutive of aguille (or aiguille), meaning needle.[1] This in turn comes from acus, Latin for needle. An aglet is like a small needle at the end of a corde

Here’s the video:

Please go to https://www.etsy.com/listing/190037126/handmade-wooden-lucet-by-noreen-crone?ref=listing-1 to purchase one of my sweet little handmade lucets, and to check out all the nifty spool knitting patterns and eBooks, as all those patterns will work beautifully with Lucet cords.

This is Noreen Crone-Findlay’s original design and concept.

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

Button button I love making buttons

The title of this post says it all.

I. Love. Making. Buttons. 🙂

I have been making them all my adult life, using different mediums, and right now, I am in a love love love state about making wooden buttons.

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

I enjoy making eco friendly buttons from the trees that fall down in our grove, or from the twigs and wood that my sisters-in-law prune from the gorgeous arbutus tree in their yard.

But recently, my friend, Molly, asked me to make thinner buttons….

So, I have been making thinner buttons, and loving it!

I’ve been doing wood burning for decades, and really enjoy embellishing the buttons with ‘pyrography’ (wood burning).

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

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

I will start getting them into my etsy shop next week.

I was surprised to learn that mailing them isn’t as expensive as I thought it would be, so it is definitely something I will follow through on.

(People asked me if I would do this, and I said no, because I thought that the postage would be insane. Ahem…. after I actually checked it out…. ahem…. it turns out to be ‘yes’)  🙂

I am participating in lots of artisan’s markets/maker’s faires and outdoor festivals this summer, so I will post the dates for those on my facebook page- LINK

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

In my previous post, I showed how to make  3 different styles of closures using a lucet… LINK

This makes special buttons even more special 🙂

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Filed under buttons, craft shows and makers faires, eco crafts & green projects, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, woodwork

Weaving with recycled & upcycled fabrics for Green Window City

For the last 6 weeks or so, I have been weaving up a storm, working on an installation for the Green Window City project in Edmonton Alberta.  Link to Green Window City

I wove 7 banners ( each 5 yards long) from cut up clothing and t shirts cut into t shirt yarn (tarn and ‘Farn’- fabric strip yarn) on my Saori loom.

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

I rescued a warp chain that an angry weaver had cut from the loom and tossed in a box at the Reuse center:

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

It wove up beautifully:

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

I figured out how to weave stars for the ends of the banners:

Green Windows April 7 update 5 (c)

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

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

I built a mannequin, a cat,

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

a dog,

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

a stool, a loom and a stand. LINK

I made gigantic balls of yarn…. I wove a tapestry of the earth, using cut up fabric strips- whew… so many new things to figure out!  LINK

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

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

And, then, yesterday, I installed it all in the window of a beautiful little boutique in Edmonton, ‘C’est Sera:

Weaving the world 10 (c)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, today…  I clean the studio and work on new projects.

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Saori weaving, tapestry, weaving & handwoven

How to build an upcycled loom and stand from recycled stuff

For the last month or so, I have been building and weaving up a storm.

I am part of a project in Edmonton, Alberta, called, Green Windows City, that has partnered 13 artists with small shops in the arts district.

The artists are creating installations built from upcycled or recycled stuff, and are creating magic!

Today is installation day, so I will take photos after I complete my installation and post them.

One of the really fun things that I have done is to design and build a tapestry loom (although it can be used for other things than tapestry) and stand from trash.

I built the loom from a picture frame and the stand for the loom using heavy cardboard tubes thrown away by the fabric store, an old broomstick and a few nuts and bolts.

It has ingenious ways of tensioning the warp strands, and opening the sheds for ease of weaving.

All it all, it is a wonderfully functional loom and stand that is almost no cost.

To my delight, I have found it to be a loom that I love and will be using for years.

I liked it so much that I have built a second one to be weaving on while this one is busy being in the installation.

I made a video showing how to make the loom and stand, and how to warp it (including the warping device that I messed up on and then replaced LOL)

Here’s the video-  it’s a cheap and cheerful way of creating a really great little tapestry loom.

I love it, and hope you will, too!

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

Green Window project – weaving a tapestry of the earth

I have been incredibly busy, working to deadline on  a really neat project: The Green Window City project. LINK

13 artists were paired with shops in the Old Strathcona district of Edmonton as part of Earth Day celebrations.

We are each creating an installation in our partnered shop, using stuff that was pulled out of the trash…..

I have been building and weaving like mad….

I can’t show too much until I have the installation up and running.

But – I am going to give a sneak preview of a small tapestry that I have woven for my installation.

I was nervous about using discarded fabric that I cut into strips for the weft of the tapestry- I had NO idea if it would work!

Also, I built the loom (more about that later) and wasn’t sure if it would be alright for tapestry weaving.

On top of all the other unknowns, for the warp,  I used hemp yarn that was given to me by someone who gave up on weaving.

Fuzzy, sheddie, hairy hemp yarn? As warp? Bonkers.

I was sceptical when I saw that the cone of yarn was labelled as being warp, but thought- Why not?

This is all about experimentation, and creative adaptive re-use….

So, I warped up the loom:

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

And then, I cut up strips of fabric and started weaving.

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

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

I’ve never used fabric strips to weave tapestry, so I was really quizzical about it at first….

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

Those are the fabrics that I cut up, and wow…. I LOVED weaving with them!

Its’ very slow, but I was amazed at how well it worked!

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

I loved it, and I am eager to weave more tapestries with upcycled, re-used, recycled fabric cut into ‘farn’ (fabric yarn).

But, for now, I have to get back to cutting up more t shirts and discarded garments for the banners that I am weaving for the installation.

And, then, back to weaving weaving weaving…. I have 5 more long banners to weave….. oh my!~

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