Category Archives: knitting

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

Whee- 40 teeny Comfort Bears- I did it!!!

Originally, I designed these little bears for Syrian refugee children, but I wanted to address the critical comments that some people had made. They said that we should be taking care of people who are already here and are suffering.

Well, I agree: We do need to care for those in pain, but it is NOT an either/or situation: It is AND.

I had recently read an article that spoke of acts of compassion and ended by saying that the heart must stretch, or it will break.

I thought: Alright… let’s stretch the heartstrings.

I thought: Who is here that needs me?  Immediately, the answer came up: The Women’s Shelter.

So, two weeks ago, I asked the Women’s Shelter if I could donate some of the tiny Blessing/Comfort/Kindness bears to the children in their care.

Confession time: Truth be told, I was still in the design stage at this point… how bold of me to phone them up when I hadn’t even finished the workable prototype! LOL

They said, ‘YES! Please make us 40!’

When I recovered from my astonishment, I said: ‘Of course I will’.

And, so, for the last 2 weeks, I have gotten up early (very VERY early some mornings!) and gone to bed late….

and …. tadah!!!!

40 little Comfort/Blessing Bears in a Basket! (made with love by Noreen Crone-Findlay)

I knew that I could not possibly get them all knitted by hand in only 2 weeks, so I knitted the bodies of most of them by machine, but some of them, I knitted on 2 sets of circular needles (cumbersome) and some on 4 dpn’s… which is much more doable than the 2 circs.

(I have my dpn’s and yarn with a bear on it in my ‘going out the door’ knitting bag… more about that, later).

The hand work of sewing the back seam, stuffing the bear, sewing both ends shut then making the necks, legs, ears, stitching on the arms and embroidering the faces is what takes up most of the bear making time.

It’s slow, but contemplative work, and it brings me such great delight as each little face smiles up at me when I finish embroidering it!   Such joy!!!!

I have to race to finish family Christmas presents now, but I will be casting on lots more stitches for more, more, more bears- for Syrian refugee children, and more for the Women’s Shelter to have on hand, and more because I keep meeting people who need them….

This makes me sooooooooooooo happy!   ❤     😀     ❤

Yup, this has been a real heart stretcher… I have so much more room in my heart than I ever thought possible.

I think that the extra room is bear shaped….

copyright  Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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

My dream is that people will be inspired to knit or crochet all kinds of wonderful wee comfort/kindness/blessing bears to give to anyone who needs some compassion and healing.   Won’t you join me?    🙂

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Filed under charity knitting, crafting for charity, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, knitting, teddy bear

Tiny Teddy Bears that hug the hand that holds them

The past few weeks have been a flurry of knitting tiny bears .

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

I designed these Comfort Bears (also known as ‘Kindness Bears’ , ‘Compassion Bears’ and ‘Blessing Bears’) for people of any age who need to feel loved and comforted.

It was important to me that they fit in a pocket, so they are less than 3 inches tall.

It  also felt important that the wee bears be interactive, so I designed their arms to be knitted in one piece, so they could hug the finger of the person who owns them.

They bring me so much joy to make!  I hope that those who will be adopting them will feel all the love in each tiny teddy!

I’ve found such joy in making them, so they really do hug back to their maker, as well as whoever will be their owner.  😀

Here’s the link to the pattern so you can knit them, too:

https://tottietalkscrafts.com/2015/12/11/knitted-comfort-bear-by-noreen-crone-findlay/

If you don’t knit, but would like to make crocheted comfort bears, here’s the link to the pattern for crocheted comfort bears:

https://tottietalkscrafts.com/2015/12/18/crocheted-comfort-bears-by-noreen-crone-findlay/

I have been thrilled to hear from people how then intend to use the Blessing Bears.

One woman brought tears to my eyes by telling me that she’s making them to give to her children so they can give them to children at their school who have been bullied.

I’d love to hear who you are making Blessing Bears for….

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Filed under charity knitting, crafting for charity, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, knitting, teddy bear

Kindness and solace from tiny knitted bears

Because I offered to make the tiny knitted comfort bears LINK TO PATTERN for the Women’s Shelter, and they responded enthusiastically by asking for 40 of them by Dec 21 (eegads), I have been taking them with me everywhere I go, making making making little comfort bears.

I’ve been so grateful that friends have offered to help me with them.

It’s such a joy to sit together making these wee ambassadors of love and connection:

Arwen & Noreen at the Blue Chair cafe making Kindness Bears

Arwen & Noreen at the Blue Chair cafe making Kindness Bears

Bears at Blue Chair 2 (c)

I have been hearing really touching stories from people- the tiny bears have the amazing capacity to open hearts, so people feel safe to tell their stories…. some of which are really painful to hear, but must be heard even so.

Emily Dickinson’s poem:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,    
I shall not live in vain;    
If I can ease one life the aching,    
Or cool one pain,    
Or help one fainting robin             
Unto his nest again,    
I shall not live in vain.

has taken on even deeper meaning to me as I make these tiny ‘Kindness’ bears.

I have to admit that some of the stories that I have heard have brought tears to my eyes, and sometimes cause rage to well up at the horrors some people have endured.

If these little bears can bring solace, well, then, I , and all those who join me in making them, shall not have lived in vain.

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December 18, 2015 · 12:58 pm

Knitted Comfort Bear by Noreen Crone-Findlay

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

Today, we need kindness more than ever before.

It brings me such joy to see people everywhere finding ways to create comfort and to show their love of humanity.

Recently, I went to a benefit concert for Syrian refugees, and one of the organizers said:  If you want to help, don’t ask us what you can do, tell us what your strengths are, and then do that.

I thought about what she said and then asked one of the other organizers if knitting teddy bears for the Syrian children was culturally acceptable, and she said that it is indeed.

And, so, I have designed a tiny knitted teddy bear that fits in a pocket to be a perfectly portable comfort, cuddle or hug.

I decided that I also need to help out with children who are already here, and are in distress.

So I offered to knit some for the  children in the Women’s Shelter as well as for the Syrian Refugee children.(The lady at the Women’s Shelter was delighted with my offer and has heartily taken me up on it 🙂 )

Also, I am going to knit a few  to keep in my bag for those times when I meet someone who just needs a little extra TLC.

I invite you to knit them for whatever charity makes your heart sing.

Feel free to share the link to this page… it would be wonderful to have knitters all over the world knitting these wee ambassadors of love and comfort!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Note: the finished size of this Tiny Comfort Bear is determined by the size of knitting needles that you choose and the thickness of the yarn.

YOU WILL NEED:

EQUIPMENT: Knitting needles (the Cuddle Bear in the photos was knitted with 2.75 mm needles); scissors; darning or tapestry needle; embroidery needle; ruler or tape measure.

Note: You can also knit these Comfort bears on a knitting machine if you have one.  Because I have been requested to knit so many, I have made a whole bunch of them on my knitting machine.

YARN: 1 ball of sock yarn will make 10 or more Comfort Bears.

ALSO: A small amount of stuffing; black sock yarn or embroidery floss to embroider the features.

FINISHED SIZE:

With sock yarn and 2.75mm needles, the Comfort Bear is 3 inches/ 7.5 cm tall.

With sock yarn and 2.25mm needles, the Comfort Bear is 2 1/2 inches/ 6.25 cm tall

NOTE: For a very small bear: Use smaller needles and thinner yarn, such as lace weight.

For a larger bear, use thicker needles and heavier yarn.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

INSTRUCTIONS:

BODY:
Leave at least 6 inches/ 15 cm of yarn for finishing
and cast on 12 stitches.

Row 1: K 12

Row 2: K 1, P 1 in each stitch. (24 stitches)

Set up your knitting:  You can either work the Comfort Bear flat on 2 needles, then sew the center back seam after finishing, OR, work it in the round, using 4 dpns, OR in the round on a magic loop on 1 long circular needle OR in the round on 2 shorter circular needles.

Rows or Rounds 3 – 15: Work in st st.

NECK:

(Eyelet Row/Round): Row or Round 16: [K2tog, yo] 12 times.

HEAD:

Rows or Rounds 17 – 30: Work 24 stitches in st st.

Row or Round 31: [K2tog] 12 times. (12 st)

Cut yarn, leaving 8 inches/20 cm for finishing.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

FINISHING:

(Note: If you knitted your Comfort Bear flat on 2 needles, sew up the back seam now before completing the steps.)

1] Thread the yarn end at then end of the last round into a darning or tapestry needle and take it through all the stitches.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

2] Pull up the stitches to close the top of the head, then take the needle through all the stitches again to secure them.

3] Stuff the entire body.

4] EARS:

Pinch a semi-circle out at the side of the head and stitch through the base to form the ear. Stitch along the base of the ear, back and forth to define it well.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Stitch in place at the top of the head, then take the yarn inside the head and come out at the other side. Stitch in place to secure the yarn and then stitch the other ear in the same way.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Take the yarn end inside the body.

5] LEGS:

Thread the yarn end at the lower edge of the body into the needle and then pull up to gather the lower edge closed. Stitch in place to secure the gather.

Take the needle through the body about 1/4 inch/.5 cm up from the base.

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Go through the body again, slightly up from the last stitch.

Now, stitch back down towards the feet.

Stitch through the body several more times, to create the line between the legs.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Stitch in place at the base, then take the yarn end back into the body.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

6] NECK: Cut a piece of yarn about 30 inches/75 cm long and fold it in half.

Thread the ends into the darning needle then go in and out the eyelet round at the neck.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Wrap the yarn around the neck several times and then tie a tight knot to secure the neck.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Take the ends inside the body.

ARMS:

1] Leaving several inches of yarn at each end for attaching the i cord, knit a 3 stitch i cord that is 1 3/4 inches/4.5 cm long.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

2] Sew the arms to the body.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

FACE:

With black sock yarn or embroidery floss, embroider the face:

Bring the needle up through the head from the back of the neck to the center of the face.

Take a couple of tiny stitches to secure the yarn.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

 

Stitch a ‘V’ for the nose, then take the needle out at the first eye.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Take a couple of tiny stitches for the first eye.

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Then across to the second eye. Take a couple of tiny stitches for the second eye.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Take the needle from the top of the nose, down to the point of the V, then out to one side for the first half of the smile:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Pull the needle through the face at the point of the V and out to the end point of the smile.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

The needle goes back in almost where it came out to catch the middle of the smile line, then comes out at the point of the V.

Repeat for the second half of the smile.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Take a couple of tiny stitches in the nose to secure the end.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

 

Then, go through the body to bury the yarn end.

Snip the yarn end at the back of the neck.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

And there you have it!

Here’s a video tutorial on how to embroider a teddy bear face:

I hope that you’ll enjoy the tiny comfort bear to bring joy into your life in the knitting of it, and joy into the life of whoever you give it to.

🙂

Happy Knitting!

❤ Noreen

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Filed under charity knitting, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, knitting, teddy bear

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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Prayer/healing Shawls

The Truth and Reconciliation Hearings are coming to Edmonton at the end of March.

They are a response to the horrors of the Canadian Residential School System that brutalized the  children that were forced into them.

The survivors are invited to speak at the Truth and Reconciliation hearings, and each one will be given a prayer/healing shawl as a symbol of being heard and cared for.

The call went out, asking for 500 prayer shawls from the crafting folk of  Edmonton and area.

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

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

I’ve knitted 3 shawls, with love and with hope for healing…. may they bring peace and be a visible reminder that even though the person who receives each one will never meet me, that I do care about what happened to them.

I wish them peace and healing, and all the best, in all ways…. always…..

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Doll making as a healing art

In the past week, we have added several  friends and relations of relations to our healing prayers.

As part of my meditations and prayer work, I focus my mind by creating healing dolls.

I pour my love and healing thoughts and images into the making of a healing doll.

Stitch by stitch, I make a doll that I quietly, gently and peacefully pour my thoughts and intentions of wellness, loving kindness, tenderness, inspiration and insight into.

Sometimes, the doll is for a specific person, and sometimes, it is simply a response to feeling the call to make a sacred or healing doll.

I never sell these dolls- I give them to a person that feels right for it.

I wrote the book: Soul Mate Dolls: Doll making as a healing art many years ago. It’s out of print now.

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

Over the years, since the publication of this book, I have continued to work with the sacred art of doll making for my own contemplative practice, but also professionally.

I have taught many workshops, and I have designed many patterns for people to continue to make dolls that are focused on healing themselves and others.

And, now I am working on a whole new book about the healing power of mindful doll making.

Until it is released, here are some of my designs that are available on my website http://www.crone-findlay.com and in my etsy shop. The link to my etsy shop is below each of these dolls.

May doll making be the source of great happiness, healing and wholeness for you, my friends!

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

The crocheted Angel of Compassion link to pattern on etsy: Link

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

The Crocheted Angel of Healing dolls: LINK

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

The Crocheted Angel of Peace: LINK

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

Weaving with simple looms, such as the peg or stick loom is very meditative, and I find that weaving mermaids is an excellent way to focus my thoughts on healing body, mind and spirit: LINK

Simple tools can be used to make sweet little dolls that provide great comfort when tucked into a pocket, and they are so easy to pop into an envelope and mail to a friend:

The spool knitted tiny angels are so easy to make, but full of love, too:  LINK

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

As are the Friendship Fairies: LINK

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

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

And, I mustn’t forget the Menopause Fairy!

After all…. the Tooth Fairy takes away teeth and leaves a gift of money, right?

Well, the Menopause Fairy takes away all manner of things and leaves behind the gifts of laughter, wisdom and compassion, as well as soooooooooo much more!!!!  LINK

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

And, if the healing involves some deliciously wild energy, then perhaps a Wild And Wooly doll is in order: LINK

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

If you feel a connection to Goddesses, I have designed a knitted pattern for the Venus of Willendorf.

I love holding her in my hand- she’s just a perfect little handful of the Feminine Divine energy! LINK

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

And Venus of Willendorf inspired Goddesses to Crochet: LINK

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

There’s also the Minoan Goddess of the Bees to knit: LINK

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

There are so many women from history who are powerful role models and whose strength, dignity and wisdom are deeply inspiring and offer great hope. One of them is the Empress Theodora….. LINK

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

May the work of your hands bring you soulful and engaging ways of healing your heart, mind, body and spirit and may it bring joy and peace and healing in countless ways to your family and friends, too!

Blessings abounding!!!!  With love, always, and all ways! 🙂

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Filed under crochet, doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, knitting, Peg and Stick Loom weaving, spool knitter & spoolknitter & spool knitting & spool knitting

Bead love

I love beads- how could I NOT love beads?

The colors! the textures! the complete wonderfulness of them- sigh….

For many years, I did a lot of off loom beading- using brick stitch and peyote stitch to create pieces like this necklace:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

This necklace is an homage to the Minoan Goddess of the Bees.

The blue teardrop shapes are  dew drops, as the Minoan Goddess of the Bees is also known as ‘The Dewdrop Goddess’.

I love that—- dew happens when the earth is waking up and shifting from the dreamtime to the waking world.

How wonderful that there is a tiny Goddess there, guiding us back from our dreams, to our waking lives, and refreshing our spirits with dewdrops!

The red petal is a pomegranate seed, as The Minoan Goddess of the Bees is also closely aligned with the Goddess, Persephone.

Persephone was snatched from this world, and taken to the underworld, where she ate 3 pomegranate seeds. This meant that she had to return to the depths for 6 months of every year.

In Western Canada, where we live, winter reigns for at least 6 months of the year, often longer, so I resonate deeply with Persephone’s journey!

By the way, I love how the corded part of the necklace formed a figure ‘8’ – tilt it sideways, and you have infinity!

I worked the cord in peyote stitch, using tiny brass beads that a friend found in a thrift shop.  Nice!!! 🙂

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I carved her face from a tagua nut (an ecologically harvested palm nut) that is also known as vegetable ivory.

I have never done much loom beading, but that is about to change!

Every year, Claudia and Elena at Mirrix looms have a ‘social media campaign’.

They choose 2 weavers (a bead weaver and a tapestry weaver) to be part of the team, and then give them each a Mirrix loom.

Then, the weavers blog and post and tweet and fb etc about their adventures with their Mirrix looms for 4 months.

Well… I am soooooooooooooo delighted!

They picked me as one of their weavers! wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

A few weeks ago, I bought a Mirrix Joni from another Canadian weaver who hadn’t bonded with it. I am working on a series of woven tapestries and fiber arts collages and I need Joni Mirrix to be my loomie for that 😀

Woots! I fell madly in love with Joni Mirrix  (although I felt unworthy of her at first… will tell you more about it, later) and thought-

‘Hmmmmm… there must be a Ravelry group for Mirrix looms’.

I looked for it, and sure enough, there is! Link

I joined, and the first thing I saw was that they were having their annual Social Media networking campaign.

I sent in my application, and last night, I was doing a huge happy dance to discover that I got picked for the team!

(good thing I don’t have to catch a ball or throw one to be on the team, or else I would still be standing on the sidelines! ahem)

Oh ho! I want to fill my studio with Mirrix looms, (tapestry is slow, and I want to be doing bead weaving, toooooooo, so I am just ecstatic!)

Speaking of bead weaving, I treated myself to Claudia’s bracelet workshop on Craftsy  (anyone who has seen any of my video tutorials will know that I am madly in love with bracelets!) and I am chomping at the bit to get going on a bunch of yummy woven bracelets!

Alright…. back to work on design deadlines so I get back to my weaving!

Go gently! 🙂

Oh! PS: if you would like to knit yourself a Minoan Goddess of the Bees, I designed one for you to knit, and  can be ordered here:

Link to the doll page on my website (scroll down, waaaaaaaaay down the page to click the ‘buy now’ button)

 

 

 

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Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, knitting, Loom & looms & small loom weaving

A video showing the Woven Women Mermaids Song tapestry

I am working on a large series of woven and mixed fiber media pieces that I am calling: Woven Women.

I am almost done a fairly large piece, called: Mermaid’s Song: 

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

She’s large- 6 ft by 2ft, and hard to photograph in my studio, so I figured that I would show a video of her.

I used small looms, knitting, crochet, tatting, spoolknitting and flower looms to make her, along with copper foil work.

Some of the looms were: 2 inch square vintage weave it loom, potholder loom, pinboard looms, Martha Stewart loom and flower looms.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

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

And, here’s the video:

Remember: The size of your loom doesn’t limit the size of your finished piece!

Happy weaving! 🙂

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Filed under crochet, knitting, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, spool knitter & spoolknitter & spool knitting & spool knitting, weaving & handwoven, Woven Women tapestries and woven works