Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Woven Women- She Walks in Beauty Like the Night

I love the poem, ‘She Walks in Beauty Like the Night’ by Lord Byron….

To me, it’s about being aware of how we walk through the days AND the nights of our lives-

Walking each moment in attention to the beauty that surrounds us,

and the beauty that exists in us, and those whose lives we walk with.

Also, it makes me think about the ways we treat the night in our culture.

We’re a little (or a LOT) afraid of it, aren’t we?

We need to light it up and make it not so dark, not so scary,

not so much bigger than we are…..

And, so, I made this Woven Woman, with all those thoughts, and oh, so many more,

in my mind.

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

‘She Walks in Beauty Like the Night’  was woven on my 8 inch Mirrix tapestry loom at 8 epi and 4 epi (I wanted to add a lot of texture, so I took a chance and by going with what is considered to be a whalloping HUGE scale of weaving.

It was a challenge to accept what I was doing, but I loved what I learned in combining the 2 different ends per inch ratio- always excellent to learn new things- Yes!)

Her arms were woven on my 4 harness loom at 30 ends per inch.

The narrow bands at her shoulders and wrists were woven on my inkle loom.

I drew the face, hands and feet on Baltic Birch plywood and cut them out with the bandsaw, sanded, sanded and filed the edges.

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

Then I burned the pencil lines with a special rheostatic wood burner that my lovely, brilliant husband, Jim Findlay, LINK designed and built for me.

Next step was to do some encaustic work with laying color in with beeswax, and melting it in (without setting fire to everything, ahem- that does put a crimp in the day….).  Then, layers of acrylic paints, more beeswax, and then  the wooden pieces were all varnished.

I drill holes in at their edges so they can be stitched securely into the tapestry.

‘She Walks in Beauty Like the Night’ is just over 36 inches tall.

I am enchanted with weaving words these days, which has all manner of challenges, but it has absolutely captured my imagination.

I find weaving words to be utterly delicious, and phrases and fragments of favorite poems are jumping up and down, leaping through my dreams, marching through my mind or dancing on the edges, demanding to become Woven Women.

So, what am I to do?  Warp up the loom and keep weaving, of course!

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

My beloved daughter in love, (light of my son’s life, my dear friend, and a total treasure), Alliston Findlay, is a master hand spinner.

Her handspun yarns are the richly shaded blacks in ‘She Walks in Beauty’.

The irridescent threads that I used to weave the words are from Kreinik threads LINK

Weaving tapestry with bundles of metallic threads (I used 3 or 4 strands of the metalics and blending threads held together) is VERY slow and definitely challenging, but SO worth it.

When I was steaming the tapestry after it came off the loom, I was VERY careful, as I was worried that I might melt the threads.  Luckily, they stood up to the steaming and finishing process just fine- whew!

Finishing a tapestry is one heck of a lot of work, but that’s another story.

For now, let me leave you with the wish that you, too, will walk in beauty like the night, through all the moments of your beautiful life!

PS:I was told last week that Lord Byron wrote the poem because he deeply honoured and respected a young woman who struggled with cerebral palsy. Apparently, this made it difficult for some people to see her true beauty.  This makes me love the poem even more!

If you check the comments, you will see a link to poets.org … check it out!  (Thank you, Gene!)

Here is the poem in full:

I.

She walks in beauty, like the night 
   Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright 
   Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light 
   Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

II.

One shade the more, one ray the less, 
   Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress, 
   Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express 
   How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

III.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow, 
   So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow, 
   But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below, 
   A heart whose love is innocent!

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Woven Women – Spiral Eyes

A couple of days ago, I posted photos of ‘Woven Women- Spiral Eyes’ in process and with the weaving finished, but still on the loom.  LINK

I was planning on weaving more small diary pieces on the same warp, but- oops!

I broke a warp strand while advancing the warp- ack!

So, I cut the warp off and finished framing her:

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

My thoughts while weaving this piece were

that we simply have to come from a place of compassion….

which is what the spirals represent to me-

spiral in, spiral out.

The eyes, of course, are about seeing….

the blue around her face represents tears,

the green in the spirals is all about hope.

So… that’s what’s woven into a very tiny tapestry.  (It’s 3 inches by 5 inches)

 

 

9 Comments

Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, tapestry, Uncategorized, weave along, Woven Women tapestries and woven works

Tea time in the studio

No matter how busy I am, (and I am wildly busy right now, with stiff deadlines) I still take time to have a lovely cuppa tea.

Image

It makes me feel deeply contented!

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Road to Django concert January 2014

For me, the very best part of January for the last few years has been the breathtakingly wonderful concert produced by Cam Neufeld and Marianne Watchel.

The Road to Django Concert January 26 2014

The concert is called: The Road to Django, and it chronicles Cam’s journey from India, through the Balkans to Paris for the celebration of Django Reinhardt’s 100th birthday.

It begins with Cam playing a handmade violin like instrument from India.

The Road to Django Concert January 26 2014

Cam explored the history and movement of Gypsy/Roma music through Asia and Europe, writing music  and studying with musicians and teachers as he went.

He then came home to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and asked a group of his friends to create a magical series of concerts that bring to life the music of the Roma, including some Flamenco (which is one of the great passions of my husband, guitar master and composer, Jim Findlay). The concert ends with a spectacular explosion of Django’s swing and Hot Club Paris music.  Holy smoke would be an appropriate response.

I was riveted by the spectacle of the 12 musicians, at the end of 3 1/2 hours of intense performance catapulting through Django’s breakneck tempos.  Holy smoke! They gave every molecule of their beings to the music and the audience exploded into cheers…….. wowsa.  Holy smoke…..

This year, Cam was joined by 11 other stellar musicians:

The Road to Django Concert January 26 2014

It wasn’t possible to get them all in one photo from where I was sitting…

The Road to Django Concert January 26 2014

The level of intensity of the music is incredible, and the audience is transfixed!

Lisi Sommer has the voice and presence of a Goddess, and I took a whole bunch of photos of her singing, so I can work on drawings of them later.

I was amazed and delighted when the slight glitter in the backdrop translated itself into what looks like musical notes around her… isn’t that the neatest thing?

The Road to Django Concert January 26 2014

Raquel, a beautiful dancer from Spain performed belly dance, and then Flamenco.

Her charisma, grace and beauty were a gift to the audience.

The Road to Django Concert January 26 2014

This video is the group of 12 musicians (Jim is the gorgeous greybeard in black hat and jacket with the Godin guitar on the far left of the stage) playing one of Jim’s compositions, “I See”, at the Road to Django concert on Jan 26 2014. Cam and Jim have given me permission to upload this piece to YouTube. Because it’s taken with my tiny old video camera, it doesn’t do justice to the magnificence of the music and the astonishing virtuosity of 12 gifted, beautiful musicians, but I really wanted to share even this small glimpse of the glory of the concert.

This was an evening that made me feel blessed beyond measure and awestruck by the beauty and power of music.

Thank you, thank you to the musicians, and especially to our dear friend, Cam!

Cam Neufeldt is a treasure

Cam Neufeld is a treasure

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Woven Women: Mother Holdfast

The last year and a half or so has been quite a roller coaster ride with worry/anguish/anxiety over our daughter’s health issues.  I cannot even put into words what we’ve gone through, so I won’t….

But, things have resolved, and she’s come through surgery and now radiation, with flying colors, so we are all relieved beyond belief.

In the midst of dealing with our daughter’s healing process, our daughter in law suffered a miscarriage, which  threw us into more grieving.  Things were mighty, mighty rough.

I felt like I had to keep a very tight lid on the volcano of emotions- the worry, fear, uncertainty, sorrow, anguish, grief- you know – all that stuff that roils up when your beloved children are having a hard time.

Plus, we were all working our socks off all summer while dealing with all of this, and it just was so intense that it meant that I simply had to hold a very very tight focus, emotionally.

And, now that we have come through this harrowing passage, I am slowly releasing all that pent up stuff…

For me, the most healing way of doing that is in making art….

This is the direct result of the beginning of the process of transforming my volcano of emotion into a positive expression of beauty, while using all that energy in a directed way.

My husband and I took a break for a weekend at the beginning of September, and went to the west coast to visit sisters.

We came home with our suitcases full of driftwood, sea glass and seaweed- some of my most favorite raw materials, ever.

Three of the pieces of driftwood in particular called out to me.

So did a dried up kelp root, called, a ‘holdfast’, that one of my sisters gave to me- she has treasured it for a long time, and so it’s very precious.

The metaphor of ‘holdfast’, of roots holding a great kelp tree anchored in the ocean spoke so deeply to me as a symbol of what I, as the mother of young women and their loved ones in a time of troubles, was called to do in holding the energy for my family.

So, the name: Mother Holdfast rings true for me.

Here is the holdfast, being held fast in ‘Mother Holdfast’s hands…. which I made from wire.

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

One of the pieces of driftwood became the head of ‘Mother Holdfast’:

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

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

Another piece of driftwood became her shoulders, and the third one became part of her upper arm:

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

As soon as I drew, then burned the face onto the ‘head’ piece of driftwood, Mother Holdfast let me know exactly what colors and textures she wanted me to weave.

So, I warped up and wove at a feverish, furious pace…..

And, then, I started layering, stitching, layering more, weaving more….

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

Until Mother Holdfast was complete….

She is TALL! She is almost 6 feet 6 inches tall….

As well as my woven fabrics and inkle bands, I have also stitched and woven in antique and vintage lace fragments, tatting (tatting goes with me everywhere, and keeps me sane when I am having to wait or watch or…), smaller fragments of driftwood and seaweed, and spool knitted wire cords that I filled with sea glass.

Here’s the lower part of her dress:


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


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

‘Mother Holdfast’ has been a powerful healing experience for me to create.

One of my dear friends was looking at her, and then turned and asked me:

‘So, my dear, what does she want you to do next? Where will she lead you?’

An interesting question, indeed…..

27 Comments

Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Uncategorized, weaving & handwoven, Woven Women tapestries and woven works

Sock Monkey Finger Puppet pattern

It’s been a wildly busy summer, as my daughter and daughter-in-law and I have been doing a TON of maker’s faires and craft shows.

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

I have built and re-built, and re-built again, my booth…. and now I am happy with it.

I’ve been working my chops off, producing new and delicious things for the booth, and my designer mode has been in overdrive.

One of the things that has become very clear to me this summer, is how much I love designing and making finger puppets:

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

One of the lovely serendipitous things that came together for me was when I was thinking about my grandmother and her pleasure in making sock monkeys- she made hundreds of them throughout my childhood, and I loved helping her with them- and then twigging that I should design Sock Monkey Finger Puppets in homage to her.

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

It has taken a lot of figuring, tweaking, refining and crochet, crochet, crochet to get to the place that is just right with them.

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

And, now  that I have got the pattern all polished up, and edited and in a very happy place, I have put it up on my etsy shop: LINK 

and on my website: LINK

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

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

Because they are so little, they are great for using up bits of precious yarn like handspun or even silk.

And, you don’t have to stick with browns:

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

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

They make me smile…. and I hope that you will enjoy them, too! 😀

6 Comments

Filed under crochet, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, Uncategorized

A very young weaver

On Saturday, I’ll have my booth at the Mercer Collective in Edmonton AB.

I am going to be demonstrating weaving in my booth, and I decided that the 6 foot configuration of my Dewberry Ridge Triangle loom will be perfect for this.

I had it set up to the 3 foot size, so changes were necessary.

Our 3 year old grandson was over at our house for his weekly playdate, so I asked him if he’d like to help me take the loom apart and put it back together again.

Oh, YES!!!

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

I showed him where the allen wrench goes, and that was it…. he ~got it~ instantly!

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

His mechanical abilities are exceptional…. I know, I know…. proud granny and all that…. but still… he is only 3!

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

And, thanks to Gary McFarland’s brilliant engineering (he and his wife, Donna, are Dewberry Ridge Looms) my grandson and I quickly and easily had the 6 foot size tri loom assembled.

Here’s the link for Dewberry Ridge Looms: LINK

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

I am also going to be taking my Structo loom with me- kids love to weave on it, and I often take it to shows so I can introduce children to the joy of weaving 🙂

Our little guy has been weaving since he was a baby, (I blogged about it when he was 6 months old…. see this post: LINK ) so he’s a pro with the Structo:

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

I love watching him weave…. his focus and knowing-ness are so neat!

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

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

When his mamma and uncle were children, I always kept a loom warped up, just for them.

I wish that I had had the Structo then…. they would have loved it!

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

Sharing the joy of weaving is so delicious!!!!! 😀

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

How to weave inkle bands on the Mirrix loom part one

I love weaving inkle (warp face) bands.

I use  in dollmaking:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Link to purchase pattern for Inkle dolls: Inkle Dolls

And, they are wonderful for trimming handwoven clothing:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Link to post that shows how to shape inkle bands to make a yoke or other shaped pieces of garments: Warp pulling

Over the years,  I have also made hat bands, book marks, all kinds of jewelry, key fobs,  vests, bags, bag handles, the garters for the men’s kilt hose for my son’s wedding, shawls, freeform pieces that combine inkle weaving, knitting, embroidery, spool knitting and crochet, as well as rugs.

Yep. I love inkle weaving.

So, as I have been exploring the possibilities of weaving with my Mirrix looms, I had to give inkle weaving a try.

I found that it was quite challenging at first. But, I don’t give up easily 🙂

I ended up spending waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more hours than I should have, experimenting and obsessing over making inkle bands on the Mirrix.

Well… I finally succeeded.

Since it was so challenging, I figured that I should share what I have learned, so that other intrepid inkle weavers can leap right in, without all the trial,  error and frogging that I went through!

There are definitely tricks to weaving inkle bands on the Mirrix looms, and I have made 4 videos to share those tricks.

Here’s part one of the video:

Here is the draft for the bands that I wove in the videos:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

To read the draft: Each square represents one warp strand.

You can check your warping by looking at each shed to see that it has the same number of strands, in the order that they appear in the line.

You will be  putting a total of 8 green strands on, followed by 4 orange strands, 3 sets of  (1 orange, 1 green) for a total of 6 strands, then 4 orange strands and ending with 8 green strands.

At the top and bottom of the loom, you’ll see the full count of warp strands.

At the warping bar, the 2 sheds will be separated into their correct (we hope!) configuration for each shed.

The chart will give you bands like this:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

The upper band is the band on the right hand side of the loom in videos 2 – 4.

I only used the center of the draft for it, without the green border strands.

The yarn is Lion Brand Cotton.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Setting up the loom for inkle bands is different than normal warping.

You need to have the warping bar at the front of the loom.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Tie the green yarn onto the warping bar and take it up and around the loom, just the same as if the warping bar was in the back.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

You will need to cut the warp strand of color 1 to tie on color 2 at the warping bar, for EVERY color change.

WHAT?!?!?!

Yes. really.

It sounds insane, but this is the biggest key to making the whole inkle thing work on the Mirrix loom.

Trust me. You ~can~ twist your yarns around each other, and are welcome to, I’m sure, if that would make you happy….

BUT…. the quickest, easiest way to have problem free warping for inkle is to cut those little darlin’s and tie the knots between the colors.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Yay! Warped!  Insert the spring rod into the spring to keep the warp strands locked into their notches.

This is sooooooooooo important!  (yep… voice of ‘oops’ experience here 😦 )

And in Part 2…. it’s on to the heddles.

I have a nifty, super friendly way of using a crochet hook and weaving stick to make the heddling process go like a breeze.

That’s coming up next…. so stay tuned! 🙂

3 Comments

Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, tutorial & how to, Uncategorized, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven

Making string heddles for my Mirrix loom

At the beginning of May,  a ‘new-to-me’ loom , a large  Mirrix tapestry loom, arrived in my studio. (Courtesy of my son and daughter in law who picked her up in the city 4 hours away, that used to be her home- the previous owner didn’t want to ship her).

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I immediately sat down and made a whole lot of heddles for her, as she didn’t come with them.

And then, I warped her up- ooooooooohhhhhhhhhh, I love how easily she warps! Bliss!

As I was warping her up and starting to weave,  I thought…. ‘Hmmmm…. there must be a group for Mirrix weavers on Ravelry’

(Ravelry= the facebook of the yarn world)

I looked, and sure enough! There is a Mirrix group…. which I joined, pronto.

And the first thing I saw was that Claudia (the inventor of the magical Mirrix looms) and Elena, her talented daughter, had posted that they were accepting applications for their annual ‘Social Networking for a Mirrix Loom’ campaign. Link

Well… I had decided within hours of starting to weave on my ‘Joni’ loom that I wanted to fill my studio with Mirrix looms.

So, I sent off an application….

Um… I wanted to fill the studio with ~Smaller~ Mirrix looms!

MEANWHILE>>>> The Joni is one big Mamma, and even though I am tall, my arms are short, so I found that I was having shoulder pain.

My  clever daughter in law subtly sneaked the information out of me that I was longing for the treadle kit for the Mirrix loom. Then, she orchestrated the family buying me the treadle kit for Mother’s Day! What a sweetheart!

To say that I was thrilled was an understatement!

THEN!  on the 18th of May, was just tickled pink to hear from Elena that they had picked me as one of their team for the 4 months of the ‘Social Networking’ campaign. Whee!  What a couple of thrilling days!

And, now… I am starting to keep my part of the bargain, which is to chronicle my experiences with the Mirrix loom(s).

So, since I began my Mirrix adventures with making string heddles, I am going to show you my quick and easy way of making the string heddles for the Mirrix looms (or inkle or frame looms, too).

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

And, here is the video:

How to make string heddles by Noreen Crone-Findlay (c)

Happy Weaving!

11 Comments

Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, tutorial & how to, Uncategorized, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven