Tag Archives: Noreen Crone-Findlay

Carved Wooden Vasilisa Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay

I have been carving wooden dolls non-stop for the past year.

I’ve been working on several series of dolls.

One of the series that has brought me great joy is my ‘Vasilisa Comfort Dolls’ group.

I call them this because of the Russian folktale, Vasilisa the Brave. Vasilisa’s mother knows that she is dying, so she makes her darling daughter a doll that embodies all the mother love in her heart.

The little doll acts as a guide and comfort for Vasilisa throughout the story.

My Vasilisa dolls are also an embodiment of love, and even though they look very simple, they are deeply heartfelt, contemplative, meditative and powerfully healing.

I have used all kinds of wood- some it is from old pianos that died and the wood was given to me, some of it is from trees that were pruned or felled because of old age, some is from old furniture or planks of upcycled wood in other forms. There is a very small amount of new bought wood, as I prefer to plant trees, rather than use them up. Upcycling soothes me.

I have separated the Vasilisa Dolls into different categories.

Many of them are meant to be held in the palm of your hand or carried in a pouch (carrying them in a pocket with coins, keys, pebbles etc is not recommended, but on their own in a pocket is fine).

The Vasilisa dolls are all about 2 1/2 inches tall.
Just perfect to be embraced in your hand…. and held to your heart!

Here are the ‘Square Body’ Vasilisa’s dolls

Some of them have cords, because they are necklaces.

Some have dear little wooden legs that turn them into lucets, so they can make cords.

Some of them have brass nail antennae that also allow them to be used as lucets.

Some of them have lucet cord arms that allow them to hug your finger, thumb or house plant.

Here are the ‘Heart Shape’ body Vasilisa dolls:

Here are the Round Shape Body Vasilisa Dolls:

The group of Vasilisa dolls in the photo below all have pins on their backs so they can be worn as brooches.

The group in the next photo are necklaces and I realize that some of these should have been in the Goddess photo, too, but, you know… keeping everything straight…..

The group in the photo below are all Lucets (and I’ll send a pdf on how to use them as well as links to 8 video tutorials on lucet cord making with these Vasilisa dolls)

These are the Finger Hugging Vasilisa Dolls:

These Vasilisa dolls are based on Goddess energy and inspired by Goddess imagery:

The Vasilisa dolls are great for storytelling…..

I couldn’t resist making one little Vasilisa Snowlady 🙂

They are for sale and range in price from $25 to $95 +shipping, just send me a message or note.

Not all of them are still available.

I am quite emotional about posting them, as they have been such a source of healing for me through the pandemic…. I hope that you can feel all the love in them, too. ❤

4 Comments

Filed under carved wooden dolls, carving wood, doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, Vasilisa dolls, wooden dolls, woodwork

Follow the Thread Mixed Media Woven Works

I have uploaded photos of my series of mixed media tapestries, “Follow the Thread” to

https://crone-findlay.com/2022/01/17/tapestries-follow-the-thread-series/

If you’re interested in any of them, please send me a message 🙂 LINK

Leave a comment

Filed under band loom, lace making, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, mixed media weaving, tapestry, weaving & handwoven

Refurbishing Older Four Harness Table Looms

Late last summer and fall, I discovered that I can no longer use treadle looms because of a problem with one of my feet.

That came as a surprise, but I love table looms, so I sold my floor loom and quested after the perfect table loom.

I really enjoy fixing up old looms, so I happily adopted this dear old loom built by an unknown maker:

She was in really rough shape, so it took a lot of tender loving care to bring her back to life.

I had to build a new ratchet for her cloth beam and apply many many coats of oil to her dried out self. Poor old girl!

One of her toggles was totally messed up, so I replaced the cord and now it works beautifully.

She had a truly grim warp wrapped around her back beam, with crumbling newspaper from 1974 in the warp, so she had obviously been neglected for a long, long time.

She is now a cherished member of the loom clan in my studio and I wove a bunch of Tea Towels for Christmas presents on her. (LINK)

She’s a delight to weave on, and is definitely a keeper!

She’s warped up with mug rugs for next Christmas- we work on Christmas presents all year long, so it’s kind of fun to start the year off with the beginnings of next Christmas 🙂


And….. This is Caroline…. the newest vintage member of my loom family.

For years, I have been longing for a Woolhouse loom, but they stopped production, and the looms are so wonderful that they don’t come available very often.

I was ecstatic to find one online and was amazed to be able to buy her!

She joined my loom herd not that long ago and it’s been fun re-furbishing her.

We had an oops when we transported her home…

Whoops…. one of her little wooden gears disappeared into a snow bank when she got loaded into the back of the car. Luckily, I was able to cut down an old wooden spool and it works just fine.

The lady that I bought Caroline from told me that she found the texsolve heddles annoying because of a couple of issues.

She mentioned that the heddle frames didn’t drop when the levers were down.

Rather odd, but vintage looms can be quirky.

She had talked to someone who suggested adding weights to the frames.

This made sense to me, so I puzzled over how to do it, and settled on adding steel rods to the bottom of the heddle frames. Perfect!

She also found it frustrating that long strands of texsolve stuck out at the top of the frames and snagged on each other.

I fixed that by trimming the ‘eyelashes’ at the top edge- it helped solve that problem.

And, oh yes, the heddles were not inserted right, and bowed out all wonkywobbly, so I fixed that, too, and now Caroline’s as sweet a little weaving machine as can be!

BUT, oh my! There was one more surprise that threw me for a loop.

Out of the blue…. YIKES!

Good grief! one of the rods that connects a traveling cord to the levers suddenly broke when I was weaving. FLOP went a lever! What?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

That had me appalled and my head was spinning…. I went to bed feeling quite upset.

But then, after thinking, sleeping and dreaming on it, I figured that I could probably fix it by bending another steel rod to as close as I could get to the shape of the broken one.

I figured out how to take apart the mechanism to get the old one out and then huffed and puffed as I bent and shaped the replacement.

It was fiddly, but not too hard to insert the new one.

and –

Voila! Caroline is now a happy little loomie! (whew! ) (and I know what to do now if it happens again with one of the other connector pieces).

You can see in this pic that one of these things is not like the others… but it works a fair treat!

Anyhow, now, she weaves like a dream.

Her shed is quite small, so I use stick shuttles on her, and enjoy her most enormously!

Oh… another thing I did…

Somehow, she seemed to be asking for a little bit of embellishment, so I cut small wooden pieces and drew some things that are precious to me on them.

Then I wood burned and painted them and stuck them on in places that wouldn’t get in the way.

Caroline approves.

Both of these dear old looms were a lot of work to bring to life again, but what a joy it is to know them so well and to feel them purring!

They are pure happiness to weave on and I hope that I have a lot of years of weaving bliss with them, and then, of course, at some point, they will move on to another weaver whom I hope will love them as much as I do! But, not for a long time…. 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under 4 harness weaving, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, weaving & handwoven, woodwork

Fused Glass and Welded Steel Heart and Hands

My husband, Jim Findlay, and I really enjoy co-creating.

He has always had a penchant for welding and metal smithing, and because of the pandemic, was able to explore his love of metal working more.

He’s a musician, and has had almost all his gigs cancelled for the last 2 years.

So he re-directed his creativity into his woodworking and metalsmithing.

Seeing what he was up to inspired me…. I’ll show you more pictures of some of our co-creations later…

I have loved the ‘Heart and Hand’ blessing image from folk tradition and worked with it in various ways for decades.

I asked Jim if he would be into welding hands that I could add hearts and cuffs to in various ways.

He liked that idea.

And then, we started taking Fused Glass classes, and we got all excited about making the

hearts and cuffs in Fused Glass. We loved working together on the glass. It’s magical!

We decided that this was the perfect Christmas gift for several family members.

We took the class several times over the spring, summer and autumn to hone our skills.

(We make Christmas presents all year long, so it’s part of our rhythm as a couple.)

It took a lot of trial and error to get the hands just right, and so Jim built a very

nifty jig to shape the rods. (Lots of cutting and welding was involved!)

We are sooooo pleased with how the Hearts and Hands turned out.

They were totally made with love in every step!

One of our family members said that hanging it in her window

would be like waving to her neighbours, and sending love out into the world.

I was delighted when she said that, because that is exactly what the Heart and Hands are meant to be!

They are a symbol of welcome, but also of protection, too….

and the metaphor of saying that only good things are welcome is pretty significant these days.

We learned a lot while making the Hearts and Hands.

We have also started exploring including wooden hearts that I sculpt from offcuts of fallen trees that have been given to us for firewood, but Jim has been milling into usable lumber rather than just chopping for the wood burning stove.

( We sent the first one of the sculpted wooden heart version off to friends without remembering to take a pic of it, but will make more and then photograph them.)

The Heart and Hands were the inspiration for making the cardboard folders

that I wrote about in my last blog post. LINK

This has been an alchemical journey!

We feel the Heart and Hands are something that we want to continue to work with,

and see how they evolve.

And, in the meantime, they will be waving from a few windows, sending love out into the world!

Leave a comment

Filed under fused glass, metal work, personal stuff

Upcycled Cardboard Boxes and Folders

Normally, we wrap all our presents in bags that I have made over the years. We never buy paper for gift wrapping.

But, this year, my husband and I made some gifts that needed special packaging.

So I set my mind to working on how to do this in an eco friendly way.

(I’ll show the special gifts in my next blog post)

Several years ago, Jim bought a roll of cardboard to build a case for his Oud (Turkish Lute).

It came as a roll that is 12 inches wide by ever so long, and it’s been kind of in the way ever since, but I didn’t want to get rid of it because I have a huge fondness for cardboard.

Jim wrapped the first gift in a protective swath of the cardboard, but that seemed rather ‘less than’ to me, so I mulled it over and came up with the folder idea.

I LOVE it.

It’s super simple:

I cut a 36 inch long piece of the cardboard and cut triangles off one end to make the point.

Then glued one triangle to the inside of the point to stabilize it.

I traced a tray to make the curve and then glued the edges.

Next time I will add strips of cardboard along the sides to give more dimension to the folder.

I used the off cuts to decorate the front.

The cord is made from crochet cotton that was given to me last summer (see Tea Towels) and a Lucet (LINK) and I am pleased as can be.

Another cluster of gifts needed special packaging, so I tried to fold origami boxes with the cardboard.

FAIL.

Instead, I came up with trial and erroring in making fitted boxes that were a time consuming pain in the neck to make. I tried using this technique, which works great with ‘normal’ card stock and paper: LINK

I won’t bother doing this again- not with this cardboard.

(Note- even though these were the pits to make, they were still made with love and some mild cussing).

BUT, by now, I was seriously on a roll with this whole box/package designing thing and remembered those nifty containers that are tubes that have semi-circular ends that push in to close them.

Of course, I probably could have looked up a tutorial online and found the simple way to do this, but, oh no, that’s not the way my brain works.

My brain likes ~to figure things out~…..

So I pushed cardboard around and flipped and folded it and measured and hummed and finally came up with this ‘Slightly Tube-ish’ container:

I had made several of the ‘Slightly Tube-ish’ ‘ containers when I twigged to the fact that they had a big old mistake, which I then fixed.

I made proper templates for the ‘right’ ‘Slightly Tube-ish’ containers , since I really like these and plan on using the concept again.

But, I wasn’t going to waste the ‘wrong’ ones, so I used them anyhow, with an apology to the recipients of the gifts and an explanation that I have got it right now, and they’ll get a better iteration next time.

Until then, the wrong ‘Slightly Tube-ish’ containers can be re-used and eventually be recycled or used as fire starters.

Here are the proper templates:

This one is for cutting out the ‘Slightly Tube-ish’ container
And, this one is for scoring the curves on the ends.

All in all, it was a lot of work, but I loved doing it and I hope that my family liked the nifty boxes and folders.

Even though I used cardboard that we had bought years ago for another project, these techniques will work really well on regular upcycled cardboard and cardstock, which pleases me very much!

Happy Upcycling! ❤

1 Comment

Filed under eco crafts & green projects, free pattern, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, Lucet, tutorial & how to, upcycling

Tea Towels woven from upcycled crochet cotton

Last summer, loved relatives gave me 2 boxes of crochet cotton that they had adopted from the ReUse Centre in their town.

This is the smaller of the 2 boxes.

I immediately used some of the cotton to tat butterflies, and thought about what to use the generous and unexpected treasure that remained.

I decided to weave Tea Towels for my family – I wanted the cotton to become something useful, rather than just languishing as ‘stash’.

I had no idea, when I began, just how much I would love weaving the Tea Towels!

It was so meditative and contemplative- and watching the play of shadow and light on the various shades of cream and white cotton was deeply pleasing.

To begin the journey, I warped up several warp chains.

And wove

and wove and wove….

The blue bands look odd, because I used several strands of variegated blue thread held together…

I used one of my favorite weaving drafts, ‘Rosepath’, which gives the diamond effect when woven to the ‘correct’ treadling, but also a pleasing zig zag twill and of course, plain weave tabby.

This was perfect for me, as it allowed me to add definition to the hems, the cream colored borders, the blue bands and the body of the tea towels.

Once the tea towels were all woven, washed them and then ironed them and hemmed them.

I had hand stitched the hems between each of the towels while they were on the loom, but then stitched the hand stitched edges again by machine before cutting them apart.

I then rolled and pinned the hems and stitched them by machine.

I had hand stitched the hems on some of the prototype tea towels, but wasn’t happy with the way they looked, so opted for the machine.

Ooops… at one point, my grandson, who has been taught how to sew on the machine by his mother, chastized me for sewing over a pin. Oops!

He has the family ability to raise one eyebrow very high and fix you with a baleful gaze.

This is also a family trait. We pass along such interesting legacies, don’t we?

My father could transmit a world of ‘ahem’ with his eyebrow. Ahem.

I didn’t sew over any more pins after I was given ‘the eyebrow’!

Earlier in the process, I wove miles of tape on my narrow band loom.

But, I forgot to take a picture of the weaving process for the tape.

I cut lengths of tape from the miles of narrow band.

Then I sewed the hanging loops with it onto the tea towels by hand.

Then, off to the washing machine for the towels….

It was so exciting to see how washing the towels snugged them up and made them all soft and inviting.

And then ironed the living daylights out of the tea towels again.

Most of them have been designated as gifts.

Generous gifts of boxes of abandoned crochet cotton by our relatives turned out to be such a lovely gift for me.

I loved the process of bringing the cotton to life again and I hope that the towels will be a pleasure in some small, quiet way for years to come.

8 Comments

Filed under 4 harness weaving, eco crafts & green projects, four harness weaving, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, upcycling, weaving & handwoven

How to Weave a Butterfly on the Mirrix Saffron Loom

I have been weaving a lot of butterflies lately, as a metaphor of hope, transformation, healing, creativity, community, and so much more.

These butterflies are ones that I designed to weave on the Mirrix Saffron loom.

I love the way that I can set up the Saffron to the exact size that I want….

The pink butterfly is made by weaving a full size triangle on the Saffron (see instructions in my book: Innovative Weaving on the Frame Loom).

And, the blue butterflies are made by weaving half size triangles.

Because the smaller butterflies are woven using a variation on the technique that I developed for the book,

I have made a video showing how to weave them.

The bodies are made on the loom, using the same setup as the wings, so you can weave away without having to re-set the loom. Yay!

Here’s the link to the Video How to Tutorial:

Mirrix looms are selling a wonderful kit that includes my book: Innovative Weaving on the Frame Loom, as well as the Saffron Loom and the Sandy Stand for it. It’s a great kit! Here’s the link for it:

In the video, I mentioned that I carved a chopstick to make the weaving hook for weaving the triangles.

Here’s the link to that video:

Leave a comment

Filed under frame loom weaving, free pattern, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, jewelry, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, Saffron Loom, tutorial & how to, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven

Imagine” Banner Weave Along: PART SIX: How to assemble the banner

To see all the links for the ‘How To’ posts for the “Imagine” Banner Weave along, please go to L I N K S

To order the loom, book and extras kit for the Weave Along from Mirrix, please go K I T

ASSEMBLING THE BANNER:

Place Einstein behind the narrow band.

Stitch his hands to the front of the banner and then stitch the banner to his sweater.

Enjoy and be inspired!

1 Comment

Filed under frame loom weaving, free pattern, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, Saffron Loom, tutorial & how to, weave along, weaving & handwoven

Imagine” Banner Weave Along: PART FIVE: How to weave the freeform homage to Albert Einstein

To see all the links for the ‘How To’ posts for the “Imagine” Banner Weave along, please go to L I N K S

To order the loom, book and extras kit for the Weave Along from Mirrix, please go K I T

FREE FORM WEAVING: HOMAGE TO ALBERT EINSTEIN:

Albert Einstein is woven (with a few extrapolations and a slight adjustment to the waistline) following the instructions for the Woven Dancer on page 30 of “Innovative Weaving on the Frame Loom”.

In order to hold the pattern onto the loom, a backing board is needed. See: LINK

INSTRUCTIONS:

HOW TO WEAVE THE ALBERT EINSTEIN FIGURE:

1: SET UP THE LOOM so it is 11 inches/27.5 cm) from the lower set of pegs to the upper set. Lock it into the ‘Sandy Stand’.

Fold the ends of the backing board to the back and slide it in place on the loom.

2: WARP THE LOOM: Following the instructions for the Woven Dancer on page 30 of ‘Innovative Weaving on the Frame Loom’, with 1 strand of #4 Medium weight (Worsted or Sport weight) yarn white and 1 strand grey held together as if they are a single strand:

Skip 6 pegs at each side of the loom and warp the loom, following the instructions in the book closely.

3: WEAVING:

LEGS:

Leaving only an inch or of a tail end rather than the long tail end listed in the instructions in the book, weave the legs with 2 strands of black yarn held together as if they are a single strand, and packing the weaving down closely to completely cover the warp strands. Follow the instructions in the book for weaving the legs, but noting that you will be beating the weft yarn in more densely than in the book.

SWEATER:

With 2 strands of light blue yarn held together as if they are a single strand, weave up to the neck. Beat the weft so it completely covers the warp strands.

DO NOT pull in the waistline as it is drawn in the book. Weave the sweater straight up to the shoulders.

Wrap the neck with the blue yarn and weave in the ends.

SLEEVES:

Weave the sleeves following the instructions for the arms, but, once again, beat the weft so it completely covers the warp strands.

FACE:

With skin tone yarn, weave the face, weaving under 1/over 1 and over 1/under 1.

MOUSTACHE:

Stitch loosely over the shed stick with 1 strand of white yarn and 1 strand grey yarn held together as if they are a single strand at least 3 times. Take the ends to the back of the head.

EYEBROWS:

Take 2 slightly tighter stitches over the shed stick for each eyebrow.

EYES:

Stitch 2 small black ‘e’ size beads on for eyes.

HAIRLINE:

Lock the top of the head in place by stitching around each warp strand at the top of the forehead.

Lift Einstein off the loom.

NOSE:

Stitch 2 vertical stitches with skin tone yarn.

SHOES:

With Brown yarn follow the instructions for the feet on page 36. Weave the yarn ends into the legs.

HANDS:

Weave in the single strand at the side of each hand into the arm so that it is the same size as the loop of the hand.

With skin tone yarn make hands the same way as the feet. Weave the yarn ends into the arms.

HAIR:

Stitch loops of hair yarn around the edges of the face and on the back of the head.

Use felting needles to finalize the loops into the ‘dandelion’ shape of his classic signature hairstyle.

FINISHING:

1: Steam the woven figure on the wrong side with a steam iron, being sure to not touch the iron to the weaving.

Finger press the arms down and the hair into place.

Weave in the ends.

Trim any ends.

2: Sew a plastic or metal ring to the back of the head for hanging the banner.

1 Comment

Filed under frame loom weaving, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, Saffron Loom, tutorial & how to, weave along, weaving & handwoven

“Imagine” Banner Weave Along: PART FOUR: How to make the cardboard backing board for the freeform weaving

To see all the links for the ‘How To’ posts for the “Imagine” Banner Weave along, please go to L I N K S

To order the loom, book and extras kit for the Weave Along from Mirrix, please go to K I T

FREE FORM WEAVING: HOMAGE TO ALBERT EINSTEIN:

Albert Einstein is woven (with a few extrapolations and a slight adjustment to the waistline) following the instructions for the Woven Dancer on page 30 of “Innovative Weaving on the Frame Loom”.

In order to hold the pattern onto the loom, a backing board is needed.

INSTRUCTIONS:

HOW TO MAKE THE CARDBOARD BACKING BOARD FOR THE SAFFRON LOOM:

1: With the corrugations running the length of the piece: Cut 2 pieces of corrugated cardboard that are 13 inches/32.5 cm long by 5 1/2 inches/13.75 cm wide.

2: Tape or glue the 2 pieces of cardboard together.

3: Score a line with a ballpoint pen or knitting needle 1 inch/2.5 cm from each end.

4: Cut a notch out of the center of each end piece that is 1 inch/2.5 cm by 1 inch/2.5 cm.

5: Trace the pattern for the largest Woven Dancer onto plain paper or graph paper and center it on the backing board.

6: Tape it in place, then tape a piece of clear plastic, either from recycled plastic or a plastic page protector over the pattern.

1 Comment

Filed under frame loom weaving, free pattern, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, Saffron Loom, tutorial & how to, weave along, weaving & handwoven