Tag Archives: upcycling

Introducing 2 new Peg Looms from Dewberry Ridge Looms

A couple of months ago,  I published my new eBook on weaving jewelry with stick looms: See LINK

My friend, Donna McFarland of Dewberry Ridge Looms was looking at the photos when her husband, Gary, walked by the computer.

Donna told me that he said:’ Those have to be Noreen’s designs, right?’ and she agreed.

He then mused that he would like to make stick looms.

Well… I was delighted, and immediately asked if they would consider building peg looms.

I have a couple of peg looms, but felt that they could use a re-design with improvements that I knew Gary could build.

After lots of conversations, Gary and Donna have created the most wonderful peg looms!

Here’s the link to order them LINK

They are truly the Rolls Royce of the Peg Loom world!

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

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

Here’s what I asked for, and they have designed and created:

1: Taller pegs so I could see more of the weaving emerging before having to advance the warp. This is especially important in weaving tapestries on the peg loom.

2: Fine wooden pegs that are slimmer and closer together to give a firmer, tighter weave. A close sett avoids too loose, loopy fabric.

Another important note about the pegs: I asked for close grain wood for the pegs, as smooth pegs that don’t catch the weft are essential. Gary has found the perfect wood for the pegs that is smooth as silk. He also carefully shapes the top of the pegs to make them guide the yarn beautifully.  His attention to detail is exquisite!

3: A really nice threading tool – I came up with a rather crude one, and Gary totally surpassed my concept.

4: Legs that would stabilize the looms- Gary’s design for the legs is so elegant that it knocked my socks off!

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

Donna and Gary came up with some neat ideas, too.

They suggested tilting the looms backward slightly.  This is brilliant, as it improves the ergonomics of the loom enormously and makes the loom more comfortable to work with.

They also decided to offer a loom with 3 sizes of pegs, for people who want to work with larger pegs.

Personally, I am so smitten with the thinnest pegs that I probably will just be working with them and not the larger pegs, but Gary and Donna wanted to appeal to the widest possible group of weavers.

Gary also decided to make the base of the loom removable in case a peg gets stuck. What a great idea!

Peg looms are  eco friendly, as they are great for using t shirt yarn, or tarn, or fabric strips torn from discarded clothing.

And, I am working on a new book for peg loom weaving, so do stay tuned for that 🙂

I have made a little video that introduces the Dewberry Ridge Peg Loom:

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Weaving a placemat with fabric strips

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Our placemats (is that a Canadianism? Does the rest of the world say ‘table mats’?) are all looking shabby, so I decided to weave up some new ones.

I love upcycling, so I am using fabric strips to weave the placemats.

I decided to weave the placemats on my 14 inch Dewberry Ridge ‘Lil Weaver’.

I know that this is slightly narrower than conventional placemats, but I figured that when we have the whole family around the table, that the squares will fit better than rectangles.

Because fabric strips are hefty, I decided to work over 2 nails at a time. The nails on the loom are too close together to work well with fabric strips, are lovely when you use 2 at a time.

Also…. there are a couple of secret tips that make weaving with fabric strips go so much more easily….

Here’s the video tute, and happy weaving!

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A neat variation on Card stock bobbins for storing threads and yarn

I love buying vintage crochet cotton at the thrift shop. It speaks to me of the hands that it has passed through, and the pleasure it has brought to other thread lovers.

I like to use it in my weaving, crochet and tatting, as it gives me a sense of connection to needlewomen of the past.

BUT… storing balls of crochet cotton can be a problem. Those hollow cores take up a LOT of space!

So, for many years, I have been upcycling old credit cards or pieces of cardstock to make bobbins like this:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Because, storing yarn or thread on a small flat bobbin is so much more efficient than leaving it on the cardboard tubes:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Last night, I had insomnia, and was thinking about winding off a pile of vintage crochet cotton, when I had a flash of inspiration!!

Instead of making chubby little embroidery style bobbins,  if I made ‘dog bone’ shape bobbins, I could use my bobbin winder to speed up the process of winding them. AND, they’d take up less room, as it would be a longer, leaner shape.

I jumped out of bed, and started cutting the new shape bobbins:

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And, winding up balls of cotton:

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In a twinkling of an eye, I have compactly wound bobbins that won’t tangle with other bobbins, as the thread is taken through a slot and secured. Another bonus! No snaggles!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

This shape of bobbin is great for warping the Mirrix loom, as it’s so compact.  Yep – it’s a win!

And, they can be easily stored in unusual containers, like this:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I made a video to show how quickly and easily this works:

I haven’t tried using these bobbins for tapestry weaving, but I will, and will let you know how I like them.

I love making tapestry bobbins from wood- especially upcycled wood, so I will be showing you how I do that in an upcoming post.

Happy weaving, and here’s to creative ways of storing yarn and thread stash! 😀

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Little looms from recycled things for teaching weaving or sampling etc part 1

Yesterday, I posted about teaching children to weave Link

One of the pleasures of weaving is that it can be done with tremendously complex machines, but, can also be done with small bits of this and that from around the house.

Today and tomorrow, I am going to be posting little how to’s on making recycled and upcycled looms that are great for teaching kids how to weave,  or just for noodling about with sampling yarns and weaving little bags, or hacky sacks or bookmarks….

So, here’s today’s installment:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

If you make each grid square 1/4 inch, then the loom is  business card size, which is a charming size to work with, and to pop into a pocket or bag.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

If you weave 2 tiny rectangles on the loom, and stitch them together, then add a beaded fringe, it makes a very pleasing little amulet bag.

I think that one of the most accessible looms for beginning weavers is the  weaving stick loom.

I am doing a lot of designing for it – here’s my post about the mermaid to weave on the stick weaving loom: LINK

Happy weaving!

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Upcycled jeans become denim dress

Whoosh! Summer raced by, with renovations on our house, and helping out on renovations at our daughter and son-in-law’s house and weaving, weaving, weaving, weaving, weaving!

I’ve been working HARD on new books and am hunkering in and am  ~FINALLY~ getting them closer to completion and  releasing- oh my!

I took a little break from my looms the other evening to indulge in a little bit of upcycling.

My daughter in law gave me some of her torn blue jeans a few months ago.

Suddenly, the other evening, I felt the urge to take the scissors to them:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I have a couple of dress patterns that I am besotted with these days, and find myself making them over and over in various configurations.

In my previous blog post, (link to post) I showed how I used my fave dress pattern with fabric that I had woven on various narrow looms.

Snipping up the bluejeans to fit the pattern pieces was a touch tricky, and forced me to bend a few ‘good seamstressing’ rules, but what the heck, why not?

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I am fanatical about pinning the living daylights out of the sections of garments when I am stitching them together, but I don’t pin my pattern pieces to the fabric when cutting out.

I like my rock collection that I have gathered up over the years. 🙂 They hold things in place without damaging the pattern tissues.

And, of course, I HAD to save and re-use the bum pockets!

I also saved a little pocket from the inside of one pair for a cellphone or glasses mini-pocket, too.

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Unfortunately, when I picked the pockets off the backside of the jeans, there were 2 dark blue pocket shapes. Drat!

I thought about attempting to bleach them out, but then thought: Ah, why not consider them to be ‘design elements’? 😀

I am tickled pink with my upcycled denim dress, and am so happy that a couple of pairs of torn jeans have come back to life as a fun and comfy tunic that I am going to enjoy enormously! Whee!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

 

I really should show you the dress that I made from a garage sale tablecloth… it’s great! I wove the neckband…. okay… must take pictures and get back into the habit of blogging again!

And, by the way…. Happy September!

 

 

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Upcycled tunic new life for old clothes

Last summer, I bought a really frumpy skirt and a too small dress at the thrift shop.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Why on earth would anyone in their right mind do that?

Because I intended to ‘harvest’ the fabric

from both the garments and

upcycle them into something new and oh so much fun for myself.

The skirt was long enough,

and full enough

to be able to provide the body for this fun tunic.

And, the skimpy dress provided the pockets,

lower bands, and upper neck band-

and I just love it!

I wear it with leggings, and a t shirt

underneath, because my days of wearing

shortish dresses with bare legs are long gone.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

As I was taking the pic of the tunic,

I remembered another upcycling

project that I did recently:

I took a favorite old dress and cut it up

and turned it into a fun and floatie

overshirt…..

it just hit me that they would work well together!!!

Hurrah!

So, think twice before you toss old clothes,

and don’t let the frumpiness or too smallish-ness

of a garment put you off…

cut them up and re-configure them into something

that you will enjoy!

Hurrah for re-purposing, reclaiming, recycling, re-fashioning, re-using, re-creating, restoring, renewing and upcycling!

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How to weave a square on the bias on the potholder loom

For weeks and weeks, I have been meaning to get my video tutorial of how to weave bias squares on the potholder loom posted to YouTube.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

What with one thing and another, I haven’t gotten around to it.

One thing that was odd, was that I simply couldn’t upload videos for awhile. I just gave up on YouTube. Anyone else having trouble with uploads? Weird.

And, since it took me so long to get the video uploaded,

I decided to re-shoot it, using ‘Tarn’, since I am working with Tarn so much, lately.

Fun!

Here’s a link for how to do one kind of join with Tarn:

Tarn Join

I didn’t have a potholder loom when I was a child, so when I was introduced to it when I was a grownup, I didn’t have any preconceived notions about what it could or could not do. So… I have been designing all kinds of magical and wonderful things for it ever since (for decades, in fact- my love for the potholder loom is a long standing one!!!)

You can see some of the things I have designed for it here: Potholder loom.

Over the years, when I was designing for the Potholder loom, I realized that I needed to be able to weave different shapes and in unusual ways with the looms.  So, I have done a lot of experimenting with it.
I have worked out a bunch of ways of weaving triangles on it, and this is how I twigged to how I could weave a square on the bias on the potholder loom….  after all, a square is just 2 triangles that happen to be in love.

The pesky gaps on the potholder loom were a challenge – but I have solved the mystery of how to deal with them!

How? Well..  check out the video!

Here is the YouTube video tutorial on how to weave a square on the bias on the potholder loom : LINK

Happy Weaving!

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Out takes from The Woven Bag

Yesterday, I posted pics of some of the bags that a reader said she really liked (after I posted pics of bags that she didn’t like) 🙂  Link to yesterday’s post: Link

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I also said that I would share a few bloopers with you.

Well… I don’t know if this qualifies as a blooper, but I have to confess that I was gobsmacked by discovering that the bag in the middle of the photo above, didn’t make it into the book.   I was taking pics of the bags, and wanted to show how neat it is that the inside of a couple of the bags is different from the outside:

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I checked the book to see what the final name of the bag on the right was (it started out as ‘Market Bag on the Square’).

I couldn’t find it… I checked again…. eh? (I’m Canadian, and yes, we actually ~do~ say ‘eh?!’ sometimes, especially when baffled and perplexed….). I went page by page…. and …. um… it’s not in the book…

Then I cracked up, because, I have done revision after revision, and re-reads, and checks and checks and proof read after proof read, and I just noticed ~NOW~?!?!?!!? that this bag got bumped? eegads and little fish.

I don’t know why that struck me as being so funny, but it did.

So, The Market Bag on the Square isn’t so much an ‘out take’ as a ‘take out’….

Now, there’s another bag that I have done some ‘take out’ on, too…

It’s the Knotted Fabric Market bag:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Having eco and green and upcycled components to the book was really important to me.  I am really pleased with the reclaimed fabric torn into strips, and used instead of yarn in the body of the bag.

What I don’t like, is that I was experimenting with the handles for the bag, and I don’t much like the fabric handles.

Yes, they are soft, and yes, they feel nice in the hand.. and they are in the spirit of upcycling…. but- BUT –

they just look clunky….

So… I have done some revision.

I had a pair of handles that I bought at a thrift shop- they were on a hopelessly worn out bag. I bought the bag, and cut the handles off, and have re-used them on the Fabric Strip Market bag:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I stitched them on with the same fabric strips that I made the bag from, and I am much happier with the look of the bag:

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It’s still in the spirit of upcycling, as the handles were re-claimed and are being re-used, and I am much, much happier with it now.

So, there you have it… a few ‘out takes’ and ‘take outs’ from The Woven Bag!

Oh yes! I forgot to say yesterday, that I have started a group on Facebook for The Woven Bag, and people are starting to post pics of the bags that they are weaving. You are MOST welcome to join and post pics of your bags, too!

Link to Facebook group for The Woven Bag; Link

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Spool knitting wire and making connections

spool-knitters-for-wire-4-peg-275spool-knitters-for-wire-6-peg-275

Recently, a jewelry maker contacted me and asked me if I could make her some industrial strength spool knitters so she could spool knit wire for her jewelry making.

I went for a rummage through our stash and found a wonderful old piece of wood. It looked like it was an old handle off some kind of tool that had seen heavy and hard use. It was worn smooth but ripply and looked quite organic.

We inherited it from my husband’s Dad more than 10 years ago.

I cut some pieces off it and used them to make these 4 and 6 peg spool knitters.

Yipes! Is that wood hard! Drilling the holes and hammering the nails in was intense .

whew…. My tendons were screaming for mercy.
spool-knitters-for-wire-1-275

I love the way they feel…. the old wood is smooth and textured from having been worn by years of use- it’s quite alive!

The whole collaborative process is so inspiring to me.  I just love it when someone says to me –

‘Can you think of a way of doing this or that….. ?’

Sometimes, I am not interested in making the new thing

(for instance, we just don’t want to make wooden potholder looms anymore….sorry)

But, lots of times, I am intrigued by the ‘Can you make a this or that’ question and end up in the workshop having a wonderful time!

This was definitely one of those times. I love working with wire, and do a lot with it. So, I am really glad that Vickey inspired me to make some super strong  spool knitters for wire.

Just think. That  old, old piece of wood out in the workshop would still be laying there, just waiting to come to life if Vickey hadn’t emailed me…..

This kind of thing makes me celebrate the joys of the internet.

Someone has a thought and sends a note to someone else a thousand miles away. Then,  that person goes and finds a piece of the past and brings it to life in a new way. And that recycled, re-created, upcycled treasure goes off to the first person who creates all manner of magic with it.

Now, that’s creativity in action!

(image source: photo by Noreen Crone-Findlay. Copyright, not to be used without permission)

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Some handmade books – 1

I am inviting people to a Green Challenge of making a handmade book that has big envelopes or plastic sleeves to hold their sketches, notes, clippings, pdf’s etc.

See: Challenge posting

Just for fun, I thought that I would post a few pics of some of the handmade books I’ve made over the years:

Here are some handmade books that I made and then glued origami angels to. (yes, I made the angels)

The angels are all very eco friendly and ‘green’ as they are recycled and upcycled, as they are all made from junk mail or magazine photos

handmade-book-origami-angel-11 handmade-book-origami-angel-2 handmade-book-origami-angel-3handmade-book-origami-angel-4handmade-book-origami-angel-5handmade-book-origami-angel-6handmade-book-origami-angel-7

I’ll post more pics soon.

All images are copyright protected and not to be copied without Noreen Crone-Findlay’s permission

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