Tag Archives: woodworking

How to Carve a Weaving Hook from a Chopstick

I use weaving hooks in all kinds of weaving- everything from potholder looms and frame looms to triangle looms, and a fair few looms in between.

Crochet hooks are okay for some weaving, but they can be too short and too round for some weaving.

I have found that making weaving hooks from chopsticks is quick, easy and very satisfying. It’s a great way to upcycle.

Chopstick weaving hooks are longer than crochet hooks (afghan hooks can be hard to find) and are flatter, and work beautifully.

weaving-hook-from-chopstick

You can customize your weaving hook to be the absolute bees knees by fine tuning it with a little sanding or whittling as you work with it.

Here is a step by step ‘how to’ video tutorial that shows you how you can easily carve or whittle your own perfect weaving hook with just a few simple tools:

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

Carving a tiny wooden Gnome Doll

Sometimes, when you are carving a doll, you will start with one thought in mind.

But, there are times when it becomes clear that the doll wants to be something else entirely.

This just happened to me when I was carving a very small doll.

My grandson is five and he thinks babies are sublime, so he asked me to carve a baby doll.

I started…. I used a little doll that my mother owned long ago and far away in her childhood…

(Oh how I love this little doll!)

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

but soon, it became clear that it was a tiny Lady Gnome who wanted to be released from the wood….

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

And, there she is- among her friends, admiring the thimbles…

Her name is Bessie, or, just Bess, and this is how I carved her:

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Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Story Door Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay, wooden dolls, woodwork

Fleur’s foot

Fleur did not make the move from our old house to the new one unscathed.

Fleur is a wooden lady of advanced years – I carved her more than 30 years ago, and she has some fragility about her nowadays.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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

Tottie Tomato and the Story Door Dolls heard that Fleur and her foot had had a parting of the ways during the move, and so they were rather concerned.

They came by to offer their wishes for a successful re-attachment….

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

Some glue, a little wrapping and a sincere apology on my part for packing her so badly, all seem to be helping.

Clover Bee, the Story Door Doll that is on the left hand side of the first picture also came to say farewell to Fleur, as she was about to head off to her new home just after Fleur’s fancy footwork.

Tottie Tomato and the Story Door Dolls didn’t stay long, as Fleur needed to rest and allow the glue to work it’s magic.

(We hope…..)

 

 

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Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, Story Door Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay, Tottie Tomato Loves, wooden dolls, woodwork

Upcycling a little box into a band loom

I can’t share photographs of the weaving that I am doing for my new book, nor can I say anything about it, but, I can tell you about something else I have been up to.  🙂

I absolutely love weaving Scandinavian style woven bands, using different styles of rigid heddles.

Many people weave narrow bands by using backstrap looms, which I find to be a complete misery to work with. ugh.

I love using my Norwegian cradle loom and other rigid heddle looms.

Weaving with a Norwegian cradle loom

Weaving with a Norwegian cradle loom

I’ve been mulling over the idea of making a smaller, more portable box loom based on the Norwegian cradle loom.

A few weeks ago, as we were cleaning and clearing in preparation for our big move, we found some sweet little drawers that my father in law had made many decades ago.

He had reclaimed some tiny little wooden butter boxes and made wee drawers for his workshop with them:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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

And, since then, the idea for building a tiny, oh so portable band weaving box loom has been gestating in my mind….

After much trial and error, I have built the little loom, and absolutely adore it!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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

I have made a small video that shows what I did to build this little charmer:

This is the ratchet and pawl that I designed for my loom.

I made them from a scrap of marine plywood, which allowed me to curve the pawl.

I am going to make the next one from a piece of purpleheart that we’ve been saving, so I am going to make the pawl straight, to make it stronger and not risk breaking it by cutting a curve against the grain.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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

If you are interested in learning more about weaving Scandinavian style narrow bands, definitely seek out the work of the marvelous weaver extraordinaire, Susan Foulkes:

And, if you’d like to see some of the ways that I use narrow bands please click:
Note: I have upgraded the little box loom…. it’s even better!  I will post photos of it soon.

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

Mermaid Bench

There are so many ways to say, ‘I love you’.

Our son and daughter in love have just bought their first house, and so to help them out, Jim and I are giving them the antique harvest table that we have had forever.  (We love you….)

It was our dining room table for decades, but it moved into my studio when we inherited his parent’s teak dining room table.

Of course, they need dining room chairs, too…. so, I cheerfully gave them 4 0f our dining room chairs.

(We love you….)

But, then… remembered…. oh, oh…. I just gave away half of our dining room chairs, and once a week, when the family is together for dinner, there are 8 of us…. oh, oh….

Okay…. so hold that thought…. (um, need to replace the dining room chairs)

Alright… on to a very big deal that has been happening in our lives.

The church that Jim’s parents were part of from their marriage right after WW2 to their death  was the center of their lives. It has just shut down. It was where Jim’s childhood and adolescence orbited, and where he plays guitar most Sunday mornings. The remains of the dwindling congregation has amalgamated with another diminished congregation and the building has been sold to developers.  

The beautiful old building will be demolished very soon-  and Jim has been grieving this very hard.

So many memories, so much history, so many stories, so much music, so much life…..

The church has been stripped out and the fixtures and fittings have been blended over to the new church, with what can’t be assimilated there, being sold or given to other churches or to church members.

It’s a lovely way of keeping the history and energy of the church going.

Transformed, but still embraced by the community.

I really wanted to have a piece of something from the church that I could somehow enfold into our home so that Jim would have that deep history and connection at his finger tips.  It’s been so hard for him to feel the loss of that precious space.

A thought popped into my mind, but I thought…. oh no…. probably couldn’t happen… hmmmm.

When we were walking the dogs last week, I asked Jim: ‘You know that bench in that little room off to the side of the nave?  Is it available?’

He turned to me in amazement and said- ‘I was thinking the same thing, but thought that you wouldn’t want it!’.

We both grinned like fools, and said: ‘Let’s go for it!’

So, he called the man who’s in charge of disbursement, and amazingly enough, the bench was still there, and needed to be moved out ASAP, as there was very little time before the building would be handed over to the developers.

That night, I lay in bed, with the size of the bench growing in immensity in my mind, and thought:

‘We can’t do this! It’s huge! We are supposed to downsizing! Ack’.

Jim calmly said: ‘It’s going to work fine’.  (I love you….)

Our son and his friends helped us lift it out (oh my! Heavy!), and then our son and son in love lugged it into the dining room:

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

I wanted to be very respectful of the bench, knowing how much work the gentleman who built it back in 1950 (It’s older than both of us!) put into it.

But, we really didn’t want it to look quite so ecclesiastical- it is retired now, after almost 65 years of noble service (well…. actually, it’s been tucked away in a back room for at least 36 of those years, but who’s counting?) and so now, it’s time for it to have a holiday, and become a well used and well loved domestic treasure.

So, I set to work, and started sanding. Whew.  (I love you….)

And, I asked Jim what he wanted on it, besides mermaids- we always knew that it was going to be ‘The Mermaid Bench’.

He loves sailing, so he suggested a compass rose.

A 60 year old book of maps from the thrift shop had a compass rose on one of the maps- it’s only a 1/2 in tall, but it was enough to inspire me.

So, I started drawing.  I added all kinds of things that we love, like trees, dragonflies, and a seahorse- Jim asked for that. I thought that it was most appropriate, as he is a fabulous father and grandfather, just like seahorses are.

I pulled some paint chips….

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

And primed it….

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

All the while, thinking: I love you!

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

I drew the compass rose and  mermaids on plywood, and then cut them out, sanded, burned and varnished the medallions.  (I love you….)

The seat cushions are temporary…. I’ll be weaving more appropriate ones soon.  (I love you….)

This is what it actually looks like in the dining room:

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

It fits into our quirky, light hearted home perfectly.

And, it says, resoundingly: I LOVE YOU!!!!

Our wee grandson loves it, too, and is delighted that I sneaked a little portrait of him into the compass rose just to the right of the flower on the sun’s head.

Yes, indeed, there really are a million ways to say, ‘I love you’….. yes.

And, if I hadn’t impulsively given away half our chairs to our adored offspring, we would never have considered adopting our Mermaid Bench.

Well, love leads us in the most delightful ways, doesn’t it?

(I love you….)

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, personal stuff, woodwork