Etsy shop – last few days of the October sale!

Okay, my sincere apologies if I haven’t mentioned this on the blog yet, but if you follow me on other channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) or have bought from me on Etsy or just looked at the shop (it’s in the header!) you know that I have an October sale going on. Only 3 more days to catch this one: 10% off everything with the coupon code LIDSBLOG14!

Here’s a bit of what’s in the shop right now:

What's in Lynn's Lids Etsy Shop on Oct 28, 2014
Natural wool catnip balls, Sheepy wool dryer balls, wool ball ornaments (assorted), snowman ornaments, hats, TARDIS tree toppers and tea cosy, Toronto tea cosies, bike tea cosies, Santa ornaments, Toronto iPad sleeves, felted wool hats, Eiffel Tower & London tea cosies, and more!

Also, I just posted a little video of the LEGO needle felting tool in action on Instagram (for more on that, see the previous blog entry, which I should have titled How Lego Saved My Arm):

The #lego #needlefelt machine in action! (I did a short video because so many are curious!)

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And for now, it’s back to work making and making for the upcoming Handmade Market in Jordan, Ontario November 14-16 11am-4pm daily.

Toys and tools

I am a knitter and a needle felter. My big season is fall – basically September to Christmas. Last year, I attended a LOT of art & craft sales in that period, and managed to end up with a repetitive strain injury in my right arm and shoulder from too much knitting and (especially) needle felting. As you may know, I did the Spring One of a Kind Show. What you probably don’t know is that going ahead with that show was hinged (seriously, I waited to give my final payment) on finding some sort of tool to help with the needle felting part (and some help from my mom with the knitting part) so that I did not injure myself further, and going to physiotherapy to undo the damage I had done in November and December.

1 arrivesWhat I found after some research was the addi Quick electric needle felting tool, but it wasn’t available in Canada. So I couldn’t get my hands on it to take a look but I watched a few videos and read some reviews and figured it might do the trick. I bought it off eBay from someone in Germany and got through 2 months making all of the things for the OOAK Show with the help of it. It does not go very deep so is not good for making 3-dimensional objects (like catnip balls and ornaments) and you still have to tack your embellishments (including the sheep and mice for which I used it) down by manually needle felting. It didn’t really cut that much time off but it saved my arm from a bunch of work.

If you buy it from an authorized dealer (which I didn’t, because it wasn’t sold here at the time), it comes with a whopping 6 month warranty. I now know why it is so short. Basically, every piece that can possibly be made of plastic on it is, and within a month, I started having problems. But I read in a review (there is nothing in the instructions that come with the tool) to keep it greased, which helped a bit. After about 6 months of use (only 3 of which were heavy usage, I didn’t even pick it up in July), it broke. I took it to my MacGyver-esque mechanically & electrically-inclined husband with sad puppy eyes and he took it apart and had a look (see below). He could fix it but it was only a matter of time before it broke in some other place, he warned. Here are the inside bits, after he had taken it apart (that gold bit attached to the gear is plastic, not metal). See how there is a piece of the red plastic actually broken off? He fixed it with a small piece of Lego to keep it stabilized and glued it back together.

1brokenAddiQuick

Here I am happily working (embellishing catnip balls with mice) with my fixed addi Quick in August:

2fixedAddiQuick

Truly, what a relief that he fixed it because I had my busiest month ever in September, thanks to the awesome people of Toronto, who love to buy handmade and local. Thanks, Toronto! And thanks to the Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale, Danforth East Arts Fair, and the Etsy: Made in Canada MaRS team.

The repaired addi Quick worked for another 5 or 6 weeks. And then it broke again. This time, though, the gold plastic part where you screw in the needle broke clear off with the part you screw it into attached. There’s no way to fix that, unfortunately. So I admitted defeat and went back to needle felting everything by hand. It took about 48 hours for my repetitive strain injury to rear its ugly head. So I went back to my husband and asked if there was REALLY nothing he could do to fix it (really: nothing.) and did some more research to see if there was anything else out there. Nope, nothing. There are machines you can use to do flat embellishing, but unfortunately those don’t help me.

So my incredible husband started tinkering with our LEGO TECHNIC bits and bobs to see if he could make something for me. It took about 5 or 6 days of tinkering, building, trials and errors, but he did it. It doesn’t go as fast as the addi Quick (which is 2500 depressions per minute), but I’ll wager it will last a lot longer and the repairs are simple and obvious and the parts are very easily replaced.

Here’s a photo my son took of the new homemade LEGO TECHNIC needle felter in action the other night. I was felting a layer of grey over a white ball (filling in the bald patches on my elephant).

homemade Lego needle felting tool

A great thing about this is that it’s battery operated, so I can travel with it! I always love to bring work with me to my sales, because a) I can’t sit idle for long and b) people love to see how things are made. And now I can bring this along anywhere! So I brought it with me today to the Leslieville Flea (the last outdoors one of the year, so there was no power to plug into) and entertained people while I worked and then told the story of it. Here it is today:

homemade LEGO TECHNIC needle felting tool

As you can see, I still have a needle sticking out of the bottom of the felting foam. I still have to tack things down manually, but again, this saves me about 50% of the needling I do for embellishments, which is a big deal for my RSI. Yay for LEGO and technically inclined spouses who embrace a challenge!

Other great points: this is much quieter than the addi Quick. And it uses standard needles, not specialty needles that you need to buy from addi. And, you know, it’s made from LEGO!!! Everyone LOOOOOOVED that part today.

[Update on November 2, 2014:]

Here’s a link to a video of the LEGO needle felter in action, felting an ear on a catnip ball (5.2 MB MOV file):

LEGO needle felting tool

This Sunday: The Leslieville Flea

LesFleaOct14

My only in-person appearance this month will be this Sunday right in my neighbourhood at The Leslieville Flea. It’s the last outdoor flea of the year, and so far the forecast is calling for sunny skies, so bundle up and come on out to the Ashbridge Estate at 1444 Queen St. E. I’ll be right behind the bus stop so when you come by, don’t forget to come down the hill and say hello!

I created a Pinterest board for a sneak peek. I couldn’t find everyone online but several are there:

Lynn's Lids pinterest board for Oct 2014 Leslieville Flea

 

I’ll have ornaments, dryer balls, lots of hats, tree toppers, and I’m currently working on catnip balls:

Time to finish up these ever popular all natural catnip balls for this Sunday's @leslievilleflea – mice to come…

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And I’ll have 2 of these on hand along with many other nice warm hand knit felted wool hats:

Made for this Sunday's @leslievilleflea #handknit wool toque with maple leaf!

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Unfortunately I can’t capture the colour properly with a snapshot, but it’s this colour, called Ruby:

Don’t forget this month it’s 10% off everything in my Etsy shop with coupon code: LIDSBLOG14. Happy shopping!

October-December appearances

Well. *That* was a busy month. And just fantastic. It was good to be back out there again, meeting people and finding folks the perfect hats or watching them scan my table/tent and then find the thing… that thing that makes them smile or laugh or have to come and take a closer look or touch. And talking to people to find out what their ideal hat (or other wool product!) would be.

Last weekend ended my busy month with the Etsy: Made in Canada sale down at the MaRS building. This being the very first time Etsy Canada has done this, no one really knew what to expect. So I went in with pretty low expectations. Hoping for the best, of course, but not expecting a lot. Well, Toronto, you blew me away! It appears that Toronto (and area, some folks drove in from the burbs and beyond) really loves shopping local and handmade.

It was like that all day. All. Day. Wow, people. Thanks! The organizers did a fantastic job and some really great promotion. The vendors (what I saw – there was no time to do a tour since it was non-stop all day) were amazing, varied and plentiful. And the space was great – full of natural light and (at least where I was) had room for roaming around in the thick crowds.

A shot of my table at the beginning of the day (didn’t look like that at the end!):

The table at 9:50 this morning. Didn't resemble that end of day… #EtsyMICToronto #EtsyMadeInCanada

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Right now I’m finishing off my custom hat orders. Only 2 to go! And I’m trying to keep my Etsy shop stocked since I’m having an October sale! I guess I’m trying to get people shopping early. Because my late November/early December just got busy! If you’d like 10% off for the month of October use coupon code: LIDSBLOG14.

And then it’s onto preparing for the October Leslieville Flea! I admit I like to sell locally, and people love to hear that you live and make in their neighbourhood. So I’ll be at the Ashbridge Estate (1444 Queen St. East) for the last outdoor flea of 2014, on Sunday, October 19. Unfortunately, due to a family emergency, I will not be able to make it to the November Holiday Flea. I will be back in January when they move to the Distillery District.

LesFleaOct14

Between those two fleas, I will be doing my very first out of town engagement at the Handmade Market at Honsberger Estate down in Jordan in the Niagara region. They’ve got all of the info on this page, but dates and times are Friday, November 14, Saturday, November 15 and Sunday November 16 from 11am – 4pm daily. There are over 80 vendors, and it looks like a great show!

In early December I’ll be at the Artisan Social again. It’s the only small art sale I am attending this year. I don’t know what makes this such a great event, but it really is. Just a few vendors in a little local dance studio for an afternoon… The atmosphere is casual and joyful, the quality of goods is fantastic (if I do say so myself) and there’s a variety of handmade products (last year there was clothing, cards, pottery, art, and more!). If you’re around Leslieville on December 7, drop by the studios of the Gilchrist Canavan Irish Dance, through the red gate beside the Ceili Cottage and come for the best little holiday sale in the ‘hood!

And, of course, I’ll be teaching a few needle felting classes (Oct/Nov/Dec – one per month) at the Purple Purl. More info on their classes page.