Danforth East Arts Fair – this weekend!

Okay, so I know the forecast isn’t that great for today, but you can come on out tomorrow to East Lynn Park from 10am-5pm to the Danforth East Arts Fair!

If you want to take a look at all of the artisan features I’ve posted of folks who will be there with me, go to category/fellow-artisan/deaf14-fellow-artisan/.

As for me, I should probably get packing, but I thought I’d give a quick preview of what I’ll have on hand:

A few tree toppers (Santa, a Tardis, and angels):

Hand knit, felted wool hats, including these needle felted adorned ones:

And another viking hat:

A few different tea cosy designs:

As well as the popular dryer balls, catnip balls, and ornaments! Hope to see you there!

Artisan: Lynn’s Lids

I keep doing fellow artisan features, but I just realized that I haven’t actually done one of these posts for myself. So, just in time for my 3 big September sales (Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale, Danforth East Arts Fair and Etsy Made in Canada at MaRS), here goes:

Lynn's Lids felted wool dryer balls Lynn's Lids felted wool Toronto iPad sleeve Lynn's Lids needle felted wool Santa ornaments

Artisan Name: Lynn Wyminga

Products:  hand knit, waterproof & windproof felted wool hats, tea cosies, iPad sleeves, sheepy wool dryer balls, natural wool catnip balls, Christmas tree toppers and ornaments, either hand knit then felted wool yarn, wet felted wool roving, or needle felted wool roving.

Price Range: $10-100

How did this all begin? 
A few years ago, I picked up knitting again for the first time in 20 years. I made scarves for my kids’ stuffed animals, then scarves for my kids, husband and brother-in-law, but I didn’t need a scarf (my brother had knit me one!) so I browsed through the patterns at my local yarn shop and came across a pattern for a felted wool hat. I am a hat lover, so I figured if I could keep myself in hats (instead of buying them), I’d be set! So I made a bowler and during the felting process, I was kinda hooked. That transformation is a bit thrilling every time it happens. Anyway, I wore the hat out (and promptly made myself another) and friends kept asking me to make them one, and eventually Lynn’s Lids was born. (I had to take nearly 2 years off for treatment of 2 cancers, but when I was strong again in the fall of 2012 I started in earnest.)

I am inspired by many things, but nature is a big one (take the sheep on the dryer balls!) and necessity is another. The dryer balls idea came from the David Suzuki Foundation newsletter since I needed a smaller ticket item to sell at markets. They are a great gift since they are environmentally friendly (reducing dryer time) but even if the recipient isn’t interested in that aspect, they are just so darn cute (I had a non-English speaker order them on Etsy and they didn’t know they were for the dryer until they received them with my note – they had just bought them as fibre art!). I have made a lot of them, and as of yet I haven’t tired of it. I’m making the right product, I guess.

Other new items come from client requests (tea cosy, cat bed, computer sleeve, various hats), my own needs (iPad sleeve, camera cosy), and sometimes just whimsy (catnip balls, ornaments, Frankenstein hat, cyclops hat, devil hat, dragon hat).

The hats are definitely my favourite. I enjoy making every single one, from the knitting, the thrill of felting, and the blocking. (But not the waiting. Never the waiting.) I especially enjoy creating new designs and patterns, as that keeps things fresh and exciting. Not everything works, but mostly they do (a good example is the baker boy cap, below – which I made up a few years ago but took 3 tries to perfect). It feels great when someone tries one of my lids on and it suits them perfectly. I’ve been wearing my second hat (a bucket hat turned out to be the favourite for me and I gave that first bowler to my mom after a couple of years of wear) for 6 years so I know that they don’t really wear out. Because they are felted to a thick dense fabric, they are very durable, keeping out the wind and rain and I know the wearer will be warm and dry for years.

Needle felting is so much fun that I want everyone to give it a go, so I teach it on a regular basis at my local yarn shop.

What advice do you have for a first-time One of a Kind Show vendor?
Start creating stock early, bring a big bottle for water (it’s dry in there), pack your own food (junk food takes its toll and they are long days!) and ask a friend to come and give you an hour’s break in the middle of each day, if possible (if you can’t afford to hire a booth sitter). Smile and enjoy it. It’s a great time.

Do you have a favourite OOAK show moment/memory to share?
On day 3 (of 5) a woman I recognized from earlier in the show came up to my table (in the Etsy section) and headed straight for the basket of catnip balls, exclaiming to her friend, “I bought one of these on Wednesday and my cats just love it!” and bought 6 more right there!

You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, www.lynnslids.com, Pinterest, my Etsy shop, and here, on the blog. To find me in person, check out my upcoming markets (via Etsy) or my where page.

Lynn's Lids baker boy cap with flower

Etsy listings & a new toque

It’s a funny thing, applying to an Etsy event. They basically look at your shop to jury you, so you’ve got to get a bunch of listings up to make sure you have the full variety of your products up. To be honest, I’ve only sold a couple of hats via Etsy, and they were custom orders, from folks who knew exactly what they wanted. I personally would never buy a hat I hadn’t tried on, so I don’t try to push the hats very hard online, and therefore never have many hats in my Etsy shop. Which is weird, because the hats are why I get out and do the in-person markets / fairs / art sales.

So, even though right now I don’t want to be selling much on Etsy (I’m hoarding stock for both the Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale and Danforth East Arts Fair), I have just added a bunch of listings, including a couple of these super-cute tree toppers. (And if you’re wondering why there is a Mason jar there, it is for size comparison. I figure most folks have seen a 20oz Mason jar, but may not be able to picture 8″ in their heads, or have a ruler handy.)

What am I applying for? I’ve already been accepted to the flagship Etsy: Made in Canada market that’s presented by TEST and 416 Hustler down at the MaRS Atrium, but apparently there is a media event on the night before for a handful of the 100 vendors accepted to the market, so I thought I’d throw my hat in for that, as it were. Wish me luck, folks!

Oh, and here’s a little sneak peek at something I’ll have at Cabbagetown. I was encouraged to make this by my sons, surprise, surprise…

Lynn's Lids Creeper Toque



Work update…

Things are now into full swing of production for both Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale and the Danforth East Arts Fair. My WIPs (works in progress) basket is full of snowmen ornaments needing scarves and buttons, catnip balls needing mice, dryer sheep needing eyes, and 3 toques needing adornment. The toques are where my anticipation is right now, since they are like a blank canvas to me and my needle felting tools, but the dryer balls need attention first, and so it goes. There are also shelves of dryer balls drying in the sun, and dryer balls yet to be felted as well.

It’s lucky that I happen to be staying near my local wool supplier (the natural undyed wool I use for the dryer balls and catnip balls) right now, since I have to keep restocking as I create more… I’m saving a ton on shipping!

Some recent photos include this one from Saturday’s needle felting workshop:

Some snowmen heads (they are now attached to bodies):

Hats awaiting adornment:

Step one of dryer ball creation:

And last week, knitting at the CNE:

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#knitting on the sky ride

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Sneak Peeks & updates

Two Toronto Etsy vendor teams (Toronto Etsy Street Team & 416 Hustler) have gotten together to bring you one of the many Etsy: Made in Canada markets across the country that will be occurring on Saturday, September 27 (10am – 4pm at the MaRS Atrium at 101 College St. Toronto, ON). They’ve also created a sneak peek page on Etsy, as well as a look book. I hope to create a Pinterest page, but haven’t gotten to it just yet, so for now, you should really check out those two links above.

The other sneak peek link I wanted to pass on is the one for the Pinterest board I created for the Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale. You need to check this out. Really. Shrunken sampling below:

Pinterest board for Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale 2014 by Lynn's Lids

As for today, I was with my family at the CNE. With 3 big shows coming up, I bring my work wherever I go. I was working on a pillbox hat today:

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#knitting for #deaf14 at the Ex!

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#knitting on the sky ride

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Bringing my work wherever I go, like the beach with the kids last Thursday:

The sheepy dryer balls are coming along nicely:

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No-longer-blind sheepy dryer balls for #deaf14

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And the previous week I did a personal experiment, making up a pattern for a felted oven mitt and pot holder:

They work splendidly:

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(2 of 2)… Works great!

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This was the work in progress:

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Green shirt, green purse, green knitting.

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Happy cat!

Just a quick note to post some photos of the happy cat, Jammie Dodgers, when introduced to the new bed (which is pretty good camouflage, I must say). I love happy customers. And I’m so pleased that this was a successful first attempt.

Cat in the new custom Lynn's Lids cat bed
Jammie Dodgers checking out the new bed about 30 seconds after I tossed it on the floor…
Cat relaxing in the new custom Lynn's Lids cat bed
A few minutes later, Jammie Dodgers gets comfortable.

And the client seems pretty happy:

And because I love my client’s work, I managed to pick up a couple of things for myself, including a dragonfly necklace, much like these gorgeous buttons:

Dragonfly buttons by The Vexed Muddler on Etsy
Dragonfly buttons by The Vexed Muddler on Etsy

And a butterfly button (to be sewn to a hat – I’m just not sure if it will be my hat or one that is for sale), much like this lovely necklace (which, incidentally, is currently available on Etsy):

Butterfly necklace from The Vexed Muddler on Etsy
Butterfly necklace from The Vexed Muddler on Etsy

And a late addition to the blog post, the other cat (I didn’t meet the shy one) loves the bed, too!

The making of a cat bed

Recently a fellow Toronto Etsy Street Team artisan asked if I could make a cat bed for her two cats. New challenges keep things interesting, so I accepted.

Based on the diameter (15″) and height (4-6″) I was given  (great usage of 2πR from math of the old school days), I calculated the circumference and, based on my pattern for a basic toque, the number of stitches needed. Something totally new like this, and of this size, is always a bit of a crap shoot, however. 

Here’s a shot of the work in knitting progress:

Once I had finished knitting it, I felted it with some dryer balls (I often form dryer balls and get them set for felting and then wait until I have a hat or something else that needs felting as they help with the agitation). It took well over an hour in the machine (90 minutes, I think) to shrink down to a dense and thick fulled fabric. (Oh, and if you decide to follow the link above to wikipedia’s explanation of fulling, I use soap, not urine. Just in case you were wondering.)

After it was fulled (and yes, it’s about 15″ in diameter!), I rolled it in a towel to get the excess water out, and then it was time to block it. However, I don’t have a designated cat bed block, so I had to find something in my home upon which to block it. It needed to be round, and rather large. I ended up using a big plastic storage container with a thick towel wrapped around it. I’d rather use something that is firm all the way around, but sometimes you’ve got to use whatever is available on hand:

After setting it up on the block, it was time to leave it alone. I know I’ve said it before, but that’s the part I hate. It’s usually 48 hours minimum to dry anything on a block, depending on the season and humidity. Here it is, blocking, bottom up:

Lynn's Lids commissioned cat bed blocking


And today, finally, I pulled it off and had a look to make sure it would stand up and that it looks okay. It worked!

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It worked! Custom hand knit & felted cat bed!

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So I sent the photos to the client, posted a custom listing on Etsy, and it’s to be delivered tomorrow. (That’s the only downside to something as big as a 15″ wide x 4″ high cat bed: shipping could be astronomical, especially in this country.)

There are a few things that I might do differently next time, but all in all I feel good about the finished product, and the client is happy. Now we just need to see if the cats like it, too. Here’s hoping!