New website & new hats!

Well, it’s been a looooooong time coming, but I finally have my very own e-commerce site! Please check it out at www.lynnslids.com (or use the linked logo to the right)!

You may notice that I put a few items up there that are “sold out” – sorry about that. It’s being used to showcase my works for an application to a show, so I need as much of my work up there as possible, and want to make sure it gets found. However, you can order custom hats, tea cosies, or even ornaments at any time.

Next up: the Leslieville Flea. I’ll be back at the Fermenting Cellar for Sunday, January 18 and Sunday, February 22 (and possibly March, but some other plans may hinder that) 10am-4pm. I hope to bring at least 1 of each style that I currently make, so if you want to come and try on all of the styles, January 18, 10am-4pm at the Fermenting Cellar is the place to be! I will be including one that I’ve only made for a custom order (this is the custom order. I have yet to felt the one I’m bringing) which the customer described as a watch cap:

Lynn's Lids hand knit, felted wool watch cap

I will have a bowler, a flat brim, a couple of cloches, as well as the ever popular red bucket hat (this photo doesn’t do the gorgeous red any justice. Trust me, it’s a stunning scarlet/crimson. At some point I will get my husband to take a proper photo of one of these beauties.):

Lynn's Lids bucket hat in red

And I will have a couple of the rolled brim hats (that I showed you in the previous post) as well as a couple of baker boy hats… The list goes on. So, come by and get your lid warmer for these super chilly windy winter days! Remember the thick and dense felt is windproof!

Tomorrow I am off to St. Catharines for my needle felting class! I spent some time this week putting together kits for my learners:

… and putting together some wool packs since they tell me there’s nowhere near them to buy wool:

wool roving variety pack wool roving natural colours

That’s all for now. I’m hoping for a fellow artisan post or two before the flea, but we’ll have to see if people have time to do a little write-up on themselves.

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Happy new year!

Well… I’m down to my last custom order of the season, which isn’t due for a week or two, so things are calming down.  Determined to finish some custom dachshunds (that were ordered a while back, but not for Christmas) in 2014, I finished off these guys last night:

I have been thinking a lot about the past year of Lynn’s Lids, and how amazing it has been. Highlights include:

  • being a vendor for the first time in the Etsy Section at the Spring One of a Kind Show, Cabbagetown Art & Craft Sale, and the first Etsy: Made in Canada flagship sale
  • heading out of the GTA for the first time to Niagara for the Christmas HandMade Market
  • setting Etsy goals and surpassing them
  • managing my family (we homeschool our 2 boys), home, and business while my spouse was away for 4 weeks with a family emergency during November. I had to back out of 1 sale but we fared very well, with help from my friends and family! (If cancer taught me anything, it’s to ask for help when you need it.)
  • expanding my product line to include tea cosies, iPad sleeves, new orb ornaments and a TARDIS or two!
  • having my dryer balls in Style at Home!

In upcoming news, I have a needle felting class in St. Catharines, which should be fun! This came about from the Niagara HandMade Market, at which I worked away needle felting more ornaments (the family emergency meant I didn’t have as much stock as I needed). A woman and her friend and I got to talking about needle felting and so we planned to get 4-6 of her friends together and have a class in her dining room. The class is 2 hours and they will learn to make an owl, with techniques to make any number of 3-dimensional wool sculptures. The students receive a felting foam and 2 general purpose (38 gauge) needles and the wool to make their owl (see below).

If you are in the GTA and interested in hosting your own beginner’s needle felting class, leave a comment or contact me.

The Leslieville Flea

Also in upcoming news, I’ll be at the Leslieville Flea on Sunday, January 18 from 10am-4pm in the Fermenting Cellar in the historic distillery district. I hope to have every style of hat that I make with me, so if you’ve been thinking about getting yourself a nice warm hat, come down the the Leslieville Flea in 2 weeks! A new style that is really an old style that will be available is below – the rolled brim hat. You can thank my mother, who saw a photo of it and asked me why I don’t make it anymore… Who can say no to their mom?

One more thing in upcoming news: I am currently creating an e-commerce site! I get inquiries and emails from my current website, but I’m hoping to get something a little more professional up there that is easy to update (I currently update the site using TextMate and editing the HTML – yes, I was a geek before I was a mom and an artisan). So stay tuned for that… it’s coming very soon!

Regarding the aforementioned expansion of my product line, customised iPad sleeves were the name of the game this year:

Among the many things I learned this year is this: There are a million different sizes and shapes of tea pots out there. And it’s a good thing I love math, because it’s coming in handy now with the custom circumferences and heights, etc.

Anyway, off to bed now. May 2015 bring you good health, humour and happiness.

Upcoming shows & new work

My sincere apologies to the people to whom I spoke at the October Leslieville Flea and assured I would be at the holiday market. Due to a family emergency I am not able to attend. I will be back in January, however, at the historic Distillery District’s Fermenting Cellar.

In December, I have 2 back-to-back sales coming up in Leslieville. If you follow the blog then you know about the Artisan Social (check out some of the artisans) on Sunday, December 7 from 1pm-5pm behind the Ceili Cottage (through the red gate) at the Studios of the Gilchrist Canavan School of Irish Dance (1301 Queen St. E.).

Crafternoon Tea in Leslieville

Also, on Saturday, December 6 from 11am-4pm, I’ll be at the 8th annual Crafternoon Tea down the road a bit (947 Queen St. E.) at the Queen Street East Presbyterian Church (SE corner of Queen & Carlaw), benefitting Nellie’s Shelter and Straight to the Streets. This is my first time at Crafternoon Tea and I’m excited to be a part of a great community event!

Also in shows, last weekend I was down in Niagara at the Honsberger Estate at my first HandMade Market which was a thoroughly enjoyable 3 day event!

Right now I’m back to catching up on custom orders, of which there are a few, like this custom (a newly created design) newsboy cap for a bun-wearer in the Canadian Prairies (made to fit over her bun and her ears, with the visor to keep the snow off her face. I’m happy to say it arrived yesterday and she loves it!):

And these fun custom dryer balls which are a gift for a frog lover:

And some more of these adorable little dachshunds:

I also have one more needle felting class at The Purple Purl coming up in December for beginners (the advanced class was last night). While at the HandMade Market some ladies asked if I could teach down there. I am happy to come to you to teach a beginner class if you can rustle up 5 learners (in Toronto, 4 is fine). You will each go home with a finished needle felted ornament of some sort (depending on the time of year and what we collectively decide), along with a felting foam and a felting needle or two (38 gauge), and the skills to create more on your own. If you’re interested in this fun and quick to learn craft, comment or contact me via my website for more information or email me: lynnslids [at] gmail [dot] com.

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):

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

Etsy: Made in Canada & upcoming needle felting classes

Production is going well for the flagship Etsy: Made in Canada pop-up market at MaRS (Saturday, September 27 10am-4pm), even though a custom order for a birthday present came up and threw a spanner in the works for a bit with this:

However, there should be lots of hats to choose from, as well as some ornaments, tree toppers, dryer balls, tea cosies, and catnip balls.

For a roundup of all of the fellow artisan profiles I have for EtsyMICToronto, check out the EtsyMIC category.

And today the Toronto Etsy Street Team & 416 Hustler just released the workshop list for next Saturday’s event! Check it out (click for larger image or visit the TEST blog post):

FREE DIY workshops at Etsy: Made in Canada, September 27th at MaRS, 101 College St at University Ave, from 10 am to 4 pm

I also wanted to give a heads up about upcoming needle felting classes at the Purple Purl. The schedule isn’t up yet (because we just sorted it out and Jennifer will post it for newsletter time at the end of the month), but I am doing a beginner class making these pumpkins/jack o’lanterns on Tuesday, October 7 (7pm-9pm):

People have asked for an advanced class, so we will be making gnomes with wire armature you can move and position (your choice between male or female). For this class you will need to have taken the beginner class and/or be proficient in making and manipulating simple forms such as spheres and cylinders (legs, stems, arms) and should know how to properly needle and how to control the firmness of your fibre. The advanced class will be on Tuesday, November 18 (7pm-9pm). Call The Purple Purl 416-463-1162 to reserve your spot to either or both classes.

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!