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Saturday, April 19, 2014

One of a Kind Show Spring 2014....

G - 47,  right across from the Fashion Show stage (note my valances)! last! Famous last words you say, well my husband sold my light bar at the show to Karen Gunna, from whom I bought a commemorative (well kinda) leather if I do return it will be in the dark!

Shelly (centre) with daughter (rt) & goldsmith friend Sandy. 

I had a great time this year with my neighbour to one side being amazing goldsmith Shelly Purdy ... who I discovered is related to one of my lovely we all got chatting. On the other side was a couple of young gentlemen for whom this was their first time, however one of them had a lot of high end retail experience under his belt so I learned a few things from him.

Felted vest in the 'accessories' show.

I loved being opposite the Fashion show stage in the centre of the show, the big wide aisle where the cafe is and the exhibitions and competition. When I got my booth number it seemed to spell an omen as I was thinking that I didn't want to do this show any more....get rid of the stress and the huge booth fee.

Host Joey in one of my felted jackets....for Easter!

What is also a treat, when we go to Toronto for a show, is to see my stepdaughter and our grandsons.  Show hours are gruelling and don't allow for any outside time except for sleeping so I bring them into the show for a visit and a look around, Alana bought a bag from Karen Gunna.

Newest grandson checking out the yarn cones.
It is always great to do any show like this if only for the connection with other artists I have known for the three decades I have been in this business. There are still some of the older long time creators hanging in as it serves as a presence to our clients...we're still here, we have new work and are always pleased to  have you drop by, even just to say hello. 

There are a lot of new folk coming up, especially as there is the Etsy section, lovely young women and men (mostly women) starting our at least 10 years younger than I was when I started out....they will go far. From there they often get their designs (whatever medium) produced and manufactured, some keep the hand made work as well, which is what the 'One Of A Kind' is all about.

I don't see as much hand made one of a kind as we used to and because the show has been sold and sold and now is owned by I'm not sure who, there is no one to wander by all the booths to say hi, connect, check you out and answer questions as in the earlier years. It seemed like being vetted or spied upon sometimes but we didn't mind it and now I miss that.

All packed up and ready to head home.
Over the years I think the lugging of my stuff in and out of shows, putting everything up and such, have kept my body and bones strong (I make it a practice to lift heavy things...knees bent of course) and my mind reasonably sharp. I even remembered to dig out my valances that I made for the times I had a corner 10' x 10' booth to hide the light bars, this time I used them to hide the hooks from which I hang my wares and signs. I took so much time sewing, hemming and buttonholing my 9 drapes and my valances I should remember to use them. The drapes have always come in handy.

My 'stuff'.
Well, I'll still be lugging in and out of shows but none with the high prices of booth, electricity and parking as this show. The smaller shows and tours I also do we artists either run ourselves or have a major part in....yes we have the work to do (designing signs, logos, handing out flyers, emailing our lists etc) but we also have waaaay more control. That is why I started the Beach Studio Tour in 1994, something in the city (Beach neighbourhood of Toronto) that would be walkable, with places to eat and relax where the artists could show all of their different creations.

....that is where I will be headed next...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Workshops, Workshops!

I'm busy in the studio with only three days until the One of a Kind Show ... and one of those is Set Up day!!!!                        

                                                                     Booth G - 47

Meanwhile it's been a busy few weeks to start March...the month we get more light in the evenings, Spring starts (if it can find it's way through the snow!) and  preparing for the One of a Kind show for another year.

Meanwhile I kicked off March with a great little show 'She Creates', a small one day show at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour...that was busy and successful. The following weekend I filled my studio with three delightful women who had been rounded up by their fearless leader to take a weekend learning how to use a domestic knitting machine. The following pics are their resulting wrap/scarves.

'Birch' was the base colour chosen by Gayle and she accented it with black and white.

Gray was chosen by Marg but she accented it with a bid of colour in a rose tone wool, dark gray and off white.

This wrap by Karen was the a surprise....because she is NOT a knitter...and wears mostly black. However she was keen to work with colours and this is the result.

I had them do cast on, cast off, hems, short rows and some embellishments...of course that came with copious trouble shooting with picking up the many dropped stitches and even picking up the work that dropped to the floor!!!

Some demo & instruction from Andrea.

Last weekend I had the golden opportunity to take a felting workshop from Andrea Graham in the Mississipi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte, ON. 'Felted Bag with 3D Elements' I had a ball. Learning new stuff to put into my jackets, bags and hats. Boning up on my techniques from the master who taught me in the first place five years ago.  

This is my little corner of the classroom in the museum...right by a huge old window so I had a wide sill for my 'stuff'. Almonte has great spots for shopping and food and though I took my own lunch the first day, the second day I went out with my friend Paddye (of Paddye Mann Clothing) for broccoli Gruyere cheese soup!!!!!!  Cafè Postino
Day bag laid out.

Day 2...after lots of work!
Because I laid out my roving rather lightly I should have put another layer... Andrea teased me that with the shrinkage I was making a wallet!
Newbie Paddy's great bag with a leather strap.
My bud Paddye had actually not wet felted before but look what she created! She got the hang of it...clever girl.
Andrea had brought lots of leather straps and grommets which are great and strong for the bigger and heavier bags but as mine turned out much smaller I decided to felt my own chord strap when I got home.

There are two knitting machines on display in the museum....they are Harrison from Manchester UK...late 1800's or early 1900's.

....oh, and here's my bag!

Now I'm busy in the studio with only three days until the One of a Kind Show ... and one of those is Set Up day!!!!

Booth G - 47

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Local Polymer Clay Workshop

Meriel of Anwyn Yarn Studio hosted our Polymer Clay workshop and what a lovely space it was too. A small group (one of whom is taking my Machine Knitting Weekend workshop next month) it was busy and fun as any larger one I have had...and Anwyn is in my neighbourhood, two blocks away!

Work and Creation.
You can see that when we get going coffee and herb teas fuel the day and for this workshop I had lovely large tile work surfaces.

Some great work.
In demonstrating I sometimes get some buttons done, the purple ones are mine after demonstrating the 'Skinner Method' of creating a coloured roll.

Lunch was so convenient with Tim Horton's right across the road and a sushi place around the corner!

A great match!
One of our number had wanted to take this workshop for years and kept missing it for one reason or another but I was so pleased when she walked in the door. She had brought with her a jacket she had been working on but had ground to a halt with no inspiration for what buttons to use. Well...beautiful set of eight was created! Half with a red base and half with a black base...don't they look great?!

Stylish but inexpensive!

Someone asked me about something that led me to talk about my bedroom curtain rods. Back when I was putting up the curtains on the three windows there I looked at rods and finials...however it would have cost me $$$ I didn't want to spend. My solution....curtain rods from Kmart or Zellers, two to a pack, Anthracite coloured Fimo and a matching colour auto paint from Canadian Tire. 

I took apart the rods, plying off the knobs on each end and building the finials, six different ones,  on those with the polymer clay. While I did that I hung the rods out in the driveway and spray painted them with the auto paint. When the finials are baked I stuck them back on the rods and ... voila... chic curtain rods that have been there for years...through two sets of curtains!  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Working towards this fun and well attended event. It's half way to the One of a Kind Show in Toronto so it will get me in show mood!

Here's a new little felted hat... back to some knitting.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Winter Sun and Fun

Finally some warmer weather! Stepping from my front door to my studio door the other day I actually though 'oh how warm it is'.... I guess minus 1 Celsius is warm after weeks of minus what seems like a squillion!!!!!

While hunting for something in my studio (that can take weeks!) I came across a file with my old 'cut and paste' mock ups for one of my first brochures. Long before computers that is what we did to do posters, brochures and such if you did it yourself....then headed on down to MailBoxes Etc to print them out (BS - Before Staples).

Woo! Check out those prices. I think this was the mid '80's. I started doing a brochure when I did the Festival of Canadian Fashion, which ran for a few years. I didn' need to earn much as I lived in a small apartment and in those days there was no car to pay for (I lived in Toronto), no internet, no computer, laptop,  cell phone, and a lot of other things I find essential now! Then also cost of materials has gone up and now I not only knit but work in polymer clay and felting....more stash!

I enjoyed a delightful evening at our local Knit Traders at a Yarn Tasting. We were all given a plate of yarn finger windings and a set of needles and set to knitting them up. We were asked to rate the yarns as to if we would buy them or not. My favourite was  Estelle Fino....beautifully seemingly hand dyed Wool Silk yarn. I didn't have enough but might get some to try on the knitting machine, I think it would work well.
A snowy afternoon was a great day for  a planned get together of some knitter and textile friends.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


Well, apparently I've been trafficking in Muffatees!!! OK, to put it the knitter's way, I've been selling my knitted fingerless mittens.

I can't remember how this came about...maybe on Pinterest or Ravelry but I came across the word yesterday and started to Google...what fun. There are some great sites and blogs with patterns. Mine have little thumbs but apparently real ones don't and I call them wristlets.

I worked these years ago from a great pattern in Machine Knitting Monthly January '05 Issue 84 (if you can find one. The pattern is by Liz Kilsby in the UK. I use them for hanging out the wash on cold days but this year, when my studio didn't warm up enough over the last few weeks I put them on to knit on the machine....Great! I used sock yarn.

     Sometimes our coat sleeves are just that bit short or there's a gap between our gloves and coat cuffs...these mitts, in whatever form, are great. 

Cathy Briscoe on Ravelry has some history along with her patterns, I found this via check it out if you are a member....or become a member.

BTW, I'm CottonCarrie on Ravelry.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell 2013

Well, it's nearly 2014 and the New Year and I'm still getting Christmas lovely! 

My lovely niece, who has her own business - Cuppycakes by Kirsten - shopped a local Etsyan and had this lovely hanger made for me for my Chrissy present from her. I love it and will probably used it in my show booths. I have yet to find a good showy place for it in my studio. It's by Sara Allen Designs . Both these young women ply their trades while looking after toddlers and newborns!!! Had I had children I think they would have starved! (just kidding..)

 I had to throw this in as it 'spoke' to me. It was Google's Winter Solstice doodle...knitting your way
through the darkest hours?

Then my friend Georgia aka Iggy of Clayamies fame, delivered my Christmas Ornament Swap
ornaments. I had made three to be sent out and these are what I got in return....this is so much fun. Just as an aside, the knitted piece they are lying on is on my ironing board, it is the back of a new cotton design for the Spring.

What is there more to say about this. Another dinner guest were we gathered last evening had this on her knitting bag! I love it and want one for my car, my last one eventually fell off (as were bits of the car)..... 'Gone crazy - Be back later'. If any one finds that one please let me know...I got it in a sex shop in Philly!

This delightful knitter said she was a bit worried when she took the bag through the airport check but she got through. Better than the other sticker...'  have sharp sticks and I know how to use them'!

Last but not least a money order arrived, in this card, from my friend Sonja who, with her partner, is joining us in the house in the Outer Banks we have rented for two weeks in the Spring...yeah, a vacation!  We have decided that between the two of us there will be one knitting machine so we can play. We've been teased endlessly by the windsurfers about this but we stand firm...on our woolsack*!

Just hours away from the ball dropping, it's already 2014 in half the world..I had better pop out and get some bubbly!

*The Woolsack is the seat of the Lord Speaker in the House of Lords, the Upper House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In the 14th centuryEdward III commanded that his Lord Chancellor should sit on the Woolsack, in council as a sign of the pre-eminence of the wool trade. Indeed it was largely to protect the vital English wool trade routes with continental Europe that the Battle of Crécy was fought with the French in 1346. 
Courtesy of Wickipedia