Spring Time

I realize I have been absent  from my blog for quite some time, so I thought I should let everyone know what’s been going on:

Basically, I am using this time to create a new plan for my shop in lieu of the changing seasons (Not many people interested in buying heavy scarves and toques at the end of April).

This spring, I am planning to focus more on sewn items and lightweight knitting, and save the heavy knits for fall. Coming soon will be baby blankets, fingerless gloves, lightweight toques (because there are still some drafty days in spring, after all), an array of new lighting fixtures, backpacks, pillows and one of a kind tree ring prints. A few of these are already available in our shop, with more on the way.
This season, we would like to focus more on items for the home, with a few accessories for rainy days:

Here are some hand knit accessories that you could wear out on a walk in the early evening. The gloves are quite handy because you can keep them on while snapping a photo of that beautiful sunset, all while looking incredibly stylish, of course.

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Here are some items which are also available in our shop right now. The ever-present mason jar lights, as well as our all new, one of a kind tree ring prints. You can read all about the making process, where the wood comes from, and a bit about how each print is created in each print listing on our Etsy shop. These items will add some modern, minimalist style to any room.

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That’s all the news I have today. Be sure to check our shop regularly, as new items will be going in on a regular basis. Be sure to “like” our Facebook page for notifications about our new items, sales and upcoming events.

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

Market pick up for custom orders

Just a quick post to let everyone know that if you would like to place a custom order through our Etsy shop before February 1, you can then pick up that item at the Commonwealth Collector’s Club market on February 9, and I will refund your shipping costs!

If you are ordering a large item, such as a cowl or fur hood, this could save you upwards of $20 on shipping costs. Canada post has recently raised their already sky-high prices, so it sure isn’t cheap! – I always feel a certain amount of guilt when I post a new item on Etsy, and then have to plug in the shipping costs. I know it can be off-putting to look at an item and then see that shipping is going to be an extra $40. I am still in search of a better way to send out packages but I have not found it yet…

This pick up option will apply to all of our available custom order listings on Etsy, including: cowls of all styles, knit headbands of all styles, kids and babies fur hats, and kids and adults fur hoods.

Here are some examples of available custom items:

custom garter cowl coverThe chunky knit cowl – choose one or two (or even three!) colours for this thick and cozy scarf.

custom headband coverThe knit headband – available in this bow style and many others. Perfect for Valentine’s Day

baby hat customBaby and Toddler faux fur hats – several sizes to choose from, as well as tons of colours of fur and linings. Get one with bear or fox ears.

If there is an item in the shop that you like, but it isn’t in the custom order section, and you want it in another colour, just message me and let me know what you want, or click the “request custom order” button in our shop.

Alternately, if you would like to reserve an already made item that you see for sale in our shop, you can do that too. I only ask that you pay a deposit of about 25% of the whole price of the item. Just message me and let me know which item you would like to reserve, and I will create a listing for your deposit.

I hope to hear from you guys soon, or I’ll see you at the market.

New beginnings

It’s a new year, and I’m excited about some new projects I have on the go. First of all, I want to announce that we will be at the Commonwealth Collector’s Club market in Calgary, AB on February 9, from 2-6pm. Admission is $3. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

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In other news, I have started the navy blue shawl as a custom order for a bride. So far, this project has been far from smooth sailing. The pattern that I purchased was far from helpful. I do not crochet, so I always make sure to specify that I want ONLY knitting in my search results on Ravelry. After doing that, this pattern came up. I read the information about it: no mention of crochet. I pay $5 or $6 for the pattern. I download it. BOOM. The entire bottom of the shawl is crocheted. WHAT?!

Now, in an attempt to keep my customer happy, I decide to improvise and tell her I can still make the shawl, but with a knit lace pattern on the bottom instead of the crocheted portion. She agrees and chooses a pattern, but this is not the end of my difficulty. Now I return to my mostly useless pattern to decide on what size to make. I now discover that my options for sizing are either S/L or L/XXL, and there are no finished measurements for either one. Once again I need to improvise. I decide to go with the L/XXL size, because its better to be too big than too small when it is  a simple wrap (“simple”).

I finally begin working on my new shawl. I knit about 2″ (the shawl is 317 sts, so 2″ is some huge progress), when I realize I am working the pattern incorrectly. I had assumed that the pattern was worked from top to bottom, to achieve what is shown in the picture. Not this time. In fact, I was supposed to be going from right to left. I tearfully ripped out everything I had done (about 1 1/4 skeins of yarn), and began again.

I will now be working the bottom lace edging horizontally, on its own (sort of looks like a lace scarf), and then picking up stitches along the edge to work the top ribbed part of the shawl vertically. This has become a much bigger pain in the ass than I had first anticipated, but I am now confident that it will work out in the end. You can see my projects on Ravelry here, to see the original pattern (not recommended), my notes and changes, and the other things I’m working on.

Here is my progress so far:

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What was your biggest knitting mishap? Share your stories in comments.

Custom Orders: The Faux Zoo

The time has come once again for Michael to do me the huge favour of driving me two hours from home, to the best fabric store I’ve found to date. (He really takes one for the team here, people. In addition to the four hours of driving, he has to put up with me wandering around a warehouse of floor to ceiling fabric rolls for…well who can say how long. And may this be the yard stick with which we all measure our boyfriends.)

Our last excursion turned some pretty prime results – although my favourite black fur was out of stock. Below, is the photo from our custom listings in our etsy shop.

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I know that choosing options from a photo can be a little worrisome, so I’d like to just tell you a bit about them to help you make an informed decision. (Because I just know all of you are going to order a hat from me after this :P)
*Note that the word “pile” refers to the length of the actual hairs of the fur.*

Brown Rabbit – this is a super soft fur with a short pile (about 1″). It is a medium/ dark brown. It is about as close to real rabbit fur as you can get with synthetic materials, hence the name. In my opinion, short furs look great with our bear ears, and this one is no exception. (although I did make a custom fox hood from this fur and it looked awesome.) This hat is made from the same fur, just in black.

Arctic Fox – this fur is a creamy off-white (I would describe it as “blonde”), with a 2″ pile. I have not made any hats out of this yet, but I am super excited to do so. In my opinion, longer furs lend themselves beautifully to the fox ears on our hats. The neutral tone would also go well with pretty much any lining. Being a thicker fur, this is also one of the warmest fur options we have.

Grey Wolf – this fur is pretty similar to the arctic fox, but obviously much darker. It also has a 2″ pile – Being so thick and lustrous, this is definitely the warmest fur we have. It features black on the ends of the fur with grey at the base. Because it is two-toned, it gives hats a lot of depth and an organic feel. Just like wearing a real animal skin! (note – this fur has been described as “lycan”.) At this moment, there is an adult size hood in our shop made of this fur, so you can see what it looks like in action.

Red Panda - this fur is soft and velvety, with quite a short pile – about 1/2″. I would honestly compare it to a kitten’s fur. Or possibly a chipmunk… not that I’ve touched one of those. It is also a two-toned fur, with a light creamy taupe at the base, and a medium brown with a reddish tint at the ends. This fur would be perfect for a baby hat because it is so soft and delicate.

Zebra – the zebra basically speaks for itself. (if you don’t know what a zebra sounds like, find out here.) The fur is super soft, with a short 1/2″ pile. The stripes themselves are not black, but a soft greyish brown. The other colour is a nice cream colour. Personally, I prefer this to the traditional, stark black and grey. The neutralizing of the colour pallet makes it seem much more fresh and modern. I haven’t yet made anything out of this fur, but I would love to. (So please order one.)

There’s my synopsis of each fur. Hopefully that is helpful to anyone thinking about placing a custom order, but intimidated by the options.

If you have further questions, feel free to comment below, or message me on Etsy. :)

Upholstery 101: Part 1

Perhaps some of you that know me, wonder what exactly it is I do at work. Maybe some of you live amongst some old, decrepit couch cushions; with their moth holes and obscenely visible stuffing. Conceivably, the smell of mildew coming off of that patio furniture has bested even the top “non-odour masking” brands of spray perfumery.
Well today is the day you will learn some of the carefully guarded secrets and dark sorcery of the upholstery seamstress!
*Mass hysteria*

Ahem.. Anyway. I was given the laborious task of making new covers for five patio chairs today at work. Of course, I was elated at the prospect. I’ve been on a diet of nothing but RV skirts and rig covers for months! So, with such a zestful project at hand, I decided I would be doing my readers (both of you) a great disservice by not documenting the venture, and ultimately, blogging about it. (This is my life now.)

Disclaimer:
I know that everyone has that item of furniture in their home that needs to be re-covered, re-sewn, or re-made. I know this because each and every time I let my job title slip, I am privy to a lengthy and gratuitous speech beginning with “I have this old…” and ending in “…could you fix that?”

No. I can’t.

Moving along. I understand that with the knowledge I am about to impart to you, you could possibly take matters into your own hands and just fix that old thing yourself, darn it! – And I would wholly support you in this endeavour, encourage it even. Just know, that if it is your first time sewing, if you do not have the proper equipment, if that old ____ is a family heirloom, etc: weighing the likelihood of success vs. the inevitability of tumult in this effort is a necessary step. Feel me?

With that knowledge, lets dive in:

First, find yourself a decaying relic of a cushion. (Note: I would highly recommend picking up some reject from the thrift store with which you have no emotional attachment whatsoever. This way, you have the opportunity to create something modern at bargain price. Look for something simple, with foam or stuffing that is still in good condition. Pillows are a great starting point.)

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Here is what I started with. Please note the distinctive anthropological markings of the 1970’s.

Step 1: Mark

This is what you will do before taking anything apart. Do not even remove the stuffing from the heinous $1 cushion you just selected. This is how you will know how everything goes back together. Oh? This is the most simple pillow in all the world, and not even a blind mutant could manage to reassemble it incorrectly? FAMOUS LAST WORDS.

Mark the damn thing.

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Personally, I never waste an opportunity to draw scissors on a cut line. I use a grease pencil to mark the fabric. You can buy these nifty blue ones here. Otherwise, chalk, dressmakers chalk, or pencil will work just fine. Now I cannot stress enough that it is impossible to mark something too much. Maybe you still think you don’t need to. But trust me: when that thing is laid out in 2-7000 pieces, and you want to weep because you can’t figure out exactly how it went together, you will wish you had. If something is really complex, it also helps to make a drawing of it before you take anything apart. Again, better safe than sorry is the strategy here:

DSCN0149 This is my drawing. Yes. I used a whole page. No. This is not something to be ashamed of. This is good planning. You probably deserve to eat some cheesecake because of this.

Ok. You have it marked. (where the corners go, where the zipper is, where any ties are, which side is the front, and anything else that is applicable.)  You have drawn it. You know it like the back of your hand. NOW you can start to take it apart. Either cut along the seams with scissors or cut the threads with a seam ripper or x-acto knife.

* Note. If your pillow is either square or rectangular, you can skip this step and just measure it with a tape measure, like I did. I then wrote the sizes of all the pieces I wanted to cut on my clipboard. DON’T FORGET to add some extra for a seam allowance. I always add 1/2″. It’s easy math and allows you some leeway if you make a mistake. *

If your pillow has curved edges, or is some treacherous trapezoid- variety shape, you will use the old piece of cushion as a pattern piece. More on this later.

Step 2: Cutting / Fabric

Maybe this could have been step 1… You need to buy fabric. There are millions of options, and you can choose whatever excites you. My only recommendations are that you DO NOT choose something that is very stretchy, DO NOT choose something you can see through, and DO NOT choose something that is too thick for your sewing machine to get through.

DSCN0146 Well, in my case the customer chose the fabric. Relish your freedom, people.

Now you will either lay the old piece of pillow on top of the new fabric and cut around it, (making sure you remember seam allowance.) or measure your square/ rectangle shape with a tape measure and ruler and mark with chalk. (or what have you.)

DSCN0155 And now mark it again because you did it wrong…

Once you have one piece cut out, if there are more of the same size, you can use that piece as a template and trace around it to save time.

Remember those ballasts you saved from the last time you had your fluorescent lights changed? Get those out now.

DSCN0156 and use them as weights for your pattern piece. (make sure they are free of mysterious goo first.)

Proceed until you have cut out all of the pieces you need.

This is as far as I made it in my venture today. Tune in next time to see this beast get in on the action:

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New Item Day

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As much as I detest having my picture taken, a couple times a month I will put that aside and break out my biggest smile (above) and model items for my Etsy shop.

Today, we added 14 new items to the shop, all of which were hand made by me.
(You can view all of these items and their prices here)

As always, there are many new knit accessories:

All of these items are made from high quality yarn; from pure american wool to soft baby alpaca.

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Some furry hoods:

I sew all of these myself, and I design all my own patterns. I still have quite a few of these in children’s sizes, but I am still in search of a child model to be able to photograph them. – If you would like to send me your child, please leave a comment and I will get my mailing address to you.

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I also take custom orders for all my fur hats and hoods in all sizes. Visit my shop and look under the “custom order” section.

I have decided recently, against my better judgement, to begin taking custom orders for knit items as well. I’m not sure yet if this will cause me more harm than good. Taking custom orders without a set list of options seems a little scary, but I am confident enough that it will be fine.
Basically, if I have an item you like, but you want it in a different colour, I will work out the details with you in terms of yarn choice. (This is where sites like Quince & Co. come in handy) Although I have made custom items for friends, I have not done this through my Etsy shop before.
If anyone else has experience with this, I would love to hear what this has been like for you, and any tips you can offer me.

Or, message me with your orders and we’ll try it out!

The best mail you can get

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One of the issues with the city I live in, is that there aren’t many places to buy good knitting supplies. (and there just aren’t many knitters around, that I’m aware of.) There is a Michael’s craft store, but that can only get you so far..

To get around this issue, I have taken to ordering yarn online. It can be a little scary to buy a product you can’t touch or feel, so I like to spread the word about sites that sell awesome yarn.

I received this package today from Quince & Co.  – I believe it has only been two weeks since I ordered it, and now it’s in my kitchen.

This company is rapidly becoming one of my favourites to order yarn from. (and they have great patterns as well.) Definitely go check them out if you haven’t already. I like to use this site for large custom orders. I have nearly completed a knit pair of pants out of the “lark” 100% wool yarn. (I’ll post pictures when they’re done.) It has a very soft, delicate hand with a nice drape. I was worried about it being itchy, but it isn’t in the least.
As a side note – I am more than happy to do custom knit orders through my Etsy shop. Just message me with the details of what you would like and what colour. I am able to do most things with a little conversation, and I enjoy taking on different projects.

My next project is going to be a shawl for a bride. I am looking forward to this one; it’s not every day that someone trusts you with the responsibility of creating a garment for their wedding day. Here is the yarn:

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She selected the “owl” yarn – a very nice 50% alpaca and 50% wool blend. This colour is huckleberry.

Of course, I couldn’t order from the site without getting something for myself, so accompanying this yarn in the box was some “owl” hemlock and “puffin” dogwood:

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I’m planning to make a cardigan for myself out of the hemlock. (I haven’t knit myself anything in ages!) I haven’t landed on a use for the dogwood yet. I just thought it was a beautiful colour, and I wanted to try some of their heavier yarn.

Any suggestions?

Welcome

Welcome to the fawn & the fox blog.

For those unfamiliar with the fawn & the fox, we are a small company selling a range of handmade items – from knit accessories to housewares. We are based in Central Alberta, Canada.

I started this company with my boyfriend, Michael, whom I met in art school. He is an electrician, and is responsible for all housewares that we sell, including lighting (of course), and art pieces. I am a seamstress at an upholstery shop, which has allowed me the opportunity to learn to sew. I have branched out from the upholstery world and started sewing my own designs. I create faux fur hats and hoods for children and adults. I plan to branch out into other sewn items in the future.

I also knit. All. The. Time.

Because knitting has long been one of my favourite pastimes, it only made sense to start making things to sell. A lifetime of grandma jokes is the one small downside to having the ability to create beautiful knit accessories. (To anyone who doesn’t knit – don’t let your friends deter you from learning. They will only be trying to hide their jealousy.) When I’m not knitting or sewing, I’m most likely baking or painting – more on this later.

We have been running an Etsy shop for a few months (thefawnandthefox.etsy.com), and have sold our wares at Market Collective in Calgary, AB.

I hope to create a blog that consists of glimpses into what we are working on as a company, current projects, personal endeavours, and interesting things I want to share with all of you.

Other ways to interact with us:

Instagram: @lstansal and @jayapura

Facebook: Facebook.com/thefawnandthefox

Etsy: thefawnandthefox.etsy.com

A custom order hood that I made for my nephew, and one of my favourite things I’ve made:Image

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