Friday, May 05, 2006

ask crafty: wool felt, japanese craft books, soldering, and overdyeing sweater stains

Thanks all for your answers to the last batch of ask crafty questions. Another few await your tips above...

x"Where can one find wool felt in the city?" – Tara

-Elusive wool felt!* Apparently Designer Fabric Outlet on Queen West at Brock carries it by the yard. This isn't a confirmed source tho', a little old italian lady on College told me this. If you get there before me, check up on the second floor. [I called – they only have brown, and something called “melton wool” – a wool-poly blend that’s slightly thicker (dark green and navy only)]
-The Wool House (438 Queen Street West) carries wool felt for $12.50/yard in light and dark colours (no pinks but some light blues and greens, apparently).

*[I hear that fabric places don't carry wool felt because it tends to be quite expensive and so people don't often buy it. Y'all may want to start requesting it and following up with purchases if you rilly rilly want it. But be warned, market value is over $20/yard...]

x"Where in Toronto can I find Japanese Craft Books? I've seen some (ribbon-related) Japanese craft books at Mokuba ribbon shop on Queen West at Portland. Is there anything else? I'm looking for Japanese crochet books" –Indigo

-I haven't yet seen J-crochet, but there are fashion and sewing mags at Little Tokyo on Augusta in Kensington Market. Other places to check would be Sanko on Queen West, which has some magazine, but they might just be general interest...

-Try Things Japanese on Harbord street
-Try ordering one at your local independent bookstore! Book City orders tons of craft books from publishers around the world - most have distribution in Canada. Most prices aren't bad - of course, it does depend on obscurity (one should probably expect to pay between $20-30).
-Also try - this is essentially a database of used and rare booksellers and their inventories, lots of Toronto booksellers use it so shipping wouldn't even be necessary. Out of curiosity I just entered a 'keyword' search for 'japanese crochet' and it brought up a few listings.
-Other online possibilities:
Yesasia (who are offering free shipping worldwide on orders of $25 or more until the end of June, according to Crafting Japanese)
Amazon Japan (search by ISBN)
Kitty Craft
-Tania and I have been working with the Japan Foundation Librarian to get some J-craft books into their collection. Stay tuned for an update on this situation.

x"I am trying to find out more information on how to solder; I make jewelry and REALLY wanted to add that to some of my styles but NO idea what it entails. Is there a simple variation of this technique?" – Viki

-For simple soldering jobs, pick up a soldering gun at most hardware stores or T.J. Supply (Toronto Jewellery) on Camden St. - just off of Spadina, south of Queen. You basically just plug it in, wait for it to heat up, then 'touch' metal surfaces with the solder to fuse - somewhat the same concept as a glue gun, only with hot metal.
-For soldering, I find that Craftster has some info and examples, particularly the "picture frame" pendants that are soldered. Not sure if this is the type of thing you're after, but check out Craftster and do a search for soldering.

-I'd google for some FAQs to begin. Then check out the Toronto District School Board for evening or weekend classes. If you want to talk to someone about it, try Made You Look at Queen West @ Brock. It's a jewellery collective, people rent benches and sell their stuff on consignment.
The Devil’s Workshop (a teensy and neat-o new work/shop on Queen West) may also be able to offer you guidance or classes.

x"I just ruined a beautiful vintage sweater with indelible stains... stupid stupid, but I didn't really love the colour to begin with, so I'm thinking about dyeing it... any suggestions? It's all wool." - Day

-I found a tutorial online about "overdying" wool. (Apparently "overdying"refers to dying something that has already been dyed once ie: you're not starting out with a white garment). Check out the instructions at (scroll down to the middle of thepage titled "how to overdye already dyed wool with koolaid"). I'm sure if you can do it with kool-aid, you can probably use other kinds of dye too. Actually, i think "romni" at queen & tecumseh sells wool dye.
-Dyeing - I'd say koolaid, as long as it's animal fibres. Koolaid allows you to overdye, but that works best with the stronger colours - reds and purples. And then dye a wool sock in a contrasting colour/flavour, make a felt flower on it and stick it onto the stain!
-If all else fails, try making a cute little applique with fabric or felt tocover the boo-boo. Even if it's in a random spot it could still look good. Or sew on a few little appliques (flowers or birds?) all over the sweater and it will look like they're there on purpose.


Blogger H-Star said...

- for japanese books check out
they know where to get japanese books. i get the catalogue from Nihon Vogue but i don't get a discount from them because i don't buy in volume, so it tends to be cheaper to order online.

- regarding dyeing, GNS Dyes on side of the street) is the place the garment designers go.

~ H

3:49 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for mentioning my store on The Toronto Craft Alert. I appreciate the positive support.

Next time you're by my shop introduce yourself to me. I'd love to meet you and show you around.

The Devil's Workshop

4:36 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found out about a place in Toronto that sells Japanese knitting books!

9:37 p.m.  
Anonymous angelune said...

as a follow up - I saw some nice THICK felt in several great colors at MacFab this weekend, and I saw some other felt at Designer Fabric Outlet, but it wasn't as thick.
MacFab is having a fabric sale right now too (January 2007)

1:34 p.m.  
Anonymous Valorie said...

You can easily make great wool felt from old sweaters. Simply take an old wool sweater that's runined anyhow - motheaten, torn, stained, shrunken, or unstylish; machine wash it in hot water with laundry detergent; and dry it in the dryer. Once the fabric is felted it won't ravel, and you can cut it up and sew it into hats, bags, vests, pot holders, soft jewelry, dolls, and stuffed animals.

12:47 p.m.  

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