Monday, July 31, 2006

artscape studio and retail studio space available

a. 96 Spadina: Studio

Artscape currently has work studio space available at 96 Spadina.

ONE MONTH FREE rent on select spaces.

b. The Case Goods Warehouse: Retail Studio

There is one retail studio available to rent in the Case Goods Warehouse, located in the Distillery Historic District (55 Mill Street (One block south of Front St. E., between Parliament and Cherry Streets)). Artscape's Artist Retail Studios offer a unique opportunity to enterprising visual artists and craftspeople that enjoy interacting with their customers in their workspace. This studio was designed for artists who would like to sell their work from the space they create it in, offering ground floor visibility at an affordable price in the heart of North America’s largest and best preserved Victorian industrial site and Toronto's most promising new cultural and entertainment development.

This studio is intended for either an individual or collective of artists and is ideal for the production of work and sales and can be used to conduct small workshops. Tenants have 24-hour access to their studio but are also expected to maintain regular business hours for public access, Wednesday to Sunday 11am - 6pm.

269 useable square feet
Ground level, private studio
Interior doors
Large display windows within the building
24 hour access
The rent is $506.49 per month, all-inclusive.

To express interest or for more information [on either opportunity] please contact Kelly Rintoul: or 416.392.1038, extension 27.

Friday, July 28, 2006

new feature: scavenger

I am pleased to announce a new feature for the Toronto Craft Alert: Scavenger. In this column the ever-resourceful Angelune will hunt down hot deals in craft supplies and equipment and post them here. Here is the first instalment of Scavenger - all listings found on craigslist.

Some heavy duty machines good for sewing denim and other thick materials:
NECCHI Heavy Duty Electric Sewing Machine (with case) - $160
WHITE Heavy Duty Electric Sewing Machine - $100
PFAFF Industrial Sewing Machine (price negotiable)
ELNA SUPERMATIC sewing machine (price negotiable)
5 thread Industrial Serger - $725
Singer serger seing machine - $100
Kobe serger - $400

Other good crafty finds:
EZ3 Quilt Frame - $225
Cross Stitch Patterns - $12 & vintage crochet, knitting and tatting patterns
Knitting Machine Singer 360 - $350
2 industrial sewing machines - $500 each, $900/pair
Professional 4X6 cutting table $250
Jewellery-Making Supplies, Beads, Strings and Wires - $100
Custom stencils

Yard sales – July 29

Beads and Indian fabrics

Thursday, July 27, 2006

the good catch last splash craft fair, ahoy!

logo-good catch

O.k., I think I'm in love and we haven't even met.

Becky of The Sweetie Pie Press just informed me of a pirate-themed general store in Parkdale that is hosting a craft fair in August. That would be Good Catch, and according to Becky, it carries, " everything from accoustic guitars (and pics and strings if you break one at mitsi's sister) to organic foods to children's toys to indie comics to treasure maps. it is currently just over six weeks old and was started by charming local yahoos, jola sobolak and dan hickox."

She also provides a heads-up to "creative types", that, "being a general store, good catch is always looking for new goods to consign. anything and everything is considered! (email them here)."

As for the the good catch last splash craft fair:

It is happening on Saturday, August 19 from 11:00am - 6:00pm in the back yard of Good Catch, which is at 1556 Queen Street West.

Vendors include zeesy powers, the sweetie pie press, paper snake, good food and care packages, vesna mostovac, amy c. lam & even more!

At this point, it is unlikely that they will be accepting new vendors, but if you'd like to try your luck, email Becky here. You are totally welcome to bring promo stuff (business cards and fliers would be better than samples on the day of the fair) for them to look over to consider adding your booty to the Good Catch treasure chest.

square foot IV


I miss this event every year and always regret it. Don't be like me! Make sure to check out Square Foot IV, "a dynamic annual art exhibit, which showcases the work of hundreds of artists from the professional to novice" presented by AWOL Gallery.

Here's the concept:

Each participating artist creates a work in a 12x12 inch format (square foot, dig?). Then they are hung in a grid formation "of overwhelming proportions", which is what happens I guess when you hang 450 disparate objects d'art on the wall side-by-side. This is a non-juried exhibition and this year's show features artists from Canada, United States, Italy, The Netherlands as well as the U.K.

I asked AWOL about the craft factor, and they said that they have "a number of artists working in a crafty dimension with numerous textile and ceramic pieces included in the show." In past shows they've even had handmade jewellery incorporated in artworks. A couple of the crafty pieces in this year's show are made by Magda Trzaski ( and Jocelyn DeBackere (

See you there! (Perhaps this public declaration shall make it so!).

August 4th to 27th, 2006
Opening reception: Friday August 4th at 6pm
AWOL Gallery and Studios 76 & 78
Ossington Avenue, 1 block North of Queen Street West

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

new courses at sew be it

Read on for Sew Be it Studio’s summer/fall program

This summer and fall a slew of new courses are on offer at Sew Be It Studio. There are introductory courses ideal for both the creative dilettante and dedicated craftista (for instance, our Fashion Ilustration workshop), specialty courses for the committed creator eager for a challenge (Introduction to Leather Work is just one of them) and an extensive intermediate course for the teenaged design intent on a career in this industry (Fashion Design for Teens – Level 2).

Check out our website – – or call – 416 481 7784 – to learn more or about other awesome opportunities.

Fashion Design for Teens - Level 2

For the young miss or mister who imagines becoming a style maven or maverick, who is intent on a fashion design career in the future. In this intermediate fashion design course you will exercise basic design skills and master more challenging projects. Design a collection. Complement your talent by learning elements of accessory design and basic pattern making, including draping and flat pattern making. With a concentration on fashion illustration, participants in this course will develop a portfolio for professional presentation. Course work will be complemented by field trips. Some homework will be assigned. Students will have full access to the studio for classwork, free of charge, when available.

Go here for the deets.

Fashion Illustration

Fashion Illustration is way more than just drawing. It is the main form of communication for fashion and costume designers. In this introductory workshop you will learn how to draw the human form, proportion, how to depict fabric properties, patterns and more. Get your designs out of your head and onto the page so that eventually they may be created in three dimensions. This class is important for anyone who aspires to be a designer, and for anyone who wants to learn the art of visual communication.

Date: August 19, Saturday (changed from August 5 due to scheduling conflict on long weekend)Time: 2pm - 5pm
Price: $45 + GST

Introduction to Leather Work

This class will focus on the process and procedure of working with leather; demystifying the sometimes imposing tools and methodology of working with and crafting leather into accessories and more. Combining the use of hand tools and machine work, participants will work on a basic accessory, such as a bag or purse, starting with their own materials and design after the first class.

Details here.

Monday, July 24, 2006

cheeky swap

Cheeky boutique invites you to a crafty clothing swap:

Do you need a fresh wardrobe infusion that costs nada?
How fortuitous then that Cheeky Boutique is hosting a crafty clothing swap this week.

The details:

Wednesday July 26
at Cheeky Boutique
the backroom space
1036 Queen St. West
on the 2nd block west of Ossington
contact Julia at 647-999-7494

Bring clothes to swap for free or just pay $5 if you have no donations and just wanna grab some stuff.

Invite all the people whose clothes you covet and score some sweet new threads.

Enjoy a glass of wine, meet lovely people and go crazy trying on clothes.

We encourage people to bring abandoned craft projects, beads, cloth, accessories, handbags, jewellery, etc. We’re sure someone else will be delighted with your old treasures.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

parkdale a&c festival

I've been spying posters around town, but thanks to Allison of Papersnake Jewellery for kicking my butt into gear re: posting about the Parkdale Arts and Crafts Festival. The event "will consist of a diverse mix of intriguing street venues including; visual art and craft exhibits, hand made clothing, and children’s activities."

The fest kicks off this Saturday, July 22nd and will happen twice more this summer on August 26th and September 16th. It will go down in Parkdale Town Square at Queen West and Cowan from 12:00-6:00pm.

If you are interested in taking part in the August or September shows, go here to download the application form.


Monday, July 17, 2006

craftlit review: Inspired Cable Knits

Inspired Cable Knits: 20 Creative Designs for Making Sweaters and Accessories
by Fiona Ellis

Available locally at Knit-o-matic, as well as


Review by Claire Louise Milne (see her blog posting of this review for more images)

Overall this book is good for an experienced cable knitter and will offer up some fresh patterns. The inspiration for the cable stitches is nature, and the patterns often weave about in a fashion reminiscent of tree roots. This book would also work well for a knitter who is interested in learning how to cable knit, since the book includes general cable knitting instructions and a glossary of abbreviations. Instructions for each stitch are both written out and presented visually so you can use whichever format is easiest for you.

After trying one of the patterns and getting quite vexed I recommend you have a sheet of paper handy to jot reminders down or it's easy to get lost. The instructions in this book are quite clear, it's just that most cable stitches have lots of details and you have to be careful when you start out. Once you've done a couple of repeats it gets much easier.

The book includes sweater patterns for men and women with one child and one baby sweater. It wasn't obvious that the baby sweater was for a baby, until I looked it up in the table of contents. The title at the top of the pattern was only "ripples in time" and it didn't indicate what the pattern was for aside from the accompanying photograph. Each pattern description is more focused on the inspiration for the pattern, with personal stories and suggestions for meditative thoughts while knitting.

While the book has mostly sweater patterns (as well as other kinds of tops) there are also some patterns for smaller projects, but not many. There are patterns for a whimsical yoga mat bag that has a cable pattern of a figure doing the tree pose, a wrap, a pillow and a hat and scarf set.

For a fairly experienced knitter it's possible to also use the cable stitch patterns to design your own items. I made the following swatch using the instructions for the cable stitch for the baby sweater pattern.


I love this particular stitch, it reminds me of some of the great "onion" designs I've been seeing in stores and elsewhere lately. Since I don't really want to take on a sweater just now, I'm tempted to use the stitch to make a bag. I was inspired by this gorgeous orange cable knit bag at hide and seek. So I might do mine with the "ripples in time" stitch.

I definitely recommend this book if you are interested in learning cable knitting, particularly if you'd like to make a cable knit sweater, and overall I give it 3 1/2 wools. And yes, I am a complete nerd and I designed and drew this little icon just for my first book review. Thanks for reading it!


Claire Louise Milne is a freelance children's book illustrator who has been sewing, knitting and embroidering ever since she was a child. She loves making one-of-a-kind handmade creations from new and vintage materials. Her portfolio is at and her blog is

craftlit review: Big Girl Knits

This is the first in a series of reviews by Toronto Craft Alert readers of books in the Potter Craft series published by Random House in Canada. Enjoy!

Big Girl Knits : 25 Big, Bold Projects Shaped for Real Women with Real Curves (2006)
by Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer

Available locally at Romni Wool & Knit-o-matic, as well as


Reviewed by Suzann

"Big Girl Knits" gets it right, right off the bat, with a foreword by Wendy Shanker, author of "The Fat Girl's Guide to Life". She encourages you to "show the world that women of all sizes can look fashionable, shapely, and innovative." With that, she sets you up to indulge in a book filled with knits that celebrate the beauty of the bountiful bod. And the authors, Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer [of Knitty fame - ed.], kick away all pretension with their honesty: "Chances are if you're reading this book, you're fat ... nothing contained in these pages will make you look skinny. But we can make you look good." Even better, they teach you how to make yourself look good, with attitude, confidence and a little bit of math.

Jillian and Amy become your knitting buddies, guiding you to flattering colours, the right yarns and the best styles to highlight - or minimize - what they call your three B's: boobs, belly and butt. Their writing style is funny, sassy, and right to the point. They'll tell you how to make your knits work for you: "Got rack? ... show some chest skin... don't show tummy skin ..." "Belly, pooch, or tummy? Work it up high and down low to look yummy." And of course, "Cushy tushy ... no ribbing...The only thing cupping your butt should be your honey's hands."

They teach you how to measure yourself correctly, with the help of some really close friends. They take you through the math step by step, with samples and examples, so you can really use what you've learned. Then they show you how to customize with waist shaping and short rows so you can knit the fit right into your clothes. Truthfully, the math in this book scares me, but I know it is absolutely worth doing. The whole idea of having a friend measure me is a bit daunting too. But the logic that custom-fit clothes will look better on you, so you will look better in them - well, that just makes sense. And Amy and Jillian give good advice on which styles and shapes work best on each figure type. Rather than continue to waste a lot of time and money knitting clothes I will never wear, I will take my measurements and do the math >sigh<

This is not a book for beginners. They assume you are smart and crafty, and can easily handle straightforward knitting with shaping. Many patterns add colour work, multiple stitch patterns, and more complex shaping if necessary. The back of the book provides a well-rounded list of reference books on technique and other good reads.

Amy and Jillian have gathered twenty-five patterns from twenty up-to-the-minute designers. Each garment focuses on at least one or two of the three B's - boobs, belly or butt - with additional pattern notes and customization skills alongside the detailed instructions.

And the patterns! There are sexy ribs and luscious cables. A diagonal tied wrap that is sure to become a staple in your knitting diet. Classic coats with attitude. A 'curvilicious' cardigan that will accentuate your curves - even if you don't have any. There are A-line skirts that look good on every girl, with Celtic knotwork defining one, and a chevron detail anchoring another. Plus a pattern for "Yo!Ga" pants that work for all types of butts.

The "Bombshell" tee flatters any figure, and can even be worn inside out. The "Sandy" cardigan is completely custom-fit with diagonal stripes and solid side panels that can be further tailored to accommodate narrow or wide shoulders. And the "Chocolate-covered cherry jacket' is both dramatic and delicate; lacy, soft and stunning.

Of course there are accessories - a fabulous and functional purse made to Big Girl scale. Socks you can customize for wide feet or fat ankles or big calves and cute heels. The same theory goes for gloves or mittens: small hands or long fingers, ruffled cuffs or picot hem, the pattern lets you mix and match. For luxury the "Mimosa" wrap offers detailed shaping and over a thousand beads to create a shimmering confection of linen and lace.

Some of the patterns actually made me stop and say, 'wow!' Like the Chocolate Covered Cherry jacket, the curvilicious cardi, the Sandy cardi and the Celtic knot skirt ... I have my work cut out for me. And if I've read the book right, my work will pay off.

In "Big Girl Knits" Jillian and Amy give you tips, advice and lots of options to create knits you will want to wear. Knits that fit. Knits that flatter. Knits that are worth the effort. Finally.

Three years ago, Suzann decided to learn to knit. So, for her birthday, her daughter gave her needles and wool. Her younger daughter asked for a scarf. And in such innocence an obsession began. Now, she is surrounded – squished between skeins of silk and bags of wool, between magazines, books, works-in-progress and even more books. Suzann’s knitting morphs into presents or donations or “learning experiences”, tucked away for another day, in clear bags at the bottom of a shelf. And her favourite piece is the scarf she taught her daughter to knit – which she received last year as a birthday gift.

Friday, July 14, 2006


I missed the boat on Wedneday’s opening but thought I should post about fray, a joint show between the Textile Museum of Canada and Koffler Gallery that features the work of 19 contemporary artists working in a range of media. Some artists exhibit at both venues, while the others' work is split between the two.

As described by the TMC, “The artists in fray explore the implications of memory embodied in the design, materials and processes associated with textile traditions. Often dismantling existing objects, they subsequently reweave the constitutive threads to generate new forms of expression and new meanings.”

The show is on at the Textile Museum from July 13 to January 7, 2007, and at the The Koffler Gallery from July 13 to October 13, 2006.

The TMC will offer a bunch of programming associated with fray, including a series of kooky workshops such as "Making Spare Body Parts with Sarah Maloney”, “How to Crochet a Bucket with Doug Guildford”, and "Punching Old Sweaters with Liz Sargent". Details on these and fray-related lectures and discussions can be found on the TMC’s
calendar of events.

Liz Sargent, Into the Web (2002)

sorauren park fest is on

I posted the call for submission a little while ago, and can't believe the Sorauren Park Festival is already upon us. I hear it's a great time, with a a craft fair, art-making, quality local bands, beer, bbq, and a parade. What more could you want out of a day in the park? It's on this Saturday from 9am-10pm. See poster here.

Friday, July 07, 2006

japanophiles take note

If you're into re-worked traditional Japanese fabrics and paper, then you'll want to pop by the JACE Mini Bazaar and Craft Sale (JACE = Japanese Academy of Cultural Exchange) happening at 1335 Danforth Avenue (3 minutes walk from Greenwood TTC Station).

Goodies on offer include book covers, flower pins, wallets and bags, chiyogami paper mini drawers, chiyogami paper and Japanese fabric pinback buttons, as well as beaded accessories, lampwork beads, and more.

The Mini Bazaar will go down on Friday July 21 (9:00am-7:00pm), Saturday July 22 (9:00am-7:00pm), and Sunday July 23 (9:00am-12:00pm)

Contact 416-599-5223 for details, or visit the site for a preview of what you'll find there.

TOAE today

Just a reminder:

The huge, awesome, and free Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition starts today and continues over the weekend at Nathan Phillips Square. And hey, there's a raffle to win a $500 art shopping spree (buy the $5 tickets at the TOAE office or at the Main Information Booth at Nathan Phillips Square during the show).

Here are the deets, courtesy of Akimbo:

July 7, 8, and 9.
Hours: July 7, 10am-8pm; July 8, 10am-7pm; and July 9, 10am-6pm.

Find paintings, drawings, sculptures, fibre works, jewellery, watercolours, metal works, original prints, ceramics, glass, wood works, mixed media works, and photographs by 500 artists and craftspeople!

Preview the artists' work at
For more information: 416.408.2754 or

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

check out anne's hats

TCA reader Anne would like to invite you to visit the Quilter's Garden, a quilt store that offers quilting classes (hard to come by in Toronto, actually), open seven days a week and located at 971 Kingston Road on the south side, about a block and a half west of Scarborough Road (or a few blocks east of Main Street). Anne’s reasonably priced, linen, muslin, and stretch cotton poplin hats are hanging out in the window, and she would love it if you would come by and visit them in their deep and buckety-crowned glory. She makes hats for custom orders as well; you’ll find her card at the store.

Anne would love to get some honest feedback on the hats, so if you do go by and are not compelled to try them on or purchase them, email her here with the dirt on why not. To quote: “What's right with 'em, what's wrong with 'em! Dish it out! I can take it!”

Monday, July 03, 2006

TCA volunteers wanted

Hey crafties,

I'm looking for someone(s) to assist me with the Alert (blog & mailout), as I'd like to increase the frequency of dispatches, pimp it around town a bit more, and generally tweak it to be the best little Toronto craft resource it can be. I'm also a bit swamped with a day job and other projects I'm engaged in, so a helping hand or two would be boss.

There are a few things that I know I could use help with, like formatting the mailouts and seeking out free venues to promote the project, but I am quite happy to discuss other ways in which interested peeps could be involved. If you think you'd be into this, email me a little blurb about yourself, what kinda crafty stuff you're into (be specific, please), why you'd like to be involved in the TCA, and any skills you'd be interested in developing or employing in your involvement (bonus points for html!). I wish I could throw bags of money your way, but this would be a labour of love for all things Toronto, crafty, and awesome.

Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!