Show Girl

Do you think I have enough stock? Haha! The funny thing is, it still doesn't feel enough. I guess that's the nature of the job — there will always be more things to sew. Contrary to how it might look, I didn't post this picture to brag about my productivity. I wanted to pop in to remind you that I'll be at the Maker's Market Holiday Show this Saturday. Tomorrow! For the first time in Dear Edna history, everything for sale online is ready to ship and I will have it all with me at the craft fair, plus a few extras, like new aprons that I haven't listed yet and fun holiday goodies! Christ's Church Cathedral,  252 James Street North, 10-4. I hope to see you there!

Shop Update

Three new aprons were added to the shop this week. Instead of just new prints, these were actually built from a completely new design. They've been in the works for about a year, so I'm pretty excited that they're finally for sale! A lot of thought went behind each feature, so I thought I'd share a few stories of how they came to be.

Technically these aprons were designed with a man in mind, but I think they look good on women too, particularly the red check. Both the gingham cotton and the denim are durable, heavy-weight fabric, so I wanted the apron to work not only in the kitchen, but in the garage as a work apron too. Besides the fabric, the only feature I could find distinguishing a kitchen apron from a work apron was the tiny breast pocket. So I added one. And I like it.

The one thing about an apron that most affects the fit is the neck strap, so I was determined to make it adjustable on this design. Adding grommets allows you to easily tie all the straps wherever is most comfortable. It doesn't hurt that they look cool too. By the way, setting grommets is not  as easy as it looks. After a couple trips to Tundra Leather and whacking every surface of my workshop, an Ikea cutting board on the bathroom floor seemed to be the only process that worked. Try not to picture that every time you put on your apron, ok?

Another word on straps. Without launching into a sewing tutorial, all you need to know about sewing straps here is that the difficulty level increases as the strap decreases. With this desinn, the straps had to be pretty skinny to fit through the grommets and tie, so I decided to use twill tape instead, which is like a cotton fabric ribbon. However, once we tried on the apron, we realized right away that the twill tape was too uncomfortable on the neck. Back to the drawing board. After several tries, I ended up with a sewn strap that is one-inch thick at the neck and tapers towards the ends to tie around the grommet. Your neck can thank me later.

Finally, completely by accident I discovered that because you can remove the neck strap, this apron can easily be converted to a half apron! Huzzah!

I still get requests all the time for the navy plaid denim apron I sold out of in June, so hopefully these will be an adequate replacement. If you ask me, they're better! Please visit my shop for more pics and details.

Meet Your Maker: Soli Knits

Confession time. I've always been envious of people who make a living from knitting and crochet. I picture them snuggled up in a comfortable chair, covered in luxurious layers of warm wool and watching endless hours of TV. Of course this seems heavenly compared to hunching over a sewing machine, but this is no doubt a grass-is-greener situation, as I'm sure fibre arts come with their own aches and pains, frustrations and curse words. From the sounds of it, reality is a combo of both: here to tell us how it is, is the lovely Soli of Soli Knits

WHO are you? Tell me a bit about yourself and your work.
My name is Soli and I have been knitting for as long as I can remember. In the past, I mainly knitted things for friends and family to give as a gift, but it wasn't until about a year or two ago that I started selling to the public. At a certain point I realized what my real passions were, which oddly were the same as when I was a little girl: knitting, sewing, reading, writing, and watching plants grow.

WHAT inspires you?
Nostalgia plays a huge role in everything I do. I am greatly inspired by the past and try to reflect this in my knitting with a strong sense of craftsmanship and attention to quality. I like the idea of there being a movement to bring back good old-fashioned skills. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than making something myself, whether it be dinner or a scarf. To be honest, you can buy a similar looking scarf at a store, but it is the careful and tedious attention to quality, craftsmanship, and detail that sets handmade items apart. Also, the option of getting something custom made is worth a great deal. You can order a custom made item from my shop and choose the exact color you like, the exact type of yarn, and the exact size or shape. I want my items to become a staple in your closet, something that you will have for years and years and will always go back to. I strive to create pieces that are reliable and classic.

WHERE do you work? Describe your workspace.
All my knitting happens while cozying up on the couch in my little apartment, surrounded by shelves full of yarn. I actually enjoy the clutter of craft tools — knitting needles, yarn scraps, crochet hooks, scissors — they make me feel at home.

WHEN do you feel most successful? frustrated/insecure?
I feel most successful I am busy. I love to be overwhelmed with special orders, a stack of packages to take to the post office, or piles of yarn waiting to be turned into scarves. I feel fulfilled when my scarves are in demand, and it feels even better when past customers come back for more or tell me how happy they are with their purchase.

WHY do you do what you do?
Knitting makes me feel sane. My hands and neck are constantly sore but still I sit and knit with a sense of urgency. I do this because I love working towards something that is mine, something that no one can take away from me. When you work for yourself, your business becomes an extension of you. I love that I am the production department, the photographer, the marketing department, the shipping department, you name it. It may sound strange, but somehow I feel that I can knit my way to a better place.

HOW do you do what you do? Describe your creative process and/or your typical work day?
The process is my favorite part. Typically, it involves me getting myself a large cup of tea, sitting on the couch in my little apartment, and knitting while watching old movies (mainly anything with Fred Astaire), until my hands can no longer take it. It takes me anywhere from two to five hours to make a complete scarf, depending on needle size and yarn weight. I like working with luxurious yarns: baby alpaca, angora, and wool blends are my favorites.

Thanks so much, Soli. If you have any more questions for Soli, fire away in the comments below. Also, be sure to check out her Etsy shop, as Soli is very generously offering Dear Edna readers 15% off their purchase with the coupon code DEAREDNA. Her scarves would make great Christmas gifts!

Almost Famous

So something pretty excited happened yesterday. Dear Edna was in the paper! The Hamilton Spectator's Style section, to be exact. This was Dear Edna's first time in print and I can only imagine it leading to a ten-page spread in Vogue, but I'll try not to let it go to my head. It was part of a promotion for the Makers' Market Holiday Show, which is on this weekend and next. I'll be at the December 1st show and really hope you'll pop by and say hello!

Tie One On Day Giveaway

Remember in the summer when I shared with you The Apron Book I was reading? Well, the author of that book, EllynAnn Geisel, initiated an event back in 1999 that combines aprons, American Thanksgiving, and charity into one beautiful tradition where you wrap a homemade treat in an apron with a sweet note and deliver it to someone in need of a little physical or emotional sustenance.

To support and celebrate the event, the ladies from the Farm Chick Chit Chat blog are giving away four aprons, one of which is my Farmer's Fresh chambray apron. Jump over to this post and leave a comment to win. The contest is open to all addresses (including Canada) and ends this Sunday, November 25th.

Good luck!

Shop Update

Our internet was on the fritz last week, hence the silence on this end. But y'know what? Turns out I can get a lot of sewing done when the internet isn't around. Novel concept, huh? Haha! It's been lovely to work with the new fabrics I've been looking at since the summer and refreshing to see my Etsy shop finally fill up with new product. What do you think of what's been added so far? There are a few more still to come, some of my favourites actually, so be sure to stay connected over the next week.

Cue Soundtrack: Bat for Lashes

Bat for Lashes released their third album, The Haunted Man, about a week ago and it's been a bit of an obsession around here, particularly this song. It's a stripped down, haunting Natasha that I don't believe we've heard before. I'm digging it. We have a mammoth photo shoot planned for this weekend (yay new stuff!) and this album will no doubt be our soundtrack.

Now, I'm off to sew sew sew. Have a good one, folks!

Poppytalk Handmade: Pre-Holiday Market

Happy November 1st, everyone! Now that Halloween is over, I'm not going to baby you anymore. It's time to get in the holiday mood, starting with the pre-holiday Poppytalk Handmade Market. Including everything from Christmas cards to aprons from yours truly, it's a great place to kickstart your holiday shopping, or at least spark some gifty ideas. Check out the lookbook by clicking on the image below (a few of my layouts even made it into the mix this time) and please visit the market when you get a chance. Danke!