Out of Hand

Out of Hand in South West Calgary

Out of Hand in South West Calgary

I’ve been past Out of Hand, located in Lakeview shopping centre, a few times, but always thought that it was a tailoring or alterations shop. I walked passed a week or so ago, and realized that it’s actually a hand-sewing and quilting shop. I was quite interested in seeing some of the unique products they had, so popped out my iPhone for some quick (and sometimes a little blurry – oops!) photos.

Ribbon trim

Silk ribbons at Out of Hand

Silk ribbons at Out of Hand

Above I photographed a really nice selection of silk ribbon including beautiful gradient ribbons.  If I want to make ribbon flowers, I bet these would be wonderful for that purpose.

Blurry iPhone photo of rose-ribbon and spiked trim at Out of Hand

Blurry iPhone photo of rose-ribbon and spiked trim at Out of Hand

This second photo is the blurry one – but I thought that the spiked trim was really cool, and I could definitly see myself using it. They also had a small stock of that pretty ribbon rose trim – I bought some of this a while back, but haven’t used it yet.

A small selection of buttons

The shop also had a small selection of buttons – including loads of gorgeous rhinestone buttons.  I didn’t check out the prices of the buttons though – some of these I bet are really pricey!

Buttons at Out of Hand

Buttons at Out of Hand

Closer photo (and a little blurry) of some of the buttons above along with a further (and more clear!) photo of some of the other buttons below. This only represents about 1/6th of the buttons they had.  I love the black rhinestone buttons  above, and the clear rhinestone buttons below. I’ve bought some similar kinds recently for another project, but it’s nice to know about this selection as well.

Out of Hand also has a nice selection of extra-large buttons that I think would be great on chunky hand-knit items. (I don’t recall seeing yarn mind you.)

Buttons at Out of Hand

Buttons at Out of Hand


Teddy bear & stuffed animal supplies

Fur for teddy bears and other stuffed animals

Fur for teddy bears and other stuffed animals

I’m not especially interested in making teddy bears and other stuffed animals, but sometimes I’ve found finding these kinds of items a bit difficult, so I wanted to make a note of this as well. Shown above is a sampling of some of their fur fabrics.

…and then an interruption

I had been really excited to find the shop, make a few notes, and take few photos of the unique items they had at Out of Hand. One of the staff people had seen me taking a few discreet photos (I’m careful not to get people in the shots as much as possible) but then another shop clerk came by and let me know that they didn’t like photos in the shop. I’m not quite sure why, as she was quite brisk and didn’t invite conversation on the issue. It could be that she didn’t want people comparing prices or knocking off ready-made items? Not sure… So, unfortunately the other noteworthy items I can only tell you about, instead of sharing by photos.

  • Tiny little charms – kittens, puppies, crowns and more. I think these would be cute for Victorian Crazy Quilts or charm bracelets.
  • They had a small but interesting supply of dupioni silk, but their prices were quite a bit higher than the other places I usually get silk from – they were asking $29.50/meter!
  • They had yardage covered in feathers – so unusual!
  • Their quick bias (for stained glass quilts) was also quite expensive – they were asking $19.50 for 11 yards – I’ve bought the same stuff for $5.00 for 11 yards in Vancouver.
  • They had some super-cute laminated cotton (including an adorable black, white, and red Scotty dog print) that would be perfect for rain coats or waterproof totes. This was also expensive I thought, at $28.50/meter, but honestly I see this fabric so rarely, that I don’t have much to compare it to! I’ve seen it in a really tiny quilt shop in BC, and at a quilt shop on MacLeod Trail, but in both locations the selection was minimal.

Have you been there?

Have you visited Out of Hand? What did you think of the little shop? Let me know in the comments below! You can find them here:

Out of Hand
12-6449 Crowchild Trail SW
Calgary, Alberta
toll-free: (888) 263-3353
phone: (403) 217-4871
fax: (403) 249-1778

Millinery: advice wanted

Option 3 - a silver-tone octopus stamping

Option 3 – a silver-tone octopus stamping

I’m auditioning three different ideas to embellish a hat I’m working on (my poor fingers…) and am hoping to get some feedback.

I just can’t decide between two different ideas.

Here’s what I’m thinking of…

Option 1 – an ivory octopus cameo in a metal frame.

Option 2 – a red octopus cameo in a metal frame – I had to edit this photo; I don’t have this cameo, if I go with it, I’ll need to buy one. (Just pretend it’s the right shade of red)

Option 3 – a silver-tone octopus stamping

What do you think? Let me know which option you think I should go with in the comments below!

In case you’re wondering… this is a black fur-felt ‘topper’, kind of like the silver topper I posted about a while ago. It’s not quite a top-hat, since I’ve shaped the brim to have that cool, pointed swoop on the side.

Hopefully I’ll pick which version I want to go with (with your help!) and can show off the finished hat soon!

Blingi Beads

While in Turku, Finland there were a number of shops near our hotel selling beads, yarn, and sewing notions.  One was right outside our hotel courtyard, and was Blingi, a tiny little bead store with a lovely selection of ready-made beaded fashion jewelry and loose beads.  The shop also had a very large (considering the size of the shop) of findings.

Blingi Beads

Blingi Beads – yes, the prices were both in Euro and kpl, which I can only assume is the neighboring Swedish krona.

Unfortunately, nothing really leaped out at me saying “buy me! buy me! I’m small and easily packable!”. Instead, a lot of the beads that I really liked were similar to ones I had already purchased, and after making SO many blingy necklaces lately, I had to restrain myself from picking up more of the same things I had loved before (and still love).

The beads seemed reasonably priced, and very nicely displayed – many in easy-to-shop trays as shown above, but also in the window in the pretty martini and cocktail glasses like in the photo below.

Blingi Beads

Blingi Beads

Helmikauppa Blingi
Yliopistonkatu 12 A
20100 Turku, Finland
+358 44 2142008
blingi.fi‎ (Only in Finnish)

…and a yarn shop

Additionally, I popped into a knitting yarn shop (Käsityö-Elisa Ky) around the corner from where we were staying – they had a lovely selection of pretty yarns, and I kept fingering a gorgeous silk blend yarn that I really loved… If only my knitting skills were keen enough for me to justify picking up a few balls with the plan of a simple tank top or something.. but as I’m still working on mastering “scarves” within a reasonable time frame, (and by reasonable, I mean that I still have six balls of yarn on my coffee table waiting to be worked up… not to mention the balls I have stashed in other places around the house) I figured even the prettiest silk balls of yarn should remain on their shelves.

Käsityö-Elisa Ky
Brahegatan 5
20100 Turku, Finland
+358 2 2318327
kasityoelisa.fi (website only in Finnish, though they mention that customer service is available in English.)

… and ribbons

A little further away was a cute shop that I had thought would be a ribbon and buttons shop, but it was much more ribbons and a few sewing notions along with a few (not terribly inspiring) buttons which didn’t really set off my inspiration, and so again my wallet went unopened and the Euros remained in my purse.

Muoti-Nappi Oy
Eriksgatan 8, 20100 Åbo, Finland ‎
+358 2 2316074 ‎

… and crafts!

On our way to the train station to head from Turku to Helsinki we also popped into a small craft store (Presento), but I didn’t spend long in there – I was looking for Finland-themed scrapbook paper but they didn’t have anything that was distinctly Finnish, although they had a fair amount of selection.  The store was two-stories tall, though I only visited the main floor because we were in a hurry to get to the train station.

Askartelupuoti Presento
Kauppiaskatu 13
20100 Turku, Finland
+358 10 3201720
presento.fi (only in Finnish)

We also popped into a dollar-store kind of store which had a small craft selection (including some tempting wool for felting) but again, my wallet stayed closed, as we were really just looking for scrapbook paper!

Viking beads in Turku Castle

In the Turku Castle gift shop there was a neat display of beads for sale in the style of viking beads.  I have a number of similar beads (largely trade beads) so I didn’t feel too tempted to pick any up for my upcoming viking costume. (check out posts from the Garb from a Thousand Lakes category for more information on that)

Viking-style beads in the Turku Castle gift shop

Viking-style beads in the Turku Castle gift shop

Although I didn’t get any, I thought it was neat to photograph and share. I’ll have a few other photos from the castle in future posts, but if you’re interested in seeing more of the castle itself, check out my other blogs. I’m blogging about music and travel on Throwing Horns Abroad and about the culinary experiences on Happy Sushi Belly.

Turku Castle
Linnankatu 80
P.O. Box 286, 20101 Turku
Tel. +358 2 262 0300

Aboa Vetus’ ancient beads

Finally on the bead front, I thought I’d share these glass, bone, and amber beads from the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova museum in Turku.  This is one part museum, and one part contemporary art museum/gallery.  On the gallery side I wasn’t personally overly impressed – there were a few interesting pieces, but there was a lot of video work as well which didn’t appeal to me very much.  Still, the building was amazing; a former home owned by a cigarette and shipping business owner, and very grand.

The museum side instead was pretty amazing – it was the unearthed remains of an ancient town, long buried, near the Aura River right below the site.

From their website: “Aboa Vetus is an underground area of ruins, where the genuine constructions tell the history of the oldest city in Finland.”

Beads in the Turku museum

Beads in the Turku museum

The photo above is from one of the display cabinets around the ruins, showing beads from 1200-1600 AD that were unearthed from the area.

Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova
Östra Strandgatan 4-6
20700 Turku, Finland
+358 20 7181640

If you’re interested in seeing any of my other Finland experiences, check out the Finland tag link, where I still have a few things to share!

Inspiration at Creative Stitches


As I mentioned in a previous post, I attended this year’s Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive! trade show – and I’ve already discussed some other elements of the show, but there were a few other photos I didn’t have a chance to share, that I thought I’d toss up for inspirations sake.

Three-dimensional poppy wall-hanging from Veronica’s Sewing Supplies which I really liked – though I didn’t end up getting the pattern or the kit.  I had already picked up a few other things, and I was trying to show some restraint with ‘new projects’. (Since I already have so many on the go…)


I think that this pretty Elk pattern was from The Sugar Pine Company (located in Canmore) although I could be wrong…


This one is called Monarch of the Valley, and it is of an elk – they also had a bear, a buffalo, and another elk as well.  (Click here for a shop selling this pattern – no recommendation intended – just one I found online since the Sugar Pine Co. didn’t seem to have it on theirs.)  I liked this mostly because of the black outlines around the element – I am guessing that several of the pattern pieces is cut out of black and then the fabric – with then the fabric cut slightly narrower – so that when layered on top of the black, an outline of black shows around each of those selected elements.

In Carola’s class on texture, she also brought out starfish, and the example below. Time was running short when we were in the workshop, so I didn’t get the chance to see it up close, but instead saw it in her booth later on.
The starfish were each sewn, slashed and stuffed, the quilting was done on “ugly” (her words) hand-dyed fabric resembling mucky water along the shoreline, and turned-and-stuffed pebbles as well.
The seaweed in this piece was made the same way she made the moss in the texture example art quilt that we spent the most time on in the workshop itself.  (By stitching with quilt-weight thread on several layers of wash-away stabilizer in a repeated pattern to build up the thread before washing out the stabilizer and then attaching the ‘seaweed’.



Steampunk hat

In the scrapbook area, there was a shop booth that had this awesome steampunk mannequin – made almost entirely from paper-crafting supplies! The outfit included a corset and bustle skirt, but what I really liked was the hat!

Steampunk hat

Decorated with gears, flowers, and goggle,s what I really loved about the hat was the huge scrapbook chipboard ‘clock’.


I found cogs similar to the chipboard clock…

clock faces

… and then also found the clock too.  Such a cool idea I’d love to try to replicate it – but… eh. I didn’t bother picking this up, again trying to show some restraint in the new-project-file.  I have so many projects on the go – including hats… that I didn’t want to add this – especially since the chipwood would restrict the wearing of the hat – being paper and all.  Plus, I think I know where I can get the chipboard clock faces (or the cogs if I wanted to go that way instead…) if I decide to attempt to do something similar in the future.

So.. that’s pretty much it in terms of the inspiration from the Creative Stitches show – and the last post I’ll have for the show (at least for this year!)

So… feeling inspired means I should have some completed projects to post at some time.. right?

Examples from Advanced Millinery (hat making)

In a previous post I talked about an advanced millinery workshop that I took through Chinook College in April.  Well, I promised some pretty photos, and for this post I’m going to share with you photos of some of the examples our instructor brought to show us.

Amazing feather flowers

These come from a company in Germany – these weren’t for sale, just for example.

Black and white fabric flower with feather accents

First up one of my favorites – and I think, totally reproduce-able.  From as far as I can tell, it’s two black fabric flowers (like the big hair flowers I buy) and two white ones, taken apart and put back together again – but instead of layering their centres like you would usually do, spreading them out over a base, and then adding in the little (cheap) black and white feathers.  (Ok.. the long skinny black ones might be harder to find, but I don’t think they are essential to the design…)  Then there are some of the fake stamens in the middle (which sometimes come with the hair flowers, and sometimes don’t..)  This thing was HUGE btw – bigger than my hand by far.

cut feather 'flower'

The instructor had this example in blue, and then a larger, slightly more ornate version in brown.  All it is is regular feathers, but they’ve been cut & trimmed, and glued into a small Styrofoam ball.  It’s kind of impressive looking all by itself, but when you start breaking it down, it’s actually pretty simple – just would be time-consuming to make (and hence the high price tag).

Large feather chrysanthemum

I loved this example as well, and really would have liked a closer view…  this is all cut and curled and arranged feathers, forming a gorgeous flower.  The instructor called it a chrysanthemum, but I think it looks more like a peony.

Beautiful facinators

Our instructor’s colleague made most of these – they’re just fantastic – and really nice to see again to get inspiration from for our own designs!

brown sinamay pillbox

One of the projects we were supposed to make in class (but didn’t) was a sinamay pillbox, so our instructor brought out an example of one.  It shows the slight pleating needed to shape the sinamay – it doesn’t have nearly as much give as the buckram we worked with in the last class.  It also has flower and feathers and brown French/Russian veil material for decoration.  I don’t remember the binding on the edge, but I think I remember someone saying that the edge was wired, and it LOOKS like it was bound with fold-over sinamay.

purchased mini top hat with lace, tulle, feathers, and flowers.

This is a cute mini-top hat that the insructor had purchased for her other business.  She brought it in as an example of facinators, but what I was really looking at was the sheer amount (and layering) of decoration.  The hat base itself is brown (with gold glitter) felt mini top hat (so hard that it felt like cardboard…) and then on the brim there is first a layer of gathered brown lace, and then covering the edge of the brown lace are the edges of a green Venice lace.  Over the green lace at the back there is some super-soft black tulle gathered up and trailing, and on the side there are a number of ribbon flowers in shades of brown-pink, and then two ostrich feathers – one in brown-pink and the other in magenta.  I can’ say that I would EVER grab all of these colours and say “hey, let’s put all of this together!” but the overall effect is pretty nice actually… (very vintage-feeling).  This facinator had an elastic band to hold it on – I don’t like these myself, something to do with the shape of my head – I have to wear it SOOO far forward to keep it on if the elastic is in the back (which is where it’s supposed to go) that it looks silly, and then if I want to wear the hat where I want it – I have to wear the elastic under my chin – which looks even more ridiculous.

Brown feather and flower facinator on a straw base

Next up, an example of a simple straw circle facinator (pad) as the base for some extraordinary feathers and flowers to make a lovely facinator.  We were supposed to work with straw facinators as well, but I think only one person did in class.  It didn’t seem to me to be nearly as interesting as working with new materials (like the sinamay), so I didn’t want to spend the extra time or money.  This facinator was interesting though – just seeing how all of the feathers and flowers and things came together to make the design.  This facinator is on a comb – which then the instructor balanced off a pin stuck into the Styrofoam head. 🙂

Ivory mini top hat

The final example (or at least, the last one that I got a photo of to share with you) is a sinamay mini-top hat.  The instructor suggested that for these mini top hats, it’s probably cheaper to buy them pre-made (I assume because they are so popular and thus mass-produced) and then decorate them yourself, than to try to block the sinamay on a mini top hat block. This one had the edge bound in ivory fabric to match the sinamay, and then was decorated with loads of feathers.  This hat is on a narrow headband (covered in ivory satin) – I also don’t tend to like those, because they limit the ways I can do my hair – plus with my big-ol-head – they tend to pinch. 😦

A question for the readers

So, those are the examples that our instructor brought in to show off.  I have a question for you about wearing facinators -do you prefer a comb, a clip, a headband, or an elastic band on the facinators you wear?  Any other methods of attachment that I’m omitting (like hairpins, etc) that you prefer?  Let me know in the comments below!