Thursday, January 31, 2008

First Listing in Etsy!

Well, we finally did it! We've been talking about setting up our Etsy shop for ages, mostly with items we won't be selling via the main website. Basically all those one of a kind items we put together out of curiosity, interest or a desire to clean out our craft rooms -- those are the things which will be featured on Etsy.

For those who don't know what Etsy is yet, check it out here. But trust us, hide your credit card first!

Anyway, just tonight we made our first listing! A quilt embroidered with Celtic knotwork in all the colours of summer -- a very good thing to be working on on one of the coldest days of the year in the GTA! Here it is, looking comfy:

Now a celebratory bowl of ice cream (with maraschino cherries!) is definitely in order :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Both of us bring yoga mats to dance class, since a tough core warmup is de rigeur at Greenfire (Hi Michael! This is how we'll know if you're actually reading our blog :) )

So obviously one of the products we were really keen on making was a fun bag to carry our mats in. Nicole has knitted up a couple of styles -- the first is handknitted and interweaves two types of yarn (red and glittery black in this case). The second (shown here in royal blue, and one in a brown/cream blend) uses a tuck stitch and comes out with a very cool texture!

Here's a close-up of the texture on the brown and cream:

And we're not done yet! What's an I Heart That! Dance product without a little glitz? The idea is to attach straps to the bag that you can either clip to our messenger bags or use as a shoulder strap. Those straps are attached to a panel which Ally has applique'd, like this for the red and black (the panel hasn't been sewn on yet):

For more pictures and close-ups, please come visit us over on Flickr! We'll post the finished versions over there as well. Let us know what you think, we love hearing from you!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Biz Meeting Friday

So, we have our "business" meetings here at I Heart That! Dance every Friday afternoon. Somedays it's basically a lot of gossip (let's be honest) but today we got lots done! Here we are, being productive:

OK, seriously, we made a slipper. Yes, just the one. And yes, Nic had it knitted already. But we felted it! Well, felted it again. It doesn't sound like much but it's important, really! The idea is this -- when we went to CreativFestival here in Toronto last October, we saw some very cool felted slippers and decided we wanted some too. Then, in a fit of inspiration, we decided we wanted our slippers to look like ghillies. And then we thought, maybe other people want ghillie slippers too! So, into product development we went -- Nic came up with the pattern, and Ally nodded encouragingly throughout the process. So far so good!

Then we tried to felt the darn things. Gah! It just wasn't working -- black yarn is apparently notoriously difficult to felt. But then we discovered Ally's machine is better at felting things (higher agitation maybe? Whatevs) and so we put the slipper through one very hot wash. And voila:

A little smaller than the original size thanks to the double felting, but it looks cool!

Imagine with side pieces of felt for the loops and some yarn for the laces.... don't worry if you can't picture it, we're so excited now that we're likely to get a full pair finished pretty soon and will post pictures. And what about this lonely little slipper? Well, it sadly met an unfortunate fate:

RIP little slipper. Eaten by Carl Thomas the Ferocious Fish.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Knock Knock: The Sequel

Introductions continued from yesterday... here is everything you ever wanted to know about Nicole!Nicole has been Irish dancing for 6 years, and took mainstream dance classes (ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical) for 18 years prior to that. She took up Irish dancing after developing severe tendinitis in her wrist. She wanted to stay active, and Irish dancing was the perfect solution, combining her love of dance with lack of arm movement! Although she doesn't like to admit it, she thought of taking Irish dancing after seeing Riverdance...

Like Ally, Nicole is currently a proud student of Michael and Patricia Farrell at Greenfire Academy in Toronto. She has been competing in Prizewinner 16 & Over competitions, and really really really wants to get into Prelims some time soon. Nicole will be hanging up her shiny solo dress for this year though, as she is taking a break from competing to have her baby.

In the craft department, Nicole is responsible for knitting. Having just gotten a knitting machine, she is very excited about making all sorts of new creations! Her favourite types of yarn include anything glittery or fuzzy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Knock Knock! Who's There?

Well, it's US! We are Nicole and Ally, the co-founders and hardworking crafters of I Heart That! Dance -- makers of cute, affordable handmade accessories, warmups and gear for Irish and Highland dancers (or those that just want to look like one!) We started this company because (a) we needed an outlet for our glitter obsession and (b) we believe that you can have handmade quality at good prices.

Our online store and Etsy shop should be available soon, but in the meantime we've started this blog so folks can get to know us a little better, get a sneak preview of existing products and new designs, and see some behind-the-scenes glimpses into life at I Heart That! Dance (mostly it's trying to make things as sparkly as possible). Also, please visit our Flickr site to see photos of designs and past projects, as well as things in the works!

Now onto the introductions!

Ally has been Highland dancing for 6 years (minus one year out to have a wee Peanut named Wendy) and Irish dancing for 2 years. She took up Highland after spending a year watching dancers compete at assorted Ontario Highland Games while tagging along with (then-boyfriend, now-husband) Phil, who was piping for the competitions. Nobody told her that Ontario dancers just make it LOOK easy, so she decided to take it up. Turns out it's about the freakin' hardest thing ever, but also fun as all heck so she's still around, doing a little competing and training for her teacher's exams with Nancy Richardson of the Richardson School of Highland Dance.

Having had the bug for Irish dancing since LONG before Riverdance, Ally is very happy to be a student with Michael and Patricia Farrell at Greenfire Academy in Toronto, Ontario -- not in the least because this is where she and Nicole met! Actively competing in the Novice "&Overs" she is looking forward this year to dancing her new steps and new traditional set (Job of Journeywork) in her NEW SOLO! Yeah!

Craftwise Ally is responsible for the "sewing" side of the business -- from her first tries at quilting to the current addiction to shiny applique she loves to put things together people can hopefully love and use for a long time to come.