Category Archives: Fabric

A Little Excursion to Jordan, Ontario

Life is hectic, but every once in a while we get a chance to experience a magical day.

On Thursday, May 30th, two friends and I travelled to the little community of Jordan Village, Ontario, located on Twenty Mile Creek and the Niagara escarpment.  This charming community, settled in 1799 by a small group of Mennonites, is home to some of Ontario’s most prestigious vineyards and winemakers, and is especially known for its world class production of icewine.

cave springs

The weather was glorious.  Sunny and hot.   Our purpose was to celebrate Kate’s birthday with a lovely lunch and a trip to one of Kate’s favourite shops, Stitch.

Kate and Jenny in front of Stitch in Jordan, Ontario.

Kate and Jenny in front of Stitch in Jordan, Ontario.

Stitch is a haven for quilters, knitters, and fiber artists.   It was my first visit, and, as you will see from the following,  I LOVED it!

stitch 3

Located in a century home, the design aesthetic of owner Jocelyn Chamberlain took my breath away. As it proclaims on the signage, she truly has created a sanctuary for stitchers, quilters, and knitters.   The shop’s wares are arranged artfully among an impressive antique furniture collection.  THIS is the place for inspiration.  The little pincushion bird’s nest above can be made in one of her project classes from the hand dyed silk velvet that she stocks in the shop.  Isn’t it just delightful?

stitch 5

My sensibilities were soon saturated –  there were so many wonderful things!  You can purchase the patterns (and the fabric) to make the sweet little boy and elephant perched on the corner of the table.

stitch 7

Every room revealed a new trove of treasures, such as this incredible quilt draped across the 0h-so-comfy couch.  I’d like to just move in, if only for the afternoon.

quilt

Of course,  there were many quilt options – patterns, fabric, workshops, tools, silk thread and kits.

stitch 1

Stitch offers a hand printing workshop – these carved wooden blocks can be used to print on either paper or cloth.  Arranged thus,  they  are simply beautiful objects in and of themselves.

stitch 2

Jocelyn had just returned from “Quilt Market” in Portland Oregon.  Little Elsie Cabbage is among a few of the things that she managed to carry home in her suitcase to enjoy before the major fabric shipment arrives.

stitch 6

In addition to the many yarns Stitch carries from major manufacturers,  there was a lovely grouping of hand dyed and hand spun skeins by a local artist  that were visually lush and soooo soft to the touch.

Having worked up our appetites, we were off to lunch at Inn on the Twenty.  The dining room overlooks the lush and beautiful Twenty Valley, towards the Ball’s Falls Conservation Area.

inn on the twenty

Kate – veterinarian by trade, wife, mother of two, quilter and knitter “extraordinaire” –  opened her birthday presents.

Kate

Lunch was truly divine.  I chose the special of the day:  Fiddlehead and Arugula Salad with Kobe-style Beef.   It was delicious.

lunch

Birthdays are about dessert, right?  We shared three, but my favourite was this lemon custard atop a chardonnay jelly.  Oh my!  Well worth the trip just for this!

dessert

Alas, it was all too soon ended.   Later that evening Kate sent a note:
Dear closest friends,
   Thank you both for such a lovely perfect day. Thanks Jenny for doing all the driving. Thank you both for a gorgeous (expensive) super luxury lunch. Thank you both for such lovely thoughtful perfect gifts. Thank you especially for the most valuable gift: your time, and an entire day to hang out together. You spoil me. I feel very loved.  
xo Kate.
Our  lives are qualified beyond measure by such special days.   May we all be blessed with enough of these.

 

 

Stitch is located at 3799 Main Street, Jordan Village, Ontario, Canada L0R 1S0  905- 562-1505  222.  www.stitchonline.ca   The shop is open every day except Monday and until 10:30 on Friday evenings.

Inn On The Twenty Restaurant is located at 3836 Main Street, Jordan, Ontario, Canada L0R 1S0 
Telephone 905-562-7313.  There is also a resort and spa attached.  Reservations recommended.
restaurant@innonthetwenty.com

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Filed under Fabric, Favourites, Knitting, Quilting, Textiles, Yarn

A little Kaffe Fassett in the morning…

Yesterday I happened to be in London, Ontario with a little free time.  (Free time? What is that exactly? Like the Dowager Countess of Grantham Violet Crawley I state: “Weekend…what’s a weekend”).  Actually I had googled  “Who sells Liberty Fabrics in Canada” a few days before and a shop in London Ontario popped up….so I confess, I actually did have something on my ‘to do’ list.

I spent my morning blissfully overwhelmed at Hyggeligt Fabrics located in the Richmond Row District.  (515 Richmond Street, Unit 3, London, Ontario N6A 5N4   519-679-4907)

A view into the shop showing the Westminster Fabrics on the shelves, and two garments from the Amy Butler trunk show.The turquoise coat is actually cotton velvet which the shop also sells off the bolt. Beautiful!

A view into the shop showing the Westminster Fabrics on the shelves, and two garments from the Amy Butler trunk show.The turquoise coat is actually cotton velvet which the shop also sells off the bolt. Beautiful!

All of my favourites are here:  Liberty Art Fabrics, Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler (in velvet too!), Joel Dewberry, and Tula Pink.

Fabrics from the Kaffe Fassett Design Collection.

Fabrics from the Kaffe Fassett Design Collection.

I discovered Oakshott Handwovens which I fell in love with immediately.  These fabrics are made by master weavers of 100% mercerised vat dyed shot cottons creating a fabric that is incredibly soft but shimmering with colour.

Oakshott Handwovens.

Oakshott Handwovens.

Naturally, you can purchase any length off the bolt or the shop offers pre-cuts.  They will also cut into fat quarters or 1/2 yards any fabric of your choosing.

These are the Oakshott precuts, organized into size and colourway.  They were unbelievably lovely.

These are the Oakshott precuts, organized into size and colourway. They were unbelievably lovely.

Unfortunately for me  a number of the  Liberty Prints (as well as other desirables)  had travelled for the day to a quilting show elsewhere, but there were still enough options to satisfy me. Hyggeligt has a very large stock, including the William Morris prints in Tana Lawn which are fabulous for dressmaking.    In this picture you can see, just peeking around the shelves from the left, a stunning wall quilt made of the Oakshott solids.

shop view 2

I must conclude with a picture of the beautiful woven silk ribbons the shop has.  Most of these designs are by Kaffe Fassett – all are incredible.  They are great for trims around quilts,  pillows or  any sewing project – I plan to use them to decorate seams of knitted garments.

ribbons

The shop was founded by Chantal Lynch in 2008 – she felt there was a need to make these fabrics more accessible.  In Danish the word ‘hyggelig’ means a spirit of warmth and coziness with friends or at home, and implies warm blankets. I’m not sure if this is where Chantal derived the shop name, but it certainly fits!

Hyggeligt has a fantastic web site:  www.hyggeligt.ca.  You can watch a video interview with Chantal created by UWO students about the ‘Handmade’ revolution under the ‘about us’ tab. The video also has some fantastic shots of the shop wares.   Here is the link:  http://www.hyggeligt.ca/pages/About-Us.html

As for myself, I plan to visit often!

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Filed under Culture, Fabric, Favourites, Quilting, Textiles

Project Heart

A new book landed on my doorstep yesterday morning and I want to share it for two reasons:

1.   the 24+ projects inside are stunning, contributed by well known designers in the stitching world

2.   it is part of the Stitch Red campaign, an  initiative started by Laura Zander to raise awareness of women’s heart health

sew red

“Sew Red, Sewing & Quilting for Women’s Heart Health”, draws together inspiring but ‘make-able’ projects from big names in the stitching world:  Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler, Tula Pink, Sweetwater, and Denyse Schmidt to name only a handful.  Each contributor shares personal reasons why raising the issues about women’s heart health is important.

I love this dress by Amy Butler and it is first on my list of summer sewing projects. (tip: Thanks to conscientious Amy Butler,  an errata has been posted to her website, so don't cut before visiting it!)

I love this dress by Amy Butler and it is first on my list of summer sewing projects. (tip: Thanks to conscientious Amy Butler, an errata has been posted to her website, so don’t cut before visiting it!)

In addition to the projects there is a very informative ‘fact’ section about heart health including recipes, resources, and the importance of exercise.  I learned, from the foreward by Deborah Norville, that while 80 percent of women said they would call 911 if they suspected someone was having a heart attack, barely half would call 911 if they thought they themselves were having one.

This section is very informative about Exercise for your Heart and includes tips on how to add heart healthy activities such as yoga, reading, and dancing to your daily regime.

This section is very informative about exercise for your heart and includes tips on how to add heart healthy activities such as yoga, reading, and dancing to your daily regime.

 Symptoms of heart attack in women can present quite differently than men, and most women don’t even know how to recognize the signs: discomfort in the upper body (including the jaw, shoulders or neck), sweating, nausea, and light-headedness.  Trouble sleeping, anxiety, indigestion, and unusual tiredness are also the most usual signs reported by women – sounds like the normal fallout from our busy lives, doesn’t it?  Clearly, raising awareness to the fact that these symptoms might not just be part of common stress, but could in fact  be a heart attack, might save someone’s life.

Quilt Design by one of the top designers in the fabric world, Tula Pink.

Quilt Design by one of the top designers in the fabric world, Tula Pink.

 This book  is the second in this series written by Laura Zander.   You might remember last year’s publication “Knit Red”.  Similarly, “Sew Red” draws on Laura’s considerable knowledge and passion for stitching – she is the co-founder and co-owner of Jimmy Beans Wool (named one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States).

This beautiful applique design, called Queen of Hearts, is by Marcia Harmening.  It is too challenging for me but I absolutely love it.

This beautiful applique design, called Queen of Hearts, is by Marcia Harmening. It is too challenging for me but I absolutely love it. Inspiring!

A percentage of the proceeds from this book is donated to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in support of The Heart Truth.  For more information on this campaign in Canada, visit  http://thehearttruth.ca/  .  You can watch Canada’s Live Fashion Show to celebrate the Red Dress, symbol of heart health, on March 21 at  http://thehearttruth.ca/livefashionshow/

Not all of the projects involve quilting or a lot of sewing - this corsage is the perfect way to use up favourite fabric scraps, old buttons, and ribbon in your stash. Wear it to remind yourself and others to maintain a healthy heart. .

Not all of the projects involve quilting or a lot of sewing – this corsage by Kaari  Meng is the perfect way to use up favourite fabric scraps, old buttons, and ribbon in your stash. Wear it to remind yourself and others to maintain a healthy heart. .

Happy Stitching!

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Filed under Culture, Fabric, Favourites, Quilting, Textiles

Love Marimekko

Yesterday it was incredibly warm in Toronto –  14 degrees C – therefore,  in spite of the rain, I decided to go down to the Textile Museum of Canada to view their new exhibit “Marimekko, with Love” curated by Shauna McCabe.

The Textile Museum of Canada

The Textile Museum of Canada

Marimekko Oy of Finland has a large place in my own history: in my late teens/early twenties I worked for a Finnish Design Company here in Toronto that imported and retailed Marimekko textiles, clothing, and homewares.    I  absorbed the Marimekko design aesthetic – geometric pattern, bold and bright colours, and spontaneous expression.    I’ve noticed recently that Marimekko is trending once again – hopefully this will continue.

Marimekko Fabrics, screen printed cotton.  The first two from the left were designed by Maija Isola, on of the company's chief designers, in the early 1960s.

Marimekko Fabrics, screen printed cotton. The first two from the left were designed in the early 1960s by Maija Isola, one of the company’s chief designers.

A largely agrarian nation historically, Finland was a latecomer to industrialization.  The Finns had more than their share of unwelcome visitors over the centuries as well: first the Swedish, then the Soviets followed closely by the Nazi Germans.    By 1945,   their economy was in dire straits.  The 1950s witnessed a period of rapid industrialization and today Finland is one of the wealthiest per capita of the developed nations.   Marimekko Oy was founded by Armi and Viljo Ratia in 1951.

An image of Armi Ratia in 1975 from the exhibition.

An image of Marimekko founder Armi Ratia in 1975 –  from the exhibition.  She is wearing a “Jokopoika” (every boy) shirt designed by Vuokko Nurmesniemi in the early 1950s.  These  distinctive colourful shirts are still made today and are commonly referred to as the ‘architect’s shirt’.

The collection on display at the Textile Museum draws largely from that of Janis and Helga Kravis, the founders of  Karelia Studio ( est.1959) –  the first Canadian importer  and retailer of Marimekko products.   There are several vitrines throughout the exhibition that display early fabric samples, marketing brochures, and magazine articles, as well as   Christmas cards, photographs, and personal letters.  The latter are a testament to the friendship that developed between the two companies.

vitrine

The paper archive arranged in these vitrines  is fascinating and well worth studying.

vitrine 1

The clothing Marimekko manufactured was designed to be worked in – sturdy cotton fabrication with a loose and comfortable fit.   The big innovation was that this ‘uniform’ was not grey and ‘institutional’  but bright and bold and invigorating.

Samples of clothing beginning with the Juolukko (bilberry) dress on the left (1962) and ending with a dress in the 'Oasis' pattern from 1967 by Annika Rimala.  The jokopoika shirt is second from the left.

Samples of clothing manufactured by Marimekko beginning with the Juolukko (bilberry) dress on the left (1962) and ending with a dress in the ‘Oasis’ pattern from 1967 by Annika Rimala. The jokopoika shirt is second from the left.

I love this “Shoemaker’s Apron” from c. 1978 made from several different scraps of Marimekko fabric.

'Suutarin Essu'  or Shoemaker's Apron, designer unknown, screen printed cotton. Helsinki, Finland.

‘Suutarin Essu’ or Shoemaker’s Apron, designer unknown, screen printed cotton. Helsinki, Finland.

I can think of many dark and dreary days when wearing this pink ‘bog bilberry’ dress would just make the day that much brighter.

dress

Without doubt it is  the Marimekko textiles that are the real stars of this show.  I’ve noticed many Canadian design magazines recommending that an effective way to add a professional  flair to your room is to mount a big piece of bright fabric on the wall.  Well, in the the modern era, it was Marimekko Oy who  re- invented this concept.

Helsinki pattern 1952/2012 - originally designed by Per-Olaf Nystrom in 1952, this fabric was brought back into production in 2012 to commemorate  the designation of Helsinki as a World Design Capital.

Helsinki pattern 1952/2012 – originally designed by Per-Olaf Nystrom in 1952, this fabric was brought back into production in 2012 to commemorate the designation of Helsinki as a World Design Capital. (Collection Marimekko)

Pippurikera pattern, 1963, designed by Annika Rimala, screen printed cotton.

Resla pattern,1972 , designed by Maija Isola, screen printed cotton. (Collection of Gunter Kravis)

Fabric swatches (on walls) and bolts of various Marimekko Oy fabrics.

Fabric swatches (on walls) and bolts of various Marimekko Oy fabrics.

Possibly my favourite image from the exhibit is this promotional brochure photo from the early 1970s.  In the foreground is a comforter made of ‘Pepe’ fabric designed by Maija Isola in 1972.  It captures the essence of Marimekko – a fearless dedication to mixing the traditional (familiar) with the unconventional (bold)  in the belief that their design complement will force us to re-value and treasure both anew.

Promotional photograph showing 'Pepe' comforter in the foreground.

Promotional photograph showing ‘Pepe’ comforter in the foreground.

Here is the original fabric, from my own collection of Marimekko fabrics.

"Pepe" by Maija Isola for Marimekko Oy, 1972 (my own collection)

“Pepe” by Maija Isola for Marimekko Oy, 1972 (my personal collection)

The title of the show, “Marimekko, with love” comes from Armi Ratia herself.  This is how she ended much of her business correspondence.   She was a fiercely patriotic visionary who believed in the global community.   The success of Marimekko Oy is due in part to  the expressive freedom she gave to her designers – something she believed was her greatest legacy.  In so doing, she invigorated and united the design community of Finland, and paved the way for its current success.

The exhibit “Marimekko, with Love”  is on until April 21st, 2013, and  I  strongly encourage you to take a couple of hours and visit it.  If you are currently enduring the Canadian winter, you could definitely benefit from this wonderful injection of ‘colour’ and design passion.  Shauna McCabe has sensitively curated this restropective, effectively capturing the spirit of  Marimekko Oy and its early connection to Canada.

The Textile Museum of Canada is located at 55 Centre Avenue, Toronto (at University and Dundas/the St. Patrick subway station).  Visit their website http://www.textilemuseum.ca for more details as well as the related upcoming programs and events associated with this show.

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