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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Friday, May 31st. 7:10 pm

Alternative transportation when it isn’t safe to fly due to weather conditions.

Saturday May 31

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Sunday in the City

Sunday in Toronto Harbour – spectating a youth regatta.

Sunday

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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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Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto

Yesterday was the  Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto, an annual yarn marketplace and class extravaganza hosted by the Downtown Knit Collective.

A view of the entrance to The Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre which has been the home to the Knitter's Frolic for many years.

A view of the entrance to The Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre which has been the home to the Knitter’s Frolic for many years.

This event is now so popular that it is not only a place for the tried and true vendors in and around the city to show their  wares (I counted 57 booths) , but a great venue for indie yarn dyers from all over the country to meet and greet.  I usually try to get to the market right when the doors open at 9, but this year I wasn’t able to make it until after lunch.  Although I probably missed some of the choicest offerings,   it was nice to be able to wander (and take some pics) without being crushed in the enthusiastic crowd of well meaning knitters trying to get to the display tables.  I did hear that the morning crowd was overwhelming this year.

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A shopper perusing the offerings at one of the booths. How to decide?

A few vendors really stood out to me this year.

1.  I loved the neon brights from Rain City Knits of Vancouver.  Created by Krista Steel-Varsakis,  the fabulous colours of these yarns were irresistable and were the stand out winner of the day.  Krista sources her yarns from a fair trade collective in Uruguay and  uses only food grade quality (non-toxic) dyes to achieve her outstanding and intense colours – truly ‘happy yarn’!

Rain City Knits of Vancouver.

Rain City Knits of Vancouver.  Great ‘mod’ booth presentation!

I’m pretty sure, based on the number of vendors I saw chatting with Krista, that her yarn will soon appear in local shops, but in the meantime you can check out this yarn at  www.raincityknits.com.

2.  Sweet Fiber, created by Melissa Thomson (also of Vancouver) wins without close competition  in the luxury yarn hand-dyed category.    This product is simply beautiful – and I could hardly keep my hands off.

Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Sock - a blend of merino and cashmere.  The colours were stunning.

Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Sock – a blend of merino and cashmere. The colours were stunning.

Melissa started her business while still an undergraduate at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and her training in colour theory stands out in her yarn.  I think there were at least five variations of grey colourways, her self proclaimed specialty, but the blues and greens were pretty incredible too.   Until she gets a little more representation in the shops here in Ontario, you can order her yarn at http://www.sweetfiberyarns.com.  Her blog has lots of detailed images of her colourways and it is worth a visit.

Melissa Thomson at the table with her beautiful yarns.

Lovely Melissa Thomson at the table displaying her beautiful yarns.

3.  The Needle Emporium, of Ancaster Ontario,   filled their booth with Madelinetosh and Zen Garden – for me this was undoubtedly yarn heaven.    Need I say more?  I went back twice.

View into the Needle Emporium Booth at the Frolic.

View into the Needle Emporium booth at the Frolic.

4.  Finally, Sheeps Ahoy, owned by Debbie Wilson, focused on fair isle, my knitting weakness.  I couldn’t help but be drawn into her booth by the stunning knitting samples she had on display.

photo (1)

Can you see the ‘Rams and Yowes’ lap blanket and matching ‘Sheep Heid’ designed by Edinburgh’s Kate Davies on the right?

Debbie, who works out of her home in Ottawa, carries a number of Shetland yarns suitable for fair isle, including both Jamieson’s,  and Jamieson and Smith (the latter is the current fiber darling of Kate Davies).  She also carries a large number of Meg Swanson leaflets.  All designs were ‘kitted up’ and ready to go, a real treat for knitters at a show like this.  You can contact Debbie at http://www.sheepsahoy.com.

The fair isle samples at Sheep's Ahoy. I particularly like the Redbird Vest hanging on the left.

The fair isle samples at Sheep’s Ahoy. I particularly liked the Redbud Vest hanging on the left.

As we all know only too well, all good things come to an end – and so it is with the Knitter’s Frolic for another year.  The good news is that it is Sunday – the perfect day to play with some yarn!

Happy Knitting!!!

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Happy Easter!

Easter

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March 31, 2013 · 5:04 pm

Hold the Chocolate

Bunny Nuggets!

hMade from Rebecca Danger’s free pattern using  oddments of yarn (I used Malabrigo Rios, Debbie Bliss Fez, and various discontinued yarns from my Rowan stash).

gI used the Clover Pom Pom maker to make the tails – make sure you sew those little things on really tight!!

fThey don’t take long to make.  A cute gift for that little person in your life to carry around in their pocket as a special friend.

q

Rebecca Danger’s pattern for Bunny Nuggets can be found on Ravelry  here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bunny-nuggets

or on her blog here:   http://www.rebeccadanger.typepad.com/

Happy Knitting!!

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