Category Archives: The “Art” in Arts and Crafts

Textile Art from around the World

The day before the night.

The calm before the storm ↓  The “storm” is of course this year’s Nuit Blanche.

I expect that this now empty space will be filled to brimming when the sun goes down.  We will be open all night long making art.  Vive la Nuit Blanche, but thank goodness it comes but once a year.  I like my sleep!
After an appropriate recovery period I will post pictures of the event itself.  My living doll of a friend Katie Kehoe has graciously agreed to video the event for us so expect to see that some time in the future too.
Hope to see you there!

Craftily yours

Nuit Blanche 2012 Sneak Peak

Count it out! 1, 2, 3, days till this years Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche all night art event spectacle! If you have not attended a Nuit Blanche exhibition before then you have missed out on a night of adventure. Toronto goes particularly crazy for staying up all night and bouncing on giant wedding cakes or going to a reenactment of the famous Björn Borg and John McEnroe match circa 1980.  Who knew?! What will happen is anyone’s guess. Those who go to the official Nuit Blanche website will get a leg up on planning their night out.
Be sure to drop by the Knit Cafe on this Saturday Sept. 29 to see what we’ve done this time.

Hand-knit Russian nesting dolls by the talented guest knitters that are helping us with this years display,

every one with a story to tell!

What a doll-face! A great big face for a great big doll.
Drop by at 9pm or 10pm or 11pm and/or every hour on the hour.  Iwona and I will be performing “unknitters” busy with the work of deconstructing our display.  Every hour one doll will be unravelled to reveal the doll nesting beneath.  If you have ever balked at the idea of unravelling your hard-won knitting projects this daring display of unknitting may give you the courage to carry on and destroy what you have created.  Our exhibit is called “She’s Come Undone“.

Feist won the Polaris Prize for her album Metals.  I really love this  photo of her and Cillian Murphy in matching hand-knit sweaters.  Bless their woolen socks!
The pretty picture is a photo from Mary Rozzi.

Craftily your

Extra! Extra!

“Sweater” is the name and knitting is the game!

Spud and Chloe Sweater to be precise.  This yarn’s cheerful colour pallet calls out to be made into jumpers and jammies for tots and toddlers.  This cotton/wool blend is plenty soft and washable too.  $16 per 146 m (160 yds ).

We are restocked in Spud and Chloe Outer too!  This extra bulky yarn is also a cotton and wool blend,  also washer safe, and $17 per 55m (60yds).
How about this Leaf Blanket pattern made from Outer! What a Sweet Pea!

Just discovered but definitely on my list of top 5 books of 2012 is Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated beautifully by Jon Klassen.

you gotta see this book!

it’s a knitters dream come true!

Craftily yours

in praise of beautiful distractions

This post wrote itself.  Or, perhaps more accurately it was ghost curated by friends and interlopers.  They threw eye candy at me this morning, while I endeavored to concentrate on work.  Check out some of the fruits of labor – our new class schedule can be found on the Knit Cafe’s home page here.
…and now on to the beautiful distractions…
An exquisite photograph of a divine shawl.  The photographer is Jared Flood from Brooklyn Tweed.  The shawl is from the the Icelandic Textile Museum in Blönduós. Those large egg-shaped  holes are a delight! See more of Jared’s photos here.

Back in January I was in some kind of state of exhaustion when I posted about this incredible crochet park.  I was only too glad to go back and visit the work of Toshiko Horiuchi-MacAdam with more clarity.  Thanks to Jill for the link with even more pictures of the National Park in Sapporo Japan.  Don’t we all wish we could go there and frolic about in the crochet?

Jill’s link advanced the good news that Horiuchi-MacAdam is not the only one building textile parks.  Check out the work of Numen, an Austrian/Croatian design team and their contemporary art space in Belgium.  Numen also made some art from sticky tape in Australia, that looks enchanting.

Knit designer Cecily Glowik MacDonald has just published a new booklet of knitting patterns this August.

Stand-outs like Spendrift↑

and Newale↑, are in good company with 10 more patterns.  You can purchase the collection called Landing: Winged Knits Vol 1, and individual patterns too on Ravelry here.

Cheers to ghosts, interlopers, and distractions too.
Craftily yours


I went to see “Moonrise Kingdom” by Wes Anderson last night and this ↑ is the very first thing I saw.  I couldn’t help but see it as it took up whole screen.
A needlepoint – well I’ll be!

I’ve had needlepoint on the brain lately.
So, as we approach ever closer to our Needlepoint Class in August I will be sharing with you my growing collection of wild ambitions, fantastic finds and even a few attainable aspirations – all needlepoint related.

It seems like this craft is making a comeback, and this charming film will no doubt grow the list of admirers.  This needlepoint and others were made by Voila Needlepoint. They were commissioned to make the wall-warmers for the fictional, cottage home of the Bishop family who live on the fictional Island of New Penzance.  You can see the rest of them here including the the stitched portrait of Fort Lebanon.

Of course if you haven’t seen the movie yet, then that should be your first port of call.

Iwona sliced her finger.  8 stitches! Send her your sympathies. She is working with a handicap, and knits almost as slow as the rest of us.

Craftily yours

the depths of crochet

Many of you may not have chanced upon the Hyperbolic Reef when it was displayed at the Knit Cafe in days of yore.
Hyperbolic who? you say!

You can find out much of what you need to know about this project from going to the source: The Institute for Figuring.  This is where it all began.  Hyperbolic crochet was created to produce a three dimensional model that would represent the concept of hyperbolic space.  The result: fancy mathematics for those with big brains and fascinating lively shapes for imaginative souls.
Hyperbolic crochet models looked so like sea anemones and coral creatures that is seemed obvious what to do with them -make an entire coral reef! Created entirely out of discarded plastic bags cut into crochetable strips this display was developed to call attention to the endangerment of the Great Barrier Reef .

Currently you can get current on Hyperbolic Coral Reefs  if you check out the Toronto Hyperbolic Reef made by local crafters and on display at The Roadside Attraction window gallery at 911 Davenport from February 25 – March 30, 2012. 

Craftily yours

crochet park

The whole day has come and gone and I am no good for writing or anything else.  Look upon these pictures and be cheered!

Find more info here

Goodnight and Craftily yours

It’s in the mail

This past weekend we were happy to host the gals from Dear Toronto who took over our window gallery to make this wonderful installation.  A winter wonderland with letters not bound for Santa Claus but notes addressed to our fine city.
Hand knitted envelopes hang in wait for passers by and knitters to fill them with their thoughts of and wishes for Toronto.

The envelopes are knit with Cascade 220, one of our most popular yarns and a yarn which we recently restocked.  Many sweet colours including the enchanting hue used for these envelopes (a complex purple called Galaxy) some neutrals and greys and brights too have come home to roost.  Cascade 220 Sport too!

Since it is the time for giving gifts I thought you all might benefit from this idea.  We had an old 2011 knitting calendar hanging around and we decided we could re-purpose it nicely- like so↑

To make your own envelopes (for gifts, Christmas cards or otherwise) take an envelope of favored size and shape, then unglue and unfold it.  Trace around it on a stiff piece of paper or cardborad (in this case we used an old file folder).  Cut it out and this will be your template.  You can then trace around it onto calenders or other papers to make your envelopes.  Cut these out and  fold your paper into shape.  We used a glue stick to hold it all in place, but double sided tape or other glue would work too. There you have it! Now you have fancy gifting envelopes and you recycled too!

Along with the Cascade 220 came some  Brown Sheep Burly Spun in deep charcoal and Misti Alpaca in creamy white.  Both are very popular yarns, so if you needed them to finish off something for the holidays they are now at your disposal.

Craftily yours

Craft in the City

This weekend is pretty special.
THE CITY OF CRAFT; an annual extravaganza featuring the wares of local craft artists, opens its doors to the public. Fantastically, it is practically next door to the Knit Cafe.

In the Theatre Centre, under the Great Hall at Queen and Dovercourt is where all the action takes place.  It is a great opportunity to get some gift items that you have been searching for and a liberal dose of crafting inspiration too.  Supporting your local craft community at the same time. it is win, Win, WIN!

Arrive early for swag bags!

And then drop by the Knit Cafe for a hot-cuppa-somethin.  We will be hosting a satellite craft exhibition curated by the folks from the City of Craft.  A big welcome in advance to “Dear Toronto” who will be joining us on Saturday and Sunday with a crafty installation and exhibition.

City of Craft 2011

December 10 & 11, 2011
Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm
Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm
$2 Admission
Children under 12 FREE

The Theatre Centre
1087 Queen Street West
Thrush Holmes Empire
1093 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON

See you then
Craftily yours

the weather report

The big headline for today’s blog is as follows:
Prairie is a one ply lace weight merino yarn that we are extra fond of.  Several folks have already chosen colours to start a French Nautical Striped Scarf.  There may not be enough time before Christmas to finish this project but what a great thing to be working on through the holiday while you sit and catch up with all the friends and relations.  This is an easy going project so you can concentrate on the conversing and the shortbread and not your knitting.In more news: FIRST SNOWFALL HITS TORONTO! Here is the proof↓Lastly – some follow up on a story we’ve been following.
Bones and Bluster , my art show of knitted goods will be closing in a weeks time.  I would like to take this opportunity to thanks some folks because the truth is that it takes a community to put on an art show and my community is the best!
Thanks go to:
Kate- for making the best card for the show, what a fantastic designer and a patient lady.
Iwona – for making what must have seemed like a million little felt balls
James- for helping me hang the show and doing such a good job of promoting it
Duncan at The Lettering Shop- for being so helpful and providing me with the vinyl to make the sign.  If anyone needs a sign -this is the best spot to go in TO.
Mark – for making it all happen
Christine- for EVERYTHING! most especially helping me bend wires and balance things and sticking vinyl on the windows and giving your two cents.  It was perfect!
To my family for being so excited for me,
and my Sweetheart for putting up with my artistic temperament
To ALL who came and supported and there are a lot of you. Thank you so much!!

The show will be open through the end of Sunday December 4

Bones and Bluster
by Kristin Ledgett
November 18-December 4, 2011
@ Communication Art Gallery
Monday-Sunday 12-8pm
209 Harbord St. Toronto

More pictures after the jump and a review of the show here
Continue reading