Category Archives: The “Art” in Arts and Crafts

Textile Art from around the World

A Special Exhibit at The Knit Café starts tomorrow!

Roncesvalles’ Polish Festival is tomorrow, Saturday September 19, and Sunday the 20th, and Iwona and I have made a grand display to celebrate.
Many of you know, those who have been along side us all these many years of Knit Cafeing, that it is this time of year that we are preparing to display a knitted art extravaganza for Nuit Blanche. Since our relocation to Roncesvalles puts us out of the loop for this art event we have decided to put all our artistic energies into  a special display to coincide with the Polish Festival. We do hope you will come and see it.

knitted flowers for Polish Festival

This years display is inspired by Polish Folk Art Flower Motifs found mostly in traditional embroideries. We have made these motifs 3D and squishy! The weather may be getting colder but it is pretty springy  in here.
This picture shows the display from the inside looking out so the word garland in the middle of the display is backwards. It says “witamy” which is the Polish word for welcome.

The display will be up for the month so if you are not around this weekend you will still have a chance to come and see it. The flowers are for sale too if you would like to take one home with you. If you would like to make your own flower then look no further then the Knit Cafe’s↓

Knit Amigurumi  (The Polish Festival Flower Class)
Wednesday September 30, October 7, 7-9pm
see details HERE

The pattern for the flowers will soon be available too!

madelinetosh merino light

Also today, we received some pretty Madelinetosh! What a good day!
Above, you can see the lovely array of Merino Light colours now in stock.

madelinetosh prairie

..and here are some fresh looking skeins of Prairie, Madelinetosh’s single ply lace weight yarn.

They are worth a visit to The Knit Café too.  See you soon.

Craftily yours

Atomic Ami at The Knit Cafe

Come by the Knit Café some time this month to meet these crocheted cuties!

atomic ami

We have the adorable work of Atomic Ami in The Knit Cafe’s window and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

atomic ami

I love all the adorable details on these guys which make each one unique. Look at the hoody on the bears sweater. What a great idea!

atomic ami

This bear has a bow tie and overalls. What a gem!

atomic amiOh deer!
You can visit Atomic Ami on Facebook and visit her creations in person at the Knit Café for the remainder of June. They may not be here for long though – because yes – they are for sale.

Craftily yours

the gay sweater

the gay sweater

Sometimes spreading awareness about a serious social issue goes down better in the form of a cheeky art project. This one ↑ is a play on words. When someone says “that’s so gay” they may not be aware of the implications in their word choice but this sweater really illuminates the problems inherent in this kind of turn of phrase. This sweater was made from 100% gay fibre! The materials comes from donated human hair from gay volunteers, and can therefore truthfully be described as “so gay”.
Watch the video that explains how this project came to be HERE

Craftily yours

It Felt So Convenient

Everything you see in this photo (excepting the lady-Lucy Sparrow) was made from felt! The candy bars, the gum, the beer the newspaper, are all stitched up with wooly felt.
Welcome to Lucy Sparrow’s pop-up convenience store!

Lucy Sparrow

There are also felt biscuits, felt tv dinners, felt magazines, a selection of felt fruits and veg, even a felt cash register.  Even this is felt ↓

Lucy Sparrow 2

You can buy anything from the shop, just like a regular corner store but you’ll have to go to  London to do so.
I love this project! You can read about it in The Guardian (which is where I found these photos by Rosie Hallam/Barcroft Media) or watch a very entertaining short video abut it HERE.

The Knit Cafe has an upcoming felt-making workshop, so you can start your own corner store.  Our felt class is not applique and hand stitching like Ms Sparrows work.  It is Needle Felting!!

needle felting

Needle Felting Workshop
Sunday August 24, 12:30-3pm
$32, materials not included
Call to register 416 533 5648

Craftily yours

Robots Love Sweaters!

Have you ever wondered – is it really possible to make a sweater for a robot in only one day? Well I have the answer, and that answer is YES!
It was on a very pretty Saturday June 14th when Roncey was Rockin, that we embarked on this community knit project.  Thanks to everyone who stopped and did a bit of knitting with us.  Many hands and needles surely helped us reach our goal.

love robot

This Lovebot by Matthew Del Degan is here to spread the joy, and now this little guy can do it a little cozier with his brand new hand knit jumper. Do go by and visit him.

love robot

He is camped outside Scooter Girl the tremendously fun kids shop #187 Roncesvalles – just a hop skip and a jump from The Knit Cafe.  We thank them for generously allowing us to dress their robot.

love robot

There are many of these adorable robots around the GTA.  If you would like to know more about their mission then have a look at the Lovebot website.  I think you’ll be happy you did.

Sweaters don’t last too long on the rough and tumble city streets, so go check out our little friend soon, and please let us know when you do.

Craftily yours

the signs say we’re moving!

At least the sign in our window says “we’re moving!”. Below is a pic of our current Knit Cafe window. It makes me a bit sad that this is the last window I will design and dress at this location.  Over the last 10 years this has been one of my most satisfying projects.  No doubt more fantastic opportunities are to come at our new Roncesvalles location, but for now I thought I would just take a trip down memory lane and share some photos of windows-past.  Unfortunately it is pretty tricky to take a picture through a pane of glass so some of the photos are not nearly as special as the knit-displays were.  Also unfortunate is that I do not have pictures of many of our displays, including my first knit-art windows that featured my anatomical hearts.  If you have some photos of Knit Cafe windows you would like to share – please do get in touch!kc window

Beautiful Lace Medallion by Natalie Selles, 2013

natalie's window

Cat with Pom Pom, 2013

poppom window

Clouds made with fleece and a variety of precipitation, 2011

cloud 2

Close-up of same. Photo from Robbie Eddison


Snail Climbing a Felted Peony, 2012

snail 3

Over the years we have welcomed many wonderful guest artists to set up shop for a time in our window gallery.  Here are a few ↓

Felted Lion Head by Keily Stewart


Yarn Tornado by Stacey Sproule

stacey sprouletornado 2
Wool Stick Forest by Barbara Klunder, 2006


Crocheted triangles = Triangle, made by Becky Johnson


This Crocheted Coral Reef was made from discarded plastic bags by a lovely group of ladies, Becky Johnson, Shannon Gerard, Angelune des Laurier and Kalpna Patel. The picture was taken by Angleune Des Lauriers

toxic reef

Shanell Papp’s Crocheted Skeleton.  Shanell was visiting from Alberta for the City of Craft Show 2009.


Part of the City of Craft event from 2011 was this display.  These hand knitted envelopes were made by Dear Toronto.  This was an interactive installation that encouraged folks to write love letters to Toronto and leave them in the fuzzy envelopes.

envelopes 001

One of my favourite windows ever! It was designed by talented Iwona for Gay Pride week.  The photo is Robbie’s.

rainbow bears

Bunting by Jana Reid


…and then there were owls.
It started off innocently enough. Edie Kim crocheted an adorable owl that we all wanted to copy, so I asked our resident knitters to make a bunch and I went about collecting a bushel full of pine cones to go with them.

owls @the knit cafe by Robbie Eddison

and then we dressed some of them up for Halloween! This was our exhibit from Nuit Blanche 2011 called “Tecolote

Robbie NB 4Capture


Followed by the Christmas window of 2013

chritmas owls

For our 2009 Nuit Blanche exhibit the owls went to the circus.  This knitted parasol took many wee owls for a ride.  It was on a motor and turned continually!

cirque 3

More Cirques Des Hiboux from 2009

cirque 5

What is up with this Nuit Blanche thing?  Well, because we are crazy knitter’s – every year since we opened here on Queen Street we have been participating in this all night arts event.  That’s right- we’re up all night knitting and showing off some knit-art.
One of our first exhibits was “The Late Great Pom Pom Exchange”, where about a million art enthusiasts learned how to make Pom Poms.

late great pompom exchnage

Our third year as part of Nuit Blanche we created one of our most popular exhibits ever! It was called “Knit City”.

nb 2001

Then in 2010 there was this crazy concoction – we called it Knit Magic!

Nuit Blanche 2010, 1


This past year we made Salon Des Equreuils – or in other words – fancy, arty squirrels!

nuit blanche 2013

nuit blanche 2013


2012 was “She’s come Undone
It started out like this↓


…and then every hour we unraveled a layer of the doll revealing the knit doll beneath.  At the end of the night this is what was left↓


The very long scarf that is now the feature in our window was made from the yarn that was once these knit-Matroyshkas.

Last but definitely not least – Polar Bears!

polar bears

polar bears

Craftily yours

it’s the little things

Sometimes it pays to focus on the details.  Things over looked only because they are so familiar can bring you so much joy if you just remember to pay attention.  Take the lowly dish towel for example.

My sister just found a new apartment, and the first thing she did was send me a picture of her pretty tea towels hanging off her new oven door.  You use your dish towels multiple times a day. Yes –  just to wipe your hands on or to dry a dish with, but why should they not be as sweet as can be?

tea towels

That is why I am quite taken with this new project from the Purl Bee.  These linen tea towels with the decorative slip stitch patterns will be extra cushy and therefore more absorbent.   Durable linen is a classic tea towel fibre.
As always the Purl Bee includes detailed instructions on how to knit their patterns, including how to add on the functional i-cord loop that makes the towel easy to hang up to dry.

These tea towels were knit with Euroflax Linen. Here ↓ are all the pretty colours we have in the shop!  Make some towels now for host/hostess presents when you need them, and a few for yourself to make dish drying a little more pleasant.
euroflax linen

How about a Linen Lesson?

If you’re keen – I highly recommend this video

It is not the fast paced animation we modern folk are used to, but if you take the time to see it through  I think you will find it well worth the watching. Especially if you find yourself curious about how a mole and his forest friends make linen from flax and then sew a pair of overalls.  A mole needs pockets- doncha know!


This animated classic is by Zdenek Miler.  You might fall in love with this little mole, even though you may not understand a word he says.  He speaks Czech.

Craftily yours