Category Archives: The “Art” in Arts and Crafts

Textile Art from around the World

There’s a whole lotta shaking going on!

This blog post is ever increasing as more and more news comes my way.
First and foremost our very own Knit Cafer – Kate Austin is putting her stellar design skills to work.  She will be creating thematic textile designs  as part of a competition called REPEAT(ed).  She and 9 other hopefuls will have to jump through designer hoops over the next few months. 5 challenges will be issued and the contestants will have to design textile prints for each. The winner will be announced in July.  Follow Kate’s journey here and cheer her on too.  Hoorah! I know she’s gonna do great things
kate austin

Toronto’s Contemporary Textile Studio launched a new blog! Didn’t know Toronto had  contemporary design studio? Well it does.  This beautiful space is part of the art studio conglomerate at 401 Richmond.  Artists can rent time at the wonderful facilities.  Artists and amateurs alike can take classes. Read all about it here
textile studio

Tomorrow’s First Thursday of the Month at the AGO (a night of galavanting around art)  includes yarn bombing!  Unfortunately the event is sold out, but were it not, me and you too could be treated to a Yarn Bombing Class.  Amazing!  the folks from Bissell Bombers are making it happen.  I wonder what kind of fuzzy bombs will be dropped.

No tour of great textile events in our life and times would be complete without Marimekko, With Love presented by the Textile Museum.  From January 21- April 21, the Textile Museum will be showcasing work from one of the most amazing textile companies EVER.  This Finnish institution has been a long time inspiration to me and many others.  I can’t wait to see the show.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

Craftily yours


We had a pretty exciting Sunday!
Iwona and I, left the Knit Cafe in Maurie’s capable hands.  We packed our bags full of goodies and made our way to the photo studio belonging to photographer Danijela Pruginic.  Danijela is helping us to document the details of some new knitting patterns we have been crafting.
Here is a sneak peak.  Action shots!
photo 2
This photo gives an idea of the scope of Danijela’s studio.  Large!! With enormous windows to let the sunshine in.  That’s Danijela perched on the step-stool.  That’s Nathalie pretending to eat an apple (well -actually not pretending, actually really eating an apple).  That’s me in the foreground being supervisorial .
photo 4
Nathalie – looking pretty!  Iwona is behind the Iphone taking pics and adding effects to them – like this Polaroidish one.
Edie looking gorgeous – modelling the Martin Scarf.
The fish!
Every photo studio should have one!
We had a fantastic day! Thank-you to our terrific team for making it all happen.

Craftily yours


This beautiful installation, is right here in our town!

patria 2patriaCross stitched screens by Laura Carwardine adorn the walls of the restaurant Patria on King St. West in Toronto. You can see a video of the artist at work right here. You may even get inspired to do something like this your own self, or perhaps you will  just want to make a pilgrimage to the restaurant.  I hear they have tapas!

The press on this amazing project sites the 485 hours and the 17,000 stitches involved.  Who was counting? That’s what I want to know.

Craftily yours

She’s Come Undone – Nuit Blanche 2012

This is how the night began

At 7:00pm on September 29 we opened our doors to another Nuit Blanche exhibition.  This one (arguably) our most ambitious one to date.

A hand knit doll as big as me sat front and centre in the window.  I am 5 foot 6 inches tall. She has roosters with her.  My research into the beautiful Russian Nesting Dolls showed that the oldest chronicled Matroyshka was adorned with hand painted roosters.
At 9:00, this large lady was unravelled.  Yes – we ripped her to shreds and now she is nothing but balls of yarn on the floor.  It took almost a full hour to disassemble this doll. This is what we found underneath her↓
A buxom white beauty of a doll!
Every time we unravelled a doll we traced the outline of the next doll, and wrote the time she would be unravelled on the chalk board behind.  This chalk outline recounted the tale of dolls past and stood in for their absence.

At 10 o-clock we unravelled the white doll and this is what was hidden inside ↓
At 11pm be unravelled the pink barbapapa doll and this is what came next ↓This doll was a bit shorter so we gave her a pedestal to sit on.  Some of the dolls were unravelled from the floor up, and some were unravelled from theirs heads down.  This one was unravelled from the neck up and from the neck down simutaneously! Iwona took the low road and I took the high road if memory serves me.
At midnight we unravelled her and this is what came next ↓Isn’t she pretty? but not for long!at 1am we unravelled her.  Underneath was this doll ↓  She was industriously knitting herself. When we unravelled her we started with the scarf.I love this picture ↓ with the flashbulb doing it’s work.  You can see the shadows of the small Matroyskas that were also featured in this year’s display.  Have no fear – these small gems lived through the night and are still here to tell the tale.I can not say the same for the Knitting Matroyska though.  At 2am we unravelled her too.  Look what we found↓A doll with two heads!  Well – I never! and never will again. At 3am we deconstructed her too.
If you came by then, this is what you would have seen↑
The next morning looked like this ↓

What a pretty mess!
Thank you to all who helped create the beautiful dolls for the display.  Thank you to all who came and cheered us on while we did our work unravelling our labors.
We couldn’t have hoped for a better White-Night!
Craftily yours
ps. there is video of this event on the way, stay tuned.

Hello Dolly!

A limited addition of lucky people will be able to pick up one of these limited addition posters commemorating this year’s Nuit Blanche Knit Cafe exhibition.  Although many of them were snatched up last night there are still a few available for only $5. The poster features the majority of the hand knitted matroyska dolls made for the event. We think it is freakin adorable!

Craftily and sleepily yours

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