GIANT Knit Cat

Always on the lookout for knitted and unique, we discovered this GIANT adorable knit cat. Her official name is Splash the Cat, but we call her Gatita (little kitten). Gatita is three feet tall and 100% lovable. She is so fun to hug and curl up with for a nap. And how can one resist the cute ballet outfit?

Splash the Cat 3

Gatita came to us from blabla which is owned by two women entrepreneurs. Blabla has a flagship store in Atlanta but I found Gatita online. Gatita comes in several sizes – a 12-inch mini, 18-inch regular, and giant 3-foot version. Her friends include Harmony (a mermaid), Pierre (a floppy eared rabbit), and Socks (the fox), among others. Blabla also carries knit blankets, knit finger puppets, knit rattles and pretty cotton sheets. The dolls are knitted and handmade by women in Peru in 100% of the softest cotton.

Splash the Cat 2

This is Giant Wooly, the sweetest sheep.

giantdoll2

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While researching for this post, I discovered another small business with a similar product. Cuddle + Kind also sells fair trade dolls handcrafted in Peru. This small business run by a family in Ontario pitched their concept on Indiegogo and raised over $445,000 USD to launch their venture. Part of Cuddle + Kind’s value proposition is that they donate 10 meals per doll sold to feed children in need.

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I’ve always wanted to climb to Machu Picchu. Perhaps a knitting discovery trip to Peru is in my future?

Splash the Cat 1

Three Days in Bogotá – Día Dos

The highlight of our second day in Bogotá was a visit to the Museo Botero. Fernando Botero’s paintings and sculptures are characterized by disproportionately large people and objects. I felt as if I was looking at the portrayals through a different lens. They made me smile.

Museo Botero - Monalisa

Museo Botero - Pareja Bailando

Museo Botero - Concierto Campestre

The museum is located inside a roomy house built in the early 1700s for the local archbishops. It has wide verandas and beautiful gardens with views of the nearby mountains.

Museo Botero - Casa 1

Museo Botero - Casa 2

The museum also has a collection of art by international and local artists. This large textile was another favorite. It is the work of Olga de Amaral, a textile artist from Bogotá.

Museo Botero - Muro Tejido No. 98

The tapestry is called Muro tejido No. 98 (Ca. 1972), made from animal and vegetable fibers.

Museo Botero - Muro Tejido No. 98 a

Museo Botero - Muro Tejido No. 98 b

Our last stop was all about shopping! The Galería Artesanal de Colombia had countless tienditas (little stores) full of local arts and crafts

Galería Artesanal de Colombia

I fell in love with these exquisite crochet bags handmade by Wayúu women. The bags are crocheted with cotton thread and come in vibrant colors and interesting designs, each unique to the woman who made it. Multiple threads are woven together to make the straps.

Bolsos Wayuu 1

As young Wayuu women come of age, they learn to weave and crochet Wayuu Mochila bags. According to legend, the tradition comes from “Wale´kerü”, a spider that taught the women how to weave their creative drawings into the Mochila bags. Each design incorporated into every Mochila bag is unique to the weaver, telling a story through the bag’s colors, patterns and shapes. (Source)

Bolsos Wayuu 2

Along the long aisles of hammocks, baskets, bracelets and hats, there were more crocheted bags.

Colombian Crochet Bags

There were also textiles woven in bright colors.

Colombian Textiles

By the end of the day, my head was spinnng, possibly due to the explosion of color, or the altitude! Another amazing day in Bogotá.

Wooli – Bespoke Yarn from New Zealand

This package crossed an ocean to reach me. As you can note by the postmark, this has been sitting in my queue for some time.

This thick yarn is designed by Nikki Gabriel and produced from recycled fabric remnants. The fiber contents include wool, alpaca, silk, cashmere and possum. The raw fibers produce this color which she calls Greige. Other dyed colors are also available.

Then there are these sturdy needles handmade from recycled Rimu wood, which is a tree native to New Zealand.

I like the concept of naming them “construction” tools.

I even got this nice thank you note from Nikki Gabriel herself.

In addition to creating yarn and needles, she is also a knitwear designer. She designed these beautiful flowing costumes for a performance of The Australian Ballet.

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I would like to visit New Zealand some day and go to her shop, Gather, in Napier. In the meantime, I am content with reading her blog.

“40 Under 40: Craft Futures” at the Smithsonian

My husband was in Washington, D.C. recently on a business trip. On his way to a meeting, he saw this:

Knowing I would be intrigued, he inquired about the bicycle. The crochet-bombed bicycle is by the Polish artist Olek, one of the artists to be featured in the upcoming “40 under 40: Craft Futures” exhibit. The exhibit will take place in the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from July 20, 2012 through February 3, 2013.

According to the museum’s website, “These 40 artists are united by philosophies for living differently in modern society with an emphasis on sustainability, a return to valuing the hand-made and what it means to live in a state of persistent conflict and unease.”

Amongst other art works in various media, these are some of the knitting and fiber arts-related works you can see and experience first-hand.

Vintage military knitting needles by Dave Cole (image source).

Glass spinning wheel by Andy Paiko (image source). Apparently, this is a fully functioning spinning wheel.

Protest knits by Cat Mazza (image source).

Crochet urban pigeons by Laurel Roth (image source).


Quilted coat by Jeff Garner (image source).

You can read about all 40 artists and view a slide-show preview of the exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s website. Better yet, if you are in D.C., go see it in person. I hope I can.

Knit Owls

Flipping through pics of all the fabulous designs from New York Fashion Week, my eyes focused in on these whimsical knit owl hats. The knit hats are by designer James Coviello and were featured in Anna Sui’s Fall 2012 collection. Besides the bold colors and the smiling models, the hats added a bit of fun to the whole look. (Also see the knit owl gloves in the first pic). Who thought knit hats could be so cool? To see Ms. Sui’s full collection, go here (same source for all pics).

Knit Chair

 

From the first time I ran across this Knit Chair by Claire-Ann O’Brien, I fell in love with it and her designs. I love the way she takes the knit stitch puts it under a magnifying glass and makes it functional as well as engaging to look at. Design Milk just ran an article on her knit stools. You can also see her work on her website and blog.

{Knit Chair from her website}

Finnish Design

One of the threads that runs through Helsinki is the notion of embedding design in life. Perhaps that’s why it was named the 2012 World Design Capital. Of course, I was drawn to anything having to do with knitting or yarn or weaving. These are a few of the designers I was introduced to at the Design Forum Shop in the Helsinki Design District.

Odd Couture

Odd Couture is a collection of clothing by the designer label Poola Kataryna. I had a close-up view of the garment below but in black and while I initially thought it was knitted, it actually looked knotted together like a macramé plant hanger. It had that hippie look to it but still very modern. According to the designer’s website, the items are made from 100% cotton jersey from textile industry leftovers. All items are handmade in Helsinki.

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I Know Why No

I Know Why No is a collection designed by Aino Vainio, a 2007 graduate of the School of Art and Design at Aalto University in Helsinki. According to the I Know Why No website, all items are hand knitted and one-of-a-kind.

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Studio Jaffe

From Studio Jaffe, there were incredibly soft mohair wraps and shawls. According to the website, Marjo Jaffe-Pelkonen, the designer, weaves many of her items on a loom.

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Globe Hope

Another theme throughout Finnish design is sustainability. One design store that focuses exclusively on recycling everyday items into unique clothing and other accessories is Globe Hope. Globe Hope’s products can be found at the Design Forum and at their own storefront on Mannerheimintie.

Tag from wool hat made from an old army surplus scarf.

Neroko

Last but not least is Neroko, whose design team creates items for man’s best friend. I liked these chew toys – only for very special dogs!

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To see many more designs from porcelain to clothing to dinnerware, visit the Finnish Design Shop online. Follow this link to see why Helsinki was named the 2012 World Design Capital.

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Johanna Gullichsen Textiles

One of our must-stops while in Helsinki was the Johanna Gullichsen design studio. Located in the Helsinki Design District, (they have another store in Paris), the storefront features table linens, bags, and pillow covers made out of the artist’s bold and geometric woven textiles. The second room contains bolts and bolts of her wonderful fabrics. They are available for purchase for furniture upholstery and there were several chairs in the studio covered in them. While we were there, the designer was in consultation with a client so we did not get an opportunity to speak with her. Nonetheless, we did revel in the various textiles.

The bold geometric design of this bag caught my attention. I love the way the pattern gives the illusion of rolling waves, like looking at a mirage of water on a hot pavement. The bag is large with a nice wide bottom and can be worn over the shoulder or cross-body.

Tetra sack in Doris black fabric with orange strap, 100% cotton. The Doris pattern is also available in blue and bordeaux.
Tetra sack close-up of geometric pattern.

The iPad sleeve was a relatively new product. The colors were particularly attractive and the simple row design keeps it balanced. The sleeve has an inner fabric fold and a velcro closure to keep the iPad safely tucked inside.

Multicolor iPad sleeve.
iPad sleeve with iPad inside (not included).

We picked up a few of these catch-all bags for cosmetics or to corral chords for electronic devices.

Small bags in Nereus black fabric, 100% cotton. The Nereus fabric is also available in blue and bordeaux.

For more about Johanna Gullichsen, read her biography on her website.

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