She learned to knit from her Finnish grandmother when she was a child, but Connection Knits’ Tarja Yuill puts a modern twist on her current creations by working with needles up to one metre long and five centimetres thick for a giant stitch. The resulting ultra-chunky blankets in merino and New Zealand Corriedale wool (which she felts in soap and water ahead of time to make stronger) measure approximately 1.2 metres by 1.8 metres – and weigh upwards of five kilograms.
Earlier this year, Canadian online retailer G*Furn launched a series of knitted poufs to an enthusiastic public – so enthusiastic, in fact, that they were nearly sold out within two months. Covered in thick cotton knit, the seat-slash-table-slash-footrest comes in square and circular versions and in a palette of muted colours, including slate blue and charcoal grey (mustard yellow is also on offer for more adventurous decorators).
Annie Legault’s wool-and-natural-fibre Amulette lamps began as a conceptual project in art school – “a concept of protection against the darkness and the cold,” she says – that caught the eye of a local shop owner at her exhibition. “I am influenced by the 1960s and ’70s, by architecture, by hair styling,” says Legault, explaining her affinity for all things woven. “I can’t stop looking around me and seeing sources of inspiration while walking in the street, in the woods… it’s just everywhere.” She describes her next project as “big scale. Big big scale!”
The Doily Show
Based out of Perth, Ontario, Midknits’ Erin Black is a favourite among knitters who rely on her one-of-a-kind patterns to create woven versions of everything from pet beds to planters. Those less craft inclined can still appreciate Black’s talent by way of her home accessories, which include throws, cushions and chunky rugs. Hand-knit in your choice of colour, they are not your grandmother’s doilies.
The Nature of Things
Liz Eeuwes’ Alpine cushion is a perfect example of Canadiana done right. The wool dhurrie pillow is part of the Toronto designer’s Coast to Coast collection “celebrating the iconic creatures of Canada” (other patterns include rabbits, squirrels and beavers).
Montreal designer Monique Ste-Marie adores the repetitive and meditative nature of weaving, but for her recently launched Hemp collection, she sought to make it 3-D. Using hemp yarn (she works with sustainable materials whenever possible) in half-natural, half-bright colours, she wrapped the woven material around a circular wooden base. As a final touch, Ste-Marie added a fringe to allow the user to change the look of the basket depending on what side is showing.