Stitch by Stitch

Contemporary handmade textiles from Kutch & The Himalayas

Handwoven and naturally dyed woollen blankets

The warm days of spring are yet to arrive, so perhaps a good time to introduce our new woollen Desi blanket collection, perfect for throwing over the bed for a little bit of extra warmth, or keeping the chill off while relaxing on the sofa!

These blankets are hand woven by a community of award-winning weavers in the village of Bhujodi in our favourite area of Gujarat, India: Kutch.  Master weaver Shamji and his family train and employ around 90 weavers on pit looms they built after the earthquake of 2001.  The family is committed to preserving local weaving and dyeing skills in the region.  The wool is farmed locally and hand spun, and has a distinctive "dry" texture typical of wool from this region.  It is dyed with natural dyes such as indigo and lac red - Shamji is instrumental in the revival of traditional lac red dyeing in Kutch.

Indigo dyed wool drying at Shamji's workshop

Indigo dyed wool drying at Shamji's workshop

The woven lengths are sent to our home-based embroiderers working with SEWA in Ahmedabad, to embellish with lines of traditional Soi hand stitch work.  The tasseled edges are knotted and closely trimmed to echo the knobbly silhouette of the embroidery, for a contemporary look.

The blankets are available in two sizes, 180x120cm and 220x180cm, in indigo, lac red, olive green, natural cream, or chocolate brown.  There is also a large tri-colour blanket in red, chocolate and indigo, and a large olive green and chocolate blanket.  Click here for more info and to purchase.

If you enjoy our blog posts, you may like to join our mailing list to be kept up to date with product developments, news and events.

 

Maison et Objet: sneak preview

We hope you've all had a wonderful holiday, and are feeling energised and ready to leap into 2015 with gusto! 

At Stitch by Stitch, our business year kicks off almost immediately with Maison et Objet in Paris.  And we just wanted to let you know about some exciting new products we'll be launching at this premier trade fair.

Our indigo cotton cushions are now in production.  Updating our successful Kukuben and Sapna designs from our very first collection, these cushions are hand embroidered in Gujarat, India, by our home-based embroiderers, using traditional stitches passed down from mother to daughter through generations. 

Our designer, Graham, describes the Kukuben design (above) as "like a dictionary" of traditional stitches (it's even named after one of our embroiderers!). 

Sapna (above) is more minimal, with three orderly lines of traditional stitch work. 

Both designs are available in two colourwarys: scarlet and pale blue, and apricot and olive.

Kukuben cushion cover, 40 x 40cm: RRP £89
Sapna cushion cover, 60 x 60cm: RRP £110
 

For more details, including wholesale and press enquiries, please contact karen@stitchbystitch.eu

Maison et Objet, 23-27 January 2015, Paris Nord Villepinte.  Visit us in Hall 1, Stand C56.

We ship to the UK, Europe and the USA.

Popular Pins

SEWA embroiderer working on our Kukuben quilt.  From our Gujarati Embroidery Pinterest board.

SEWA embroiderer working on our Kukuben quilt.  From our Gujarati Embroidery Pinterest board.

We love Pinterest!  It's a fantastic way to share and discover visual information.

Whether you use Pinterest or not, we thought you might be interested to see the most popular pins from our website and Pinterest boards.  It's fascinating to see which images capture the imagination of others, and gives us a valuable insight into what really interests people about our textiles and the creative process behind them.

A montage of traditional Gujarati embroidery, by Graham Hollick.  From our Gujarati Embroidery Pinterest board.

A montage of traditional Gujarati embroidery, by Graham Hollick.  From our Gujarati Embroidery Pinterest board.

We use Pinterest not only to showcase our own products, but to tell the story behind our textiles and the people who make them.

Khamir patchwork quilt, made from organic cotton, showing the detailed hand-sewn kanthe stitching.  From our Maison et Objet board.

Khamir patchwork quilt, made from organic cotton, showing the detailed hand-sewn kanthe stitching.  From our Maison et Objet board.

In our blog, we often write about other people working with traditional global artisans, and creating contemporary decorative products.  Gone Rural is one such organisation, working with basket-weavers in Swaziland.  This inspired our popular Pinterest board, Basket weaving. 

Flouro Vases by Gone Rural, from our blog, and Basket Weaving Pinterest board.

Flouro Vases by Gone Rural, from our blog, and Basket Weaving Pinterest board.

Let us know if you have a Pinterest board, or a favourite Pin you'd like to share with us in the comments below!

Visit to a Gujarati Master Weaver

Indigo-dyed skeins of wool drying

Indigo-dyed skeins of wool drying

Lucky Graham is currently travelling in Gujarat, India, developing our new throw collection, as well as researching the incredible wealth of regional artisans and craftspeople for future Stitch by Stitch textile collections.

 

Shamjibhai

Shamjibhai

Earlier this week he visited renowned master weaver Shamjibhai, of Vankar Vishram Valji weavers.  Shamji and his family train and employ a community of around 90 hand loom weavers in Bhujodi, Gujarat, on pit looms which his family built after the earthquake of 2001.  The family is committed to preserving local, traditional weaving skills in this region.

Spinning wool.  The traditional pit looms can be seen in the background.

Spinning wool.  The traditional pit looms can be seen in the background.

Shamji will be weaving our new Desi blankets and throws, in fine, naturally dyed wool, which will then be sent to the SEWA embroiderers in Ahmedabad for them to embellish with lines of traditional Chireli Sankali, or Soi work.  We should have the first samples of completed blankets later this month.

Our blankets and throws ready to be sent for embroidery.  The wool is dyed naturally.

Our blankets and throws ready to be sent for embroidery.  The wool is dyed naturally.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy some of these lovely photos Graham has emailed of his trip to Shamji's peaceful workshop in the desert!

Doing business, surrounded by Vankar Vishram Valji handiwork.

Doing business, surrounded by Vankar Vishram Valji handiwork.

Shamji_spools_72dpi.jpg
Shamji_raw_wool.jpg

Yajibelena - Baskets for Life

Yajibelena_detail.jpg

I recently discovered these wonderfully colourful wastepaper baskets by Yajibelena at Skandium.  Not only are they beautiful, but I was delighted to discover, they're produced in Burkina Faso as part of a self-help initiative set up by Danish basket weaver Eva Seidenfaden.

Skandium_wastepaper.jpg

After visiting the country 10 years ago, Eva decided to use her passion for basket weaving to help the local women, who are all skilled in traditional basket-weaving techniques, to make a sustainable living for themselves and their families.  This gives the women an alternative to low paid hard labour in one of Africa's poorest countries.

Yajibelena_weavers.jpg

"It has taken a number of years to get all details in order and the production and selling chain working, and now it is a self sustaining, working business"  Eva says.  The project has created high quality products which are produced on budget and delivered on time.

Yajibelena_Weaver.jpg

As well as the wastepaper baskets designed and sold exclusively at Skandium, the women weave shopping baskets and bicycle baskets which are sold in local African markets and in Denmark.  50 women have produced over 3000 baskets so far.  The designs are based on a number of original Danish basket designs, but each weaver chooses the design they wish to work with, and adds their own patterns and colours.

Each basket sold pays a days wage for the maker - equal to that of a local bricklayer.

The wastepaper baskets are exclusive to Skandium, and are available online and in store at £49 each.

Thank you to Skandium for all images. 

 

Sustainable Lighting from Brazil

Junco Pendants

Junco Pendants

Exhibiting recently in the House of Detention at Clerkenwell Design Week in London, we spotted these funky, tactile lights by Brazilian company Fellicia.

The lampshades are made with natural materials grown in Santa Luzia do Itanhy in the Sergipe region in northeastern Brazil.  Local materials such as piaçaba and dende are derived from palm leaves (often used in broom making), and junco from reeds.   Artisans use these materials and traditional methods to make the lampshades to designer Kelley White's specifications.

Junco Table lamp made from reeds

Junco Table lamp made from reeds

The combination of contemporary design and traditional production and materials is interesting enough, but what is also fascinating is the structure of the business.  The products were created as a result of a research project by IPTI which examined the traditional skills of local artisans using local materials and traditional handcrafted production.  The goal of the project was to promote social and economic inclusion of some of the lowest paid members of the community, much like the projects we have worked on with embroiderers in India and weavers in Nepal.

Tranca de Piaçaba pendant light

Tranca de Piaçaba pendant light

Part of Fellicia's profits go directly to the Association of Artisans of Santa Luzia do Itanhy and to the scientific research institution IPTI, creating a truly sustainable business model.

 

Copyright © Stitch by Stitch Ltd.  2014.  All rights reserved.