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We recently collaborated on a bedroom makeover feature with Berlin-based lifestyle blogger Rebecca Goddard. Rebecca styled our Chindi Quilt and Desi Natural Stripe cushion in her stylish and bright home in the German capital.

Rebecca says, “Every beautiful piece produced by Stitch by Stitch is not only made with the closest attention to craft, but also ethical and environmental responsibility. The brand is based out of the UK and working with textile artisans in both India and Nepal using age-old techniques that have been passed down over the decades. Almost all of their products are produced by hand using organic materials free of pesticides and chemical dyes. Although the Stitch by Stitch collection is designed in the UK, the brands aesthetic is guided by the traditional work of the skilled artisans they commission. Best of all, the brand works closely with their weavers, quilters, and farmers to ensure fair wage delivery”.

I wanted to share some of the images here, but to see more, and read her interview with us, click here.

Thank you, Rebecca!

All images by Rebecca Goddard.

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In addition to our pop-up exhibition ‘From Rain to Loom’ on the Brompton Rd during London Design Festival (read more about that here) we are also super-excited to be involved with ‘In the Neighbourhood’, a pop-in design exhibition in north London curated by friends and neighbours Louisa Grey and Morgwn Rimel.

In the Neighbourhood showcases the work of emerging local and international designers, artists and makers in two neighbouring residential settings - Grey House, an elegant Victorian town house and Blue House, a loft conversion within an old Methodist congregational hall.

Grey House, featured here, is a warm, elegant and calm interior, decorated with subtle hues, natural materials and textures. The emphasis is on handcrafted furniture and accessories, and Stitch by Stitch textile pieces sit well with furniture from Mass Productions, Noorstad and Frama, bespoke window treatments from Nest Designs, rugs from London House Rugs, and travertine pieces from Studio Henry Wilson. Vases are by Natascha Madeiski and paintings by Tycjan Knut.

Both homes feature botanical design by Urban Flower Co, sound design by Playlister and Urbanears, and Utopian scentscapes by The School of Life. Complimentary 20-minute Energy Healing Head Clearing Treatments are offered at Grey House.

Louisa Grey is the founder and creator of interior design studio House of Grey.

Morgyn Rimel is a multidisciplinary creative, cultural innovator and expert on wellbeing.

In the Neighbourhood coincides with the London Design Festival, from 15 - 21 September. By appointment only, book your visit here.

All photos by Rory Gardiner.

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Have you seen the first issue of Design Anthology UK?

The new print magazine will be published triannually, and cover the best in architecture, design, art, travel and style across Europe. It’s the sister publication to Design Anthology in Asia, and promises to be a “new kind of considered, premium title that champions quality, beauty and innovative thinking.” It certainly looks the part.

We’re delighted to have our Radhi rugs featured in the RADAR product pages, and also to be mentioned in an article in the online publication about House of Grey’s new studio in north London.

You can read the full article here.

House of Grey’s new studio space, with Stitch by Stitch Chindi textiles. Photo: Rory Gardiner

You can purchase the magazine online, or check out their stockists in the UK and Europe here.

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As 2018 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on what has been a wonderful year for us at Stitch by Stitch.

Here, we share some of the great press coverage we’ve enjoyed!

Architectural Digest, September 2018

Our exhibition “From Rain to Loom“ for Brompton Design District during London Design Festival in September attracted a lot of coverage in print and online. One of the most exciting moments was being featured in The Best Of The London Design Festival on Architectural Digest online.

The Natural Palette for Homes & Gardens November 2018

This lovely shoot, The Natural Palette, (top and below) was styled for Homes & Gardens Magazine by Ali Brown. We loved her curated mix of natural materials and neutral hues. Isn’t the cane desk and chair just gorgeous?

Also during London Design Festival, we participated in In The Neighbourhood, a brilliant pop-up selling exhibition at House of Grey in north London, in a beautifully styled town house. The pop-up deservedly received much press interest, helped by some super photography by Rory Gardiner. We were delighted when Abi at These Four Walls Blog covered the exhibition, and this connection lead to her interviewing us for her blog.

These Four Walls Blog

Finally, back in May, Ruth Sleightholme at House and Garden Magazine did a lovely monochrome shoot with our Black Star Quilt, see below.

House & Garden, May 2018

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London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London as a design capital, and takes place in hundreds of venues and institutions throughout the city every September, showcasing design projects and products from all over the world. This year we were delighted to have been selected to show as part of Brompton Design District, in one of the vacant retail spaces on the prestigious Brompton Road, allocated to designers by South Kensington Estates.

Our exhibition in a vacant ex-coffee shop, entitled “From Rain to Loom” explored our work with the Kala Cotton Initiative in Kutch, a dry, remote and deprived area of Gujarat in north west India, sharing a border with Pakistan.

Here, kala cotton, which is an indigenous and genetically pure species of cotton, is making a comeback helped by an NGO, Khamir, who pay a premium to farmers to switch from genetically-modified, irrigation-dependent bT Cotton, to the old Kala cotton, which is purely rain-fed and needs no additional irrigation. This cotton positively thrives on the 40cm or so rainfall which Kutch receives each year - this level of rainfall means that Kutch is officially known as a “drought-prone” area. Due to a deep root system, and possibly thousands of years of cultivation, this species survives well with little water, high levels of soil-salinity, and is resistant to pests and disease. This last feature also means it is grown organically by default.

We buy all our kala cotton fabrics from this NGO who connects the farmers with the local spinners, dyers and weavers. We use these fabrics to make our patchwork kantha quilts and other textiles which we exhibited at “From Rain to Loom”.

The Kutch region is well-known for its White Rann or dramatically wild salt marsh, but it is also home to many textile artisans, including weavers, embroiderers, quilt-makers, spinners and dyers, most of whom have been practicing their craft for generations in the villages.

The exhibition programme for Brompton Design District is curated by leading design consultant, curator and writer, Jane Withers. It encourages design that adds meaning and value to our everyday lives. As a platform for emerging designers, it further adds to the energy and dynamism of the area.

For the 2018 programme, the theme was “Material Consequences” looking at the impact of the materials and resources we use in product design.

“Materials are a defining issue of our age as we belatedly realise that we cannot continue to abuse natural resources and discard rubbish. For the London Design Festival, Brompton Design District will showcase design projects that question and rethink attitudes to materials and waste, and the shift to a circular economy. ” Jane Withers

On the Thursday, we hosted a talk in our exhibition space with Graham Hollick, director of Stitch by Stitch, and Fernando Laposse of the Totomoxtle Project (also exhibiting next door) talking with Edwina Ehrman, curator of “Fashioned From Nature” at the V&A Museum. Fernando’s project with indigenous corn species from Mexico which he uses to create colourful veneers and marquetry, was the perfect fit with our work with Kala Cotton.

Graham Hollick discusses the qualities of Kala Cotton with Fernando Laposse and Edwina Ehrman, curator at the V&A

Raw Chindi Quilt in kala cotton fabrics

New block printed and kantha-stitched quilt in unbleached, organic kala cotton fabrics

Thank you to our great friend Beth Evans for these lovely photos.

Thank you also to Earthborn Paints for the blue clay paint, Tea India for supplying masala chai, and William Grant & Sons for the gin and the recipe for the delicious punch that we served at the Brompton Open Evening. Here’s the recipe…

Hot Gin Punch

200ml Hendrick's Gin, 200ml Madeira Wine, Two Teaspoons Brown Sugar, Six large Lemon and Orange Twists, Small slice Orange, One fresh Pineapple, Four spoons Honey, Juice of two lemons, Three Cloves, pinch nutmeg, teaspoon of cinnamon powder.      

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and place on the heat. Let the concoction simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste, adding lemon or honey depending on whether you like sweet or sour.

When it’s ready, pour into a teapot and serve in teacups. Alternatively serve in a traditional punch bowl. Can be reheated so you can make ahead!        

Garnish with Pineapple Wedges and a ginger biscuit.

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London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London as a design capital, and takes place in hundreds of venues and institutions throughout the city every September, showcasing design projects and products from all over the world. This year we were delighted to have been selected to show as part of Brompton Design District, in one of the vacant retail spaces on the prestigious Brompton Road, allocated to designers by South Kensington Estates.

Our exhibition in a vacant ex-coffee shop, entitled “From Rain to Loom” explored our work with the Kala Cotton Initiative in Kutch, a dry, remote and deprived area of Gujarat in north west India, sharing a border with Pakistan.

Here, kala cotton, which is an indigenous and genetically pure species of cotton, is making a comeback helped by an NGO, Khamir, who pay a premium to farmers to switch from genetically-modified, irrigation-dependent bT Cotton, to the old Kala cotton, which is purely rain-fed and needs no additional irrigation. This cotton positively thrives on the 40cm or so rainfall which Kutch receives each year - this level of rainfall means that Kutch is officially known as a “drought-prone” area. Due to a deep root system, and possibly thousands of years of cultivation, this species survives well with little water, high levels of soil-salinity, and is resistant to pests and disease. This last feature also means it is grown organically by default.

We buy all our kala cotton fabrics from this NGO who connects the farmers with the local spinners, dyers and weavers. We use these fabrics to make our patchwork kantha quilts and other textiles which we exhibited at “From Rain to Loom”.

The Kutch region is well-known for its White Rann or dramatically wild salt marsh, but it is also home to many textile artisans, including weavers, embroiderers, quilt-makers, spinners and dyers, most of whom have been practicing their craft for generations in the villages.

The exhibition programme for Brompton Design District is curated by leading design consultant, curator and writer, Jane Withers. It encourages design that adds meaning and value to our everyday lives. As a platform for emerging designers, it further adds to the energy and dynamism of the area.

For the 2018 programme, the theme was “Material Consequences” looking at the impact of the materials and resources we use in product design.

“Materials are a defining issue of our age as we belatedly realise that we cannot continue to abuse natural resources and discard rubbish. For the London Design Festival, Brompton Design District will showcase design projects that question and rethink attitudes to materials and waste, and the shift to a circular economy. ” Jane Withers

On the Thursday, we hosted a talk in our exhibition space with Graham Hollick, director of Stitch by Stitch, and Fernando Laposse of the Totomoxtle Project (also exhibiting next door) talking with Edwina Ehrman, curator of “Fashioned From Nature” at the V&A Museum. Fernando’s project with indigenous corn species from Mexico which he uses to create colourful veneers and marquetry, was the perfect fit with our work with Kala Cotton.

Graham Hollick discusses the qualities of Kala Cotton with Fernando Laposse and Edwina Ehrman, curator at the V&A

Raw Chindi Quilt in kala cotton fabrics

New block printed and kantha-stitched quilt in unbleached, organic kala cotton fabrics

Thank you to our great friend Beth Evans for these lovely photos.

Thank you also to Earthborn Paints for the blue clay paint, Tea India for supplying masala chai, and William Grant & Sons for the gin and the recipe for the delicious punch that we served at the Brompton Open Evening. Here’s the recipe…

Hot Gin Punch

200ml Hendrick's Gin, 200ml Madeira Wine, Two Teaspoons Brown Sugar, Six large Lemon and Orange Twists, Small slice Orange, One fresh Pineapple, Four spoons Honey, Juice of two lemons, Three Cloves, pinch nutmeg, teaspoon of cinnamon powder.      

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and place on the heat. Let the concoction simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste, adding lemon or honey depending on whether you like sweet or sour.

When it’s ready, pour into a teapot and serve in teacups. Alternatively serve in a traditional punch bowl. Can be reheated so you can make ahead!        

Garnish with Pineapple Wedges and a ginger biscuit.

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In addition to our pop-up exhibition ‘From Rain to Loom’ on the Brompton Rd during London Design Festival (read more about that here) we are also super-excited to be involved with ‘In the Neighbourhood’, a pop-in design exhibition in north London curated by friends and neighbours Louisa Grey and Morgwn Rimel.

In the Neighbourhood showcases the work of emerging local and international designers, artists and makers in two neighbouring residential settings - Grey House, an elegant Victorian town house and Blue House, a loft conversion within an old Methodist congregational hall.

Grey House, featured here, is a warm, elegant and calm interior, decorated with subtle hues, natural materials and textures. The emphasis is on handcrafted furniture and accessories, and Stitch by Stitch textile pieces sit well with furniture from Mass Productions, Noorstad and Frama, bespoke window treatments from Nest Designs, rugs from London House Rugs, and travertine pieces from Studio Henry Wilson. Vases are by Natascha Madeiski and paintings by Tycjan Knut.

Both homes feature botanical design by Urban Flower Co, sound design by Playlister and Urbanears, and Utopian scentscapes by The School of Life. Complimentary 20-minute Energy Healing Head Clearing Treatments are offered at Grey House.

Louisa Grey is the founder and creator of interior design studio House of Grey.

Morgyn Rimel is a multidisciplinary creative, cultural innovator and expert on wellbeing.

In the Neighbourhood coincides with the London Design Festival, from 15 - 21 September. By appointment only, book your visit here.

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Stitch by Stitch, creators of handmade textiles from India and Nepal, present an installation as part of the Brompton Design District programme under the theme ‘Material Consequences’. Located at no 197 Brompton Road, ‘From Rain to Loom’ highlights the Khamir Kala Cotton Initiative which is a reinterpretation of an old craft value chain reconfigured for the modern marketplace, and Stitch by Stitch’s work with this material.

‘From Rain to Loom’
Brompton Design District
197 Brompton Road
London SW3 1LG


Daily 10:00 - 18:00
Wed 19th / Fri 21st 10:00 - 20:00
Thursday 20th 10:00 - 21:00, Brompton Design District open evening

‘Chai Hour’ every day from 16:00 – 18:00: drop-in for authentic Indian chai, supplied by Tea India!

Thurs 20th 14:00 - 15:00, TALK: Material Consequences: Indigenous Materials, New Materiality
with Graham Hollick of Stitch by Stitch and Fernando Laposse of the Totomoxtle Project
moderated by Edwina Ehrman, curator of Fashioned from Nature at the V&A Museum

Preparing the warp.  Photo: Khamir Crafts

‘From Rain to Loom’ will be an immersive environment in which the visitor can learn about the ancient, genetically pure species of drought resistant kala cotton, alongside Stitch by Stitch quilts, cushions and other textiles made in this organic material. Indigenous to the Kutch region of India, an area famed for its hand weaving, kala cotton is watered only by rainfall, and is resilient and resurgent in the face of difficult land conditions and pests. This is in contrast to other genetically modified widespread species of cottons that have been introduced to the region, which require intensive irrigation, synthetic fertilisers and pesticides that also cause high rates of water pollution. 

The Kala Cotton Initiative has been integral to the resurgence of kala cotton production which is sustainable environmentally, but also beneficial for the local economy. Relying on imported raw materials exposes local businesses to peaks in prices, and growing cotton species which require additional irrigation further contributes to water scarcity, when over 100 million in India do not have access to clean water.

Photo: Khamir Crafts

“The cultivation of indigenous Kala cotton in this dry, arid region, is a holistic choice.
It combines conservation and environmental sustainability, while providing sustainable income
for marginalised farmers, spinners and weavers. Kala cotton has the deepest roots of all cultivated cotton species, and is able to withstand long periods of drought which are characteristic of this land.  After many years of experimentation by the Kala Cotton Initiative in perfecting spinning and weaving techniques, this coarse, stretchable fibre can now be wove into fine, durable, soft textiles."
Graham Hollick, founder Stitch by Stitch

Raw Chindi quilt and cushions in kala cotton.

Driven by sustainable practice and preserving the livelihoods of the skilled artisans, Stitch by Stitch are proud to be involved with the Kala Cotton Initiative. Working with kala cotton allows conscience consumption, and is very effective way to work towards the reduction cotton’s water footprint. 

“Materials are a defining issue of our age as we belatedly realise that we cannot continue to abuse natural resources and discard rubbish. For the London Design Festival, Brompton Design District will showcase design projects that question and rethink attitudes to materials and waste, and the shift to a circular economy. ”
Jane Withers, curator of the Brompton Design District

Purchasing raw cotton directly from farmers, photo: Kala Cotton Initiative

ABOUT KHAMIR

Khamir works to strengthen and promote the rich artisanal traditions of Kutch, a district of Gujarat state in western India. The organisation serves as a platform for the promotion of traditional handicrafts, alongside the preservation of culture, community and local environments. Its approach is democratic as it sets out to empower people, and to be a place to ferment ideas. 

Khamir began this Initiative in 2007, by partnering with Satvik, an association of organic farmers in Kutch, to explore the production possibilities for Kala Cotton. Much research was made in order to develop a process for converting cotton’s short staple length into yarn. Next was convincing local weavers of the value of kala cotton, as it requires changes in the loom set up, as well as differing yields. After years of experimentation and perfecting both spinning and weaving techniques, Khamir began producing its first Kala Cotton goods in 2010. 

The initiative encourages sustainable cotton textile production in harmony with local ecology. The project aims to create a value chain at multiple levels by working with marginalized communities and promoting locally grown species. To make this work, Khamir and Satvik have created a supply chain between the Kala Cotton farmers, ginners, spinners and weavers to convert the raw cotton into hand woven products. The vision is that the Kala Cotton Initiative will serve as an example for other communities to replicate. 

Kala cotton farmers, photo: Kala Cotton Initiative

ABOUT BROMPTON DESIGN DISTRICT

Launched in 2006, Brompton established the London Design Festival’s rst Design District. From the outset, it has played host to a pioneering and innovative contemporary programme that has changed the dynamic of the area and earned it a reputation as a leading London design destination. Twelve years on, the programme continues to be a seedbed for experimental design in an area of London known for its iconic, international design brands. 

Initiated by South Kensington Estates, a company with a history woven into the fabric of the district for over 200 years, together with a cluster of design retailers and local cultural institutions including the Royal College of Art and the V&A, the District was set up to foster a space where new design can ourish. 

The programme for the London Design Festival, curated by Jane Withers, encourages design that adds meaning and value to our everyday lives. As a platform for emerging designers, it further adds to the energy and dynamism of the area. 

Thank you to Earthborn paints for supplying Button Tin paint for the exhibition space.

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We’re extremely fortunate to have discovered Raimal, his wife and daughter, master quilt makers, from Gujarat.  

They’ve been making quilts most of their adult lives, and their expert skills at piecing, layering and kantha stitching by hand are faultless.  Their tiny stitches are close together in neat rows, which sets them apart from many cheaper kantha stitched pieces on the market.  Using one long thread to stitch through the layers of fabrics and wadding ensures that no knots are present on the surface of their quilts.

Such perfect stitching also gives our quilt surfaces a lovely texture.  

Our quiltmakers are currently training another group of artisans in Kutch to make quilts for us to his exacting standards.  This ensures that our lead times remain manageable and realistic, and allows us to take on more orders.

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Our Desi Wool cushions and throws are hand woven from local "desi" wool on traditional pit looms in Kutch, Gujarat, an area famed for its weaving.  

The weavers who create this wool cloth are part of a group of highly skilled artisans in Kutch, who have been encouraged by a local master weaver to stay in their village and pursue their traditional craft.   By being paid a fair price for their work, many villagers have chosen to stay and weave, rather than leave the area and their families for work in the cities.

The award-winning Vankar Vishram Valji weavers are some of the most respected and accomplished weavers in 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 natural dyeing skills in the region in the face of stiff competition from machine woven cloth, man made fibres and chemical dyestuffs.

Desi wool has a distinctive "dry" texture, a little like linen, typical of wool from this area.  Because the wool yarn is hand spun, the cloth has a wonderfully irregular texture, full of movement.  It is often dyed with natural dyes such as indigo and lac red - Shamji is instrumental in the revival of traditional lac red dyeing in Kutch.

The Rabari, an indigenous tribal caste which probably originated in Afghanistan, traditionally led a nomadic life raising sheep, camels and goats, and spinning their wool.  They exchanged their hand spun wool for hand woven clothing and blankets.  As elsewhere in the world, attitudes in India towards tolerating nomadic groups have changed, and only a small number of Rabari are now truly nomadic.  However, one can still see them moving through the arid desert region of Kutch, carrying their tented homes with them.  Shamjibai has encouraged a group of these Rabari women to continue their traditional hand spinning for his weavers.

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