When I was a young thing in London, I discovered Liberty's in Regent Street. I was especially drawn to their materials; their beautiful floral cotton and I would buy the offcuts for a pound. I started quilting, excited to use these gorgeous fabrics and stitched away for hours, creating patterns with the colours and the shapes. My quilts graced my bed for years until they fell apart literally from overuse.
Why I am reliving these moments is because I discovered Wattle and Loop and specifically made the acquaintance of Kylie, its founder who also has a love for Liberty prints, vintage materials, and old embroideries. She has created a successful business based on these fabrics and her own patterns, resuscitating them, and continuing their lives in ours.
When I saw one of her designs, I was immediately drawn to the harmony of colours and materials. So I sought her out in Melbourne where she lives with her husband and two children.
She has a graphic art background but was always keen on sewing, quilting, and creating artwork out of textiles. On a weekend away with some sewing buddies, she made a picture with scraps of fabric – one friend was so taken by it she bought it and a while later she asked Kylie to run workshops demonstrating her skill. They were popular and it gave her the impetus to start a small online shop. Instagram and Facebook accounts soon followed and you can find them at the bottom of this article. She was getting inquiries from overseas, about patterns so after a few years of doing this part-time, she and her husband (who is her marketing Manager) decided to launch their business Wattle and Loop.
I asked Kylie how she came to call it Wattle and Loop and she said she wanted an Australian feel to it, hence Wattle, but also a sewing feel- that's the Loop. Initially, they put together 20 kits which sold slowly, but with a bigger social media presence the business has taken off and a group of five women get-together in Melbourne to help Kylie prepare the kits. Sourcing everything has been particularly challenging this year as well as meeting safely, but they have managed to keep it going and meet the demand.
My kit arrived in the post - I don't know how you feel about getting something in the post but to me, it is a real treat – it was an even bigger treat opening up the khaki envelope with the cotton tie and carefully removing all the envelopes within. Each one containing everything that I need for creating my craft. I unstuck the stickers with great care and loved the contents. The feel of the different fabrics, the colours and the textures were special and you could see how much care and attention had gone into putting them together.
That is half the joy – the other half we are a bit nervous about. Not all of us are as creative as Kylie- so can we do it?
I need not have worried. Accompanying the fabrics are impeccable instructions, clearly explained and illustrated.
I found a quiet time opened everything up on my desk and started ….. It transported me away from whatever had occupied my mind and made me concentrate on the task in hand. It was a blessed time. A stitch in time.
I asked Kylie what she thought her kits offered people who ordered them and she remembered how she felt when she went to workshops. It was a time for herself with no interruptions, perhaps even a cup of tea and biscuit; her project where she could savour the time alone and ultimately make something of her own.
Since the pandemic, it is not surprising that there has been a demand for her kits and I can totally understand why. It is a mindful creative process, which we are all craving. It is not about perfection she says. That same message is made in her instructions. Nothing gives her greater pleasure then receiving photos from persons who have bought her kit showing off their own creations. Everyone is different and that is another beauty of this creative process. Some add something quite personal to them, maybe a piece of embroidery or a corner of a hanky from a favourite grandmother. It is the imperfection that adds beauty as she says and makes them special to each of us. It's a process where she joyfully guides us down this creative path and it is a path of clarity, colour and creativity.
Hello girls...I,.too, love liberty fabrics - especially Tana Lawn. and all vintage fabrics and embroideries. So - do yourself a favour and go down to Sale in Gippsland. Visit the beautiful art gallery built on the side of the Thomson River= and allow yourself time to really study the work of Annamieke Mein. The gallery has a permanent exhibition of her work... I am 89 y.o. now and *legally blind*... have embroidered all my life....Annamieke Mein blows me away....She *paints* in textiles....SEE IT. and marvel at her skill, talent. and creativity. There are works that will absorb you into them and you find yourself swimming with the diving duck capturing a fish....or a fledgling sitting with its siblings on a bare branch waiting to fly away....her grasp on perspective is awesome,..theres a great cafeteria too. Allow yourself the pleasure of a little trip on the Thomson River gliding slowly and quietly between banks lined with gum trees and bushland magic. Audrey D.