In a log cabin surrounded by fragrant tall pines in Woodridge, MB rests Stitched Art, a small business run by Lynette Ruta.
When I walk through the door, sewing machines, colourful thread and materials, and intricate hand crafts decorate the space. It’s clear this isn’t just a hobby – it’s a lifestyle.
“I came to quilting when I was about 16,” says Ruta. “Both sides of the grandparents and great grandparents were quilters because it was a necessity to have a warm blanket. They used every means they could … when their clothing wore out or was too small, they took it and used it in their bedding.”
Ruta stitches on her large holiday scene quilt using a large Gammill quilting machine that takes up almost half the room. She runs over the blue sky, reindeer and sleds with the needle, maneuvering it to add fine detail and texture to the quilt. A steady hand and a keen eye are required to follow the pattern accurately.
Ruta has been working with customers for 15 years to create custom projects that will reflect her special touch. Clients have come from as far as Kenora and Winnipeg to have projects done by Ruta. Finished products have even been sent as far as Japan.
Whether you have a quilt you can’t finish, or if you need some help getting one started, Ruta takes customers where they’re at. She works on projects to preserve their legacy.
“My specific touch would be the artistic side,” she says. “I like sketching and painting on fabric. I like hand embroidery, beading, stitching on leather. Making leather garments, which is a very creative side of it. A lot of people are buying a long arm that has the programs added to a computer and it does all the work for you. I don’t have that part. I use my creativity to bring that forward.”
I was amazed by the endless array of patterns, the multitude of design choices, and embellishments that can be added to make the project more personal. Ruta opens cabinets and wardrobes full of supplies. No one quilt is the same. Besides quilts, Ruta takes workshops in leather stitching, she makes bags and clothing, and does hand embroidery.
Ruta hopes to gain enough interest to do a retreat.
“My turn is now to pass it to the next group. It might be a 13-year-old, it might be a 17-year-old, it might be a 60-year-old because she, or he might find (there’s a lot of men in this field), that they’re fashion designers and want to have a touch of this in their work. Putting a retreat together would bring that all together.”
I can’t think of a better place to have a quilt and hand-crafter’s retreat than at Stitched Art. The fresh country air along with the constant flow of inspiration coming from Ruta’s upbeat, encouraging attitude makes Stitched Art a rarity you won’t find anywhere else.
Ruta believes that her work can make a different. “Once you’ve got that taste, you put it in your surroundings and it makes you feel good. It gives you confidence.”