In Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tatiana Kowryga, owner of The Sampler in Toronto, Canada first
learned to cross-stitch when she was seven at her grandmother's
knee. Her abiding passion for needle and thread is what would
eventually steer her to The Sampler, which, in 1986, was owned
by Charland Garvin of Charland Designs - one of Toronto's well-loved
cross-stitch designers. When Charland determined to go into designing
full time, she decided, with some regret, to sell her wonderful
business. After much deliberation and long discussions with her
husband, Tatiana resolved, "I came to the decision to extend
this wonderful art form into a full time business." Charland
and her husband, Bob, were both extremely supportive during the
initial years, and it remains a special treat for Tatiana when
Charland teaches at the shop or attends its special events. Tatiana
adds playfully, "Now, I hope all you collectors and admirers
of Charland Designs aren't getting too jealous. Just come on
down, and join us!"
What follows is an Insider's Tour of The Sampler
Presented by Proprietor
"Sing Hallelujah, c'mon get happy! You're in Charlotte,
where you're cares can fade away" - That's what the Official
Visitor's Guide, in my hotel room, read. Little did they know
that I was there for reasons far from what the travel guide was
promoting. For the next 4 days I would be spending every waking
hour hunting down the latest fibres and threads, the most luxurious
fabrics, and the newest designs for all my discriminating customers
back in Toronto!
Customers - who had perhaps one day, decided to stitch a birth
sampler for a new baby, or show appreciation to a dedicated teacher
with an embroidered gift from the heart. Customers - who, while
stitching, discovered a love for needlework that was to last
throughout their lifetime. Customers - who are 21st century fibre
artists, sharing a common desire to create legacies of beauty.
Customers - who, in this whirlwind of a society, are able to
connect century-to-century and country-to-country with a simple
tool a threaded needle.
As I settled in for the night, one article caught my attention.
It boasted of wonderful, original Frescoes (a Renaissance painting
technique created by adding pigment to wet plaster) scattered
throughout Charlotte. Renowned artist Ben Long painted these
Frescoes. Mr. Long explained how he could not have painted without
his "paint-mixers', who provided particular colours and
plaster for him and enabled him to create these world-renowned
works of art. The city of Charlotte was now boasting about having
the largest collection of original Frescoes of any other North
And so it is with our customers at The Sampler. Scattered
among the many people who walk through The Sampler's front doors
are many talented artists. Relying on the treasures they discover
in our store to equip them, they quietly weave works of art to
be given as cherished gifts, adornments for their living spaces,
Gone are the days where cotton floss and a piece of 14 count
white Aida is sufficient. Among the abundance of supplies available
are: intoxicating fibres and exotic fabrics; silks and metallics;
glass, resin, porcelain, semi precious stone and, gold and silver
embellishments; triple-forged steal tools; superb designs
just to name a few. Even 19th century European royalty would
envy what is available to these 21st century artists.
These customers are people who know you can't make a silk
purse of a sow's ear. They refuse to cheapen their time or their
pieces by using inferior fabrics. They are challenged by new
techniques and inspired by colour and texture. They thrive on
any information they can glean from classes, magazine articles,
the Internet, etc just to give that final touch to their heirloom!
Ben Long is a modern-day painter using techniques from centuries
past. And so it is with our customers. These are modern-day artists,
using century-old techniques that have quietly survived the transitions,
wars and conquests of human history and combining them
with the superb materials available today, create their masterpieces!
Ours' is a big responsibility at The Sampler.
And so, our dear customers, read on and discover what great
wonders and inspirations this "paint-mixer" has available
especially for you!
Our store carries a wide variety of:
Fibres: Caron Collection; Rainbow Gallery; Gentle Art
Sampler Threads; Weeks Dye Works; DMC; Anchor; Madiera; Thread
Gatherer; Needle Necessities; Petals; Trebizond Silks; Flower
Thread; Ginnie Thompson Linen Thread; Londonderry Linen Thread;
Broider Wul; Soie Dalger; Kreinik; Bijoux; Marlit; Velour.
Fabrics: Zweigart; Wichelt; Charlescraft; R & R
reproductions; Martin Winkler; Glenshee; Canteburry Cross.
Embellishments: Gay Bowles; Just Another Button Company;
Honey Bee Creations; Susan Clarke Originals.
Frames: K's Creations; F. A. Edmunds; Formor; Crafter's
Choice; Q Snaps; Artisan; Wood Sorcery.
Just to name a few! If there is anything you are looking for
specifically - give us a call!
We also mail order all over the world. Don't forget to ask
about our famous newsletter! We extend to all our fellow stitchers
a personal invitation to come and visit with them. Here you'll
find fantastic fibers and fabrics that will set your creative
spirits on fire! The latest designs, from all around the world,
spill over dozens of shelves, enticing you just to pick up a
needle and stitch! Before you leave our store, a dilemma will
over come you as never before...."Which project to begin
We publish a great newsletter that's always high in demand
and goes out for free! We have classes galore! I love to pass
on all the techniques I have had the privilege to learn from
experienced stitchers, designers and teachers.
Legends of the Dragons
Designed by Jennifer Aikman-Smith, Karen Weaver and Teresa Wentzler
The Sampler is truly Toronto's Premiere Cross-stitch Store
and we enjoy living up to our reputation. You'll also see us
at the Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival, which we have
been a part of since the beginning. This year is quite spectacular
as we have the honour of hosting a LEGENDARY TRIO - together
for the first time in North America!
Jennifer Aikman-Smith - of "Dragon Dreams",
Karen Weaver - of "Black Swan" and
Teresa Wentzler of "Teresa Wentzler Design Works"
will be at our booth (# 801) and you'll be able to meet them
in person! (When they're not teaching or hosting the Fantasy
We extend a hearty invitation to all our fellow stitchers
to come and visit us. Here, you'll find fantastic fibers and
fabrics that will set your creative spirits on fire! The latest
designs, from all around the world, spill over dozens of shelves,
enticing you just to pick up a needle and stitch! Before you
leave our store, a dilemma will over come you as never before...."Which
project to begin first?"
This and much, much more is waiting for you at The Sampler
- Toronto's Premiere Cross-stitch Store. We'll be waiting - because
598 Brown's Line
M8W 3V5, Canada
Phone: toll free number 1 (888) NDL-WORK