Yesterday was the Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto, an annual yarn marketplace and class extravaganza hosted by the Downtown Knit Collective.
A view of the entrance to The Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre which has been the home to the Knitter’s Frolic for many years.
This event is now so popular that it is not only a place for the tried and true vendors in and around the city to show their wares (I counted 57 booths) , but a great venue for indie yarn dyers from all over the country to meet and greet. I usually try to get to the market right when the doors open at 9, but this year I wasn’t able to make it until after lunch. Although I probably missed some of the choicest offerings, it was nice to be able to wander (and take some pics) without being crushed in the enthusiastic crowd of well meaning knitters trying to get to the display tables. I did hear that the morning crowd was overwhelming this year.
A shopper perusing the offerings at one of the booths. How to decide?
A few vendors really stood out to me this year.
1. I loved the neon brights from Rain City Knits of Vancouver. Created by Krista Steel-Varsakis, the fabulous colours of these yarns were irresistable and were the stand out winner of the day. Krista sources her yarns from a fair trade collective in Uruguay and uses only food grade quality (non-toxic) dyes to achieve her outstanding and intense colours – truly ‘happy yarn’!
Rain City Knits of Vancouver. Great ‘mod’ booth presentation!
I’m pretty sure, based on the number of vendors I saw chatting with Krista, that her yarn will soon appear in local shops, but in the meantime you can check out this yarn at www.raincityknits.com.
2. Sweet Fiber, created by Melissa Thomson (also of Vancouver) wins without close competition in the luxury yarn hand-dyed category. This product is simply beautiful – and I could hardly keep my hands off.
Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Sock – a blend of merino and cashmere. The colours were stunning.
Melissa started her business while still an undergraduate at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and her training in colour theory stands out in her yarn. I think there were at least five variations of grey colourways, her self proclaimed specialty, but the blues and greens were pretty incredible too. Until she gets a little more representation in the shops here in Ontario, you can order her yarn at http://www.sweetfiberyarns.com. Her blog has lots of detailed images of her colourways and it is worth a visit.
Lovely Melissa Thomson at the table displaying her beautiful yarns.
3. The Needle Emporium, of Ancaster Ontario, filled their booth with Madelinetosh and Zen Garden – for me this was undoubtedly yarn heaven. Need I say more? I went back twice.
View into the Needle Emporium booth at the Frolic.
4. Finally, Sheeps Ahoy, owned by Debbie Wilson, focused on fair isle, my knitting weakness. I couldn’t help but be drawn into her booth by the stunning knitting samples she had on display.
Can you see the ‘Rams and Yowes’ lap blanket and matching ‘Sheep Heid’ designed by Edinburgh’s Kate Davies on the right?
Debbie, who works out of her home in Ottawa, carries a number of Shetland yarns suitable for fair isle, including both Jamieson’s, and Jamieson and Smith (the latter is the current fiber darling of Kate Davies). She also carries a large number of Meg Swanson leaflets. All designs were ‘kitted up’ and ready to go, a real treat for knitters at a show like this. You can contact Debbie at http://www.sheepsahoy.com.
The fair isle samples at Sheep’s Ahoy. I particularly liked the Redbud Vest hanging on the left.
As we all know only too well, all good things come to an end – and so it is with the Knitter’s Frolic for another year. The good news is that it is Sunday – the perfect day to play with some yarn!