Category Archives: Yarn Notes

Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Melissa Thomson at the table with her beautiful yarns.

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.

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.

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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 like the Redbird Vest hanging on the left.

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!

Happy Knitting!!!

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Hold the Chocolate

Bunny Nuggets!

hMade from Rebecca Danger’s free pattern using  oddments of yarn (I used Malabrigo Rios, Debbie Bliss Fez, and various discontinued yarns from my Rowan stash).

gI used the Clover Pom Pom maker to make the tails – make sure you sew those little things on really tight!!

fThey don’t take long to make.  A cute gift for that little person in your life to carry around in their pocket as a special friend.

q

Rebecca Danger’s pattern for Bunny Nuggets can be found on Ravelry  here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bunny-nuggets

or on her blog here:   http://www.rebeccadanger.typepad.com/

Happy Knitting!!

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Sunday Morning

A little Sunday morning crafting….wonder what these are going to be?

More later…

bodies

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Object of My Affection

Well…. I was feeling as if I was the only one in the knitting world who hadn’t made a “Color Affection” by Finnish Designer Veera Valimaki.

Okay,  maybe there are others like me, but according to Ravelry, 8,036 people have made one.  That equals a lot of “Color Affection”  shawls out there.

I really admire the streamlined design – a lovely crescent shaped shawl using three contrasting colours – a modern take on an old favourite.

And then Jenny, my dear friend, gave me these beautiful mittens for Christmas.

mittens

Jenny knit them for me from one of our favourite yarns:  Malabrigo Arroyo, a kettle-dyed 100% Merino superwash sport weight yarn made in Peru.  She combined  “Glitter”,one of my favourite colourways, with  Escorias and Natural.  (I adore the pom poms).

I was instantly inspired and I could see the possibilities of this colour combination for the elusive “Color Affection”.

So, grabbing a skein in each colourway,  I made this:

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I’ve hardly taken it off….except to take these photos.

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I LOVE it.  So now 8,037 people have made one.  And my mother has already placed her order….in her favourite colours of ‘blue’.

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What’s happening at the LYS?

On the weekend I decided to drop into Passionknit, my local yarn shop,  just to see what was on the needles there.

First, I went to my new favourite coffee spot ” I Deal Coffee”  located at 3336 Yonge Street.  As I’ve mentioned before, their Maple Syrup Latte is a must try, but the regular coffee drinks are all superior.

ideal

People were still digging out from the big storm the day before, so traffic in Passionknit was light to start, but it got very busy in the afternoon.

people

I was only there for a short time – enough to get some ideas for my next projects.

Patti is making “Pop Spots”, a shawl designed by Juju Vail of Loop, London.

Patti using

Patti using Malabrigo Baby Silkpaca Lace, a luxurious blend of 70% alpaca and 30% silk.  The colours are kettle dyed in Peru and are simply gorgeous.

Morgan is making these adorable Luvbots by Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochi Land.

Isn't he adorable?  I think they will be in the shop in time for Valentine's Day.

Isn’t he adorable? I think they will be in the shop in time for Valentine’s Day.

Meanwhile I spent some time surveying the Grignasco Loden wall….pondering the potential of using several of these colours together in one of Brooklyn Tweed’s new fair isle sweater patterns (see the Winter 2013 Collection).

The tweedy softness and the colours make this worsted weight yarn amazing.  The garment hanging below is awaiting finishing - can't wait to try it on.

The tweedy softness and the stunning colours make this worsted weight yarn amazing. The garment hanging below is awaiting finishing – can’t wait to try it on after it is blocked.

I left with seven colours of Baby Cashmerino – my inspiration for a new nautical themed fair isle cowl I’m working on.

nautical cowl 3

Passionknit is located at 3355 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M4N 2N6  (416)322-0688   passionknit.ca

All patterns mentioned are available for purchase on Ravelry.com 

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Yarn Notes: Viola

I have THIS beautiful yarn.  Hand-dyed, 100% superwash merino by Viola.  Some of you will know that this is now a rare commodity since Emily of Viola is no longer dyeing yarn (hopefully she will return from England someday and break out the big vat again…she is lovely btw and I wish her all the best).

viola 4

Some of you will also recognize that this is colourway ‘Ghost’.

Viola 1

I have eight skeins….1328 metres.

viola 2

What to knit??  Here are some of the patterns floating around in my head:  Stranger Cardigan (Michiyo  for Wool People 4/Brooklyn Tweed),  Chocolate Stout (Thea Colman), Stonecutters Cardigan (Amy Christoffers).

Check them out on Ravelry…what do you think?

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