Category Archives: Yarn

A Little Excursion to Jordan, Ontario

Life is hectic, but every once in a while we get a chance to experience a magical day.

On Thursday, May 30th, two friends and I travelled to the little community of Jordan Village, Ontario, located on Twenty Mile Creek and the Niagara escarpment.  This charming community, settled in 1799 by a small group of Mennonites, is home to some of Ontario’s most prestigious vineyards and winemakers, and is especially known for its world class production of icewine.

cave springs

The weather was glorious.  Sunny and hot.   Our purpose was to celebrate Kate’s birthday with a lovely lunch and a trip to one of Kate’s favourite shops, Stitch.

Kate and Jenny in front of Stitch in Jordan, Ontario.

Kate and Jenny in front of Stitch in Jordan, Ontario.

Stitch is a haven for quilters, knitters, and fiber artists.   It was my first visit, and, as you will see from the following,  I LOVED it!

stitch 3

Located in a century home, the design aesthetic of owner Jocelyn Chamberlain took my breath away. As it proclaims on the signage, she truly has created a sanctuary for stitchers, quilters, and knitters.   The shop’s wares are arranged artfully among an impressive antique furniture collection.  THIS is the place for inspiration.  The little pincushion bird’s nest above can be made in one of her project classes from the hand dyed silk velvet that she stocks in the shop.  Isn’t it just delightful?

stitch 5

My sensibilities were soon saturated –  there were so many wonderful things!  You can purchase the patterns (and the fabric) to make the sweet little boy and elephant perched on the corner of the table.

stitch 7

Every room revealed a new trove of treasures, such as this incredible quilt draped across the 0h-so-comfy couch.  I’d like to just move in, if only for the afternoon.


Of course,  there were many quilt options – patterns, fabric, workshops, tools, silk thread and kits.

stitch 1

Stitch offers a hand printing workshop – these carved wooden blocks can be used to print on either paper or cloth.  Arranged thus,  they  are simply beautiful objects in and of themselves.

stitch 2

Jocelyn had just returned from “Quilt Market” in Portland Oregon.  Little Elsie Cabbage is among a few of the things that she managed to carry home in her suitcase to enjoy before the major fabric shipment arrives.

stitch 6

In addition to the many yarns Stitch carries from major manufacturers,  there was a lovely grouping of hand dyed and hand spun skeins by a local artist  that were visually lush and soooo soft to the touch.

Having worked up our appetites, we were off to lunch at Inn on the Twenty.  The dining room overlooks the lush and beautiful Twenty Valley, towards the Ball’s Falls Conservation Area.

inn on the twenty

Kate – veterinarian by trade, wife, mother of two, quilter and knitter “extraordinaire” –  opened her birthday presents.


Lunch was truly divine.  I chose the special of the day:  Fiddlehead and Arugula Salad with Kobe-style Beef.   It was delicious.


Birthdays are about dessert, right?  We shared three, but my favourite was this lemon custard atop a chardonnay jelly.  Oh my!  Well worth the trip just for this!


Alas, it was all too soon ended.   Later that evening Kate sent a note:
Dear closest friends,
   Thank you both for such a lovely perfect day. Thanks Jenny for doing all the driving. Thank you both for a gorgeous (expensive) super luxury lunch. Thank you both for such lovely thoughtful perfect gifts. Thank you especially for the most valuable gift: your time, and an entire day to hang out together. You spoil me. I feel very loved.  
xo Kate.
Our  lives are qualified beyond measure by such special days.   May we all be blessed with enough of these.



Stitch is located at 3799 Main Street, Jordan Village, Ontario, Canada L0R 1S0  905- 562-1505  222.   The shop is open every day except Monday and until 10:30 on Friday evenings.

Inn On The Twenty Restaurant is located at 3836 Main Street, Jordan, Ontario, Canada L0R 1S0 
Telephone 905-562-7313.  There is also a resort and spa attached.  Reservations recommended.



Filed under Fabric, Favourites, Knitting, Quilting, Textiles, Yarn

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

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  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

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!!!


Filed under Favourites, Knitting, Toronto, Uncategorized, Yarn, Yarn Notes

Sunday Morning

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

More later…



Filed under Knitting, Yarn, Yarn Notes

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.


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:


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


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’.



Filed under Favourites, Knitting, Yarn, Yarn Notes

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.


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.


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

All patterns mentioned are available for purchase on 


Filed under Knitting, Toronto, Uncategorized, Yarn, Yarn Notes

I know it’s cold outside…..

Okay, yes, it is January and pretty chilly out there this week.     I’m as guilty as anyone of just wanting to hibernate inside, but I’m reminded  how healthy it is to just bundle up and get moving.

Go for a walk – besides being good for your general well being, you never know who you might meet.    While out for some air one day near Lunenburg during December, I met little Miss Bossyboots herself.




Sheep three



sheep two


I guess she could sense the ‘Knitter’ in me so she wasn’t letting me come any closer!


Filed under Favourites, Knitting, Lunenburg, Yarn

Knit a Hat for Bondadagur

Tomorrow is Husband’s Day or Bondadagur  in Iceland.

At least to the best of my ability to figure it out, I believe it is tomorrow – it is a moveable feast roughly calculated to the end of January, combining  the ancient calendar month of Thorri with the modern calendar. ( To all in Iceland,  please forgive me if I’m off a day or two.)

To celebrate,  wives and girlfriends in Iceland  pamper their men with a feast of traditional foods that include:  dried fish, putrefied shark, soured blood and liver pudding, and ram’s testicles, washed down with something spirited.  More recently men have started to receive flowers (which sounds like a better offering, but I’m not a guy, so who knows).

I started thinking that the concept of Husband’s Day is kinda great, but how would we celebrate it here in Canada?  Well, since it is January and it is pretty chilly out there, why not knit a hat ?

I’d like to suggest Jared Flood’s Turn a Square, a free download on Ravelry.  (According to their stats, 13,317 people have made this hat, as have most of my friends, so I know it’s a pretty good pattern)

If you combine Noro Silk Garden with a soft tweed worsted weight yarn such as Mirasol Akapana you are guaranteed to get a stunning result.

This is my pick for my husband's hat:  Noro Silk Garden with Mirasol Akapana.

This is my colour  pick for my husband’s hat: Noro Silk Garden with Mirasol Akapana.

Here’s the link for the free hat pattern  download


Filed under Knitting, Yarn