The Great Toronto Yarn Hop

Let me tell you about my Saturday.

For the last 12 years, there has been a giant yarn crawl in the City of Toronto, a fundraiser for an organization called Sistering: A Woman’s Place, “a multi-service centre for homeless, at-risk and socially isolated women in Toronto.” Recently rebranded as The Great Toronto Yarn Hop, I bought my ticket back in June and eagerly awaited this event!

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Here’s how it worked, in a nutshell.  There were several ‘teams’ you could join (and buy your ticket for), and each team followed a particular route visiting a number of yarn shops; in Toronto, there is quite a large number!  At the end of the day, all teams met at a pub where you could compare purchases, and raffle tickets, sold throughout the day, were drawn and prizes awarded.

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I joined Team Linen, largely chosen because I liked the first stop of the day, easy to get to from Transit, located in historic Kensington Market.  Although I’ve been to Yarns Untangled before, I was looking forward to seeing what they had in the shop. After time spent at Yarns Untangled, and a skein of Robosheep Yarns Sock purchased, we jumped on the TTC and headed to Stop #2, EweKnit.

EweKnit was the largest shop we visited, located at Bloor and Ossington, with a large main floor selling yarns as well as fabric and needlepoint kits, and basement set up with looms where they offer weaving classes.  I was good to my budget, only buying a single ball of Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool, and it’s already earmarked for a project.

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Stop #3 was Knit-O-Matic, a bright shop on Bathurst, just south of St. Clair, complete with store bird to welcome groups.  This stop was particularly busy as there was another team in the shop at the same time, but I somehow managed to do perhaps the worst damage to my budget here.  I bought two skeins of Cascade Yarns® Avalon, adding to my stash of two and a half skeins. What I had wasn’t enough to really make something with, but adding these extra metres could mean I have enough to make a nice light summer shirt.  I also bought a skein of Manos del Uruguay Alegría:

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With colours like that, how could I not?

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Our final stop was another shop I’ve visited before but was happy to return to Passionknit, on Yonge, north of Lawrence. At this last stop, my allotted budget had significantly dwindled, and my backpack was bursting with yarny-wonderfulness, so my sole purchase was a skein of Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM), in their special colourway released for Local Yarn Store day.

I had so much fun during the Yarn Hop.  Six skeins of yarn, four shops (two new), and I met people from all over Ontario at this event. A cowl in progress was easily accessible during our travels, and I was able to get in a few stitches on transit.

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This was me, on Line 2 (Bloor) line travelling from Stop 1 to 2; stitches in progress, wide stance to prevent falling over.  As I said, so much fun.

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Local Yarn Store Day

Saturday April 21 marked the first (hopefully annual) Local Yarn Store Day, where fibre people were encouraged to go support their brick and mortar Local Yarn Stores.  I have four in my immediate area, four that I love dearly, and I would have loved to visit them all, but Saturday ended up being a perfect storm of errands, budget constraints, and the beginnings of a cold.  My errand running did put Soper Creek Yarn in Bowmanville right in my path, so of course I stopped in.

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I was there fairly early in the morning, sometime between 10am and 11am, and the store was buzzing with activity! Tina, the owner, had various sales on for LYS Day, and the big sign for LYS day was inviting.

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I was good to my bank account (the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic is April 28, after all, and one should budget accordingly), and I bought a skein of Cascade Heritage Sock in a lovely forest green colour.  A few weeks previous from Soper Creek, I bought a beautiful speckled skein from Mineville Wool Project, and the green was purposefully purchased to compliment the speckles.

In the past, I’ve written about why I love LYSs and why, I think, all knitters should support the LYS in their community.  Local Yarn Shop Day was another opportunity to bring attention to the small businesses in our community, to encourage people to shop local, and to discover for themselves what’s to love about a LYS.

2018 Yarn Challenge

It’s started. Every year, one of my LYSs hosts a yarn challenge; she picks the yarn, the colours, prepares kits, and knitters do their thing and make something using the yarn. In 2016, I made this:

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And last year, I made this:

 

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I’ve already cast on my project and won’t post pictures until the challenge is over, but here is the yarn for the challenge:


I’ll be honest, I did find it hard to find a project that nicely incorporates five colours, but I cast on and I’m really happy with what I have so far. And I’m sure you were wondering, the yarn is Borgo de Pazzi’s Amore 160, a DK weight yarn. I’ll share my FO in a few weeks. Another reason why I love my local yarn shops!

Knit In Public Day 2017

Is there anything better than getting together with friends and spending an afternoon knitting? Why, yes there is! Getting together and knitting with friends IN PUBLIC for Worldwide Knit In Public Day!

Are you asking yourself what is Worldwide Knit In Public Day? Take a moment and read my post from last year where I touch on its history.

This year, we met at the same place, the courtyard in front of the Whitby Public Library; the group may have been smaller, but it was a beautiful day spent outside.  My friend Polo over at the Knitter Nerd co-ordinated it, in partnership with Whitby’s LYS, Kniterary. Side note: if you’re not following Polo, you really should because she writes about really cool/yarny/nerdy stuff, and she just revamped her site and it looks awesome.

People were knitting, people were using knitting machines (quite the set up!), and I spent my afternoon seaming a baby sweater which will be mailed to its recipient later this week.


Last year I asked the question isn’t every day knit in public day, because I’m not shy about my habit; I’ve knit on planes, trains, automobiles, in restaurants, coffee shops, on sidewalk benches, and in the middle of parks. What makes WWKIP day so amazing is that there is power in numbers. When you get a sizable group together, everyone partaking in the same activity, passers-by want to come over and want to learn more about what we’re up to. We get to showcase our pastime, our passion. We get to spend time outside on a lovely June day with other knitters with the knowledge that around the world, there are others doing the exact same thing as you.


I’m going to keep knitting in public, but I’m already looking forward to WWKIP Day 2018!

Loving Local Yarn Shops

Over the six plus years I’ve been a knitter, my habits have changed greatly.  Besides the obvious growth in skills and techniques I’ve learned, my speed is greater, I am more fluent in reading patterns, my preferred needles and yarns have changed preference, and where I shop is drastically different from where I first bought a skein of yarn and needles.  There is nothing wrong with supporting a large ‘big box’ craft store ( or BBCS as I’ll be abbreviating), which is where I went when I first decided to give knitting a try – they have affordable supplies and helpful staff.  However, now that I think about it, I cannot remember the last time I purchased supplies from a BBCS, preferring to shop and support Local Yarn Shops (LYS).

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I am quick to sing the praises of LYSs, and rightly so, in my humble opinion. There are so many reasons to love a LYS, and here are mine:

Unique Offerings

Walking through a BBCS, you’ll see the same products. Lots of Red Heart, Lion’s Brand, Patons, and the shop’s own brand. Rows after rows, colour after colour. The same time and time again. Walking into a LYS is almost like a treasure hunt – many LYSs have brands they always carry, and every so often, they will discover a new company or indie dyer and will have new surprises for customers.  There is also no arguing about the quality of the product being offered, that what you can usually find at a LYS is superior to BBCS. There is nothing wrong with the products listed above – good, solid, reliable products they are – but my own preference through they years have turned to favouring other offerings, like Cascade, Berocco, Sweet Georgia, Manos, and more. If you’re looking for diversity and uniqueness is products, you’re best bet is head to a LYS.

Friendly Staff

LYS owners are some of the friendliest people you would have the honour to meet. People who own LYSs are knitters or crafters themselves. They love the craft, they love yarn, and if you’re in a bind, they are there to help. I’m lucky to have four awesome LYSs within 20 minutes of driving, and I’m on first name basis with three of them (I’ll get there with the fourth!). Once you get to know the wonderful staff at a LYS, you become more than a customer – you become part of the crafting community.

Shop Local & Support Local

And speaking about community, when you shop at a LYS, you are supporting a local business and small business owner. You are supporting your neighbour and your community at large. I’m a big fan of small businesses and try to frequent them when I can. Is there anything better than supporting your community, making it a more vibrant place to live?

 

Why do you like shopping at your Local Yarn Shop?