Frolic: 2019 Edition

April 27 was the annual Toronto Knitter’s Frolic, hosted by the Toronto Knitters Guild.  This is a much loved annual tradition, not only for people in the Greater Toronto Area, but from all over. I’ve attended this event since 2015 (and wrote about 2016, 2017, and 2018), and it is always fun, slightly overwhelming, and my bank account leaves a little lighter.  Being ‘old hat’ at this event, I know to budget my nickels accordingly so to avoid doing too much damage!

In a nutshell, the Knitter’s Frolic is a large yarn festival, held in Toronto and featuring vendors from around Ontario and beyond.

This year, I was quite pleased with my purchases:

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In the middle is a project bag, made by Bling Your String. They seem to be a Frolic mainstay, featuring lovely project and notion bags of lots of different shapes and sizes. The Tardises on the bag really sold it for me. Last year I bought a sock yarn set from this vendor and made a pair of Hermione’s Sock with it.

The blue and white yarn above the bag is Regia, which I’m planning on overdyeing for a pair of the Thirteenth Doctor socks.  When the Doctor regenerated into Jodie Whittaker, their style regenerated too. She wears a long trench coat, rainbow suspenders, and underneath her boots are a pair of blue striped socks. Coming to my needles soon…

Continuing with my Doctor Who obsession theme, to the left of the bag is Fourth Doctor self striping sock yarn with co-ordinated brown heel.  There’s 125g of sock yarny goodness in those skeins, and I have lots of time to find the perfect shawl/cowl with which to showcase this yarn!  It was done by indy-dyer The Yarn Therapist, and her etsy shop is HERE.

The green yarn caught my eye at the All Dyed Up booth.  It is a little different from colours I usually gravitate to; blues and teals are my jam, but this lovely skein came home with me.  I’m not sure yet what it is destined to become, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

Finally, the last skein is from Songbird Yarns and Fibres. It was dyed, like all of her yarns, inspired by different songbirds. I bought the Red Winged Blackbird in, surprise surprise, sock weight. What is especially lovely about this yarn is that the dyer donates $2.00 per skein to Bird Studies Canada to help with conservation initiatives.

This year, I went with my cousin, a new-ish knitter, so I got to spread the frolic joy to a new yarn enthusiast!

Another Frolic in the books. Looking forward to knitting with all my lovely new purchases.

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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.

Visiting Yarns Untangled

Last week, I found myself walking about Toronto with a little spare time on my hands. It was a toss-up between visiting the ROM or AGO, or going to a yarn shop. Not overly interested in either special exhibit being offered at the museums (but I’m sure they are wonderfully curated and exciting to visit!), I walked over to Kensington Market and visited Yarns Untangled.

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Thanks to a newly created Heritage Minute, I learned earlier that week about the history of Kensington Market and how it grew and evolved to the niche neighbourhood it is today. Unfamiliar with Heritage Minutes? You must not be Canadian (“Dr. Penfield, I smell burnt toast!). Want to see the newest addition to the Heritage Minute collection? Head over to Historica Canada’s YouTube channel for new and classic parts of our heritage.

Yarns Untangled opened in 2015, in the former home of Lettuce Knit. It was a cozy shop, with a table full of lovely yarn and beautiful finished objects greeting you as you walk in.  The staff who was working that afternoon was friendly and happy to offer assistance as I asked for a specific circular needle for a project.

And, of course, I bought yarn.  They carried a wide selection with many indie dyers being profiled, including Riverside, based in Quebec, Ontario’s Blue Brick, and Lichen and Lace from Nova Scotia.

I bought a lovely skein of DK yarn from Mineville Wool Project.  As YU describes on their website: “Part of the joy of the Mineville yarns is getting to name the colourways ourselves, and this time we chose the theme of Toronto landmarks and neighbourhoods.”  The ON Science Centre colourway came home with me.

For one year, between 2010 and 2011, I worked at the Ontario Science Centre as a Host. I walked around the Science Centre wearing a white lab coat talking to visitors and sharing cool science-y facts with them. My science knowledge wasn’t huge when I started; I was hired more for my strong customer service background. The science could be taught. It really was a fantastic year where I got to meet new people, share some of my enthusiasm, and the team of Hosts were some of the smartest, kindest, most awesome people I have been fortunate to work with.

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When I saw that this skein was named after a place I will forever have wonderful memories of, there was no way I was leaving the store without it. It will make a beautiful cowl, one with a fun tie to a special place for me.

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Knitter’s Frolic 2017

It’s that wonderful time of the year: the grass is getting greener, the flowers are starting to bloom, the temperature is rising, and in Toronto, the knitters are frolicking.  The end of April means the Knitter’s Frolic, an annual event hosted by the Toronto Knitter’s Guild.

This is not my first time frolicking. I’ve attended this event in 2015 and in 2016, but this is the first time where I’ve debated attending. In an effort to be ‘financially responsible’ and making ‘adult decisions,’ I actually thought hard about not attending, but I’m glad my irresponsible (or should I say fun-loving) side won out, not for the things I bought, but for the chance to hang out with friends.

The Frolic is a wonderful event for those who are addicted to all things woolen. Walking around the Japanese Cultural Centre, you know you’re among your people. Overheard phrases include ‘stashes’ and ‘skeins,’ and I giggle to myself every time I hear an ‘knitting-ism.’

I met up with two friends at the Frolic (one of them is the delightful Knitter Nerd) and we had fun looking at all the different offerings from suppliers, and Amy pointed out every time we got ‘Atherley-ed’ (meaning we walked past Kate Atherley, one of the workshop instructors, knitwear designer, and all around cool knitter).  We all left with a little less in our wallets, but I was proud that I stuck to the budget I allowed for myself, as finances were the big reason I was hesitant to attend.

So, the good stuff! What did I purchase? Two skeins came home with me that day, this amazing skein from Dragon Strings – I immediately had to untwist the skein to see the colours and how it was dyed. I also bought myself a skein from Dye-Version, something which is now becoming a Frolic tradition as I have bought from them every year.


What didn’t make it home with me immediately was the skein I bought from Indigodragonfly.  Every year they make a special Frolic colourway and I fell in love. Really, how could I not. But, I was able to order a skein which will arrive right at to my door.

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Image ©Indigodragonfly, from their Facebook Page
All three skeins were from indie dyers, which I love and makes me love my purchases even more. I don’t know yet what they will grow up to be, but in the meantime, I can admire them, waiting for the perfect pattern to come along.

Frolic – 2016 Edition

How much do I love the Knitter’s Frolic?  I posted last year after attending what was my first Frolic, the knitting event hosted by the Toronto Knitter’s Guild.  It’s essentially ComicCom for knitters with the market place open on Saturday with vendors from all over the province and sometimes beyond, and there are additional workshops that one could register for where you can learn all sorts of techniques.

After last year, I knew how dangerous this event could be to one’s bank account, so I had been squirreling away spare cash for weeks and intentionally left my credit card at home.  I am so very happy with my new purchases.

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Before showing off the yarny goodness, I’ll start with the book I bought – Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, better known in the knitting community as the Yarn Harlot. I just picked this book up from my library and fell in love with it, so when I saw a copy for purchase, it had to come home with me.

Yarn Harlot was actually at the Frolic this year, leading some workshops, and I had a yarn fangirl moment when I saw her around the Frolic a number of times! I was sorely tempted to kinnear her, but I resisted – follow the link to find out just what kinnearing is!

Now for the good stuff!

My cotton DK from Dye-Version, based in Mississauga:

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The colourway – Blue Steel! I couldn’t resist

From Shelridge Farm in  Durham, ON, two skeins of fingering wool, Peacock colour, and a pattern that I can (and will) make with it.

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And from Stitch Please (how can you not love that name!!), fingering merino, colourway Men in Tights.

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I am so suckered in by fun names…

I also tried something new this year and I volunteered! It was a last minute decision on my part to send the email and commit, but I am so glad I did!  I spent two hours winding yarn from skein to cake, and it was so much fun! I was able to chat with people, something I love to do, and I got to see all the lovely yarn that people were buying! And besides, winding yarn is fun.  I’d love to help out again next year at the winding station, and I won’t wait until the week before to commit!

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