Articles by Mairi McKissock

Black Friday Sale!

Posting date: 26 November 2020

Our physical store may be closed for in-person shopping, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a sale for Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

All yarn orders placed between Friday 27 November and Monday 30 November will receive a 25% discount.  That’s 25% off all yarns, no exceptions.

To get your discount this weekend, just go to our online shopping portal, make your purchase selections, then enter the discount code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout.

Your order will be made ready for curbside pick-up, or shipped to you directly according to your preference.

Locking down, again

Posting date: 21 November 2020

Following provincial and municipal rules for the Covid-19 lockdown, our physical store will be closed for in-person shopping after Monday 23rd November.

We will be open this weekend, with some extra hours.  Hopefully this will allow those of you who need some last-minute yarn selection advice more time to visit without crowding :

  • Saturday 21 Nov 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Sunday 22 Nov 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Masks and physical distancing are, of course, still required, as per city bylaws.

After Monday, we will be happy to assist you by phone (416-331-8085), or through our online shopping portal.  Curbside pick-up and home delivery are both available.

Stay well and stay safe!  We look forward to seeing all our friends and customers again in person when it is deemed safe to reopen.

Dashia’s Colour Block Sweater

Dashia designed this colour block sweater herself, and plans to make the pattern available soon.

It’s an over-sized design, with a comfortable, stylish drape and a flattering neckline.

Dashia used three colours of Drops Sky, which is a super-soft alpaca/merino chainette yarn.  Like all of the Drops yarns, it’s high quality, and great value for money.  The whole sweater needs just 6 skeins in total – 1 skein of gold, 2 skeins of light gray, and 3 skeins of dark gray.

Lovely design, Dashia!  We’re sure you’ll get lots of use out of this lovely piece.

 

Nina’s ‘Classic’

This free pattern from Espace Tricot is called ‘The Classic‘ for good reason.  It’s the quintessential classic raglan sweater that goes with everything, and you end up wearing again and again.

Nina modified her version by working fewer rows of neck ribbing for a simple crew neck, instead of the mock turtle neck in the original.

The lovely mottled wheat colour  comes from using one strand of Drops Brushed Alpaca, in colour 19 ‘curry’, held together with one strand of Manos del Uruguay Marina, in colour ‘filigree’.  The whole sweater used just 6 skeins (150g) of Brushed Alpaca and one skein (100g) of Marina.  So, it feels as light as air and as soft as a cloud.

Combining different yarns like this can make the simplest of projects come alive with depth of colour.  Ask Nina for her advice about yarn and colour combinations for any project you have in mind!

Winter hours

Posting date: 1 November 2020

This is a reminder that our winter hours are currently:

  • Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Of course, Covid-19 is still with us, so we are following all health and safety guidelines and Toronto bylaws.  Masks are required in the store at all times, and you are requested to maintain physical distance from other customers. 

If you are uncomfortable with visiting the store in person, we are still offering curbside pick-up for orders placed online, or by phone (416-331-8085).

Mary’s ‘Stole Dunes’ wrap

Mary made this version of Svetlana Gordon‘s dramatic ‘Stole Dunes‘ wrap pattern, using complementary shades of Log House Cottage Squishy Sock yarn.

You could use just about any yarn for this project, because gauge isn’t too important for a wrap.  Depending on yarn weight and needle size, it could end up bigger or smaller, but it will make a super wrap at most sizes.  You could also vary the number of pattern repeats for whatever size you want.  A longer, thinner version could make a lovely scarf.

However, Squishy Sock is a particularly good yarn choice.  It’s as soft and squishy as the name implies, and it comes in a superb range of complementary tonal shades and fades.  We definitely love Mary’s colour choices!

This is a great pattern, too.  Not super-hard to execute, but great fun.  And the way the stitches run both horizontally and vertically creates a dramatic effect that looks terrific and makes other knitters wonder how you did it.  Anyone who sees it will think that you are very, very clever to have made something this interesting!

Christina’s ‘Olive’ Lace Sweater

This is Cristina’s version of Pernille Larsen‘s beautiful Olive lace sweater pattern.

Christina used 4 skeins of Illimani Sabri II yarn, in colour ‘Bone’.  This is a lovely blend of alpaca and cotton, in an easy-knit, chainette-construction worsted weight that gives great stitch definition.  So the finished garment is light and very, very soft, but with a nice amount of give.  Easy to wear, and easy to care for.

And it looks even better in person than it does on the dress form!

New Yarn – Fibre Co. Amble

Posting date: 27 October 2020

Amble is a new fingering weight/sock yarn, available now in-store and from our online shopping portal. It’s a terrific product – a bit more interesting than your average sock yarn.

For starters, it’s an incredibly versatile yarn, suitable for just about any fingering weight project, including cowls and scarves with next-to-skin softness requirements. Plus, it’s machine-washable, for easy care. A great choice for heirloom-quality baby things.

The warm, modern colour palette will be familiar – these tones and hues show up in other yarns from The Fibre Co., one of our favourite suppliers of quality yarns.

But the backstory for the yarn is just as interesting. It uses eco-friendly processes for sourcing, blending, treating, and dyeing the fibre that are leading edge, and second-to-none. Read more about this interesting yarn here.

Nina’s ‘Clapton’

Nina made this version of Isabel Kraemer’s design Clapton, using her favourite yarn, Fleece Artist 2/8 Blue Face Leicester in black, with one skein of Malabrigo Mechita in gold for the highlights.

It’s a lovely design, with a classic shape and relatively simple stranded pattern for the yoke.  And, like anything worked in BFL 2/8, it is light, warm, soft, and luscious.

Nina made this slightly longer, for a tunic-length sweater, and needed just a bit more than two skeins of 2/8.  She thinks that a regular length sweater, in most of the smaller sizes, could be made with just two skeins of 2/8.  If you’d like to make one like it, Nina would be happy to advise about yarn quantities.

Closed for holiday weekend

Posting date: 4 September 2020

We will be closed all day this Saturday, 5 September for the Labour Day weekend.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but we hope that you, too, have the opportunity to rest and relax over this long holiday weekend.

Our online storefront remains open, of course, and any orders placed will be shipped out, or available for pickup, on Tuesday, 8 September, when we reopen.

Summer Hours

Posting date: 29 July 2020

We are moving to reduced hours at the store (1213 Ellesemere Rd) for the remainder of July, August and September:

  • Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

However, our online storefront remains available 24 hours a day!

2020 Toronto Yarn Hop

Posting Date: 19 June 2020

As many of you know, we participate every year in the Great Toronto Yarn Hop, a locally organised tour of yarn stores that usually takes place via public transit.

Not surprisingly, this year’s event will be largely online, as gatherings on public transport are not permitted at this time.  We do hope to see some of you in person making individual visits, but if you are shopping safely from home, you will be able to use the provided discount code from your Yarn Hop passport in our online shop.

Sale! 20% off Handmaiden Special Edition Yarns

Posting date: 5 June 2020

Handmaiden yarns (together with sister brand Fleece Artist) have always been one of our favourite Canadian independent dyers.  They have been in the business for decades, and have some of the best yarn base selections, with consistently spectacular colourways.

So, we make a point to stock up on their special edition offerings, most recently the ‘Wanderlust Islands’ series, with colourways inspired by island vacation destinations.  We have these limited edition colours in three luxury fibre blends: Flyss (Linen/Silk), Swiss Mountain Woolie Silk (Merino/Silk), and Alpaca Merino (Merino/Alpaca).

These are all wonderful yarns, and they have been popular as all Handmaiden yarns are.  It’s just that we ordered rather a lot of them, expecting these to be a big seller at this year’s Knitters’ Frolic, and of course that didn’t happen, due to COVID-19.

So, we’re selling the remainder of our stock at 20% off.  These colourways will not be repeated, so if you like what you see, buy them now!

 

New Yarn – Kremke Stellaris

Posting date: 5 June 2020

This is an entirely new yarn for our store, and we are excited by the creative possibilities it brings.

Kremke Stellaris is more of a thread than a yarn, and while it can be used on it’s own to create wonderfully fine cobweb-weight projects, we feel that it really shines (literally) when held together with another yarn to add a bit of sparkle to your work.

It is soft, easy to work with and comes in a wonderful range of colours.  Nina’s new capelet design shows how easy it is to add an elegant shimmer to transform the simplest of projects.

We started out with just a few of the available colours, but it is already popular and selling well, so we will definitely be getting more in soon!

 

New stock – Drops Brushed Alpaca Silk

Posting date: 5 June 2020

We just received an order with lots of wonderful new colours in one of our favourite yarns: Drops Brushed Alpaca Silk.

This is a light-weight yarn that is as soft as a cloud, knits up quickly at a loose gauge, has tremendous yardage, comes in a terrific range of colours, and is remarkably inexpensive.

Nina has worked up a new design using this yarn – you can see a picture of her capelet sample in the project gallery.

 

Dressy Capelet

Nina made this scrumptious capelet from her new stock of Drops Brushed Alpaca Silk, holding one strand together with a strand of Kremke Stellaris for a touch of sparkle.  It uses four balls of Brushed Alpaca Silk, and one spool of Stellaris.

It’s everything we expect from one of Nina’s designs – maximum elegance and practicality with minimum effort.  A clean, simple design that anyone can make, and will look good on everyone.

The light, airy, brushed alpaca makes this garment incredibly soft and weightless – an ideal thing to roll up in a corner of your bag and always carry with you for those times when you don’t know how many layers you might need in your day.

Perfect as a light, extra layer in winter, when the lofty alpaca will trap warmth under your coat.  Perfect for spring and autumn, when temperatures vary unpredictably and you need a layer you can put on or take off and stow in a small space in your bag.  Perfect for summer, when going in and out of air-conditioning has the same effect.  And perfect for looking stylish in any season.

The pattern is available from Nina at the store, or in the online shop.  Remember that all of Nina’s patterns are free with purchase of yarn.  So, if you are buying online, only put the yarn in your cart, and add a note with your order that you would like a free copy of the pattern.

Cabot Trail – restock & new colours

Posting date: 21 May 2020

This morning we received our restocking order of Trailhead Yarns Cabot Trail (laceweight tencel), including a few new colours.  We know that some of you have been eagerly awaiting this, in order to knit Nina’s new Checkerboard Tunic, or the summer version of her popular Layering Tunic.

If you think you know what colour you want, order online now, to be sure you get your preferred colours – there were only five of each new colour, and several have been sold already!

Buttons!

Posting date: 19 May 2020

We made a big addition to the online store today.  Buttons!  Hundreds and hundreds of them – literally.

It turns out that browsing online for buttons is actually quite a good way to shop.  Or even just window-shop.  Because you can filter by size, shape, and colour, you can narrow down your options and easily see what might really work for any given project.

Of course, colour representations are never perfect online.  But, we are a full-service yarn store, so if you are buying online, we offer a button-matching service. We will suggest buttons to match a yarn that you are buying, or we will check that buttons you have selected match the yarn you have purchased. Just add a note with your yarn order requesting a button match (or to check any already selected buttons), and we will contact you with button suggestions and not ship your order until you have a added a matching button selection, if desired.

We can also offer button-matching for any yarn previously purchased, so long as it is a yarn and colour that we still have in stock for comparison.

Colour Play

Here’s a creative piece from Louise, getting instruction from Nina on the fly to work her first top-down raglan.

There’s no pattern, just an adventurous knitter learning as she goes with guidance from Nina.  Louise used Rhichard Devrieze Thede sock yarn, in the popular ‘Psychedelic Hosteins’ colourway, interspersed with Ruby sock yarn.  Here’s what Louise says about her creative process:

“I started top down doing as for an ordinary raglan sweater, instructions by Nina. (1st raglan for me 🤗). I alternated 2 rows each colour until then switching up to more of the Ruby yarn, sometimes 6-8 rows of that colour. I finished off the bottom band in basket weave just because I was bored with ordinary ribbing. I picked up stitches for the sleeves and neckline and finished edges in basket weave also.”

That’s the Creative process, all right!  All the way to figuring out how to get a selfie in the mirror, because even getting photos is hard when we’re all isolating.

Great job all around, Louise!

A Gnome Addiction

Lisa says it’s never too early to start Christmas Knitting!  And now we’ve seen what she’s been making, we want to join her.  Gnomes!

Aren’t these guys the cutest?  The pattern is Never Not Gnoming (by Sarah Schira), and Lisa says these quick, easy-knit fellas are so addictive that she has made seven so far.  Given how long it is until Christmas, and how much extra knitting time the COVID-19 shutdown has given some of us, we predict that certain households will be positively over-run with gnomes by the time the festive season kicks off.

We like the woolly look of the yarns Lisa used – you could get the same effect with BC Garn Bio Shetland, but really, this is a great pattern for using up any fingering weight yarn scraps you have in your stash.

Thanks for sharing, Lisa – these guys really made us smile.