Articles by Mairi McKissock

Earflap hat


Linda made these super-cozy hats for her husband this winter.  The pattern is the Kolmen Earflap Hat, by Amy Loberg, and it can be made with or without earflaps, or even without the top, as an elegant cabled headband.

Linda chose to use the ridiculously soft and luscious Illimani Amelie for her first hat.  It’s a great choice, because the alpaca-stuffed silk tube construction has a wonderful structure and sheen that gives terrific stitch definition for cables, but is ultra-soft and super-warm.

For her second hat, Linda skipped the earflaps, and used Malabrigo Rios, in a lovely dark teal.

Great projects, Linda – beautiful and practical.

Layering Tunic

Christina made this gorgeous version of Nina’s Layering Tunic pattern.   She has customised it with contrasting pockets, and a crochet flower detail on the left shoulder.

Christina used the yarn recommended in the pattern.  It’s one of our favourite yarns – Fleece Artist 2/8 Blue Faced Leicester, a wonderfully soft wool that is a treat to knit with.  And the hand-dyed tonal colourways, as you can see here in green, are extremely attractive.

Beautiful work, Christina!

Noro Ito – new colours

Posting date: 11 May 2020

We’re not just loading existing stock into the online shop, we are also getting completely new stock in some yarns and colourways.  The latest addition is several new colourways of the popular Noro Ito.

This is a great yarn for quick-knit projects that hold your interest at every stitch.  The balls are huge – 200g – and you can knit an entire scarf from one ball, or an adult man’s sweater from three.

Customer Project Gallery

Posting date: 9 May 2020

One of the things we miss most during this prolonged COVID-19 shutdown is seeing all the wonderful projects our customers bring in to show us.

So, we have started a customer project gallery on the website – a sort of virtual ‘show and tell’ page to help bring us together while the physical store is closed. Our first customer project entry is up already: Karen’s lovely crocheted baby sweaters.  We’d love to feature more customer projects every week.

To make this easy, please just email us your project photos to this address:

Include a note with:
  • The name of the pattern/designer
  • The name of the yarn you are using
  • Your name (or Ravelry ID, if you prefer) so we can identify you
  • Any comments you would like to share about the pattern or yarn

Crocheted Baby Sweaters

Karen has been making several of these cute crocheted baby sweaters, using the Eloise Baby Sweater free pattern.  The matching hats are her own addition.

The pattern calls for machine-washable worsted weight yarn, and Karen chose to use Uptown Worsted from Universal Yarn.  It’s a high-quality acrylic yarn, suitable for soft but hard-wearing adult sweaters and afghans as well as frequently-washed baby things.  And it comes in a fantastic range of colours – Karen has chosen sophisticated two-colour combinations for her sweaters, but you could also pick a range of bright rainbow colours for the accents, to copy the style of the original pattern.

If you want to use wool for this pattern, Cascade 220 Superwash would be another great choice.

Thanks to Karen for being the first to share her project pictures to our gallery!




Patterns now available online

Posting date: 8 May 2020

We have now added patterns to the online store! There are only a couple to begin with, but we’ll be adding more over the next week. We know you miss being able to see and knit along with Nina’s new (and old) designs, so the pattern store will allow you access to these again.

You have the option of buying just the pattern, but as always, Nina’s patterns are free with purchase of yarn for the project.

Online Store Updates

Posting date: 1 May 2020

We have had a busy week adding lots of products to the online store.  More are being added every day, but here is a summary of what is new this week.

  • More needles and interchangeable needle set components.
  • A whole new department for notions.  You can find crochet hooks here, as well as needle felting supplies and all the usual knitting accessories.
  • More than 50 yarns, which you can find under the ‘New‘ tab on the online store main menu.
  • A new section for sale items.  33% off select yarn!

New yarn highlights include lots of Malabrigo, lots of sock yarns in general, and beautiful hand-dyed Canadian yarns from Ravenswood Fibre Co, Log House Cottage Yarns, Rhichard Devrieze, and Zen Yarn Garden.  But there is lots, lots more – take a look!

Online Shopping

The Creative Yarns online store is now available. The online store will be available throughout the COVID-19 mandatory shutdown.

We are still loading inventory into the online store, so if you do not see what you want, please let us know. New products are being added every day – come back next week to browse for more offerings.

Now Available – Online Shopping

Posting date: 25 April 2020

Today is Local Yarn Store Day.

Normally, we’d be celebrating with some sort of in-store get-together, but nothing is normal during a pandemic.

It seems fitting, however, to launch our Online Shopping portal today. Our mission has always been to provide an oasis of calm in a hectic world, a place where we can share joys and sorrows as well as inspiration and creativity. We are more than a store, we are a community, and on Local Yarn Store Day, we are reaching out to connect, once again, through virtual media.

We hope that you will visit our Online Store and let us know what you think – it is a work in progress, and we will be adding new products every day, as well as adjusting to your feedback. Please also tell us how the current crisis is affecting your knitting/crafting life on this LYS Day, and any suggestions you may have for celebrating a future LYS Day in a more normal world.

Wishing you peace, health, and safety in this unusual time.

Coming soon – online shopping!

Posting date: 23 April 2020

First, a big thank you to those of you who have reached out to us by phone to order yarn.  We know that this is not a good way to shop for yarn, unless you already know what you want!

So, we are very excited to let you know that we will soon be able to offer online shopping.  As you know, Creative Yarns has always been about the in-person experience, and we had not previously had plans to do online sales.  But, we hadn’t planned to close down, either, so something had to change.

The online store is now partially stocked, and being tested.  We expect to be able to open for business in a few days, and will make another announcement then, with a link to the storefront.

Safe Shopping!

Posting date: 24 March 2020

Update (26 April 2020): Now that we have implemented a better online shopping mechanism, complete with photos, we would like to redirect orders through the online store as much as possible.  This will not only help you with your choices, but also help us to handle inventory more precisely, and provide better service to all of our customers.  If you are unable to access the online shop, or if the yarn you need is not yet loaded for online purchase, you may of course still contact us by phone or email.

Per Ontario health guidelines, we are closing the store to in-person shopping.

We are, however, still doing business, by phone and email, with pick-up or mail orders available.  Please use one of the following methods to contact Nina:

  • Call the store and leave a message: (416) 331-8085
  • Email the store:
  • Email Nina directly:
  • Call Nina’s personal cell: (416) 430-0788

Nina will be at the store once a day to handle all calls and emails, and prepare orders for pick-up or mail-out.  If you leave a message at the store, she will call you back at that time.


Classes cancelled

Posting date: 20 March 2020

Following the latest health guidelines, we have now decided to cancel all scheduled classes.  We will be contacting all registered students personally to give a full refund.

COVID-19 Update

Posting date: 17 March 2020

Dear friends and customers,

Like everyone else, we are evaluating the virus pandemic situation on a day-by-day basis.  At this time we have made the decision to remain open, following Canadian public health guidelines.

The following groups of people are considered to be at high risk:

  • anyone over 70 years of age
  • anyone with asthma or other known respiratory problems
  • anyone with existing cardiovascular issues
  • anyone with immunocompromisation issues
  • anyone who has traveled outside Ontario within the last 14 days

If you fall into any of these categories, please do not come to the store in person.  Instead, please call Nina (416-331-8085) to discuss your needs.  We can prepare any purchase and either make it available for pick up by a friend, or mail it to you.

Store hours are also changing.  We will be open from 10am to 6pm, Tuesday through Saturday, and the Thursday evening social knitting group is cancelled until further notice.

Scheduled classes will be continuing until further notice, as class sizes are small and the large classroom allows appropriate distancing.  If you cannot attend because you are in one of the risk groups identified above, call Nina for a full refund.

We apologise for any inconvenience.  We want everyone to stay healthy, and we will get through this together.

More Classes!

Posting date: 7 March 2020

Did you miss the Toe-Up Socks class at the end of February?  It was really popular.  There were so many people on the waitlist, that we decided to run it again right away.  It is already more than half full, but there are a few spots left, so call right away if you want to take advantage of this second chance.

We are also running a beginner class for Stranded Colourwork at the end of April, also with Liane Schwarz.

Stranded Colourwork for Beginners (Cancelled)


Skill Level: Intermediate
Date: Saturdays, 4 & 11 Apr, 2:00 – 4:00 pm (2 sessions, 4 hours total)
Instructor: Liane Schwarz
Cost: $52 + HST + materials

This class will focus on the basics of stranded colourwork, suitable for fairisle and other all-over colourwork patterns. By making a beautiful fairisle hat, you will be introduced to chart reading, stranding with two colours, effective fingering techniques and several more tricks of the trade that will give you the confidence to tackle more challenging projects next time.

Shawl Design Bootcamp (Finished)

Skill Level: Intermediate
Date: Saturday, 14 Mar, 10:30am – 3:30 pm (1 session with lunch break , 4 hours total)
Instructor: Robbie Laughlin
Cost: $48 + HST

With so many options for shawls these days, it can be difficult to choose one to cast on. But what if you could make something truly unique and all your own? With this class, you’ll learn to work shawls without a pattern by designing your own. Robbie will walk you through the most common shapes, showing you how to shape them, add texture, and make them your own.

Pattern Writing and Editing (Finished)


Skill Level: Intermediate
Date: Saturday, 7 Mar, 10:30am – 3:30 pm (1 session with lunch break , 4 hours total)
Instructor: Robbie Laughlin
Cost: $48 + HST


In this 4 hour class, you’ll learn the fundamentals of writing, editing and publishing your first pattern. In the first half, Robbie will lead you through the steps required to write a successful pattern, including setting up a style sheet to keep yourself organized and using mobile devices to enhance productivity and write with consistency. In the second half you’ll learn the basics of charting, using spreadsheets for math, how to set up a good layout, and formatting to make your pattern easier to read.