Articles by Mairi McKissock

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!


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.

Viajante shawl/poncho

This is a truly stunning piece of knitting eye candy!  Pat made this glorious version of the Viajante pattern by accomplished designer Martina Behm.  This is a particularly popular pattern right now, and with good reason.  It’s a very, very easy pattern to knit (all knit stitch, with a few simple increases and decreases), there’s almost nothing you can do wrong, sizing is a non-issue, and the result is both dramatic and practical, suitable for both formal and casual use.

Pat used three and a half skeins of Malabrigo Mechita in a beautiful, speckly turquoise colour for this joyful splash of colour.  But you could use any fingering, light fingering, or heavy laceweight yarn to good effect.  We think it would be just as nice in Fleece Artist 2/8 Blue Faced Leicester – two or three skeins depending on the desired length.

Terrific project, Pam!  Thanks for sharing.

Edie Linen Top

Here’s a great summer top, made by Christina.  She used the Edie pattern, by Isabell Kraemer, with a few modifications.  It’s a lovely pattern, very simple to work, and designed specifically for linen yarn. 

The yarn is BC Garn Lino – a beautiful sport weight linen yarn that is great choice for summer things.  And it comes in a wonderful range of colours.  We love Christina’s happy pop of fuchsia!

The original pattern has some textured stripes.  Christina did away with those, and added her own texture details around bottom seam lines.  But in this yarn, any version of this tee is going to look terrific!

More great work, Christina!  Everyone is going to want one of these…

Store re-opening on Tuesday

Posting date: 15 May 2020

Per provincial guidelines, we will be re-opening the store on Tuesday 19 May.  This is very exciting, after such a long shut-down, and we are really, really looking forward to seeing many of you again.  However, we must work with some limitations and restrictions:

  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10 am – 6 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm
  • No more than two customers in the store at one time.
  • Maintain 2m (6 ft) distance from other people at all times within the store.
  • Please wear a mask while in the store.
  • Please keep visits short, both to minimise any contagion risk in shared indoor spaces, and to allow other customers time to visit.
  • Customers are invited to use our hand sanitizer (available at the counter), or washroom (at back of store) to wash hands on entering and/or before leaving the store.
  • Please stay home if you have any symptoms of cough or fever

Additionally, the online shopping portal is still available, with shipping or curbside pick-up options.

We are sorry, but we still cannot offer hands-on knitting assistance yet.

The coronavirus is still with us, and there is an expectation that numbers of new cases will rise as businesses all over Toronto start operating again.  So it is very important that we follow all of the provincial and Health Canada safety guidelines.

Persons considered ‘at risk’ should not visit any store, including ours, until further notice.  Persons at risk include: anyone in poor general health, anyone with immuno-compromisation issues, anyone with cardiovascular issues, anyone with diabetes of any type, anyone with chronic respiratory issues.

Online Store Updates

Posting date: 15 May 2020

We have had another busy week, expanding the online store.  We now have most of our yarns catalogued in the online shop. There are a few low-volume yarns still to add, and those might take a while, but all of our most popular lines are now available.

As always, you can find the newest yarns under the ‘New’ menu tab, and our sale yarns under the ‘Sale’ menu tab.  Our latest sale items include deep discounts on some gorgeous, hand-dyed luxury fibres from Handmaiden, one of our favourite Canadian yarn dyers.

This week, we have also added a number of Nina’s original design patterns.  We’re not done – there will be more added over the next few days, but we do now have up a good selection of her new patterns, and the most popular of her older patterns.

And while you’re here, check out the customer project gallery.  We are posting customer project photos here as you send them to us. Thank you for all the pictures you have sent! You have made some beautiful things!

It will likely still be a while before we can gather at the store together with our knitting projects for ‘show and tell’, so please continue to share your projects with us here!  Email photos to, together with any notes about the pattern and yarn used.

Veronika Poncho/Sweater

Anja made this intriguing garment from the Veronika pattern by Cocoknits. It looks so fun and comfortable!

Anja chose to use Trailhead Yarns Fundy Tides and Cabot Trail, holding together one strand of each to give a complex blend of colours – one of our favourite ways to use these two yarns together.  It produces a lovely, light, summer-weight fabric with great drape.

Thanks for sharing, Anja – great project!

Babyull Lanett – restock & new colours

Posting date: 13 May 2020

Babyull Lanett from Sandnes Garn is a big seller, and not just for baby projects.  Its a high-quality, cruelty-free, easy-care, economical, baby-skin-soft wool yarn, blended with enough yarn to make it durable enough for socks and other tough-duty projects.  No wonder it’s popular!

Now restocked in our most popular colours, and a few new ones to round out the selection.

Mia Pullover

Kim made this version of Nina’s Mia Pullover pattern.  She used Geilsk Tweed, as a substitute for the Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal the pattern was originally written for, and we love how it came out.

It’s soft and tweedy, with a flattering fit and simple but elegant details.

Looks great on you, Kim!

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!