Little things. We knitters have lots of little things. Stitch markers, crochet hooks, darning needles, measuring tapes… the list goes on. These are the kinds of things that you can never have too many of.

Julia wrote a great piece about her tool kit, here.
And I wrote a pretty OK piece about my bug out bag, here.

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Bring these lists in to the store, ask our killer staff to put together a kit for your budding knitting, or have them pick out some really nice tools to replace old worn ones (why yes, I will take that handmade rosewood crochet hook over my old, bent, flaking steel one, thank you very much). This will be more appreciated than you can imagine – it’s the little things.

And for today’s pattern suggestion: Lumberjack, from Tin Can Knits (they always have such lovely patterns, don’t you think?) I don’t know why, but I am suuuuuper into the idea of a whole family’s worth of these! And for yarn… well, any DK or light worsted, so… uh, go nuts.

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Ok, one more knitted pattern gift idea before I jump into purchasable last minute gifts. I just can’t help it, you have a few more days and I love this yarn;)

The Sweet Sixteen Hat by Blue Sky Alpacas is a lovely design and made up with BSA Extra yarn that is so unbelieveably soft and cozy, it is a dream to work with.
http://www.urbanyarns.com/blue-sky-alpacas-extra-18st/

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We have other BSA patterns using this yarn in the shop, so come check them out and have a feel of the Extra yarn to see what I am talking about….SO SOFT!


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Ok, I’m going to be a bit out of left field with this one, so bear with me.

If you or your knitter are anything like me (or you know, most normal humans), you/they probably like coffee and/or tea. Personally, I’m a coffee guy, but there are many avid tea drinkers out there.

Now, I also like to shop local, so here’s a list of some of my top picks. Buy them a bag of beans, a box of tea, a gift card, or maybe even just take them out for a cuppa!

Bean Around the World has some very nice roasted beans that you can buy by weight (get a half-pound to start if you’re not sure). Bonus, they’ve got shops all over town.

If you’re out near UBC, The Boulevard Coffee Co roasts on-site. Great Dane has fantastic food and pastries (and coffee from a great Victoria roaster).

In the middle of the city, Elysian make some of the best lattes and cappuccinos I’ve ever had. Aperture has a funky vibe (and a wall of books to swap and borrow), and brings in Intelligentsia – one of my favourite roasters. Kafka’s does some lovely specialty drinks, and some very lovely pastries.

Another local roaster is Milano, with a few locations around town. Hands down the best locally-roasted beans in town.

The Bayswater Tea Company is a cute shop, and does one of the best cream teas I’ve found.

Murchies, of course is a classic option for teas.

While not just selling tea, East End Chai does some incredibly lovely chai. Perfect for cold grey days.

There are many more, but hopefully this is enough to get you started! The options might seem intimidating, but I find you can get some great recommendations if you ask!


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Now we are starting to get down to the wire, but I think that you can pull of making these last few knitted projects in time. They are super quick….and I have faith in you;)

This all in one package by Sirdar includes the pattern and even a pom pom to attach to the top of the hat. It is a super easy pattern that is knitted flat and seamed up the back- no knitting in the round, so suitable for a beginner and even a child…..SUPER FAST KNIT.

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Another quick hat pattern uses one ball of Lumio- http://www.urbanyarns.com/search.php?search_query=lumio&x=0&y=0 that is spun with a reflector thread throughout. Perfect for our rainy, dark Vancouver weather or ripping down a mountain, you will always been seen. You can find several free hat patterns using this and other SMC yarn here: http://us.schachenmayr.com/mymountain

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Last but not least the ever-useful tea pot cozy. This is a classic and easy to follow pattern brought to you by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas uses any Aran weight yarn. We have copies in store or you can find the pattern on ravelry here:http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ribbed–ruffled-tea-cozies

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So that should hopefully keep you busy for the next couple of days, Happy knitting!!


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Today I am recommending yet another tool, or rather a set of tools: a Ball Winder and Swift.

Now these two things really go together, as one is not much good without the other. While we are happy to help you wind your yarn in store, we are all familiar with the late-night need to wind a skein of yarn into a ball to continue or start a project. Well, there’s no reason you can’t have these toys at home!

ballwinder

swift

And for today’s pattern is Purl Sohos Big Herringbone Cowl. Because it is soooooo nice knit up in the dreamy Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted.

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Todays post idea comes courtesy of Karen- why not learn a new knitting skill with the x days of teaching! Take advantage of this time to book a private with one of our talented instructors- Alison, Deanna, Karen or Julia or sign up for a class starting in the New Year (keep an eye on the website for the new class schedule starting in January for both store locations).

Here are some great technique and lesson ideas:

Provisional Cast On for a seamless cowl
Yarn overs lead to lace
Toasty Cables
Knotty Crochet
Perfect Seaming and Finishing
Blocking what is that?
Family and friends beginner knitting
Kids knitting
Fast and dirty arm knitting (make a cowl in an hour)
Chart reading
Reading and mapping out your pattern
Sock basics and Sock bootcamp
Knitting in the round
Stripes and colour work (think Fair Isle and Intarsia)
Short row shaping
Fixing mistakes-drop stitches aren’t so scary
Knitting with beads
Knitting with DPN’s

You can book for yourself, a group of friends, sign up for a class or give the gift of learning with a gift certificate available in store.

Disclaimer: These instructors are available at the PG location. Contact the NV store or look online for info on their class schedule.


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Well, we’re just past the halfway point finally!

Today I want to feature a specific yarn and dyer: Sweetgeorgia

Sweetgeorgia is an incredible local dyer whom we are always just thrilled to be able to work with. Colours are always on point, and they make some of the best possible choices for base yarns.

Case in point, I just finished a quick little hat in in their Trinity Worsted (70% Merino, 20% Cashmere, 10% Silk) and it just might have been the nicest worsted weight yarn I’ve have the privilege to use in a long time. Pattern is Windschief, by Stephen West.

Windschief


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Another great stocking stuffer or gift idea. We just received a large shipment of Woolpets needle felting kits with a whole bunch of new additions- The sock monkey, dinosaur, owls, pig, elephant, sea turtle, frog, penguin, seal pups, spring bunnies and even maneki neko. Each kit comes fully stocked with everything you need to make the little critters.
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Great for kids and adults and last minute gifts. You can find them online-http://www.urbanyarns.com/felting/ or in store.

And for a pattern idea, sticking with todays miniature theme you have to check out these Korknisse’s on ravelry-http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/korknisse. They are an adorable and fun way to use up all your ends….and your left over wine corks…….cuz we all know that knitting and wine go well together;)
corks


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Today’s gift idea is a bit of a unique bird. While these will work with machine-wound skeins, these yarn bowls really work best with hand-wound balls of yarn. Rather than plop your balls of yarn in a floppy bag, or let them skitter across the floor and get lost under the couch, toss them in one of these beautiful hand made, one of a kind bowls!

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These are made by an incredibly talented local artisan Nancy Walker (whose other work just might feature another day), who produces some really lovely ceramic works of functional art. We have a range of bowls with different animals in store, and they look even better in person!

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And don’t ask me why, but today I want to feature pixie hats. They’re adorable, that’s all I can say.

1. Troll, by Gabriela-Widmer Hanke

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2. Little Heaume, by Solenn Couix-Loarer

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3. Sloochie, by Woolly Wormhead

sloochie


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I am not sure if you have seen this beautiful wreath hanging in the shop lately? If you haven’t, you should come and check it out. This project would be a festive way to learn or practise colour work, fair isle knitting, short rows and chart reading. Alison knit this sample up in no time using Cascade 220 heathers-http://www.urbanyarns.com/cascade-220-heathers-20st/
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You can find the pattern info on ravelry here:http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/holiday-stranded-wreath
It is designed by Amy Gunderson and published in the book “50 Knitted Gifts for Year-Round Giving”.

Why not knit your own decorative wreath this year?!


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