Hey everyone.

Do I ever have some good news for you.

It’s here. The book is here.

Did I not tell you about the book?

Well, our tenth anniversary book (Perfect Ten) is now available for pre-order! We got current and past staff together and came up with 16 incredible designs that we think you’re going to love.


I’ll get the paperwork out of the way now. You can pre-order the book online or in-store for $27.95. At the launch on December 5th, the price will go up to $29.95 (so pre-order while you can).

Speaking of the book launch… You’re all invited! December 5th, 2014. 7-9pm at Urban Yarns in Pt Grey. There will be goodies and surprises, and you can schmooze with the designers – hope to see you there!

“This book was born from our wish to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Urban Yarns by highlighting the incredible creativity and talent of some of our staff and instructors including Sylvannah Baugh, Sandra Dunkin, Anina Hansen, Ruth Hawke, Karen Holden, Alison Holley, Amanda Kaffka, Sylvie Lui, Deanna Krushinsky, Cheryl Niamath, Julia Sharpe & Michael Wynne.

The designs in this book represent an amazing compilation of fun and stylish patterns, ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Interspersed among the patterns you will find some great stories from Urban Yarns’ customers. To make the knitting experience even more enjoyable, each designer has recommended special drinks to pair with their creations.

All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to Mekong Blue, a weaving and training centre in Cambodia.”

Ok, I know, enough of the chit chat, I bet you want to see the patterns! Well, here are some promo teasers of most of them. Which are you just dieing knit?

tudor toque

The Tudor, in Sweet Georgia Trinity Worsted

Interchangeable Ribbed Toque, in Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Handpaints

sweetmesh stanleypark

Sweetmesh in Sweet Georgia Trinity Worsted

Stanley Park in Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock

ramblingrose poncho

Rambling Rose in Harrisville Designs WATERshed

Faded Poncho in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock

hacker-yaletown fern

Hacker in Harrisville Designs WATERshed

Yaletown in Cascade Eco+

Fern in Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock

fallingleaves dazzle Chimera

Falling Leaves in Sweet Georgia Trinity Worsted

Dazzle in Harrisville Designs WATERshed and Shibui Silk Cloud

Chimera in Habu Merino 4P

cushion cosmopolitan

Cable Cushion in Rowan All Seasons

Cosmopolitan Frill in Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage

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Yes I am going to talk about Christmas and holiday knitting……I know, I know it might seem early but the reality in the crafting world is: if you’re planning on making holiday gifts you have to start at least now….better yet the end of summer, beginning of fall!

Everyone seems to have their own set of rules as to when it is “allowed” to start to celebrate the holidays. For me it is December 1st, that is when I can start playing my Christmas music (ahh Roger Whittaker, Boney M….ok, now that is starting to get me a little excited) and put up my Christmas lights. But the retail world seems to like to introduce anything holiday earlier and earlier every year. I don’t know about you but for me a big sign that the Christmas holidays are fast approaching is when Starbucks starts pumping out all there holiday drinks…gingerbread latte, peppermint mocha or eggnog latte…anyone? I even noticed that the grocery stores are already stocking eggnog??!! Where has the time gone, before we know it the festivities will be in full force. To try and save you some last minute stress I thought I would give you a soft nudge and list a few ideas for some fast easy gifts that you can whip up in time for the giving season.

Decorative holiday balls are a fun, colourful project great for gifting. So many options and colours to play around with, and a wonderful way to learn how to do colour work in your knitting. As well as use all the new knowledge you learned from last weeks colour blog post;). We have this great book full of different ball patterns for any holiday occasion:



And for crochet:


Even for your “ugly sweater party”, you can knit your own:


What about trying to knit your own stocking or slipper socks, so much more fun, meaningful and sentimental than the store bought. Just think of the beautiful piece of art hanging from your fireplace. There are a ton of different patterns, varying in degree of difficulty and we would be happy to help you find the right one for you. Here are a couple of suggestions:


If you would like some additional support, I am teaching a stocking/slipper class on Mondays starting December 1st for three weeks (8th and 15th) from 12-2pm. “But I have never knit a sock before” you say….then my sock bootcamp class is the perfect fit for you. You can learn all of the components of knitting a sock in just three hours, by completing a mini training sock. Then you will be set to try any topdown sock or stocking pattern or ready to join the basic sock class for additional learning.

Of course you can always knit scarves, cowls, mittens/gloves, hats or houseware accessories. The pattern possibilities there are endless, all of the staff can help you find the perfect fit. This is a great time to try out some of the more luxurious yarns like cashmere, mink, possum, angora and alpaca…so soft, warm and cozy.

Even if you are one of those last minute shoppers and really pinched for time we have you covered with arm knitting. Honestly anyone can do this, from young child to adult and in maybe one hour max!!! Yes really that simple…and it can be turned into a lovely chunky cowl or scarf.


Both Karen and I will be teaching arm knitting workshops, so there is bound to be a time that fits your schedule. Karen will hold them on Sundays, 12-1pm and I will teach the technique on Wednesdays, 3:30-4:30. You can check out our website for more info and the current class list- www.urbanyarns.com. Or come by the shop to get inspired we’ve got lots of ideas, see all the beautiful colours and yarns….no excuses people, it is time to get your craft on for the holidays!!!

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Hey everyone, today (actually there will probably be a few posts in this series) we are going to start talking about colour. Not colourwork exactly (which you may know is a favourite pastime of mine), but some basic colour theory that holds true for all your knitting, and quilting, and drawing, and painting, and crafting, and just generally experiencing the world through a critical lens.

Ok, maybe you don’t want to experience the world through a critical lens, so let’s just say that this discussion might help you pick out yarns in the future. Good enough? Great, let’s begin.

Our perception of a colour has three main elements: Hue, Value, and Saturation. Hue is what most people think of when they refer to a colour. Often represented on a colour wheel, most people know the primary colours* (red, blue, yellow), and secondary colours (green, purple, orange).

Hue is what we obsess over when we ogle Madelinetosh or Sweet Georgia. We will talk more about hue later, and its importance in yarn selection.

(Yes, I know that there are eight colours on that wheel, not the six I mentioned)

Saturation is related to the perceived intensity of a colour. You can add (imagine actually mixing paints on a palette) white to a colour to make a lighter tint, or grey to a colour to make a muddier tone, or black to a colour to make a darker shade.

But today I want to focus on Value. Value refers to how light or dark colours are in relation to each other (or rather, to a grayscale that ranges from pure black to pure white). Value is really critical to colourwork, as yarns with a similar value are harder to tell apart than yarns with very different values – regardless of their hue! In fact I would go so far as to say that value is the number of determiner of effective colourwork (bear in mind, I could choose some dreadful combination of hues, but still have an effective design).

(A monochromatic grayscale, from white to black)

Put bluntly, if you are working on a colourwork design (hey, ask one of our amazing staff nicely, and they will help you pick a great pattern…) that is worked in two colours, you want them to be of substantially different values. If you are working with three colours, you probably want them to be substantially different in terms of value. But as you add more colours, it does get trickier – er, this is also a discussion for later.

So, how do you apply this theory of colour value to your yarn selection? The technical term is “value testing”, which really just means using method to assess whether or not your chosen colours are too close in value. Again, I hear you cry, ‘how?’

Well the tried and true method is to squint. Simply put your yarns down on the table (ideally in good, natural lighting), and mush them up nice and close to each other, and squint. If, the more you squint, the more similar the value of the yarns seem to be be, then they probably are similar in value. If you can still easily distinguish between the yarns, you are likely on the right track.

If you don’t feel like squinting in the yarn store, we thankfully have technology at our disposal. With a camera or smartphone, take a photo of the yarns in question, and convert it to black and white. Really, it’s that simple. This conversion will make abundantly clear just how close in value your yarns are. To illustrate, here are two simple projects I knit.

The first has a high value contrast between the red and yellow yarns, as you can see in both the colour and black and white versions.

The second photo… not so much.

In the black and white version it is almost impossible to tell the two yarns apart.   Which is more effective?

As a parting thought, I’ve applied the same treatment to the Rowan Pure Wool Worsted shadecard, and it’s pretty interesting to see exactly what the range of values is (one of our hands down favourite yarns for its knitting properties and the fact that it comes in 56 colours…)

Anyway, I hope you’ve found this as interesting as I have, and would love to know what technique tips and tricks you would like to learn more about in the future! Drop us a line and let me know…

*Fun side note, the history and debate about the language of colour is a fascinating study. If you are linguistically inclined, I highly recommend reading into the universalist/relativist debate.

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Are you sick of cowls?

Then I have got news for you!

Big chunky, long scarves were spotted all over the Autumn/Winter 2014/15 knitwear runway shows. I don’t know about you but I am a little tired of the ubiquitous cowl and welcome this new, refreshing change. Who doesn’t like a big cozy scarf to wrap yourself up in…especially with our rainy, damp and cold weather.

Here is a peak at the runways:

Michael Kors, Zadig & Voltaire, Michael Kors

Even men are wearing them…..


And did I mention chunky yet……The best part is that these scarves can be knit up in no time, look super luxe and not cost you the designer/runway price tag!!

So I did just that….

I used this awesome new yarn from Italy. Naturalia is super chunky, 100% natural wool goodness (yes I love that lanolin smell :), found the appropriate large needle size (15mm) and went for it:

Naturalia, Made in Italy, 100% wool, 132yds, 13/15mm needle


This is the final result…a super long and chunky scarf that gives plenty of options for wear from long and loose, wrapped mummy style to over the head as a hood.


And if this isn’t chunky enough for you, we also have this yarn:

Grosso, Made in Italy, 100% wool, 22yds, 25mm needle

Imagine the fun you can have with it…try this scarf:
Free pattern- Parisienne Scarf, courtesy of www.loveknitting.com

Or perfect for knitting up your own Poof!
Also a free pattern: http://www.pickles.no/puff-daddy-knitted-stool/


So come on down to Urban Yarns and check out all the new oversized yarns to get with the chunky, long scarf trend. I will even share my pattern with you;). Also there is a Poof class scheduled for November/December, a fun way to liven up your living room!!

How did you like this trend report…would you like to see more trend forecasting and inspiration from the runways?

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Butter. The very first thing that came to mind when I picked up my first skein of Swans Island (I distinctly remember it was from their 100% organic merino line), was ‘Butter’. I mean, this yarn was just *so* *incredibly* *soft*. Not to put down any of my favourite luxury yarn producers (you know who you are), but this yarn blew them all away as far as pure hand-feel goes. I knew immediately that I wanted to knit with it.

Fast forward a few years, and we have been stocking it for a couple of months now. Above you can see some of the Swans Island that we stock. From left to right, Worsted (100% organic merino), Worsted (85% organic merino, 15% alpaca), Sport (superwash, 100% merino), Fingering (100% organic merino), and Lace (50% merino, 50% tussah silk).

The two different Worsted base yarns – Merino on the left, Merino/Alpaca on the right.

Left to right: Sport, Fingering, Lace

For the ultimate in smoosh, sqoosh, squish, or smush, you want the 100% organic merino (worsted).

For something with just a little more fuzz, fluff, or fondle, check out the merino/alpaca.

The Sport and Fingering have all the goodness of the Worsted, just in a lighter, thinner, more tightly spun package. Hats, warmers, mitts, oh my! Personally, the Lace with it’s 50/50 merino/tussah blend really called to me. I’ve nabbed several skeins of it for a really exciting new project. If you ask really nicely, maybe I’ll even blog about it.

To me, Swans Island really represents the new luxe. Natural, complimentary colours, forgiving, decadent base yarn. It all just silently screams elegance, taste, comfort. Simply divine.

Have you tried Swans Island? What would you like to knit with it? Tell us if you’d like to see more of their products in store.

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Thank you to every one who came out to meet Alex Winslow of Graphic Knits on Sunday. Have you got your favorite sweater picked out?

Then why not come and knit it in Karen’s Sunday Intarsia class starting, Nov. 9th from
12:00 to 2:00.
You can learn how to knit one of Alex’s fun but functional sweaters, or you can pick a different sweater pattern, just make sure you email Karen the pattern before the start of class.
(cables2lace@gmail.com )

If colour work isn’t your cup of tea we have a ton of new classes starting in November,
just check out our class schedule.

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Urban Yarns is pleased to announce and super stoked to host a book signing and trunk show for  Alexis Winslow’s new book “Graphic Knits”. These events are few and far between so we get very excited when we have the opportunity to have an out of town “knit-designista” come to our shop, this is an event you won’t want to miss!!!


You may know Alexis already or recognize this popular ravelry pattern of hers, the Reine cardigan from Wool People Vol. 3 by Brooklyn Tweed:


But if not here is a little background info on the very talented, Alexis Winslow- “she is a knitwear and textile designer living in Brooklyn New York. Her knitwear designs have a bold graphic aesthetic and often utilize interesting construction techniques. Alexis is the creative force behind KnitDarling.com and author of the book Graphic Knits (Interweave Press). Her designs have also been published in print magazines including Interweave Knits and Knitscene as well as on the web through Brooklyn Tweed Yarn Company and KnitPicks.com. She has also contributed many designs to books and anthologies including Ann Budd’s Scarf Style 2 and Lisa Shroyer’s Free Spirit Shawls.

Alexis splits her time working as a textile print designer by day, the Creative Director/ Cofounder of CharitySub.org by night, and running things around KnitDarling.com in every moment between. Her hobbies include painting, sewing, and embroidery. In addition to numerous gallery shows, her artwork has also been featured on the television show Broad City (Comedy Central) and commissioned by Van’s Shoes for their company archives.

Alexis is originally from Norman, Oklahoma. She attended the University of Oklahoma and received her BFA in 2005, focusing on painting and pottery. After moving to New York City in 2007, she studied textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Alexis now works as a printed textile and product designer, creating children’s bedding and bath products for a large firm in New York City. She established KnitDarling.com in 2010, and cofounded CharitySub.org in 2011. Alexis began self-publishing her independant knitting patterns in 2009, and by 2012 landed her first full length book deal for Graphic Knits (Interweave Press).

Alexis’ eclectic experiences and prolific career gives her a unique perspective in her design work. Creativity, high craft, and mindful design are a thread throughout everything she does. You can see more of her work at www.knitdarling.com and www.alexiswinslow.com.”

And now about her newly released book-



Go bold with gorgeous, graphic color!
“Graphic Knits is a must-have for the fashion-forward modern knitter. Enjoy knitting 20 bold and colorful designs!
Graphic Knits is a collection of 20 patterns featuring modern colorwork inspired by geometric motifs. Fresh and bold, the projects are created by an up-and-coming design star for the Knitscene set. Author Alexis Winslow makes use of color-knitting techniques such as stripes, Fair Isle, intarsia, and slipped stitches to create visually appealing garments.
Shape and pattern engage in a playful and mutually flattering relationship across the 20 projects in this book. Many patterns have unexpected, modern details. An oversized, chunky cable scarf is given vivid personality through color blocking. A shapely sweater sports a pretty pattern around the collar—but instead of a traditional Scandinavian motif, bright polka dots create something fresh and new.
The color designs are truly eye-popping in this trendy and fashion-forward knitting book on bold, high-impact knits!”



Now can’t you see why we are thrilled to host this event and why you don’t want to miss it?!! So clear your calendar for next Sunday, Oct. 26th from 2-4pm and come join us at our Point Grey store to try on and gush over all of the designs, meet Alexis and have your book signed, enjoy some refreshments and mingle with friends. Help us kick off Alexis’s westcoast tour with a bang!!


FYI-We have the books already in stock (PG store only….sorry NV folks) if you can’t wait until the 26th….or if you are anything like me and just can’t resist:)!!

Again here are the details:

Date: Sunday, October 26th
Time: 2-4pm
Location: Urban Yarns Point Grey store
Refreshments served :)

Hope to see you there!!





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Hey all,

Did you make it to Knit City over the weekend? If you missed it or haven’t heard about it yet, it is time to get in the loop because you definitely don’t want to miss out again! Knit City was created by young mom’s, Fiona and Amanda who met in a local knit group and desired to unite all knitters and fibre enthusiasts in our local community.  Their mandate is “to help this community of crafters and artisans grow and become even more closely tight-knit”.  This they definitely have accomplished and even so much so that they had to change venues this year to accommodate its growing success at becoming Vancouver’s best knitting event!  As a result it was held at the PNE Forum instead of the Croatian Cultural Centre.  The change in venue allowed for more vendors, a larger class selection and more space to just hang out and knit. In classic Knit City style there was a long line up of eager knitters waiting at the door well before the 10am open on Saturday and the traditional hand dyed colour way yarn, special for the event was sold out by the end of the day!!  We look forward to this event every year, to be part of such a fun knitting extravaganza in our own community.  This year Urban Yarns staff were very busy teaching arm knitting to all ages, it was packed with enthusiastic people getting all tangled up in yarn.

IMG_0397         IMG_0399

What did you think of the new venue? Were you one of the lucky ones that got into the sold out Steph Pearl Mcphee’s Knitting For Speed and Efficiency class or did you hang out with Kate Atherley, Holli Yeoh, Amy Singer, just to name a few.  Did you get a skein of the 2014 colour way yarn?  What are you going to make with it? and what were your highlights and fine finds from the market place?  We would love to hear all about it, what  you couldn’t resist and what you have now casted on those needles.  Let’s see those arm knitting pictures!!

It was so wonderful to see so many enthusiastic knitters, thank you all who came to say hi to us and those who took the plunge at arm knitting….it was a blast to get all tangled up with you!!  Don’t forget to use your special coupon from the show, we look forward to seeing you again soon:)



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As you’ve probably heard by now, we’re celebrating our tenth anniversary this year, and we’d love for you to celebrate with us.

Some of you have been with us from the beginning, and some of you are newer additions to our family. One thing that we all have in common (other than an insatiable love for all things yarn), is that we have some great stories about  our experiences at Urban Yarns. To that end, we are collecting stories (urban… ‘yarns’, if you will) from friends, neighbours, customers, staff… pretty much anyone who will share them!

Not only are we collecting these stories, but we want to share them with everyone. Select stories may appear in our upcoming 10th anniversary book (shh, it’s still a bit of a secret), our monthly newsletter, this blog, and on our website. We are so proud of all of you, and so thankful that you’ve been part of our community!

Spread the word, tell us your favourite story, help us celebrate, and enter to win a prize!


Contest details are as follows:

Tell us your best Urban Yarns story! Did someone go above and beyond helping you? Did we find that unfindable skein of yarn? Did you learn something invaluable from one of our teachers? Tell us about it!

250 word limit

Deadline is Friday, October 10th, 2014 (yes it’s a tight deadline, but we know you can do it!)

Send your submissions* to knitting@urbanyarns.com

There are prizes to be won for the top stories (as chosen by  a select team of Urban Yarn aficionados).

1st place: one copy of the upcoming Urban Yarns 10th anniversary book and a $50 gift certificate to Urban Yarns

2nd place: one copy of the upcoming Urban Yarns 10th anniversary book and $25.00 gift certificate to Urban Yarns

3rd place: one copy of the upcoming Urban Yarns 10th anniversary book


* By entering, you are giving permission for your story to be published in the upcoming Urban Yarns 10th anniversary book, and online for promotional purposes. Please include your full name and contact information so we can contact the winners once chosen. If you would like your submission to be published anonymously, under your given name, under a pseudonym, only with your initials, or with some other identifier, please include your preference in the submission email.

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Hello all,

I am so excited to be joining Michael in creating the Urban Yarns blog posts and most of all thrilled to be connecting with you to talk everything knitting!!

So let me introduce myself and share a little bit about how passionate I am about all aspects of fibre. I started off crafting at an early age, beads, fimo, friendly plastic and then took sewing all through high school. I had a short break at University where I studied Biology but was reconnected with my passion of textiles when I spent a year travelling SE Asia and Australia. When I returned home I enrolled in fashion design, took every textile type workshop I could find in the city, did the Textile Arts Certificate at UFV all the while falling more and more in love with fibre, yarn and….KNITTING!! I joined the Urban Yarns team and found another passion of mine-teaching and sharing the craft of knitting. My love of design, texture and creativity eventually led me to the Nihon vogue program. This is an intense 4 year Japanese fine finishing and design, knit wear program. I am currently finishing up the second year (the most detailed and time consuming year), where I have had to design and knit a puffed sleeve cardie, a dolman sweater, an aran sweater, traditional Gansey, fair isle yoke sweater and capelet (just to name a few). Needless to say it has been an intense design process and a knitting frenzy!! Here are a few pictures to show you what I mean.

Gansey Swatches
Gansey Swatches


Aran Sweater
Aran Sweater

Little did I know that Gansey and Aran patterns were going to be so HOT this Fall!!

That’s enough history, now lets talk knitting!

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