Archive for April, 2010

Old yarns in a new light…

Friday, April 30th, 2010

As we unpack from our big move this week, I’ve been seeing some of our classic yarns in a new light (literally!). That’s the thing about change… things can look completely different just by putting them in a different spot. Well, I thought I could show you some of the old store favourites.

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran is a yarn that we’ve had on our shelves since we opened. It’s a cashmere, merino, and microfiber blend. We also carry Cashmerino Dk,  and Casmerino Baby. Check out some of Debblie Bliss’ gorgeous books full of beautiful, classic designs.


Baby Bamboo is a “new-comer” compared to Cash Aran, but it’s one of the most popular yarns at the moment. Made from bamboo and wool, it’s warm for the winter, and breathable for the summer months. We have over 20 great colours to chose from!



One of our most popular Blue Sky Alpacas yarns is Alpaca & Silk. It’s a luxurious yarn knit on a 3.5mm needle. Flip through our Blue Sky Alpacas pattern binder to find the perfect pattern for this yarn!



Our line of Cascade 220 is ever expanding with new exciting colours! This is the perfect yarn for felting bags, slippers, and anything your heart desires!


When you visit us at our new location (4437 West 10th), you’ll notice that the old location (4421 West 10th) has been turned into another great retail store for one month only. Urban Yarns and Snugglings have joint forces to bring you “Pop-up Vancouver”. For the month of May only, over 25 local designers will be featuring their one of a kind products.

The grand opening party will be held this Saturday May 1st from 5-8pm. Come eat, drink, and mingle with the designers. A Silent auction will also be held with all the proceeds going to “The Ride to Conquer Cancer”. For more info, join the Pop-up Vancouver facebook group!


GCC: Blocking 101

Monday, April 26th, 2010


There are a lot of things in the world of knitting that are debatable. Some of these questions are even unanswerable because they are really just a matter of preference. Needle choice, for example, is largely a question of preference. Some knitters will choose straights over circulars, long over short, bamboo over addi, etc. Will anything terrible happen to your knitting if you use Addi Lace needles (my faves) vs. Bamboo circulars for a given project or vice versa? No, it’s a matter of what makes you happy. Do what you feel! What does this have to do with blocking you might ask? Nothing really, it’s just that blocking is one of those knitting issues that is really just a matter of debate that I think comes down to preference.

There is much debate on the purposes of blocking and when, why and if it should be done. This intro is kind of acting as a disclaimer, there are lots of schools of thought on blocking and I’m really just sharing my own. Do what works for you, as usual. There are different ways to block different items and I thought I would start with something I’ve done a fair bit of lately: some lace.


Step 1: fill a bucket, sink, or bowl with cool water. I use a bit of SOAK in my water, it’s a wool conditioner that smells nice and softens your finished project.


Step 2: put your finished shawl into the water and gently squeeze out the bubbbles. When no more bubbles come out, you know the water has completely permeated the yarn, making it easier to have the shawl stay the way you want it when you lay it out.

Some would disagree with this full immersion approach and would make the shawl damp with wet towels. It’s another way to go but I’m not that gentle with my knitting. If I’m going to be wearing something I think it should stand up to a certain amount of abuse. DO NOT use hot water. It will felt your knitting and unless you are going for that felted look you will be sad. There might be tears. Don’t let this happen to you.

Step 3: Roll your shawl in a towel to get out some of the excess water. Use a dark towel if you are nervous about running colours.


Step 4: I used to to pin my shawls to a towel but Emily set me straight on that. She uses cardboard for a good stiff blocking. I tried it and I agree. I got a big cardboard box and broke it down so I had a nice big surface. Then I laid out my shawl and put quilting pins through the points on the shawl. Each shawl will most likely have it’s own natural points, you’ll know, don’t worry. Just put your pin through the point stitch and then through the cardboard. Lace really looks amazing when it is blocked rather severely so don’t be afraid to really stretch it! FYI: I don’t recommend using quilting pins, I didn’t have t-pins (which I do recommend) so I used the quilting pins I had and I kind of wrecked them. I am so impatient sometimes.

Step 5: Let it dry, unpin and enjoy!

This is kind of a severe way to block. Others suggest that you block it slowly and gradually. I am obviously much too impatient for that. Also having a giant piece of cardboard taking up my living room is probably already pushing hubbies patience so keeping it there for an extended period of time is just plain not going to happen.

If you are blocking a sweater, scarf, blanket, some fair isle mittens, or really any other piece of knitting you probably won’t need pins. Again, others might disagree but I think it’s kind of overkill to pin down a scarf. Unless you need points of any kind, then you will need pins. There are always exceptions!

If I’m blocking any one of these items I will repeat steps 1-3 but then I will lay it out on a dry towel the way I want it to look (uncurled edges, straight seams, even stitches etc.) and let it dry that way. If it’s a sweater it can take a while to dry (beware the Christmas Eve block. That’s a story for another time…..) so I would change the towels every so often to speed drying. You are really just smoothing things out, those funny stitches and crooked seams. Fair isle items always look much better after a block, much smoother and more even.

If you are interested in some other opinions or techniques you can check out these sources on blocking as well (some of these dedicated individuals are much more serious about their blocking than I am!)

Yarn Harlot

Emily Wessel

Brooklyn Tweed (blocking wires)

Purl Bee

Knitting Daily

Posie Gets Cozie



Silk Cloud

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

As promised… more Shibui! Our latest yarn is called Silk Cloud – a perfect name. This great yarn is made from a luscious blend of  60% kid mohair and 40% silk.


“The glowing core of this laceweight yarn shines through the halo of translucent mohair, giving anything you make amazing stitch definition and drape” -Shibui Knits

To make this fabulous Swirl Scarf, all you need is one skein of Silk Cloud. The ruffles are made using a simple increase technique of KFB. This scarf will make an elegant statement, with a flirty twist!



The Cabled Rib Wrap takes three skeins of Silk Cloud and 4 skeins of Baby Alpaca, and is knit on 4.5 mm needles. This is a warm, soft wrap with a beautiful drape.  Great for a Mother’s Day gift!


“The halo effect helps give this yarn some creative flexibility because you can knit it up at all sorts of gauges depending on the visual effect you want to achieve.” -Knitters Review

Silk Cloud is now available at both our locations.

GCC: Shetland Triangle

Monday, April 19th, 2010


Sometimes you knit a pattern and it just works for you. It has all the interest you want without being overly complicated, it works for the yarn you love, and it is a usable piece of knitted art when you are finished. The final product isn’t just beautiful but something you can wear or use as well (depending on the project of course).These patterns don’t come along every day. They aren’t even the same for every knitter. You just know when you’ve found one.


The Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark is just such a pattern for me. I loved it. I still love it. I will love it again soon! I finished mine and immediately wanted to cast on for another! I kind of have a little obsession forming (like I need another little knitting related obsession!). I love the lacy pine cones and the way the decreases/increases create a sort of circular look. Just beautiful.


Of course you have all already heard me rave about the yarn I used too: CashSilk Lace by SweetGeorgia. A skein of CashSilk is 400 yards and the pattern calls for 450 but I just cut out a repeat and made it a little smaller. One of the things I like about this pattern is that you can really make it as big or as small as you want. The repeats are easy to memorize but not too boring so it became conversational knitting shortly after I started it.


With Mother’s Day around the corner I want to get 2 more shawls on the needles myself (one for Mumsy and one for Mom in Law) and I highly recommend a little lacy scarf or shawl (depending on the mother) as a nice gift. A skein or 2 of sock yarn will do nicely for a slightly thicker (and faster) version or you can go all out and pick up some lace. I like the Malabrigo Lace for price, softness, and colour range (don’t try to backtrack with this stuff though, nightmare!). There are also some nice Fleece Artist and Handmaiden laceweights around the shop that will do the trick. Of course, the Cashsilk is the ultimate lace treat in my opinion!

To make a Shetland Triangle (or 3) of your very own you will need:

The Pattern which you can purchase here or you can find it in the book Wrap Style at UY

The Yarn: 1 skein SweetGeorgia Cashsilk Lace

The Needles: I used 4mm Addi Lace in 24″ but needle choice with lace is kind of personal choice. A larger needle will give you a lacier look while smaller needles will be a little tighter. Up to you.

1 stitch marker and blocking pins.



Adorable Noro Kids

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Here’s Jane Ellison’s newest book, Noro Kids:


It’s full of fun garments ranging in size from one to ten years. The great thing about Noro patterns is that they are usually very simplistic, with a goal to show off the yarn as best it can. Jane has added some great tutorials on tension, sizing, joining new skeins, grafting, finishing techniques, and much more to help you along the way.

This simple dress called Eva is made in Noro Aya, with a composition of cotton, silk, and wool. Dresses like this these are  great on their own for the Summer, and in the Winter you can pair them with a long sleeved under shirt and some funky leggings!


Amy is a fast and simple cardi which can be embellished with a wooden heart button, like in the picture. The cardi takes 3-5 balls of Noro Furin, a chunky weight yarn knit on 7mm needles. The fun thing about knitting with Noro yarns, is that it keeps your interest as you’re always thinking about which colour is coming next!


If you haven’t tried knitting with Noro Taiyo yet, why not try it out on this warm stripey blanket. The Little Blanket takes 3 balls of Taiyo on a 5mm needle.


This book is currently only in the Point Grey location, but will make it’s way to Edgemont by next Thursday.

If you’re into glitz and sparkles, you’re in luck as this week we have Estelle Dazzle on special at 50% off! This is a great ladder yarn used for making scarves and shawls. We have four fun and bright colours to chose from, but quantities are limited, so get it while you can.

And remember we’re still getting lots of great new items in every day. Watch for more Shibui on next weeks blog post!

GCC: Subbing 2.0: How much?

Monday, April 12th, 2010


Back by popular demand is the subbing tutorial. What I neglected to mention in the last post is how to tell how much yarn you will need! Another popular question around the shop is ‘How many skeins will I need for a _______’. While we are always near by with a calculator around the shop, here are a few tips to figure out how much yarn you will need.

One of the things I hear a lot is yarn requirements that are given by weight. There are many patterns in the world that are written with amount requirements in ounces or grams, especially (although not restricted to) older patterns. Elizabeth Zimmerman, for example, gives weights in all of her patterns. I have a theory about this: there are just more yarns out there now. If there are only a few types of yarn, mostly wool, it’s easy to go by weight. Now, there are so many different yarns and fibers, I just don’t think weight is accurate enough.

Lots of people come to UY looking for 4 oz of wool or five 50 gram balls. This works fine if you are using the exact yarn in the pattern, meaning the same brand of yarn. If you have a Debbie Bliss pattern and you are using Debbie Bliss yarn you are good to go! Simple. As soon as you start subbing this becomes a problem. Here’s why: different fibers weigh different amounts for the same yardage. Alpaca and angora are very light fibers, so you will get more yardage for the same weight. Silk, on the other hand, is a lot heavier than wool. If you have a fiber that is a mix, then all bets are off and I would look to our good friend the ball band to tell us how much yardage is in there.

So what should you do if you want to start subbing yarns?

Step one: check out the original yarn. If you are subbing you will already want to look up the gauge so make a note of how many yards per skein while you are at it. A couple of things to be careful of though:

  • make sure you are measuring either meters or yards and keep it consistant. There are 109 yards per 100 meters FYI.
  • The other thing to be careful of is the occasional change in skein size. Every once in a while a yarn company will change the size of their skeins from 50g to 100g or vise versa or something else entirely. Make sure you are looking at the same size skein.

Step two: Once you have determined how many yards per skein the original yarn had, do a little multiplication and figure out how many yards you will need to make your sized garment.

Step three: check how many yards (or meters) the yarn you are substituting has. Yardage needed divided by the yardage of the substituted skein gives you the number of skeins you will need of the substituted yarn.

Now, the above advice is great if you are working from a pattern but what if you are that wild knitter who is stashing for the right pattern to come along or *gasp* designing their own garment? Well, it is a little tougher but there are a few basic guidelines you can follow in a lovely little pamphlet of yarn requirements. It’s been my yardage bible for the past couple of years, you can pick one up at the shop for about $6 and it’s an invaluable tool. The Knitter’s Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements.

I would also recommend buying an extra ball or skein, especially if you are making a garment. It is exchageable if you don’t need it and I have seen more than a few regrets over unpurchased extra yarn. Remember that every knitter is a little different and sometimes the best laid plans can go awry. Even if all signs point to 8 ball, you just might need a little bit more.

Voila! Now you’ll be able to sub yarns at will. Don’t let substitutions scare you, being able to knit things many different ways, with different yarns, fibers, and style is what makes knitting so great. It makes each item unique. Also, we would be happy to walk you through substitutions in the shop any time!


Spring Classes

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

There’s still time to sign up for classes in both stores!

Point Grey Classes:

If you’re thinking of learning to knit, you’re going to want to sign up for our Beginner Knitting Class with Deanna starting on April 12th. You’ll learn everything from casting on to casting off, and everything in between!

Have you ever needed to know how to crochet a border or an edge, but not you’ve not known how? Deanna will teach you everything you need to know about getting started with crochet. Beginner Crochet is a four week class starting on May 10th. A great book for reference with this class is the Happy Hooker, by Debbie Stoller!

Making Knitting Possible is a class that Astor has put together to help you get started and feel comfortable knitting. This class will be running for four weeks starting on May 6th. Astor is also going to be doing a knitting retreat on Bowen Island in May. For more information, you can visit her website and get in contact with her!

Our next Sock Boot Camp will take place on Wednesday April 14 from 6:30-9:30. In this 3 hour intensive class, Jackie will teach you everything you need to know about knitting a sock… and you’ll even have time to knit one – a mini sock that is! I’ve taken this class, and I highly recommend it!

Alexa will be teaching a great Skirt class this Spring, starting on April 2oth! You will learn how to knit a beautiful A-line skirt with a lovely lacy hem. This is a great class to take if you want to learn how to take measurements for a skirt that fits you just right!

If you’ve taken our Beginner knitting course and want to move on to something a bit more challenging, our Beyond Beginners Class is the one for you! Sandra will guide you through the process of your project, along with great tips, pointers, and new techniques. Our next Beyond Beginners class will start on Thursday April 22 and run for 4 weeks.

Erica is going to be teaching a great class on Amigurumi crocheted creatures starting on April 18th. If you haven’t heard of amigurumi before, or don’t know what it is, take a look here. This is sure to be a fun class!

Yarn 101 is a great workshop to familiarize yourself with Urban Yarns, the yarns we carry, and how to pick out yarns, needles and patterns. It’s a great informative class which takes place on the third Sunday of every month. Our next session is on April 18th.

Tunisian Style Crochet is a hybrid between knitting and crocheting. If you haven’t heard of it before, here’s your chance to learn! You’ll be working with a 19mm Tunisian style crochet hook and a variety of yarns of your choice. Once you’ve got the technique down, you can make all sorts of things like blankets, scarves, and pillows. Kalin, who will be teaching this class, taught me this technique in the fall, and have yet to put my crochet hook down! The date is to be announced, but if you’re interested, please give Kathleen a call at the Point Grey store.

Point Grey also has two Question and Answer sessions to chose from. Astor is here from 8:30-9:30am or 10:30-11:30am on Wednesdays, and Alexa will be available on Friday evenings from 5-6pm to answer all of your knitting questions. For either of these sessions we require that you sign up two days in advance.

Stitch and Bitch will continue on Friday nights from 6-9pm with Alexa. A great time to sit, relax, and knit with other follow knitters in the community!

Edgemont Classes:

Jess will be teaching two classes in April. On Tuesday April 13th, we’ll have a Sock Boot Camp from 6-9. And on Tuesday April 20th, she will be teaching Continental Knitting. This class is designed for people who know the basics of knitting, but want to learn another way of doing it!

Beyond Beginner Knitting will also be taking place in Edgemont with Sandra starting on Wednesday April 21st. A great class to follow the Beginners Knitting.

On Friday April 23rd, Erica will be starting the Beginner Crochet course. She will show you everything you need to know to get started on your first project. Again, a great book for reference with this class is the Happy Hooker, by Debbie Stoller!

And last but not least, Donna will be starting the Sahara class on Tuesday April 27th. If you haven’t seen Sahara, take a look here. This is going to be a really popular class!

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, let us know and we can customize a private lesson just for you! For more information, or to sign up, you can come in or call either store (Point Grey: 604-228-1122, Edgemont: 604-984-2214). Happy Learning!

Our Weekly Special this week at 40% off is Debbie Bliss Fez, a super soft camel/merino mix. Fez has great stitch definition which is perfect for the cabled Shoulder Cape below.


GCC: A Charming Hat

Monday, April 5th, 2010


There are many charming hats in the world of knitting. I mean many. Like thousands. Hats are a great knitted staple with a few simple techniques for your basic hat and as many complicated techniques as you might like. These two hats are from the same pattern, the only difference is in the brim. The white one has a lovely lacy brim while the red has a slightly heartier looking garter brim. crw_8875

Both hats are from the pattern Ripley by Ysolda Teague. Ysolda is a prolific designer with many beautiful patterns that have been knit thousands of times over. If you check her out on Ravelry you will see how popular her designs really are! All of her patterns are available as individual patterns and some are availble in her Whimsicle Little Knits books. I like that I have the choice to buy just one, or the set.


With these two hats it’s all in the details. The lacy hat has the obvious appeal of the lacy edging. Edging is knit first and flat and the rest of the hat is picked up from it. The same goes for the garter edged hat except that the hat part is picked up from a garter piece instead of lace. To get the nice slouchy fit (which is what I was going for) there are pleats in the back. This might sound scary but it’s actually really easy and there are clear instructions included in the pattern. These 3 pleats make sure that the hat fits snuggish in the front with that nice slouch in the back. The last bit of detailing is the swirly decreasing at the crown. This isn’t a particularly unique feature but I like it none the less.


I made these hats out of one of my favorite yarns. Blue Sky Alpacas worsted hand dyes are quite the special yarn. I’ve knit with it before but it is always a treat. It’s a 16 stitch gauge with a hearty spin to it and soft like butter! It’s also a hand dye so it’s got a subtle variegation that adds that little something special to any knit.

To make a Ripley hat of your very own you will need:

The pattern: Ripley

Yarn: 1 skein of BSA Worsted Hand Dyes (the pattern calls for 109ish yards for the 2nd and 3rd sizes which is more than one skein of the hand dyes but I eked it out with one skein)

Needles: 6mm needles, both a 16″ circular and double pointed needles

1 stitch marker



New additions

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

We’ve been receiving some lovely new items for Spring these past few weeks. The first one I thought I would show you is the lovely new yarn from Rowan. Purelife Revive is made from used garments. They select the used garments based on the silk, cotton, and viscose content, which is then regenerated into a beautiful yarn. If you’re in to cotton, linen, hemp, etc… this is a great yarn for you to try! Revive knits up to a 22 stitch gauge on a 4mm needle.


This new yarn from Katia is a really fun, and summery yarn. Paper is, well… made from 100% paper! It feels like a paper ribbon, or raffia. This would look great knit up into a Market Bag. Take a look here to see Kalin’s. She did her’s in Louet Euroflax, but Paper would be a good substitute!


The last yarn that I want to show you is one of the many Louisa Harding yarns that we recently received. Grace Wool and Silk is a silky soft yarn with a wonderful texture. Being 50% silk, it brings a sheen to this yarn which makes it seem more vibrant in colour.


Both Paper and Grace are only featured in Point Grey, but we can easily transfer them between the stores. We also received lots of new and exciting Rowan Books at both locations, so drop by for a visit! Our Weekly Special this week is K. Fassett Regia Sock yarn at 40 % off. Regular price is $9.95, our sale price is $5.97!

We will be open tomorrow (Good Friday) from 12 to 5, and back to regular hours after that. Happy Easter!