Archive for May, 2010

GCC: February Baby Sweater

Monday, May 31st, 2010


Summer is kind of a great time for knitting baby things. They are small, portable, and satifying. What more could you ask for in a vacation project? Since I have all but abandoned 2 sweater projects I needed to get a sweater completely finished (for confidence you understand) so I cast on for a baby sweater. The pattern, however, was not entirely new to me. As you might know I knit myself a lovely February Lady sweater and the little yellow sweater I knit was just a littler version: the February Baby Sweater.

I’ve recently become rather smitten with Elizabeth Zimmerman so knitting up the February Baby Sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitters Almanac just made sense. The sweater is super cute. It can be done in any weight, but the size will change accordingly. To make a slightly larger sweater I knit it up in an 18 stitch gauge. What did I choose for the job you might ask? Why SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted of course! It worked so well on my Lady sized sweater I thought why not use it again for a little one?


I knit up this charming little sweater in no time. It was top down (which I love) and I even knit the sleaves in the round, as per Brooklyn Tweed’s instructions. It took only 4 skeins of SG Worsted and I knit it up on 5mm needles. The sweater is adorable (if I do say so myself) but the colour choice was a bit of a debate though. I was told shortly after completing the sweater that sometimes babies look a little jaundice when swathed in yellow. I’ve decided I don’t care but I thought I would let you all know this is a possibility.


Also, I would recommend thinking through your button placements ahead of time. I somehow ended up with 8 buttonholes. This is clearly too many but I did not think things through ahead of time. I started placing buttonholes and then nothing was lining up so I just had to keep doing them at regular intervals. This is not ideal.  Do a little math ahead of time or just put 3 buttons at the top, like the February Lady. 8 buttons, sheesh. The upside is that I found the cutest lemon drop buttons at Button Button that work perfectly with the sweater. Silver lining.

Silent Auction & Last week for Pop-Up

Thursday, May 27th, 2010


Just wanted to remind everyone about our Silent Auction which is currently in progress.  We now have about 80 items to bid on, with more promised to arrive tomorrow for the Grand Finale.  Our most recent donation is a romantic night’s stay for two at a local B&B and includes a catered dinner brought to your room as well as a two-course gourmet breakfast in the morning.  Please join us from 7-9 pm at our Point Grey location, 4437 West 10th, for lots of fun and games, including appies and beverages.  All proceeds go to the BC Cancer Foundation in support of our team Ride to Conquer Cancer. 

And another reminder that this is the last week to enjoy Pop Up Vancouver’s fabulous selection of items from local artists with 10% off all items if you ask for the Pop-Up Vancouver special! 


GCC: Photosynthesis

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010


Just when I thought my little lace obsession was over, it wasn’t. I still had 1 precious skein of CashSilk Lace in the stash from Christmas and Emily’s Photosynthesis pattern calling my name! I also feel that I have found the perfect recipe for the shawl size I desire and the ‘laciness’ I am looking for. 400 yards of laceweight yarn and 4mm needles = the perfect scarf sized shawl for Alexa. It’s Goldilocks territory.

The laciness factor is hard to describe. It has to do with the amount of space between the stitches. I knit one shawl on 4.5mm needles and while it is a bit bigger than the others it is a smidge too open for my liking. I knit Emily’s Sunflower shawl on 3.75mm needles and the Brandywine Shawl on 3.5mm needles. It’s not that the shawl’s didn’t turn out on these needles, they just might have been better on 4mm.


The needle size conundrum is somewhat unique to lacework. It’s another one of those purely preference things that drive newer knitters up the wall. ‘What needle size should I use for this?’ a newer knitter will ask. ‘Any needle in this range, depending on what you want it to look like’ the ever helpful UY gals will answer! The pattern usually has a recommendation on it, but with lace you really don’t have to follow that recommendation at all. I would say knit yourself up a swatch but I know almost no one will do that, especially when it comes to lacework. So, if you are kicking off some lacework of your own just try out a few different needle sizes until you find the one that works for you.

The Photosynthesis Shawl is a lovely leafy pattern that I will definitely be making again! There are 2 different charts to add a little interest and the mesh edging is lovely. To make a Photosynthesis of your very own you will need:

1 Skein SweetGeorgia CashSilk Lace

4mm needles (I used Addi Lace 24 inches)

The Pattern: Photosynthesis Shawl by Emily Wessel




Urban Yarns Ride to Conquer Cancer

Friday, May 21st, 2010



The Ride to Conquer Cancer is fast approaching and the Urban Yarns team is working hard to prepare for the ride that takes place June 19th and 20th from Vancouver to Seattle.  Not only are we putting in lots of miles on our bikes, but we are also fundraising both individually and cooperatively.  With our team of 22, we have already raised over $70,000 and are still going strong.  Our next fundraising event will be a Silent Auction at our new Point Grey location, 4437 West 10th Avenue, starting this coming Monday, May 24th.  We are open on the holiday Monday from 12-5.  The Grand Finale will be Friday, May 28th from 7-9 with appies and beverages provided.  We have lots of items to bid on ranging from knitting supplies (of course), to jewellery, restaurant and spa gift certificates, Lulu lemon groove pants, a fabulous counselling package, a dermatologist developed skin care package, wine, a cake decorating class, the gorgeous bike currently in our window,  and much, much more.  So, come visit us next week and place your bids!  All proceeds go to the BC Cancer Foundation.  

Or, if you would like to make a donation to the team please visit:

You can either select an individual team member to donate to, or, if you’re feeling really generous, you can donate to more than one! 

Below are photos of our car wash and bake sale fundraisers, both of which were tremendously successful. Thanks to everyone for their incredible support!



Also, a reminder that Sunday is the last day of our sale so take advantage of the terrific deals before it’s too late!

GCC: What to make with Sale Yarn!

Monday, May 17th, 2010


By far the most common sale question is: what can I make with this? Everyone loves a deal and it’s nice to get yarn with a project or purpose in mind. I hate when I go to my stash and I have a few skeins but not enough to make what I want. So, that being said, here are a few sale tips.

If you want to make a garment there are some basic guidelines for how much yarn to buy. Then get an extra ball or two. Sale items are final but it’s worth it. Seriously. There is absolutely nothing worse (in the world of knitting) than getting to the end of a large project and finding out you are a half a ball short. To figure out how much you will need, even if you don’t have a pattern yet you can either pick up a copy of The Knitter’s Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements and borrow a calculator, or just ask someone. We’ll be happy to do a little math for you!

If you are looking for some pattern inspiration I have a few ideas:

1. Cashmerino Chunky: This is a 15 stitch gauge yarn that is super soft! This yarn is perfect for the Owls sweater. A popular pattern with the cutest cabled yoke. I also love any excuse to use that many buttons! You can get the pattern here and it takes  8-12 balls.

The Shalom Cardigan is lovely for those Spring/Summer nights. It’s done top down, with quite enjoy. You can get the pattern here and it takes 6 balls. The pattern is written for sizes small and medium, otherwise you have to make your own alterations.

For a smaller knit you can make Bella’s Mittens (3 balls) or my Antler Mittens (3 balls), or the Burberry Inspired Cowl (3 balls).

2. Cashmerino Aran. There are too many aran weight sweaters to count! The Central Park Hoodie is a lovely one, I love a little cable to spice things up. The pattern can be purchased from Interweave here and it takes 13-20 balls depending on the size.

Cashmerino Aran is also perfect for a nice pair of Fetching fingerless gloves. One ball makes a pair so you can start on your Christmas gift knitting now! Or you can whip up a pair for convertable summer driving.

3. Donegal Tweed Chunky. You can knit up a charming little hat from Knitty called Shroom. The pattern can be found here and it takes 2 skeins. There are also lots of Debbie Bliss patterns for this yarn, just check out a couple of her books.

These are just a few of the lovely yarns that are on sale and just a few of the patterns they go with. Come in and check it out! The sale is still going on!

Grand Opening Sale!

Friday, May 14th, 2010


Urban Yarns Point Grey has moved!

To celebrate, we hope you can join us today, Friday May 14th from noon to 9pm in Point Grey. Throughout the day there will be goodies and give-aways that you won’t want to miss!

Our new address is 4437 West 10th Avenue, only 4 doors up from our previous location.

The CELEBRATION SALE will take place at both our Edgemont Village location and our new Point Grey location!

Sale prices will be in effect until Sunday May 23rd


GCC: A Little Something Springy

Monday, May 10th, 2010


Last weekend was Mother’s day (I hope this isn’t news to anyone) and I wanted to do a little knitting for my Mother in Law. It wasn’t just Mother’s day for her either, it was also her birthday! I figured this was a prime oportunity to display my fine knitting skills. MIL has blonde hair and fair skin and LOVES pink so I thought I would give the new Shibui Sock a try. It comes in some great colours and even though I immediately gravitated towards the deep tealy blues, I knew the soft pink was perfect for MIL. I didn’t want to make socks though, just not right for the occasion. I decided to whip together a small shawl/triangular scarf.


I picked up 2 skeins and some addi lace needles (sharp tip, not too slippery, I love them) and I was ready to go, except for the pattern. I recently finished Multnomah so I didn’t want to do that one again but I didn’t feel there was time for anything too taxing. There definitely had to be some garter or stockinette stitch finished with a little lace. Here is what I discovered: there are SO MANY patterns on Ravelry (both pay and free) that fit this description. While this may seems like a good thing, it was a lot of choice. The one I finally chose was Traveling Woman. There is some Stockinette stitch to kick it off (good conversational knitting) and then it’s finished with a nice horeshoe lace trim.


To knit a Traveling Woman of your very own you will need:

2 skeins of Shibui Sock

3.5mm needles (I used 24″ Addi Lace) I thing my needles may have been a bit small though, I got an extra repeat of the horeshoe pattern and the fabric over all was a bit tight. The nice thing about lace though is that you can kind of use any needle you want, things will just come out a little bigger, a little smaller, a little more open. It all really comes down to preference. To get one just like mine you can use 3.5mm but I think a 3.75 or 4mm would be quite nice as well.

The pattern, which you can find for free here.

So, if your looking for something quick and not too tricky give it a whirl! Enjoy!



More Spring Classes!

Thursday, May 6th, 2010


Point Grey classes:

Starting on Monday May 24th Deanna, one of our extremely patient instructors, will be teaching a Beginner Crochet class. This four week class is designed to show you all the basics, such as slip stitch, single crochet, half-double crochet, double crochet, triple crochet, increasing, decreasing, and crocheting in the round. You will also learn chaining,  and working back and forth in rows from a foundation chain. If time permits, you will also learn some basic pattern reading skills. A great crochet reference book is The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller.

Our Sock Boot-camps are always running continually throughout the year. In this great 3 hour class, you will  learn all the skills you need to make a pair of socks, by making a “mini sock”! Jackie always has great tips and pointers to help get you through the sock making process! If you haven’t knit your first pair of socks yet, now is the time! Our next boot-camps will take place on May 18th, June 7th, and June 15th.

Astor is back with her Knitting is Possible (level 1) class! Ever wanted to learn how to knit, but thought you had two left thumbs? Well here is you opportunity to learn! Astor has been teaching “know-nothing” beginners for over 7 years in the lower mainland. She believes that everyone can knit, even if some unconventional methods are used to do so. Knitting is Possible (level 1) will begin on Wednesday May 13th at 10am and run for four weeks.

Beyond Beginner Knitting is the perfect class if you’re ready to start your first project. Sandra has been teaching with Urban Yarns since we opened our first location, and is an excellent and experienced instructor who is going to take you to new levels of your knitting. This is a four week class, starting on May 20th, from 7-9pm.

Knitting is extremely beneficial to children as it can expand concentration, improve on motor skills, and is not only creative, but relaxing too! If one of your youngsters is interested in learning to knit, we will be holding the two week class starting on May 23rd from 1-2pm. Amanda’s Sunday Kids class will accommodate to the skill level of the children participating.

Who hasn’t had a knitting question at one time or another? We all have! Well we’ve created our Q & A sessions to help you with any questions you may have. Our highly experienced instructors are here for all you knitting needs! Astor will be available on Wednesday mornings, Alexa is available to help you on Friday evenings from 5-6pm, and Amanda will be here on Sunday May 23rd and 30th from 12-1pm. For all of these Q & A sessions, we ask that you sign up 2 days in advance.

Feel free to drop in for our Friday night Stitch and Bitch with Alexa. This is a time for knitting, chatting, and shopping with other knitters in the community.

Edgemont classes:

Continental Knitting has been a great hit in Edgemont, so Jessica will be teaching another one night course on Tuesday June 1st from 7-9pm. This class is designed for knitters who know the basics of knitting, but want to learn another way of doing it! Jessica has all the experience and patience to teach you this fabulous way of knitting!

Jessica will also be teaching our ever so popular Sock Boot-camp. This is a one night class that will show you how to knit a pair of socks by knitting a mini sock in 3 hours. Jessica will also have lot’s of tips and pointers to help you along the way! Our next Sock Boot-camp in Edgemont will take place on Tuesday May 25th from 6-9pm.

Have you ever wanted to learn to crochet? Erica, another one of our skilled instructors, will be holding a three week Beginners Crochet class starting on Friday May 28th from 6-8pm. You will learn all the basics of crochet so that you can go on to make your first project!

More new and exciting classes are in the works for both stores, so stay tuned through the blog for more info!

Our Weekly Special for this week is Estelle Malizia at 40% off! This is a fabulous novelty yarn for scarves, bags, and embellishments. We have a sample scarf in the Point Grey store knit on 20mm needles.  When knit on smaller needles,  it will look more like flower buds. A one-night project right there!

And Congratulations to Carmen in Point Grey, and Joni in Edgemont who are the winners of this months draw. When you come into either one of out stores, put your business card in to our draw or fill out a card and enter to win a $50 Urban Yarns gift certificate!


GCC: Cabling Without Fear

Monday, May 3rd, 2010


When I first learned to knit it was from a book from the 70’s. It’s not like I’m the first person to learn to knit from a book, but I can’t say it’s terribly common. I feel that most people have stories of grandmothers, mothers, or friends that taught them the basics of knitting.  My grandmothers and mother don’t knit. My mom actually used to knit a bit but just the basics. They are hearty and craftastic women who have many other crafty hobbies, but knitting just isn’t one of them.

So it was that I learned to knit from a stitchionary (like a dictionary, but for stitches). It didn’t exactly give me the best technique (insert beginner knitter looking in confused horror at Alexa’s knitting style) but I sure did learn a thing or two about different stitches. I started with a hideous purple acrylic square and was hooked on knitting. From there I decided I would design a blanket with strips of different stitches. This way, my thinking went, I would learn all these different stitches. There were some with combinations of knitting and purling, some with a little beginner style lace, and some with cables. I put little seed stitch border on them and sewed them together to form some cute and cozy blankets. Side note: I made them about 6.5 feet long because of my rather large brothers, it was a bit nuts. It was a great introduction to the wonderful wide world of knitting!

Now that sharing time is over I will get to the point: cables are great and no one should be afraid to try them! I learned to cable from an old, and somewhat unhelpful, book so there is not reason anyone should be scared of cable. Cables are great, they can look so snakey and complicated but really they aren’t. I often refer to cables as the best kept secret in knitting. Cables are so pretty and versatile, they can have a sort of celtic feel, they can make an excellent detail on something plain, or it can serve to slim a piece of knitting because cables tend to make your knitting pinch in. Such a lovely technique. Here is how to do it:

At its most basic a cable is the reversal of stitches. If you are cabling over 4 stitches you will come to those stitches in order: 1 2 3 4 . When you cable them you are knitting them in a different order: 3 4 1 2. That’s all there is to it!

Just kidding, there’s a little more than that. What you will need to get started is a cable needle. This is the needle that will help you change the order of stitches. The other factor is which direction you are changing the order, front (left) or back (right) . The following is a cable 4 front (c4f). When a cable is written this way you divide the number of stitches by 2 (4 divided by 2 is 2). You will then put 2 stitches on your cable needle, (stitches 1 and 2) like so:


Then you will hold the cable needle in the front of your work, like so:


Then you will knit 2 stitches from the left hand needle (stitches 3 and 4)


Then you will knit the 2 stitches from the cable needle. Sometimes people slip these stitches back onto the left hand needle but I just cut out the middle man and knit straight from the cable needle.


If you are cabling 4 BACK instead of c4f it will look like this:


Everything else will be the same, 2 from the left needle, 2 from the cable needle. There you have it, cabling is as easy as 123. So, don’t be afraid to go out and try your first cabling project, it’s not so scary, I promise!