Archive for 2013

Thick and Quick

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Tis the season for knitting! It’s December 8th, and that means only 17 days of knitting ’til Christmas. Time to think thick and quick! Urban Yarns has a GREAT selection of bulky yarns and patterns to match that you can knit up in an evening or 2.

Malabrigo Rasta has to be my very favorite bulky yarn. I have used it to make a few False Creek Cowls this year and there is always the lovely Marian Cowl. Marian has been a huge hit around the shop for a few years now, never going out of style and always flying off the needles.

Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky is another great thick and quick yarn. It’s a super soft combination of alpaca and merino, perfect for a hat or scarf, anything next to the skin. The Trellis Scarf is a glamorous long scarf with a trendy fringed edge, while the Frosty Cowl (which takes just 2 hanks!) is a closer fitting cowl.

Frosty Cowl

Enjoy some bulky knits!

Winter Warmer Round-up

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

So it’s getting a bit chilly and frosty here in Vancouver, and I am finding myself unusually cold for the season. I mean, it’s pretty embarrassing to be a knitter with chattering teeth who cannot for the life of him find a single pair of mittens anywhere in the apartment!

On that note, I’d like to share a selection of some of my favourite warmers!

Mittens (because gloves, while nice, are fiddly, and I need to knit these fast, before I freeze)

Thrummed Mittens
These are the ultimate in warmth and coziness. I’d love to see some done in the wonderfully coloured roving from Great Adirondack Yarn Co.

Gloaming Mittens
Lovely little bit of colourwork from Brooklyn Tweed – try them in the Harrisville Designs New England Shetland.

Pearl Chain Mittens
Oh I just love the cheery brightness of these – maybe in Madelinetosh Sport?

Hats (while it’s not true that you lose most of your body heat through your head, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep it warm!)

Rikke Hat
Simple and slouchy! And gosh… any DK weight yarn.

Little Scallops Hat
Just enough to cover your ears, and add a pop of colour – would be great in Lorna’s Laces Sportmate.

Cocoon Hat
This bulky hat will up quickly in Rowan Cocoon for immediate satisfaction.

Scarves/Cowls (while I love the Honey Cowl, let’s take a look at some other options)

Big Herringbone Cowl
Need an excuse to use Blue Sky Alapacas Worsted Hand Dyes? Look no further! mmm, royal alpaca…

Jeweled Cowl
Maybe a little bit light for Northern climes, but if you live somewhere where the mercury doesn’t drop so much, this cowl lets you carry some lacy frosty glitter with you.

Linen Stitch Scarf
And finally, a great unisex scarf! Linen stitch really works brilliantly at blending disparate colours to create a unified pattern! Especially fun with Koigu.

New Product Spotlight: Shibui Pebble

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Ooh, what a fantastic little treat we’ve got in!


It’s a rare day that Shibui produces something that I’m not over the moon about, but that’s because they put out some fantastic yarn (and great patterns as well). The newest offering from the Portland-based company is Pebble, a light, luxury blend.


Pebble is 48% recycled silk, 36% fine merino, and 16% cashmere, and comes listed as a ‘heavy laceweight’. It is really lovely in the hand, soft, with a fine halo from the cashmere, but also a delightful tweediness from the recycled silk and merino. This yarn may well be my new fall obsession.


Unfortunately, my photos really truly cannot do this yarn justice. Do yourself a favour and check it out in person, it is well worth it..



Oh, oh, it gets better! Along with Pebble, Shibui has launched a few new patterns, my favourite of which is Cliff, hands down (so much so that I am tempted to make a boys version). You can pick it up on Ravelry, or you can buy a copy in-store!


Fall Classes And Vivid Workshop

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Ooh, brr. The weather has taken a turn towards the distinctly chilly today, and while I’m slightly hesitant to call it Fall… I just can’t admit that winter is here yet, so Fall Classes it is!

Last Call: Vivid Blanket Workshop

Coming up this Sunday is your last opportunity to take a lesson with our visiting knitter Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits fame. Emily is teaching her fantastic Vivid Blanket Workshop This Sunday, November 3rd in Point Grey from 1-4pm, and if you want a brilliant, portable, colourful, fun project to play around with, you should sign up!


You will make one square, and learn all the techniques required, including the pinhole cast-on, knitting lace from charts, and working in the round using either double-pointed needles, or the magic loop technique, depending on your preference.

More information can be found on our classes page.

Don’t miss out, sign up today!


Beginner Classes

And I would very much like to take this opportunity to flog our bevy of beginner classes! Thinking about knitting gifts for Christmas? Well, it’s not too late, especially not with our incredibly talented instructors guiding you along.

Cast on, cast off, knit purl, learn them all! Great for fresh-faces beginners and also excellent as a refresher if you haven’t knit in a long time. We’ve got classes most days of the week, and you can see the whole schedule online here!
Some sessions will be starting up very soon, so you’d best take a look, and talk your non-knitting friends into giving it a shot!

POP or Vivid?

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Who can resist such a graphic and beautiful blanket? Emily is the creator of both the POP and Vivid blankets and will be in town to teach workshops on both! Each blanket is created with squares knit from the center out. Sound crazy? Sign up for Emily’s work shop and she will walk you through it step by step!

The real question to ask is which yarn and which weight? Both blankets can really be knit in any weight of yarn, just choose needles to match. The POP blanket is done in a self striping yarn (Noro Kureyon) to give it a lot of different colors. For Vivid you can choose your palette, cool blues? Fall inspired reds, oranges, and browns? Perhaps something bright and wild? The possibilities are endless!

POP Blanket Workshop

Bright, bubbly and modern, the POP blanket is a unique knitted patchwork quilt.  It is a great project for using up bright leftovers from other projects, and a perfect heirloom knit for the very special baby, or your freshly renovated room.  Knit from the centre out, these addictive squares use several special techniques that you may not have tried!

You will make one square, and learn all the techniques, including the pinhole cast-on, short-row shaping, stretchy bind-off, blocking and the crochet-chain seam.  The class is suitable for advanced beginners.

What to bring:

- POP blanket pattern (available in store or online
– 5.5 mm double pointed needles (or a long circular for the magic loop technique)
– 20 yds each of 2 colours of worsted/aran weight yarn (this is for one square – see the pattern for complete blanket requirements) – sample shown in Noro Kureyon and Cascade Eco
– locking stitch marker, darning needle, crochet hook


Point Grey
Monday, October 21st
6:30 – 9:30
Cost: $35.00

North Vancouver
Tuesday, October 22nd
6:00 – 9:00
Cost: $35.00

Vivid Blanket Worshop

Join designer Emily Wessel (of Tin Can Knits) and learn how to make the exquisite Vivid Blanket.

A delicate, lacy but modern patchwork, Vivid is knit one square at a time, in a rainbow of your own choosing!  It is a great portable knitting project, and makes a very special baby gift, or a house-warming present to yourself!

You will make one square, and learn all the techniques required, including the pinhold cast-on, knitting lace from charts, and working in the round using either double-pointed needles, or the magic loop technique, depending on your preference!

What to bring:

- Vivid blanket pattern (available in store or online)
- 70 (100, 130) yds of sock (DK, worsted) weight yarn – your choice! and needles to match yarn weight (we suggest US 5 for sock weight, US 7 for DK weight, US 8 or 9 for worsted weight)
– stitch markers, darning needle, crochet hook


Point Grey
Sunday, October 27th
1 – 4 pm
Cost: $35.00

Pretty Things

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Sparkly and silky, it’s time for a new shipment of Great Adirondack Yarn Co. yarn and batts!

We’ve got sequins,



We’ve got silk,



And we’ve got merino.


So if you’re looking for something just a bit different to spin, felt, or plain old fondle, you can’t NOT stop in…


Product Focus: Zealana

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Oh happy day!


Would you just look at that lovely, lovely pile of yarn. Zealana really makes some brilliant products, and we’ve got nearly the entire lineup. From lightest to heaviest, Air, Kiwi, Rimu Fingering, Rimu DK, Kauri and Heron.

Air: 40% cashmere, 40% brusthtail possum down, 20% mulberry silk
Beyond decadent. Light, airy, fuzzy but not sheddy, pilly, or scratchy (unlike mohair, alpaca, angora…)


Kiwi: 40% NZ merino, 30% organic cotton, 30% possum
Smooth, clean, drapey. Would make for excellent transitional season wear.


Rimu Fingering: 60% NZ merino, 40% possum
A bit rustic feeling, warmer than you would expect.


Rimu DK: 60% NZ merino, 40% possum
A much softer hand than the Fingering version. Perfect for a layering garment, ideal for Fall!


Kauri: 60% NZ Merino, 30% Possum, 10% silk
Indulgent with the silk, and surprisingly much lighter feeling than it’s worsted weight would suggest.


Heron: 80% NZ Merino, 20% Possum
The beefiest of the bunch. Still knits up with a gorgeously soft hand, and yet wears like iron.


And all in a row. From left to right, Heron, Kauri, Rimu DK, Rimu Fingering, Kiwi, Air.


We have been continually impressed with the quality of Zealanas yarns. The possum fibre is just astonishingly warm due to the nature of the hollow fibres, and it really does wear brilliantly with minimal shedding, and no pilling. Most of their products are machine washable, even if not stated explicitly on the label, you’ve got pretty good odds. I have seen some years-old garments that have been heavily used and abused and machine washed, and they still look like new. Defintiely do yourself a favour and be surprised!


Great Little Gifts

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

I recently had the opportunity to review Great Little Gifts to Knit by Jean Moss. It strikes me as the perfect time of year for such a book because I was just putting together a little list for the holidays. It may seem early but we all know how quick these things creep up!

While the book contains a whopping 30 patterns I thought I would tell you about my 3 personal faves:

First up, something for baby. As you may have guessed I LOVE knitting baby gifts. They are quick and small and use very little yarn. Perfect! I am adoring the Whoopla Beanbags. While Hunter isn’t quite coordinated enough for juggling, she and Jones do love to throw things at each other. Beanbags are perfect, very little damage done! These beanbags are knit up in a cotton and Blue Sky Skinny Cotton fits the bill, lots of colors to choose from.

Next up is something for her, the Jive Leg Warmers. Simple cabled leg warmers in Rowan Big Wool, they are a snap to knit and stylish too. The perfect stocking stuffer!

Hugs socks. Need I say more? Worsted weight socks (I am a big fan of a heavy weight sock), with fair isle too! A wintery delight for anyone on your list.

There you have it, my faves! There are, of course, 27 more beautiful patterns to choose from so pick up a copy today!

Frou Frou

Frou Frou

Galway Beanie

Galway Beanie

Flavor Placemat

Flavor Placemat

Emily is Coming!!!

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Far Away and Back Again ::: Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits visits Urban Yarns this October

Emily and I (the designers behind Tin Can Knits) met and got their start designing while working at Urban Yarns back in 2009!   Just four years later, we have published 4 collections of popular knitting patterns, and Emily now lives across the pond in Edinburgh, Scotland… the land of haggis, men in kilts (they really do wear them), and year-round sweater weather!

trunk show and book signing … the last stop on her west coast tour

Emily seldom has the chance to visit, but this October she is going on tour – catching some sun in LA, then traveling up the west coast in time to attend Knit City and to visit her old haunts in Vancouver!  Urban Yarns is excited to be hosting a trunk show and book signing featuring her latest book, Handmade in the UK on Friday, October 25th, from 6-8pm, at the Point Grey location (4437 West 10 Avenue). {map}

pop blanket classes ::: get all the tips direct from the designer <subtitle>

Emily is bringing the adorable Pop blanket with her – book now to learn all the techniques from the designer herself!  Classes will be run at the North Van and Point Grey shops on Oct 21st and 22nd.  Click here for more info and call 604-228-1122 to book now.

intensive shawl design workshop ::: bring your design ideas to life <subtitle>

After what is sure to be a hectic weekend of stash enhancement at Knit City, Emily is back at Urban yarns on Sunday November 3rd, for an all-day intensive shawl design course.  Bring some beautiful yarn, your favourite stitch patterns, and a willingness to try new things, and she reveal her own inspirations, and guide you as you bring your ideas to life in lace!  Click here for more info and call 604-228-1122 to book now.

a bit more about the latest book ::: handmade in the UK

Emily’s latest book, Handmade in the UK, was inspired by her new, romantic surroundings.  These lace designs are inspired by her newcomer’s perspective on the historic urbanity and romantic countryside of her new home.  From the irrepressibly floral motifs that bloom on the Botany shawl and the Lush cardigan, to the crisp architectural lines and geometric patterns of the Bonny top and the Winding Way socks, to the water and landscape motifs of the Windswept pullover and Estuary shawl which take their inspiration from the wild landscapes of Scotland – this collection is has a wealth of interesting lace designs!

join us ::: trunk show, designer talk, and book signing ::: Friday Oct 25th <subtitle>

Come down and say hello, meet Emily and Alexa, try on the beautiful samples, and pick out the perfect combination of hand-dyed luxury + lace pattern at the Trunk Show on October 25th, from 6 – 8 pm.  And be sure to bring your friends… (a little birdy told me that parties put on by Urban Yarns owners Anina and Jan are not to be missed!!!)

Kickin’ It Up a Notch

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

I have not always been a fan of the yarns put out by Debbie Bliss. Well, that’s not quite true. I love working with her yarns, but in general, the colours have left me feeling a bit… meh. I mean, I am a huge advocate of Bright! Colours! when knitting for babies and infants, and Debbie is know for some absolutely fantastic baby patterns, so I have always been left wishing that she would just step away from the pastels and punch up the colour.

Well, was I ever pleasantly surprised this week! In addition to a new magazine with some great patterns, I came nose to skein with some brilliant, deep, rich, engaging, colour!


In particular, there are some new colours of Rialto DK (and a snap of one of my favourite patterns in the magazine, but you’ll have to come check that out in person to see more),


Rialto DK

Rialto Aran,


and, some Baby Cashmerino!


Now, we have obviously kept some subtle tones, but hot-diggity, we have some great punchy colours to work with! Now, go forth a swaddle a new baby in some of the royal purple, oceanic blue, jade green (the colour of the year, still!), and that stunning goldenrod.