Archive for 2013

Back To School!

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

This year I sent my wee Hunter off to preschool. It’s only 2 mornings a week but it does a mum good to see her little one go out into the world. She brought me home a black and white painting today and I put it right up on the fridge, so proud! Well enough about kids heading to school, what about us?! It’s time to go to knitting school and whether you are a new knitter, a novice knitter, or if you’ve been knitting for years, Tin Can Knits has a collection for you!

The Simple Collection is a whole collection of FREE patterns along with step by step tutorials. We have already released Wheat (scarf), Malt (baby blanket), Oats (cowl), and Barley (hat) and you can keep a look out for Rye (socks), Maize (mittens), Flax (pullover), and Harvest (cardigan) all due out this fall. If these are some of your first patterns you can check out the tutorials to go along with them, or if you prefer a little face time with the wonderful instructors at UY just give them a call and they can help you every step of the way!

What do you need for this collection? Just some aran/worsted weight yarn and UY has a ton of great yarns to choose from. A solid (and more thrifty) option is Cascade 220. It comes in so very many colors and a good yardage of 220 (get it?).

If you are looking for something oh so soft, try Malabrigo Worsted or Malabrigo Rios. Two soft, hand dyed, yarns in some bright fun colors.

Or if you’re looking for a treat, try Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes. An amazing subtle variegated yarn, perfect for any of our Simple Collection patterns!


Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

I was snooping around the shop today, and after moving a number of bags of yarn out of the way to make room to sit on the couch, a splash of colour caught my eye. I took a picture right then and there to capture the perfect blend of yarns that had so grabbed my attention. Turns out that picture did not turn out well. So I took the yarns out of their bags and figured that might work a bit better.


Look at that. Gold, teal, charcoal, Shibui Staccato and Silk Cloud, stunning. In case you’re wondering who made this fantastic selection, it’s pure dumb luck. We had a few items on backorder with Shibui, and these are they! Just plain luck that they all came in together. Conveniently, we also got in two new patterns from Shibui that call for these exact yarns!


Well, that was all a bit of a surprise, as I had come in to shoot photos of the new colours of Misti Alpaca we got.

First up, Tonos Carnaval. 50% alpaca, 30% merino, 10% silk, 10% nylon.


Next, Handpaint Sock. Also 50% alpaca, 30% merino, 10% silk, 10% nylon.

Handpaint Chunky. 100% baby alpaca.

And finally, BabyMeBoo. 50% baby alpaca, 30& merino, 20% bamboo.

Ooh, all just gorgeous, eh? Lots new stock to share soon!

Texture Three Ways

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Amongst the slew of incoming new yarns for the Fall and Winter seasons, I found these three gems. Each of these yarns is from a different, but very well known company. We have Luxurious Aran Tweed from Sublime, Obi from Noro, and finally Milano from Debbie Bliss. As you may have gathered by now, I’m a bit of a texture geek. Colour is great and all, but I knit because it’s so tactile! Anyway, I felt that these yarns make for a bit on balance and contrast as a group.

First up, Luxurious Aran Tweed. This is a 40% cotton, 40% wool, 20% llama aran weight yarn. It is surprisingly light and lofty given it’s fibre content, and does boast some truly fantastic tweediness, which is always a good thing. I would like to see it done up in a big Ships and Seaside style cowl.


Next, Noro Obi. At 14st/4″, this is the heaviest out of the group. With 55% wool, 35% silk and 10% mohair, it carries on the unique tradition of Noro with an entirely unpredictable range of colours, and a decidedly rustic hand. Now I often have trouble getting on the Noro bandwagon, but I do think that Obi would be brilliant as a bulky, autumnal vest.


Finally, we come to Milano, from Debbie Bliss. I would say that this is the least expected of the bunch, as I tend to picture most Debbie Bliss offerings as quite sedate, and comfortable (and maybe a little boring). Well, I really like the Milano! It’s got a very quirky texture, with a multi-coloured unspun core wrapped in a a secondary strand. I’m not sure which parts of the construction are composed of the 40% wool, 28% polyamide, 18% silk, 8% polyester, 6% acrylic, but it has an almost recycled feel to it. As an aran weight yarn, there are boundless possibilities, but it will be a delicate balance to keep the colour and texture in check, whatever the project…


And partly because side by side comparisons are handy, and partly because I really just felt like stacking some yarn… here’s a group shot. See you in September, folks!


So Hot Right Now

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

As a child of the 90’s I am stoked that neon is back! I picked out neon back-to-school (or to-school as the case may be) clothes and accessories for Hunter and now she needs some knits to match!

Schachenmayr Bravo Big fits the bill. At a whopping 2 stitches per inch it’s a chunky yarn with zingy colours to choose from. Neon Lime anyone? Perhaps a dash of Day Glo Yellow? A pom pom of Electric Pink? Perfect!

This yarn is a great match for the ever popular border hat. Often whipped up on the chairlift, these hats have become iconic on the slopes. They are bright and fun, with simple ribbing or quick single or double crochet. Earflaps and pompoms, stripes big and small, they are a simple canvas for whatever fun you want to add. Whip up one for the slopes in a night!

Fall is in the Air

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Promise not to run me out of town, but I think we’re into the slow slide out of summer in Vancouver now. There are still plenty of lovely days to be had, but there are some telltale signs: the odd cool day, earlier sunsets, chilly evenings, and the steady piling up of boxes in the store. So while we may choose to lament the loss of the sun, new yarn season approacheth!

First up is a slew of colours of Lett-Lopi, classic Icelandic woollyness.

The first of two offerings from Rowan is Alpaca Colour, a DK weight baby alpaca option, soft and subtle.

And also from Rowan is Angora Haze. Fingering weight angora/nylon/wool blend, which should be very pleasant, if you like angora!

On the super bulky side of things, we have Catena, by Sandnes Garn. Alpaca/merino blend should knit up like a house on fire on the suggested 12mm needles.

Finally, Alpakka Strompegarn, also from Sandnes. Dk weight alpaca/nylon blend, which actually feels quite nice, I think it should be a hit!

Magazines and Books for Fall!

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Oh boy oh boy oh boy!

So as many of you have probably realized by now, I like Fall. And Autumn. I like them both quite a lot. I also like books (and magazines) a great deal. As such, it should be no small surprise that the annual end of summer pattern launch gets me all kinds of excited.


Bam. You’re welcome. We have Interweave and Vogue Early Fall 2013, Knitbot Essentials, Knitbot Linen, Hill Country Weavers Prairie Bliss, Rowan Autumn Knits, Gudrun Johnston Knit With Me, Interweave Knitting Traditions Lace (Finally!!!), and more copies of last years WestKnits Book 4: Made for Movement.

Interweave is classy as always, my faves are the Concord Jacket, and surprisingly, the Bryn Mawr Dress.


Vogue Early Fall actually has some nice patterns in it this time around. Sideways Cowl and Wolf Boatneck are the standouts.

You may recall from earlier posts that I am a fan of designer Hannah Fettig. I also have an incredibly soft and mushy spot for Quince and Co. yarns (which… we cannot get in Canada so far). So, seeing these two come together, really made my day. Rather than pick favourites, I would just like to say that I want to knit them all. All of them. Every Single One.


Rowan rewards us yet again with sumptuous cables and tactile, tweedy designs. I will take Monyash, Ilam and Hope. Hell, I’ll take two.


From Hill Country Weavers, Prairie Bliss Book 1 has some enchantingly elegant designs. Check out Enchanted Rock, Limestone Landscape, and Rockabilly Soft.

Gudrun Johnston hasn’t hit all my buttons in Knit With Me, but I do love the looks of Empire.


Obviously my most anticipated publication is the continuation of Interweave’s Knitting Traditions series. Only 8 patterns in this lace collection, but absolute stunners, half of them! An Elegant Beaded Stole, Lacy Afternoon Tea Blouse, Osprey Stole, and The Lacy Triangular Stole have my vote. Oh, and Knitting Traditions continues to be one of the few magazines that I do actually buy for the articles!


Now, go forth and knit!

New From Blue Sky

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

There is something great about kiddie knitting in the summer. It makes me feel accomplished, even if my knitting time is down, because a wee version often knits up in no time. Without further adieu here are 3 new kiddie patterns from Blue Sky!

First up is the Cameron Hoodie. This little cutie is done in the Worsted Cotton, my very favorite of all the cottons. You can do a shorter hoody/vest or with a little added length it becomes an adorable dress over tights.

Next up is the Harriet Dress in skinny cotton. There is a wide range of colors in skinny cotton so you can take a subdued mauve route or go with bold pinks and teals. This yarn is super hard wearing so your little one can go nuts in this dress! Weather you are rolling around on the beach or taking a walk through the woods, she will look fabulous.

Lastly, my personal fave: Beatrice. Also done in skinny cotton, this top is an excellent wardrobe addition, perfect to throw on over a dress or jeans for the cooler nights that late summer brings. Which little cutie will you be knitting?

These are some of my favourite things

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

First off, I apologize for being a bit light on the posting the last few weeks. You see, when your computer decides to finally up and kick the bucket, it tends to put a bit of a damper on anything involving photo editing, or the internet, or word processing…

But, I’m back and Urban Yarns Headquarters (UYHQ) is functional once again!

Actually, speaking of UYHQ (the real store, not the one that is just my laptop on my coffee table in front of my couch), Anina has been the busiest bee this month. The Point Grey store has got a completely new layout with a brand new front console and a much nicer wall layout – you should come check it out! (I would have a photo, but that would require that I remember to charge my camera’s battery… The heat makes me a bit of a mess, ok?)

Anyway, I was in the store today and found two really really exciting things – new patterns from some of my favourite designers.

First up, we have a brand spanking new book from our ex-pat, Emily Wessel, entitled Handmade in the UK. Emily always comes up with elegant and cheerful designs. While she seems to be working more exotic yarns now that she is overseas, any of our staff can easily help you pick a good substitute.



My favourite designs so far are Bonny and Vivid.



The other pleasant surprise was a whole stack of patterns from Julie Hoover, one of my all-time favourite designers when it comes to simple, clean, timeless designs. We now have copies of Frontenac, Doux, Garance and Becot, as well as more copies of Insouciant, Chaleur and Decouverte.

Out of the new batch, Garance is definitely the group favourite.


Silk for Summer

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

So it’s hot hot hot out there, but heat or no heat, I want to knit with something fabulous, time to break out some silk. Annabella’s Cowl in Alchemy Silk Purse is the perfect thing for summery knitting!

Silk is a dream to knit with and beautiful to wear. Alchemy offers it up in 2 ways: cool and crisp in Silken Straw (you simply must come in and feel this yarn!), and sumptuously soft in Silk Purse. Annabella’s Cowl from Churchmouse Yarns is done in the hand dyed, single ply, Silk Purse.

Annabelle’s Cowl is a simple project, perfect for car trips (only one set of needles and an easily memorized stitch pattern), plane rides, or just sitting on the beach! I always need a simple project on the needles for summer, there are so many BBQ’s and evenings on the patio with friends, I need some ‘conversation knitting’. Something I don’t need to pay too much attention to.  So the only question is: which beautiful color will you choose?!

Knitting With Amanda

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

The funny thing about knitting is that it’s both seasonal and not. While people tend to think about knitting in the fall, when the weather starts to turn, it’s prudent to start thinking about your knitting in the summer. The problem? Who (other than me of course) wants to be knitting in the middle of summer when it’s 28 degrees!? Well I say, let practicality win over comfort, hole up somewhere cool and get your needles out.

If you haven’t had a change to knit with Amanda yet you really should. Her classes are wildly popular, with students returning with each project they cast on. Amanda is patient and kind of a knitting genius. While she has both beginner and beyond beginner classes coming up, you can also feel free to call the shop and set up a private lesson. Here are some great reasons to take a class with Amanda:

1. Beginner knitting: if you haven’t knit before, now’s the time! Amanda will start you off on your knitting journey right.

2. Your first sweater: while there are many options for beyond beginner, it’s highly recommended to do your very first sweater. There are lots of techniques to be learned and Amanda knows them all!

3. A pile of questions: if your pile of unfinished knitting is starting to add up it might be time to take stock. What point are you at and what are the questions you have. Once you have a list written up, set a time and bring them all in. It’s like spring cleaning but for knitting.