Posts Tagged ‘GCC’

Toy Mania Continues…..

Thursday, October 7th, 2010


I just don’t know how she does it! I feel like there is a new and even more adorable toy at Urban Yarns every week. Not only is Amanda on a Toy roll but they have been popping up at knit night, knit classes, and in general show and tell. Anina just finished knitting this adorable turkey from the Spud and Chloe Blog. It’s a free pattern that you can find here.


My new favorite though is the cutest reindeer of all! It may seem a bit early to be getting so festive but I just think he’s the cutest thing. Amanda knit this little lovely up with Blue Sky Alpacas yarn (sumptuous) and the pattern and bits and pieces from CID designs. There are so many to choose from in this line (even Amanda hasn’t knit them ALL yet), there is a cute elf and santa if you are feeling festive, or drop by and check out the frog prince. Amanda knit him up in a tweedy yarn and he’s just perfect. The menagerie continues to grow!

The only problem with these charming little creatures is that they can seem a little daunting. Small double pointed needles, lots of increases and decreases, putting the whole thing together when it’s done…it can seem like a lot to take on in a small project. This, however, is both the challenge and the charm of toys. There is a lot of interest and technique but there is also a lot of instant gratification. Also, should a mistake HAPPEN to turn up, it’s not a lot of knitting to rip back (perish the thought).


If you are still feeling overwhelmed at the possibility of a little toy, don’t be afraid, just learn from the best! Amanda is teaching a class on the CID Hanscom Design kits at the end of the month. This whimsical class is going to be a lot of fun, using the ever-so-cute, CID Hanscom Design Kits.  THere are a number of sweet creatures to choose from: Harry Rabbit, Squeak the mouse, Tadeus Crocker, Croco Dehlia to name a few.  Amanda will assist you in working through the pattern and help you with its final construction.
Supply Requirements: Suggested yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca Sport or Melange & 2.25mm needles, fibre fill.
*Please Note: Since these toys are fairly small, basic knitting skills are a pre-requisite, with a concentration on fine motor skills.
Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Dates: Oct. 26 & Nov. 2
Cost: $50.00 + HST

Habu at Urban Yarns!

Friday, August 20th, 2010


Well, Urban Yarns is hosting yet another exciting and fabulous event: September 28th and 29th Takako from Habu Textiles will be teaching four 45 minute Japanese schematic pattern reading workshops! There will also be a trunk show where you can enjoy a “hands-on” presentation of over 30 kit garments.  We will have some kits available for sale in the store and you will also have an opportunity to consult with Takako and place orders.


What is Habu? For those of you not in the know, Habu is a textile line. I would use the word yarn here, but Habu seems to be something a bit more than yarn, hence the term textiles. Habu makes their ‘yarns’ from fibres I never would have thought possible. The one I am most intrigued by is the combination of stainless steel and silk. You would think this combination would be scratchy and strange but it’s shimmery, soft, and beautiful. Habu also makes yarns from paper, cord, and ramie. Some of these fibres I haven’t even heard of before!


Habu has quite a following. Although their kits often have no pictures to accompany them, people seem to flock towards these unique designs and fibres that create truly one of a kind garments. Venus, one of our UY gals, created a beautiful tunic from one of the Habu kits and it is stunning, you can check it out at the shop if you drop on by!


The Habu Details:

Who: Takako from Habu Textiles

What: Japanese Lace Classes

Where: Urban Yarns of course!

When: September 28th from 1-2 and 4-5 and September 29th 12-1 and 3-4

The cost of a class is only $10.00 and there are only 12 seats available per class so give us a call and reserve yourself a seat!

A Charming Tam

Friday, August 13th, 2010


We recently got in a nice new yarn from Malabrigo called Twist. It has all the beautiful colours, softness, and gauge (16-18 stitches per 4 inches) of Malabrigo Worsted but with a Twist…..literally! While Malabrigo worsted has a bit of a reputation for pilling (zero twist is a gauranteed recipe for a bit of a pill) the new Twist avoids this problem because it’s, well, twisted.


We have some beautiful colours, as Malabrigo always does. I’m thinking there might be an orange hat in my future….Anina wasted no time in whipping up a lovely tam in the new yarn herself. It took 2 skeins because it is a rather slouchy cap. It’s the One Day Beret by Kirsten Kapur. This bad boy really does take just one day and you can find the pattern free on Ravelry here.


My favorite little detail is the decreasing at the top. Many berets have nice deceasing but I’m paricularly smitten with the starfishy pattern on this one. So, drop by to check out the new yarn and get started on your very own One Day Beret today!

A Fall Hat

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010


There’s something great about knitting a hat. They are fashionable (most of the time, I suppose that’s up for debate….) and I can whip one up in an evening, as long as it’s not in a sock weight yarn, which it rarely is. There are what seems to be a million hat patterns out there, ranging from the cute and ridiculous to the woodsy and warm. So many to choose from.

Hats also make wonderful gifts, even for those you are not sure will appreciate them. It’s a great knited gift test because it’s low comittment, high pay off. If they toss your hat aside, you know you probably shouldn’t try to knit them a sweater. If they love the hat, it’s gold! I knit a hat for my Uncle Kenny this past Christmas, not sure what the reaction would be, and he loved it! I got a text message the next morning saying ‘I’m still wearning the hat!’. It was a great knitting moment.

I also think any hat that has been designed for a guy is officially unisex. I have yet to come across a hat and think ‘too masculine for me’. There are two hats that I really come back to though, I’ve knit both of these many times. The first is the Basketweave toque that was designed by Nick. Nick used to work at the shop and this is his design. It’s a great hat, simple but with enough detail to keep it interesting. The hat pattern comes in 2 formats, knit in the round and knit flat. It’s nice for those who are a little skitish about knitting in the round, you can knit flat and sew it up.

This particular hat was knit extra long to give it a roll up brim but that’s optional, the original pattern is for a hat that goes just over the ears. My two favorite yarns to knit this bad boy up in are Mirasol Sulka (soft, shiny with silk, great colours) and Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes. I can’t say enough about how much I love this yarn, it’s little pricy but completely worth it. Super soft combination of alpaca and wool with a great twist. It knits up like a dream.


The other hat, the one I’ve made for several boys, both family and friends (including Uncle Kenny) is Jordan’s Toque. This toque was originally designed for my little (6’4″) brother, who still loves his hat a few years later. It’s been quite popular with recipients of this hat and it’s nice and exciting to knit. TIP: make sure to knit the fair isle portion of the hat loosely, lest the hat become too tight to go over the head.

This hat is also knit up in Mirasol Sulka, it’s great that this yarn comes in 50g skeins for knitting fair isle, that way you don’t have as many leftovers. Both patterns and matching yarns are readily available at UY so come on down and get started on a great fall hat today!

An Old Standby

Monday, August 2nd, 2010


Thinking about learning to knit last week got me thinking about great beginner projects. What to do with a beginner is obviously quite dependant on the individual but I think there is one project that is really great for anyone learning to knit. It’s an oldy but a goody, both useful and sometimes beautiful: the dishcloth. A lot of people make dishclothes. This may horrify some knitters I’m sure. Wipe dirty dishes with my long slaved hard work!? Perish the thought. I myself, however, am more of a process knitter and since I so enjoy knitting, I really care a lot less about the finished product than I probably should. So, dishclothes work just fine for me.

Why knit a dish cloth at all? Well, I think there is something to be said in defence of a useful knit. If you are thinking to yourself that you can just BUY dishclothes for reasonable little money, let me stop you right there. You can buy anything you knit. They sell socks, sweaters, blankets, toys, skirts, blouses, shawls, anything you can knit is sold in many locations near you. That is certainly no reason to not knit something! I happen to think knitting creates a very nice fabric for a dishcloth as well. They really excel at wiping down counters especially.

Now, why are dishclothes perfect for beginners? Because you can do absolutely anything in a dishcloth. Swatches of different stitches make excellent learning tools and why let them go to waste? They can easily become useful and pretty dishclothes. Dishclothes also make a nice gift if you feel the need to make many in order to perfect a newly learned skill. So, with that in mind I have a few pattern and yarn recommendations.

1. Wedding Dishclothes from the PurlBee. These little babies are simple and nice and they are done in Blue Sky Skinny Cotton. I’ve made several of these myself and they wear VERY well. It’s a yarn with a hearty spin and they have lasted what feels like a million washes. I’ve also made them for friends and they have gone over quite well. I like that I know this not because they told me they like them, but because I’ve seem them in action. It’s a good feeling.

To make these you will need the pattern here and a skein or two of Blue Sky Skinny Cotton.

2. The Mitered Dish Towel is a charming way to use my 2 favorite things: bright yarn and fun buttons! Also an absolutely wonderful gift these towels can teach a beginner all about increases and decreases and I think they have the right level of interest for a beginner.

To make these you will need some 18 stitch gauge cotton (come on in and we can certainly help you pick some out) and the pattern is a freebee here.

3. If you are looking for something a little more challenging you can try this trio of dishclothes. They are each a different stitch so when you are ready to experiment a little and branch out it’s a good new project.

To make them you will need a few skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton and the free pattern from Ravelry here.


Knit a Little Love

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010


There are many types of knitters out there with many differing opinions on whether or not knitting should be kept or given, and if given, who should receive such lovingly knit items. Some believe that knitting is a precious and time consuming thing and you should really only knit for the one person who will truly appreciate it: yourself. Every time I gift a piece of knitting that I feel is unappreciated, I think about turning to this knitterly philosophy. But then, some sort of gift giving occasion will roll around and I will inevitably find myself casting on the greatest gift of all time.

This is a bit pessimistic, there are many people in the world who appreciate a wonderful hand knitted item. These people should be loved and cherished and showered with knitted gifts until they are entirely clad from head to toe in beautiful woolies. But today I am thinking about a different kind of gifted knitting. This type of knitting is both giving and awareness raising and while there are many different knitting charities, today I’d like to share one: The Period of Purple Crying Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC.

This charity involves knitting purple caps for newborn babies in an effort to help new parents understand purple crying (when babies cry hard and long) and the damage that can be caused by shaking newborn babies. So, the only rules are that your hats must be delivered to the BC Children’s Hospital by November 5th and they must be purple. If you drop your hats by Urban Yarns by the 4th, we’ll travel them down to the BC Children’s Hospital for you.

If you’re looking for an adorable hat pattern, check out this super adorable Princess Leia Hat by the charming Amanda. It’s done in the soft and washable Rialto Aran, 2 balls, and we just so happen to have 2 different shades of purple on Sale! Hooray! Our Special this week is Luxury Highlander at 40% off, regular $6.95 now $4.17.

Profile of a Knitter

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Friday nights at Urban Yarns are always a good time. There are so many lovely ladies who come to knit and gab away their evenings. There can be anywhere from 2 to 20 people in out little shop and topics range from family and friends to movies and books. I have met many fun and fabulous women at SnB night (you know who you are). Since I’m not knitting at this moment I’ve been living vicariously through these ladies and I thought I would profile one such knitter.


Kristen and I met at either knit nights or during a class, I can’t remember which now, but the first things I noticed was her beautiful cabled cowl. Sometimes you come across a knitter and they just have the very same taste as you in yarn and projects, something to be treasured. I’m always interested in what Kirsten is up to and have even copy-catted a project or two! Her lovely cabled cowl is a pattern by Blue Sky Alpacas and the yarn is the lovely Suri Merino. Hers turned out just beautifully.


Next up is the charming little Colonnade shawl. Kirsten knit this baby up in Misti Alpaca Handpainted Sock. Kynna came across this yarn a few Fridays back and the knitting crew went nuts! There was a serious run and at least 3 knitters are working on a pretty rainbow project of their own. Kirsten’s rainbow Colonnade will be a fresh bit of colour against the grey Vancouver skies of fall.


Kirsten has also been finishing sweaters at an alarming rate! My personal favorite is her Felted Tweed Manu. It’s a lot of stockingette stitch but the finished project is fantastic. The pleats make it feminine and the pockets are my favorite part. Manu is another very popular sweater on Ravelry, for good reason!

So, this is a profile of one prolific and talented knitter. Swing by Friday nights and you are sure to meet many more!


GCC: Sock Yarn Possibilities

Thursday, July 8th, 2010


While I like to knit things in all different weights of yarn there is something so nice about sock yarn. Although it’s a triffle thin for some (28 stitches per 4 inches) it’s still thicker than lace, which means it goes a little faster. What I really like about sock yarn is that it so very versatile. I recently finished a couple of lovely socky projects.

The first is my charming little Ishbel by Isolde Teague made with 1 skein of the lovely Fleece Artist Casbah sock yarn. One skein of Casbah is 380 yards which is enough to make a pair of socks or a small shawl. It has a hint of Cashmere in it which makes it super soft and lovely to work with.


The second project is a wee one, some little shoes. These ones are Saartje’s Baby Booties, a popular free Ravelry pattern. They knit up in no time and look super cute! They are also an excellent reason to use adorable buttons. Each bootie gets 2 little buttons to fasten the straps. Unfortunately Nat’s little feet were on the move for this picture!


There are many great benefits to sock yarn and here are just a few:

1. You can add so much detail to all things Fair Isle because you have more stitches to work with, which is great.

2. 1 skein makes a whole project. I love it when this happens but it does make sock yarn dangerously easy to stash….The other benefit to the one skein project is low colour comittment. When considering yarn for a sweater you have to think about what colours the person who will wear the sweater likes, the pattern involoved, etc. With a one skein sock yarn project you can really just go nuts.

3. If you hold a sock yarn doubled you get a 20 stitch gauge, which is pretty close to a DK weight, and also good for lots of things.

4. Sock yarn comes in all kinds of crazy colour combinations but also some lovely subtle hand dyes. There are a lot of small Independant Dyers that do some really funky things with sock yarn, more so than other weights.

5. Socks are a lot of fun, give ‘em a try if you haven’t already!


GCC: The Best Laid Plans

Monday, July 5th, 2010


I started out this summer with a knitting bang. I had plans, patterns, pretty yarns, design ideas, dyes, blank yarns, I was all set to go! Creative juices were flowing, life was good. I was even shown a little knitting gods mercy with some lousy summer weather. You may all hate me for this but I’m loving the cool summer, more time for warm wools and alpacas. I mean, it’s too warm to WEAR such items but not too warm to knit with them. A few months ago I even organized my stash of yarn (more than slightly out of control but that’s a story for another time) and I went trolling on Ravelry to match up my yarns with some great patterns. I was even going to knit the top 10 Ravelry designs before the summer months were out, or at least before December. Such grand ideas and lofty goals.

Then nausea hit. I am too nauseous to knit and the constant sound of clicking needles has gone quiet in my home. It’s a knitters worst nightmare! All the yarn, patterns, and needles are just sitting there, begging to be used. New yarn and patterns are flowing into the shop and I must sit idly by and try to keep my digestive system under control. My husband even asked (in a more than concerned tone) “Is the knitting phase over, because we still have a LOT of yarn…..”. I even tried casting on for these beautiful mittens, trying to power through but to no avail. It’s a knitting disaster. It’s like my knitting life has ground to a halt.


So, over dramatic Alexa aside, I hope you are all ready for some knitting spring/summer cleaning and I have a few suggestions for getting started. I hope you all have better luck with the follow through than I did!

To organize your knitting world start with your stash. Once you know what you have/need you will be better able to go out and start new projects.

1. Pull out those long hibernating projects and get back at it. The best thing about starting here is that the projects feel like they take no time because you are probably already half way done, or more! If you’re stuck on a technique you can swing by the shop for a quick tutorial, or if it’s a bigger problem sign yourself up for a QnA, a private class, or something more substantial like a Beyond Beginner class. Amanda and Sandra are teaching those classes and they are both fantastic, you’ll learn what you need to finish up a project and much more.

2. Re-assess your pattern/yarn match ups. Have you bitten off more than you can chew? Or are you just rethinking a certain cardigan? If you need a new pattern to go with your yarn you can head on over and we will be happy to match up your yarn with a new pattern. It is most helpful if you record the gauge and yardage of your yarn, or bring in a ball and let us know how many you have at home.

3. If you’ve got a pattern that is going to become your summer pet project it’s time to pick out some yarn. As you may know, this is my favorite part of the day working at UY, picking yarn to match a pattern.

Once you have completed these steps, all there is left is knitting! Get to it!

Our Store Special this week is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, colours 30, 26, 10, 5, 25, 20, and 6. 25% off (regular $8.95, now only &6.71)


GCC: Baby Yarn

Monday, June 21st, 2010
Baby Nat in a cute little Sprout Hat

Baby Nat in a cute little Sprout Hat

This is sort of a rant, rather than a regular post. You’ve been warned. There are often people who come in looking for ‘baby yarn’. At first this request seems pretty normal, lots of people knit baby things. Lots of people actually get their knitting start with baby things. They are quick and satisfying without the fitting worries of adult garments. Hand knit baby things are often destined for the keepsake chest or passed on where possible. It’s a great thing. The term baby yarn, however, is not.

The first time someone asked me for this baby yarn I racked my brain and pointed them in the direction of the Snuggly yarn, a washable acrylic in soft shades. Perfect for baby things right? Mistake. This was not what they were looking for at all and I looked kind of dumb. The term baby yarn is kind of a weird one, it has a couple of different meanings, just to complicate things. It’s an older term (no offence intended) and from what I can gather it means an acrylic yarn that is a 4 ply gauge, and usually in pastels. To further complicate things the term 4 ply isn’t really that accurate either, in this case it means a 28 stitch gauge. So, should the term throw you, I think you are best off looking for a 28 stitch gauge of any kind. Which brings me to my next rant: what is baby yarn really?

There is no such thing as baby yarn, any yarn is perfectly fine for baby! Of course, you will want something soft, that’s a no brainer but although some think wool is off limits, I say no way! Why deny babies the lovely sensation of a super soft merino wool against the skin? Or, if you have a particularly pampered baby, some cashmere, or alpaca! The real question is to go washable or non washable. This usually depends on Mummy. Is she a knitter? She will probably hand wash your precious knit. If not, use your judgement (if you’re not sure, go washable, don’t be disappointed). There are of course, lots of nice washables and a few of my current faves are Rialto (4ply, DK, and Aran) by Debbie Bliss, Classy (aran weight) by Dream in Colour, and all the Spud and Chloe family (new colours just came in too, check out the nice plummy purple).

So, in conclusion, Baby Yarn does not (in my humble opinion) really exist, so just choose something soft and pretty that fits your adorable pattern!

To make a Sprout Hat as pictured above you will need

The pattern by Cheryl Niameth (we’ve got ‘em at UY)

5mm needles

1 ball Cashmerino Aran (this is Chartreuse)

I might add that our sale this week is Cashmerino Aran, colours 12, 21, 6, 5, 20, 24, and 19.  Regular $8.95, now 25% off at $6.71, so you can whip up one of these cuties today!