Sunday, July 06, 2008

Yarn crawl...

I can't believe how long it's taken me to do this post. It's about yarn, for goodness' sake.

However. Blame taxonomies. And laziness. And doing some actual knitting... here's a teaser...


And also apologies for the quality of the yarn photos in this post - they were some of the first I took with the new camera (to replace the one I lost in Canada), and I really hadn't got the how-to-focus thing sorted out...

Anyway:

Stage 1: Montréal

Tony evidently thought I was a bit of a nutter to consecrate one of my scarce afternoons in his adopted city looking at wool. But I was really glad I did - both of the shops were also in areas not generally visited by tourists, and therefore dead interesting...

Shop 1: Effiloché, 6252 St-Hubert. Métro stop Beaubien

It's just occurred to me that these double-nicenesses happened to me a couple of times in Canada - there was also a Bellefair on my trip to match the Beaubien here... Anyway; here's the shop; and here's the street it's in, all arcaded with a real mixture of shops from what looked like the Canadian equivalent of Iceland (who, I see from their homepage, are delivering to Privet Drive), to cafés and greengrocers, to hardware shops. I could quite happily live in that neighbourhood and never move out of it...


Anyway. The shop was mindboggling. Large for a UK shop, open-plan; big cutting tables in the middle... They offered help a couple of times but weren't intrusive, and I was terribly British, and I then regretted that once I got to the counter to pay because the owner Ginette was so friendly and invited me to knit night (Fridays, if you're interested), and I could have been having a nice conversation all the way round!!

Canada = Fleece Artist for me; so I picked up some Casbah (I can has cashmere??)


and some Noro sock (unphotographed; and yes, I know it's not Canadian, but with Noro, seeing it is all, and I don't know anywhere I can get to that's selling it)...

And a crochet hook to avoid the Lack-of-knitting-desert that was the trip over. I was too honest, both ways. If I'd just packed my knitting needles and said they weren't sharp items (which let's face it, they aren't), and not admitted I had them, I'd have been fine. As was the lass who sat next to me on the way home who hadn't even thought of declaring her Denises.... I crocheted on the way back. Granny squares with Noro are curiously exciting. But I can only crochet for a couple of hours without burning the skin on my thumb... (Yes, I know; I'm evidently doing it wrongly. Next time I come down, Jan, I think I need Remedial Crochet lessons...)

Stop 2: Mouliné, 2679 rue Notre-Dame Ouest. Métro stop Lionel-Groulx

Thank God for public libraries; this shop was in a bit of a desert. I got there in the dead time after everything had closed after lunch but before it opened again for dinner; knew I wasn't going to be able to concentrate on yarn while desperate for the loo; and finally spotted a sign for a public library. (It was also a really nice public library...)

I also forgot to photograph the shop (on the way in I was still bathed in gratitude to public libraries, and then the yarn fumes got me...). A little smaller than the first, but no less packed with goodies. I picked up this sock yarn on sale


and three skeins of this Misti Alpaca, which is slightly variegated pink-and-purple and seemed extremely cheap...



And two balls of this Zara DK; which is now a pair of Socks of Doom, and the smooshiest yarn I think I've ever knitted with. And it's machine-washable. Should have bought more - that was pretty reasonably priced as well...


Here it is knitted up - not sure who these are for, either - two pairs of socks all knitted for Christmas!!

Stage 2: Toronto

I think another excuse for the delay was that I was still hoping to retrieve my Toronto photos and have the one of Mary, Mary's friend Pat and my friend and host Martha outside a Certain Famous Yarn Shop. You'll have to make do with the souvenir beer-cap I brought back!

Shop 3: Lettuce Knit, 70 Nassau Street.


It was a blisteringly hot day, and the shop looks very much like it does on their homepage; but with the addition of Laura Chau behind the counter. I was sort of sure it was her when I first saw her but the original of Serrano hanging on the shelves was also a giveaway... I managed to get over my usual paralysing Britishness and said how much I liked her patterns and that Serrano and Thermal were both in my Ravelry queue... I don't think I gushed too badly - she didn't look scared or call the police or anything. I'd seen quite a lot of yarn by then, and actually although it's a wonderful shop, Lettuce Knit was the least utterly spectacular in terms of things-I'd-never-seen-before; five years ago you'd have had to crowbar me out of there, credit card blazing, but we have some pretty good shops in London and some excellent mail order places now. There were, of course, a couple of total-irresistibles...

Misti Alpaca Laceweight again, this time in variegated and in an 800m/100g skein.
And I'd heard of this stuff, but hadn't encountered it anywhere. Lovely long variegation. For some reason on this trip, autumnal colours appealed to me most.

Shop 4: The Naked Sheep, 2144A Queen Street East.

This is in the very beautiful neighbourhood of The Beaches, where I was staying, and was a very nice shop in a street of interesting shops - they had a good mix of reasonably priced yarns like Cascade and Freedom Wool, and some acrylics, alongside some more special stuff. More Fleece Artist, in fact. Somoko, to be exact. All the Fleece Artist sock yarn I saw in stores was their "pot luck" selection - no shade names on it, all one-offs. I think the bulkier stuff had shades on it, but I didn't want to tempt the Fates of Excess Baggage by falling in love with sweater yarn...



This is a merino/kid/nylon/silk mix and feels glorious...

General impression - gosh, they have some gorgeous yarn shops in both cities... I didn't go berserk because the pricing wasn't that advantageous compared to the prices in UK shops - you'd save maybe a couple of pounds per skein, which given that the UK traders have had to pay import duty etc... Except for Cascade 220 which was ridiculously cheap! Everyone was really friendly (but everyone on the trip was!). Wish I'd bought more Zara. And wish I'd bought some of the Fleece Artist Angel Hair at Mouliné - they had some in semi-solids and I was looking for more variegated colours, but the basic yarn is so wonderful and the price was so good I should have bought some and overdyed it!

Anyway, that was the yarny part of my trip. I'll blog some knitting next!

5 comments:

Wibbo said...

Oooh, thanks for the yarn pr0n by proxy! Your Casbah's lovely (not as lovely as mine, natch) and that variegated alpaca is a bit special...

picperfic said...

lovely yarney post! Thank you...it must be nice to see the Noro sock yarn in person so to speak, I never know which colourways of noro to choose!

juliet said...

Oooh your knitting is lovely - that first photo is so pretty (perfect for those greeting cards you can get printed up and delivered from online photo companies). I love reading about peoples forays out to find yarn shops - Canada sounds great.

Anonymous said...

Hi ya Liz!!

I just wanted to stop by and say hello - I was very entertained reading your blog so I wanted to make sure I left a comment. And I hope we'll get to see you soon - let's arrange something. It's not the same without you in that place that shall not be named.

Okay - I hope we can catch up soon and lots of good wishes, Leah.

p.s. - can you tell I'm not a seasoned blogger?

E-J said...

Lovely Casbah. I think I could probably eat a whole one!