Monday, 2 December 2013

Making your list? Check it twice!

What would your favourite knitter like to receive as a gift or in his/her stocking (even if you happen to be your own favourite knitter)???

These handmade yarnbowls from local potter, Linda Abbott, are just the thing for controlling runaway yarnballs. Not to mention that they're beautiful too!

Another local crafter has supplied us with these clever needle holders: Roll Ups by Eden are a bonus for every knitter, with lots of pockets for all your needles and whatnots.

Hiya Hiya Silk Project Bags are as practical as they are stylish.

For sock knitters who want to keep their knitting where it belongs, these handmade Leather Needle Holders are just the thing.
Interchangeable needle sets, sets of straight needles, crochet hook sets, all are available but be sure to get your order in early to make sure we have them in stock. Swifts and Yarn Winders are also great gift ideas.

Sirdar's collection of Vintage Knitting Journals are just the thing for journal writing knitters, or for those who sensibly want to keep track of the details of their knitting projects.
We have a good supply of hand saving Therapeutic Gloves.
These are just some of the great gift ideas available at KnitTraders.
Come on in for a browse!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Ridged Lace Shawl

How often do people ask if I knit all of the samples in the store? Often enough that it's embarrassing to have to admit (over and over again) that it was one of the staff, or one of my knitters who has accomplished this or that work of knitting beauty. But this latest shawl on display is mine! And I love it, mainly because for my first attempt at knitting with lace weight yarn, it was incredibly easy and satisfying.
It is called the Ridged Lace Shawl, which can be found on the KnitTraders Pattern site.
The Ridged Lace Shawl is a great first time project in fine yarn -- made up of a series of bands of basic stitch patterns that are repeated with consistent increases until the yarn (in this case, Whisper Lace but you can use any of our many and wonderful fine yarns) is nearly all gone. It could easily be done as a precious Christmas project, or would make a wonderful winter project for yourself, after the Holidays.
And once again, I'm thrilled and amazed at the miracle of blocking:  how a piece of knitted lace blossoms so beautifully when wet, stretched and blocked to size where it can show it's true nature. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Chroma and Stonewash - 2 great new chunky yarns

Diamond Yarns is one of our favourite Canadian suppliers, and in addition to the yarns that they import for other companies, they have added a new line, DIAMOND SELECT, of special yarns that they have chosen themselves from mills around the world.
We are thrilled to announce these 2 wonderful yarns from this line. Above is CHROMA, a luxurious pure wool chunky in beautiful colours of wide striping. Check out the sample scarf now on display at the store - it's lovely. Beautiful colours and a wonderful feel to work with.
For former fans of Sirdar's line of Denim Tweed yarns, comes Diamond Select's STONEWASH
This yarn is a practical and rich blend of cotton, acrylic and wool in a classic chunky weight. It's proving to be one of the most popular yarns of the season and is flying off our shelves for its rich texture and it denim look.

Monday, 28 October 2013

It's That Time of Year

Who doesn't love the autumn? The leaves are turning, the air is clear and the cooler nights remind us that the time for wool is near.

At KnitTraders we've begun to receive new yarns for the season. Here are some we're excited about:

Alpakka is a beautiful 100% alpaca yarn which knits up at a DK weight. It is amazingly soft with a slight halo and rich colours.

New from Hayfield is Aran with Wool. This is a practical blend of wool and acrylic, making for very easy care. The colours are quite subtle and would be perfect for a sweater with a lot of texture.

We are always interested in new sock yarn and this is one really caught out attention. Sock It To Me is a superwash wool with added nylon for for strength. The colours will really catch your eye, they have a subtle tweedy texture that won't detract from your favourite sock pattern and could be equally beautiful in a shawl or light scarf.

Enjoy your autumn and don't forget to check back often - we're adding new stock all the time.

Monday, 23 September 2013


has 2 great sock classes coming up this fall...
The ever popular SOCK-IN-A-DAY
Sat. Oct. 26th 10am-2:30PM
To be perfectly honest, this sock pictured above is the sock that we are aiming to knit in just a day. It ain't exactly pretty and is not meant to be of much except as an excellent teaching tool.
If you can knit and purl with relative ease, you'll be able to complete this sock, which will give you all the skills required to knit a classic sock on 4 needles, in any size.
A template pattern is also included as part of the course materials to help you choose yarns, needles and the number of stitches required to make your own socks in any size.
Teacher: Anne Woodall
Cost: $45. (includes all materials)
Please call the store (613-384-3951) or email us to save your spot.

including basic toe-up socks and the magic loop method.
Sat. Nov. 23rd, 1-4pm
For some feet, regular sock construction just isn't as comfortable as other sock knitting techniques can be. Some folks find that knitting socks from the toe up creates a much more comfortable and form fitting sock.
We at KnitTraders have also discovered through our classes that learning the "Magic Loop" method of knitting with a long circular needle also works beautifully when  learning the toe up technique.
So we have married the introduction of these two very practical techniques into a single class that is designed for those who have knit traditional socks and are familiar with their construction and working in the round.
Teacher: Anne Woodall
Cost: $45 which includes a $10 coupon to put towards your favourite circular needle.
Materials: worsted weight yarn and a long 3.75mm circular needle (80cm-100cm long)
Please call the store (613-384-3951) or email us to save your spot.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Exciting New "Add Ons" for knitters.

'Tis the season of gift-searching and inspiration-seeking to get your fall knitting under way. We've just received a good selection of quality non-fibre products that are designed to help you with your project choices, and to give you ideas for future gifts to ask Santa for, or to give to your knitting friends and family members.
The 2014 Knitting Page-a-Day Calendar.
More than 100 patterns in this year of knitting calendar (some take up more than one page.) This is always a hot seller and is long gone by November, so grab it while you can.

Handmade here in Ontario of beautiful hardwoods from around the world, these shawl sticks provide a stylish way to hold your knitted scarf or shawl in place, orwork as a simple accent piece on a knitted sweater. A good selection of other styles are also available.
In the new year, we're planning on offering  a Crochet Class for the Hook Phobic. What better way to invite people to tackle a new challenge than by introducing these rich, soft handled hooks that make the craft transition all the more pleasant. They're wonderful for anyone with hand issues that want to make their crochet experience more comfortable.
Hiya Hiya's small Silk Project Bags are so incredibly beautiful that they would entice you to deliberately choose a project that is tidy enough to fit inside. Stylish, and sensual - and only available until our supply sells out. So get your Santa to do his shopping early.
These exquisitely designed Roll Ups by Eden will hold your many needles and notions together in a tidy pack that you can have at hand whenever you take your knitting with you.
We have a lovely assortment in now, but you might want to take a look soon, for best selection of colours.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Interweave KNITS Holiday Gifts Magazine, and Knitter's Pride accessories.

Lots of new products from:

Waves Crochet Hooks, individually or in sets. Aluminum hooks and soft touch handles.
Other new products from Knitters Pride:
Blocking wires, T-pins,
Sew in leather purse handles.
Clicky Row Counters.
And after a weekend visit to an Indie Trade Show, I am thrilled to let you in on some of the beautiful yarns that I found including this:
100% Himalayan Silk in fingering weight, perfect for all lace work, that gets more beautiful through the warmth of your hands as you knit with it.
Also, a new lace weight mohair blend and 3 new colours in our ever popular
Cotton Tweed from Cabin Fever,
and the much sought after 2013 edition of Interweave KNITS Holiday Gifts Magazine.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Vincent Van Gogh's socks

Over the years we've heard much about Opal Sock yarn and I finally took the plunge when I discovered this beautiful new line of colourways.
Each of the 8 shades of the Opal Vincent Van Gogh line is based on the colours found in one of his most beautiful paintings. Here we have the colourway based on "CafĂ© Terrace at Night", rich with blues, golds and twinking whites.
Come and see the entire series and take your pick.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Could you be our new Team Member?

KnitTraders is looking for a new employee.
And of course among you, our fabulous customers and friends, we have a  tremendous pool of potential.

While many fantasize about working in a yarn shop: "you get to sit around and knit all day", the reality is that it is a very demanding job, both physically and in terms of knowledge. But for the right person it can be a wonderfully enriching experience.

We are looking for someone with a strong mix of the following skills and straits:

. Excellent people skills.
. Available 10-20 hours per week for both morning and afternoon shifts, and the ability to fill in other shifts when required. (Please check the hours we are open to be sure that these are realistic for you.)
. Healthy, energetic and strong. The job requires that you spend a lot of time on your feet, up and down ladders, and lifting boxes.
. A quick learner who is detail oriented and works well within a team.
. A calm and confident problem solver who can apply their skills to handling the wide variety day to day events at the shop.
. Observant, self-disciplined and self-motivated.
. Sound knowledge and experience in knitting ( also but to a lesser extent in crochet, felting, spinning and traditional rug hooking.)
. Retail, customer service, and/or cash experience is a definite asset.

If this sounds like you, and you are interested in learning about the yarn industry and bringing your love of fibre arts into your working life, please apply but...

Please send an email with your resume and a little about yourself before Friday, Aug. 9th to Include email contact information as well as a phone number.
If you have any further questions please address them to the email above.

Anne Woodall
 from KnitTraders of Kingston

Monday, 22 July 2013

The first of the New Fall Yarns

The first of the new Fall Yarns just arrived last week, and what a way to start the season: Manos del Uruguay's  FINO is a beautiful hand dyed fingering weight yarn in varying tones. 70% wool and 30% silk enhance the colour grading and make you want to rub your face in it. (We knitters are a very sensory bunch). 4 colours in stock and more to come.

We are also welcoming back a old favourite in great new colours. King Cole's FASHION ARAN is just the answer for those searching the classic look of tweed. 5 rich base colours with flecks of colour throughout in a wool acrylic blend worsted weight.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Comfort Dolls for South Africa

I know that many of you knit for charities but this request is a bit different.
Our fellow Kingstonian, Rosemary Jolly from Queens University, in the course of her amazing work in South Africa is the co-founder of a network of Rape Crisis Clinics in that country.
It is extremely distressing to imagine why such places would need knitted comfort dolls like the ones above, but I am assured that they are of great value and therapeutic use for young victims who come to the clinic, as well as many others of all ages.
I've told Rosemary that I would ask our customers to contribute their time and talents for a 4 month drive from July to the end of October to collect as many of these simple yet precious dolls as we can so they can be shipped and arrive at the Clinics in South Africa before the New Year.
All you need are some bits of soft, medium weight (worsted) yarn, some fiberfill stuffing and a tapestry needle. (Note that we have baskets of "orphan" balls of yarns at the store for just $2, which will make several sweaters or pants for these little darlings.)
Completed dolls can be dropped off at the KnitTraders store anytime before Oct. 31st and we will keep you informed as to our progress through this blog and our monthly e-newsletter.
Link here to find the pattern. You can embellish the dolls by using stripes and interesting yarns, as you wish.

For those of you who aren't sure how these dolls are made, please join us for a demonstration of how they are assembled and decorated  on Friday afternoon, July 26th from 1-3pm

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

JUNE 2013 - One crazy month of Sales Events at KnitTraders

Great deals on selected yarns throughout the month of JUNE.
WEEK 1-June 3rd - 8th   20%OFF  
all in-stock animal fibre yarns:
wool, alpaca, silk, mohair, (including the sock yarns)
WEEK 2-June 10th-15th    20% OFF
all vegetable based yarns:
cotton, bamboo.
WEEKS 3 & 4-June 17th to June 29th
Kingston and area's very first
Don't worry if you don't see a TENT - We're moving stock around to make room inside for your shopping comfort!
Thousands of dollars of merchandise is being shipped into our store to present to you at fabulous prices.
50% - 85% OFF Spinrite's best sellers from Patons Bernat Lily and Phentex
ALSO in Week 3 - June 17th-22nd 20% OFF all our in stock synthetic yarns including Sirdar Snuggly, Cascade Pacific, and so many more!
ALSO in Week 4 - June 24th - 29th 20% OFF any yarn in the store if you BUY THE BAG (usually 10 balls of the same colour.)

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Last Post

As I was packing up for our last bus trip back to Glasgow, I took this picture of my completed Wingspan Scarf. I just love it, it reminds me so much of the colours of Scotland -- when the sun is out.

During our 45 minute to wait for the ferry to bring us back to the mainland we visited the two VERY clever entrepreneurs who have opened businesses beside the tiny ferry terminal at the end of the road. I went in to Ragamuffin, and could have spent the day there. Gifts and fashions from all over Scotland, and all over the world. Across the way was Grumpy George's, where I hear the members of our group who went there also enjoyed themselves very much.

...On the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond.A full day of countryside through the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. This park, which contains Loch Lomond (the largest fresh water loch in the UK) was only established in 2001. As with most national parks there is a tug of war between those who want to make use of the natural riches within the park and those who want to preserve its pristine nature. Such a debate has sprung up in this new park with the result that an Australian company will soon be mining gold within the park under very strict guidelines.
Another interesting piece of Loch Lomond lore is that sheep were first introduced to the Highlands at Luss on its shores.

Here you go, you Harry Potter fans. This is the railway trestle in Glenfinnan which was used in the movies as the Hogwarts Express wound its way through the wilderness to and from school each year.

After checking into our hotel in Glasgow and heading over for the only disappointing meal of the whole trip, some of us walked over to the bar connected to The Tron Theatre to meet up with some Glaswegian knitters: Alie is sitting on the far right. Also present were Catherine who organized the get together, and Liz (who very patiently repeated her name for me several times as I couldn't make it out with the background noise and her lovely accent.)

Next morning we said goodbye to Iris who was heading on to London before returning to her husband in Hong Kong. The internet is an amazing tool, bringing Iris to join us for the 12 days and drawing other members of our group from Edmonton, Connecticut and Toronto.

It was a wonderful trip, but as I mentioned to a few people, they should get the Scottish Tourism Board to look into doing something about that weather! But considering the magnificent day we had to walk around Edinburgh, who can complain.

So here are a few pieces of Scottish lore that I didn't get to share with you before but I thought were worth mentioning:

-Hills that are over 2 000 feet are referred to as mountains. Those over 3 000 feet are monroes.

- Scotland uses the metric system for most things, however distances (such as the feet noted above and distances on highway signs) are still referred to using the old system.

-A wooden stick used to stir porridge is known as a spurtle.

-At the Tartan Exhibition in Edinburgh, I saw Canada's own Maple Leaf Tartan whose colours I so adore that I'm making a pair of socks from some yarn just because it had exactly the same colours as my beloved Maple Leaf tartan.

-The specific identification of tartans for individual clans only dates back to the 19th century.

-A kilt is really just a pleated tartan skirt. Wearing the Plaid however refers to the real deal where men (never women) would suit up by pleating about 1/2 of a very long piece of tartan material on the ground then lying on it to attach it around themselves with a large belt. The remainder would be worn over their shoulder so it could be raised to protect from the rain. At night it could be used as a blanket, and at the end of their days, it was used a shroud.

-The game of Rugby was originated by a Scottish butcher. No surprising considering the shape of the ball.

-The famed castle of Eilean Donan cost approximately 250 000 pounds to bring back from its state of ruin in the early 20th century. The shoring up work on a single wall, which is going on today is estimated to cost the same amount.

-Many of us on the tour discovered a wonderful Scottish mystery writer (besides Ian Rankin, of course): Peter May whose trilogy about Inspector Fin Macleod, who grew up on the Isle of Lewis but works in Edinburgh, had us rushing to our rooms in spare time to continue the saga.

-You cannot easily find deep fried Mars Bars, despite what you've been told.

-Scotland is a magical place of glorious scenery and generous people.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Around the Isle

We spent 2 nights on the Isle of Skye and it was the most enchanting part of the trip.

Here are a few details about the area:
The name Skye is from the Viking era and means cloud in Norse.
Today, the island has a population  of about 10 000 but in the 18th century it was 40 000. About 20% of the islanders speak Gaelic.
The biggest industry, besides tourism is fish farming, usually salmon, which is Scotland's largest food export.
Forests cover 17% of the Isle of Skye.
When Prince Charles visits the area, he is referred to as the Duke of Rothesay, one of his many official titles.
Cape Breton's very own Giant Angus McAskill was born in Dunvegan on Skye.
I swear that this picture was taken one handed from a moving bus. You can even see the bus's shadow along the bottom. It says much about the amazing ability of digital cameras, but also a lot about the beauty of the landscape. And look at that sky! There were many such idyllic moments (and many wetter ones too.)

Our first stop was to The Shalisdair Shop. They're open 7 days a week from 10am-6pm from Easter until the end of October, and during the rest of the year by appointment. I only mention this because of how astonishing it is. A few years ago I arrived at a yarn store on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on a Monday in August to discover that they weren't open on Mondays. Yet  The Shalisdair Shop in Waternish, which is a one hour trek through tiny country roads from the bridge that brings one to the Isle,  is open 8 hours daily. Bravo for their commitment to their customers, and it was well worth the effort. Somehow the journey only adds to how special it is.

Here is a wall of their gorgeous, one of a kind sweaters which are all for sale, as well as yarn and a wonderful assortment of local crafts and accessories. It was a joy to spend time there. Needless to say, a few purchases were made during the hour we visited.
But the biggest treat of all was meeting Eva, the dye-master. Eva was born in Germany just before the Second World War, grew up in the US, came to Scotland to go to school, and told us that she became only the second landowner in the area who was not born on the Isle of Skye. These days landowners from away outnumber natives.
Eva has been using dyestuff from natural plants, perfecting her techniques over decades, and is renowned across the UK for her expertise. She works in a small workshop with equipment picked up from larger dyeing operations around Scotland as they shut their doors. She explained that red was the most expensive colour to produce as it came from the cochenille beetle, and was consequently used mainly as an accent colour in tartans, or for fancy dress versions.
 Eva's operation buys locally spun yarns, the works the magic of the organic colours to create a unique look that reflects the beauty of the country around.
Our next stop was just a bit down the road to Skyeskins, a proud family run tanning operation. But as the demo area was quite small and we were chilled, some of us took refuge at the gallery of Ian Williams, an artist who retired 12 years ago from his job as a policeman to the Isle of Skye. The sign in front of Ian's place advertises: GALLERY, ART, CAFE, TOILETS (obviously of varying degrees of importance to those who drive by his home in Waternish.)
 The coffee was great, the homemade scones with butter and his wife's jam were sent directly from heaven, but the best part was meeting Ian himself. He looks very relaxed here. I'm not sure how it was possible to get him in such a pose as I remember that he was as busy as "a one-armed paper hanger", making coffee and serving about 25 unexpected guests all by himself during the hour that we were at Skyeskins.

What a great tour of the tanning operation at Skyeskins. It has always been a mystery to me how the shaggy fleece on the back of outdoor sheep could possibly be teased and cleaned to the degree of perfection that we find in finished sheepskins. It's no longer a mystery, but a lot of hard handwork on the part of a whole series of skilled and knowledgeable people.
Here we see a hide drying "on tenterhooks" after being "stretched to the limit", these expressions having made their way into our modern language. 

On to Portree, the population centre of the Isle of Skye (pop. 2 491 according to Wikipedia).
I took a walk through town after lunch and discovered this lovely scene of gorse bushes. I imagine that to the locals it would be like taking a picture of a pile of dandelions but they were so ever present during this trip that I felt it was important to remember the lowly, if prickly bush.
Portree is actually a lovely town with dozens of shops for everything from traditional music to batik clothing, from handmade pottery to haggis. And yes, they even have a lovely store called Over The Rainbow, which among its sweaters and shawls and general merchandise designed to appeal to tourists had a lovely wall of knitting yarn.

And what trip to Scotland would be complete without a picture of a thatched cottage? Actually I was surprised at how few of these cottages there were to be seen. Our bus driver, Ian, pulled over and let us out to get a picture of this beautifully maintained cottage, insisting that we open the gate (that said "private") to go in and get a better picture as there was no car visible on the property. We didn't feel comfortable barging in, despite the fact that apparently there are no laws in Scotland to prevent a person from trespassing. I believe that Marion our guide was relieve.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

"Over the sea to Skye".

...So goes the lovely Skye Boat Song about the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie. But before we get there we have a good drive down the west side of Loch Ness and across the magical Highlands. Then later in the afternoon we'll cross- not on a boat to ferry us across - but via the new bridge over to the famed Isle of Skye.

These are the Scottish Highlands, which explains why skiing is such an important part of tourism in this region. Who knew?
And these too are the Highlands, desert and barren.But always impressive.
Our first pit stop of the day is magical. This young couple is Duncan, the Highlander with Barb, one of our group. In his retirement, Duncan is the keeper of  "wee Heeland Coos".
And these are Pheona and Iona. Duncan explained that these were wild cattle that by law, if you catch them and bring them down from the mountains, they're yours. Duncan also told us that they, and the 2 larger dark "coos" from Orkney who graze in his field, are not actually "coos" at all but bulls. They are much more docile without the presence of females apparently. (By the way, the largest of the dark ones is called Guinness).

In the Highlands all of the roadsigns are in both Gaelic (pronounced like garlic without the R) and English. Although only about 2% of the Scottish population  speaks Gaelic there has been a great resurgence in interest. The education system here has followed our Canadian French Immersion model and is introducing Gaelic to children from the earliest grades in their Gaelic Medium Education system.

You may recognize the castle at Eilean Donan, set of many Scottish themed movies, most notably Highlander from the '80's. It is still owned by members of the Clan McRae and the areas of the castle that tourists are allowed to visit are dotted with pictures of the family and their children. They use the castle to celebrate special occasions and allow others to use it for weddings and the like.
The kitchen area was one of the most impressive displays I've seen with life size wax figures carrying out the duties of the day. I swear I could even smell butter scones baking in the oven.

This is Sue from Britain, who was not part of our group but who was sitting in the cafeteria at Eilean Donan. I asked her if she had knit her sweater and told her that I recognized the yarn that she had used: Riot DK. The poor woman must have wondered what kind of an obsessive freak I was to go around identifying the yarns that people use to knit their clothes until I explained about the Knitting Tour. She was thrilled for us, and more than happy to model her sweater.
Our driver, Ian, felt it his duty to find all the best places for us to get good shots. This was one of the first of the photo stops of the day. I know this because the sun was still shining (it got cloudy and wet later on) and we all got out to take pictures. By the end of our tour of the Highlands, only the most stalwart photographers got out to take advantage of the magnificent scenery.

For you fans of Hamish MacBeth of PBS Television fame, we spent an hour in Plockton, an absolutely delightful fishing village that the fictional and unorthodox Scottish constable calls home.

Another intriguing aspect of Plockton is the micro-climate that they enjoy producing this magnificent camelia bush and shoreline palm trees far north of Glasgow where the leaves were hardly beginning to sprout on the trees.
Our hotel was just over the bridge on the Isle of Skye. And 82m from its front door (he actually measured it out for us when I was concerned about how far we'd have to walk) is Teo and his delightful shop: The Handspinner Having Fun. Intriguing hand dyed, and spun yarns, buttons, garments etc in a shop from which you can throw a stone into the North Sea. What a welcome to Skye.
And to finish off a magical day was Alan, who performs at the hotel every Thursday and Sunday evenings. A classically trained accordionist with a glorious tenor voice and a sense of good fun to get the audience going. We were told that when the tourist season is really underway in a few weeks it will be standing room only for his performances. Off to our rooms for a good sleep, lulled by the winds and sounds of the sea, to restore our energies in order to take on the peculiarities of the plumbing system at the hotel.