Yarn, Yarn, and More Yarn

L is an avid knitter and crocheter. My mother used to knit us sweaters and afghans and taught both of her daughters to wield knitting needles and crochet hooks as well. I’ve crochetted afghans and scarves and, though I haven’t done much in the past couple years, I was kind of excited when L suggested we check out a couple of the knitting stores downtown as a part of our day romping around TO. So, after finally paying for our tasty brunch, we set off toward the Knit Cafe.

We got a little way-laid on the way.

Romni Wools on Queen Street is packed floor to ceiling with yarn. It’s like a second-hand book store, one of those that goes on and on and on with multiple levels and multiple rooms, cramming more and more and more into each nook and cranny. Every colour, every texture.

But, the store was dark and cramped. When L asked for help, the staff seemed to have no idea what they were talking about, or at least didn’t listen properly in order to get what she was asking. They were friendly, but useless. Perfect, L said, for someone who knew exactly what they needed.

So, we continued on.

The Knit Cafe is a completely different kind of yarn store. It’s not packed floor to ceiling. In fact, a knitter looking for a store with lots of selection would probably be a little bit disappointed. There’s one wall of yarn, one wall of needles and other tools, a small wall of books and patterns.

The yarns they sell are quite beautiful. Many are handspun, handcrafted yarns in bright, vibrant colours.

We spent some time here, and L carefully picked out two colours for a cupcake scarf. While she hemmed and hawed over her colours, my brother and I order cappucinos and lattes and settled in at the tables in the centre of the room. Yes, you all read that right — cappucinos and lattes. At a yarn store.

And then, things got really interesting. Apparently, skeins of yarn need to be wound. This is where you all realize how little expertise I actually have in yarn crafts. Sure, I’ve made an afghan or two, but I’ve never actually bought yarn from anywhere other than Walmart and Len’s Mill Store. In other words, I’ve never actually bought a skein. Only balls.

L buys skeins. She knows how to wind a skein. I was fascinated how the twisted rope of yarn ended up in the perfect tightly wound ball, so easy to manage, easier, I would wager, than the loose balls you can buy in bags from any department store.

She picked some beautiful colours.

It was a fun afternoon tromping around Toronto, visiting yarn stores. I might go back to the Knit Cafe someday, bring a friend along, buy a skein, learn to wind it, and settle down with a new project. I think it’s about time I had a new project.



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9 responses to “Yarn, Yarn, and More Yarn

  1. Heather

    Too bad you didn’t get better service from Romni. The only time I’ve been their is during their crazy boxing day sale, so my standards were lower, but I found the staff helpful (I think his name was Joe). And I certainly didn’t know what I was doing (first time buying roving to do felting).

    • The reviews seem conflicting on this. It seems like they were willing to be helpful. Just for our particular question (L explains below) they weren’t so useful.

      I will likely certainly go back there if I’m ever working on a project and want a whole world of selection to choose from. I wouldn’t mind perusing their selection of books as well. I didn’t really look to closely at them (too busy snapping pictures of colourful yarn) but they had a LOT.

  2. I yearn for yarn like yours 🙂 I spend most of Saturday afternoon in a harbedashers wishing I had a)money to buy all the fabric and b) time to do anything with it.

    • And there are the clinchers… that’s how it always goes isn’t it? Time and money. Especially when you can buy everything for less money than you can make it.

  3. L

    Yeahhh . . . Romni was OK. The issue was that I was asking for something *comparable* to Lion Brand Homespun. When I showed the nice man the name of the yarn on my pattern, he focused on the “cotton” in “Cotton Candy Pink”, rather than the yarn type. We couldn’t get past “cotton” as I explained that I cared more about the size (bulky) and getting a similar material (98%) acryllic. In the end, the Malabrigo worsted weight that I got from Knit Cafe ended up being great. I used the same thing for your brother’s carrot scarf 🙂

    Carrot Scarf example (not the one I made, but same pattern)

  4. L

    By the way, the pics are great!

  5. Rivikah

    Is there a tool involved in making those balls? Besides the skein holding thing in the picture I mean…

    • It worked a lot like a bobbin winder on a sewing machine. There was the big twirly thing and smaller twirly thing that the yarn ended up on in a ball. In fact, it probably was, essentially, a great big bobbin winder. For yarn.

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