Monday, December 31, 2007

Sandra's Show and Tell

Have you met Sandra Dunkin, one of our popular instructors? She teaches the Aran Block of the Month, Beyond Beginner Knitting and some other fabulous classes.

Sandra is one of the most amazing knitters I've ever seen in action. I chatted with her one evening, glass of wine at her side and watched in awe as she knit a complicated cable cardigan, her needles clicketty-clacketting away at warp speed. I guess it's her Maritime blood and that great tradition of Maritime fisherman's knits. Reminds me of a great quote from Annie Proulx's The Shipping News:

"This driver used to barrel right across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, had his arms sticking through the steering wheel, knitting away like a machine. Had a proper gansey knit by the time he got to Montreal, sell it for good money as a Newf fisherman's authentic handicraft."
"Might as well," said Benny Fudge. "Happen to know what he got for one?"
"No, but I can tell you about the time buddy was ripping along down the Trans-Canada knitting about as fast as the truck was going when this Mountie spied him. Starts to chase after him, doing a hundred and forty km per. Finally gets alongside, signs the transport feller to stop, but he's so deep in his knitting he never notices."
..."Mountie flashes his light, finally has to shout out the window, 'Pull over! Pull over!' So the great transport knitter looks at the Mountie, shakes his head a bit and says, "Why no sir, 'tis a cardigan."

But I digress, back to Sandra. Sadly there are no photos of Sandra, however, there are photos of her most recent projects. Check out this cardigan, knit with Rowan 4 ply soft, a design from a Rowan magazine a couple of years ago:

Isn't it awesome? I begged Sandra to gift it to me for Christmas, to no avail. Apparently there was a more worthy recipient.

Sandra also knit this cute ensemble for her friends' new baby. It's a Sublime design, knit with Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK:

Too cute for words really.

Sandra was a happy girl yesterday as she left the store with a big bag full of Scottish Tweed DK for her next project. We'll keep you posted...

And before we sign off on the last post of the year, we give a huge thank-you to the Urban Yarns community of knitters and crocheters for your continuing suppport and enthusiasm. We couldn't do it without you. We hope you have a Happy New Year full of good health, much joy and many inspirational knitting and crochet projects!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Tempting Tweeds

We're unpacking ten big boxes today:

We pulled some stunning Rowan Scottish Tweed from the first box. The Scottish Tweed DK has been in our stores for a couple of months and we've decided to add the whole line. We now have the 4 ply, DK, Aran and Chunky weights in many gorgeous colours. They're currently only in Point Grey but they'll arrive in Edgemont sometime soon.

As a special holiday present to our loyal customers, we're adding the Scottish Tweed Aran and Chunky to our Boxing Week Sale, at 30% off the regular price.

Check out the Rowan book, Scottish Inspirations, for some great Scottish Tweed designs:

Anina knit the Beer Gloves from Son of Stitch and Bitch in Scottish Tweed DK:

Love the cable down the middle. They're an easy to knit, stylin' project.

If you prefer mohair over tweed, try knitting the Gemma Beret, designed by Sarah Hatton, a free pattern that's a holiday gift from Rowan. It's a cute, slouchy beret that would be a nice quick project. You'll need 2 balls of Rowan Kid Classic or 3 balls of Rowan Kidsilk Aura. We have both in stock.

Will it be mohair or tweed? It's up to you. We think you'll be happy either way....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Boxing Week Books

We're way overstocked with knitting and crochet books and we need to clean up our shelves. So we have some crazy book bargains for you this week. There are tons of discounted books and magazines in our sale bins. Here's a small selection of the bargains, all at 40 - 50% off the regular price:

Rowan's Little Treasures is a collection of timeless designs knit with the ultrasoft Soft Baby yarn, perfect for newborns through to 5 year olds:

RYC Classic Weekend is chock-a-block full of beautiful photographs, shot on a rugged coastline. It features a great collection of women's designs including celtic inspired cables, patchwork blankets and traditional fairisle:

RYC Classic Spirit has a range of contemporary, vintage-look designs for your home, including some accessories and other knits for women.

Check out the Interweave book, Wrap Style with a collection of 24 classic and contemporary wraps from 18 knitwear designers, including Lily Chin, Teva Durham, Nicky Epstein, Norah Gaughan and Jo Sharp:

We've also discounted a few great books from the Vogue series, including Stitchionary 3, a great reference book with more than 200 gorgeous colourwork patterns, each with a detailed chart, a clear photo of a sample swatch and easy-to-follow instructions:

And there's Knitting On the Edge by Nicky Epstein, a comprehensive reference guide to 350 types of decorative borders, with instructions on how to create and incorporate these embellishments into your knitting projects:

There are loads more discounted books and magazines, you'll be amazed at the extensive selection. Sadly we can't keep them all, we have to purge every now and then. Pick up some bargains and help us to clear our shelves for the new books and magazines that will arrive very soon...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Week Bonanza

As promised, we have some great bargains for you this week. In Point Grey, we have a tremendous selection of yarn and books at 40% off the regular price. We're open today from noon to 5:00 p.m. There's also a large sale section in Edgemont where we'll reopen on December 27. We've ordered a bunch of new Spring yarns and we have to make room!

We have some great yarns on sale, including Alchemy Wabi Sabi, Alessandra Gemma, Colinette Isis, Crystal Palace Merino Frappe, Filatura di Crosa Love and Primo, Garnstudios Alaska, Gedifra Colorito and Shanina, Grignasco Infinity, Jaeger Aqua, RYC Soft Tweed and Schachenmayr Catania, all at 40% off the regular price. Check the whole list right here. And we'll add a few new items as the week progresses. There's also a large selection of books and magazines on sale at 40% - 50% off.

Don't forget about our regular specials list. We've dropped the prices on some of our specials including Berroco Suede Deluxe, Grignasco Chanson, Karma and Mambo, and Plassard Bibop, all now at 50% off the regular price.

Have fun shopping for bargains this week! You won't be disappointed...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Top Ten Last Minute Gifts

For all you last minute shoppers, here is our top 10 list of easy-to-grab Christmas gifts for your knitting friends or better yet, for yourself. You've been extra good this year, haven't you?

1. Knitting Bags. The Namaste knitting bags are fantastic, functional bags in great colours. The Messenger Bag is a popular choice:

It's expandable and has lots of little pockets and pouches for storing notions, yarn and other stuff. It's also a great travelling carry-on bag. We have loads of other bag options in both stores.

2. Knitting Needles. The Denise Interchangeable Needle Set has an assortment of needle sizes, all contained in a compact 7" x 8.5" case. Buy the pink set and $5. of the purchase price goes to breast cancer research. Or try the exquisite Lantern Moon rosewood or ebony needles. Be forewarned, once you try these you'll want a complete set:

3. Knitting Books. We have a great assortment. You can't go wrong with an autographed copy of Son of Stitch and Bitch by Debbie Stoller, with 45 great mens' patterns. Or Amy Singer's great new book, No Sheep For You:

4. A made-in-Canada Fleece Artist or Handmaiden knitting kit. One of our lucky customers will find a Northern Nights Blanket kit under her tree this year. Careful, those blanket kits are addicting. The Soft Mitts kit is another great choice:

5. Beautiful shawl pins or a stitch marker necklace, handcrafted by local artisans. Or check out the beautiful pewter Perl Grey Celtic Knot brooch:

6. Lorna's Laces Little Can of Paint. With 2 skeins of handpainted sock yarn and a Basic Sock pattern inside a clear plastic paint can. Paintbrush not included.

7. The 2008 Knitting Calendar, with 365 patterns, one for each day of the year:

8. T-Shirts. Choose from our signature t-shirt, "She Was Quite a Nice Girl..." or the edgy new Be Sweet Needle Dude shirts:

9. Stocking Stuffers. Try the Blue Sky Alpacas Knitters Helper knitting cream, "Zen in a Jar". It's an all-natural, quick absorbing hand balm that soothes dry skin without leaving a greasy residue:

Or a sheep tape measure, beaded stitch markers, Soak cleanser, Interweave yarn requirement guide, a needle gauge or other notions. We'll help you fill up those stockings...

10. Gift Certificates. For those hard to buy for guys and gals. They come in any amount and there's no expiry date. What could be easier?

Don't forget, we're open in Point Grey this Thursday evening until 9:00 p.m. and on Monday, December 24, in both stores, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Don't despair, there are still 5 more days. Lots of time to finish your shopping and your knitting with some holiday cheer in between.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Too Busy to Write

Things are a bit crazy around here right now. It's hard to find time to keep you posted. Just a quick note for today...

The Point Grey store will be open this Thursday evening until 9 p.m. Drop by for a visit if you have time. And please take note that we'll be closed this Thursday morning in Edgemont, we'll open at 1:00 p.m. We can't miss the kids' Christmas concert!

There are no new specials this week but we'll make amends next week with a few boxing week bargains. Stay tuned for details...

We unpacked several big boxes today. We have more of the popular specials, Karma and Bibop. Here's a photo of Julia's Karma vest. It looks fantastic on her, with a t-shirt and jeans.

Check out all of our current specials right here.

We also restocked our Debbie Bliss, Noro and Rowan shelves today. And we have lots more of the luscious Mirasol Sulka yarn. Remember Nick's hat?

These cool dude hat patterns have been flying out the door. One of our customers, Marigold, has knit 6 of these Sulka hats for her grandkids. She rushed into the store today when she heard that more had arrived. She's promised to send photos.

Yup, there's still time to knit or crochet a few more hats or scarves to put under the tree. Knock yourself out!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Kids Knitting

It's so much fun to teach kids a new craft. We taught our daughters' grade 4 class to knit a couple of years ago:

When given the choice between computer lab and knitting, these kids all chose to continue knitting! That was music to our ears. They sat out in the schoolyard, happily knitting and chatting:

The boys loved it just as much as the girls.

Get your kids or grandkids knitting over the holidays. The Klutz Knitting Kit is a perfect place to start:

It comes complete with everything you need to get started knitting, including the yarn, needles, a sewing needle and an instruction book that's well-written and clearly illustrated. Learn to knit a skinny scarf, a cozy hat, a sunglasses case or a cell phone sock. It would be a great Christmas gift and it's an easy-to-wrap package.

We also have a good selection of kids' knitting and crochet books with excellent instructions and lots of fun, easy patterns that are perfect for beginners.

Grab a Klutz Kit and find yourself a new little knitting buddy!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Be Sweet

Put a little magic in your knitting with a Be Sweet Magic Ball. Aren't they pretty?

Magic Balls are a unique mix of different yarns with assorted colours and textures. Each ball is 50g and 120 yards, knitting 12 stitches to 10cm on 8mm needles. One ball will make a stunning scarf and 3 or 4 balls will make a gorgeous multi-coloured and textured shawl:

Start with 3 stitches at the bottom of the shawl then increase by one stitch at the beginning and end of each row until your yarn is used up. Fringe or no fringe, it's your choice.

Have a look at these patterns for a Baby Hat, Magic Scarf and Tea Cozy all knit with one Magic Ball. Kathleen recently knit a lovely scarf with one Magic Ball. Just cast on about 100 stitches lengthwise on 12mm needles, then knit a few long rows until the yarn is all used up.

Check out the lower price on these little beauties, they've dropped by more than 10%. We're reducing our prices wherever possible due to the stronger Canadian dollar.

Be Sweet is involved with job creation programs in South Africa that bring economic stability to the local communities, raising standards of living and bringing hope for a better future. Meet some of the ladies that help to create this beautiful yarn right here.

We also have the Be Sweet Needle Dude tees in the charcoal, short-sleeve style.

Wouldn't it be a great Christmas present for your favourite dude?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Debbie Bliss Specials

Today's featured yarns are Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere and Cashmerino Superchunky, on sale at 30% off.

Cotton Cashmere is a luxurious blend of 85% cotton and 15% cashmere. Supersoft. This beautiful Cotton Cashmere cardigan is from Debbie's Simple Living book:

Cashmerino Superchunky is a sumptuous blend of 55% merino wool, 33% microfibre and 12% cashmere. It's a super luxurious yarn that knits up quickly on 7.5mm needles. Here's a baby blanket knit with 5 balls of Cash Superchunky from the Cashmere Collection book:

Lucky baby.

We have a great selection of colours from the elegant Debbie Bliss palette. And we have many books with lots of beautiful designs using these yarns. But don't delay, they won't last long...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Feeling Lucky?

Be sure to enter Knitting Daily's Yarn Spree Giveaway and you could win a $300. Urban Yarns gift certificate. Second prize is a $200. G/C and third prize is a $100. G/C. Just go to the entry page, enter your name and email address by December 31 and you might be the lucky winner.

Have a sneak peak at the projects in Interweave Crochet's Winter 07 issue. As usual, Interweave doesn't disappoint, there are many beautiful projects in this edition. Nice work, Kim!

If you find a project you're dying to crochet but don't have much shopping time, don't worry. Just phone or email us with an order before 2 p.m. any weekday and we'll mail your package to you the same day. We have lots of regular email shoppers that we've never met! Or drop by after work one day - we'll be open for evening shopping in Point Grey on Thursday, December 13 and 20, 6 - 9 pm. Of course you could just escape for a visit on those evenings and knit your last minute gifts with us.

For the deadline shoppers among you, we'll be open in both Point Grey and Edgemont on Christmas Eve from 9 am. to 3 pm. We'll be closed on Christmas Day, then we'll reopen on Boxing Day in Point Grey from 12 - 5 pm. with a few little specials for those who want to venture out for some bargains. In Edgemont, we'll be closed on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The Boxing Day bargains will continue until New Years Eve when we'll be open in both stores from 10 am. - 3 pm., then closed on New Years Day.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sock Kits Galore

We unpacked box after box of stunning Fleece Artist yarn this week. No complaints, we love that part of the job. Our walls are loaded up again with gorgeous sock kits which would make a great Christmas gift, just grab one and you're done. If you're an industrious knitter like the Yarn Harlot, you still have time to knit many pairs of socks before Christmas. Read the Harlot's hilarious posts about her busy Christmas knitting schedule right here. Or you could always gift the kit with a promise to knit the socks in the New Year...

We have the Cherry Swirl sock kit, with 350m of Somoko yarn, 65% merino, 20% kid, 10% nylon and 5% silk:

The Tilting Block Sock kit, with 325m of Nova Sock yarn, 100% machine washable merino wool:

The Bordello Sock kit, with 350m of Sea Wool, 70% merino, 30% seacell:

Or the Casbah Sock kit, with 325m of Casbah sock yarn, 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere for softness and 10% nylon for strength:

We also have lots of skeins of Merino 2/6 sock yarn, 360m of 100% machine washable merino, in many gorgeous colourways. And we received a bunch of the ultra soft and luxurious Peter Rabbit, 70% angora, 20% nylon and 10% wool. Not exactly a sock yarn but if you like angora you're going to love this one.

If you want some great Christmas gift ideas for your knitting friends, or better yet, for yourself, check out our December newsletter for a list of suggestions.

And be sure to have a look at Garnstudio's advent calendar, with a featured pattern for each day from December 1 - 25. You can't see the upcoming patterns until the day arrives. We have lots of the popular Garnstudios yarn including Alaska, Alpaca, Eskimo, Fabel and Paris.

Happy Holiday Knitting!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Show Must Go On

It snowed in Vancouver on Sunday. Our city pretty much shuts down when it snows. Schools and stores close early, people don't drive, everyone hunkers down at home, drinking a hot beverage and talking about THE SNOW. It's really weird. Anywhere east of the Rockies, it's business as usual on a snowy day. Not here.

Sure enough, the phone started ringing on Sunday afternoon. "Has Debbie cancelled?", "I can't go out in the snow", "Is the event still on?", "I don't have snow tires" etc. , etc.

Of course Debbie Stoller is a trooper, she didn't cancel. She enchanted the diehards who showed up and signed many books, despite THE SNOW and a nasty earache. Thanks Debbie!

Lorra braved THE SNOW, enjoyed the event and wrote us a lovely email the next day: "I wanted to say "Thank You!" for hosting the book launch with Debbie Stoller last night. I really enjoyed hearing her speak and I just love her style and positive outlook. I'll be having a great week - despite all the rain - every time I think about her hip message and funky attitude. Thanks again for an inspiring event." Thanks Lorra, we're glad you could join us, the pleasure was all ours!

We took a few photos. These are some very cool mitts from Debbie's new book:

And an edgy toque:

Love the scarf:

Want the shirt:

We have a few autographed copies of Son of Stitch and Bitch available for purchase - they won't last long.

And now for the Tuesday specials. This week's featured yarns are Plassard Bibop and Grignasco Karma, at 30% off. These are fun, bobbly yarns that are great for scarves, edging and well, almost anything you'd like to knit. Julia knit a very cute vest out of Karma awhile ago. Julia, please send a photo!

Have a look at the specials page on our website for all of our current and upcoming specials.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bunches of new Books

Be sure to check out the great new Harmony Guides series of books. They're updates of the classic handcrafters' reference books that were first published over 30 years ago. There are 3 books in the series, each featuring 250 stitch patterns and authored by Erika Knight:

Knit & Purl starts with the most basic stitches, then quickly moves far beyond into a variety of stitch patterns that are sure to inspire. There's a great mix of classic and contemporary patterns from the basic seed stitch to bobbles, ladders and diamonds. Or try the Space Invaders stitch?!There are also lots of design tips to help you create your own unique look.

Cables and Arans is a great guide to creating textures, dimension and scale in your knitted fabric. This is another great mix of classic and contemporary designs - a wonderful and easy to reference library of ribs, twists, cables, woven and aran stitch patterns.

Lace and Eyelets showcases some delightful lace designs that will add a touch of sophistication to your knitting projects. Try knitting some little flowers, falling leaves or butterfly lace. From simple eyelets to gossamer-like cobwebs, lace stitches offer endless possibilities for experimentation.

These are great reference books for knitters of any level who'd like to expand their repertoire. Watch for two more Harmony Guides, Basic Crochet Stitches and Crochet Stitch Motifs, coming in Spring, 2008.

We have some other fabulous new books from Interweave. This one is The Best of Interweave Knits, Our Favorite Designs from the First 10 Years, by Ann Budd:

You can't go wrong with this one. There are 25 designs from more than 20 notable designers, including scarves, stoles, cardigans, pullovers, vests, jackets, tops and totes. Also included are 12 of the best articles from the popular Beyond the Basics column, a great reference tool. These articles provide detailed info on essential techniques including casting on, increasing, decreasing, binding off, seaming, grafting, blocking, reading charts and working short-rows.

We also have Getting Started Knitting Socks, by Ann Budd: says this is... "The best beginning sock book that has been published so far. That is all. Go buy it." Nuff said.

You should also have a look at the latest books in Interweave's popular "Style" series. Bag Style, with 22 designs for inspirational handbags, totes and carry-alls to knit and crochet:

Or Folk Style, by Mags Kandis, with loads of innovative designs to knit including sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves and more.

And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the classic Vogue Knitting Quick Reference book:

Nothing new about this one but it's a must-have technique and reference book. It's a handy, portable and less expensive version of Vogue's The Ultimate Knitting Book. We think that "Quick Reference" contains the best elements of the hardcover "Ultimate", with 128 pages of excellent illustrations and explanations of essential knitting information.

Any of these books would be a very welcome Christmas present for a knitting friend, or even better, for yourself! Better check 'em out....