Thursday, June 21, 2012

Miso Love :: Urban Yarns

Urban Yarns - Bag of Yarn
A few weeks ago when I was in the greater Vancouver area for the Dyeing to Get Some Colour workshop, I made it my mission to try to visit a few yarn shops that I have never been to before.  Trust me when I say that I haven't even been to half of the shops available as the lower mainland has over 20 yarn shops to choose from!  Sadly, due to the lack of a personal vehicle and time restrictions, I was only able to squeeze in one shop visit.  So of course I went to the shop that was at the very top of my list - Urban Yarns!

Now, I have to admit that I have been to Urbans Yarns once before.  But that was 10 years ago when I was barely a beginner knitter and knew absolutely nothing about knitting or yarn.  So that doesn't count, right?  Anyhoo, before my shop visit I was already a follower of their blog, have checked out their website several times (they offer free shipping after spending $100!!), drooled over a few yarn brands (that I have yet to see anyone else on the West Coast carry), and have read and heard from friends and other bloggers just how awesome the shop is.  So armed with this knowledge I was pretty excited to visit the shop and I thought that I was well prepared of what to expect when I get there.

I soo wasn't prepared.

MadTosh - Tosh Sock - Plaid Blanket 2
Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Plaid Blanket

When I entered the shop I was blown away.  And I'm pretty sure I had a goofy, giddy, overly excited, and probably a bit too toothy of a smile on my face.  The shop looked like heaven!  I loved the sky blue walls...was awed at the beautiful chandelier...was enticed by the comfy couches in which to sit on whilst perusing the knitting books and patterns...but most of all, I was entranced with all the gorgeous yarns that the shop was completely packed full of.  Seriously.  Jammed.Pack.Full.Of.Yarn.  Now that's my kind of yarn shop!

I was immediately and warmly welcomed by the lovely staff, and after asking if I needed help with anything was politely left to browse the shop.  I loved that I wasn't bombarded with questions and didn't feel like I was being pressured or watched (after all, I was wearing a massive backpack and smelled "off" because I was carrying around a still wet and freshly dyed sock blank in my pack...even I could smell the vinegar!).  I swear, I must have looked either like a kid in a candy shop or a deer in headlights...or a mix of both.  There were so many yummy yarns that I didn't know where to look first!  I finally just had to settle myself down and come up with a plan of attack so that I didn't miss a single thing in the shop.  Ultimately I was drawn to the section of brightly and heavily saturated coloured yarn, which turned out to be SweetGeorgia Yarns.  No matter where I go, I can always find the SweetGeorgia!  I honestly believe that I could close my eyes and just let my legs do the walking and sure enough I would come face to face with skeins of SGY!

I was also enticed by their selection of Blue Sky Alpacas and was more than tempted to pick up a few skeins of Spud & ChloĆ«.  They had colourways of Malabrigo that I hadn't seen in person and really had to talk myself out of purchasing.  I did vow that I would be back to pick up those Mal hanks of Rasta cause I told myself I needed to start early on the Christmas knitting (yes...I'm already thinking Christmas!) and some of those colourways screamed out that they needed to be wrapped around certain friends.

MadTosh - Tosh Sock - Jade 2
Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Jade

But then out of the corner of my eye I saw a rack of yarn I could spot a mile away.  Madelinetosh.  And of course my eyes were immediately drawn to Tart.  I'm happy to report that I did not purchase any Tart.  But I did come thisclose.  I'm not gonna lie.  Just when I thought my brain was going to burst at the selection of Tosh DK and Vintage, I was pointed to another rack on the other side of the register that contained the MadTosh fingering weights.  Oh boy.  That was my downfall right there.  I couldn't contain myself.  I don't know how it happened but before I realized it 2 skeins of Tosh Sock already found a home in my shopping basket.  I had completely fallen in love with Pop Rocks (which I had never seen in person before either), also in Tosh Sock, and was already picturing it paired with a grey like Composition Book Grey or Graphite, but for some reason couldn't justify putting it in my basket too.  The yarn budget wasn't going to allow it.  Boo.  But I'll be back for you Pop Rocks!  Don't you worry!  Mama will come get you, my Love.

Ahem...anyhoo, in case you haven't picked up on it Urban Yarns has a wonderful selection of Tosh Sock, Tosh Merino Light, Tosh DK, Vintage, and a few skeins of Pashmina.  I thought I was doing pretty good at holding back (cause really, I wanted to snatch every single skein of Tosh Sock and TML that was on the rack and run!) but then I started talking to the lovely Kynna, who showed me her plans of knitting an Audrey (by the equally lovely Jane Richmond) using TML in Glazed Pecan (which is going to look insanely gorgeous when she's done).  Then she showed me a store sample of that colourway in TML knit up in a beautiful shawl.  I will admit that I have some TML in the stash, have only knit one project with it, and have completely forgotten how it knits and blocks (hey, it's been a while since I've worn that shawl...give me a break, since Nuvem and Color Affection have entered the picture I haven't worn my other shawls and scarves).  Kynna really didn't have to say anything, cause my rubber arm was already twisted, but she casually mentioned how you can get a cardigan/pullover/top out of 3 skeins of TML (enabler!!).  

Yup.  That did me in.  I already had a skein of TML in Crousteau and reasoned that if I purchased another 2 skeins, alternated them while knitting, I could make myself a beautiful pullover.  2 skeins of TML ended up in my shopping basket.  You'd think I would've walked away at that point.  Nope.  Instead I picked up another 3 skeins of TML.  What's wrong with me??  Oh non-existant willpower was overtaken by wool fumes and made me even more weak in the face of pretty string.

MadTosh - TML - Cousteau Group
Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Crousteau

I can definitely see why Urban Yarns is a fan fave of so many knitters.  The shop is inviting, the yarn selection is yummy, and the staff are quite friendly, welcoming, and helpful.  I'll definitely be going back to Urban Yarns (if and when I ever leave the island, that is!) and highly recommend to anyone who visits or lives in Vancouver to make Urban Yarns a must on the to-do list.

I will admit that I left Urban Yarns slightly disgruntled and disappointed though.  Disgruntled that my yarn budget wasn't bigger (I was using birthday money given to me early by my parents), and disappointed that I didn't bring home the 2 yarns that I was really looking forward to checking out.  I was super excited to discover that Urban Yarns carry the Quebec based yarn company, Biscotte & Cie.  Any one who knows me knows I have a major love for self-striping sock yarn.  And Biscotte & Cie have some seriously gorgeous self-stripers!  It's not the colours I normally gravitate towards to, but the one colourway that caught my eye was Poisson Clown (think Finding Nemo).  I even saw on a nearby table that someone had started a pair of toe-up socks using this very colourway.  It looked fantastic.  The only thing that prevented me from adding a skein to my basket was that I have a lot of sock yarn in the stash already and I'm avoiding buying more until I knit at least 2 pairs of socks before the year is over.  That's do-able, right?

MadTosh - TML - Venetian Group
Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Venetian

The other yarn company I was looking forward to checking out: the Vancouver based Gourmet Crafter.  I first learned of this company after seeing Ashley of PurlyPurly both blog about and knit a project using Gourmet Crafter.  I've always had my eye on the Urban Outdoors and Cape Breton Sunflower colourways but like the above mentioned reason, have been avoiding purchasing single skeins of yarn since I have way too many solo skeins in my stash and my sock and shawl knitting are quite slow going at the moment.

I did however, linger on a skein of Gourmet Crafter Sock in Highbury Blossoms but had to give myself a stern talking to about adding more single skeins to the stash.  Especially when I have no specific project in mind for it.  But I vow, one day I will get my hands on some Gourmet Crafter and I will knit it up pronto.  Now that I've mentioned it on here, the blog will hold me accountable.

MadTosh Group

Ok, before I start daydreaming about all the projects that I would love to knit one day and my mind wonders off completely, I'll end this post on a high note.  

Thank you Urban Yarns for being such a wonderful yarn shop and for the awesome shopping experience!!  You'll definitely be seeing me again!  ♥

Want to check out Urban Yarns too?  Learn more here:

Urban Yarns
:: Website :: Blog :: Ravelry :: Twitter :: Facebook ::


  1. holy jesus man. those are some awesome colors! i'm so not leaving that place once i get there..

    1. Liisa, I didn't want to leave either!!! Luckily I did or I wouldn't have a roof over my head right now...I'd be living on the corner with my family, surrounded by yarn!

    2. you say that like it's a bad thing :D

  2. Gorgeous! Makes me want to head to my LYS and pet some yarn :)

    1. Petting yarn is never a bad thing...unless they follow you home! ;)

  3. haah i looove urban yarns. i was only there once in march. and i NEED to go back. i could honestly live there. it really did cross my mind that if i curled up in a corner, they wouldn't notice me.. i could just live there for a little while, happily knitting away... yeah.. xo

    1. Hahaha...I had pondered curling up on the couch and strategically place yarn and books over me for cover...but realized snapped out of my daydream! I'm kinda glad that I don't live in Vancouver, or I'd be there all the time!


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