Wool ewe help me find some good places to buy yarn?
March 5, 2007 6:56 PM   Subscribe

Knitters and crocheters of MeFi, which are the best Toronto-area yarn shops? I know about Romni Wools at Queen and Bathurst — what other stores should I check out? Alternatively, if you buy yarn online, where do you buy it (and are you really okay with not being able to feel up the yarn and ascertain the colour)?
posted by orange swan to Shopping (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My favourite store is Lettuce Knit in Kensington Market (on Nassau, just west of Augusta beside Ideal Coffee and across from Ronnie's). Romni definitely has the larger selection , but Lettuce Knit gets in really beautiful wools (including some locally spun and dyed) and is much smaller and easier to navigate (so if you're like me and get overwhelmed by narrow aisles, it's a good place to shop).

The Knit Cafe sells wool, though I've never shopped there. I am, however, constantly intrigued by all the knitting classes they offer. It is also a real cafe.

Another store I haven't shopped at, but have heard good things about is Knit-o-matic near Bathurst and St. Clair.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 7:11 PM on March 5, 2007

Knitpicks.com offers a swatch palette, so you can feel and see the yarn before you drop your money on a sweater's worth. I've been very happy with their yarn.
posted by sugarfish at 7:17 PM on March 5, 2007

I'm sure the Yarn Harlot would have some suggestions, since she lives in Toronto. It's just a matter of figuring out a good search term on her site. Lettuce Knit brings up a ton of posts because she goes there for Knit night all the time.

I had some good luck buying yarn off E-bay. In one case, I had already knit with the type of yarn, so it was only the color I couldn't be sure of, but it turned out fine.
posted by saffry at 7:49 PM on March 5, 2007

It would help if you told us what types of yarn you like to use - wool? synthetics? sock yarns? which weight?

I'll second knitpicks.com. They're about half the price of brick-and-mortar stores, and they're yarn is very good quality. I have found that their yarns knit up a bit more tightly than the gauge indicates.

A good source for yarn reviews is knittersreview.com . They have lots of suggestions for books and supplies too.
posted by Flakypastry at 8:00 PM on March 5, 2007

I'll second Knitpicks and have found their yarn to be reasonably priced and true to the colors on their website. Though sugarfish is right that you can get a swatch palette which would help. The Suri dream yarn is wonderful stuff.
posted by mulkey at 8:53 PM on March 5, 2007

I like Elann, but that's because I'm totally cheap.

I second the Knitter's Review, if you don't have any idea of what you're looking for. Generally, I pretty much know what kind of things I like the feel of, and that, combined with general online opinion from blogs and forums tends to be exactly right on for what I'm looking for online.

When in doubt, google your project name and see what people online have knitted the same thing in. It gives a really good idea of what would work for your project, and there are usually some pretty honest opinions of the way the yarn works.

Especially since I know that at least personally, feeling a yarn balled or in skein doesn't always have that much to do with the hand or feel of the knit after I'm done with it anyway. I feel like going to the yarn store, I'm flying just as blind with the finished project as I am on the internet, except paying more money.
posted by mckenney at 8:55 PM on March 5, 2007

Second the knit cafe. Not a knitter myself, but I know someone who works there and I've spent a few nights as a passive observer during some of the classes. People seem to enjoy it.
posted by purephase at 9:10 PM on March 5, 2007

The Naked Sheep in the Beaches, maybe.
posted by dobbs at 10:00 PM on March 5, 2007

Grrr. Some of us not in the US or Canada have issues with Knit Picks since they refuse to ship anywhere else in the world... :(

Anyway, if you're willing to buy online I'll throw in a plug for my own shop: Tapestry Craft. (I'm the manager/webmaster.) We're in Oz so I'm not sure if the exchange rate will be working in your favour or not. I'm happy to advise on specific yarns, patterns, substitutions, whatever for any MeFites. (Well, I advise anybody really, but MeFites will get extra special attention.)
posted by web-goddess at 10:25 PM on March 5, 2007

This Etsy shop is run by a friend of mine who is a skilled spinner/dyer/knitter. She dyes in strange colorways...
posted by janell at 11:02 PM on March 5, 2007

As for online shopping I LOVE jimmy beans wool. I like knit picks well enough, but they're not my favorite. I've also had good experiences with yarn market.

there's also etsy. tons of private sellers and almost always quality yarn at affordable prices. my two personal favorite sellers are yarntini and fearless fibers.

i'm not affiliated with any of them--just a happy customer.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:25 AM on March 6, 2007

I'm a happy Elann customer, too. And I agree with mckenny, above, that usually the look and feel of the yarn in the skein bears little resemblance to how the yarn looks and feels knit up. I've bought some gorgeous variegated yarns that were lovely in a skein or hank, but disappointing in a swatch...and I've bought some yarns that look plain in the ball but great in the swatch. There's a small bit of adventure involved in buying online, but I've never found the risk to be too great - the box always arrives full of good stuff.
posted by hsoltz at 7:32 AM on March 6, 2007

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