What really surprises me is the places I expected to find good yarn like Scotland and Ireland were disappointing, and the places I thought I was not likely to find anything decent at all - ya, Bermudans I'm talkin about you!- were surprisingly rich in interesting yarns. But what you need to know, what every Canadian needs to understand, is that for innovative beautiful unique yarns there is no place like home!
I recently went on a yarn crawl to talk to LYS store owners about my upcoming Pines and Needles Knit Retreat (Nov 8-10, 2013 at the Briars in Jackson's Point, ON). I travelled to over 12 stores within driving distance of my home (no more than an hour or so from it). I met enthusiastic yarn store owners and fellow yarn junkies all who were generous with their time, and very friendly to a somewhat yarn weary traveller. I was floored by the variety of high quality unique Canadian yarns these stores carry! From purely manufactured interesting fibre content yarns to hand spun, hand dyed masterpieces the choices were deliciously overwhelming.
Not only does the GTA have the highest number of stores per capita then anywhere else in the world, Canada must have the most number of yarn artistans too! From BC's Indigo Moon and Morgan's Fine Yarns, to Nunavut Muskox (Qiviut), to Sheeples Fine Fibres in Manitoba, and down to Ontario's famous Koigu Yarn and Indigo Dragonfly, as well as, smaller indie dyers like Uxbridge's Penguin Wool and Barrie's Northbound Knitting (NBK). In "La Belle Province" otherwise known as Quebec there is Biscotte and Cie and Sweet Paprika Designs, and the talented up-and-comers Julie Asselin and Riverside Studio Yarns. To the Eastern Shores we have world renowned hand dyers Fleece Artist Yarn and Hand Maiden Fine Yarn in Nova Scotia, and Briggs and Little, Canada's Oldest Woolen Mill, in New Brunswick. Sitting pretty in PEI is the aptly named Green Gables Alpaca Yarns along with more the traditional yarns of MacAuslands Woollen Mill. And finally, on the farthest point east, NFLD and Labrador there is the innovative unique hand spun - hand dyed yarns of fibre artist Island Sweet Fibre.
Do you see?! And that is only a very tiny few of the hundreds of fibre artists and yarn artisans this country has to offer!!! Oh CANADA!!!!
Well, I could go on, but now I'm off to Noble Alpaca Farm on Manitoulin Island to meet with an 8week old alpaca named Fiona. Sweet!!!!