Knitting in Toronto
A few years ago, the subway seemed the place for knitting in Toronto. Nowadays, as the fad continues to erode to niche status, you're more likely to spot a group casting on in a shop on Queen Street or somewhere north of Bloor. These knitting shops and cafes often play host to Stitch n' Bitch events where acquaintances become close-knit (ha) friends and the puns keep the group in stitches (there I go again) for hours. Beginners can try out classes to get them started, more intermediate and advanced knitters can test out specialty courses for new projects, and everyone can find workshops to help sort out mistakes. After all, knitting happens.
Before I keep going, here are some places to knit in Toronto.
If the wonderful punny name isn't enough to draw you in, the unimposing 2-hour introductory hand knitting classes ($20+materials) just might. Located on Nassau Street in Kensington Market, Lettuce Knit has lots of yarn for sale, specialty classes including "Socks 101" and "Fixing Mistakes," and plays host to regular Stitch n' Bitch socials.
On Queen Street between Spadina and Bathurst, Americo is a shop with its own line of specialty yarns made of only natural fibers. Along with other textiles and patterns, Americo has handmade knitwear that will inspire you to learn beyond the basic knit 1, purl 1. Or, at least, I'm still hoping. Classes are free on Sunday afternoons and drop-in workshops are Wednesday evenings.
A maze of yarns, needles, books and accessories, Romni on Queen near Palmerston also offers fair trade yarn from Mirasol, as well as fibers for spinning or felting. While the store on Queen Street isn't currently offering in-house classes, Romni's new location in Goodwood may be hosting upcoming classes and events. Check the website or call in store.
The Knit Cafe
The Knit Cafe on Queen west of Ossington is actually part cafe. Though modest in size, I can attest to the fact that the store is always bustling with events, including Stitch n' Bitch meetups on Tuesdays, high tea once a month, and crash courses in knitting and crochet. Some classes are free, so check the schedule online.
The Purple Purl
On Queen East in Leslieville, The Purple Purl makes sure the east end isn't "cast-off" from all this knitting fun. Hm. Anyway, it too offers a variety of knitting and crochet classes ($49 for beginner), as well as stitch-in nights on Tuesdays and other regular events. Class schedules are posted on its website.
Knit-O-Matic hosts classes where you can learn to knit Amigurumi toys. Think Origami, but with yarn. It also offers beginner and specialty classes, as well as private lessons for when you find yourself in a knot--pun intended. On Bathurst just south of St. Clair, Stitch n' Bitch events are held three times a week, along with other events and workshops.
PassionKnit on Yonge north of Lawrence boasts an array of different yarns and needles, much of which you can actually buy through its online store. If you do go in, though, you can take classes including "Cast-On Methods" and "Finishing Techniques" ($30). Check out PassionKnit's website for class information.