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Fashion & Style

Knitting in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / March 9, 2011

Knitting TorontoA 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.

Lettuce Knit
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.

Americo Original
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.

Romni Wools
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
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
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.

Photo by Kevin Steele on Flickr

Discussion

24 Comments

Becky / March 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm
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It's great to see handcrafts featured here!

I didn't think the "fad" was fading, but then, I mostly hang out with knitters and crocheters, so I'm not sure I'd notice if it were.

Anyhow, we're lucky to have so many yarn shops here in Toronto!
EM / March 9, 2011 at 01:00 pm
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Again, another downtown-centric article from BlogTO. Some of the best yarn shops are in GTA, such as Creative Yarns at Warden/Eglinton. Lots of big couches and they don't make you pay for your snacks and coffee/tea there!

http://www.creativeyarns.ca
Kelly / March 9, 2011 at 01:06 pm
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nice article!
Liz / March 9, 2011 at 01:08 pm
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The Purple Purl is also a cafe - they have hot and cold beverages, cookies, squares, and cupcakes.
gristle / March 9, 2011 at 01:42 pm
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I agree with EM. This list is too downtown centric. Why would I go all the way downtown just to knit? Toronto doesn't end north of Eglinton...

Creative Yarns is such an awesome environment and the owner is so nice and helpful.

Haters gonna hate. KNITTING IS SEXY.
Janine / March 9, 2011 at 01:58 pm
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Although I find the selection at Romni to be extraordinary, there are aspects of Romni Wools that leave much to be desired. Others may not agree, but I have personally found customer service to be lacking (disagreeable, condescending, unhelpful), and their knitting expertise to be questionable.
Lazar / March 9, 2011 at 02:17 pm
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About 5 years ago, I enrolled in the Knit Cafe course because my sister was having a baby and I wanted to give her a baby gift that was personal. So I learned to Knit Cafe and made my niece a baby-size toque.

It was interesting as I was the only guys in the class (about 7 people total) but it was fun. The interesting thing was that people would walk, and catch a sideways glance that a guy was in the Knit Cafe, and do a double-take, or stop altogether and just stare in the window (the worst was when some neighbourhood drunk came in one afternoon and kept asking me what I was doing there?) I have not picked up the sticks since, but I may try my hand at it once more.

Oh, and as far as the toque, my sister loved it, but when my niece was born, she was almost 10 lbs. (quite a little behemoth) as such the toque wouldn't fit over her massive head.
Karen / March 9, 2011 at 04:18 pm
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And if you're way up in Richmond Hill, you should check out Knitter's Attic. Fantastic selection of yarn.
em / March 9, 2011 at 07:11 pm
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Mary's Yarns up on Main Street in Unionville is awesome - they are so helpful and really take the time to answers all your questions on any projects you're working on.

Definitely check them out if you're looking for a shop outside of downtown. Here's their site: www.marysyarns.com/
Sar / March 10, 2011 at 07:32 am
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"as the fad continues to erode to niche status" -- seriously? You have to be kidding. Toronto's affinity for knitting and all the great suppliers and knitting talent found here has given us a major reputation among international knitters. Amy Singer who runs Knitty lives here, as does the ultimately prolific knitwear designer Laura Chau. Many others too.

Off the mark here a bit. And yes, downtown-centric, too. Thanks for the effort to capture at least a small piece of the scene.
Glenna / March 10, 2011 at 11:02 am
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I'm going to guess that you haven't actually taken much notice yourself over whether people are knitting on the subway anymore. But a while ago, you stopped hearing stories about that, so you interpreted that to mean that nobody knits on the subway anymore, therefore knitting itself is dying, or becoming "eroded".

Knitting is neither a "fad" nor "eroded". It's a hobby that's been going on for centuries, and like any hobby, people go through periods of picking it up and experiencing it as "new", and periods where people just keep on doing it like always. And so people are too busy actually doing it to bother exclaiming over this "new resurgence of knitting" that the media reports on every few years or so.

There are a lot of fantastic knitting shops in Toronto, as you've listed here. They are a vibrant part of an active knitting community and their success would hardly be continuing if the craft itself was on its way out.
APIII / March 10, 2011 at 11:15 am
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".....and this one time at Knitting Camp.."
Becky replying to a comment from Sar / March 10, 2011 at 02:17 pm
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Ah yes, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee lives here, too (For those not familiar, she is also known as the Yarn Harlot, and she writes knitting humour... yes, really.)
TESL Sandra / March 12, 2011 at 08:28 am
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Hi. Cool article. There's a cute place on Avenue just north of Lawrence called The Knitting Place. Nice yarn. Very experienced owner. Also a small stash of yarn for sale at the Enchanted Needle (a cross-stitch and embroidery store). This store is on Steeles Ave. just west of Weston Rd.
Local yarn stores are few and far between, so please let's talk about ALL the ones within an hour's driving time.
Maya / April 20, 2012 at 09:23 pm
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does anyone know where gold silk rayon is sold in Toronto, Canada
Becca / May 11, 2012 at 09:58 am
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I'm a beginner knitter and this article was helpful for me to find some places I can go to get started. Thanks!

Also, is there actually such a thing as "knitting camp"? Cause that sounds like it would be super fun! Please let me know how I can find one.
Liane / May 12, 2012 at 10:16 am
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Ok,I can't take it. The hippest yarn store in the GTA is Unwind Yarn Shop on mainstreet Newmarket. This store is clean(non musty or overstuffed and disorganized like a t.o. one)organized with the latest yarns and ideas,trends,techniques,classes...I could go on and on. Very non granny if you know what I mean. The people there know exactly what you're asking for and give you excellent ideas for your queeries. They got me back into knitting for myself not just baby stuff. Why would you drive all the way downtown for 30minutes when you can whip up the 404 in 30minutes and not pay $15 for parking and find out the place is closed? Check it out! Great Mexican restaurant up the street too!
Adam / September 5, 2012 at 02:23 am
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If you haven’t tried to publish this type of article in a major paper, you should give it a try. It needs to be available to as many people as possible. This is amazing information
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Proper Television / November 13, 2012 at 01:09 pm
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Gary / July 6, 2013 at 09:32 am
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Great place to learn how to knit www.learn2knit.ca

Our mission at Learn2Knit is to teach you, one stitch at a time, to create beautiful and useful hand-knit items. We are conveniently located in north Toronto. In my home or yours, you can learn to knit and purl in a few hours. Class sizes are small, and skills are broken down into manageable bits. Everyone can learn this marvellous skill in a stress-free environment with proven teaching methods using hands-on techniques and videos. Personalized, patient instruction guarantees success.

Join me – Janice – in entering the wonderful world of knitting.

Whether you’re looking for ongoing classes or to host a special bridal, baby or birthday party – you’re in the right place. Check out our courses and party suggestions, at www.learn2knit.ca

Let’s knit it together!
gary replying to a comment from Gary / July 6, 2013 at 09:34 am
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The website didn't show up as hotlink. It is http://www.learn2knit.ca
Chilly Bride / September 11, 2013 at 09:22 am
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I am getting married in October and am looking for someone to knit a very simple shrug for me. Does anyone do this sort of thing or know someone who does?
Natasha / February 28, 2014 at 05:40 pm
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Does anyone know where They have Free Beginner Knitting Classes? Thank You
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