One of the big reasons I was excited to come to Vancouver is that I knew they had good yarn here. It gets very cold in Canada, and if anyone knows anything about nice yarn, it is the people who are cold and need it.
On Sunday Michael and I went to Granville Island, so I made a quick trip to The Silk Tree, a weaving studio. Fine gauge yarns lined the shelves, but nothing really inspired me. The yarn they sell is knittable, but it was all in off-white, black and red. I don’t fault them for this since they do specialize in weaving yarns.
On Monday and Tuesday I braved the public transit system to find the 5 remaining local yarn stores from my list. The public transit system here is pretty nice. The buses are clean, they run with a frequency that is totally acceptable, and they are not too crowded, even at rush hour. I wish that they would do that in San Francisco. I would be so happy if I walked onto a bus that was clean and on time.
Homecraft Importers is the first LYS (local yarn store) I encountered. The woman behind the front desk was really nice. We chatted a bit, and she even mentioned the Yarn Harlot! As I was ringing up these lovely yarns, the woman described the bus route I would need to take to get to my next stops. Canadians deserve their reputation of being nice and helpful.
My next stop was Birkeland Brothers. They have been around for about 70 years with most of their history in processing wool. They have a big carding machine in the back room. It’s quite impressive. I only purchased one skein here, but it is a nice sock yarn.
The third stop was incredible. Three Bags Full, I believe, is my favorite yarn shop in Vancouver. While I was in the shop, admiring all the yarn, they got a shipment of Malabrigo yarn. I had never heard of this stuff, but I assure you I will not forget it now! You see, while I was wandering in the store, I tripped over something. That something crashed into a huge ceramic vase they were using to hold umbrellas (it rains here a lot). Well, that huge vase came crashing to the ground in slow motion. I was horrified, but I couldn’t stop it from shattering. They shop girls all came over to see what had happened, and I was sure, to kick me out. I was so red, so embarrassed. You know what they said to me? “It’s just a vase.” Yep, that’s it. I feel like in the US people would have been angrier and might have forbidden me to come back. They could tell I was so upset by what had happened that they told me to touch the Malabrigo yarn for therapy. I broke their vase, and they were consoling me! I will have to send them an apology gift when I get home.
Before the vase incident, I pulled out the sweater I carried around in my purse that day. Yarn shops are the best place to get reviews of your WIPs – you have a willing and enthusiastic audience, unlike, say, at home, where you have only a husband who is trying to care, two cats who think it’s nice that you want to talk to them, and one cat who thinks it looks tasty. One of the shop girls asked “Is that Blaze?” It turns out that one of the shop girls, Mandy, edits patterns for Knitty. The girls all stood around and admired my work and the particular yarn I chose. I promised them that I would make the sweater my next FO just for them. They are excited to see how it turns out. I’m dedicated to the project now. I have started a sleeve! I’ll put pictures in when I have something to speak of.
I went home after that, partly because I had too much loot, and partly because I was tired. I knew I had another day where Michael was in meetings so I could go to the yarn store without worrying that I am ruining his vacation.
Although it was raining on Tuesday, I continued my mission. Many of the people we met in Vancouver have apologized to us about the rainy weather as if they had something to do with it. Michael observed that it was just the Canadian niceness coming out. Did I mention how much I like Vancouver?
I took a very long bus ride out to Urban Yarns on Tuesday morning. Luckily, I discovered the express bus which made the trip a bit faster. The reason I wanted to get to this place is that they carry Fleece Artist yarns. I have read so many rave reviews of their hand painted yarns, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Fleece artist yarn is indeed lovely and beautiful. The only problem is that it is outrageously expensive. I did come to this store for some Fleece Artist yarn, so I bought some. It hurt the wallet a bit, but I felt like it was ok when my husband picked up the most expensive one and said, “Wow, this is nice.” Usually he patiently waits until I finish talking to him about the yarns I acquire and gives me a smile that says “I hate spending money.” This time, he was compelled to pick up a skein and make a comment. Score one for Fleece Artist! I wanted so many other things in that store, but I had budget and space constraints to deal with. Fortunately, the shop girl told me on the way out that they do ship yarn. Now, I feel less sad about leaving some of the pretty things behind.
My last stop was to A Touch of Wool. I am really glad I went there. The first thing I noticed about the store is the “Pet Friendly” sign on the door. When I entered I was greeted by a very large lab mix dog. She was beautiful, and since I pet her, she thought I was just great, too! The lady who runs the shop was very nice to talk to. She was really helpful, too – she told me which bus to take to get back home. The yarn selection was decent, and I noticed that she had a lot of the Berroco Comfort yarn that I like, but in worsted and dk weights.
We went to a few more restaurants that I really liked. On Sunday we went to an Irish restaurant and I had a pretty good chicken schnitzel. On Monday we went to a Ukrainian restaurant and had perogies and something called pelmeny (like a perogie, but with meat filling instead of potatoes). Wow, was that stuff tasty! Last night we went to Wild Garlic before attending a Scottish Country Dance class. Maybe not the best idea before dancing with other people… We found that we have had the best luck with restaurants when we set out with no plan in mind.