With the temperatures dropping outside, now is the perfect time to explore Calgary’s locally owned yarn stores, as well as those in nearby communities. Not only can you make something to keep you warm, you’ll have an indoor activity to do that will keep you out of the cold in the first place. We encourage you not to dawdle if you’re hoping to make something for a loved one by December 25 — legend has it that the third weekend of November is the busiest yarn shopping period of the year.
On the topic of the holiday season, now is a great time to help out women who have had a mastectomy due to breast cancer or otherwise. Knitted Knockers is a Calgary-based organization that collects knitted prosthetic breasts and distributes them to women across Canada. It uses partner stores to collect completed knockers and yarn donations. Monetary donations to offset mailing and operational costs can be done by mail. If you’re interested in making a knocker or supporting this work in another way, read about how you can help at knittedknockersab.com.
Read on to find out where to shop for yarn and what makes each store special. Official drop-off points for Knitted Knockers are marked by an asterisk (*).
A & B Fiberworks has an impressive selection of looming and spinning equipment, yarn made from alpaca and bamboo, plus books and accessories to help you on your way. Note that they are located inside Crossroads Market and accordingly are open only Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
1235 26 Ave. S.E., aandbfiberworks.com
This yarn store-cum-classroom is part of the fabric of Calgary’s knitting history. Founder Gina Brown had been teaching knitting technique out of her Kensington bungalow before opening her first shop on 17th Avenue S.W. in 1970. Flash forward to now and the store has wound up near CF Chinook Centre and is run by Brown’s daughter (unfortunately, the elder Brown passed in 1998). In addition to its retail goods, the shop offers interesting classes like the Cowichan style sweater and retro slippers workshops, hosts a Monday night sock club and posts free patterns on its website.
107, 5718 1a St. S.W., 403-255-2200, ginabrownnews.blogspot.com
This Brentwood shop offers classes like beginners crochet and knitting as well as knitting for kids. Its stock includes yarn from all over with Albertan-made options like Custom Woolen Mills and Prairie Dye Studio available. If your knitting needs are mighty, consider enrolling in The Knitting Room’s rewards program.
Brentwood Village Mall, 308, 3630 Brentwood Rd. N.W., 403-288-1959, theknittingroom.ca
Brand spanking new #loophouseyarn worsted today, in colours like “Sweating Carrots,” “Call the Insurance Company,” and “Karen Said Ooooo.” Plus a re-stock of @dropsdesign Baby Merino, Air, Merino, Andes, and Nepal! #theloopkensington #dropsyarn #loophouseyarn #whatwegotwednesday
The Loop in Kensington was opened by a group of friends upon taking on the lease of a beloved yarn store that went out of business. Its product selection includes house-made yarn and lots of different classes are offered on site. Try the knitting-in-the-round class if you want to spice up your knitting technique.
1978 Kensington Rd. N.W., 403-457-3020, theloop-kensington.com
It should come as no surprise that Sharon Schuld’s store just off of 17th Avenue S.W. is filled with on-trend yarn and patterns. It stocks around 30 different brands of yarn on any given day and offers a small range of classes for different ability levels.
1516 6 St. S.W., 403-244-2996, puddingyarn.com
Stash Needle Art Lounge was opened in 2012 by fibre artist Veronica Murphy. It has quickly become one of the chicest and most popular yarn shops in town thanks to its myriad classes for knitting, crotchet and assorted crafts, pop-up Trunk Show markets and, of course, fine product selection. A trip to Inglewood is incomplete without a trip to Stash or its sister store, 28 Blankets (1317 9 Ave. S.E.).
1237 9 Ave. S.E., 403-457-0766, stashlounge.com
Villekula Handmade in Bridgeland ought to appeal to knitting and sewing enthusiasts alike. It stocks high quality accessories like scissors, seam rippers and hand sewing needles, a curated selection of yarn, new and vintage fabrics and more. Classes held here usually include materials in the registration fee, but a 15-per cent discount on materials is applied when they are not.
408 8 Ave. N.E., 403-276-1100, villekullahandmade.ca
Yarn Twisters is another store offering plenty of classes to its customers. Of note, the recent fiddlehead mittens and Amigurumi panda-making class look especially fun. The store also has a weekly meet-up on Thursday nights for anyone who has taken the fibre lover workshop. For shopping, check out the five different Calgary-made yarn brands they currently carry, locally made accessories and more.
122 Mahogany Plaza S.E., 403-475-9276, yarntwisters.ca
Custom Woolen Mills is a renowned Albertan institution that has operated for over 35 years. Take a detour during your next drive up the Deuce to browse its selection of carded wools, yarns, bedding, socks, hand-woven blankets and more. Self-guided tours are available year round with various hours depending on the season.
30453 Range Road 27 – 2, Carstairs, 403-337-2221, customwoolenmills.com
Operating both a web store and a public studio, Legacy in Cochrane runs the gamut of fibre arts but specializes in rug hooking. It also hosts classes and provides a directory of fibre arts meet-up groups in the region. If you plan on visiting, they appreciate a call or email in advance.
212 W Terrace Pt., Cochrane, 403-932-0932, legacystudio.ca
Get crafty in the Rockies by shopping at The Sugar Pine Company. Its 5,000-square-foot store has been selling quilts for nearly 25 years. It offers yarn, classes, quilt kits, gifts and more. You can shop in person or online.
737 10 St, Canmore, 403-678-9603, thesugarpine.com
Traditional Stitches operates both a storefront and (quite large) online store out of Rocky View County, just northwest of Calgary. Its stock list is massive and includes yarn, thread, patterns, accessories and a unique collectors program of limited edition goods.
61051 Bearspaw Rd., Bearspaw, 403-208-0650, traditionalstitches.com
Unwind Wool opened in February 2017 in historic Olde Town Okotoks. It has a vibrant and youthful selection of yarn, including plenty of locally made options. The shop welcomes beginners (and experts) to come in and join its knitting club on Wednesdays, as well as to try classes like the super-adorable needle felting classes where participants create cutesy creatures to bring home with them.
20 McRae St., Okotoks, 403-757-9679, unwindwool.com
Willow ‘n Wool is celebrating its one-year anniversary. Located in central Airdrie, the shop sells both pottery and yarn, and offers both knitting and pottery classes. This shop is a great option to pick up a gift for someone, learn a new skill and take a project home with you.
111, 120 2 Ave. N.E., Airdrie, 403-980-1886, willownwool.com