yarn-stores-in-montreal

The Best Yarn Stores in Montreal

yarn-stores-in-montreal

Since joining the Stitch n’ Bitch in Montreal, I have become a yarn snob. The lovely ladies of the S&B morphed me into a knitting fiend, and then into a natural fiber snob. Of course, that means I’ve had the pleasure of exploring the delightful locations where such yarns can be found. Here is a rundown of the top yarn stores in Montreal.

1. Effiloché (closing down as of December 2018)

6260, Saint-Hubert

Effiloché was the first yarn store I visited here in Montreal. It’s at Plaza St-Hubert, a large shopping area (near where I bought my wedding dress, as it would happen!). The location is pretty convenient, an easy walking distance from Beaubien metro station.

The nice thing about this store is that it sells supplies for two similar interests: knitting/crocheting and sewing. They’ve got yarns as well as fabrics. They also have plenty of tools and accessories for both activities. However, I would say that their yarn selection is rather limited, and I also found it expensive. They didn’t have a range of prices including more affordably priced yarns. They offer gorgeous, all-natural yarns, and the higher price is the result.

This might be nit-picking but I found the lighting in this store quite poor. It was dark, and it made it hard to see the yarns and really enjoy their colors.

Both times I visited, I found the staff rather unhelpful. Or, I should say they were unwilling to approach me to offer their help but once accosted by me they were helpful (though somewhat grudgingly). That turned me off a bit from this store, to be honest.

Others have had different experiences here, though.  They also offer classes.

2. Espace Tricot

6050 Monkland Avenue, Nôtre-Dame-de-Grâce

My second yarn store visit was to Espace Tricot on Monkland. From downtown it’s rather a hike to get out here. The nearest metro stop is Villa-Maria on the orange line and then it’s a 15 minute walk or a 5 minute bus ride to the store.

But getting there is worth it. The ladies at this yarn shop really know their stuff and are incredibly helpful. If you have a pattern in mind, I suggest printing it out and bringing with you, as the staff at Espace Tricot are famous for taking a careful look at it with you to help you choose your yarn.

The store itself is well laid-out and brightly lit. The yarn selection is pretty good, and there is a range of prices. They offer some more affordable acrylic, machine-washable blends as well as higher-end all-natural fibers. Their selection of accessories is pretty good, too. They have interchangeable needle kits which are a wonderful investment if you plan to keep up knitting.

The other nice thing about Espace Tricot is their website. They’ve got a great blog with some free patterns, and they’re lots of fun to follow. They also offer classes.

3. Mouliné

5317 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Westmount.

This store is right on Sherbrooke Street, easily accessible by the 24 bus or the closest metro stop is Vendôme on the orange line.

Mouliné is like Ali Baba’s cavern for knitters. It is chock-full of yarn. You’ve got all kinds of choice, and a great range of prices. This is probably the yarn store in Montreal with the widest and most varied selection. You can really spend hours in here.

The store is well-lit and vast. They’ve got it pretty well organized by fibers, weights, and colors. They also have a reasonable selection of accessories. The problem with this store is that they’re not overly helpful. The gentleman who runs the store is quite odd, and the lady behind the counter is helpful when you ask her questions, but she doesn’t go out of her way to offer assistance.

Mouliné is a great place to shop for yarn if you know what you’re looking for and don’t need or want particular guidance on a project. Don’t bother visiting their website; it’s horrible. (Update December 2018: Looks like they’ve revamped their website & it’s a lot better.)

4. La Maison Tricotéela-maison-tricotee-logo

751, rue Gilford, le Plateau-Mont Royal.

La Maison Tricotée is wonderfully convenient. It’s right next to the Laurier metro stop on the orange line and is in the heart of the Plateau (my neighborhood).

What I love most about this store is that it’s also a tea room. Céline, its founder and owner, has gone to great lengths to make la Maison Tricotée more than a store: it’s also a community. Céline offers classes, like Effiloché and Espace Tricot, but she also hosts fun events like bingo nights and themed stitch n’ bitch meetings.

So much for the activities. La Maison Tricotée sells high-end, locally made products. Their yarns are often, frankly, gorgeous. The result, however, is that they can be expensive. They do carry some more affordable options, but generally you’re looking at more than $50 for a couple of skeins. Often, though, the price is worth it. (Update: They’ve started their own house line of yarn called “Casa”. I’ve never used it but I hear great things! Check it out on Ravelry.)

The yarns are displayed well, especially on the side wall where they’re all hanging out there just begging you to buy them… Oh the temptation!

The staff are very knowledgeable here, especially Céline and Ariane, both avid knitters. You’ll get good advice on your project here, and you’ll usually learn something new about yarn or knitting every time you come in. Their website and Facebook presence are also a delight.

If you can’t afford to buy something every time you visit, you can at least stay for a cuppa tea (they actually boil the water, it’s not just hot water from the coffee machine).

5. À la Lainerie Lépine

3884 Jean Talon East.

Last on my list is la Lainerie Lépine. I have to confess that this is my least favorite yarn store in Montreal. It’s a hike from d’Iberville metro stop on the blue line, near Avenue Papineau. That’s not really the store’s fault, I guess.

The positive thing is that there is a vast collection, and it’s all pretty much affordable. The ladies who have been running the store are friendly and helpful. The problem, though, is that you have to do a lot of digging to find something good here. You’re guaranteed to come out of this store with a purchase, but if you’re looking for beautiful, luxurious, locally-produced yarns, you won’t find them here.

The Lainerie Lépine was set to close down at the end of April 2014, but the last I heard, a young lady had planned to take it over from the ladies currently running it. If you’re reading this in April 2014, you should head over and see if they still have some great sales on.

And There Are More…

There are other yarn stores in Montreal like À la Tricoteuse on Rachel and la Bobineuse on Mont-Royal, but I haven’t been to either so I cannot comment on them. If you actually come across à la Tricoteuse open, it’s a miracle. Let me know in the comments.

Update January 15th, 2018:

Thanks to commenter Beverley, she’s told us about P’tite Laine in Vaudreuil. Here is the link, for anyone who is interested. Beverley says the shop is new, has a wide selection and a very friendly owner. I no longer live in Montreal, but if anyone checks it out, let me know!

Christmas Yarn Haul

Knitting in the New Year

Out with the old, in with the new! Well at least that’s how I feel about going from 2013 to 2014. But before leaving 2013 entirely behind us, I wanted to share with you a few knitting projects I finished up over the holidays.

Baby Sophisticate Knit Sweater

This free pattern on Ravelry looked like the perfect gift for my rapidly-growing nephew. The little love bug (as I like to call him) would be going on nearly 11 months by the time Christmas rolled around, so the idea was to make something big enough for him to grow into.

My friend Caroline from over at De Mailles et de Mots made this sweater for a friend’s baby and she warned me that the pattern tends to run small. To compensate (and, knowing that I have a very tight stitch), I chose a machine-washable (very important!) Berroco Vintage Chunky yarn in a gorgeous sea-green-blue color.

I was pretty pleased with how it turned out:

Baby Sophisticate in Vintage Chunky
The result!

To make sure it was big enough, I compared the smaller and larger sizes in the pattern and using the stitch proportions, I made it one size larger.

Three Little Hats for Three Little Chaps

On the Spanish side of the family, Chico and I have three nephews ages 13, 10 and four. Though Spain hardly requires the same cold-weather gear that North America does, I thought they would each enjoy a little knit or crocheted hat.

Three Little Hats for Three Little Chaps
I say “little” but the two oldest nephews really aren’t that little…

Again, I went with Berroco yarn, this time just the regular Vintage (worsted weight). Berroco Vintage is my current favorite because it’s affordable, pleasant to work with AND machine washable (it’s an acrylic-wool blend).

I can’t find the pattern for the little blue and yellow hat, but the other two are a crocheted reversible pattern by Nancy Smith on Ravelry.

Though sadly I don’t have a photo, I also made my lovely sister-in-law this knitted headband in the same gray used on the two older boys’ hats.

Traditional Knitted Dishcloths from VeryPink Knits

For the Stitch n’ Bitch Christmas gift exchange, I picked up some 100% cotton wool in lots of fun different colors to make these traditional dish cloths.

Knit_Dish_Cloths
Photo courtesy of Ysabelh at Métro-Boulot-Tricot

For the second year in a row, my friend Eva from OuaKi Dou (a fabulously talented knitter and crocheter!) got my gift.

Knitting in 2014

It would seem that my family is enjoying my newfound passion for knitting, because I got two beautiful gifts of yarn from my parents and from my sister-in-law.

Currently, I’ve gone back to crochet and am working on an afghan for my boss’s little girl (pattern from Afghans for All Seasons from Leisure Arts – sadly not available to link to online).

On the list I also have a cabled hat and what will be my first attempt ever at a sweater! I’m looking at two patterns to use with the luxurious yarn from my parents, so I’ll keep you posted!

Christmas Yarn Haul
I still have a lot of this yarn to knit…

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Don’t forget to check out TheBrainInJane on Ravelry to see my queue of projects!

Finished Lava Flow Cowl

Lessons From The Lava Flow Cowl

It’s time to add another project to the “Done” list! This lava flow cowl, knitted for a special someone, is my latest finished knitting project, and my first foray into the world of cable knitting!

The pattern is a free download, available here on Ravelry. I learned a few lessons from this project, which I will elucidate for you here.

Lesson 1: The Provisional Cast-On

The provisional cast-on is a technique whereby you pick up and knit your first row from a crocheted chain. The idea is that later, you can unzip the crocheted chain and put live stitches back on your hook in order to do a graft (more on that later).

Lava Flow Cowl in Progress
Provisional cast-on and stitch counter are both visible here.

Picking up and knitting from a crocheted chain might sound very simple to those who know how to both crochet and knit, but there is one little trick to keep in mind: The stitches must be picked up from the back of the chain.

As Staci from VeryPink Knits explains in this video about doing a provisional cast-on, the knit stitches should be picked up from what she calls the “hyphens” on the back of the crocheted chain.

Of course, I hadn’t watched that video when I did my provisional cast-on. So “unzipping” my chain was more of a nightmare than anything. Oh well, you live and learn!

Lesson 2: Stitch Counters Are a Blessing (When You Remember to Use Them)

This pattern calls for repetitions of 21 rows of rib stitch knitting. As you can imagine, it’s easy to lose count if you’re not paying attention, and I’m still learning to count rows in knitting. So I got myself a handy-dandy stitch counter, which lives on your cable (or whatever you’re using to knit).

But of course, the trick of using the stitch counter is to actually update it at the end of each row. A tool is only as effective as its user makes it.

Lesson 3: Read Reviews of Yarn on Ravelry Before Purchasing

I picked the yarn for its softness and its color. It’s Diamond Luxury Fine Merino Superwash DK in a vibrant purple, and squeezing it in the yarn store was such a pleasure.

Sadly, though, part-way through the project I noticed that it was starting to pill! That’s when I went on Ravelry and read the reviews of the yarn. To my dismay, I learned two things: The yarn pills terribly and it loses its shape when washed and must be thrown in the dryer for a bit in order to reshape it.

Lava Flow Cowl Work in Progress
Already starting to pill…

Bummer! I was too far into the project to back out now, so despite the pilling, I kept going…

Lesson 4: Practice A New Technique First

While my mess-up with the provisional cast-on was annoying, it wasn’t too detrimental to the outcome of the cowl. What was a big mistake was my neglecting to practice the grafting technique ahead of time.

Failed Grafting
It’s not really supposed to look like this…

Grafting, or the kitchener stitch, is when you take two sets of “live” stitches (meaning they’re still on your needles) and graft them together with some yarn and a sewing needle, so that there is no seam.

Once again, I referred to YouTube and VeryPink Knits for some help. Her video about grafting in rib stitch is excellent, as are the written instructions in the video description.

But foolishly, instead of practicing a grafting on a couple of swatches of yarn like Staci does here, I decided to go ahead and do it directly on my work. As you can see from the photo above, it didn’t work out so well.

Despite All That, I’m Proud of My Lava Flow Cowl.

Despite all the mistakes made along the way, the final result turned out quite pretty:

Finished Lava Flow Cowl
Done!

The recipient, my colleague and friend Marjorie, is delighted with it. She says it keeps her nice and warm without itching, and the grafting is pretty well hidden when she wears it. So far, the pilling has not proved to be as much of a problem as I feared.

I didn’t mention the cables! They were actually super easy to knit, but the key is to keep your stitch loose. I’m still working on that as a relative newbie.

I’m Morphing into a Knitting Fiend

Since I learned to knit earlier in the summer and made my first knitting project ever, I have morphed into something of a knitting fiend.

The Slow Road to Addiction

Knitted pot covers
I improvised these fun little fellows to hide a couple of ugly pots

Thanks to the lovely and talented ladies at the Stitch n’ Bitch in Montreal, I have converted to a bit of a yarn snob.

This is a problem, friends. “Why,” you ask? Because yarn is EXPENSIVE! Well, I should qualify that statement: *good* yarn is expensive. Now, I crave the softest yarns in the richest colors.

I am ruined.

Whenever I have an idle moment, I pull out my latest project and knit a few stitches. It’s hard to sit and not have my hands busy with a knitting project.

It has, quite frankly, become an addiction. But where on earth did this come from? As I wrote in an early blog post, crocheting has been a way to express love for the people closest to me.

But since learning to knit, it has also been a process of discovery. A whole new world of hand crafts has opened up and I just want to make more and more and mooooore!

Building Momentum

With each project, my ambition grows, and before you know it I’ll be knitting cabled sweaters that your grandmother never dreamed of making!

My poor Chico will be so decked out in knits, he’ll break into a sweat outside in the dead of the Montreal winter.

(I feel especially bad for my Chico, because he’s such a sweetheart that he simply won’t have the heart to refuse to wear all the ugly things I’m going to knit him.)

Work in progress
Beginning yet another project. Any guesses?

On a Practical Note (for anyone who’s interested)

My favorite yarn store in Montreal is Espace Tricot, over on Monkland Avenue. Recently, though, La Maison Tricotée opened on Gildford (much closer to home) and it is both a yarn shop and a tearoom.

I may as well kiss half my salary good-bye already. The only problem with la Maison is that they only stock natural fiber, made-in-Canada yarns.

What does that mean? You guessed it: $$$$$$$.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Who knows when this phase will end. But I’ve decided to enjoy it while it lasts. This fiber arts kick has brought me together with some awesome ladies who have helped to make Montreal feel more and more like home. So I think I’ll stick with it for a while.

If you’re related to me, expect something knit for Christmas. (Or perhaps your birthday, since I can’t possibly knit something for all of you by then. Good Lord, you’re demanding.)

And if we’re not related? Well:

Grumpy Knits

First Knitting Project EVER!

I am SO excited! I have completed my first knitting project ever! It is a momentous occasion!

I taught myself to knit using a little book by Nomis Yarn Co. called Learn to Knit. What is great about this book is they give detailed drawings for both righties and lefties. They list common abbreviations and give a little guide to basic stitches, as well as some starter patterns. I chose the baby blanket.

First Knit 1
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn, Encore Knitting Worsted Weight, 75% acrylic, 25% wool. Color: 0678. Lot: 66848

The needles are US size 9, or 5.5mm. The yarn is machine washable, which is important when it’s going to a little baby!

Let’s not discuss how many times I had to pull it all out and start over again (okay, it was three times). In any case, it was an awesome learning experience and I’m excited to add knitting to my bag of tricks.

First Knit 2
Fancy artsy photo of the finished product

The pattern is a mix of knit and purl to create the patchwork look. The border is a simple garter stitch.

The finished blanket is wrapping up my friend Rosy’s baby and keeping him snuggly for the autumn days to come. I was pretty excited that my first ever knitting project turned out well enough to be able to give as a gift without being ashamed! The color, I suppose, is not very baby, but it was such a beautiful heather green that I couldn’t resist.

Finished blanket, being enjoyed by its adorable new owner, TK.
Finished blanket being enjoyed by its adorable new owner, TK.

After finishing this, I made another crochet chain link scarf in a vintage rose color. The yarn for that turned out not to be as soft as I expected, so stay tuned to learn how I managed to soften it!

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Check me out on Ravelry.com for more knitting and crocheting fun!