Prince Edward Island Fibre Trail – Part One

PEI Fiber Trail Map

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After a week-long vacation on Prince Edward Island I can honestly say it is absolutely AMAZING for knitters/crocheters/yarn lovers. I was floored at how much there was to see and do that was yarn related. When we first arrived and visited the tourist pavilion I did pick up the pamphlet for the “Fibre Trail“, and I will admit, when I saw it even I thought it was dorky. MacAuslands Woolen MillMy husband and son REALLY weren’t interested in the Fibre Trail, so one day we divided and conquered – they spent the day at Sandspit, and I (with my parents) spent the day driving around the island finding all things yarny. We hit four different spots and it is way too much to fit in to just one post, so this is going to be a multi-parter.

Prince Edward Island Fibre Trail

MacAusland's Woolen Mill

This is what you see when you walk in the door! Both awesome and daunting.

First stop was MacAusland’s Woolen Mills. The building is fairly unassuming, and when we walked in the door we thought we weren’t in the right place. Why? Because you literally enter into the MILL, full of machines and whirring and craziness! But there was a little sign stuck to a wooden stairway indicating the store was upstairs, so up we went.

The first part of the store had huge bags of “seconds” for only $20. I looked at the “seconds” and I didn’t see anything wrong with them, they looked like totally excellent yarn. My parents tried to convince me to buy a bag of the seconds but I just kept thinking about how there was no room for a big bag like that in the house, so I passed. (I regret this.) There was also some sheep skin strips, obviously the trimmings from their larger sheep skins, but still totally large and perfect. I bought one for 10$ and plan on lining my Juno Slippers with it.

Did someone say…. yarn?

The second part of the store was the “real” store, with the owner there to answer questions and work the till. He was a pretty interesting guy, entertaining and personable. In the store there were walls of beautifully coloured yarns, tons of natural undyed yarns (greys and beiges and browns), and an assortment of finished items that had been made from their materials. Knit items, woven items, and things made from sheep skin (like moccasins), all of which were really nice. Their woven wool blankets were especially beautiful (so much so that my parents actually bought one). I fell in love with all the yarns, they were beautifully dyed in rich staturated colours, and they had a really nice texture to them. Not excessively soft, but still weirdly really nice. In the end I chose 3 skeins – natural grey, peacock blue, and bright sunshine yellow – and I hope to make… well, I don’t know yet. A hat/mitt set? a cowl? Something. I’m going to make SOMETHING out of this beautiful yarn. I see some stranded work in their future. (ETA: Yup, I made something pretty awesome out of this yarn!!)

My purchases. The colours really pop!

As we made our way back out through the mill we did pause briefly to take in the complex mechanical operation they had going on there. This was the first time I have gone to (and purchased from) an actual mill, spoken to the people who actually make the yarn, and it was a pretty great experience. I really appreciated everything that went in to the yarn, and love that I saw the place where my pretty pretty yarns were made.


(View Part Two – Green Gables Alpacas/Julie’s Yarn Shop)

(View Part Three – Belfast Mini-Mills)

Spotlight: Shirley Brian Yarns

I am always keeping an eye out for new and fabulous gradient yarns, and, as I have said in the past, I do have people in my family who are allergic to wool, so non-wool gradients are pretty appealing.

Flashdance - Shirley Brian Yarns - http://shirleybrian.com/

Flashdance – Shirley Brian Yarns (http://shirleybrian.com/)

Today I discovered Shirley Brian Yarns – it is 100% cotton fingering yarn and it comes in quite a spread of different colour gradients. It looks pretty similar to Wolle’s Color Changing Cotton, a yarn that I have experience using and like rather a lot, though if I have one complaint about Wolle’s it would be how limited the supply is, and therefore difficult it is to get your hands on the nicest colourways. You also have to place your order by email and just sort of hope your selection is still in stock. Shirley Brian Yarns sells their yarn directly online so (presumably) you’ll know immediately if you’re placing an order for something in stock. On top of that it is made in Canada and there seems to be a larger selection of colourways.

Speaking of colourways, I am absolutely in LOVE with a couple of them. Wolle’s has some really nice colourways, but I am really drawn to the colourways Shirley Brian Yarns offers. The bright, super saturated, high impact colour transitions appeal to me more than more subdued ones, and Shirley Brian Yarns has some pretty phenomenal colourways (especially Flashdance (acid green – mauve – jeweled purple)… LOVE IT!).

The one thing I am unsure of is whether they offer smaller balls of end colour in case your project takes a bit more than one ball. It is one thing that Wolle’s does that I find pretty hugely convenient, so if Shirley Brian Yarns doesn’t that would be the only downside I can see.

I don’t know any knitters. This is sad. 6

No one close to me knits. No one. On one level, okay, I sort of get it. I’m in my 30s and most of my friends are in their 30s and to most people knitting isn’t exactly the coolest hobby there ever existed, but I wouldn’t have thought that there would be NO ONE in my life that knits. The closest I have is my mother-in-law. She is a truly lovely woman (truly!) and she enjoys crocheting, so at least she understands the appeal of yarn arts, but she lives a solid seven hour drive away. Not quite ideal. I have tried to get some of my friends who live closer to take on the hobby but there just isn’t the interest.

I'm all alone, just me and my knitting needles

I’m all alone, just me and my knitting needles.

Due to an utter lack of knitters to talk with I have been forced to talk at my husband about knitting. And yes, I mean talk AT. I would not call any knitting conversations I have with him to be terribly reciprocal. I mostly just jibberjabber on at him about various knitting things until he gets so sick of hearing about it he asks (begs) me to give him a break from knitting talk. He tries hard and he is remarkably tolerant but I think he has hit his limit. Plus, he doesn’t exactly GET it, you know? He looks at my knitting and is able to comment on how something looks good, and he knows how long something took me to finish, but he doesn’t really understand the technique and skills used. This is true for trying to talk about knitting to any non-knitter. It is sort of like talking to a blind person about the colour red, you know?

In an effort to meet other knitters I make a point of always commenting on other people’s knitwear they are wearing. Maybe they made it and then we can talk about it. I also am usually wearing multiple knits of my own (this is especially easy during the cold cold wintertime). I always hope that another knitter will notice and say something.

You know what I think? I think every knitter should wear some sort of outward sign that they are a knitter so that other knitters will be able to recognize them. I’m thinking like the Deathly Hallows necklace that Xenophilius Lovegood wears to reveal himself to other Hallows questers. (If that made no sense, it is a Harry Potter reference. I am obsessed with Harry Potter, second only to knitting.) Something more obvious than just wearing lots of knitted items (since that could also be a sign that you’re friends with an avid knitter who gives you lots of things). I think every knitter should have a matching ring they wear on their hand. Maybe this secret symbol ring could also work as a stitch counter? But really, I want a way to identify other knitters so that we can talk, if only for a few minutes in line at the grocery store. Until then, I am off on my own little knitting island with no one to talk to. No one to show my knitting and have them understand the techniques and skill behind it. No one with whom I can share advice and tricks. No one who will give me an understanding look when I complain about splitty yarn or incorrect stitch count.

It is a tragedy, my life. An absolute tragedy.


Goals for 2015

I started knitting in March of 2014 and in less than a year I feel like I accomplished a lot. There was never any sort of set plan when I decided to take up knitting, it was just for fun and to get comfortable in the art of knitting. Mission accomplished I’d say!

This year, though, is different. There are some specific things I’d like to accomplish in my knitting before this year is out, and I thought that keeping a record here of what they are and maybe crossing them off as I accomplished them would be useful. I may also add additional things to the list as the year goes on.

2015 Knitting Goals

1. Knit a sweater

2. Dye my own yarn and use it for… something. Anything. Bonus points if the yarn ends up being colour gradient yarn. (Success!!)

3. Try my hand at spinning my own yarn using a drop spindle.

4. Knee-high socks for myself. Bonus points if they are stranded. Extra super big gold star sticker if they are Harry Potter related.

5. Attempt Illusion Knitting

6. Create at least 5 more patterns to make available to the public. (1)

7. Try steeking for the first time. It seriously strikes the fear of god in me, but I suspect I need not be so terrified.

8. Keep up with this blog. Maybe that isn’t a knitting goal exactly, but it is related to knitting, and I really do hope I succeed.



Running list of other cool things I did/learned in 2015

1. Attempted Felting (DONE!)







Why don’t I own a proper yarn bowl?

A mixing bowl works as a yarn bowl... kinda...

A mixing bowl works as a yarn bowl… kinda…

I, an avid knitter, do not own a yarn bowl. Sometimes I use one of our mixing bowls to hold the yarn while I work but in general I just have the yarn on the couch beside me which is not ideal for many reasons. I decided today that a yarn bowl is really something I want. There are some decisions to be made though, or so it seems. Size, handle or no handle, lid thingy… The major one is apparently whether I want the yarn to come through a slot or through a hole. Personally I have no idea why you would ever choose the hole variety. What if you want to bring your project with you?? Because you flossed your yarn through the hole in your yarn bowl your entire project is essentially tethered to it. The only way you can separate your project from the bowl at that point would be to either finish the project or to cut the yarn. So a big fat “No” to the yarn bowls where the yarn is trapped in a hole. I also need to decide how big of a bowl I want since apparently they come in different sizes.

So now I’m actually looking for one to buy I am overwhelmed by the amazing options out there! A lot are just the standard bowls which can be nice and timeless, and then of course there are the ones that look like a cat and the yarn coming out of its mouth like some weird wooly vomit… but then I found this one….



Look at this! Just look at it! Tell me this isn’t gorgeous! The creator (by CHPottery on Etsy) has other similarly gorgeous yarn bowls using the same Raku technique, which gives it the amazing colours. I just can’t handle how gorgeous this yarn bowl is. Plus, I really like how loopy the slot is. I feel like it would do a good job keeping the yarn and not having it slip out of the slot.

You know what I really want? I want a tiered yarn bowl. I do enough colourwork that more often than not I have multiple balls of yarn on the go in each project. Having a series of stacked yarn bowls would be an absolute dream and so far I haven’t found one online that would serve that purpose.