We went to the Toronto Knitters Frolic yesterday. For a couple of first timers, we took the full experience: beside helping our friend at her booth for little while, we had the chance to mingle with a few vendors and acquire some well-deserved merchandise. That gave us the chance to see the event from three perspective: customer, seller and blogger.
There was a lot of fiber, a lot of people and a lot to see, feel and enjoy. Here are my all-time favorites (with a few extras!) and some lessons we learned.
Incredible Yarn: StudioLoo and Trailhead Yarns
The frolic was filled to the brim with workhorse yarn. You all know what it is: your reliable hand-dyed superwash merino, maybe with a little bit of nylon or cashmere. While there was some stunning propositions (and we ended up buying quite a few of them), most of that yarn is already available to us at the yarn stores close to us and we weren’t explicitly hunting for this.
A few booths caught our attention with the originality of their product or the uniqueness of their offering. In no particular order, two of our heartthrobs.
Studioloo was hard to miss: her merchandise is over the top, colourful and very attractive.
I am not the biggest fan of art yarn: I find them too busy, not very appealing and too often not very well made. Because of that, I never did spend much time exploring what she had to offer. Don’t do my mistake.
Full disclosure: this is some cra-zy art yarn. Everything is super bulky and as colourful as it can get. Willing to amp up the volume? You can get a yarn with quirty artifacts, such as small baby dolls (my favorite). Cindy (the mastermind behind the madness) is unapologetic about having a very unique proposition.
Her pattern ecosystem is kept simple for a very good reason. Since the yarn is so busy, stockinette is more than enough. A simple scarf or a simple cowl will make a conversation-starter accessory. Personally, I will simply request a custom created skein as a decoration piece. The crazier, the better.
Trailhead yarns is definitely a unique proposition. Hand-dyed vegan yarns is something the will certainly raise a few eyebrows, and for a good reason: in the sea of hand-dyed, you will see the occasional BFL or Corriedale, but otherwise, it’s Merino.
Vegetable fibers are smooth and dense, so getting a reliably light and bulky yarn is something very difficult. This is probably why they won’t go over DK weight. You’ll find hand-dyed Euroflax (yes, the same sold by Louet), some cotton that looks like a spinned muppet (in a good way), and some very shiny lace made of tencel or coton+flax.
The dyeing process is also quite different than protein fibers: no acid dye for them! They stayed mute about the exact process they used, despite my many requests to get a hint, but the results speak from themselves. You won’t get incredibly deep dark colours, but I scored some acid neons and some bright colourways that are already begging to come on my needles.
Gorgeous accessories: Van Dijk Designs
Project bags are a hard sell. Most of the time, I end up looking at them, saying to myself I can do that and ask Olivier to sew me something. After a few iterations and a lot of sketching, I have a few custom made project bags that are tailored to my needs.
But once in a while, I stumble across something and I can’t help myself. I jumped on a bag, looked at it inside and out, and whipped out my credit card. Olivier always needs a little competition, no? 🙂 (note from Olivier: Yes, yes, I do. Plus, her bags are just awesome. I’m glad Jon bought one! (in fact, I may actually steal it from him. It’s that gorgeous))
Carolyn (and her mother, which was absolutely adorable!) sources her fabrics from various places. We had a very insightful talk about sustainability in the fabric world, a subject near and dear to my heart. Small projects like this are perfect to showcase small quantities of premium fabric that wouldn’t be easy to use otherwise. Pair this with an obsessive focus about finishing (so your upcycling ambitions don’t look too, well, recycly), and you get something worthy of your best project.
That’s all for our booths shortlist. There was obviously too many we loved to list, but we hope you’ll get to discover those three. In the next few posts, we will cover our very short experience selling yarn at the Frolic and interacting with other booths.