I said it before, The Window is my new fave Vancity gift shop. But I haven't shared photos yet. So here they are. They have everything: soaps, snacks, candy, textiles, ceramics, jewelry, art, and the list goes on. AND it's all locally made. I bought a few things during my last visit including a couple of their in-house made aprons as wedding gifts, one cotton and one linen (The linen ones are so gorgeous I wouldn't be surprised if my friend wore it as a dress - lol).
Not too long ago I visted Wool Is Not Enough in Gastown and was pleasantly surprised at its size. Shoshanna's been calling it 'wee' all this time, but it's definitely not lacking on the selection front. They even have quiviut, which you may know is my favourite fibre! I've already began wearing my quiviut hat this season. It's so nice on cold mornings.
I left WINE with a beautiful hank of Malabrigo Rasta which I'm pretty sure I'll be making these mittens with.
Also, FYI there is a great write up on WINE here on the Fraser Valley Knitting Guild website. The FVKG has visited and blogged about nearly all the yarn shops in the lower mainland (I think their post on WINE is the only one sans photos), so if you're ever curious about the local LYS selection check out their reviews.
Cara Birkeland, the third generation owner of the well loved Vancouver wool and yarn company which has been running for over 70 years, has recently announced their upcoming closure. I know the community is very sad about this, as am I. Thank you Birkeland family for your legacy of beautiful, quality products, hospitality and camaraderie.
Below is Cara Birkeland's message to the community, taken from their website.
February 2, 2012
To all our Valued Customers,
Birkeland Bros. Wool will be closing as of March 1, 2012.
Birkeland Bros. Wool would like to thank you for your patronage over the last 73 years. We have enjoyed helping, laughing, and sharing your wool dreams. You are not only our customers - many of you have also become our friends.
This decision has not come easily. My grandfather founded the business, and my father took over until his retirement due to illness. About 15 years ago, parallel to a nursing career, I started to expand Birkeland Bros. Wool into its current format of supplying a wide variety of products for crafts and fibre arts.
A wonderful community has formed around our business, and it has been much fun, and you as customers have contributed to 2011 being one of the most successful years in the history of Birkeland Bros. Wool.
Nevertheless, health reasons have forced me to re-assess my options and consider drastic changes. With pride about what my family, our staff, and you as a community have achieved, and with sadness that all good things will have to transform at some point in time, I have decided to close the doors of Birkeland Bros Wool, and focus on new horizons.
Help us to celebrate the wonderful and woolly things shared, of decades past and new decades to come, in this month of February. We will be having several sales events, and it will be a good occasion to re-stock your coffers and drop by and say hello.
We wish you continued happiness in knitting, spinning, weaving, felting and many other wool dreams.
We have loved being part of your life.
3rd Generation Owner,
Birkeland Bros. Wool Ltd.
Wool Is Not Enough is a wee yarn shop that recently opened up in the International Village Mall. The proprietor Shoshana was kind enough to answer some questions about her shop right in the middle of the holiday season AND amidst moving the shop. Read the interview below:
Janna: First off, I'm really curious if there is some inside joke to the acronym of the name of your shop, WINE?
Shoshana: No the acronym means nothing it was an accident that I didn't even realize until someone pointed it out. The name is just a play on the expression "once is not enough." Wool is not enough means you need lessons, needles, other yarn, friends to knit with etc. because a knitter cannot live on wool alone.
J: Which products that you offer are you most excited about?
S: I try to offer quality products in an affordable price range. I think that the Berroco line can't be beat for this and I will be carrying more of it all the time. I also carry the old stand by Sirdar, not just quality but their pattern library is unmatched and timeless. I also love the Mirasol line because it supports a school in the highlands of Peru for the children who raise the animals and it is also very good value for the money with excellent quality.
I also believe that I carry more Katia yarn than any other store in the GVA. The one ball scarves
are great fun. people love them. Katia is also a very good company that supports their product with patterns and videos. I don't think any other company does these scarves better.
So I'm, excited about carrying some Canadian yarns. I am sourcing these now. I am also excited about carrying the Knit Pick needles, which aren't available in any other Vancouver yarn stores as I know of. I love the rainbows. I also carry milk cassein needles which are made of milk plastic. They are soft and pliable absorbing the oils from skin and yarns as well as warmth to create a lovely slick but pliable silent needle to knit with, my favorites.
J: Part of the reason I wanted to interview you was because of your recent fundraising to buy a herd of goats for villages in Uganda. How is that going so far? Can you tell us more about the program?
S: The kid mohair for kid goats promotion continues until Jan 15th. I need to make a sample from the yarn to promote it, and maybe find a good free pattern i can give people with it. I just wanted to give something back for the success of my business.
Plan Canada is a great charity that provides tools for success in underdeveloped communities, such as goats, chickens, trees, learning kits etc. Instead of just food aid. The dollars are also matched by governments to increase the donation. Actually one of my main yarn suppliers Diamond Yarn decided to give 20 chickens 15 goats and 10 donkeys to underdeveloped communities through OXFAM rather than give us all pens. That's way better than pens. I think the more businesses give back the better all our communities become.
J: So, you shared with me in an email earlier that you're changing the location of your shop. What's the reason for the move so soon after opening?
S: Each yarn store needs to get a feel for it's clientele. My customers will be different in Gastown than they are in Chinatown where I am currently located, even though it is only 2 blocks away. I'm moving because it is time. I began teaching lessons, then opened a pop up shop in my friends front window, for the summer, then I opened a yarn kiosk in a mall in Chinatown because there is no yarn store in downtown Vancouver. Now I am moving to Gastown and opening my own store. The mall has been great for exposure and my business has done very well far surpassing my expectations for the first quarter, but it is challenging to be in the hallway. So it is time too move upwards and onwards. I will be building my collection over the coming year, adding new lines every month or so, or as finances allow.
J: You mentioned something about a yarn parade or something awesome like this in one our past convos. Can you elaborate on said awesomeness?
S: I am having a yarn parade because it (moving the shop two blocks) really isn't far enough away to rent a truck to take over a rolling slat wall and a rolling shelf unit. So I thought why not have a parade and march the yarn over. Following the parade there I will be having a New year's Grand Opening Reception until midnight with food and entertainment. Lots of fun.
J: So anyone is welcome to join in the yarn parade then?
S:Yes of course everyone is welcome for the yarn parade. We are marching the yarn to the new store with live musicians, and we need hands to help push the rolling shelves.
J: When and where will it be occurring?
5 pm beginning at the International Village location (88 West Pender) on December 31st, new years eve
J: And where will your new location be?
S: 77 E Cordova St.
J: Anything else you want to share about Wool Is Not Enough?
S: That's about it for now. I'm a bit nervous about my new venture into Gastown but I just need to let people know where to find me and they will come I think. Check back next year and we'll see.
J: Thanks so much Shoshana! I wish you the best of luck in your move and with the future of the shop :)
Wool Is Not Enough links
I've always loved the Vancouver based clothing line Adhesif by Montreal-born designer Melissa Ferreira. I remember visiting her booth at Portabello West years ago and shamelessly hinting to her that I wanted the Adhesif vest SHE was wearing. Did I actually ask for the shirt off her back? How embarrassing.
Actually that's the thing about Adhesif, every piece is one-of-a-kind since everything is made from recycled cloth. So if you fall in love with a piece, be sure to get it there and then - unless the designer is wearing it!
Above are some designs from the Fall 2011 line. Isn't that outfit cute?
Did you know that Adhesive has a shop on Main Street? It's a super cute shop: 2202 Main Street, Vancouver
Welcome to the Vancouver Yarn blog! This space exists to celebrate and spread the word about all events, new local patterns, products and businesses.
Submit the details of an event or new locally designed knitting/crochet pattern, or other local DIY news and I'll post about it here. Thank you! ~Janna Vallee
Hi, I'm Janna. I'm the proprietor and natural dyer at Everlea Yarn, and the tapestry instructor at The School of SweetGeorgia. I am a tapestry weaver, longtime knitter and 2013 graduate of Concordia University's Fibres and Material Practices program.
I created Vancouver Yarn in 2008 as a space to hold as much of the textile awesomeness that I could find in and around Vancouver. Here on the VY blog I mostly share about local events, pattern releases as well as share Community Highlights.
Do you have an event, KAL, yarn or pattern release, launch or other thing you want us to post? Just fill out the form at the top of this page, or send your press release to me at
janna (at) vancouveryarn.com