The Lettuce Knit store pulls you in like a warm hug — Photo courtesy of Lettuce Knit
Lettuce Knit is no ordinary knitting store.
Stationed in Toronto's colorful Kensington neighbourhood (But not for long: There are plans for a fall 2015 move.), Lettuce Knit has become a one-of-a-kind attraction for both new and experienced knitters.
Owner Sylvie Gagne herself was a knitting neophyte five years ago, demonstrating that doors that can open with the two p's: perseverance and personality.
"I don't do anything in half measures," she laughs.
Note the sign in the background — Photo courtesy of Lettuce Knit
An advocate for mental health, LGBTQ rights and socially conscious living, Gagne is passionate and emphatic. Her store is a welcoming space for everyone, due to the fact that, as a sign so aptly points out in the store, "Yarn is cheaper than therapy."
If you're best described as all thumbs and no skill, Lettuce Knit has almost daily classes dedicated to teach everything from Knitting 101 to Fixing Mistakes (which Gagne says are inevitable, no matter how experienced you become).
Colourful yarns are a way to brighten your spirit — Photo courtesy of Lettuce Knit
"Eventually, the fingers do what they are going to do," promises Gagne. "It's mechanical, like riding a bike."
A student herself of Lettuce Knit at one point, Gagne bought the store and "changed everything." Although she still occasionally teaches, she has hired an experienced staff that she's very proud of.
"I am not the expert," she claims. "I hire expert knitters."
Welcome — Photo courtesy of Lettuce Knit
Gagne is hugely active in social media, and Lettuce Knit is a fixture in the community, bringing up to 20 people together on Wednesday for Stitch nights, where the community is paramount. People come with projects or frustrations and work together. It becomes much more than the handiwork and much more about the kinship of a shared experience.
The yarn is an essential character in the Lettuce Knit story, and it's mostly exclusive to the store; Gagne helps to develop the Canadian brands.
"I would rather stimulate the Canadian economy," Gagne declares.
Wools are honored by customers who appreciate a high-end approach to fabric.
"We're not quite Mercedes, but we are Cadillac," compares Gagne.
With an understanding of how the animals are treated and how the workers are paid, Lettuce Knit is rooted in compassion as much as it is craftsmanship (or craftswomanship, for that matter).
Happy wool, happy knitter — Photo courtesy of Lettuce Knit
Lettuce Knit could also be called "Lettuce Give," with a huge altruistic aspect to the business. Whether you want to do something different with your hands (other than text) or buy a gift for the knitting enthusiast in your life, this is the store to pop into.
"People come from all over the world saying, 'I've heard about your store!'" declares Gagne. "It is a destination store."
Need a reason to knit? Gagne says that there's no wasted time once you learn the skill. Whether you're waiting for your delayed plane to arrive or enduring a chronically late friend, you can be an artist. With yarns so silky they work as hand conditioner, what better place to birth a hobby?
"We are doing something completely different," insists Gagne.
One day, this may be your handiwork — Photo courtesy of Lettuce Knit