Knit a Speckled Eyelet Scarf with The Loop in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
How did you get started?
When The Loop opened in 2005, we wanted to create a different kind of yarn store: an inspiring, uncluttered, gender-neutral space in which people could explore the joys of making things by hand. In the years since, hundreds of people have taken our workshops, and the shop has been the starting point for thousands of projects.
Where are you located?
The Loop is in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s East Coast. When I say we’re on the East Coast, I mean it: we’re just two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean! We’re right in the heart of the historic business district, in a century-old building. Our central location means we get a great mix of customers: people who live or work in the area, students (we’re within walking distance of three universities), tourists and cruise ship passengers, people in town on business. The diversity of our clientele is a testament to the broad appeal of craft.
Which products do you specialise in?
We carry high-quality, natural fibre yarns and supplies for knitting, crochet, felting and spinning, as well as embroidery floss and sewing thread. The Loop is a small shop, but we carry a wide variety of yarns. We have a core supply of versatile workhorse yarns, but I’m always on the lookout for innovative and unusual yarns, as well as great local products. I’m told that we carry a lot of things that people have never seen anywhere else.
Do you have a particular favorite product that you sell?
It’s hard to pick a favourite, since we don’t stock anything we wouldn’t work with ourselves. Standouts for me are the YvieKnits range, a selection of gorgeous yarns from a small hand-dyer in Ontario. Her latest is a light fingering-weigh blend of silk and linen, and it’s sublime. I also really like the felted yarns Schoppel Wolle has been producing, particularly Leinen Los, the DK merino-linen blend. And then there’s the wonderful, soft Shetland yarn we get every summer from Last Resort Farm on the province's north shore. It’s produced in small quantities, in the beautiful natural colours of the sheep, and they mark the labels with the names of the sheep whose fleeces were used in that colour. You have to grab that when you see it, because it isn’t around for long.
What's on the stereo?
Our musical taste is as eclectic as our yarn selection!
Where else should we visit in your area?
Halifax is a great walking city (if you don’t mind a few hills!). On a sunny day, you can grab a microbrew or a glass of wine on the waterfront, or sit and knit in the beautiful Victorian-era public gardens. Lovers of handmade shouldn’t miss Inkwell Boutique (http://inkwellboutique.ca/), Patch Halifax (http://patchhalifax.com/), Argyle Fine Art (http://www.argylefineart.com/) and the Mary Black Gallery (http://craft-design.ns.ca/exhibits/current-exhibition). The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has a wonderful collection of local folk art, including painter Maud Lewis's tiny house—right inside the gallery! There’s a great farmers’ market at the Seaport on weekends, and lots of pubs and restaurants in and around downtown.
Farther afield, Nova Scotia is full of amazing things: rugged, undeveloped coastline, quiet beaches, beautiful old towns and villages. If you like those things, you should visit. Seriously. But bring your raingear and a warm sweater.
Do you host any workshops, classes or special events?
We offer workshops in knitting, crochet and drop spindle from September through the spring. Our workshops range from absolute-beginner level to experienced, and our guiding philosophy is to help you become a more confident, free-thinking crafter.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know?
Do you have a favorite craft, art or supply shop in your town that we should feature? Send us a message!