Jackie Yaklin is a true knitter.
If you see her at the dentist office, she likely has knitting needles in her hands conjuring up something warm for someone.
“It is like an obsession and I seem to be really obsessed with starting projects,” she admits. “I have four projects going on right now.”
Yaklin likes knitting so much, she literally quit her day job to start up a knitting store.
It is called The MatchGirl Knitting Shop and it can be found at the far end of Tungsten Road at Titanium Way. It’s past Mae Bachur Animal Shelter, past Titanium Storage, at the end of the road close to the Yukon River.
The location makes it a destination store; only serious shoppers will make the effort to get there.
Patrons are rewarded with a bright and rustic environment with a table in the centre that begs you to sit with Yaklin and knit.
“We have a knitting group and meet here Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7 p.m.,” she says. “It is open to the public for a drop-in.”
She once attended a thank-you party, held by the recent Syrian refugees, and she invited them to come and share their techniques.
“They may not speak English well,” says Yaklin. “But they don’t need to speak; they can show us their patterns and we can show them ours.”
Looking around the room, you first see a wall of yarn in many, many colours.
“I usually go for the ‘Crayola’ colours,” she says. “Crayola had eight colours for 200 years, but each of these companies have their own shade.”
And each of her suppliers have their own processes and materials, too, that adds to the variety that numbers in the thousands available to her.
“That one comes from Iceland,” Yaklin points to a top row, just within reach. “And that one comes from Prince Edward Island where they have their own mill.
“These come from Nebraska where they own their own sheep; these are from Virginia and they have a mill and they don’t over process the wool and they sell it for a reasonable price.”
But which ones are truly special to her?
“Well, this one up here is mink blended with silk, from their own mink ranch, and then they spin the fibres,” says Yaklin.
“I had a pair of gloves in this, and someone bought them; and then I had a hat and gloves set, and someone bought them.”
But then she holds out a ball of yarn in a most reverent way: “This is muskox from up north.
“It’s the Inuit’s sustainable harvest; they send frozen pelts to PEI where they are kept in a freezer until I place an order and they spin it for me.”
Then, there are the needles.
“The original ones were made from sticks of willow or whatever you have,” she explains.
“During the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, Canada was big in manufacturing knitting needles from aluminum.
“They are developing new ones all of the time and make them from steel and nickel, too.
“These are made from birch,” she says, pulling a pair from her knitting bag. “I like birch because they are lighter and easier on the hands.
“These, over here, are made from bamboo… so we are using panda food, I guess,” she says with a laugh.
“In the old days, my mom didn’t have any of this stuff; she just had needles and wool.
“Reading a pattern was a special kind of torture for her.
“She taught me to knit; probably her mom taught her to knit; and her mom taught her.”
Aside from raw goods, there are finished product to buy. The selection changes all the time.
Yaklin opened the store last November, with lots of support from family and friends, and she loves the location.
“It is quiet by the river,” she says. “This winter, we had some foxes in the yard.
“I had never heard a fox cry before.”
She says it is too busy downtown for her, and she doesn’t want to compete with Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store: “I know them, I like them.”
The MatchGirl Knitting Shop is open Monday to Friday, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. She hopes the later hours make it easier for those leaving work and for her basics and children’s classes.
For more information go to www.MatchGirlKnittingShop.com, check out their “Match Girl” Facebook page, or call 668-5648.