Though I may look like a stylish London woman (in the dark, if you squint, and don't look directly at me) I grew up in rural Canada. More specifically, the eastern province of New Brunswick, which borders the Atlantic Ocean and the much more famous provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
I'm not surprised if you haven't heard of New Brunswick. The entire province has a population of less than a million people. You might be missing something very special, though, so I thought I'd let you in on a few NB knitting secrets in my next few posts.
This past Christmas I was grasping at last minute knitting present straws, casting about looking for something to knit for my brother in law. As a last resort, I decided to try my hand at knitting socks.
Having avoided socks like the plague in the past, I decided I needed some expert advice. I scurried through the cold to Yarns on York in Fredericton, a lovely knitty haven in the historic downtown.
The very helpful Trish led me to some sufficiently manly self striping yarn, then asked about my needle preference. I confessed to the sin of not owning any dpns at all. Not a problem, it seems.
On the back wall I found a selection of needles, but my eye was immediately caught by the words, "Rocky Brook Needles." I know that brook, I thought.
Upon closer examination, I discovered the needles were handcrafted in New Brunswick, using NB wood products and recycled packaging. Sold!
I won't comment on the socks, as they are still unfinished and never made it into anyone's Christmas parcel. I tried to take a photo, but my camera rebelled. Needless to say good equipment is not enough to make a finished product. The needles, however, are fantastic.
I enjoy wooden needles because of their warmth in the hand. These particular ones are birch, though they are also available in walnut and cherry. The finish is almost perfect, smooth with just that right amount of friction to keep the stitches flowing smoothly.
Don't let the website fool you–these are high quality knitting tools, produced in a sustainable way, in a tiny corner of a large country where unemployment is rife and the young have migrated to make a living. The heritage shawl pins are stunning.
It makes my heart sing to see such innovation and quality coming from home. If you are in the market for a special knitting treat, you can't go wrong with Rocky Brook needles.
Stay tuned for more next post on a wooley New Brunswick institution!