Reusable Face Masks Work

face maskBy Kim Ryan

If worn and cleaned properly, reusable cotton masks can help to reduce virus spread of, this according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lately, more and more jurisdictions around the world are requiring it’s citizens to wear some type of face covering to stem the spread of COVID19.

On April 28, 2020 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statewide order requiring residents to wear masks when in public. Scotland passed similar legislation, as have numerous other countries. In Canada, there’s currently no mandated requirement to wear masks in public. Instead, it’s left up to each individual to decide.

For my part, I’ve been making and wearing my own reusable/washable cotton face masks for a few weeks. Normally I wear them when I’m interacting with frontline workers, like my pharamacist or clerks at the grocery store. I think we owe it to these workers not to be spreading our germs to them (one worker actually thanked me for wearing a mask). I’ve also given some masks to family and friends and donated a bunch to local hospitals and frontline workers.

While the best strategy for avoiding COVID19 is still lots of hand washing and social distancing, I don’t think it hurts to add another layer of protection by wearing a mask.

For more information about wearing and cleaning cotton face masks click here



8 Great Handmade Toronto Gift Ideas

cutting board, handmade

By Kim Ryan, Owner, Kim Ryan Makes

I’m always suprised by the number of people who flock to the malls at Christmas. They spend hours looking for parking, fighting crowds and for what? To buy the same stuff as everyone else. I say Bah Humbug to foreign sourced, mass produced crud.

This Christmas show someone you care by giving the gift of handmade. Handmade gifts are unique celebrations of local creativity. Buying handmade supports small entrepreneurs and keeps money and jobs in our community.

Okay, now you know why buying handmade is better, here are my  suggestions for handmade gifts made by Toronto area artisans.

1. Maria Lopez Designs

maria lopezThere are lots of options when it comes to handmade jewellery in Toronto. Much of it however seems to look the same…then there’s Maria Lopez Designs. Using high quality resins, Japanese paper and natural leaves, Maria creates jewellery that is clean,  simple and with a unique nature inspired aesthetic.

I don’t wear much jewellery myself, but I have a few of Maria’s pieces and absolutely love them. The metal parts of the jewellery are silver or surgical steel which makes them hypo-allergenic. For handmade jewellery I think Maria’s prices are a super value…a small pair of earrings is approx $25.

Maria’s creations are available at the Arts Market locations at Leslieville, College St. and Riverside and at her online store. Continue reading “8 Great Handmade Toronto Gift Ideas”

10 Things Vendors Want from Craft Show Organizers

By Kim Ryan
Owner/Artisan, Kim Ryan Makes

Since I began my small business just over a year ago, I’ve sold my handmade knits and totes at quite a few markets across southern Ontario. I’m happy to say that most of the markets were well run and well attended.

Most market organizers focus on making a great experience for the shopping public. which is important, but it’s equally vital to ensure the concerns of market vendors are considered too.

Here then are some of my tips for keeping market vendors happy… Continue reading “10 Things Vendors Want from Craft Show Organizers”

New Product: Woolly EDC Pouch

Woolly Every Day Carry Pouch: Great for for traveling or for those days when you don’t need to carry a full purse

By Kim Ryan, Owner/Artisan, Kim Ryan Makes

My husband carries around a lot of stuff…wallet, keys, phone, small flashlight, pen knife, space pen (in case you need to write a memo in zero gravity). Maybe it’s a guy thing, but hubby says he likes to be prepared for life’s minor emergencies.

Apparently, toting around emergency items is now a thing and it’s called  Every Day Carry (EDC for short). There’s even websites and Pinterest boards where guys post pics of the items they carry and how they carry them.

My husband, for example, likes to keep his stuff organized in a very outdoorsy looking EDC pouch (NOT a man purse as my husband likes to point out). This got me to thinking…why not make a pouch that’s equally as functional, but a little more fashion forward. Enter the Woolly EDC Pouch… Continue reading “New Product: Woolly EDC Pouch”

Explore Toronto: The Leslieville Flea

leslievillefleaWhat: Leslieville Flea
Where: Distillery District, Fermenting Cellar, 28 Distillery Lane Toronto
When: Sunday February 17, 2019, 10 am – 5pm
Why: To check out great handmade gifts and vintage finds

By Kim Ryan
Owner/Artisan, Kim Ryan Makes

I vend at the Toronto’s historic Distillery District  on a regular basis, but am always suprised by the number of Tortontonians who have never visited this unique, free attraction. Time to change that. Continue reading “Explore Toronto: The Leslieville Flea”

10 Great Canadian Knitting Blogs

By Kim Ryan
Owner/Artisan, Kim Ryan Makes

I subscribe to lots of knitting blogs. They’re a great way to get ideas, share information and stay in touch with trends in the knitting world.

Since I live in Canada, I have a special fondness for Canadian knitting blogs since they often blog on local issues that don’t always involve wool and needles.

Also, Canadian’s are known worldwide for being  a pretty funny bunch and most of the blogs below do have a large serving of that dry Canuck humor. In no  particular order of preference, I present to you my choice of 10 Great Canadian Knitting Blogs… Continue reading “10 Great Canadian Knitting Blogs”

6 Steps To More Hygge in 2019


By Kim Ryan
Owner, Kim Ryan Makes

With long, cold winters and rain most of the rest of the year, you’d expect the people of Denmark and Norway to be a right gloomy bunch, but you’d be wrong. In fact, Danes and Norwegians consistently place at or near the top in rankings of  the world’s happiest people. 

What’s their secret to happiness? According to our Scandinavian friends it all comes down to Hygge (pronouned Hoo-Gah)…basically a quality of coziness that makes one feel content and comfortable. Here’s a few ways to achieve greater Hygge in your life… Continue reading “6 Steps To More Hygge in 2019”

Merino Vs. Alapca: Which Yarn is Best?

merino alpacaBy Kim Ryan, Owner – Kim Ryan Makes

For the past decade or so, I have been knitting with only two products: Merino wool and Alpaca fleece. For me, these are the Rolls Royce of yarns. Yes, they are a bit more expensive than other yarns, but they more than make up for the extra costs in warmth softness and several other key factors.

The Basics

Merino wool and alpaca fleece are natural, sustainable products (i.e. good for the environment). Merino wool comes from Merino sheep, an ancient breed originally from Spain, but now raised worldwide. Alpaca Fleece comes from the Alpaca, a native of South America and a member of the cameloid family (Cameloids also include camels and llamas). Alapacas are also bred worldwide, including Canada.


If you were to put a bunch of different yarn samples under a microscope, you would see most are made up of a series of scales.

Generally speaking, the larger the scales, the itchier the material. From the photo below, you can see that plain wool (far left) has  large, protruding scales which makes it pretty darn itchy.


Fine wool (Merino) and Alpaca have much smaller, flatter scales, making them much softer – ideal for people with sensitive skin.

Polyester yarn has no scales since it is a chemically treated and extruded petroleum  product (Yuk). Polyester is certainly soft, but because it is a petroleum product, it lacks many of the important qualities (i.e. breathability)  found in natural materials

Alpaca, to most people, feels closer to the silkiness of cashmere than to Merino wool. A fine merino wool though is still pretty soft …about twice as soft as regular wool.
Softness Advantage: Alpaca Continue reading “Merino Vs. Alapca: Which Yarn is Best?”