John and Kelsi, co-founders of BiStitchual Yarn Shop and the BiStitchual podcast.
BiStitchual began as a queer, Canadian crafty podcast in June 2020. We started this podcast to talk more about queerness, mental health, and disability, both in the fibre arts community and the world at large. We wanted to build a community that would not only embrace, but celebrate, uplift, and connect with folks who recognize and relate to these identities and intersections. As the podcast grew in popularity and we began to foster an online community, we realized – what better way to celebrate and uplift queer and Canadian fibre artists than through a yarn store!
Through a series of serendipitous events, we were able to find a home in the beautiful Baby Point Gates neighbourhood in Toronto’s west end. It took weeks of blood, sweat, tears, and many pots of coffee, but we were thrilled to open our doors in November 2020.
Our mission is to make Canadian and queer indie dyers and makers more accessible to the world, so along with our brick-and-mortar shop, we have this webstore that ships internationally! We have also partnered with the Flamingo Market, Canada’s preeminent market of LGBTQIA+ artisans and markers, in order to promote and foster the talents of this incredible community.
John is a bi, trans, gender apathetic former cafe manager living in the west end of Toronto with what some might consider too many books and too much yarn. John has been crocheting and knitting since late 2013, and, until recently, looked to it as a way to destress and unwind from the constant headaches of working as management in the food service industry. John loves making amigurumi and finding ways to incorporate a little bit of pride into every project.
Kelsi is a queer, disabled knitter, living in a hobbit hole in Toronto with ever-brewing coffee, a mountain of books, and a dragon’s hoard of yarn. She rediscovered her love of knitting while searching for coping mechanisms to help manage her mental health and hasn’t put down her needles since. She runs Knit Me, a subscription box and venue for beginner learning kits, as a way to help mitigate as many potential accessibility barriers as she can.
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