Beijing Yarn Shop

We had a great time in Beijing. It was super cold, but the sites were well worth it. While their I decided to try and locate a yarn shop (or two). Locating yarn shops is difficult as you can’t “google it.” First off, google doesn’t work in China without a VPN and second shop names and websites are not usually in English. However, thanks to travel forums and a helpful blog post I located a shop that was very close to our hotel!

I jumped on the metro and headed the few stops to Dengshikou (Line 5). I then took Exit A and walked right to the end of the block. I took a left on Dengshikou Street and a half block later and I was there. The store is called Wansha Fashion Boutique Wool (Apple Maps) or Wansha Cashmere Store (Yahoo search). At first, the shop looks like a clothing store, but when peeking in the windows you can see all of the glorious yarn piled up toward the ceiling.

When I entered the shop I was greeted by one of the shop keepers. She did not speak English so she began pointing and attempting to say “wool.” I shook my head yes and we went to the counter. Again all of the yarn was in boxes or plastic, but the shop lady opened what I wanted so that I could pet the yarn.

I showed her that I wanted ~1,000 meters of yarn. She nodded and began taking out more boxes of my desired color. So I used my calculator and some gestures to indicate I wanted 11 balls. She began counting and looking through boxes of yarn. She even called for support to get some yarn down from the higher shelves. Huh? Then I realized she misunderstood me. She was taking out a 1,000 grams worth of yarn! After a few exchanges we straightened things out and I ended up with 11 ball of this beautiful wine colored Merino wool.

Another shop keeper told me to go around the other counter and help myself to letting all of the yarn. She didn’t have to ask me twice. I headed for what looked like the DK and worsted weight yarn. One thing I hate about buying yarn in China is there is no real measures of the yarn weight or gauge. So I basically have to guess at everything.

All and all I got enough yarn for three sweaters (# balls) for a total of a USD$91. Not bad at all. Overall, my shopping experience was pretty good. This store had a decent selection of yarn

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Knitting On The Great Wall

Greeting from Beijing! More specifically from the Great Wall of China! My mother-in-law (MIL), husband, and I are in the north of China for Christmas. It is mighty cold here, but the chill allows us to get great use out of our knitwear.

I am wearing a slouchy beanie I made a while ago. I used a swirling eyelet design that I free-styled. My MIL is wearing a Snuggly Loops Cowl that I made for her when I first published my pattern. Both of these items kept us nice and cozy.

The thing that surprised me the most about the wall was the steepness of the stairs. At one point, I had to use my arms and legs to hoist myself up. My husband pointed out we were on a wall on top of a mountain and steepness was to be expected (😬 duh!). In any event, we made it from towers 1-6 in a little less than 1.5 hours. I have to say the whole experience was quite impressive.

I did sneak in a row or two on my Chuck Sweater. I thought I would have it done by now, but time ran away from me. It would have been perfect for this freezing cold weather.

What a great day! I got to see another New 7 Wonder of the World in addition to getting some serious exercise in. Win-Win for Whit!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Newborn Knitwear

Anytime I make knitwear for babies I second guess myself. No matter if I am following the pattern exactly or if l look up the measurements myself I always wonder… “Is this going to fit?” This is exactly what I did with my Baby Sophisticate sweater. I wanted to make the newborn- 3 month size. The first one I made looked way too small. Even after blocking. So I changed fiber and made the next size up. This one looks a little long for a newborn, but I would much rather it be too big than too small. My result is just too cute. It reminds me of a little Mr. Rodgers sweater.

I also knit up a hat. This pattern is called Bearly Bonnet. It is a free and an easy pattern to follow. I did make some modifications to the pattern. I used US 4 needles and adjusted my gauge from there. Check out my Ravelry page for more information.

This hat is darling! I wish that the pattern pictures had the hat modeled on a baby so I can get the full cuteness effect. I am hoping the future mommy and baby will take lots of photos for me. These two items will certainly be some of my go to baby gifts for future little ones. They are quick to knit and have a lot of variation potential.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

More Magpie Fiber Knits

The two skeins of Magpie Fiber yarn I bought this past summer are really going the distance. In addition to the Pivot Cowl, I also got a hat and mittens out of the deal! 🙌🏾

The beanie is the Barley Hat by Tin Can Knits. I used “Frankie Says Relax” for the whole hat. This hat was a pretty quick knit and it really let the yarn shine. I also like that this hat is slouchy. My hair takes up a lot of room and it definitely all fits in this hat. img_6726

The third project out of my Magpie Fiber yarn was a process knit project. I made some simple mittens. I casted on and let the design unfold. The main portion of the mitts uses “Jaded” by Magpie Fiber. I decided to include a garter stitch panel to keep all of the pieces connected by a textural element as well as color.

Believe it or not this is my first matching set of winter accessories. I won’t be able to wear them much here in Guangzhou. But, I have two winter weather vacations coming up. 🤗 I look forward to taking pics in my new knitwear on the Great Wall of China and in the snowy mountains of Japan real soon!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

More Yarn Shops in China

On October 28th, I purchased about 6 projects worth of yarn from Love Knitting. It is now almost a month later and my shipment is still not here. 😩 On one hand I expected this. On the other, I had high hopes that I could have been delving into some Hannah Fettig patterns by now. Either way I will continue to wait for my yarn goodies.

Since my supply is running a little low ( I only brought yarn for 4 major projects) I hit the internet to search for some more yarn sources. The last place I went in Guangzhou was not my favorite. The shops were not the easiest to navigate. From my research, I found out about the Highsun Fabric and Cloth Market.

The Highsun Market is located not far from the Donghu Metro stop. The neighborhood is quite nice to walk around. The market is predominantly fabric, but I did find a few yarn shops. The first was quite upscale. I purchased 4 skeins for about 400¥. I loved the touches of light blue in the yarn and that it was oh-so soft.

I wandered downstairs and found another shop. It was packed! Every inch of this shop was filled with yarn. All of the yarn was in clear plastic packaging. However, the lady in the shop was super nice and let me open all the packages I wanted. At this shop I purchased 18 skeins for 200¥.

According to Google Translate, the yarn is a high percentage of wool vs acrylic. I have yet to find Fibers other than acrylic, wool, and cotton in China.

The second store was more my speed. It had a better selection of colors, yarn weight, and fiber. The price was also much more economical as well. I will certainly be visiting this shop for many of my future yarn needs.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Pivot Cowl

This summer when I purchased this yarn I had no plans for what would come of it. Cut to a week ago when I realized I brought no real cold weather clothes to China. Now that the weather is finally changing, and I have some trips planned to head north, I need to whip up some cold weather accessories.

First, I was going to make the Duotone Cowl with a matching hat. However, the colors I was using didn’t contrast enough for my personal liking. I did a little more research and found the Pivot Cowl by Purl Soho. I loved the simplicity of the pattern and knew it would let my yarn shine. The Pivot Cowl is super easy to create yet, has construction elements that keep even the advanced knitter interested. I made some modifications to the pattern that you can see here on my Ravelry page. Basically, I made the cowl shorter to fit my measurements better. I also used a variegated yarn (Magpie Fibers in Frankie Says Relax) on the front panels to give the cowl an additional dimension.

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While I was knitting, I used my Knitter’s Pride Dreamz fixed circular needles. I love these needles. They are lightweight, perfectly pointed at the ends, and have good slip. The glide of the wood and the super soft yarn made this project fly off the needles. I have to say the rhythm I developed while knitting was quite addicting! On Sunday, I couldn’t put the project down. I ended up finishing my cowl while a binge watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix.

Sadly, yesterday when I sat on the couch I pressed my hand into the cushion as well as my needles! One needle snapped clean off the joint! 😭

My beautiful needles!!! I immediately went into fix it mode. I have to save these needles. They are some of my favorites! I may be able to fix the situation with some super glue. The break was pretty clean so there may be hope!

Despite this tragic hit to my needle collection, I am super happy with my new cowl. I am loving the slight sheen and drape that the cashmere combination adds to the wool. If you have the chance (and the budget) I highly recommend picking up a skien (or two or three or five!) of Magpie Fibers’ Swanky DK.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend was my first birthday in China. We rode the bus into the city and first stopped at Starbucks. I was surprised to find that the store was in Christmas mode. I guess they skip fall here… it was 85 degrees yesterday.😣 I did get to finish a little baby hat I was working on  while sipping a cappuccino. The hat was just a basic beanie with a six stitch cable up the front. 

Later in the day we headed to Liuhua Tea and Culture City in Liuhua Park. I have to say it didn’t dissapoint. The ambiance and food were quite lovely. I can’t tell you what we ate as I don’t know the names of a lot of the food. Many of the names of dishes don’t translate well so the picture menu was essential.

The park was also nice to walk around. The city has created a very relaxing space that mixes recreation and beautiful landscaping. The trees gave it some nice shade so it was somewhat comfortable to walk around in the heat. 

All and all was a great day filled with laughter, yummy food, and a wee bit of knitting. 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-