Currently, my husband and I are in Japan. We are really loving it. The people are lovely and the food is fantastic. Before we arrived I did a little research about yarn shopping. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few sources to locate yarn stores. I used a list from Travel Knitter as well as Knitmap. Just my luck there was a craft store about 1 km from our hotel! The description sounded like this place was a crafter’s heaven.
Okadaya is located off the Shinjuku metro stop across from “Godzilla Road.” Okadaya stocks fabric, yarn, buttons, sewing notions…etc. I headed right for the yarn floor (Floor 5). The area was spacious and there was quite a selection to choose from. I also appreciated that the staff didn’t hover, but when I had a question they were friendly and helpful.
Most of the brands stocked were new to me. There were European brands as well as Japanese. I loved that they had all of the yarn out for petting! Okadaya’s stock was mainly wool, but I did manage to find some cotton yarn. I have two more knit tops that I want to make for summer. I purchased NaturaXL (aran weight) and Natura (fingering weight yarn).
My husband was with me and asked for some more hand knitted socks. Funny how whenever I go to the yarn store with him we walk away with a skein for him too. He found a pretty cool sock yarn by Opal. They took famous paintings and applied the colors to the yarn. My husband chose the colorway inspired by Le Café, le soir as he is partial to blue.
I also remembered that my Blaster sweater still needed some buttons. I went down one floor down to the button section. With so many choices I really had to stay focused. I ended up choosing buttons with a green and blue mosaic. I am not sure if they are the best fit. If they don’t work with my Blaster sweater I am sure I can find something else to knit up to go with them. 😉
Okadaya was a great experience. The shop had good prices (as compared to yarn prices in the US) and a variety of items that appeal to all crafters. Despite not specializing in yarn, I left feeling excited with my new purchases.
Until Next Time,
If you are interested in learning more my about our travels in Japan please visit Smithberrys Abroad.
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,
This weekend I headed to Guangzhou City to trying find some yarn. This took quite a lot of preparation beforehand. Fist of all, I don’t speak or read Chinese so I needed to research where to find yarn and the mode of transportation to take. I ended up concluding that I could take the Metro to Sun Yet-Sen University to the big textile marketplace.
This place was huge! I didn’t know where to begin looking. So I began wandering. I weaved through the shops filled with fabric, beads, buttons, and embroidery patches for about 20 minutes. Eventually I came to an alley with some furry fabric. Maybe it was my inner yarn radar, but I felt a pull to investigate this alley.
Luckily, my yarn radar was correct. I found 4 or 5 shops with some yarn in them. Let me just say these yarn shops were not like the US. They had all of the yarn stacked up and it was still in the plastic. I had to be very very careful while shopping. I didn’t want a mountain of yarn toppling down on me.
I ended up purchasing 6 skeins of yarn for ~$11USD. I bought 4 skeins of acrylic yarn (2 red, 2 blue) that were very very soft. At my new school, I am teaching a kids’ knitting class so this yarn will be perfect for them to practice with.
I also bought something called “milk cotton.” Not sure what that is, but it feels like a soft cotton blend to me. I choose blue as my friend is having a baby in December. I am still looking for a good pattern, but I am thinking a little cardigan would be best.
Overall, this was an interesting shopping experience. I really didn’t like that the yarn not out on display. I am so use to the tactile experience of yarn shopping. I am going to still keep an eye out for an actual yarn shop so keep checking back for my progress.
Until Next Time,
Summer knitting = sock knitting to me. For the past 3 summers, I have come home from my travels with a nice pair of socks. This year I am ahead of the game finishing my summer socks in just 2.5 weeks. Thanks to our one week road trip across America I had plenty of time to knit them up. I used 2 skeins of Patons Kroy Sock yarn in Grey Brown Marl. Patons has recently been stocking some pretty decent sock yarn at Michael’s. This has made my wallet very happy. This yarn is 75% washable wool and 25% nylon. I find it a good choice for those in your life who like low maintenance knitwear (aka won’t bother with the hand washing). The Kroy line has some great colors, particularly for men who prefer subdue colors (i.e., dark red, green, grey).
My Kroy socks were made with a double magic loop toe up construction (Judy’s magic cast on) with an afterthought heel. I didn’t want to bother with ribbing across the whole sock so I just worked a 3×3 rib across the top and cuff. I then used Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind off. Afterthought heels are so convenient, especially on the go! I also find they make the perfect &heel for the men in my life.
These socks are intended for my dad for Christmas. He has way too many knit beanies so hopefully, he will be happy with the result.
Until Next Time,
Cashmere you dreamy fiber. How I love your glorious softness. Generally, I avoid you in the yarn store because I cannot resist your charm. However, on my recent trip to Vermont, I caved. I caved hard and now am the proud owner of three new skeins of Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blended goodness.
I purchased my new skeins from a lovely store called Nido. The shop is located on the second floor of a beautiful old brick building. One side of the store is devoted to fabrics and the other side is fiber. The staff members were perfect. They greeted me when I came in, but gave space to do my perusing (aka petting). After a little while, I was approached and given the full yarn tour. Personally, I like to have time with the yarn before the sales associates try to sway me.
I didn’t explore the fabric side much as my sewing skills are horrific. However, I spent about 20 minutes on the fiber side. Nido carries more of the quality yarns (think Madeline Tosh, Brooklyn Tweed, Quince & Co.) and has a limited variety of brands. This is defiantly the shop you go in when you have a special project in mind. They also carry some very awesome knitting books and possess gorgeous samples.
So what did I buy? Well, I purchased two skeins of yarn from Magpie Fibers. I have never tried nor seen this yarn in my LYS so I was extra excited to be introduced to it. The skiens are called “Jaded” and ” Frankie Says Relax”. I was drawn to the rich colors in each of the yarns. My vision is to intermix the solid skein and the variegated one in a basic sweater silhouette.
I also purchased a skein of String Theory’s Casper Sock Yarn. Immediately, I thought of these socks and knew that I had to have this yarn. So in the bag it went. The photo doesn’t show it well, but this yarn is variegated with shades of blue and purple. I am quite curious to see how it knits up.
Overall, I am overjoyed with my purchases and can’t wait to get this yarn on the needles. Cashmere is such a treat.
Is there a fiber that makes your heart melt?
Until Next Time,
It is officially summer and I am excited for the much needed vacation time ahead. In preparation for the hot weather, I have been knitting up some cute cotton tops. One pattern that I have had my eye on was the Zinone top by Andi Satterlund. I love love love the lace detail along the back of the top. I will say I think my lace got a little off center. I am choosing to consider it a “design modification” (hahah)
Zinone is a great pattern as it has several options to make the top of your dreams. This top can be made as a crop top or full length. You can also make a partial or full lace back (depending on how ambitious you are feeling). I went with partial lace back and more of the crop length.
As with most of Andi’s patterns, the top is made from the top down and includes waist shaping. The best part…minimal end weaving as the body is made in the round. Woot woot!
I tried a new yarn that I found in my LYS. It is called Bio Sesia 5 and it is 100% organic cotton. This yarn was one of the best cotton yarns I have knit with. It is soft on the fingers, pretty tightly wound (for a cotton yarn), and creates a well-defined garment. I have worn the top a couple of times now and I am happy to report no pilling!
Zinone is another great pattern from Andi! I can’t wait to get some more wear out of it. I tried to wear this top on my trip to Martha’s Vineyard to model for you, however, it started downporing and my lovely new top got soaking wet ☹️. Follow me on Instagram (@knitsbywhitsf) for some dry photos in the coming days.
Until Next Time,
My Knit Picks Yarn is here! Woot woot! Last week, I succumbed to Knit Picks marketing email. I clicked and looked and clicked and looked and now my goodies are here 😊.
I wanted to design something in solid rainbow colors. So I selected some Shine Sport and Comfy Sport, which are sport weight Pima Cotton/acrylic blends. I am thinking a cowl, but I am not 100% committed to that idea. I also purchased 2 skeins of Felici in Limeade and Slumber Party. Both skeins remind me of delicious salt water taffy. I couldn’t resist the fun colors.
Knit Picks is a solid online shopping option for yarn if you are being cost conscious. They have a variety of affordable selections that are not just acrylic-based. Unlike big box retailers, Knit Picks stocks wool, cotton, linen, and alpaca in 6 different weights. So if you haven’t peruse their site I definitely suggest a visit.
Until Next Time,