Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mimi in Shanghai

This is a late post about my trip to Shanghai. I have anxiously waited for more than a year to my return to the HengYuanXiang yarn store. And this time, I have a picture of the store to share. Apparently, the store keeps changing it's location very often. This is their third change of address in a few years. I found it by accident when I was walking at Nanjing road. At first, I thought I had found a new yarn shop. Indeed it was my original destinantion.
It's quite a challenge for me to make decisions when selecting yarn, perhaps I am often too excited. There are so much yarn but not reachable for you to cuddle. You have to ask the saleslady to view the colors closely and check it's thickness. The good thing is that you get to buy very neat skeins.
For the lot above, the colors are in gray and dark brown. Each skein is about 70 g and there isn't gauge information or advised needles size on their labels. Checking the yarn, I believe they are fingering weight. I'll probably have to use needles 3.3mm to knit with it.
These three are super thin, probably a cobweb type. Bought it to knit stoles and shawls. Oops! I just smashed couple sun flowers for this picture! The yarn is heavier than I thought. :D

I was just disappointed that I could not find any silk yarn. I went to YuYuan Gardens twice but without any luck. The first time, I could not even find the proper building. Besides, it was late afternoon and most of the stores were closed for the day. The surrounding had changed. Old sites were replaced by new buildings. The day before I left, I had another opportunity to go to that area with a friend. She took me to this center filled by small stalls nearby YuYuan Gardens that sells all kinds of haberdashery. My spirits were so up, thinking that I would take home some silk yarn. I have never been so encouraged to ask people regarding yarns! It seems to me that yarn is not a very popular commodity to inquire. I was pointed up and down, north and south and to all the corners of this center and even out but alas, not a tiny sign of my yarn. We had only couple hours before going back to meet our husbands for lunch. At last, I didn't come out empty handed. I was able to bring some buttons instead. Mostly are shell buttons, with the exception of the black horn style. Just when I was riding back for our lunch , I saw a small yarn shop hidden in a tiny road. My friend's driver drove by too quickly for me to request a stop. I tried to remember the street name but sure by the moment I met my husband I forgot it. Though, I am fluent with Mandarin, I don't seen to be able to memorize names.

Passing by a local bookstore, I wondered if I could find any knitting related book. My intuitions worked out and fullfilled by the few titles located in the craft section. In an impulsive action, I bought these three books below. The only problem is that there are no complete pattern instructions except for a small stitch chart for the designs. Besides the yarn hunting, I visited the Shanghai Museum ( There is an impressive virtual tour of Chinese Ancient Bronze collection on their link) . With my blog in mind, I took some pictures in the textile section from the minorities group. Sorry for the blurry pictures but these are all I have. It was dark inside the museum and the flashing lights were reflected by the glass displays.
Last, a day and night view of the Bund ( Waitan) in Puxing from across Huangpu river.

Can you spot the famous Oriental Pearl tower? It's the bright tall tower on the right with a pearl shape structure on the top. The illuminated area is the Bund, where nearby you can find HengYuanXiang store. I had to stare at that area for a couple of nights thinking about my yarn and when DH could fit in a schedule to take me there ( I had to check on my boys' mood as well) . Now I got to stare more from this photo! ;) Though, a good advice would be to restrain from more yarn purchases as I have plenty of yarn to contemplate. While I was shopping at HengYuanXian, DH seemed excited to tell the salesladies how much yarn I have at home. He described that the accumulated yarn at home resemble like a mountain. I wanted to send a hint for him to stop but decided to concentrate on checking my yarn. Later, after some clarifications with him, I agreed to a better description of my yarn stash. I had to accept as a "small hill". Sometimes, it's better to be more realistic! :D Now, I better go and knit more so that the stash will not turn into a mountain size.


handknit168 said...

Oh, it seems you have a rich reward. I always worry the qaality of the china yarn. Are the yarn material up to the standard international quality , eg. the wool quality, the dye quality. You know, in china, there are so many under-quality stuff. In Hong Kong, we cannot find any china yarn.

joy said...

WOW, that's some store! I think my heartrate went up a bit just looking at all that yarn. Good thing your husband could squeeze in a sidetrip for you. :)

Toni said...

So. Much. Yarn! You really held yourself back in purchases but maybe you're like me and sometimes there are too many choices so you end up with none.

mona said...

All those yarn looks like mooncakes that are selling like crazy now. How about a review of the yarn?

opportunityknits said...

That is some yarn store, amazing that they let you take a photo too! So many colours, so difficult to choose. And your husband is so funny to be thinking of the size of the yarn stash.

Siow Chin said...

It's great to see how the HYX store looks like, given such an array, I truly would not know what to choose. Although there's no needle size and gauge information on the ball band, I really wish they have the yardage. Do you think 2 balls of the fingering weight ones are sufficient for a shawl?

yuki said...

Wow, what a yarn shop! The sight of that wall of yarn can best be described as intimidating, I think. I agree with you that it's nice for the yarn not to be over-handled by others, though I think I would irritate the saleslady by my indecisiveness! Love your new buttons too.

yuvee said...

Hey, guess what? Thanks to the information you gave me last time, I've asked my friend to bring back some of their yarn with her ;) yay!
Anyway, Mona is right, they do look like mooncakes!

Knitnerd said...

Alas, alas! Mimi, I finally figured out that the "ice silk" yarn that I heard many chinese ppl using is actually not a silk blend yarn!!! It's a fine, silky synthetic yarn that ppl use for lace knitting or crochet. I am so sorry.
But the HYX store looks great! I heard from my friends that most Chinese yarns are very fine b/c when they are knitting with these yarns, they like to "He Gu" (holding several strings of yarn together for desired thickness). Hence the yarn lables would never shown any gauge information. I've never tried HYX before, so I've no idea about how it look like. I am waiting to see your FO with HYX.

Agnes said...

I saw those knitting books in a Chinese bookstore here too ... very excited at the beginning ... but found that they only have stitch patterns without the complete project patterns! What a ridiculous way of putting together a knitting book! So, I didn't buy any.

Peggy said...

Wow, so much yarn! I don't recall passing by this store (or its sisters stores) when I was in Shanghai. Instead, I came across a high-end yarn store situated in a Hong Kong ower-owned mall. It was not cheap (for China standards)!!

Lois said...

what a rewarding trip. u made me wanna go shanghai. now i just need a LYS directory of shanghai.

Andrea said...

Wow...So much yarn. I went to Beijing in July and couldn't find a yarn shop in my area.

楊雅韋 said...