Thursday, March 15, 2007

Yarn hunting in Europe Part I - Germany

This is a long post packed with photos and narratives of my yarn hunting adventures in Europe. I had such a great time there that I wanted to keep this post as a diary for myself. And as you know me, I don't seen to be able to keep things short. I have a tendency to deviate from my main subjects as well. ;) So be patient and I will share my yarn hunting experiences. By the way, I decided to just cover Germany first. This post is really huge. :D

I spent long hours in the skies during the month of February. In the other hand, also spent good hours in earth thinking about what to knit in the plane! ;) And often, have to pack a project at very last minute. For some reason, I find it very hard to prepare wips to go.
Here is a preview of my in-flight entertainment,

It's my Flower Basket shawl using HYX yarn in double strand. I actually started it in Hokkaido and continued to work on my flights to Europe. I am very pleased with this project so far. The knitted fabric is so soft and the double strand is not causing me any problem.

Just three days after we returned from Japan we travelled to Europe. We ( kids and I ) travelled apart from DH because there were no more seats available in our flight for him. Besides DH had some business work to take care first. Then the plan was that I was going to be on my own in Stuttgart ( without DH for 3 days, meeting him on the 4th day). Leaving little hopes for yarn hunting on those days. As you can imagine, it's a bit hard to visit yarn shops with two teenager boys. So what can a knitting lady do on a foreign country without speaking a word in Deutsch? Take them to car museums, like Porsche and Mercedes.

The Mercedes-Benz museum was pretty interesting , had antique models, racing gears, trucks and basically all sorts of vehicles and plenty of historical facts around the exposition. So I felt better that at least I was covering my duties with some cultural sites.

On the following day, we decided to visit downtown . I couldn't help but to ask at the hotel reception about yarn shops. Although, they can speak English, our basic words of yarn and knitting weren't in their vocabulary. I had to take my shyness away and mimic some knitting motions and showing off my sweater to be understood. :D I didn't get a confirmed location , just a small hope that a department store could carry some"wolle". Not bad, at least there was some hope.

Once in the downtown area ( Main station - Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof), I soon detected a craft store but alas no yarn. However, next door, there was a small magazine stand. With my trained vision to spot knitting things I soon found some local knitting magazines. Never mind that they were all in Deutsch. There were some charts that I thought I could figure them out in some sort of way later. I told myself that they would be my souvenirs from Germany, since my hope for yarn was already diminuished by the first failed attempt. I collected two knitting magazines for myself and three crochet for my Sis.

In a second thought, the vast display of these publications gave me vital signs for the existence of yarn shops! I was lucky that the owner was able to confirm that there was yarn next door in the basement level.

Galleria Kaufhof -basement level

There was a large selection of Regia yarn. I decided to buy some even though I don't knit socks. Well, It doesn't hurt to have some in the stash!
Being more confident that I knew the words "wolle" and "stricken", I was able to to ask the saleslady for another shop,

Karstadt department store, in the basement
This store looks very similar to the first one. Even the fixtures are the same, makes me think that they are from the same company. Did you see the sale table? Most of items where on acrylic , novelty or strange colors yarn . I tried to keep in mind,that I didn't want volume but more quality. With that in mind, I was very careful not to fall into temptations. Got a glance at their fabric and buttons section. There were just too many shapes and colors to choose from. I didn't buy any, time was running fast , so were the boys' patience.

While window shopping in the area and waiting for the kids that were browsing in a sports shop, I was day dreaming about the possibility to find a store with more sophisticated yarn. So surprised I was to have bumped into this one,

Sparkling surprises come when you least expect it! ;) This was a nice yarn shop, packed with more selective yarn. I browsed the place quickly since I was worried that the boys would not find me. Had I told them that I would be waiting outside the sports shop. I decided that I had to find them first in order to look the little treasures in a nicer way. Though, the boys let me spent some time I still didn't buy much . There weren't enough stock on the yarn I had selected. But these were the substitute, stripped yarn in cheerful tones. A style that I don't have in my stash.

Not bad, right? Three yarn shops in only one day! ;)

There was one more shop nearby that I found the next day, more in a remote area that was a quilting shop. I always keep my hope and looking inside from the window I spotted some yarn bins. I carried away a pack of Royal Tweed from Filatura Di Crosa in Indigo blue.

On the third day, DH surprised us with an earlier rescue, I mean arrival. ;) We didn't do much for the rest of the day. Just resting and relaxing around the city for our new destination. The following day, we headed to the airport to pick up our rental car. We prefer to travel on our own without joining tours since we don't like the packed scheduled often offered in tour packages. Though there are some cons on this choice as we have to find our way, check the main attractions, the expenses are higher as well. But this allows me to look for yarn shops as well! ;)

On our way to Zurich, we visited two castles Bebenhausen and Hohenzollern.
I really enjoyed the stops on these castles, they were impressive, packed with hidden passages. We had a great time visiting them, specially Hohenzollern, located on a high hill with an amazing view. The castle guide was also so knowledgeable, he gave a good presentation of the castle along with rich historical content to us and the boys were very attentive in the subject. See, less guiltiness in spending time in the yarn shops in Stuttgart.

Stay tuned ......Coming soon, yarn hunting in Europe Part II - Switzerland. ;)


opportunityknits said...

Your FBS is growing quite fast. I wonder what size you're going to make it.
Such a fun peek into your time in Germany. The green orange pink yarn is going to be pretty when it is knit up and the regia yarn can be used for lace shawls or scarves if you don't want to knit socks.
You're a much better yarn hunter than I am, I give up very easily :)

yuvee said...

Oohh.....its actually very impressive that you found 3 shops in a day! I had to google search the shops before I go. I love the yarns that you got, so pretty!
Too bad you didn't stop by at UK, I'd love to meet up with you ;)
Oh, anyway, your FBS just reminded me of tons of HYX yarn I have in my stash!

Vanessa said...

wow! yarn hunting the europe..sounds like a dream vacation to me. Thanks for sharing your vacation pictures with us mimi.Can you bring me along next time :)

Susanne said...

Hy Mimi,
thanks for sharing your yarn-hunting in Europe. I live in Germany and I was in Stuttgart in november last year. I also looked for yarn-shops and at first was irritated to find only yarn-sections at Karstadt or Kaufhof which I didn't like very much. But then, an older lady leaded me to the shop you also found - Wolle Rödel. It is a well equiped shop and I purchased some yarn there, too. You've got nice yarn qualities and I am looking for your further shopping results.
I like your blog very much and "Azalea" is georgeous!! Where did you get the pattern? I'd like to make one, too.

Keep on knitting and many greetings from Germany

Knitnerd said...

I am very impressive with your "Global Yarn Hunting Advanture" lol...
Knitters travel around the world for yarns.

Waiting to see more yarn hunting photos. fun read!

Siow Chin said...

I'm dizzy with delight just by reading your post! And I can't help chuckling at how you described your 'trained eye for knitting', this is the best part, :)!

Laura.Y said...

Yummy yummy, thanks for sharing. I loved reading bout it. I think only those like us who likes to knit will understand and appreciate this very well. :D Great trip!

handknit168 said...

very envy that you can find yarn shops when travelling. I hope I can do that in my next self-trip, but I don't think my friends allow me for they don't knit. They will feel quite boring searching yarn shops with me.

Peggy said...

I'm so jealous! Rebecca magazine, the yarn, oooh the yarn. Wait, I'm NOT jealous... I have to be strong and resist all yarn purchases!!

Jan said...

Yarn and castles! How lucky can a girl get? I love Rebecca magazines and have quite a collection. Their styles are a little trendier and more fun to knit than the usual stuff. I'm sure you'll make some lovely knits from them.

Craftlover said...

WOW, I wish one day I would go to Europe for yarn shopping! Their shops are just gorgeous, big ,and lots of varieties!!

Renta said...

Hi Mimi,

Thanks so very much for sharing!

We in Indonesia do not have much options of good quality yarns - plus they can be very expensive.
Thanks to your post, I wrote down the address of yarn shops and (hopefully) going to yarn shoppping in Stuttgart in the summer!

楊雅韋 said...