Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns

I totally forgot that knitting and crochet blog week started today! If you want to participate, see Eskimimi's site. It is appropriate that this event starts today, because I just entered my 100th project into Ravelry, and I'm pretty proud about that.

So now I have to throw together a post without much thought. The prompt is to write about two yarns you've used or want to use and what you love or hate about them.

Unfortunately for my readers, I mainly use yarns available to me at the wholesalers in Korea, so you will not have heard of them. Well, that's not entirely true. Once in a while you can find recognizable brands at the wholesalers. If you want imported yarn brands, you can try My Knit Studio in Insa-dong. She has gorgeous yarns that I simply can't afford right now. She also carries a wide range of English knitting books and magazines. It's a fun place to check out!

I got off track. For me, it's the wholesalers. I like being overwhelmed by the sheer variety literally towering over me. And part of me likes the hunt for a good yarn that no one else has heard about. But then there is also that part of me that gets frustrated that I can't just go out and get the yarn others are using for a pattern I'm considering. At the end of the day, I like the hunt and using unknown brands has probably improved my understanding of yarn qualities and guage and that sort of thing. Check out this picture taken on Saturday at the wholesalers. There are hundreds of vendors crammed into the basement of a huge textiles complex. I love it!Anyway, a yarn that comes to mind that most knitters have heard of is Noro Silk Garden, actually one of the most popular yarns on Ravelry. I had really wanted to try this yarn and saw it at My Knit Studio for around 15,000 won per ball at the time (here it is in her store for 19,000 won! Holy smokes!). That's expensive. One day while leisurely strolling through the wholesalers in Dongdaemun I came across a vendor near the back of the complex selling that very yarn. Out of curiousity, I asked how much. The man thought to himself and said 70,000 won. He was holding a bag of 10 balls. I said I'd buy it for 65,000 won and the deal was done. So, each ball ran me only 6,500 won (currently, that's around $5.83) -- possibly the deal of the century. I still have not knit up that bag... it's kind of precious to me since I know the amazing deal I got. I knit my sister a scarf with it, and I crocheted myself a skinny scarf and I still have 5 or 6 balls left. It's lovely to knit or crochet with, and who can resist those slow colour changes?Recently I bought a novelty yarn. Don't judge. My idea was to knit a sort of mini blanket with it for a photographer to use in a newborn shoot. I see these types of props used all the time. Only thing is, now that I've finished the wee blanket, I don't want to part with it. I found the bag of 8 balls (for 10,000 won) in a cardboard box at the wholesalers. Talk about great deals. Regarding the quality of the yarn, it's ... different. I haven't used a novelty yarn in a long, long time. Actually, it is difficult to knit with, but it knits up so fast that you get over that. I knit up all 8 balls in two evenings. The finished blanket feels like a fluffy sheep, and it should since it's almost pure wool.I have one other memorable experience down in the depths of the giant textiles complex. I was looking for laceweight wool for shawl knitting. Koreans don't seem to be big on laceweight so I couldn't find much. I found some 100% cobweb wool on a huge spool which is actually supposed to be used on a machine. The seller got quite a kick out of my interest in a 2 pound spool of wool. Anyway, I got the thing for 20,000 won and it should take me about 15 years to knit this up. I think I've said this several times in this blog, but I love Dongdaemun!So, that was actually a tale of three yarns, so shoot me. And it was more about shopping than yarn qualities, but perhaps that part appeals to me more. Hopefully my other posts won't be as garbled as this one.

There will be six more fibre-related posts coming your way, so stay tuned.


Genki said...

That certainly was a deal on the Noro Silk Garden! I also love Noro, though I think my favourite would be Kureyon.

The wholesalers looks like an Aladdin's cave for knitters!

MommyCha said...

I've always loved that scarf, I had no idea it was such a special yarn! You really are a savvy shopper, I'm so impressed at your ability to source great deals and crate amazing products. I think you have some mad skills lady! ^.~

Sarah said...

Genki, yeah, the wholesalers are pretty awesome. Can't say the craft shops at home have the same appeal. Glad to hear you blogged about Noro as well!

MommyCha, Thanks! My sister says she gets compliments everywhere on the scarf. Success!

Helena said...

One of these days I need to learn how to knit lace.