Prior to the trip to Beijing, I asked Maryann for some yarn store recommendations – she replied (through Ravelry) with a list of 9 stores, but I only got to visit one while I was there. After going to the Great Wall, I asked our guide to drop me off at Wan Sha Jin Dian. For anyone who is interested in visiting, its at Ground Floor, No 14-2, Deng Si Kou Da Jie. Dong Cheng District (and for a Beijing taxi diver, print out 万纱经典纺织品 – 北京市东城区灯市口大街１４- ２号 Tel: 65127090). I walked back to the hotel (the Hyatt) from there, and it took me about 15 minutes.
Its an Aladdin’s cave of yarn, with yarn stacked on every available surface. Some is in hanks, some wound into balls, and some is on cones.
All the prices that you can see are per kilo (at 7.8 renminbi per US$1), and the yarn was weighed and I was told the price using a calculator. The staff spoke almost no english, and I can not read Chinese, so I was a bit in the dark about the qualities of some of the yarn that I bought, but the prices were fantastic.
I think that all of the yarns I got were 100% natural fibres (with some cashmere thrown in the blend), and in total I spent about $20 US. There is 400 grams of the grey laceweight (which seems to be 95% wool, 5% cashmere), nearly 500 grams of the tweedy double knitting yarn (feels like merino) and 150 grams of the pink laceweight (maybe wool/silk?).
All in all, an excellent haul. I would have participated in lots more yarn adventures, but had a sick child, and a heavy cold myself. The sub zero temperatures also made more random wandering less attractive. Next time I go, I plan to take a translation machine, so that I can investigate the yarns more. There seems to be a thriving yarn culture in Beijing!