I went to Shanghai to find yarn; not just for my stash, but also for Yarn Workshop. Luckily, I found lots of yarns for Yarn Workshop, and hope to have the new yarns and blends available in the next few months. One of the things that I am learning about the yarn business is that there is a significant wait between sourcing a yarn, and receiving it for sale on to my customers.
On the retail side, I visited Heng Yuan Xiang (who are not one of my suppliers). Heng Yuan Xiang is apparently a Shanghai yarn institution, and their main store is located on Nanjing Rd in Shanghai to the east of the pedestrian area. Their yarn is a beautiful quality – very soft, smooth, and definitely something that I would want rubbing against my neck. In the shop, the yarn is presented in boxes, almost like rows of chocolate boxes.
Of course, I purchased some yarn, and got my own box of delights. They are all pure merino, and vary in weight from a light fingering, to a laceweight. They are all extremely inexpensive by Western standards.
I seem to be very keen on red yarn at present. If you are visiting Shanghai and have the slightest interest in knitting, I highly recommend a visit. The store details are below (clicking on the picture will open another bigger image for printing), and I would print them out to give to your taxi driver, or a friendly Chinese reader who can mark it on a map for you. Heng Yuan Xiang are an Olympic sponsor, and the outside of the shop is covered in signage for the Beijing Olympics. No-one in the store spoke English, so some charades were required. The pure wool yarns (and most seemed to be pure wool) were marked with a Woolmark logo.
Apart from yarn sourcing, and shopping, I visited Century Park in Shanghai. It wasn’t mentioned in most of the tourist information on Shanghai; but it is well worth a walk if you are staying in the Pudong area. If you are travelling with small children, it would be worth a detour. It is a large park with plenty of space for kids to run around, and even a small amusement park. It has a variety of beautiful gardens that were coming alive in the early Spring sunshine.
I had lots of fun taking photos of the blossoms, and had some luck capturing the frantic activity of the bees that were making the most of the flowers.
The gardens weren’t all traditional flowers – someone had planted beds of plants that looked like pink cabbage or lettuce (anyone know their real name?). Their colours looked amazing in the sunshine.