I’ve been in and out of Hong Kong over the last few weeks, with quick trips to Sanya and to Shanghai. Both trips were facilitated by a visit to Hong Kong by my mother.
My husband and I seized the opportunity to take off for 2 nights to Sanya. Sanya is billed as the Hawaii of the Orient, a claim on which I can not comment, not having been to Hawaii. I can say however, that it has beautiful clean beaches, and lovely clear water. It is gradually getting used to an influx of western tourists after being the premier holiday spot for the Chinese and Russians during the communist era.
Of course, I went looking for yarn, ably aided by the concierge at the Sanya Hilton. We did find yarn, but it was all 100% acrylic, but the adventure did send us to Sanya No. 1 Market, which is in an area of town that is probably little seen by tourists.
I am not sure what the woman was smoking in that enormous water pipe!
After a return to Hong Kong, frantic mailing of parcels to Yarn Workshop customers, Mum and I took off to Shanghai, where we went to a trade show (and found some luscious new yarns for Yarn Workshop…) and went retail yarn hunting. We returned to the Heng Yuan Xiang shop on Nanjing Road, where I bought some beige laceweight (it looks a lot prettier than that description sounds). We also stopped by the Shokay shop which is in an amazing redevelopment of the ancient alleys of Shanghai, full of cool boutiques and restaurants. The yarn has US prices (ie very expensive) but they do have some lovely hand knits, and design ideas.
The Shokay shop in Shanghai is at Taikang Rd Lane 274 No. 9, and their phone number is +86-21-5466-0907. I did purchase 2 skeins of yarn, but purely to compare it with the Yak/Wool yarn that I stock in Yarn Workshop….
That night we had an amazing meal at a restaurant called 1931, that serves delicious Shanghainese food in the French Concession. I would have taken heaps of photos of the amazing 1930’s decor in the restaurant, but there was a large sign forbidding photography.
Then, on the last day, 4 hours before we were due to leave for the airpost, I read this post on Ravelry . We dropped everything, and headed off to 149 Ruijin Rd. It took a while to get a taxi, and we probably should have taken it as a sign that the taxi driver entered into an extremely heated argument with the bell hop. Unfortunately, my grip of Mandarin is very limited, and I could not understand why they were arguing, but the taxi took off with a start. Now, crazy taxi drivers are not that rare, and I’ve taken taxis in Penang, Medan and Banda Aceh, but this fellow had a knack for inspiring my appreciation for life. We had no seat belt, and he changed lanes with abandon, leaving horns tooting at him in his wake, and on at least two occasions we were driving directly towards on-coming traffic who miraculously separated to let us pass (again with the horns). We arrived at our destination, shaken but unharmed, and found a yarn shop that was open, but in complete darkeness (at 2.45 pm on a summer’s day).
Apparently there was a problem with a fuse, because these first few photos were taken with a flash, and I was using the photos to actually see what was in the darker recesses of the shop. We shopped in darkness (which really does make the exercise significantly more difficult) and then miraculously, the lights came back on. Everyone in the shop was very friendly while speaking no English whatsoever, and marvelling at my ability to count to ten in Mandarin. Mum bought 1.5 kg of worsted merino in a gorgeous red brown for under $30 US (that’s under $1 per 50 gram skein!), and I bought some lovely plum laceweight, which I will share with my sister. The yarn in the photo above was only 29 renminbi per 500 grams, that is about $4 per pound! Admittedly the wool was a little “sturdier”, but it was definitely wool. The yarn below was soft laceweight, at $20 per pound.
According to the Ravelry post, the shop was on sale when it was visited by Lily Chin, and the sale seems to continue! The prices were certainly surprising, and lower than I can get for wool direct from the mills. Apologies for the lack of decent photos, but once the lights came back on, we realised that we had really had to scoot back to the hotel to ensure that we did not miss our flight.
We had a great time in Shanghai, and since my return, I have actually managed to finish some Yarn Workshop samples with new yarns. They will be be blogged this week…