Prior to going to Hanoi in Easter this year, I had high hopes for the yarn shopping. I had researched on the internet, and knew that people knitted in Vietnam. So we arrived in Hanoi, and after a couple of days settling in, and doing the obvious sights; I asked the concierge in the hotel to identify the “yarn buying” district. This query was not an easy task. When I was about to run upstairs to find some knitting to identify the pastime for the concierge staff, one of the female members of staff finally realised what I was talking about and said that the yarn shops could be found on Dinh Liet St in the Old Town. She also looked completely startled that I would knit. We fairly easily found the knitting shops after taking a quick and very scary taxi ride. I think from recollection that the yarn shops began about 10 Dinh Liet st, and were amongst bead necklace shops and silk garments and bag shops.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find any yarn to buy! You will see from the pictures that there were lots of hanks of yarn in the shops – but none were enticing me. There was a lot of very bulky 100% acrylic. They were also really dirty from the street. There was some wool/acrylic in the back of the shop that appeared to be lace weight, but was in really murky colours. I also found some silk – but it was also really bulky (almost like roving?). I did not get to the stage of enquiring about prices, but I suspect that they would have been very low. That was why the concierge in the hotel had been so startled – why would a westerner (and by Vietnamese standards all Westerners are wealthy) be knitting?
If you are visiting Hanoi for other reasons (and there are plenty of good reasons to visit Hanoi – like the food, the people, the art), then the yarn shops are worth a little detour when you are discovering the Old Town. I wouldn’t recommend making a trip to Hanoi just for the yarn.