15 January 2007

Getting the Scent

Today while I was working on some things here at home, the maid came in to clean my apartment. She complimented my knitting (a strip for an Aran afghan), so I asked her if she knew where to buy yarn in Quito. She did! I hope.

Apparently, one can buy yarn somewhere in the old town section, near the Santo Domingo church and up Calle Flores to the Teatro Sucre and to the east. I didn't see anything when I was there the other day, but I was very preoccupied with not being robbed. She suggested that I not take a purse at all, but just stick my ID and money in various pockets and my bra when I go down there, and to take the trolleybus.

This weekend, I will. And I'll drag Joe along. Woohoo!

Also, sorry for the lack of photos. I don't have the cable to hook up my camera. When I do, you will see pics, I promise.

13 January 2007

A Yarn Shop for those of you in Lebanon

Since I couldn't tell you about a yarn store in Quito today, I thought that I'd give you the skinny on one I found in Beirut.

Y.knot is a really great shop with a fantastic and friendly multi-lingual staff. They carry a wide variety of imported yarns such as Rowan and Anny Blatt. It is a beautiful shop, with a big rustic worktable and endless tea or coffee for sitting around knitting. I highly recommend it.

Saifi Village
Mkhalissiya street 162
Beirut, Lebanon
y.knot at cyberia dot net dot lb

Knits, knits everywhere, but not a skein to buy

Today, during my first exploratory walk through Quito, I landed in the Parque Ejido artisan's market, at the southern end of the Avenida Amazonas. While it is a pretty good little market, as is usual for such things, most of the stalls are selling the same items and most of it is only mediocre quality at best. That said, it is pleasant and manageable, and probably a good place to buy some gifts if you are a tourist.

Probably two-thirds to three-fourths of the stalls sell knitted or crocheted goods in wool, alpaca, and (to my horror) acrylic. Why someone would want to buy a cheesy acrylic poncho in the land of alpaca and wool is completely beyond my understanding. I figured that with all those knitted items around, there had to be some yarn somewhere, right?


I did see some of the women vendors crocheting. No, crochet is no the most traditional of crafts in Ecuador, but whatever. I asked one of them where she thought I could buy wool to knit with (lana para tejer). She told me Otavalo, and said she didn't know where you could buy it in Quito, if at all.

While I don't believe that there are no decent yarn stores in Quito, a city that has almost everything anyone would want to buy, I did find this news disheartening. If she doesn't know of a place, then it would certainly not be easy to find if it existed, and probably expensive at that. Oh well. The search continues.

As I walked through the stalls, I had to resist the repeated temptation to buy an ugly alpaca sweater or poncho just to liberate the alpaca yarn and let it be something more aesthetically pleasing. I can totally see that happening someday.

11 January 2007

A Book and a Place

This is a book I want: Andean Folk Knitting: Traditions and Techniques from Peru and Bolivia. Apparently, it is out of print, but recommended by Suzanne.

The place I want to visit is Otavalo. It has a huge market, where one can find wool, alpaca, and things made from both, including yarn! I can't wait to go. I will, of course, send pics and info.

One thing that is both frustrating and encouraging is that there is almost no information for knitters about where to buy yarn in the Andes (or any country outside of the US and Europe for that matter) on the web. I hope that this blog becomes a resource for those of you who want to buy yarn when you travel. It is a start, but ideally, it should be collaborative. So, if you want to share recommendations about where to buy yarn in the Andes, South America, or anywhere else, please email the blog at lanapuraquito at gmail dot com or leave a note in the comments.

10 January 2007

The beginning

I'm starting this blog to chronicle my search for wool and yarn in South America in the course of my time working here. I'm living in Quito, working for an international humanitarian organization, and I knit. I know, I'm in wool and alpaca heaven! But, finding yarn to knit with isn't as easy as it seems it would be. So, I've decided to hunt it down and provide you with the stories, tips, contacts, and wool/alpaca-industry info I find out in the course of my travels.

I hope that you all like it. Send me questions and information that you might have. I hope that you and I both find this blog to be a good resource, and an entertaining read.