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.