Yarn Shopping: Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck is such a charming town I almost have to pinch myself to make sure it is real. Imagine pastel colored buildings seated in front of snowy mountains that follow the curves of a gorgeous river. This is Innsbruck in a nutshell.

Being that the town is set in a snowy place I suspected there was a yarn store. My suspicions were correct. I found this small shop on the outside of the Old Town.

Glattverkehrt is about what the sign advertises… wool. If you are not a wool lover this yarn shop is not for you. Aside from alpaca and a very tiny cotton section, the stock in this shop is all about wool. This disappointed me a little as I was looking for a bit more variety as I live in a super hot climate and wool can be worn maybe 1-2 months per year.

Another warning… this shop is very narrow. I was with my infant and her stroller barely fit in the shop with enough room to walk around. However, the shop keeper was super nice and helped me get the stroller in and out of the shop without destroying anything.

A plus side to Glattverkehrt was that it had decent price points as well as a great stock of sturdy sock yarn. This yarn is the stuff you use when you want socks to last and last. So did I buy anything? I did! I purchased a DK weight Austrian wool. I picture it will be a nice cowl or maybe tunic for the baby.

This shop wasn’t terrible, but it wouldn’t be my go to LYS as I like to knit with a little bit of everything. What kind of fiber do you like stocked in your LYS?

Until Next Time,


Yarn Shopping in Melbourne

Last week, I headed to Melbourne for a professional development course. I have to say I waited too long to purchase my flight tickets so I ended up taking some really crummy timed flights. I took a red eye to Melbourne (with a stop over in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and got to the city around 10 AM. I was exhausted, but I trooped on and saw the sights. Melbourne is a really cool city. It is well known for its street art alleys as well as its friendly people. Personally, it reminded me a lot of San Francisco… and so I loved it.

I also “needed” to get some yarn shopping in.  My goal was to make it to the yarn shop Yarn +Co before closing time (Sunday hours are 12-4). I entered the Fitzroy neighborhood  and was instantly charmed. Smith Street is just so cute. There are fun little boutiques (e.g., A Harry Potter merchandise shop!) and restaurants to explore. Yarn +Co is a really nice yarn shop. They stock mostly moderate to high priced brands- Cascade, Brooklyn Tweed, Quince and Co- but did have a few brands I had not seen before. The store had a range in yarn weights and everything was out to touch! The needle selection was okay, and the store stocked tons of patterns and books to choose from. The sales associate (who I suspect was the owner) was very friendly and knew when to help me locate things and when to just let me enjoy all the yarn goodies in peace.

I ended up purchasing 2 skeins of sock yarn, 4 balls of cotton yarn, and a set of US size 2 double pointed needles. I got the Rainbow sock yarn wound up right away as I wanted to start a pair of socks. My total came out to be about $100 (Australian Dollars).IMG_3434

Overall, my yarn shopping experience was awesome! If I lived in Melbourne this would certainly be a place I would shop at. The combination of staff, space, and yarn was a win win for me!

Until Next Time,


Side Note: Check out this awesome yarn creation! The school my course was being held at had a giant crochet/knitting display of the Very Hungry Caterpillar. How cute it this!?!


Yarn Shopping in Katoomba, Australia

Katoomba, Australia is about 2 hours by train from downtown Sydney. As you saw in my last post we visited the Blue Mountains and Katoomba is one of the easiest ways to get access to the mountains. Since our adventures in Sydney have kept us busy I hadn’t been able go to a yarn shop. On a whim, I googled ‘yarn shops in Katoomba’ and to my luck one popped up! The yarn gods were smiling upon me.

The Granny Square is a cute shop about 400m from the Katoomba Train Station. It is situated right across from the Street Art Walk. When I entered the shop I noted that there was a winter sale! Woot woot! My goal was to find either some cotton yarn (for a future top) or some great sock yarn.

The sales associate was friendly and she let you do your shopping independently. Several customers had questions and she was more than happy to help. The store stocked mostly Morris and Co Yarns. This is a company that started in Sydney as a needlework business and then in the 2000s added yarn sales. The Granny Square also stocked quite a bit of Manos de Uruguay as well as Rowan yarn. The sock yarn selection was decent (German wools), but to my surprise the husband turned down picking out yarn for a hand knit pair! 😱 No worries! More yarn for me! The cotton selection was pretty limited, but I did manage to score 4 of these pretties.

They are 100% Pima Cotton and feel oh so soft. Plus they were really affordable ($27AUD for 4 skeins). A tank top or short sleeve top is in the foreseeable future.

The Granny Square was a cute shop. They stocked basic accessories, pattern books, and lots of wool to keep you happy. The sales associate was friendly and accessible. The shop prices were overall affordable, but the selection was a bit limited. If you are ever in Katoomba or the surrounding area I suggest you stop by for a peek in the shop!

Until Next Time,


Yarn Shopping in Tokyo, Japan

Currently, my husband and I are in Japan. We are really loving it. The people are lovely and the food is fantastic. Before we arrived I did a little research about yarn shopping. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few sources to locate yarn stores. I used a list from Travel Knitter as well as Knitmap. Just my luck there was a craft store about 1 km from our hotel! The description sounded like this place was a crafter’s heaven.

Okadaya is located off the Shinjuku metro stop across from “Godzilla Road.” Okadaya stocks fabric, yarn, buttons, sewing notions…etc. I headed right for the yarn floor (Floor 5). The area was spacious and there was quite a selection to choose from. I also appreciated that the staff didn’t hover, but when I had a question they were friendly and helpful.

Most of the brands stocked were new to me. There were European brands as well as Japanese. I loved that they had all of the yarn out for petting! Okadaya’s stock was mainly wool, but I did manage to find some cotton yarn. I have two more knit tops that I want to make for summer. I purchased NaturaXL (aran weight) and Natura (fingering weight yarn).

My husband was with me and asked for some more hand knitted socks. Funny how whenever I go to the yarn store with him we walk away with a skein for him too. He found a pretty cool sock yarn by Opal. They took famous paintings and applied the colors to the yarn. My husband chose the colorway inspired by Le Café, le soir as he is partial to blue.

I also remembered that my Blaster sweater still needed some buttons. I went down one floor down to the button section. With so many choices I really had to stay focused. I ended up choosing buttons with a green and blue mosaic. I am not sure if they are the best fit. If they don’t work with my Blaster sweater I am sure I can find something else to knit up to go with them. 😉

Okadaya was a great experience. The shop had good prices (as compared to yarn prices in the US) and a variety of items that appeal to all crafters. Despite not specializing in yarn, I left feeling excited with my new purchases.

Until Next Time,


If you are interested in learning more my about our travels in Japan please visit Smithberrys Abroad.

Beijing Yarn Shop

We had a great time in Beijing. It was super cold, but the sites were well worth it. While their I decided to try and locate a yarn shop (or two). Locating yarn shops is difficult as you can’t “google it.” First off, google doesn’t work in China without a VPN and second shop names and websites are not usually in English. However, thanks to travel forums and a helpful blog post I located a shop that was very close to our hotel!

I jumped on the metro and headed the few stops to Dengshikou (Line 5). I then took Exit A and walked right to the end of the block. I took a left on Dengshikou Street and a half block later and I was there. The store is called Wansha Fashion Boutique Wool (Apple Maps) or Wansha Cashmere Store (Yahoo search). At first, the shop looks like a clothing store, but when peeking in the windows you can see all of the glorious yarn piled up toward the ceiling.

When I entered the shop I was greeted by one of the shop keepers. She did not speak English so she began pointing and attempting to say “wool.” I shook my head yes and we went to the counter. Again all of the yarn was in boxes or plastic, but the shop lady opened what I wanted so that I could pet the yarn.

I showed her that I wanted ~1,000 meters of yarn. She nodded and began taking out more boxes of my desired color. So I used my calculator and some gestures to indicate I wanted 11 balls. She began counting and looking through boxes of yarn. She even called for support to get some yarn down from the higher shelves. Huh? Then I realized she misunderstood me. She was taking out a 1,000 grams worth of yarn! After a few exchanges we straightened things out and I ended up with 11 ball of this beautiful wine colored Merino wool.

Another shop keeper told me to go around the other counter and help myself to letting all of the yarn. She didn’t have to ask me twice. I headed for what looked like the DK and worsted weight yarn. One thing I hate about buying yarn in China is there is no real measures of the yarn weight or gauge. So I basically have to guess at everything.

All and all I got enough yarn for three sweaters (# balls) for a total of a USD$91. Not bad at all. Overall, my shopping experience was pretty good. This store had a decent selection of yarn

I Can’t Resist Cashmere

Cashmere you dreamy fiber. How I love your glorious softness. Generally, I avoid you in the yarn store because I cannot resist your charm. However, on my recent trip to Vermont, I caved. I caved hard and now am the proud owner of three new skeins of Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blended goodness.

I purchased my new skeins from a lovely store called Nido. The shop is located on the second floor of a beautiful old brick building. One side of the store is devoted to fabrics and the other side is fiber. The staff members were perfect. They greeted me when I came in, but gave space to do my perusing (aka petting). After a little while, I was approached and given the full yarn tour. Personally, I like to have time with the yarn before the sales associates try to sway me.

nido_VermontQuiltFestival_R1I didn’t explore the fabric side much as my sewing skills are horrific. However, I spent about 20 minutes on the fiber side. Nido carries more of the quality yarns (think Madeline Tosh, Brooklyn Tweed, Quince & Co.) and has a limited variety of brands. This is defiantly the shop you go in when you have a special project in mind. They also carry some very awesome knitting books and possess gorgeous samples.

So what did I buy? Well, I purchased two skeins of yarn from Magpie Fibers. I have never tried nor seen this yarn in my LYS so I was extra excited to be introduced to it. The skiens are called “Jaded” and ” Frankie Says Relax”. I was drawn to the rich colors in each of the yarns. My vision is to intermix the solid skein and the variegated one in a basic sweater silhouette.


I also purchased a skein of String Theory’s Casper Sock Yarn.  Immediately, I thought of these socks and knew that I had to have this yarn. So in the bag it went. The photo doesn’t show it well, but this yarn is variegated with shades of blue and purple. I am quite curious to see how it knits up.


Overall, I am overjoyed with my purchases and can’t wait to get this yarn on the needles. Cashmere is such a treat.

Is there a fiber that makes your heart melt? 

Until Next Time,


Yarn Shopping: Taos, New Mexico

Here are some pics from my day in Taos, New Mexico. I visited 2 knitting shops Moxie Yarn and More and MoonCat Fibers. Both great shops. I bought this beautiful rainbow merino/nylon mix from Prime Yarns at Mooncat Fibers. It is hand dyed and comes with a cute quote on the inside of the label . Too bad I was dumb and made a huge mess of rolling the ball up. Kicking myself right now as I have in 2/3 untangled and that alone took me 3 hours. Ugh!



We also got to head to the Taos Pueblos, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The native peoples still live in adobe houses with no electricity or running water. The village was quite peaceful.






Good bye Taos and hello Santa Fe ☺️