Thursday, March 18, 2010
Don't Cry for Me! (Greetings from Argentina!)
Buenos Dias (noches, actually) from Buenos Aires. My hotel room has a super slow connection so I probably will have to wait and post most of the pictures I took when I get back. But let me tell you-- this town (massive city) is FULL of textiles galore. We haven't even been to the local craft market yet, where I expect we'll find some traditional knitted stuff. But walking around I found that all of the many magazine stands sell a number of knitting mags, lots of the retailers sell interesting sweaters (I'm talking about contemporary, machine knitted stuff, but still pretty), and... oh yes...
So, I was saying I got some good insider advice last time I was in HCW about a store here in BA called Milana Hilados. In fact, there is one street where there are maybe eight or ten knit shops-- I actually lost track. But I was so grateful to have gotten the lowdown and the advice to stop in at Milana. Now there is no doubt that HCW is my favorite knit shop on the planet. And in my travels-- I've been to Japan, all over the US, and France-- I've seen more than a few nice knit shops. But never-- not until now-- have I walked into any store other than HCW that had such an impact.
Milana is fabulous, fabulous, fabulous, PACKED with Argentine yarn that they spin and dye there. I got to meet Eduardo one of the owners, and another owner (didn't get his name), and Maggie, who works in an adjacent store that sells sweaters designed by her and another woman. Maggie spoke English, so that was good. I had managed to ask "Quantos lana para.." which is (I think) "How much yarn for..." -- what I was trying to get at was How much of this yarn do I need for a sweater? since they sell yarn by weight-- not "distance"-- and metric weight at that.
By the time I was done, I'd gotten a tour of their back storeroom (MASSIVE) and a tour of the sweater shop next door (BEAUTIFUL) and, of course, I'd done some shopping. I got this super-chunky stuff, pre-baubled with these brightly colored yarn balls. I got enough for a sweater, and asked what size needles I needed. 22!!! Yes TWENTY-TWO!! So I got those, too-- they look like boat oars (I included my foot in the picture above for scale).
Then I came back to the hotel room and tried to find a super easy pattern for a sweater. I wanted to get started right away. I just could not find what I wanted, though I found a cute baby kimono that I liked the looks of. Remembering what I'd learned in a class with Fran (in particular the kimono-based pattern I used) I decided to just go crazy and write my own pattern, thus I am making a Japanese-inspired, Argentine wool kimono sweater of my own design. This yarn is SO chunky and the needles SO big that I only had to cast on 20 stitches for the right front, which I'm just about done. It took about an hour. This in contrast to a pair of socks I'm working on size 2 needles which will probably take me til August to finish. I might return from Argentina a dedicated super chunky knitter (that's a reference to the yarn, not the empanada consumption).
We also took a break from yarn shopping to visit the Evita Peron museum-- that's a story in itself, but one for later-- there was even some crocheting on display. I am getting back to my super chunky sweater now. Will report more later. Hope y'all are having a good SXSW.