Monday, 10 December 2007

Berlin woll

You know, Google assumes you’re an idiot or can’t spell if you type that in.

Alright, alright, I know most of you just want to read about the yarn, I’ll get on with it already.

Of course I could not go to the home of so many brands of sock yarn without seeking out some LYS’s for, ahem, research purposes. To that end, the lovely Gail provided me with a very useful list to work from. I set out bright and early on Saturday morning to verify its accuracy. Addresses and an underground map can be found at the excellent Berlin transport site. Unfortunately most of the small yarn shops don’t seem to have websites.

First stop, being in Prenzlauerberg and therefore closest to where I was staying, was Loops at Wörtherstraße 19, Berlin 10405 (tel +49 (30) 4405 4934, open until 3pm most Saturdays or 4.30pm in the run-up to Christmas, not open Sundays) a short-ish walk from Senefelderplatz U-Bahn on line U2. This was a great shop, very busy, with helpful English-speaking assistants. The stock was varied, including Lang Yarns, Lana Grossa and Regia (aber natürlich), loads of Colinette far from home, pretty cotton yarns all wrapped up like sweeties, and some interesting handspun yarns of various types, mainly chunky and reminiscent of Manos.

I picked up some Lang Jawoll (is it just me who finds that very funny indeed?) sock yarn in pumpkin orange for only €3.60 (about £2.50 or $5) per 50g ball, which most usefully includes a 5g reel of reinforcement yarn (I think it’s in the middle of the ball, I can feel something solid, but don’t want to make a mess disembowelling these to find out just yet). I also bought some Lang Mille Colori, which looks much like Rowan Tapestry (though with some acrylic in there which makes it softer than Tapestry), probably for some kind of cabled hat. I did succumb to the lovely handspun too, with three skeins of a pretty blue combo by Ingeborg Michels. The shop was very busy, which was nice to see. They don’t, however, take Visa or Mastercard, be warned.

Then on to FadenInsel, or rather not, seeing as it seems to have disappeared from its previous location on Adalbergstraße in Kreuzberg. I could only find dodgy-looking solariums and computer part shops. Boo. I hope it has moved rather than shut down completely, but I didn’t have the time or the geographical knowledge to search for it.

Transiting back through Alexanderplatz, I called in to the crafts annex of the big department store Galeria Kaufhof. Don’t even bother. Acrylic crap and fun fur rule here.

Heading west, I called into La Laine at Kantstraße 145, 10623 Berlin (tel +49 (30) 3138483, open until 3pm on a Saturday I think, not open Sundays), very close to Savignyplatz on lines S5, S7 and S9 and not too much of a walk from Zoologischer Garten for the U2 and U9. This was full of Lana Grossa to the exclusion of much else, although this is clearly where Berliners come for their Noro Kureyon. Again it was fairly busy. Nothing struck me as a must-have, so I didn’t stay long.

From there, it was a short walk to Berlin’s equivalent of Oxford Street, the Ku’Damm, and the very upmarket department store KaDeWe (technically on Tauentzienstraße 21-24, 10789 Berlin, tel +49 (30) 21210, nearest stop Wittenbergplatz which is right outside the doors, but Zoo is very close). After much confused wandering, I realised the craft stuff (the Kreativemarkt) is actually in a basement of a whole other building, with the entrance located on Passauerstraße just round the side of the main store, under a giant sign saying “Idee” (the big idea, you see). This was a huge space, with beads, fabric, paints, pens, paper, scrapbooks, needle felting, buttons and all kinds of other stuff. The yarn section was serviceable - not as big as a dedicated yarn store but good enough. One wall had a set of shelves in waves, on which yarn was arranged by colour rather than by brand or type, very cool to see although I would imagine difficult to find specific things. There was quite a bit of Rowan, and also large Opal and Regia sections; whilst I’m not the world’s biggest fan of their “fake isles” I did in the end buy a couple of balls of Regia Stretch Color in red-black-grey. Very cheap compared to the UK, and with lots of colourways and yarn types (such as a silk blend) not found over here. I also bought a Regia booklet on making socks, as it has a useful table of stitch numbers and measurements for different shoe sizes.

By that time I was feeling as if I had overstepped the mark of antisociability with K, so I headed back home to actually spend some time with her rather than just taking advantage of the free accommodation for yarn shopping purposes. So here is my final haul:

All in all, well worth it provided that you are after the big German sock yarn brands, not so much if you want anything else (except for Loops). But bargains galore – sehr gut!


Nicole and Phil said...

WOW, I have been in Berlin for nearly 3 years, and you found more wool shops in a weekend, than I have found in 3 years!! LOL

Fabienne said...

yeah fadeninsel has never been at that address as far as i can tell, i had the same issues when i went looking for it for the first time. it is actually around the corner on oranienstr 23. the collinette at loops is new, wasn't there a month ago when i was there. there is actually a sewing store in the mini mall near the world clock at alexanderplatz that has better yarn than the annex of the galeria kaufhof. glad you liked our city, but come back soon and meet up with some of us knitters here!

Ginger Lucy said...

I will be back, don't worry! How annoying that I was so close to FadenInsel and never found it, I heard such nice things about it. Duh! ;-)

Dominique said...

thanks for the great post - I will be in Berlin dec28th to jan 2d. Hope to be able to do 'some'yarn shopping