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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Yarn tourism - Swedish style

Ok so maybe this title isn't quite correct seeing as we were in Sweden for reasons other than yarn acquisition also, but I did manage to visit quite a few fibre shops during my stay.

The first was Tant Thea in my home town of Helsingborg. Now, Helsingborg isn't exactly a yarn mecca but this new store was definitely an improvement on the existing offering i.e. a tiny shop selling mainly acrylic (I can see you wincing). Tant Thea has a pretty good offering, and I succumbed to some nice Drops Alpaca which was discounted by 30%. The discount was due to the owner being fed up of being bossed about by Drops, who were trying to tell her exactly how to market their goods in store. I actually thought this was normal practice, but held back from pointing that out as she seemed pretty fuming over it. Oh the drama behind yarn!

Behold the Alpaca (dark grey/black and murky blue/green):

I had the pleasure of spending a day in Copenhagen and actually had no intention of going yarn shopping - honest! We did however, stumble upon a cute yarn shop called Bette Design and thought it rude not to go inside.. My mum fell in love with a pretty shawl which I (probably much too hastily) said I could knit up for her. We left the store with some gray wool and a knitting pattern for the Danish. I might just have to ask L, our resident knitting Dane to help me with the translation. Either that or I'll just have to hope that my mum doesn't quite remember the exact design.. ;)

Next on the cards was a trip to Stockholm. We stayed in a very cute hotel called Sven Vintappare in Gamla Stan (The old Town) which dated from the 1700s:

Our room took up the entire width of the building, so it was lovely and bright with windows on both sides, but being from the 1700s it was also rather wonky! I found it all quite charming. Even the lethally steep stairs:

Before I launch into more tales of yarn, I should probably mention a couple of other highlights. The food in Stockholm was exceptional, and although rather pricey, it was worth it. My favourite restaurant was Djuret (The Animal) which specialises in seasonal meat. The menu changes every couple of months, depending on which animal is in season and then serves about 5 dishes of various cuts. We enjoyed some succulent reindeer. Great restaurant detailing included meat hooks on which to hang your coats, tablecloths displaying diagrams of meat cuts, and meat grinders which had been turned into table lamps. Do I have to mention that they have *no* veggie options?

You may not know this, but I am slightly obsessed with cinnamon buns. Whenever I go to Sweden I *must* have one. At least one. I have been known to bake my own in London, when withdrawal reaches it's peak. So after reading that Saturnus Cafe sold the biggest cinnamon buns in Stockholm, I made a beeline.
On entering the place I was at first distraught to see that there were none on display, but the kindly lady at the till informed me that they were currently baking a new batch and that they would be ready in 5 minutes. So after an impatient wait the steaming package of cinnamon loveliness arrived. And it was HUGE. I'm not sure the picture really illustrates this fact clearly enough, but perhaps the coffee spoon helps a little in terms of scale. I had to call it quits after half of it and pack the rest away discreetly in a doggie bag, as I would otherwise had done myself and internal injury. But man was it good!

We also stopped off at a rather random junk shop in Gamla Stan. It didn't seem to have a name, nor did the owner seem too interested in customers being able to walk around it in. We spotted lots of interesting items from old fashioned pilot helmets to dashing vintage army coats, but erred on the side of sensible in the end.

And so to the yarn! First stop was Litet Nystan in Soder which I really liked. Easily identified by the yarn 'flag' outside:

A great selection of pretty yarns and friendly staff on hand to explain things. They were also hosting a book launch that day. It was one of those cute crochet books which makes me feel like I really should learn how to crochet properly: 'Valkommen till Virkligheten'.

Of course some purchasing occurred:

Two skeins of Merino Extrafine Lace by Tedman & Kvist (about 1,400m each) and some pretty blue Merino Silk with aloe, jojoba and vitamin E (apparently it's kind to your hands!) by Viva.

On the way to the next yarn store, we met some would-be escapees looking to fly their undignified confinement.

Next stop was Anntorps Vav in Gamla Stan, run by a charming lady who does a lot of her own spinning and dying.

Again lots of pretty things, but I fell in love with one sort in particular: Östergötlands Ull. Handspun and dyed locally, I was hooked. Oh and the colourway (called 'karamell' = sweets) totally won me over.

Colour close-up:

With approximately 1,500m of it, I should be able to do something interesting too.. I'm toying with the idea of creating project bags for myself. Choosing a pattern from my file (stuffed) and selecting some corresponding yarn from my stash (considerable) so it's all ready to go. It might just cut down on the time wasted on faffing. Knitting efficiency here I come?

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