Thursday, September 20, 2012

a crafter abroad - Buenos Aires

Crafting is so much a part of my life, that I even take it on vacation with me. Going on holiday is supposed to be about dropping your responsibilities and taking a break from what you normally do, but for me its also a chance to find new inspiration, find out what's going on in the craft world elsewhere, and also meet new people - crafting is certainly great platform for meeting others!

Normally when I go on holiday, I do a little prep work and with the help of google and the many city guides you can find on online crafting forums, I usually have a few key places in mind before my arrival. That's step one done. Step two, is working out what's nearby those crafty things so I can convince whomever my travelling companions are to come along, or at least provide them with some nearby non-crafty alternative for those moments when we 'just happen' to stumble across say a beautiful quilting shop in the middle of New York City or an incredible quirky museum that only I would ever want to go to.

Sigh. Sometimes it takes a bit of being crafty to be able to be crafty on holiday.

But when both my work and personal lives took me to Buenos Aires, I was just too darn busy to even google anything... things were so hectic in the run up to my departure that I picked up a half-started knitting project and took it with me, in fear that I might be entering some kind of unexpected craft-void in the world and have nothing else at my fingertips.

Little did I know that I was struggling to fit a few balls of polyester blend wool in my bag, just so that I could take them along with me to what was essentially woolly heaven on earth.

That's right, along my journey I stumbled into a little quarter of BA, that was lined with gorgeous yarn shops, selling some of the most beautiful yarns I have ever laid my eyes on. Only, when I first came across it - everything was closed... all I could do is peer through the windows and shutters and admire the wonderful windows displays and plot my chance to come back during opening hours.

... and when I did come back, here's just a sample of what I found...

I stopped into quite a few beautiful shops, including Moussa, Milana Hilados and a number of other gorgeous little shops which either don't have websites or I can't remember the name of due to my entering yarn induced frenzy. The shops were full of skeins and skeins of yarn, all on shelves behind a counter and using my broken spanish I was able to speak with the shop assistants, and ask to touch and feel a variety of wools. Once I'd made up my mind, I had skein after skein weighed out for me to pay for.

Yes, all the yarn is sold by the kilo, which at first seemed a little confusing and daunting, but then once I did my conversions I realised that I was paying such a fraction of the cost of what it might cost me at home... never mind the fact that I was buying wool I knew I could never even find here!

Just when I thought I'd had my fill, I discovered a bargain bin with 10 peso bags of scraps of wool roving, suitable for needle felting. Jackpot! 100 grams of roving scraps for about £1.30. Bargain.

I found Buenos Aires to be a really inspiring and wonderful place, for many reasons which I'm soon going to share on the Making Things Club blog, but spending my final morning recklessly purchasing wool was the icing on the cake.  Some of it I'll use for myself, some of it I'll use for gifts, and some I'll use for the 52 weeks : 52 crafts challenge...  but you'll have to wait to see just how far my budget stretched and find out what I got my hands on.

Oh go on then, here's a little peek at my bags at my feet in the taxi. See anything you like?

Stay tuned for what I'm going to do with all this wool, and do check out the auctions I have going this week - 7 items all being auctions for Macmillan Cancer Support as I continue my 52 weeks : 52 crafts challenge. 


  1. Hi Chris,

    Absolutely gorgeous post. All those amazing yarns in such wonderful colours and textures. I bet you thought you'd found a little piece of heaven.
    I lived in Buenos Aires for 3 months back in 2001 (I was doing a theatre tour around schools) I shared an apartment not too far from La Recoleta Cemetery. Such an interesting city. Rich in history, fabulous Sunday markets and lots of street tango!

  2. Oh wow. I didn't know you'd lived in B.A.! It is such a lovely place - and you are right the markets are amazing. We'll have to have a chat about it at the next MTC or Coffee and Craft you come to! x