Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Yarn shopping in Bangalore

Today I bought yarn! Silk yarn. Gorgeous yarn.

My friend B grew up in Mangalore, went to college in Bangalore, and now lives in the US. We met on Ravelry, so we share a love of knitting and yarn! She is in town visiting family, and we arranged to go yarn shopping today. India doesn't produce a lot of natural fiber yarns for resale, and this store is rather special and beloved of knitters for their high quality pure silk yarns.

B's brother lives in the complete opposite side of Bangalore from me, but luckily for me the yarn store is on my side of town. I felt a bit badly that she had to travel all the way to me though, because it's a long way! It took her nearly 90 minutes to get here. Eeeep. It only took us 10 minutes in an auto rickshaw to get to the yarn store though. It was my first auto ride! Thank goodness B was there though, as the store proved rather difficult to find, requiring 3 phone calls (one between the owner and the driver) and, once we got close, a moped escort. I was very grateful to have a native Kannada speaker with me, let me tell you. I think there's about a zero percent chance I'd have gotten to the place on my own.

Silkindian is a family business, and they mainly sell wholesale for export. They don't have a proper shop, but if you arrange with them you can come in their office in a residential apartment building, and buy from whatever stock they have on hand (they'll also custom dye yarn for you, but you have to buy a kilo of the same color to make it cost effective for them). It was so much fun! My only regret was that a majority of their stock was multi-colored yarn, which isn't great for lace knitting as it obscures the pattern. Since I had three custom shawl orders I was buying for I needed solid color yarn! Luckily I was able to get everything I needed- a teal color for Mel, dark blue for Julie, and purple for Becka. They didn't actually have the purple out, but when I asked they found some for me (and bonus: it was already wound!). Phew! I couldn't bear to disappoint Becka. We've been friends our entire lives, and she really appreciates hand made items (and does amazing sewing work herself!). Of course, she's about the easiest person to please in terms of color that I know, so I'm sure I could have found something that suited her, but I was really glad I could get her first choice. She is going to look stunning in this shade of purple!

I also got a gorgeous peridot green skein of yarn with no particular purpose in mind (I just couldn't leave it behind!) and at the last minute two skeins of multicolored yarn. They are dark blue, light blue, and teal and I'd been trying to figure out what I could possibly make with them. It occurred to me I could make a gorgeous lightweight pullover with them, but I wasn't sure I was up to handwashing a silk sweater, so I finally put them down with regret. Then we found out that that particular base (which I loved- super soft and not slippery!) was actually cheaper than the others. "Oh", said B. "Well, at that price how can you say no??". What could I do? I was a sitting duck! I fell for her logic immediately (it was, after all, impeccable) and bought that yarn too.

After that B and I took an auto back to campus, and met Robert and the kids for lunch. I was sad I didn't get more time to hang out with her, but it was an excellent day and an immensely satisfying yarn shopping experience!

Now I'm super eager to get started on some of these custom shawls!


Pusstat said...

What a day. Meeting B, shopping with her for yarn, buying yarn, finding this wonderful shop, meeting up with Robert & the kids, etc, etc, etc.

Surabhi Agarwal said...

Natural fiber in Bangalore is of good quality and is available in plenty