Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thailand Travels: Yarn in BangkokP

I was in Bangkok for a month this October, I decided to see what kind of yarn I could find. There didn’t seem to be many people on Ravelry who could help, but I found some helpful blog posts and went out exploring. I only found 3 stores, but I’ve heard there are others, I just didn’t have time to get them. I figured this information might be helpful to other knitters out there - Thailand is a pretty popular vacation spot, and you might need a yarn fix while you're there!

As you might imagine, knitting isn’t terribly popular in a place like Thailand; it seems to be mostly a hobby for the more well-off, and the yarn prices definitely reflect that – they were nowhere near the cheapness of the yarn in Korea. There was a wide variety of Western and Japanese brands of yarn, and things generally started around 300 baht (US $10) a ball and went upwards.

Zawa Knitting: a very small shop, I went one Saturday evening and there was only the girl who worked the shop. They had Clover needles, but no KnitPros in sight – I wrote down the word, and she seemed to know what I was talking about but didn’t show me any, so the rumor I read about Zawa having them remains that. Their entire stock consisted of a large selection of Filatura di Crosa yarn, and not much else. The girl there looked friendly, but was clearly discomfited when I attempted to ask for things, and could only tell me that she didn’t speak English. This was the branch on Sukhumvit 49; there is another branch in Paragon

Hobby ____ in Siam Paragon: This was a multicrafting area in Siam Paragon Mall, in the Paragon Passageway on the 5th floor. They had a large selection of many kinds of yarn, some familiar to me and some I’d never heard of – it seemed to be mostly Japanese and Italian brands. Lots of Clover and Takumi needles in various sizes. There were also sections for scrapbooking, jewelry making, and sewing/quilting, with smaller tables in each area and a larger central one. The girls who worked there were very friendly, although still a bit uncomfortable with dealing with a foreigner, but there was one who seemed to be in charge of speaking to anyone in English.

Big Knit Café: Literally down the street from the Zawa Knitting store on Sukhumvit 49. It’s a very cozy place, lots of little tables and chairs for sitting and eating and crafting, as well as a big table for groups. The food was good, the desserts looked yummy, and I love the way the yarn is organized – on shelves with balls of everything out for fondling. I ordered and went to look around, and one of the girls who worked there came over to help me. She was a bit nervous, but when I described some mohair I had seen at the Paragon shop, she showed me all the stuff they had that could be similar to what I wanted. She was very helpful, and they had quite a large selection. Lots of Filatura di Crosa, as well as some Anny Blatt and a brand called Mondial. Quite a bit of novelty yarn, and interestingly enough, there was a house brand as well, with a pretty rayon/cotton blend. There were also lots of books, in both English and Japanese. There was knitting going on, of course, but needle-felted animals seemed to be very popular as well. I bought a needle-felting kit and got one of the older women who worked there to teach me how it worked. She didn’t speak any English, but it was a fun experience nonetheless.

Directions to Big Knit and Zawa Knitting on Sukhumvit 49: the closest BTS station is Thong Lo. From there, Sukhumvit 49 is pretty easy to find - it's a few blocks away from the main intersection that Thong Lo occupies. The streets have signs on them, so no worries there. Both stores are a ways down from the main Sukhumvit Road - probably about a 15 minute walk, with Zawa Knitting being closer to Sukhumvit Road than Big Knit Cafe. Both stores have maps on their websites.

Directions to the store at Siam Paragon: Siam Square BTS station. Go out exit 5 or 6 for Siam Paragon. Follow the signs in the mall for Paragon Passageway; it's on the 5th floor, near the Paragon department store.