Going to the yarn mecca

I have to say that after more than two years of living in Prague, I now fully appreciate the yarn riches of the US.

When we moved here, I imagined a whole new world of yarn. They have sheep here, right? And cold weather? So of course, I'll find amazing wool yarn.

Sadly, not so much. The wool from Czech sheep, so I've been told, is rough and not suited to hand-knitting yarn. It's exported to make carpets and other textiles. This may not be true, but it is true that I have found no nice woolen hand-knitting yarn that's made in the CR (nor in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, for that matter).

The yarn made in the CR is usually at least 50% synthetic. Any wool in the blend is not soft, nor is it pretty. Colors tend towards neon brights, gutless pastels or muddy dark colors. I like neutrals, deep moody colors and soft dusky tones.

(And then there is Chemlonka, a truly weird yarn. It has the texture and oily sheen of monofilament fishing line.)
So now I salivate when I see a Knitpicks or Webs catalog. I swoon over gorgeous woolen yarns like Lamb's Pride or Green Mountain Spinnery .

Even standard yarns like Patons or Cascade are exotically appealing to my eyes and fingers, which have been numbed by the small selection, not-pretty colors, not-interesting textures and not-abundant yarn weights to be found in Prague.

(This is not to even mention the appalling synthetics in the local galanetries, though a determined shooper can find acceptable cotton and bamboo yarns there. But they are expensive! Much more so than in the US.)

And on top of that, the normal knitting accessories are just not readily available. To find a #2 short circular needle in Prague is impossible. There are only 80 cm-long circulars, in a few sizes. There are huge straight needles, size 17 and up. There are miniscule metal needles, for knitting teensy lace items. What's even worse is that there is a relatively large needle selection, but not of the needles that I want. It's enough to make me cry.

If I went to Scotland or the UK, I could find a mecca of lovely woolen yarns in rich heathers and subtle neutrals, it's true.
Alice Starmore Scottish yarn from the Hebrides

Or I could mailorder such yarn and the right needles from the UK, or have my daughter or friends mail me stuff from the US.
Wool of the Andes Amber Heather
But somehow I have resisted this until now, believing that if I am persistent and clever, I can find great yarn here in Prague. My pride is getting in my own way, I fear.

Anyway, I am off to the US for 2 months, one month of which will be spent in touching, stroking, smelling, squeezing and nuzzling beautiful yarn. I told my husband today I will be visiting at least one amazing yarn shop (and not in FL, where we are going, as FL is not a knitting hotspot). I will do some research and find the yarns of my dreams, in some quaint yarn shop somewhere in the US!

Montana Wools


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