My husband had a business trip to Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I'd tag along, having never been there. I had fun walking around, soaking in the atmosphere, even though it was only a couple of days. (Yes, flew out on Tuesday and back home on Saturday, doesn't leave much time after you take away the time spent in airports and airplanes). More about the trip is on my main blog, under the title Hong Kong Impressions.
I did manage to get to three yarn stores, which is hardly representative, but fun anyway. I looked them up on the Hong Kong Knitters Ravelry group and picked what looked like a couple of interesting ones, Cheer Wool and Tailor & Alteration.
This is what Tailor & Alteration looked like inside:
The aisles were so crowded I couldn't get down some of them without knocking stuff off the shelves. It was fun! I went in the morning and browsed around, picked out some yarn that I haven't seen in Vancouver, and added to my stash of patterns. This time in Japanese, so that will be an interesting learning experience. They had some lovely Japanese silk and linen yarn that almost insisted on coming home with me, but I managed to resist. I did, however, get their lifetime membership card which gave a decent-sized discount on everything, and the woman who runs the store made a point of telling me that they ship world-wide... They also carry supplies for other crafts, such as beading, quilting, and needlepoint/cross-stitch.
The store itself is on the 14th floor of a building, with no signage on the street except for that advertising dentists, most of whom trained in some other country. I guess this not only tells people they should be good, but also says that they will understand English, not a small point in a country where many people do not.
CheerWool was less interesting; the yarns were fairly standard, and the store had much more room to move around in. It was also easier to find, and being on the ground floor in a popular sales district, was more expensive. As seems usual in Hong Kong, much of the yarn was wrapped in plastic bags, but none of it called out to me to be unwrapped.
The last store I went to was mui tong. It was only up one flight of stairs, a small store with all the yarn wrapped in plastic bags. I was looking at one of the bags when the owner came over with a lovely vest she had knitted in that yarn, to show me how it knitted up. I ended up buying some of it, it was much nicer knitted up than it looked through the plastic bag. I guess they just want to keep the yarn clean.
Most of the yarns I saw in all the stores were Japanese or European; lots of Italian wools with the fine merino. Japanese bamboo knitting needles seem very popular, along with the Aero needles and Addi needles. I didn't see any Chinese knitting needles such as Hiya Hiya, which surprised me a little, although I also didn't ask for them. The Japanese pattern books are popular, together with Rowan. I did my bit for the local economy without going over the import limit for travellers returning to Canada; now I just have to figure out what to knit with the yarn and which pattern from the book to tackle first.