Monday, October 17, 2011

It’s easy for me to spend five or more hours in the kitchen to make the perfect, layered and decorated cake.

But when it comes to knitting, I do not have the patience.

Several years ago, I tried learning this beautiful handicraft, but I lost count as I knitted my rows for a simple scarf. Was that 27 or 29? Or 30?

I eventually gave up!

Today, I met an expat friend in Eminönü and we went shopping for spices, fabric, sewing thread and yarn. Behind the Mısır Çarşısı, there are several streets where the stores sell every kind of sewing item you ever would need – buttons, beads, trimming, tassels, lace, ribbons, thread and more.

We stopped along Aşir Efendi Caddesi and found reasonably priced fabrics at several shops. (Speaking some Turkish will help you receive better service, I believe.) I bought some crimson cotton/polyester blend fabric that I hope to turn into some aprons for Christmas.

Then, we went in the search of velcro, which apparently is only sold in a box of 25 meters! No thanks!

My friend and her children are knitters, so we went in search of the yarn han called Kürkcü Han (Furrier Han) on Mahmutpaşa street. (See my helpful map here.) If you exit out the back of the Mısır Carşısı, hike up the cobble stone street of Mahmutpaşa and this han, a large stone building, will be located on the right. If you walk past the han, you soon will end up at one of the entrances of the Grand Bazaar.

The han’s building is as old as the Kapalı Carşı (Grand Bazaar) and was once built for the accommodation of furriers; but now it’s a shopping center or a knitter’s paradise. This two-story complex houses 80 stores and a few small cafés. These stores sell yarn, yarn and more yarn as well as a few random home textiles such as bathroom rugs, towels, bed sheets and curtains.

Lots of yarn!
I have to think this han is the best shopping destination for yarn of various kinds and colors in Istanbul. The stands are full of balls and skeins of beautiful wool yarn in various natural colors, grays, browns and some colors. If you knit, you must go here!
And even more yarn!
And cheap! 300 grams of thick wool yarn, which looked like a lot to me, for 5 TL. Some balls of yarn were only 1 and 2 TL! Crochet thread for only 75 kuruş!

I wasn’t looking for yarn, but I did find some holiday cookie cutters at one of the shops as well as some cheap wool socks.

That’s the randomness of Istanbul! You never know what you will find, and I love that about the city!

Happy shopping!

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jaz@octoberfarm said...

fabulous adventure! i can only knit scarves. i pump out endless scarves and give them to everyone i know. i have managed to knit a few afghans too. i am the worst knitter in the world. but if you pick the right colors and combine them, no one notices that you can only knit one stitch!

Sue Narayan said...

Hey, I'm so glad you and Waverley had a good adventure. Your writing and photos are lovely!

Joy said...

Maybe I'll try knitting again someday. For now, I'll focus on the baking and cooking. =)

Joy said...

Also, apparently there is a British expat woman in Turkey that is marketing Turkish yarn through a biz called The Knit Box. I will post more details when I know more.