Earlier this year, when my daughter and I traveled in Spain, one of our priorities was to visit the yarn shops there. I had searched on Google, and also on Ravelry, a social networking website for people interested in fiber-related crafts. I found a short list of shops located in Madrid and one shop in Barcelona – these were the two cities we were visiting.
We arrived in Madrid in the late afternoon. Since this was the first stop on our European trip, we were tired from our flights (Chicago to Paris to Madrid). From experience, though, we knew we had to do some walking to help us fight the jetlag that would become a problem if we went to bed early. Rather than just wander aimlessly, we decided to check out the two yarn shops near the Plaza Mayor and within walking distance from our hotel.
The first shop, Lanas Sixto, carried a lot of Katia yarn, in fact, I think they had every color of every Katia yarn made. The Katia yarn company started in Barcelona in 1951, eventually growing to an international company. Although Katia is produced in Spain, it is widely available in Europe and sometimes in the States.
The staff people at Lanas Sixto didn’t seem especially friendly – they didn’t want us to touch the yarn. I reached out to touch some yarn and accidentally knocked over a couple skeins on their well-organized display. The clerk scowled at me and immediately fixed the display. We found out later that this type of store is considered the “traditional” style.
I think if I had realized this was a traditional store – and if I spoke a little Spanish – the experience here would have been much more pleasant. The yarn was beautiful and I had intended to buy Katia yarn in Spain. Although I didn’t buy any yarn at Lanas Sixto, I intend to go back the next time I am in Madrid.
El Gato Negro (The Black Cat)
Three minutes away, we also visited El Gato Negro. This shop carried only their own brand of yarn, but it was very nice. The clerk told us that all of the cotton and wool yarn was produced in Spain.
We noticed signs up all over the store that looked like “Do Not Touch” signs, although they were in Spanish. I ask an English speaking clerk and she confirmed that we were not to touch any of the yarn.
However, the store had touchable samples on display in the front of the store – here we could touch and feel as much as we wanted. It was interesting, but I’m glad we don’t have traditional style stores in the States.
The yarn was sold by the gram – I could purchase exactly the amount that I wanted. I purchased some wool and some cotton yarn. I’ve started knitting with the wool yarn. The yarn is nice, although not outstanding. I am eager to find a pattern to use for the cotton yarn.
El Punto Madrid
On our second day in Madrid, we visited the Museo del Traje, or Costume Museum, in northern Madrid – we found it very interesting. In this area of the city, we also ascended the Faro de Moncloa tower, walked through one of the many local parks, and visited another yarn shop.
The yarn shop, El Punto Madrid, was a small, bright shop with a nice selection of yarn. They had some yarn from England and Norway in addition to a lot of Katia yarn. The staff was pleasant and helpful – and they let us touch the yarn. I was able to purchase a couple skeins of Katia yarn here, although I haven’t started knitting with it yet.
El Corte Ingès
El Corte Inglès is a department store chain throughout Spain. We visited one location in Madrid. It’s fun comparing department stores from other countries. We found the area that housed yarn and fabric. The displays were cute, but most of the yarn was acrylic or blends. We did find a couple that we liked, though, and as usual were not able to leave without a purchase.
When I first researched Barcelona, I had only found one yarn shop. I was surprised that in a city the size of Barcelona there wasn’t more interest in fiber arts. When we arrived, I Googled the area map and found a second shop listed. Then, when we visited the first shop, the shop owner told us about a third one.
All You Knit is Love
Just up the alley from the Picasso museum is the first yarn shop we visited in Barcelona. All You Knit is Love is owned by American Jennifer Callahan, and her Spanish husband, Miguel. Jennifer was working at the shop when we arrived. She is a lovely woman and we were glad to meet her.
All You Knit is Love has a few yarns under her own label. We were especially intrigued by the yarn made from milk, k2tog (70% Wool, 30% Milk). I also liked Purlwise ( 100% Linen/Flax) and purchased some for a shawl. I definitely recommend a visit if you are in Barcelona.
We took the metro to Fil&Tropia, a yarn shop near the Eixample neighborhood. It was a small shop but they had some very nice locally produced or locally dyed yarn. They also carried some Katia and other internationally known brands of yarn.
When we arrived, there was a group of women sitting in the back – either a knitting group or a class. The person helping us spoke English, but seemed a little uncomfortable with it. I’d love to go back again sometime.
Jennifer from All You Knit is Love, told us about the traditional yarn shop – Llanas Tosca. Located on the edge of the Plaça de Vicenç Martorell, the shop holds traditional hours. We had a little trouble finding it open, but eventually we were able to visit. The shop does not have a website, but review sites list the hours as open from 10 am until 1:30 pm, and then from 5 pm until 8 pm.
Even though this was a traditional shop and the yarn was behind the counter and untouchable, we found the staff helpful and friendly. Most of the yarn seemed to be the Spanish Katia yarn. It was worth the stop.
There are two other shops that have popped up on Ravelry since we were in Barcelona. The first is Dos Punts. It looks like this small shop carries a variety of craft supplies including yarn. The second on, which looks a bit more promising, is called Lalanalú. I guess now I have another reason to go back to Barcelona.
With four places to shop for yarn in Madrid and five places in Barcelona, we found plenty of yarn to begin filling our bags. I usually bring an extra bag to hold my purchases – I didn’t leave much room in my bag for yarn from the rest of the trip.