I decided to use today, my last day of slacking for a while hopefully, to get my craft shopping on. First off I hoofed it over to The Fabric Remnant Warehouse shop on Botany Rd to check out their sale (turns out it was patchwork fabrics only) and grab some of the notions I needed to finish making the jacket I patterned recently. I was stoked to find proper tailor's hair canvas interfacing for $1.75 a metre, even though it's the cotton/rayon version rather than the old fashioned (and more expensive) wool/cotton/goat hair combination, it's still good value and exactly what I was looking for. (And no goaty smell.) Once I had that and the threads I needed I headed into the city to visit the Craft & Quilt Fair at Darling Harbour.
The Craft & Quilt Fair is a weird beast. I go mostly for the knitting yarns, and really there isn't all that many vendors selling yarns compared to the tchotchke/scrapbooking/patchwork/bead vendors. But the ones that are there usually have some pretty cool stuff that's hard to find elsewhere, unless you order online. Frankly, I'm a yarn fingerer... I like to walk around, kick the tyres and check under the hood, so to speak. There must be stroking and frotting before I dump my cash. Once you factor in the cost of getting into the Fair itself it's a fairly expensive way to buy yarn, but I go because it's an opportunity to get up close and personal with yarn I might not see elsewhere.
The biggest downside to the Fair (aside from endless stalls selling stuff I'm not into) is that it's kind of like shopping with a couple of elderly aunts x 300 or so. The aisles are wide but they could never be wide enough. For a start you can tell the stalls that have discount card making supplies because the crowd of elbowing nannas is 3 or 4 deep. Add in to that the slow walking pace, stopping without warning and standing in the middle of the aisle to rummage in one's bag that accompanies shopping with the elderly and it's a recipe for stop start frustration.
However, all that aside there was some pretty cool stuff and I was really pleased to see a stall with a wide range of Habu yarns. Habu is a US based company that sells amazing speciality yarns from Japan, many of which are made of things like linen 'paper', or fine stainless steel wrapped in silk or wool. I was a bit spoilt for choice, but in the end I settled on a cone of the Silk & Stainless Steel in a lovely dove grey and a cone of the Tsumugi Silkin a nubly mix of lightish greys, for a bit under $40.
The stainless steel yarn is based on a manufacturing process that was developed for industry, where a super fine filament of stainless steel wire was wrapped in a cotton covering. Amazing! This stuff is a fine as sewing thread, but when held double with another fine yarn and knit on fairly large needles you can achieve some interesting results. It handles like a fabric with quite a bit of stiffness even though it looks fine and lacy, and if 'scrunched' will hold that shape. I thought I'd have a shot at knitting these 2 yarns together to make a scarf for myself.
So, pleasant and productive day... despite the need for nanna dodging!