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Yarn shoppin' in Santiago, Chile

So: my very dear friend got married in Santiago last week. I was lucky enough to be able to attend  the wedding, which was beyond wonderful. I'll share a bit more about the trip in general soon!
The view from St. Christopher's Hill, Santiago 
What I wish to discuss now, however, is one very specific aspect of the trip--yarn shopping. 
I suspect I'm not alone in that, when I get the opportunity to go somewhere new and exciting, I set aside a certain amount of time to find the fiber supplies in that place. Remind me to tell you sometime about the full day I spent hunting down yak wool in Northern India (I found it! But it wasn't easy).

Knitting themed ad at the Santiago airport. 
Of course, South America is known for producing lots of fiber--especially llama and alpaca, as well as the fleece of a rare and very soft animal known as a vicuña.
Mama and baby vicuñas (source)
Well. A few years ago when I was in Bolivia, I bought some beautiful lace weight 100% alpaca yarn, with which I was quite pleased indeed (and which was significantly less expensive than it would have been in the States). I wasn't really able to find shops with a large selection of weights and blends, though. On this trip, acting on a tip from a fellow crafter at the wedding, I did quite a bit better. 

Santiago, it turns out, has its very own yarn district.

And here's what I got: Three skeins of bulky, thick and thin wool; one skein of bulky mixed alpaca and wool; three balls of sport weight 100% baby alpaca; and three skeins of worsted weight alpaca and wool blend. I was also unable to resist a hairpin lace loom, and a small (20 by 20 cm) wooden peg loom (not shown). I was, needless to say, quite pleased.

I'm terrible at directions, so I won't even try. I do think I can provide enough info for somebody else to find the shops; there are probably around ten of them, and they carry a wide range of yarns, from acrylic to cashmere. Most of the yarn brands I haven't encountered in the US before, and the prices are absolutely lower than I'd expect to find where I live. So, if you're every in Santiago, here's what you do: Go to the Mercado Central (which is easy to find, and has its own metro stop). Ask around for the yarn shops, which are in a couple of blocks just off the main market. Fair warning: all the shops were closed on Sunday.
If you're looking for the spot, perhaps these names/addresses will help! 
And here are a couple of other resources, should you be on the hunt for yarn in Santiago:

Amusingly enough, it was in the mid 90s during this trip (Summer, of course, in South America). I could barely stand to touch the woolens once I got them back to my hotel. Now that I'm back to Winter in Portland (gray and chilly; perfect sweater weather), I am quite excited indeed to plan a project.
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Lesley said...

I came across this post while searching for shops to buy alpaca scarves. I had an idea that people knit in Chile because on our first day wandering through one of the fancy malls, I came across a shop that sold crochet hooks and I needed to replace the one that was confiscated by airport security. It was like a 3 mm size that I use to pick up dropped stitches! But I didn't follow through on the train of thought to actually look for yarn until I found your post. I found the shops easily based on the addresses on the receipts you photographed. I got three skeins of 90/10 alpaca/wool for about $4.50 US each and four skeins of a thick/thin wool for about $3 US each. I will post pictures on my Ravelry page. Thank you so much for this post. BelleYarn.

Samony said...

Hey! Do you have the address for these shops? My mom is a hardcore knitter and she demands I bring her back some yarn.

Stephanie said...

Hi Samony,
I don't remember exactly where the shops were, but this blog post ( seems to be about the same part of town, and has a bit more information. Good luck!

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