This is by no means a comprehensive survey – Berlin has yarn shops coming out of its whatsit. It suited us, for reasons that will become evident, to go to two areas of Berlin for our explorations of the town.
(1)Kreuzberg Bermannkiez area.
It was an education coming from Geneva. Here, with one exception, all the yarn shops are the same, they keep exactly the same labels and even exactly the same yarns from each label. In Berlin, it seems every shop has its own character. Die WollLust has a stress on lace knitting and not necessarily at fine gauge either. They have lots of samples knitted up and suggestions for patterns. A large variety of labels which were new to me, very friendly staff, a wife and husband, the latter speaking good English should you happen to need it. They had a winder set up and so I wound the skeins of silk/cashmere I bought on the spot.
There is a table set up where one could sit and knit.
Needles and Pins is only a few minutes walk from Die WollLust and has entirely different stock. We were actually lucky to stumble on this one as somehow it had escaped my pre-trip research. It has a wonderful selection of high quality yarns which had me wanting to buy more than just a little something to remind me of Berlin. This shop suited me the best of these two, I confess I’m dying to go back. One of the things I liked about it was that it had Lang yarns which I can’t get in Geneva. Given that Lang is Swiss, I find this most mysterious. Lang make lovely yarns you can buy in France or Germany, but not, apparently, in Geneva! But the range here is plentiferous, many labels, angora, cashmere, beautiful tweeds, interesting specialty accent yarns as well as good quality straightforward knitting yarns. English is spoken! Here I took away two balls of angora and a ball of tweed wool I’m hoping will look good together.
I don’t recall a place to knit downstairs here, but there is a table on the street level outside the shop where it would be very pleasant to knit on a nice day.
(2)The other yarn shop area we went to was Mitte Kollwitzkiez Prenzlauer Berg.
We went first to handmadeBerlin. Another splendid shop, quite different again in stock. This shop specialises in Handmaiden and Ito, so we are talking high end here. There are samples knitted up, bits and bobs, of course and facility to sit and knit. I was torn here too, so much I wanted to buy. I came away with some Handmaiden sock yarn, plush in feel, a lovely red. Really looking forward to knitting it.
Loops has a vast array of stock over two rooms. Again very helpful staff who speak English. There is a strong accent on German yarns here and not as high end as the other shops, so if you want more basic workman yarns, I’d say this is the place. But nonetheless I managed to come out with a couple of balls of Annie Blatt super angora. This is one of my very favourite yarns for winter and it was a great price, about half the cost of the same yarn in Switzerland. Bargain!
We loved Berlin and will certainly be going back, so I hope to visit some of the other shops – and revist these – soon. I will report.