Sunday, November 24, 2013

campaña por la lana

The Campaign for Wool was begun by the Prince of Wales and has spread to many cities, Madrid being one of them

I have mixed feelings about the Campaign here in Madrid and you will shortly see why. (Although the rumors that they used acrylic yarn last year are not true.)

First lets watch the video from last year, the English version, and you can see what a great and spectacular show that was put on last year, 2012.

Also here is a link to my bi-lingual post about last year's Campaign.

This years's Campaign was smaller, which I suppose was to be expected. The economy in Spain is not good, and the government seems to be making it worse. There was only 2 educational/showcase spots for the Campaign this year. 

But there were sheep in the sidewalk of Serrano in Madrid's most elite shopping district.

Doing what sheep do.

Next to the sheep was an English garden complete with knitted accents.

There were a couple of informative posters here and there. I was very surprised and pleased to see this one detailed 5 different breeds of Spanish sheep. You rarely see something this educational about wool here. However, I think that they must be the 5 most famous breeds of sheep in the country because there is actually at least 52 Spanish breeds. But I suppose that the point of the Campaign is to reach the average person and promote the usefulness of wool, not to reach and educate crafters of wool. (Click to enlarge.)

This next sign was not illustrated (or checked over) by any one that has ever really worked with wool. Still I suppose that the educational spirt was there. (Click to enlarge and see the pictures.)

There were also little informative signs in the garden.

The stroke of genius this year was that someone had the idea to hire male models to walk the sheep around and answer questions while being dressed in wool like a chic shepherd. Last year there were a lot of female models wearing the latest in wool (and little of it). This year's models resemblance to the shepherds of the past combined with the chic "tweed" look of today was perfect. (No they did not know much about wool, but they were super helpful.) 

Either more stores participated this year or the route between the two educational spots was well lined, because almost every store you walked by was participating.

Some of the uses of the wool in the displays were...interesting, but maybe that's the fashion world for you.

The great thing about coming out to this shopping district (it is not someplace that I do regularly) was seeing that a lot of the well to do people were wearing a lot of wool already. The tweed look is very in right now, it is avery wool friendly look and I love it.

The store with this type of sign were not selling yarn, much to my disappointment, but the displays were super cute.

The second educational spot, a pop up store, located off of Calle Jorge Juan definitely got high points for presentation.

There were goodies and information packets. Here is where I have mixed feelings about the campaign. I love wool, I love to teach others about wool and the crafts associated to it. I know that for the general public too much information can be a bad thing...
but look at those "wool" samples on the table. They are in cute little boxes with a baby on them. There was NO information on them, save the advertiser's: Woolmark. No fun facts, no information indicating what the fiber is, no reasons for the sample in the first place. was silk (I did a burn test on both). OK silk is a natural fiber, but that is not the point, is it? Also this type of silk is not a renewable resource, the worm dies in the process. Silk does not promote the use of wool. Also Silk is generally more expensive than wool, why give it out as a sample indicating (by it's presence in the Campaign, not information on the box) it as wool?

There were two kinds of samples and the other was a very soft merino wool (not that you could tell from the boxes). The samples of wool were a nice touch.

But something to make you spinners cringe... the wool samples were cut into lengths. Shudder.

There was an area where people could learn how to knit, and they were knitting with wool. A very good idea. More knitters equals more demand for higher grade wool, and maybe down the road, the demand for breed conservation and the conservation of colored fleeces.

This little girl is an early convert and was singing "Paseo de la lana!" (Avenue of wool is a rough translation) over and over as she walked behind us to the pop-up store.

Do you have mixed feelings about this campaign for wool as well? Or is a little education (even if some of it is misrepresented) better than nothing?

Friday, November 22, 2013

A day in Retiro

A many of you might know Madrid has a huge park in the center, kind of like Central Park in New York City. Javi and I do not go there often enough.  We went a week or so ago to try and catch the last vestige of the fall color.

I also wore the saddle-shoulder cabled cardigan I had made almost three years ago in hopes of getting better pictures of it. I am not sure that they are the best photos ever, but it was fun to play model in the park. The pattern I roughly followed is the Aran Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman, it is the January pattern in the knitters Almanac. I need to try putting in the zipper again, because it does not sit right. The sweater is a little large on me, but full of cabley goodness. For those of you with a Ravelry account my project notes are here. (Click to enlarge)

We decided we wanted to go to the Crystal Palace next to see what was exhibited there. There is always an exception, and they are always strange, and free. The Palacio Crystal is an elegant structure made out of glass. According to my quick internet search it was "It was built in 1887 to exhibit flora and fauna from the Philippines." It is an elegant piece coved with frescos.

And the pond it sits behind is always elegant, especially in the fall.

 The exhibit took us several minutes to figure it out, we finally had to go and get a pamphlet explaining the exhibit. The "piece" is the walk way shown below. The purpose was to elevator the walker to see a different view of the place that had never been seen before. It was great fun to hear the comments that people were making. Especially the older Spaniards.

Have you been to Retiro park in fall?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Granada - part 4 Albayzin

After the gardens we decided to walk to the Albayzin neighborhood (the one on a near-by hill that you saw so many times from the Alhambra). Based on our basic map we went looking for what looked like a short cut. I am so glad that we did. The short cut actually passes through the Alhambra through a valley. It is the valley that separates the Generalife from the Nazarí. Here are some of the bridges that link the two parts.

You can also see the "Tower of the Princesses" from this side.

Because the path is at the bottom of the valley there is a charming tinkling stream. But be advised, after this point the path gets really steep. The kind of steep that means going down is almost as bad as going up.

There were great views of the Albayzin though. (that is the tower of San Nicolas on the top right.)

There were also views of sections of the medieval wall that once bordered the city.

At the bottom you can turn to see this view of the Alhambra scraping the skyline. It makes the journey so worth it. We stopped and had a caña, shopped at a local craft fair and enjoyed the view before tackling the steep streets of the Albayzin.

The streets are like a maze and you can find lost tourists everywhere, holding their smartphones and looking confused. We tried to keep the map checking to a minimum and headed up and to the left. we were looking for a look out point "el mirador de San Nicolas".

The view was definitely worth it. But I'll tell you a secret. The Mirador was PACKED with tourists, some of whom glared when you started taking pictures. How could you not take pictures of that view?

My secret is to visit this mosque, Mezquita de Granada, NE of San Nicolas. The gardens are beautiful, it is so peaceful and the view...amazing.

I hope you have enjoyed our visit to Granda. I know that we will be back one day.