Knitting in Moscow4:33 PM
Sometimes you need a little break, and what would be a better destination for a romantic getaway than Moscow?! Well, on our honeymoon we travelled across Siberia on the Transsiberian railway, so any travels in Russia mean romance to us. To start the weekend properly, it was champagne and knitting during the flight. It was maybe the fifth time for me in Moscow, but the first time flying. Shame shame, when there's a perfectly good train connection. This time we had to compromise, though, as spending two nights on the train would have meant two more nights of babysitting for my parents.
I had asked a Moscow knitter @liss_ssa on Instagram for some advice on knitting destinations in Moscow, and it turns out that one of the local yarn shops that she recommended is located in Flacon design factory that I had been wanting to visit for quite some time. So, after arriving to Belorusskaya station with the airport express from Sheremetyevo, we took the metro to Dmitrovskaya and headed to Flacon. At lunch we noticed that what used to be Caffe Americano is now Crimean Coffee. Remember freedom fries, anyone?
After lunch it was time to visit the lovely Ili-ili yarn shop. There was a knitting class taking place as we came to the shop, so there wasn't much room for any serious shopping. Shopping was also slightly difficult, as there weren't any price tags. With the major fluctuations in currency, the prices are calculated with the daily exchange rate when you buy something. But hey, who wants to look at the price tag when buying yarn, right?! I found a lovely chocolate colorway of Malabrigo sock. When asking about the price the answer was "about 700 rubles". Well, the price I paid was 1060... I also bought a pair of KnitPro needles, as the long needles that I had with me were a bit too long for my handbag. After opening the package I was absolutely delighted to notice the shop's URL printed on the needles - it's really a souvenir!
Flacon is a really cool place to visit even if you don't visit yarn shops during travels. There's a Super heroes shop that sells Russian make and design t-shirts with super hero prints. So souvenirs for the kids were sorted out also and Superman and Monster high t-shirts were well appreciated by the little ones. There are many other design shops as well, and I found a perfect tunic at Sasha Fi. Matches the yarn I bought, so I'm thinking about the shawl on my try this list. There's also a shop that sells knits, so if you don't feel like knitting yourself, you can buy something or just find inspiration there.
During afternoon coffee I noticed that Anna Chapman (remember, the spy) was sitting at the next table. At first I thought that it can't be her, as everyone else was acting like it's perfectly normal to sit next to her at the Market bar. Well, as we got out I noticed that she has a shop across the yard, so it IS normal for everyone else to see her having lunch there.
As we were going out I stopped to look at the window of Ili-ili for a bit. "Go on, go inside, see if you can find something more that you'd like to buy!" - this is what it feels like to be loved!
On Saturday we wanted to visit Stalin's bunker at Taganskaya, but we were thrown out of the museum and told to call and make a reservation. As the Vysotsky museum is just around the corner, we decided to go there instead. And as one of the yarn shop recommendations I got was also in that neighborhood, we visited the Viving shop as well. The shop was nice and had some lovely silk yarns, but I wouldn't recommend the Planeta shopping mall unless you would like to experience the less fancy old type of Russian malls.
In the evening we visited the Winzavod centre for contemporary art to see the Best of Russia photography exhibition. The exhibition was great and also the Winzavod area was again more like Flacon; an old wine factory turned into galleries and bars.
On Sunday there was one more yarn shop on my list, Triskeli, which is located in the same area as the VDNH. As we had visited VDNH on our previous trip to Moscow, I decided that I can do one day without yarn shopping and we went to Krasny Oktyabr instead. One more old factory area turned into hipster heaven with design shops, bars etc. More souvenir shopping at T-shka and it was time to have lunch and head back to the airport.
A weekend of relaxing, eating great ethnic food that you can't get in Helsinki (we tried Armenian, Uyghur and Georgian), and hanging out at old factories. Oh, and yarn shopping and knitting! Knitting at cafes and restaurants did draw attention, but the only comment I got was from a waitress: "you are doing that so fast!". I also learned that on exit row of an aircraft you can't knit during take off and landing. "Because the needles are sharp and everything." Right.