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Saturday September 28, 2013

Last week in India & Hong Kong

posted by: Amy Small

I spent my last week in Asia split between India & Hong Kong and finally made it back to Boston last Wednesday. It's so good to be home and this glorious fall weather, but what an amazing trip. While in India, I visited my favorite trim market Kinari Bazar for 1 full day. This crazy place is the biggest wholesale trim market for all of India. It's very difficult to get to and find, it took us a 1.5 hour car rid to get there and I was just across town in Delhi! The shops are tiny and jam packed with the most gorgeous trims ever. I tried not to go too crazy and buy everything in site. Somehow all of these shops have internet and tv's, very high tech despite the outside appearance. I love that about India! I will let the photos below do the rest of the talking.

I also worked with the spinners on a few new yarns in the last few days and finally got in a group photo! There are 15 ladies that make the yarn, sadly only 12 photographed here. Some were shy and not in that day. They look so fabulous spinning yarn in their colorful saris & salwar kameez. The best part of the trip was spending time with these ladies. 

The below photos are all of crazy kinari bazar.


The above pics shows the road into Kinari Bazar- wild!


Many of the stores are like this inside- you have to dig to find your treasures.



A shop that only sells embellished tassels, why don't we have these in the states?!


What I brought home from the market, this is a fraction of what I got :)


On either side of Kinari Bazar, you'll find little quiet streets like this that blow you away. The carved doors shown below are ancient.

Beautiful Indian architecture.


And no trip to India is complete without seeing  snake charmer! So crazy.


While in Hong Kong, I visited another amazing trim market called Sham Shui Po. It's insanely giant and serves all of Hong Kong and some of China. I like to get trim ideas there because they are so different than what I can find in India. Some of the trims found in Gypsy Garden (the flowers!) are shipped to us in India from Hong Kong. You'll also find the best jacquard ribbons and buttons here. Since I lived in Hong Kong for 5 years and haven't been back in 3, I also spent time catching up with old friends which was amazing.


The above pic is from Hong Kong- a park right next to my old apartment.  I miss it!


The street I used to live on.


Our old Knit Collage office- where we made all the yarn in the beginning. Now it's a fancy gallery with a weird burned chair out front.


The Hong Kong skyline from a run I went on along the peak. Makes me miss it!

Sunday September 15, 2013

My first week in India....

posted by: Amy Small

    Since Tuesday night, I've been in India, working with the women who make our yarns. I don't think there's a place on earth that inspires me more, from the scents to the textiles and everything in between. I love taking in as much of India as I can while here; the beauty, chaos, poverty, wealth, religions, and animals that somehow all co-exisist to make up this mind-boggeling and beautiful place.  There is also something so wonderful about Indian people we work with, life is so hard compared to our US standards, but Indians take challenges in stride and have an amazing resiliency, not to mention their warmth and generosity. I could go on about my love of India for ages...


     My trip started off with an early morning train to Punjab where we make the yarn, about 4 hours west of Delhi. The train stations are packed with people of all religions and stations in life, it has to be some of the best people/life watching ever. Many of the people there live at the station and are in total poverty and support themselves through begging. This is sadly something you become accustomed to seeing in India along with miles of slums, but it never gets easier to see.


      Once with the spinners, I was elated to see how smoothly our little spinning unit is running now.  It's night and day from my last trip. The women who spin can spin so fast and so much better than I will ever be able to.  And to think I was the one who taught them how to do it! Most markedly, the quality of the yarn has improved 100 fold. This week, I worked on some new yarn ideas and put them all into work. We also finalized our new labels (yay!) and talked through some production and shipping issues.  All and all a fantastic week that went by in a heartbeat. The week also included countless cups of chai tea, laughs with our manager, lunch at my favorite south Indian restaurant (dosas- yum!) and I even got to tag along to a Hindu festival chock full of fresh flower garlands, twinkle lights and painted elephants. Undoubtely an overwhelming and fantastic week.


    I took a few pics shown below. I'm heading to Hong Kong for a few days and when I'm back in India I'll get a more group shots. More India rants coming soon too!

How fabulous are Meera's toenail polish color and toe rings?

Meera in action, packed yarn and wheels all around her.

These ladies are threading daisy trims for our Daisy Chain yarn and making tiny pom poms and tassels for my newest yarn design.

This man works for us part time embroidering these metallic flowers, found in some colors of Rolling Stone. According to our manager, this is something only Muslim men are skilled at. I wonder why!

Our new fancy machine carder that still requires a person to guide the fiber but is so cool. 


A Hindu temple I visited one night...

No trip to India is complete without seeing a painted elephant! He was giving rides to small children, it seemed slightly unsafe to me :)

I love tuck tucks...that's what I call them, do you?

Especially beautiful one!

I'm pretty sure there are cones of yarn in there. No idea how he is able to ride with this much stuff!

Coconut dosa, my favorite!


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