In my ongoing quest to find yarn in Beijing, I tried another market recommended by the Beijing Guild. Maofangcheng is also known as the Fabric Market. From what I read, you can have wool and cashmere coats tailor made from any fabric shop inside the five-story building.
The first task was getting there. The market is located on the Northeastern side of the city just outside the 5th Ring Road, far from where I am staying.
It was well worth the trip. Among the five floors of wool, cashmere and silk fabrics, were almost two full floors of yarn shops. Two — floors — of — yarn. I only took a couple of photographs. All you have to do is imagine walls of yarn in store after store after store.
These cones are wrapped in fine thin threads of cashmere.
My first purchase was in Store #205 where I picked up this colorful wool and mohair blend. So festive!
I also could not resist these lovely purples.
In Store #315, I picked up five balls of this luscious cerulean blue yarn.
Next I found this jewel-toned mohair in Store #323.
I fell in love with this orange cotton and cashmere blend. It reminds me of creamsicles!
My last purchase was this amazingly soft cotton and cashmere blend that one of the ladies was using to knit a shawl.
I took this partial cake of unknown yardage. It is made up of 11 thinly spun threads.
As I was getting ready to leave, I decided to pick up a couple of crochet hooks.
I spent a total of ¥280 or about $46. Now how am I going to get all this yarn home?
I had been wanting to visit Tuanjiehu Park which is fairly close to where I am staying in Beijing. Then I received a tip from the contact at the Beijing Guild that the Tuanjiehu Market might have a yarn booth or two. That’s all I needed to know so off I went. The day was rainy but I was determined. After taking a subway, I found the park entrance.
Nearby, I spotted this romantic bridge.
I took cover from the rain under some branches where I was able to observe local Beijingers enjoying the park. This young girl in a pink kimono and traditional wooden shoes walked across the park trying to stay dry.
A young couple kept dry under a large umbrella.
Locals sat out of the rain under the gazebo. A husband and wife enjoyed a game of cards. Every now and then you could hear the loud slap of the cards on the bench.
I was delighted when I encountered this woman crocheting by the lake. She was making a dainty cardigan-like top to wear over a blouse. I bought this amigurumi bunny for ¥50. I paid too much but I wasn’t going to haggle for a hand-made item.
Many families were enjoying their outing. Kids were feeding the fish in the lake. The paddle boats were all lined up waiting for a sunny day.
After walking through the park, I found Tuanjiehu Market. There are several buildings selling different items – one had fish and meats, another fresh fruits and vegetables, and a larger building had rows and rows of stalls. The stalls were mostly filled with a variety of household items – notepads, pens and pencils, shoes, some kitchen items. There were several fabric stalls with women sitting at old sewing machines working on pillow covers and bedspreads.
I found one yarn stall. A man sat next to it on a small stool playing with a Rubik’s Cube knock-off. I managed to ask him if he carried natural yarns and showed him the characters for camel and mohair. He laughed. I took that as a no. I did not buy any yarn. The selection was limited and I wasn’t impressed with the colors or textures. I did find some other goodies, though. I picked up these cute nail polishes. I couldn’t resist the bottles. I paid ¥10 for both, or about $1.50 USD. The bags were ¥10 each.
At one point, it occurred to me that I was the only non-Chinese person in the entire market. It seems the market caters to neighborhood residents. Some of the vendors spoke a word or two of English but not much. It was fun listening and communicating in Chinese. Overall, a good day, despite the yarn fail.
One hazy day, we went to the Temple of Heaven Park. The air quality index was very high at 347 (hazardous) and reached a high of 477 (more hazardous) by evening. I’ve noticed that the worse the air quality, the cooler it gets, so overall it was a pleasant afternoon.
We gravitated toward a long passageway where many locals had congregated. There were countless groups of men and women playing lively games of cards.
As we continued, I was immediately drawn to a woman working with her hands. From afar I could tell she was crocheting! She had several of her handmade items for sale and even let me add a few triple crochet stitches.
The Long Corridor consists of covered passages connecting the Animal Killing Pavilion to the Divine Kitchen and the Divine Warehouse. From what I read, the night before a ceremony, the Long Corridor would be lit up with lanterns. Offerings of jade, silk, grains, and fruit would be stored there.
The Temple of Heaven is actually the name of the entire park covering 2.7 million square meters. During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the emperors held worship ceremonies here.
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is perhaps the most associated with the Temple of Heaven. Worship ceremonies were held here to pray for good weather and good harvests.
Near the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, there is a Seventy-Year-Old Door. According to the sign, it is so named because it was built for Emperor Qianlong as a shortcut to the ceremony when he was 70 years old and in failing health. Out of concern that his sons would abuse the convenience, he decreed that only his offspring who had reached the age of 70 could use the door. No other emperor in the Qing Dynasty reached that age so he was the only person to ever use the door.
Near the Seventy-Year Old Door.
The Nine Dragon Juniper is over 500 years old. The trunk is covered with grooves that resemble nine dragons twisting around the tree, hence the name.
The next stop was the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The surrounding wall is called Echo Wall because of the acoustics.
The last stop was through these gates to the Circular Mound Altar, which is the actual temple of heaven as this is where the emperors sacrificed to Heaven. By then, there were many visitors and it was impossible to get a good photo of the Heavenly Center Stone.
After walking the length of the park, we were ready for a nap.
Walking the grounds of the Lama Temple offered a respite from the busy week. Known as the “Palace of Peace and Harmony,” the Lama Temple (Yonghegong) was originally the home of an emperor. It is a Mongolian-Tibetan temple and monastery dating back to the late 16th century.
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The Lama Temple is located at 12 Yonghegong Dajie, Beixinqiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Yonghegong Lama Temple subway stop on Line 2.