This month of June has brought lots of things. One of them has to do with the weather. I live in a country that is very dry and complains of the lack of rain. There’s an old rhyme that goes like this: “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.” I have no idea what the heck plain the rhyme talks about. Spain has a very rugged, bumpy terrain. Anyway, within the valleys there are some nice stretches of land – brief ones – but they are not, strictly speaking, what we might envision as plains. The rhyme is featured in the comedy Pygmalion which is also known as My Fair Lady, so maybe George Bernard Shaw was just making a little joke about Spain having plains. The flat lands don’t look like plains, to me, but rather like desert interrupted by hills.
Anyway, the rain here is quite excessive, at least for my domestic existence. So far this fair city of Valladolid has seen about two weeks of nonstop rain storms. It’s getting quite damp. Damp and cold. Usually by now – where I live, at least, – it’s hotter than hell itself. Not this year. June seems a lot like April and February. Chilly. I’ve washed, dried, and stored my wool sweaters and wish I hadn’t. It gets so cold at night sometimes that there can be some ice mixed with the rain. But hey, I have some nicely newly done afghans. I’m under one right now.
This month’s theme also links to having to be in Madrid an exaggerated amount of time. June here in Valladolid is usually hot. A Madrid June is hotter, usually. I’ve been wearing jackets there to stay warm this month. Totally weird! One of the most amazing temperature quirks in Spain’s capital is that the subway feels like room temperature. Usually by June it gets suffocatingly hot in the stations.
Anyway, let’s get to my point: All people interested in crafts should rejoice about going to Madrid because the biggest tourist magnet, called “Kilometer Zero,” or “Puerta del Sol,” is next to the ultimate craft supply district. After having your photo taken with a person disguised as a huge version of a cartoon character, taking photos of the big “Tío Pepe” sign, and checking out the Plaza Mayor, you can shop for craft supplies. I’m convinced that craft addicts could spend an entire day in this area of the city. This is unusual for typical tourists, who perhaps spend a couple of hours there.
Another funny thing is that craft supply stores in Spain also sell lingerie as well as regular old underwear. So, if you happen to need some hosiery and panties, you can get them along with your yarn!
Anyway, I have had to be in Madrid, so one day I shopped for craft supplies. Quite the bargain. If you ever go to Madrid, and you like to do crafts, you will no doubt visit first “Kilometer Zero” which is “La puerta del sol.” Just off that, you’ll find all this (caution: photo montage ensuing):
This looks really good, doesn’t it? I have to say: it’s awesome. Crafters míos, go to these shops. Buy what you like. Keep them alive. Learn a little Spanish beforehand, though, because in these types of stores you have to ask for things. The clerk stands behind the counter with the merchandise. You order your stuff and the shop assistant retrieves it for you and rings it up at the register. So, if you’re looking for a particular item, make sure you know the word for it so you can ask for it. Knowing your numbers will also get you far.
From the photo gallery you might recognize the name of a shop, “El Gato Negro.” That’s where I got my yarn for the crochet sweater I designed and offered for free here on this blog. They sell wool by weight, so you can ask for it in units of 100 grams. I’ve also included a picture of Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. El Gato Negro is right next to it, on Calle de la Sal (that means “Salt Street”).
And what did I buy? I bought some canvas at the fabric shop which calls itself a sedería-lanería, which means a silk and wool shop. They also have other fabrics made of cotton and, of course, canvas. I needed the canvas for my dragon project. The place had exactly the right color I needed, which is a kind of orange-red.