Craftster Community

CITY GUIDES FOR CRAFTSTERS => ASIA => Topic started by: schnerby on August 11, 2009 08:29:37 AM

Title: China?
Post by: schnerby on August 11, 2009 08:29:37 AM
Any craftsters in mainland China?

Title: Re: China?
Post by: schnerby on August 11, 2009 10:02:35 PM
OK, well for any visitors....

Silk is plentiful here, as is fake silk. You can learn to tell them apart, but it's a great fabric to work with.

Don't miss the fabric market if you get to Xi'an. It's huge, has every imaginable fabric, and is CHEAP!

Like other Asian nations, China is keen on random little trinkets.

The main crafts are crochet, knitting, beading (with big plastic beads) and cross stitch. Sewing machines are rare, and mostly treadle.
Supplies for these crafts are readily available.

Title: Re: China?
Post by: SlyBetty on August 14, 2009 12:04:50 PM
I'm about to move to Beijing for a year with my husband's band. Thanks for the tip on sewing machines! I figured I would buy one when I got there, but I'll have to rethink that. What about general art and craft supplies? Are they hard to find?

Title: Re: China?
Post by: schnerby on August 14, 2009 07:15:42 PM
You can find electric sewing machines, they just aren't very common. If you were to find onw, Beijing would be your place! Pretty much anything you can find in western countries you can find in Beijing. Also, since you can pick clothing up cheaply it is a good source of fabric.

Chinese brushes and inks are very common, but there are real art shops in Beijing too. Plenty of fabric to be found, although it's not as easy to find as Xi'an. Chinese women love their knitting and cross stitch, so if you do either of those you will be fine.

I have friends in Beijing, so if you need any particular addresses let me know. I live out in the sticks, so supplies can be harder to come by for me.

Title: Re: China?
Post by: schnerby on September 09, 2009 10:32:07 PM
For anyone who does go to Xi'an the fabric market is on Wenyi Lu (Wenyi Road). You go out the South Gate and a little South of the city. It's probably best to take a taxi there. Also, the shopkeepers won't speak English - so a Chinese speaking friend always helps. Either way, they bargain with calculators, so you can make do with no Chinese.

The market is on both sides of the street. One whole section on the west of the road towards the south of the market only sells buttons, findings, trim, zips and the like. I love that place!

A little south of the market on the west side of the road is the tea market. Here you can find tea sets, wooden tea tables, tea (of course) and pottery. Not a bad visit.

Just inside the South Gate is Art Street, really worth visiting!

If anyone is visiting and needs the addresses in Chinese characters for taxis PM me and I'll send them your way. Most internet browsers don't automatically read Chinese characters.

Title: Re: China?
Post by: piaochong on October 09, 2009 03:58:19 AM
...also Xi'an has the 'Muslim quarter' which has a lot of interesting and beautiful textile... i have only been there once, so i am not sure if this is what you have already mentioned?

I will be returning to China next year and it will be very handy to know where these things are, though i will be in Shandong and not in Shan'xi!

good advice!

Title: Re: China?
Post by: schnerby on October 09, 2009 04:42:31 AM
The Muslim Quarter (huimin jie) in Xi'an is currently having a facelift, so it's a bit smaller than usual. Because it's a bit of a tourist drag it can be hard to find genuine stuff, but some of the smaller shops have some lovely textiles.

The Xi'an fabric market sells new fabrics, but it is pretty cheap.

The southern provinces have hand woven textiles of all types and Xinjiang province has hand woven carpets and Central Asian design fabrics. Love it.

Piaochong, please let us know what you find in Shandong. Going to Jinan?

Title: Re: China?
Post by: bleedingfingertips on May 11, 2010 04:29:04 PM
I am working in China and will do so for atleast a year to come. For now I am stationed in Fuzhou / Fujian province. If you compare this city to Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou it is tiny but compared to a swedish city it is quite big.

As with everything in China, you have to find the right street/block for what you are searching. I was about to give up, searching for sewingmachines, fabric and sewing supplies/accessories. Then my girlfriend (native chinese) got fed up with my wiening and did some research. She got some hints of where to look and after finding the "Sewing machine street", finding sewing machines was no problem anymore.

The situation was the same with fabric and sewing accessories. Not a trace in the whole city for sewing DIY supplys. After some tips we went to a very anonymous entrance to a warehouse that absolutely didn't give away what was inside. In there there was 3 floors totally cluttered with fabric shops, button shops, thread shops, rivet shops, you name it.

And the prices here is close to redicilous if you compare them to Swedish prices :)

Title: Re: China?
Post by: SlyBetty on May 12, 2010 06:00:47 AM
While I was in Beijing I discovered the fabric district after a lot of hunting around.  The big place to go here is called Muxiyuan Market.  It is close to the Muxiyuan Bridge, but not exactly at it.  It is actually located on Nansanhuan Lu in Fengtai.  We were dropped by a taxi at Muxiyuan Bridge, and then walked down Nansanhuan until we reached it.  On the way we started to see spatterings of sewing machine repair shops and carts with notions, ribbons, etc.  Eventually we found the market itself, spanning both sides of the street.  It's a pretty good sized market.  All the shops are in separate stalls with piles of bolts of fabric.  When you get deeper in the market you'll find beads, buttons, and notions.  I wouldn't say this market caters to tourists by any means.  It is a little daunting to navigate and the vendors aren't always handy, but certainly worth a look, and would be your best, if not only place to get sewing supplies in Beijing.  Here's a link to some more info on Muxiyuan: (

Title: Re: China?
Post by: schnerby on May 12, 2010 10:25:44 PM
Ah ha! Now I know where the Beijing one is!

If it's anything like the Xi'an market I would take someone who can speak Chinese if you can't speak it yourself. You must, must, must bargain!

THese places are there, you just have to know where to look!

Title: Re: China?
Post by: SlyBetty on May 19, 2010 06:33:53 PM
If you don't have Chinese speaking friend on hand, you can always bring a ruler and a calculator with you. One thing I learned about Beijingers is that they want to make that sale. They won't let a little thing like language get in the way. Be brave, my crafty friends!

Title: Re: China?
Post by: pattisezhang on January 09, 2011 04:49:31 AM
Why there is so few people?  >:( :(

Title: Re: China?
Post by: saralynne on May 07, 2011 12:26:21 PM
I am going to be visiting Shanghai soon, and wondered if anyone has tips on where to buy craft supplies- specifically fabrics and yarn super cheap!

Title: Re: China?
Post by: schnerby on May 10, 2011 04:33:13 AM
Hi there.

I havent been to Shanghai since 2001, so I can't be really specific. Thet great thing about Chinese merchants is they gather together by what they sell, so if you ask around you will be able to find the fabric district. Ask wherever you're staying and often someone can call someone they know who knows someone who knows. Knitting is big with Chinese women so finding knitting stuff shouldn't be a problem.

Title: Re: China?
Post by: c*lientje on July 10, 2011 04:59:59 PM
Hello, I'm about to move to China in three weeks time - exciting! I'm going to be spending the first month in Beijing to do a teaching English course, and towards the end of August I will be moving to a yet unknown city anywhere in China where I'll be teaching in English at a local school for one semester. Afterwards, I'll have two weeks to travel from Beijing back to Hong Kong before I'll fly back home. I'm already looking forward to spending my free weekends browsing through local shops to pick up supplies so I can do a bit of crafting during my internship :)

Title: Re: China?
Post by: femiknit on July 20, 2011 08:08:14 AM
I'm moving to Shanghai in August and I'm a knitting fool so I'll fill you in on where to find yarn once I get there.  I'm excited to hear that the Chinese like to knit.  I don't want to be a lonely knitter while I'm there!

Title: Re: China?
Post by: c*lientje on September 19, 2011 07:39:55 AM
Am currently living in Foshan, but I haven't been able to find anything more crafty than origami paper yet. (Having said that, those little origami stars are addictive...!) So I'll keep looking around for some shops. Finding a bead and/or papercraft shop would be a dream come true...

Title: Re: China?
Post by: schnerby on September 22, 2011 01:44:25 AM
I've found plastic beads for making those odd little macrame-style sculptures around, but had trouble finding any others. Art supply/calligraphy places all have a range of fun papers and you could always watercolour/ink them for more colourful finishes