Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bendigo Woollen Mills - The Backroom

I haven’t done as much traveling as I would like, and there are still many destinations I would like to visit such as Italy and New York among the top of my list.  I managed to visit one destination that I’ve pined for …and that is… the Bendigo Woollen Mills (BWM)!  I’ve bought yarn from them online over the years, but I’ve had my heart set on the famous “back room” filled with discounted yarns. Discount and yarn ~ just music to my ears.

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Alexandra Fountain, Bendigo

Recently I discovered that my friends Tess and Julie also knit so what a great way to spend Saturday (thank you Julie for driving two hours each way). It was also the weekend of The Australia Sheep and Wool Show and I heard from a colleague that BWM re-stock their back room during this weekend.

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The sun was out and the sky was blue, Bendigo was truly glorious despite the cold. We trawled through four thrift stores around the city, and if you're looking for craft supplies, head to the RSPCA op shop at 98 Queen Street where the knitting needles are neatly wrapped and buttons packaged in snap lock bags and sorted by colour ~ super organised!

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After lunch at The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery, we headed to the BWM and passed a yarn bombed tram (regretfully I wasn't quick enough to take a photo).  Yarn prices online range from A$12 ~$17 per 200 gram ball, and the prices in the back room are not that much cheaper; but in comparison, other pure wool yarns retail from around A$6 for 50 grams so BWM yarns are very reasonable.  I found a blue ball (bottom left in the photo below) for A$10.50 but the tab doesn't indicate which range it's from, and the rest of the balls are from the Luxury range at A$12.50 per ball from the main shop.  The yarn in the bags are an excellent back room find. The two bags of mauve wool/alpaca blend cost A$12 per bag (200 grams), and the cream and marled grey priced at A$25 per bag (10 lots of 50 gram balls in a bag).

The back room also had some beautiful colours in 5 and 10 ply (from memory the 5 ply was around A$3 for 50 grams), baby wool, some cashmere/wool blend at A$6 per 50 grams but unfortunately I don't need a pack of 10.  I was tempted to buy more Murano for another cozy blanket, but the price remained at A$12 (and now I'm kicking myself ~ I should have bought it since I was there).  Anyway, I sort of stuck to my wish list (with the Luxury yarns anyway) and was under budget... so I should have bought more!
 
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As we were kicked out of the BWM (which closes at 3pm on Saturdays), we managed to fit in the Undressed: 350 Years of Fashion in Underwear exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.  Despite its restrictiveness, there were some beautiful corsets (one was hot pink from the late 1890s!), lace negligees and one of my favourite pieces, a pale pink tulle petticoat from the 1950s.  They had some male undergarments on display as well ~ not many pieces preserved since they were not kept clean, ick!

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A wonderful day at Bendigo, I would return in a heartbeat... sure is closer than Italy and New York!

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