Adelaide is a lovely, chilled out city. On the surface, it can appear just a large country town – a little bit bland and conservative. But not far below the surface is a thriving cafe and bar culture and some seriously awesome crafty treasures. Here’s the highlights from a weekend in the City of Churches.
Bennett & Gregor
On the Friday I took a punt and headed up to Bennett and Gregor coloured yarns in Gawler. I say ‘took a punt’, because I wasn’t entirely sure what the range was like and, as they had been a little vague on the phone, whether they would be open. Happily, it was more than worth the hour-and-a-half round trip. They had a beautiful range of wool from coloured sheep in nearly a dozen different shades and blends. The yarn is super-soft and (from the samples I saw) knits up with a soft, but clear, stitch definition.
Nancy, one of the owners, was lovely, showing me the various offerings and discussing the commercial spinning options (or lack thereof) in Australia and the alternatives in New Zealand. I left with two hanks of Wattlebark (a light chocolate) and one of Tawny Owl (a blend of three colours).
Knitting at the Wheaty
The next crafty delight came at The Wheatshelf Hotel. The Wheaty (as it’s known) is consistently touted as ‘The Best Pub in Australia’ and I have to agree. It’s just so damn good. There’s always an amazing selection of beer, plenty of staff on, and a mixture of seating areas. Plus everyone is just so nice.
On Thursday night when I’d arrived, my friends were already in beer tasting. I spotted a lady knitting, got talking to her and we became fast friends. That’s just what happens at The Wheaty. Clare was waiting for her husband to emerge from the same tasting and we happily passed the time swapping knitterly and other stories. When I mentioned that I’d hoped to buy yarn from one of the bar staff (a dyer), Clare said she’d hoped to do the same thing! And when we mentioned it to Clare’s husband, he then mentioned it to Leah, who promptly came and ‘cleaned’ our table and organised to bring in some yarn the following day.
Again, this is just the sort of thing that happens at The Wheaty.
Hyena in Petticoats
The following afternoon found Clare and I rummaging through two bags of yarny delights from Hyena in Petticoats that had been curated to our tastes, while supping on delicious oyster stout and giggling like excited little girls. It was a perfect holiday moment. I was restrained and only purchased one skein of the beautiful Joni Mitchell (for my upcoming Fisk Hat), but I’ll definitely be ordering more from Leah’s online shop when I have the chance.
The Museum of Economic Botany
The last of the knitting-related delights was the drearily-named, but ever-interesting Museum of Economy Botany. The Museum takes it’s name from the older use of the world economic – that is, to be useful – and it thus houses the most amazing collection of plant specimens that humans have at one time or another, found useful. There’s information and specimens of plants that have been used as: food, shelter, decoration, medicine, poison, clothing, and much more. There’s a cabinet of dyes and fixatives, including the very eye-catching indigo, and, some beautiful examples a fuller’s teasel. I didn’t spot any hops, which was surprising, given there place in South Australia’s history, but perhaps I missed them.
Food & Drink
All this crafty and learning goodness needed sustenance! In addition to the Wheaty, I would heartily recommend:
Clever Little Tailor – for gin
Hey Jupiter – for breakfast, sandwiches, and ice chocolates
Chocolate Bean – for vegan chocolate cheesecake
Please Say Please – for sandwiches and tea
Any of the food trucks parked outside the Wheaty
Lobethal Beirhaus – for seriously good food and beer
Lobethal Road Wines – for wines