Reasons to be Cheerful- Yarn in BsAs


Mar 18, 2008
NO, I know its nowhere near as exciting as global economic meltdowns.

But life goes on.

And both my wife and I are long time crochet and knitting fans, and we love buying yarn in Buenos Aires.

There are all kinds of great, locally made products, priced very reasonably. While most known for cows, the country has long had huge quantities of sheep as well, which means local wool.

And just so everybody can argue the same old argument again, Yarn in Argentina is cheaper than in Europe or the USA, by far.

It is not uncommon in the USA for 100g of yarn, in nicer materials, to range from $10 to as much as $50 US. Yes, dollars.
While similar high quality yarns in Buenos Aires are a fraction of that much.

There is a long tradition of home crafts in Argentina, so there are great yarn stores all over.
My neighborhood favorite is Las Hollandaises, on Coronel Diaz, just off Sante Fe, with black and white photos on the wall of its early years in the 1920's. But there are similar small, owner run, friendly stores in every area. Lessons, patterns, and a great selection of yarns, in wool, cotton, silk, alpaca, mohair, llama and more are very common. Argentines love to knit.

The motherlode, however, is the stretch of Scalabrini Ortiz just south of Cordoba. There are at least two dozen yarn stores there, mostly the flagship stores of yarn manufacturing companies. The selection is incredible, the range of materials great, and if you knit or crochet, you will be in Heaven.

Another example of shopping local- I love finding things that are Industria Argentina- made in Argentina- especially when they are high quality, and cheap.
Reis, have you been to the ferita de matadores (sp?) every Sunday by the slaughter houses? Beautiful yarn from Patagonia there. And wonderful buttons.
Tom, your so touchy about the price thing. It tickles me...

I just totaled up the cost of a remodel here, high end products for sure (for here) what I consider standard quality at home, the best work available here or at home, doing a lot of the work ourselves, total redo of a raw interior, about 1200 square feet, by the time we're done, $100,000 US! Our architects and the workers are cheap. It's the products and materials that got us. Even with cash discounts sometimes up to 20% in the end it's the most expensive remodel I've ever done.

I'll go toe to toe with anybody who say's it's cheap to live here. I am learning to love Argentina, but I wont wear rose colored glasses. It is expensive for the value you get for many things. If yarn is cheaper, and your into yarn, you can put it on the list of stuff that passes the test for cheaper and in the end, balance it all out to find that living here is just as costly as living in the US. Apples, oranges, or orangutans...

Peace Bro...
Hotyogateacher, this remodel quote is a rip-off, are u sure you're not being had. What are they going to do for that? How many bathrooms, kitchen size etc..
My architect said an average small bathroom would be us$ 5-7000
HYT perhaps you need to scrap the solid gold doors and lamé carpets, either that or sack your builders.
Dear HYT (Annie), I think you wrote the wrong person (Nancy, not Tom, wrote the response to Ries who was talking about the inexpensive yarn) and Nancy never mentioned the price of yarn at the Ferita de Matadores but just suggested that Reis check it out. In addition to yarn from Patagonia, it is one great market.

Frankly, I disagree 100% about remodeling costs in Buenos Aires.
I have worked around design, architecture, and construction all my life, and am very familiar with prices in the USA, and I recently redid my apartment in BsAs, which is about the same size- and I spent between 1/5th and 1/4 the amount you state, depending on how much furniture you include in the total.

For that we did 2 complete new bathrooms, a complete kitchen, new floors in about a third, and refinishing the rest of the floors, all new electrical, light fixtures, water heaters, appliances, and a new heat and airconditioning system. Plaster, and paint, as well.

In virtually every case, if you follow my basic rule of "eating local", most things I bought were equal or higher quality, and usually half the price or less than equivalent US prices.

Maybe I just have totally different taste, I dont know- for instance, I have no idea what carpeting costs in BsAs, as I have none. But I do know that tile is a fraction of US costs- we had some made to order, and also used quite a bit of New Old Stock tile from the sixties and before, and installed, it was all much cheaper than material alone would be in the USA.
Similarly, stone countertops were cheaper, installed, than I paid just for material when I redid my kitchen in the USA.

Most of our light fixtures are antiques- and they cost about what you would pay for cheap chinese imports in the USA. Murrano glass, art noveau crystal, alabaster and bronze fixtures are everywhere in Buenos Aires, at costs that are higher than the Home Depot, but cheaper than at most dedicated lighting design stores- we have some beautiful 50's glass fixtures made in Buenos Aires that were $15 to $30 US- in the USA, for that price, you get plastic and brass plated tin.

We bought a lovely cast iron, claw foot tub, at the Pulgas, for about the same as a fiberglas tub at a home supply place in the USA.
Most of our kitchen is Franke/Spar appliances and sink- this is a swiss company, that does very high design stainless steel work, all made in Argentina, and my sink probably cost half what I would pay for a similar one in the USA, my stove hood less, and so on.
Made in Argentina plumbing fixtures are well below half of Kohler prices, for sand cast brass, chrome plated. I guess, if you compare them to made in china, chrome colored plastic and pot metal, they are more, but frankly, you can get that stuff at Easy, too.
In fact, when we were looking for new toilets, there was a pallet load of $25 chinese toilets at Easy. And then, two competing lines of very nicely designed Industria Argentina whiteware, priced at 1/3 to 1/2 prices for Kohler or similar good quality USA products. I think I paid $75 (US) for a toilet.
Glass brick was maybe half what it costs in the USA.
Kitchen cabinets, custom made, a bit higher, but still no more than 3/4 US prices.

I just did not see the prices for ANY construction materials being higher. Only imported stuff- sure, that Phillipe Starck bathtub was a thousand dollars...
I spent quite a bit of time, in many neighborhoods, selecting, designing, and buying, and found, in general, high quality, great deals on antiques, and good prices.
I ran into ONE grouchy guy, in the course of probably 100 or 200 different suppliers- compared to the construction supply scene in the USA, where every other person you talk to is a big grump.

Dont even get me started on furniture- in fact, I think that deserves its own thread.
HotYogaTeacher said:
...the price thing. It tickles redo of a raw interior, about 1200 square feet, by the time we're done, $100,000 US!

I told my real estate agent this is what you paid. He thought it was a quote and said I should tell you to get other bids. He went into shock when I told him it was already done and said some things about architects I didn't quite understand. I don't think they were favorable.

A friend of mine in San Francisco recently got a bid of $18,000 to remodel a small bathroom. The same job here should run about $6,000 (dollars).
Ries great post and very detailed in all what you have to say. To fully renovate an apartment using the best quality materials it can not be more than US 600 a metre. If you have paid more than US 50000 dollars for a 100 metre covered apartments renovation you have been conned ..

I can say that many architects here make lots of money out of materials and in many cases make more out of this than their labour costs. I would suggest that you always buy your own materials or use a trusted argentine friend to go shopping with. There are some excellent places in the capital federal to buy antiques, great bathrooms, kitchens and everything you require . You must look hard but there are huge price differences to the patient shopper.
HotYogaTeacher said:
Even with cash discounts sometimes up to 20% in the end it's the most expensive remodel I've ever done.

As the IVA tax rate is 21%, those cash discounts sometimes mean the seller is still receiving full price (if not more) and just not charging (or paying) the tax. Unless there is a legal factura (more than a simple receipt), both the buyer and seller are committing a criminal act.

As the tax is included in the "original" price of goods here, if the discount is 10%, the seller is likely pocketing the extra 11%. Ironically, some legitimate business offer discounts of 20% if you pay with a credit card and they always issue facturas.

Next time you are in the grocery store, read the sign at the checkout that cites the law...and the penalty. This applies to sales at the flea market and the gallerias in San Telmo as well.

A presupuesto is often given in lieu of a fautura. That is not in compliance with the law, either.

This form of tax evasion is probably the most common crime in Argentina and it adds up to massive losses of revenue to the government. Paying workers in cash also results in tax revenue loss, and they can sue for the taxes not paid on their behalf. In those cases, penalties and high interest rates on the unpaid taxes may also apply.