I see that my guessing game didn't generate much interest -- and there I thought I was being clever. Peg in Kensington wasn't too far off the mark when she suggested cheese -- cheese can indeed be found behind that pretty new age-y window,
but not the roquefort, brie or chevre of your classic French "cremerie." This window actually belongs to
a company that has done a slick job of re-inventing itself as kind of healthy, kind of trendy fast food at least in some parts of the world. Everyone seems to love MacDo in my old neighborhood.
Me, I walked right past and crossed the street to enter the new yarn shop called Elle Tricote. The name was familiar as I had discovered it a year or two ago while surfing Ravelry. The owner, designer Daniele Dietrich, first opened a shop in Strasbourg, along with a website where she started to sell her own kits. Euroflax and a variety of Noro yarns seem to be her favorite yarns but I also saw a gorgeous lacy coat knit in black Kid Mohair and some other intriguing, papery yarns turned into sheer summer wraps. I didn't dare to whip out my camera but Dietrich's creations can be seen here. I liked the way she used the color changes of Noro yarns to clever advantage in some elegant knitwear for children. A few more designs can be seen on Ravelry . Overall the shop is small, focused on just a few yarns. What makes the visit worthwhile is the knitwear, truly inspiring.
That said, now that a yarn shop had emerged in the old neighborhood, I felt a strong obligation to show my appreciation by finding something good to bring home -- not Noro or Euroflax, but something that evoked summer in Old Europe. And reader, I found it.
Katia Papiro, a crisp blend of 53% cotton and 47% linen, made in Spain, in a slightly faded shade of red. Geranium? Terra cotta? I can't quite decide. Nor can I decide yet what it will become, possibly a cardigan, possibly something very simple with a wide lace edging. All I know is that it will be heavenly to wear, assuming that summer comes to the Bay Area sometime in the next few weeks.
I make it a rule to avoid writing "Look what I bought" blog-posts, but... Since I am waxing nostalgic about my Parisian vacation, I might as well show you the knitting books that came home with me. Finding myself in the neighborhood of Les Halles one day, I decided to venture all the way to La Droguerie -- the best source, hands down, for buttons, trims and beads and also some exclusive yarns and patterns, and also the place in Paris with the worst and most-disorganized lines of frustrated customers.
Since I had found my perfect souvenir yarn at Elle Tricote, once at La Droguerie I skipped the hanks of linen, alpaca and mohair lining the walls and went straight to the books. I debated which one to bring home, and then I remembered that I had come a long, long way and that I might as well bring all the books I didn't own yet.
Two books focusing on accessories -- scarves, gloves, felted bags and more -- and two books of knitwear and sewing patterns for adults and children. The designers at La Droguerie remind me of Debbie Bliss. The patterns don't really stand out for their architecture or fine details of fit, but for their unbeatable color sense and their evocation of chic simplicity. To use a familiar but appropriate cliche, the books are pure eye candy.
La Droguerie has often partnered with the crafts magazine Marie-Claire Idees to publish some stunning afghans and blankets over the past fifteen years, and I keep waiting for a book with all those patterns of years past, including the pattern for my Hearts and Snowflakes blanket . I mentioned to the salesperson that I keep receiving requests for a copy of the pattern which is evidence enough that such a book would find a public. But she simply suggested that I send my readers to the shop. La Droguerie is a cool, quaint place, but internet-savvy? not so much.