I'm writing this feature with a certain amount of jealousy. …
Managed to squeeze in a quick trip to Paris last month, the sexiest city in the world, which of course included an essential trip to the pinnacle of wool shops, La Droguerie in Rue du Jour. I lived round the corner for a short but blissful time and bizarrely it’s one of the things I miss most about the place (although to be fair it’s a pretty long list).
There are 10 branches throughout France (and 6 in Japan) – I’ve only visited this and the one in Toulouse so I can’t compare with the others, but for me this particular shop has all the excitement and buzz of walking into a small hip record store. Customers excitedly discussing the possibilities suggested by gorgeous knitted garments hanging next to the vast array of yarns, rows and rows of buttons, beads, ribbons, feathers, accessories … a tricoteur’s heaven.
They solve the storage problem of large stock to fairly small shop ratio by displaying the yarn in skeins on the wall, then once the customer’s made a choice an assistant goes to the back of the store where the bulk of the stock’s kept to wind it into balls. I even managed to persuade my non-knitting friend Sibilla to buy some gorgeous powder blue alpaca for a scarf … now all I need to do is teach her to knit!
So this was my haul – 6 x 50g balls of yarn to feed my stash-monster. Haven’t got a plan for them yet but I love the cool tones and the yarn itself has got a great story behind it: it’s recycled (38% wool, 22% cotton, 40% ‘other’!) and came with a useful information card about the source – it’s made from unwanted jumpers and knitted goods donated to charity which are sorted into colours and fibre, then unpicked and broken down. The fibre is then then re-spun, atomised and washed … no dye is used, the colour you see is a result of the broken down fibres. Fascinating stuff eh?
Paris has had a long love affair with all things vintage and there’s plenty to love – decades of top-notch elegant fashion and design to plunder, but typically Parisians have tended to aim for the top end, so it’s nice to see some jumbly vintage shops popping up. After a steer from Sibilla and much elbowing in Freepstar I surfaced with a couple of great vintage dresses for 10 euros each, a cute red vanity case from down the road (which is going to double up as a knitting or crochet bag) and a rockabilly red gingham shirt from Kiliwatch.
Our last morning found us at Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves where I picked up the excellent Marie France magazine from February 1952 (see post header) for 1 euro – special knitting edition natch.