Monday, 15 February 2010

l'aiguille en fete, paris

Loop yarn shop had a stand at the 'needle fair', l'Aiguille en Fete in Paris last week and I went along at the weekend to help out, or rather to hinder sales with my pigeon French. I understand quite a bit of the language but tend to dry up in fear when I have to speak it, so I stuck to such reliable terms as point mousse (garter stitch) point tricot (stocking stitch - except apparently it is not, it is 'jersey' oops! See comments below), tres doux (very soft), the numbers for prices, grams, meterage and needle sizes and the trusty old Parlez-vous anglais? when all else failed!

It was really interesting to compare and contrast the fair with British alternatives such as the Stitch and Knit show. There were very few yarn stalls and the French crafters were intrigued by many of the yarns on Loop's and Habu's stands which we knit with frequently in Britain, such as the hand dyed sock yarns and unusual fibers we are used to. Most of the fair consisted of needle point and cross stitch, although there were a few things that caught my eye. There was an incredibly cute toy kit stand, la Sardine and you know that I cannot resist a plushie textiles creature.
I also spent most of the spare time I had poring over the Japanese book stall Junkudo. I have long admired Japanese craft books, but had yet to make a decision on which of the many beautiful books to buy. However, it almost proved more difficult having the hard copies there to thumb through as I found I wanted them all! I succumbed eventually to this retro styled amigurumi book which reminded me of some pictures I have of myself as a child with my own toys. I also really wanted a sewing book, however I spent most of Sunday agonising over which one to buy - I know from my previous forays into sewing that I would not end up using them all, so I was very restrained and decided on the simple tunics and one piece book, as it seemed the simplest.

The draping book, while fabulous, may be beyond me and the one with the fantastic grey dress with pockets on the front (regular readers note; my dress/pocket obsession is getting ridiculous) had no other patterns I liked.

Aside from the Japanese book stall, my favourite part of the fair was an amazing cross stitch exhibition. This was so fabulous, it needs another post, so stay tuned for a lengthy post on vintage needlepoint and artefacts and in the meantime feast your eyes on the la Tour Eiffel at the top of the post in glorious textured cross stitch to tide yourself over 'til then.

I cannot leave you without sharing a great and very apt picture, which I promised the lovely Juju I would post. Outside of the fair, it seemed the needle fever had spread throughout the city, as across from our hotel was the amazing 'Knitting Pig' restaurant. It was actually called Au Cochon de Lait, but the sight of the milk laden pig knitting ecstatically in the sign was all we needed to change its name. So there you go dearest internet, even the livestock knit in Paris; now I feel my affinity with the country of my ancestors even more...


mon bouton said...

I would have loved to come to l'Aiguille en Fête to check the Loop stall, but was too far away from Paris those few days. It's a pity because as you say, it could have been a fabulous opportunity to buy some other yarn than the poor ones currently available on the French market. You have to understand that in France we are still at the very beginning of the kniting renaissance. Hopefully in a few years the situation will have evolved, and wonderful yarn will be easy to purchase from everywhere (*sigh* - *dream*). On a side note, stockinette stitch is not 'point tricot', but 'jersey' (see where it comes from ? :). You therefore say 'jersey endroit' for plain St st and 'jersey envers' for reverse St.


claire montgomerie said...

Thanks for that sophie - I was reliably informed at the fair that st st was 'point tricot' so I must've seemed like a typical ignorant foreigner who couldn't be bothered to learn the lingo!!

Lots of people reflected your views on the yarn - remember that we Brits were about 5 years behind the US with knitting, and yet we have got there with the fabulous yarns and patterns, so I am sure the French market will catch up soon. Although I do hope it doesn't do away entirely with the old ways - I love those old French shops where they weigh out the amount of yarn you want and wind it off the skein!
Thanks for the tips - I am hoping to go back next year so I can try out your correct phrasing! :)

Julia said...

See, I wish we had a show with more yarn. I went to aguille en fête à couple of years ago, but was quite frustrated with the offer. I do shop almost all my yarn online.

claire montgomerie said...


I am so thrilled that you have posted on my blog - your bow cardi from interweave crochet is one of my favourite crochet patterns...not that I have had enough time to make it :( such is the life of a textiles designer - never enough time to make anything for myself!
the internet is truly a great resource - have you ordered from loop before? c x

Susannah @ Art Nest said...

What a beautiful blog you have! I was sent here by a friend!

claire montgomerie said...

thanks so much susannah - i love yours too - i follow you on twitter already :)

juju said...

Thanks Claire!! Love that knitting Pig!

Cath said...

I spent a lot of time at the Loop stall. The yarns shown are much different with what we can find here in France... and I "fell in love" with the Wagtail yarn which is so nice and soft.
I am used to visit the Salon Aiguilles en Fête every year and I a really happy to see more and more yarns every year.
Happy to have discovered your very beautiful blog.

claire montgomerie said...

thanks so much Cath! Did you buy the Wagtail? and have you made anything with it yet?!