OK, did I lose any readers from the title of my post? Hope not. :)
After spending most of the last 3 days inside, I was VERY happy to meet my new French friend, Fannie (say that 3 times fast), for a morning of yarn shopping. Even though I still have two sweaters to finish, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to check out the LYS (local yarn shops) and pick up some French fiber with Fannie (OK, promise, no more tongue twisters).
We started with Phildar in the Cours Julien, which is a chain of yarn shops here in France. I had already visited a location in Aix, but really didn't know much about the store when I was in there. Fannie told me how knitting was more popular here in France in the 70's, but then died out in the 80's and is still recovering today. Phildar has mostly mixed yarn (meaning that it's acrylic and another fiber which could be cotten, wool, lambswool, etc.). The store also has clothing in it, which is quite different from the yarn stores in the US. I wasn't too impressed with the selection, as I'm not a big fan of acryic or wool, but I felt I had to pick up something (and the prices were quite inexpensive). I found some nice pink yarn to make some handwarmers.
Our next stop was around the corner to Bouton D'Or. This store was more my style, as it had more yarn than clothing, lots of natural fibers, and some fibers I had never seen before...like yak and camel. Yak is on par with wool in it's itchiness factor (I'm very sensitive to wool). Camel, on the other hand, is more like baby alpaca, SO SOFT and the colors were gorgeous. I bypassed buying some camel this time, as I need to find a good pattern for it. I did buy some lovely baby alpaca (alpaga in French) yarn in two different colors for a scarf I want to make.
Our third store was somewhere in the city (I was a bit lost at that point). This store wasn't anything special. Most of the store was clothing, and most of the yarns were behind the counter where you couldn't touch them or look at them closely without asking the ladies for help. They did have some very nice knitting needles (very expensive too). We moved on to our last yarn shop for the day.
The last store, which actually is not far from where we are staying now, was the La Droguerie. When we walked in, I knew I was in a yarn store with the woman at the front desk knitting away, and the HUGE variety yarns along the wall. This store not only caters to yarnies, but also to those who make their own jewelry, and who are into other crafts. They have a large selection of buttons, but most impressive, was the wide range of colorful yarns. I found some bamboo yarn that I will purchase at a later date that was a great combination of blues. Fannie tells me there is another branch in Paris that has lines out the door of people waiting to get in.
After our yarn shopping, Fannie showed me some interesting shops around the city for kitchen goodies, herbs, spices, teas, milk & eggs, the Asian market, and the clothing market at the Cours Julien. We finished our trek with coffee at a cafe in the neighborhood. For those of you who don't know, I met Fannie on Ravelry, an online knitting community. I started chatting with her prior to moving here to Marseille, and she has been a tremendous help in moving here. I'm very happy to have met her.