I don’t go shopping very often. There’s a reason for that. See, my shopping philosophy (if you don’t love it, don’t buy it; but if you do love it, don’t hesitate) serves me very well in that it keeps my closets relatively free of those annoying “bargains” that turn out not to fit, or feel good, or make you happy; but it also means that if I stumble into the right (wrong?) shop, I occasionally catch slackjawed onlookers gazing at me in an expression of, well, awe and envy as I turn to go — leaving behind me plundered shelves, and a trail of exhausted, dazed assistants, panting in exhilaration as they cling to the walls for support. Budget be damned: it was there. It was perfect. Do you have a problem with that?
Which explains this.*
Actually, it’s not just my shopping philosophy that is to blame; it’s that and the slowly impingeing awareness of Christmas.
That’s two scarves, two gifts, right there. (Tilli Tomas. The sample in the store was exquisite, and to touch it! I could make dozens of these,** just give me the chance.)
This Artyarns Silk Rhapsody is for my mother; she has a thing for these colours, it’s practically a superstition. So this will be a stole, probably a Clapotis. I might be the last knitter on the internet to try that pattern, but that’s okay, I’m catching up. See this?
This, knitters, is for me. Lion & Lamb, in Watercolor. I have been waiting for just such a yarn for my first Clap: it had to be soft, silky but also warm and a leeetle bit fluffy, and of course it had to be in amazing colours. Oddly enough, in the end I went with what Clap was designed in. Funny that…
In fact it’s so perfect, I had to get some of this for one of my best friends — a gorgeous golden blonde from Joburg, much enamoured of rich African clay colours. (Which, if you could only see, is exactly what this is. Nathalie, the lovely woman in the shop, said it was autumnal. Of course she’s right. But in my head, it’s African sunsets.) She can make her own Clap. Don’t you wish you were her?
It’s not just yarn shops that have had the benefit of my spendies lately.*** I’ve also picked up a few books. Including, but not limited to, Decorative Knitting**** and Falling Cloudberries. Have you seen Falling Cloudberries? It’s the most amazing book. Technically a cookbook, it has a healthy dose of travel journal and art book thrown in. I’m not much of a one for following recipes, so don’t buy many cookbooks, but this was too irresistible. In fact I’ve been coveting it for years. It’s the kind of book you want to leave on the table and just stroke every now and then…
Decorative Knitting was a surprise find. Just as I don’t buy recipe books, I don’t buy a lot of pattern collections; I think this is a revelation of my very stroppy nature: don’t tell me what to do! Mostly I look for stitch libraries and the like. So I’m in this one for the techniques. Beading, embroidery, yarn mixing… nothing groundbreaking there; but some of the ideas are truly striking, and there’s enough “ooh! Look at that!” to earn a place on my shelf. Check it out. It’s a goodie.
By the way: having stumbled out of Stash, reeling slightly and wondering what happened, I stopped for a restorative coffee at the nearby Cafe Crimson. And a damn fine place it is — I say that as someone who is constantly grouching about the lack of true coffee shops in London.***** My partner in crime (as if; she made out with absolutely nothing. Nada. Clearly I have a lot to teach this girl) looked at me over the top of her foamy extra large, and I at her, and we spoke with but a single voice: “Knitting group!”
Well, sort of. I’m not much cop at actually turning up on a regular basis (made it to Angelknits and Rowanettes once each, so far; good times both, meant to return, but life intervenes…) so there’s no way I’m going to form any kind of regular meeting. But knitting and coffee and leather couches will combine. If you fancy joining us, drop me a line, I’ll keep you posted. Of course I’ll also post details here, as and when.
* Yes, camera photos again. That’s as good as it gets round here, I’m afraid. Armin has a totally fantastic camera, but I’m scared of it. I have a totally fantastic cameraphone — did very good service on our Scottish holiday, for instance, and has delivered adorable close-ups of the cats — but for some reason it doesn’t like yarn. I know! An appalling character flaw in a knitter’s phone, but there it is. Sorry.
** I’m not kidding. I’m already thinking of all those other dear souls on my Christmas list, and what colours would be best for each one.
*** It goes in cycles, doesn’t it? Probably you’ll find Mars is transiting my second house… or something.
**** Please support your local book or yarn shop! Amazon is a great way to show you the book, but independent stores are special, no?
***** Don’t you dare talk to me about Starbucks.