Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our Visit to Anny Blatt/Bouton D'Or

When our good friend Jean-Christophe at Anny Blatt learned of our trip to France, he was kind enough to set up meetings for us at the store in Paris and the factory in Avignon. Wasn't that nice? He even sent me some gorgeous Anny Blatt sweaters to wear on the trip! (That reminds me, I have to return them. He's probably got a trunk show that missing a couple of important samples.)

We took the train to one of the more elegant parts of Paris -- as if there are any less elegant parts!-- and we found our way to the shop. There, we were greeted by Madame Fabienne Gosse and one of her staff. With Alex's broken French and my almost non-existent French we managed to have a delightful conversation about which of the yarns are most popular, which colors do well, and which patterns are a big hit this season.

The Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or patterns are all very sophisticated, and fairly complicated, so they appeal to the experienced knitter with exquisite taste.

Madame Gosse told us she recently hosted a group knitting trip to Russia and is planning one to the US. She's really active with her carriage trade clientele and regularly holds events at one of the nearby hotels. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll happen to be in Paris someday when she's having one. Of course, the other ladies will be chatting away happily in French and I'll be sitting there looking like a deer in the headlights while catching only every third or fourth word they utter.

I've promised Alex I'll contact the local language school so I can improve my skills. The odd thing is that Alex has a fairly extensive vocabulary, but I'm better with pronunciation and sentence structure. But I won't speak it. He's brave enough to cobble together sentences while I just stand there like a dope whispering that "billet" is pronounced "biyay" and "merci" isn't pronounced like "mercy" but some very difficult way that I couldn't even begin to convey in writing. If you've ever heard Steve Martin's jokes about French, you'll understand.

MARTIN: That man is choking! Oh, he isn't. He's speaking French.

If we could do a Vulcan mind meld with the little bit of information each of us knows, plus Alex's bravado, we might have one single individual who could actually communicate.

Anyway, we had a really nice visit with Madame Gosse who spent quite a bit of time with us and then took us across the street to Tiboodoo, the store that sells ready-knit Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or patterns. Boy, were the clothes ever cute! We really love the European children's wear because it's actually children's wear rather than miniaturized adult clothing. Maybe I'm turning into an old geezer, but I'd rather see little kids dressed like little kids. The sparkly, Las Vegas Showgirl styles for 7 year olds don't appeal to me. Check out the infants' and kids' patterns from Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or and you'll see what I mean.

The best thing about them is that they're not only timeless, they're made with a really high quality fiber, so they're going to last and can be handed from child to child to child. (Maybe with our worsening economy the idea of quality, timeless children's clothes that can be handed down for a couple of generations will catch on.)

Our next stop on the Anny Blatt Tour de France was the factory in Avignon. More to come on that in another posting.

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