Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hand knits

Look over there! It's definitely not me not working at work. Or knitting. Or anything.
There's something about becoming an obsessive knitter that makes me crave all things hand-knit, even if I'm not the one that made them. (In fact, I've forbidden myself from buying any sweater not hand-knit, unless it's cashmere and/or at a really good price. Such as the Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater I got at Goodwill today for $4.99) So here are two fantastic purchases I made in Europe.
I was at this cool little shop called Tolle Wolle in Nuremburg. (Toll means cool, so it's basically the German version of a shop called Cool Wool. Somehow in German, that's really cute.) They had a little wool, and lots of finished objects in there, some interesting sweaters, nice stuff in Noro, lacey tees, felted bags, but I thought their prices were a bit much. In all fairness, the prices were reasonable, I'm just cheap. However, they did have a whole row of hand-knit socks. Now, I've had my issues with socks before. But people go on about how great hand knit socks are. They knit them incessantly. I thought, maybe, if I got a pair of hand-knit socks, I would fall so in love with them that I could get back on speaking terms with socks. I did buy that ball of Opal, though I told myself I didn't necessarily have to knit socks with it. It was 9 euros. Now there were these socks hanging there for a mere 18. I assumed they were knit with the Opal, and thought that twice the price of the wool for the finished project was a pretty good deal. They fit suprisingly well (just a tad too long, but I'm more likely to wear them lounging about than in shoes anyway). When I got back, I happily showed them off at Fringe, and Veronica examined them closely. They were not self-striping. Someone had hand-striped them, and carefully woven in all the ends. And they match perfectly. Suddenly, they seem like an extremly good deal. Enough to convince me to knit socks? We'll see. Note: my legs are not actually that monstrous. It's foreshortening, I swear.
My other insanely beautiful purchase is this hand knit lace sweater from Karlovy Vary (aka Carlsbad), a spa town in the Czech Republic. This is a place used to high end shoppers. I think their prices were higher than in Prague, and even designers like Valentino have their pret-a-porter lines there. But amid all the glittering jewelry, furs, and designer gear, there was a dark little store with hand knit and crochet items, and even tatted lace. Some cheap socks first caught my eye, but they weren't actually hand made. There were some little crochet skull caps, but with my long hair, they just kind of made me look like a dirty hippy. Not that there's anything wrong with being a dirty hippy, I hit that phase in middle school, but only part of it still lingers. The owner was a charming man who spoke perfect English. (I'm so much more likely to buy at a store if I like the owner. ) This was convienient, because the only words I know in Czech I had learned the day before in Prague (sleva/slevy - sale, vlna - wool, bovlna - cotton, bambus - bamboo). We're not going to talk about how much it cost. I don't actually know. It was the rest of my Czech kroners I hadn't used plus 30 euros. But I don't care. It's mine and I love it. And the nice shop guy threw in a little cross stitch kit for free. Strangely, the instructions are completely in French. Luckily, I happen to have a degree in French, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

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