Friday, November 5, 2010

On being a confused foreigner

I have never been in any country for more than six weeks where I couldn't speak the language with fluency. That either means that I know a lot of languages or that I haven't been to many countries! Well, I can speak English and two Indian languages fluently, and I used to have basic French on my resume. But since moving to Paris I've decided to scratch that off the list. Seems like four-year olds here can manipulate the language better than I can. I hope to put it back on the list at the end of our time here - perhaps I'll speak better then.

I share this with you so that you can better imagine first, the surprise and then, utter confusion I experienced at Le Bon Marche a few weekends ago. We were wandering the store gawking at women toting Hermes handbags, browsing through the books, sniffing at perfumes, and in general being flabbergast at the prices, when we stumbled upon a fairly substantial crafts section in this fancy-pants store. Knowing the French shop-keepers' dislike for customers touching their wares, I cautiously walked the small isles, not touching any of the yarn or the extensive and luxurious Liberty of London fabric that they had. I noticed red TBM signs with 20% off marked on several of their yarns. [I didn't know at the time, but TBM=tres bon marche=sale, in plain 'ol English. I googled it after coming home. Yes, google is a verb.]

Anyway, as I was picking out some yarn for a scarf, I notice the saleswomen taking away some of the TBM marked yarn. It wasn't very organised, as they didn't target all the sale stuff, but most of what was in the larger bins and not the yarn on the shelves. It was only 6-ish in the evening and the store didn't close for another couple of hours. I was tres confused. Why were they putting up all the stuff already? on a Saturday, when people would be coming out to shop? When I inquired, the saleswoman told me (I think) that I had two minutes before the TBM was over. What?! So I hurried along, still confused, picked out yarn, and successfully bought some on sale.

Here's what's I got:

A red beret for Paris?

Of course, for a red beret to be worn with flair in Paris. Not sure which pattern to use yet - suggestions welcome.

Cosy ribbed scarf

I cast on immediately for a scarf - 26 stitches, 2x2 rib. I've long since finished making it but haven't blocked it yet. It's over 5 feet long and is cosy, squishy, and WARM. It is the only scarf I've ever knit for myself, and I'm certain that I'll wear it a lot this winter. Modeled photos to come.

Also on the needles, but the yarn was not purchased at Le Bon Marche -

Knee high socks

Knee-high socks that I started in India using Trekking XXL; 60 sts on US 0 needles, toe-up, short-row heel. I finished the first sock and I cast on for the second in India, but turned the heel this weekend, and it's time to knit the increases for the calf. I can't remember exactly what I did on the first sock, but it should be easy enough to tell by looking at the completed sock.


Tweed Beret from Interweave Knits Winter 2006 using recycled yarn; I unravelled one of my husband's sweaters that shrunk pretty badly years ago. The beret is not slouchy enough - I didn't check gauge - and I think I'm going to frog it.

So that's what I've been working on. If anyone can help solve the mystery of the hurried end of TBM, feel free to enlighten me. Till then, I shall remain a confused desi in Paris.

1 comment: