Thursday, August 2, 2007

well, you can't knit shoes . . .

but I'm going to show you some anyway. I thought, for a change of pace, I'm going to occasionally give you something from my shoe wardrobe, and tell you a bit of their history. And I decided to start with these favourites:

I bought these in Paris in May 2006 somewhere in St. Germain around where the Rue du Four, Rue de Grenelle, and Rue du Dragon intersect. As soon as I spotted them, I knew I wanted them, but since it was only the second day of our trip, I thought I'd better hold off buying them. After all, I might just be Buying Under the Influence (of jetlag) and something better might come along. But nothing did, and we went back a few days later to pick them up, having made careful note of where the shop was.

Besides being able to say, "Oh these, I got them in Paris," I just love the stacked heel, the natural leather, the heel gathering, the stitching up the centre front, the whimsical point of the toe, and those three buckled straps. I've had comments that they look medieval, but the most amusing conversation I've had about them was with a fellow in our city apartment's laundry room. His fashion taste seemed to run more to t-shirts emblazoned with beer or heavy-metal logos, but he commented on my shoes, wondering if they were uncomfortable to wear. When I started to answer that the heels were actually a great height, super-comfy, he interrupted me, excitedly, saying "I know, my . . . " Seriously, I thought he was going to start comparing his favourite heels and we'd end up having shoe swaps. Not sure if I was relieved or disappointed when he continued by talking about his cowboy boots. In fact, that's when I realized that the heel on these shoes is shaped quite a bit like a cowboy heel, altho' on a slighter scale. One more thing to love about them.

Anyway, this year in Paris, I thought we'd better go check out that shop again, but although we got right to the same area, and walked up and down many, many streets that looked much the same, we couldn't seem to find it. And of course, one of us was way more motivated than the other. Paul couldn't really remember specifically which shop I was looking for, until one day I got really frustrated with him (I know, it's irrational, don't even bother telling me!) -- damn him, he has the more precise sense of direction, mine's way too impressionistic to be useful. Anyway, he listened more carefully, I was able to remember other things we had done last year on the day we found the shoes (in other words, remembered food things, way more likely to lodge in his memory), and then he went off on his own to reconnoitre for about half an hour, and came back triumphant. We headed off together and, sure enough, there it was, just as I'd remembered it, and within a half block of our previous searches. After all that, there were no shoes I loved, but it was a relief just to be able to retrace old footsteps. (I did buy shoes again in Paris, though, and I'll show them to you some day.)

While you can't knit shoes, there has been knitting going on around here. The Rocketry cardigan is off the needles and blocking right now. When it dries, I'll sew buttons on and show you -- it's really cute, and I'm already thinking about ordering another (or two). Since I finished one project, I felt justified casting on another, this time the Montego Bay scarf from this summer's Interweave--I think the Seasilk colourway is called Sangria, and if it isn't it should be -- beautiful, you'll see. The Icarus is coming along--I'm on the 3rd repeat of Chart I's Rows 19-42 (there are 5 repeats required) -- of course, each repeat has more stitches, so that I'll be at 343 by the end of the 5th repeat. Stocking stitch with regular interruptions that have to be paid attention to. On 3.25 mm. needles. You can see why I need other projects on the side.

Time to put on some much homelier shoes and get out for a walk, then back for lunch, when I'll finish off this Nicoise Salad I made yesterday. Pretty, no?


  1. Love the shoes. I looked but never bought shoes in Paris. Travelling with two boys doesn't really allow for self-indulgence of the shopping kind. I'll have to go back in 10 years sans famille for the Paris shopping trip. Actually as I pulled out my clothes to wear for the day I realized that I didn't even buy a tacky Paris or London sweatshirt to wear. So deprived.

  2. my sympathies -- when we did our house exchange in France lo these many years ago (can you believe 18!), I felt really conscious of a whole other self that had been put on the shelf while my mom self did the family stuff. I loved showing the kids France, but couldn't help noticing all the things I wanted to do, but had to suspend for the time being. So I went back the very next year on my own -- well, for two weeks Paul was with me, and we did that walking tour, but then I had two weeks on my own and spent them doing all the things the kids wouldn't have had patience for. Maybe you won't manage next year, but I know you'll have your own time again soon, and you'll appreciate it all the more! And good for you for resisting the tacky t-shirts!

  3. OK, Materfamilias, I have been checking your blog for a few days now and you have me very intrigued. The thing that caught my eye first was your quote "little children, little problems, big children, big problems"! It was what my nan used to say, too. I never appreciated it until I had my own - he's 10 now and I know the worst is yet to come - yikes! However, I keep coming back because I love your photos, the Paris connection (haven't been in over thirty years, but loved my time there), your garden, and the literary bent. I am dying to know what small island you live on!! I am a west coaster, too, fifth generation British Columbian, Cowichan Valley pioneering stock. Love to hear from you.

  4. Hi Valerie, and thanks for stopping by my blog. I think I left that quotation on the yarn harlot's site so you must be a fan of hers as well. looks as if we have quite a bit in common, based on your blog. As for what small island I live on, I'm not ready to "out" my location to that extent, but as they say, watch this post for more revealing details as time goes on -- I'm sure you'll guess, eventually, if you're from our nearby Cowichan Valley. And to my "big problems" comment, I should add "big rewards" as you are no doubt finding out with your 10-year old -- what a great age!

  5. Those are great shows. Erica always teases me about my shoes as I seem to be drawn towards different shades of browns/tans.
    Hopefully when I'm in London in Oct. I can find a pair of shoes that will be as timeless. I'm not sure my husband will be as understanding of a shopper as yours. I'll have to let you know.

  6. Hey, Hilary, aren't daughters great for keeping us on our toes (in our shoes) fashion-wise?! I didn't know you were going to London--the first thing I did when I read your comment was Google to see if their marathon was in October, but no, it's in April. So I'm assuming this is just a fun trip, with lots of time for shoe-shopping -- yeah!


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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