Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brocantes, Vide Greniers and Marche aux Puces!

By any name in French - brocante, vide grenier or march aux puces -  it all means the same to me...the thrill of the hunt!  A big part of our day in France is chasing down the dealers who specialize in collecting the history and craft of the countryside of France.  A small brocante sign with an arrow pointing to the right may mean a 5 minute jaunt down the road or an hour drive into the countryside in search of the next sign.  Sometimes we drive so far, one of us gives up patience before the rest and we have to check ourselves to see if we really are on a wild goose chase....or not!  If we are lucky enough to find the destination, we usually find gold!
Typically, I take a walk around and get a good look at everything - and I mean everything,  I look under tarps, I open doors and check drawers...I may even look out back behind the shop.  I usually spot something as I am walking in - but that is never the first thing I ask about - in fact I may even leave it for he very last minute, after I have found everything else that I may want...then I casually ask - "Oh yeah, and how much for the...what is that anyway...yeah - the 17th century invoice book? "  By that point, the dealer is either charmed that you like all of the old dusty buts, or tired of you asking so many questions.
Very often in France, if you have purchased enough from one dealer, they will throw in "un cadeau" a gift - and if you are lucky - the piece you most wanted may just be un cadeau!  I think French dealers must get such a kick out of the junk we are collecting - half the time they are probably happy we are taking it off their hands!  Here's a small peek into some of the treasures that made it home with us....many to be seen next month in our Found in France Collection at


sarahjeanne said...

I really hope to see those chained acorns in a seasonal print sometime in the future! They're wonderful and charming, and vaguely remind me of popcorn chains for Christmas.

charlotte said...

oh, the ivory bracelet! wore her down at last, huh? good one!

Anonymous said...

Qu'est-ce que c'est? what would the acorns be used for? I simply love them.


Dawn said...

mon Dieu!! Can hardly wait!

Louise said...

What a wonderful curious collection of treasures!

Tracy Altieri said...

What a lovely collection!

Lee said...

The chain of acorns is sweet! What a great treasure hunt!

Diana said...

Is the chain of acrons available as a pattern.

Miss Nifty Thrifty said...

Love the chain of acorns!!

ogman10 said...

If anyone finds a/the pattern for this acorn garland PLEASE let me know!! LOVE THIS!!!

Melanie Werley said...

From Peasoupoftheday.blogspot

tiny knitted acorn pattern

Finally, a little Christmas gift for you knitters.

These little whimsies make lovely Christmas decorations, bookmarks (early prototype seen here), or just delightful additions to your nature table. (Sorry about that last link - you have to scroll down quite a way through all sorts of waffle to find the acorns ...)

Anyway, wanna have a go? Ok.

To knit this in the round:
scraps of fine yarn, set of four 2mm dpns

Using the colour for the body (not the cap) of the acorn, cast on 6 stitches, place 2 stitches on each needle.
Round 1: kfb all around (12 stitches)
Round 2: knit
Round 3: kfb, k1, kfb, k1 etc all around (18 stitches)
Rounds 4-9: knit.
Round 10: Change to cap colour yarn, kfb all around (36 stitches)
Round 11: purl
Round 12: moss stitch (that's seed stitch, for you Americans)
Round 13: keeping moss stitch as correct as possible, decrease by two stitches per needle. Best decrease is p2tog, so you keep the little nubbly acorn-cap type lumps. (30 stitches)
Continue in moss stitch, decreasing by two stitches per needle until you have 18 stitches.
P2tog all around (9 stitches)
Stuff with wool fleece or polyfill.
P2tog all around (4 stitches)
P2tog (3 stitches)
Knit a tiny 3 stitch i-cord for a couple of rounds to make a stalk. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

You can make a little hanging loop if your acorn is to be a Christmas tree decoration, or continue the i-cord to make a key ring decoration, or even longer and finish with a tassel to make it a bookmark.

Enjoy. Please let me know of any errors or if anything's unclear - I'm unused to writing out patterns. And if you make one, please leave a link in the comments so I can come.

Also check out!!