Green dogs and Liberty

I just had one of those amazing experiences, it literally felt like a dream. Now that I’ve recovered from the shock, I’m ready to share the info: there exists in Brussels a gem of a fabric store. I thought that Michael Levine’s was plentiful, but now I realize I was sadly mistaken. For all of the nice fabrics you can find at ML’s, they pale in comparison to what you can find at Les Tissus du Chien Vert
The place itself is crazy. So grand and amazing, you feel like you’ve entered a new dimension: hardwood floors, wooden beams, bridges, hanging boats (yes, boats), rooms opening into more rooms, with huge ceilings and lofts. And in every corner, fabrics so gorgeous that you could just frame and display them as art.

This particular sub-store is called “Le Chien du Chien,” a sort of pun (Belgians love them) based on two expressions: “avoir du chien” (meaning to have guts, to be sexy and to have charm, all at once) and “le fin du fin” (meaning “the absolute must,” or “the cat’s whiskers). So that’s the store where they display all their most beautiful things.

They also have another store down the street, just as big and filled up to the brim. That one has slightly less glamorous fabrics, but my jaw still dropped. And they have a section in there called “Les Puces du Chien” (another pun, as “les puces” means “fleas” as well as “flea-market.”)

After this brief exploration of French expressions and Belgian-isms, the main news is that I have acquired some genuine Liberty (technically a Christmas present from my mom) at about half price! Everyone here in Brussels seems to consider Le Chien Vert as an expensive place, but seriously! It was half price and they were exciting patterns, not the so-so Liberty you sometimes find on sale.


Pretty, no? I bought small quantities, to make little things until I get better at sewing, then I’ll ask my mom to ship me more fabric.

I also bought a couple of yards of pretty and very fine cotton prints to make some shirts for myself. The colors are not really accurate: the brown one is actually a beautiful purplish-brown. I really wish I had a competent photographer here, I really suck at taking nice pictures, and the winter light is not really helping either.


La Lainière de Wazemmes

We just returned from a day trip to Lille, which is very close to Brussels. It’s always weird being able to cross the border so easily, you just drive by a big European roadsign announcing the entry into France. Unfortunately, Lille was just swarming with holiday shoppers (including amazing numbers of British people) so trying to accomplish some Christmas shopping was not an easy feat. Not to mention the weather was atrocious.

My main goal for this trip was to check out a yarn store i’ve been reading about in French knitting blogs, a must-see for thrifty knitters, apparently full of huge bags of discounted yarn everywhere. It’s called La Lainière de Wazemmes, and they have a website here.
I was slightly disappointed because they don’t have a lot of all-natural yarns, which is what usually interests me. Mostly they have blends (like, 20%, 30% alpaca or cashmere, and the rest is just wool or acrylic). Apparently they do have luxury yarns from time to time but they get bought immediately.
I did manage to purchase the last few balls of a really affordable black cashmere/merino blend, and also one that had a touch of golden lurex in it. Actually it’s on their website here, but people! I bought all of it, so don’t bother!