Is it Love? A Tryst with Anny Blatt Yarns at Essentially Felt in Maine






I lived (and knit) in Montréal for 10 years, so I've had a lot of exposure to French yarn brands. After I moved there, I realized pretty quickly that French designs were often more fashion forward than other patterns, so I made it a priority to teach myself how to follow patterns in French. This was my first go at it, using a pattern from Phildar!


Le Gilet #054-T10-008 -- inspiring name, eh?

Still, there was always one brand missing throughout those years and that was Anny Blatt/Bouton d'Or.  I knew Anny Blatt especially because of seeing books brimming with fantastical 80s and 90s sweaters in Montréal thrift shops!


Hey -- someone just contacted me with 15 mags from the 80s. Write dayanak @ gmail if you are interested!

This was all I knew. Oversized, fluffy, fascinating.

Then my friend Yarnstylist blogged THIS. I couldn't believe how beautiful the designs were! You could basically make a Chanel coat by knitting with a variety of Anny Blatt yarns. I started combing Ebay and thrift stores for those newer catalogs, but I never really had any luck.

So, imagine my total surprise when I saw this postcard from a store near me! I mean... I live in the middle of NOWHERE!




Let me tell you, it was SUCH a pleasure to visit Essentially Felt and swoon over the yarns I had wanted to see for decades. Even better, Sandy (the owner) is also the North American distributor of Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or yarn lines... so she literally has it ALL!

It's a gem of a store -- if you are nearby you must absolutely visit. It's beautifully lit with high ceilings and a full floor and a half of impeccably organized yarn. It's not just Anny Blatt/Bouton d'Or -- there's Rowan, Blue Sky Alpacas, Handmaiden/Fleece Artist, Marion Foale, Lana Grossa, Isager... more.

But I was there for Anny Blatt! I decided that it was time to invest in a design, and I entrusted the fabulous Shanice to find it for me. (thanks Shanice!)

What to pick? There were samples and knitted wares all over the store to try on. This one definitely tempted me...






But I needed something more challenging than stripes.

By the way, if you've I.D.'d the fluff, angora definitely has an important historical place at Anny Blatt. The French are the definitive experts in its ethical collection and milling, and the company has a tried-and-true bunny-safe protocol they have been following for decades. But I understand if angora might not be for you -- no worries! They have many other wonderful and unique yarns that use cottons, wools, yak, alpaca, etc.

Here was a particularly pretty newer yarn called Cottage.




As I was looking around I realized that the bookshelves were filled with catalogs -- THE NEW ONES. It was time, and I immediately went for the newest "Couture Collection" book, because I wanted to see the most complicated patterns available. Here were my favorites from Magazine No. 225, and I've labelled the Top 3 I WILL MAKE!




My #2 pick

Alamo








My #3 pick!

My top pick!


The "Chanel" in every issue


Clovis


Chino -- you have to have an outrageous one after all!



My number 4 pick! How can I do just 3?

Wilson in the (very) high end Prestige angora


Rice

With the help of everyone in the store, I started rummaging through angora, rolls of nylon, sparkly novelty yarn and pristine shade cards to make my own olive version of the Pomona jacket.




Even now, posting this, I am itching to get this intarsia beauty on the needles. It has a unique 3-piece sleeve construction, too, to make that sparkly Navajo-like band stand out. You might not see it from the angora fluff, but those are actually cables between the panels!




And so my adventurous yarn store visit ended -- but another chapter hopefully begins. Essentially Felt will be planning knitting retreats on the storied Maine coast for knitters to learn special Anny Blatt techniques. I am definitely interested (and maybe I can teach a thing or two myself!).

If you'd like to look at Anny Blatt designs, yarns and shades, visit Anny Blatt North America. If you'd like to order the yarn for a design, contact Sandy at info@essentiallyfelt.com or call 207-942-0365.

Now... Á TRICOTER!


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Comments

  1. Yay! So excited you have found a local, accessible way to reach Anny Blatt fabulousness! I adore the pattern you have chosen in your olive color scheme, it will be super glamorous! Can't wait to see it knitted up!!!

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    1. Yay, my inspiration found this post! I really can't believe that I can get them in NE Maine of all places. Now even more of a reason for you and Kristen to visit!! HINT HINT

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  2. WOW, what luck! I'd been wondering whether Anny Blatt even had distribution in North America any more; I haven't seen its ads in the knit mags for ages. I have several treasured AB booklets, mostly from the '80s and '90s, on my bookshelves, with many personal favorites among the patterns. Nice to know that I can still get the yarns from a LYS, even if that shop is 3000 miles away . . .
    -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

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    1. I know, I thought for sure it was France only. Well, you will just to have to come visit, lol! Seriously though, I do believe there will be other stores in NA carrying it, it's just a matter time.

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  3. I love these 80's patterns with Any Blatt fuzzy yarns! And the mixes of fuzzy yarns with shiny or metallic yarns that were popular back then. (I'm French from Paris, worked for 15 years in the fashion industry in the US, and I've been knitting since the 80's believe it or not! I started at 12 years old ;-)
    Anyways, I read patterns in French and English. Let me know if you're stuck on something, I can probably help.

    PS: I just discovered your blog this morning, someone on the Facebook colorwork group page mentioned your (gorgeous) Anatolia and I looked you up from there. Beautiful work! Awesome Blog!

    PPS: I have a few vintage Phildar pattern magazines from the 80s (in French), and a few more recent ones with awesome more "couture" patterns than you can find in the US. Most of them are not even listed on ravelry. I could probably share with you since they're all old and not sold in the US--if you can read them in French that is.

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    1. Merci Leila!! Yes, I do read patterns in French, though sometimes I definitely need to cheat, so I'm thrilled we've connected. I do love collecting the old 80s books... since I wrote this I learned that Anny Blatt has a very small design team (maybe even just one person) and they rework a lot of old designs. That couldn't make me happier, because I love a lot of the old elements and think they are BRILLIANT! It's just the fit that doesn't work nowadays, not the concepts. AND I LOVE MODERN PHILDAR PATTERNS!!! We're definitely on the same page here. Nice to meet you!

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