Bart & Francis

On Saturday the 30th, 9 of us went to Kortrijk Belgium to the Atelier of Bart & Francis.  In the Amsterdam knitting crowd they are known as “The Belgian Boys”.  I first saw them at Zwolle last year and bought the Gimp that I used to make my iPhone case.    Not only do they sell interesting, not your grandmas knitting yarns, but they also develop and make their own yarns.  They make experimental fibers that their clients ask for, like paper yarn, or copper and cotton yarn, or all kinds of silks.

We were hoping to get to see where the magic happens, but as Francis told me, “people steal with their eyes” and they can no longer take the chance of opening up their secret processes to whoever shows up at their door.  So, rather than the day being about seeing cool techniques, it was all about the shopping (and the knitting of course).

We left on the train from Amsterdam at 9am and after a train change in Antwerp, arrived in Kortrijk around 12:00.  The train ride was of course gezellig with everyone knitting and sharing snacks.  The train was PACKED with people, which was kind of surprising to me.  Is there never a quiet time on the trains in this country?  Here we are….

When we got there, we walked the short 10 minutes to their atelier.  It was packed with people too!  Where did all these people come from?  There was one big room with huge boxes full of cones and skeins of yarn, most of which was “mystery yarn” without a label.  Another room consisted of their signature special yarns and threads of silks and camel and kiviut and metals and other types of fibers.  There was also a small section of silk fabrics cut into about 1 meter/1 yard sizes that you could buy by weight.  I bought 2 pieces to make couch pillows out of.

Then there was the lounge room with free cookies and coffee and even some bottles of booze for those needing a big if help relaxing. 🙂  It was incredibly warm in the atelier and crowded, so walking around and shopping took a lot of effort.  I really didn’t plan on buying much, but ended up spending enough!  I bought several weights of silk yarn (from thread to lace to fingering) in blues and greens.  I also bought 2 small cones of blue thread with copper wire boucle running through it.  I have no idea what I will do with it, but it just looked so cool!  I haven’t taken any photos of all this stuff because the light has been just awful lately (nothing but grey days here).  I haven’t got my photo tent up and running either.

Here are a couple of photos from the shop:

During the day Bart worked the cash register and Francis was wandering the floor answering questions from shoppers.  We all had lots of questions and you can tell he really enjoys talking about his products.

Here’s a funny photo.  We were all sitting in the lounge area, with other knitters, and suddenly one woman asks Nancy if she is the Brioche Lady.  Nancy had to admit it.  Then she wanted a photo of Nancy, and below is the resulting photo of the two of them together.  She was really thrilled to meet Nancy there.  Well, we’re all thrilled to know her too! 🙂

Photo by Wollig_Lane from flickr
Photo by Wollig_Lane from flickr

Nancy’s wearing her latest brioche lace design around her neck.  Lovely stuff!  Actually, Wollig_Lane has better photos of the atelier than I do so check her photos if you are still curious.

And that was pretty much our day out.  We missed the train we wanted to get from Kortrijk to Antwerp because some of us were starving and waited for frietjes to be made, just outside the train station.  We ran for the train and missed it by about 10 seconds.  We had to wait another hour for the next one.  No worries.  We have knitting.

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