So this is Liberty’s of London, the beloved well known Tudor fronted home to all things beautiful. I toddled off there one afternoon in search of the correct wool to knit my own dog, from the book Knit Your Own Dog by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. (Yes, I know there is a Knit Your Own Cat by the same authors which I have so far resisted acquiring.) The pictures of the projects in the books are so good that I wanted to get the exact wool suggested in the patterns and Liberty’s is a stockist of Rowan Wools.
Besides, wandering around for a half hour or so in Liberty’s is no hardship.
Climbing the creaky wooden staircase to the 3rd floor, I meandered my way to the haberdashery and, as knitters do, eyed the wall of varied coloured and different weights of yarns with a creativity born of avarice. Oh, what do I need to add to my ever growing stash which is taking over my suitcase, replacing the books I used to carry which are now hoarded on my electronic reader?
“May I help you, Madame?”
I turned to face a woman slightly shorter that I with virulent carmine lipstick. She was leaning forward slightly, inquiring of me what service she could be but without a trace of really wanting to do so and a palpable undercurrent of hostility.
I explained that I was looking for certain shades of Rowan wool but that the labels didn’t seem to have colour names on them.
“Do you have the shade numbers?”
“No, the pattern just has names for the colours,” and I enumerated them.
With a slight flounce, she produced a shade chart, located the appropriate numbers and whipped them out of the cubbyholes on the wall and handed them to me.
“Will that be all?” obviously wanting me to be gone.
I grouped them on the counter to examine the colours together. (Why is it that shops cannot use lighting better suited to actually see things rather than for atmosphere?) “Does that look like a dog to you?” I asked.
I was met a venomous sneer, the likes I have not seen (or displayed myself) since the school yard during puberty (Mean Girls!). I was speechless and stood under the withering stare for a long moment before suggesting that perhaps we should move on to the till where I completed my purchase in all haste and ejected myself from the department before I was taken by the scruff of the neck and forcibly expelled which I thought was a distinct possibility.
Back in the spring sunshine, seated at a cafe with a soothing cuppa before me, I inspected the wool: they looked like canine colours to me. The foray into the Den of the Carmine Lippy was worth the battle. Next time, should there be a next time, I shall wear my own red lippy. May the Force be With Me.