Letter from Paris: Price of New Life Does Not Include Shipping

December 3, 2021

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137 Comments
  • I can just visualize all this happening as Franklin describes it! Such an exciting new life adventure for him (and all his stuff!!)

  • Probably my favorite article. Bookcases of books – I can relate. Have to have priorities

    • Absolutely!

  • Oh Franklin – I have just (as in October) upheaved my life from a large house in Brooklyn to Ely in the UK. I had a similar experience with my books, yarn, sewing machines and the movers during our video walkthrough. He was quite professional and even recognized an overlock machine when he saw it. I hope your actual movers treated your books a bit better than mine did, though. We are still slowly opening boxes that arrived a couple of weeks ago and reuniting with these dear friends. I haven’t cracked open my sewing machines or mannequins yet, but it will be a great day when I can. Best of luck in your new home!

    • I moved from Kansas City to Suffolk! I’m just outside of Bury St Edmunds, and work in Cambridge. Ely’s lovely, have you climbed both towers of the cathedral yet?
      I ended up not bringing my sewing machines and buying a vintage Bernina here (so it was UK spec electrical).

  • Such fun to start my day with Franklin. Paris suits him. Hope we read more from him.

  • Dear Franklin,
    I love reading your articles! I am in awe of your move to Paris. I look forward to hearing about your adventures there. I wish you all the best.

  • I’m always surprised when movers are surprised about quantities of books….

    • Delightful article! Please keep us posted on all your adventures!

  • Brilliant! I look forward to hearing more about Monsieur Habit’s Parisian adventures. Bon chance Franklin!

  • Welcome back to MDK, Franklin! I was so happy to see your name this morning; looking forward to more Letters from Paris.

  • So now that Franklin is over on this side of the pond, does that mean you will start shipping ti the EU? …just asking for a friend… Or two …or three!!

    • Oops. To*

    • Make that 4! 🙂

  • An excellent start to my day – Franklin Habit and a cup of tea.

    • *So* true.

  • Enjoyed reading this first thing this morning. Great way to start what is going to be a difficult day. Thank you Franklin.

  • That was sue an enjoyable read.

  • If only that were a work of fiction! I just went from 4000 sq f To 1200 sq f Soooooo I’m right there with ya!

    • Thank you so much for such a great read this morning Franklin. You brighten my day, and I look forward to more wonderful stories.

    • Desperately waiting to hear more from you on this most excellent adventure!!

  • Oh I love it! I’ve had a similar response to my books: 400+ cookbooks is only the start! Knitting, gardening and cooking are my passions and then there’s the reading. I’ve so enjoyed your IG adventures in Paris living vicariously through you during this global pandemic. I’ve moved house twice during this, not by plan but by circumstances to smaller and smaller quarters. You did so well paring down, that’s still part of my daily adventure.

  • Oh dear God, I do love Franklin!!

  • Congratulations on your move. I am quite jealous. Between you and David Leibovitz, there are now two people in Paris who I have never actually met but seem to share my taste in so many things. If the world ever returns to normal enough for another trip to Paris to be feasible, I will be looking at your combined musings to see what wonderful things I should be doing on the trip!

  • Franklin – I was glad to hear your story except – just curious – WHY did you move across the pond. Just as Stephen West and Nancy Marchant moving from the USA to Amsterdam. I was born there.

    • In brief, it boiled down to two things. First, after a life spent moving around (I had lived in about a dozen different places across the USA by the time I was ten years old), Paris was the first city I ever encountered that felt like home–that felt like a place where living was how I had dreamed that living could be. And second, in spite of all my efforts (and loving efforts from someone dear to me), Chicago was a very, very unhealthy place for me to live. It’s a fine city, but it was not healthy for me. And so…time for a change.

      • “When good Americans die they go to Paris.” Oscar Wilde. “Tout homme a deux pays, le sien et puis la France.” Good luck!

      • I feel like that about Paris, too, although my new home (and my cat’s and books’ and yarn’s) is near Montpellier. I am so much healthier here than I was in the Bay Area. One day I will get up there to sneak around yarn stores and stationery stores. And you would be more than welcome if you get the urge to come to le Midi. Bisous!

  • So glad to see a post by you Franklin! Is Rosalind with you? That’s a huge move to make, and I thought I did a big move during a pandemic; West coast to East, with 5 cats. Look forward to reading more from you;)

    • Rosamund is in Chicago, with her other people (whom I did not write about much, to protect their privacy), still living in exactly the same home – the only one she has ever known. It would have been cruel to even think of bringing her here. It was a very, very difficult decision, and one that I still hurts.

      • Best wishes on your new venture, Franklin! Glad to hear that Rosamund is doing well – I was worried about her & imagine you had to make some very hard choices. Looking forward to following your adventures in Paris!

      • Oops, sorry. Rosamund (from Nate the Great books?) not Rosalind. I understand your pain at leaving her, but find solace in the fact that it’s the best decision for her health and happiness;) Take care!

  • I too will be living in Paris but alas! Only for a few months…and only a WIP or 2 coming along. In the 16eme, Franklin, if I can buy you a café creme!

  • Merci Franklin for sharing this story. It makes me feel much better about my move in a few years. When the time comes to pack I will be sure to show it to my husband! Wishing you bon succès and de grandes aventures in our new home!

  • Franklin you are so brave.
    Did I mention how jealous I am ?
    Enjoy your new world!

  • Congratulations on the move, Franklin! So happy to hear you’ve settled in Paris; it’s one of my favorite cities. I just recently moved from TX to Tennessee but I packed my spinning wheel myself. And with the shortage of drivers, not sure when my furniture will actually arrive. I look forward to reading more of your posts; have missed hearing about your projects and adventures!

  • I was just waiting for you to get to the looms Great story, and like others, v. jealous! Enjoy this new adventure!

  • For some reason the voice of David Sedaris read your article to me. My 10 year old grandson came to stay with me for 5 days and brought no clothes with him — no clean socks, underwear, shirts or pants — only the clothes on his back. His backpack was stuffed with the “the important things, Nana — books and art supplies”. So my leggings and t-shirts worked while things were in the washer.

    • I don’t know him, but I adore your grandson!

  • What a fantastic journey! Only the necessities.

  • And I thought my move from Seattle to Sarasota, FL was complicated! I did a very similar thing. Very little furniture, but clothes, books and YARN!

  • This made my morning. Thank you.

  • Glad you have found your home. Best wishes on your many adventures in Paris. Hope you will include us on the journey.

  • Franklin, best wishes for your new life in the City of Light!
    And wow! Yes, all those books and spinning wheels and sewing machine(s) and yarn stash are really the most important and personal of belongings. One can always buy new furniture and electronics if one must.
    My only issue with the French is their truly medieval attitude towards counting and math, which is very odd, considering they invented such a forward-thinking idea as the metric system.
    Please don’t be a stranger.

  • Franklin, you are so brave! I can’t imagine packing all of my books, yarn, wheels, etc., let alone my cats. Bon chance en Paris!

  • Franklin, I have enjoyed your adventure on IG and loved this essay. Love your priorities on what to take with you. I, too, moved during the pandemic and downsized tremendously (not an international move, and if I hadn’t gotten the ball rolling by signing a contract to sell my house just before the s&!t hit the fan in early 2020 I probably would still be hunkered down in my old house). Not for the fainthearted. Your essay brought back that queasy feeling. Love Paris, so I wish you many happy experiences.

  • I really enjoyed this. I understand the need for proper equipment. I just acquired a new to me vintage sewing machine in a model I’ve been searching for for a long time.

    I had no idea you did weaving. A few of us from our NYC knitting group are learning Norwegian band weaving from an American expat (Patricia Fortune) who is now giving on-line classes from her home in Norway. We joke about getting floor looms. So far we have only small rigid heddle looms. We are also learning Norwegian stranded color sweater knitting.

    Good luck in your new endeavors. Would you be willing to tell us how you managed to move to Europe? Are you one of those people with an ancestral link that allows you to have citizenship? In this age of so much political discussion about migration it’s difficult not to be aware of the restrictions on this activity.

  • Oh, Franklin! Congratulations! Your story had me in stitches! It’s very nearly the same as if I could ever move to Lisbon! Check out Portuguese knitting on Rosa Pomar’s site! Bonne chance!

  • Tres amusement. Je l’ aime. Et je suis jalouse.

  • I said to my husband, I have to read this to you so you will know that I really don’t have that much knitting stuff. I had a hard time reading it because I just had to laugh so many times. My husband failed to see the relevance or the humor (despite the fact that he whole heartedly supports my knitting ) I had to read it a third time just for me because it’s the funniest article I’ve read in a long time. This is classic Franklin Habit.

  • I have been following Franklins post every day and I envy him for making his changes. I’m moving next July back to Oregon and my books and yarn are the only things that I am taking with me except for my bed frame that can’t be replaced but no mattress. And I should take my clothing…I’m so proud of him and glad that you are going to follow him as well

  • A letter from Paris and a cup of tea. Perfect start to the morning.

  • I love that you moved to Paris and seem to be very happy to have done so. I’ve been following along on IG. This MDK post added to the story by telling us more about the logistics of the move. All of this said, my favorite bit was seeing your finished vest, the creation of which I watched online. It’s lovely. Perhaps we’ll see a modeled pic?

  • Dear Kay and Ann,
    Gosh! the “unpronounceable” abomination that is “aiguille à tricoter” is actually very easy to pronounce and means in French exactly the same as “knitting needle” in English. FYI I am not a native speaker of either English or French, but one needs to try just a little… I hope this is not a problem for Franklin though or he would not be moving to Paris of all places!
    Enjoy Paris, Franklin!

    • I promise, that turn of phrase is mine and was given to Ann and Kay tongue-in-cheek. I make (and will continue to make) a lot of jokes about my frequent skirmishes with French. I love the language, studied it like mad in preparation for this move, and am growing in fluency. Most of my friends here are French–it’s what we speak together. But part of the fun for me is these teasing comparisons, and my French friends have their own jests about English in kind. The word “aiguille” is one that famously gives native speakers of English difficulty. I am trying, believe me, more than just a little. Joking about the difficulties helps to keep me from growing discouraged on rough days.

      • Pronounced. “A” gwee.

      • Yes! The little girls in my French family like to make English speakers say “squirrel” in French, then fall into a heap on the floor, laughing. I love it.

  • Franklin, you sure do know what’s important in life!

  • Oh you brave man! C’etait toujours une rêve (gee, I hope that noun is feminine!!) Didn’t work up the grit to just do it, so I’m officially in awe. A very real moment, and delightfully described.

  • I can’t wait to hear more about this new adventure, Franklin!

  • Love articles from Franklin. I can relate to all the books. They make me happy.

  • So glad you are safe and happy in Paris! You have been missed!!!

  • What a great article..I was able to visualize all of it as if I was there. Hope to hear more or see pictures!!

  • Love it! I lived in South America twice and took my yarn, books and equipment too so I totally get it. Our mover was similar with comments but I too needed my “stuff”.

    • After five years of living mostly in Split and sometimes in Sarajevo I’m impressed Mr Habit moved all of his necessities right away. My forlorn sewing machine and fabric weights sitting in a California storage space are jealous 😉 (Thank goodness my knitting journey started on this side of the pond!) Looking forward to reading about your new life in the EU.

    • Yes, indeed! One takes what makes a place feel like home. I’ve hauled my tons of books, etc…all over with me.

  • Following your account of all of your crafting supplies, I don’t feel so bad.

  • What a great edition to your group. I’ve moved all over the world & can just feel & touch Mr Habit’s move to Paris. Merry Christmas All.

  • I LOVE this! A situation that all of us can relate to!

  • Oh Franklin is such a wonderful tale teller! I have been following his Parisian escapades in Instagram, and it is just mavelous! I am looking forward to future episodes here at MDK!

  • I don’t feel so bad now. I only have 2 wall shelves of knitting books, 2 cupboards of yarn and 1 cupboard of cook books. After all we have to eat!

  • Hilarious. Loved reading that there was someone who had more books than I do. I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with the quantity but now I feel much better. Looking forward to reading more about your adventures in Paris.

  • I think that you are very brave to have made this move and I am so happy that you have found a place that feels like home. Looking forward to reading about your new adventures in France!

  • This is fabulous and so brave! Many years ago,I moved out…and filled my car with clothes, knitting and books. It was all that was important to me and brought me comfort for a few years. Paris is so lovely and I look forward to reading your Parisian adventures. My in laws have a place in the Marias that I have dreams of returning to in 2022! Good luck with your new adventure.

  • Love your posts! Love your comments! Love your stories! I was concerned about Rosamund, but now glad she is well taken care of. Missing you at Vogue Knitting Live! Hoping to see you there again soon.

  • What a terrific story. I could see myself with the yarn and the books.

  • Yes! Just this year I hopped on this man’s yarn/media journey, and instantly recognized a kindred spirit. Having just moved my stash, books and bits to a new state where I know no one, I now am on yet another venture of discovery. I just wish I had his energy and confidence!

  • I’ve missed you

  • Hahaha, I have nearly the same volume of equipment and books, which is why I hope I never have to move. I love the way you tell the story Franklin 😀

  • hahhaha. Been there. But without the Loom. And it was the reverse move from Germany to the US, and no pandemic. Store your books, they are just so expensive to ship….

  • Franklin, It is so good to see you writing again for MDK! I have been following your move via IG. Never having visited Paris, it has been lovely to become acquainted with it through your perspective via the experiences that you share.

  • Recently saw a T-shirt that read, “It’s not hoarding if it’s books.” I would add, “Not hoarding if it’s yarn!” Franklin, I think you got your grit back.
    Joyeux Noel

  • So happy you were able to make the move with just the essentials! I couldn’t do it! I recall how tiny houses looked so charming, until I started wondering where the heck I would put all my books and yarn. I could not make it work! Good for you for your success! I am looking forward to more posts from Paris!

  • What a lovely way to start the day! I especially love the lighting in all of Franklin’s photographs and his artful styling.

  • I wish you all the best in your new home, Franklin, but you left two important questions unanswered: 1) Have you found good pizza there? 2) What the #*[email protected]! did Dolores do to make you flee the country?

    • Laughing SO hard!!

  • I love Paris so much that I often wonder what it would be like to live and knit there. I cannot imagine this move so I am living through Franklin’s wonderful adventures. It’s so kind of him to share with us all!

  • Yep, that about says it all when we moved….we had divested of 10 bookshelves and books before hand….Enjoy your stuff!

  • Having just moved from Atlanta to the Wilds of Tennessee, I can empathize. I can’t get near most of my yarn yet, causing me to have to (cough) buy more. Same problem with my art supplies. We’ve lived in four places this year, so finding things and settling in is hard. But we even took furniture…

  • Love you, Franklin. “Scared gritless.” It’s happened to all of us who have functional brains, and more than once, too. I hope that poor man in Seattle has plenty of yarn and many knitting books to help him through his struggles. 🙂

  • 🙂

  • his was great. Just what I would have moved with as well. Thanks for the humor. Good luck.

  • You are my people!

  • This little story made my day.

  • Good to have your churning out your humorous essays again, Franklin. Your adventure in moving has made me feel like a real wimp, since I didn’t have any spinning wheels. Just books and yarn. You are doing such a great job creating your new home and workspace.

  • Oh my gosh, Franklin! You had me rolling in laughter during my dinner of toast. You totally made that mover’s decade/life. I’m glad it all arrived okay. Are you sure he didn’t sneak a bed in there for you? The man seemed quite concerned about your lack of…

  • But how many balls of yarn?!!

  • ahhhh M. Habit, you reassure me. 2 moving trucks & 550 km: yarn, fabrics, books ( no loom, not yet) just landed in my new house 3 weeks ago & felt slightly shell shocked at the amount of « necessities » I’d acquired: I’ m happy to read we are members of the same club. Enjoy Paris, Nathalie

  • Great article Franklin. I’m sure you left the man in Seattle confused to say the least.

  • If I were to move to another country and could only bring necessities, I’m with Franklin – books and yarn.

  • This is so wonderful. I have been in Paris for a couple of months. My partner is working here temporarily. We are completely in love with this city. We are seriously considering staying. It feels like home! The most beautiful, thoughtful, communal sort of home. Paris has its’ share of social ills, for sure. But the vibe here is pretty joyful. Can’t wait to here about knitting in the City of Light. Maybe a meet-up for your Parisian fans? Hmn….

  • I love it.

  • A great start to my day!

  • I’m certain a fine bed could be made amongst a dreamy nest of stash… for a few years, at least… bon chance, mon cher, Franklin!

  • “No bed,” I said. “There’s just yarn left. Only my very best yarn, the important stuff.” Love it! So wonderful to have you back at MDK. Your vest is wonderful! It’s so good to start the day laughing.

  • Tres amusant!

  • I’m so happy you have your priorities in order! I look forward to your future letters from Paris.

  • I’m so happy for you, Franklin! You made it to Paris! You were incredibly rude to me on instagram a year or so ago when I tried to offer hope that this would happen, but I was right, and here you are. Love your story. I hope you continue to find joy in your fiber crafts in Paris. Bon chance!

  • You are lucky! I moved nearly 4 years ago and most of my stash is still boxed in the garage – under other boxes!

  • OMG, Franklin….what a trip and oh, I am so envious of Paris! Cafes, bread, wine and cheese and all your yarn and books! Perfection!

  • I am so glad and relieved to see Franklin again. Bonne chance and joy in Paris!

  • Love your grit!
    I’ve always wished I could have done what you are doing.
    I didn’t have the grit.
    My life worked out pretty well anyway.
    Best wishes, best of luck, enjoy this life you are making for yourself.
    I will pass on the only piece of advice I ever took: “ Never loose your sense of humor”.

  • When I moved from my 4th floor walk-up studio apartment in NYC’s east village, I too had books – as many as that apartment could hold. The nice movers told me they’d rather move refrigerators and not to call them again.

  • Oh, Franklin… you ARE a treasure!!

  • You had me at the mention of Rue de Rivoli—my stepson has an apartment on that street. Paris is amazing—kudos to you for making the move. Enjoy!!!

  • The best knitting adventure put down on paper. The article written with whimsy. A feeling of being with Mr. Habit of his beginnings of a new and wonderful life

  • Franklin and Paris are a match made in heaven—except for the price of real estate that translates to extreme lack of storage; awkward and inconveniently sized doors, windows and staircases; and difficulties putting things into wherever you live. Of course European delivery people are amazing wizards at what they do. I’m trying to figure out how Franklin got all the stuff he did choose to ship, into his new abode.

    As for MDK’s intro. Really? The French phrase for knitting needles is “an unpronounceable abomination”??? Sorry, but oh mom Dieu! As far as I’m concerned everything sounds better in French. For true abominations witness the English words “butt” and “boobs”, vs derrière and décolleté which are far more elegant —and perhaps even delicately suggestive whispered in French. French is not anymore unpronounceable when you learn how, than many many ‘English’ words. Just be sure to purse your lips, squeezing your lips corners towards each other as you speak French and your pronunciation will be fantastique!

  • I used to live in the Washington, DC area, but I recently moved to Michigan.
    What I didn’t expect was that if I go to the doctor here, we start off with a lot of questions designed to find out what drug I’m addicted to.
    Can I use this post as a way to explain it to the doctor?

  • So wonderful to read this on a rainy Saturday in Seattle! (no, I am not related to the nice moving man, at least that I know of..). I admire following one’s dreams, especially ones that take the amount of grit you must of used up for this one. I have traveled to the UK and Paris during this season of pandemic and just getting there is a monumental task.

    As a side note, I would have the same moving list if I ever decide to make that dream real for me.

    Thank you Franklin for the smile that you brought me and make sure that you venture to Saint-Germain-Des-Pres for some chocolates or macarons!

  • What a brave, exciting journey! Best wishes to you in your new home. I look forward to more of your wonderful stories.

  • The Adventures of Franklin always provide me with joy and they actually helped me smile during the pandemic. Oh, and the nice guy from Seattle must not realize that beds and electronics may be purchased in other countries, thereby avoiding one having to schlep them. I also hope he shares his caper about attempting to open a bank account in Paris. Frustrating, but a hilarious story as he wrote it.

  • great story – keep us posted!

  • Aiguilles à tricoter is not only pronounceable but lovely to hear.

  • Hilarious!! It makes me look positively spartan, though I might rival Franklin with books. Good luck in France! I’m looking forward to hearing about your adventures.

  • This made me smile. I really hope Franklin will share some pictures of his space in Paris. Does he have a separate place for his bed (ha ha) or is he sleeping on or under the various looms. Good luck, I am sure you are enjoying all the fabulous coffee and pastries.

  • O Franklin! Thank you for the laugh I so needed!

  • I too recently moved and I went through my stuff and donated quite a lot of it. But I kept all my yarn stash and most of my books. What took the movers the longest to load and unload were the dozens and dozens of boxes of books. And were not too pleased to move all my potted plants. I’ve been to Paris many times and love the city. Good luck with your home and I’m looking forward to reading all about your adventures.

  • Can relate as well to the necessitites of daily life and what a move would entail for me now…. I have moved about 20 times but the last was over 20 years ago now…. my spare time and list of projects to finish before I die has grown significantly, culling it down to what I think important enough, well, have to say like Franklin, all of it, or just a few things that won’t make the trip, such a token amount of the whole.

    Love the idea of Paris, have always wanted to be there too…. ahem, covid scares and health issues may not be possible. Would love to hear more and possible help with french knitting directions, have a great Bergere pattern book I picked up with the yarn at an estate sale and finished that project with help from a wonderful lady from their shop in Montreal. Would love to attempt the other patterns ther. Alas, french lessons on Duolingo and elsewhere rarely include knitting directions and the vocabulary.

    Thank you Franklin for a day brightener!

  • Oh Franklin! It’s soooo lovely to hear your voice! I’m so excited for your new adventure…..oh! And all of those reallly ooold antiques just waiting for you. Is it too late to name your personal library to get non profit status for that move?
    Maybe knit Moving Man a nice hat with a picture of the book the stitch pattern was in. To assist in his recovery, of course.

  • This was a fabulously enjoyable read… I could never do what you did…but great for YOU!! i have way too much stuff!!

  • Thanks. We truly enjoy your posts. Here and in on FB.

  • Love how you used “getting gauge” for moving and a big life change. It’s perfect for that. Like you might find something good right away, or need to try one or two or four things to get it right and maybe it’s still not perfect but it’s okay, it’ll work.

  • Tea time with giggles…had almost the same experience just moving from California to Washington state. No one understands books and stashes in the moving world.

  • By any chance, is that “nice man” in Seattle named Dave? If so…he really is a super nice guy!

  • Thank you for a wonderful read on a dreary winter morning! I felt as though I was walking through the experience with the writer. So nicely written!

  • Thank you for the new word! I was not familiar with “serried,” and it has clearly been missing from my life.