I've just returned from a trip to Shetland with three of my best friends. We met 10 other new friends during our knitting week on the islands. Such a magical place with awe inspiring scenery and a calmness that is quite remarkable. I will take some time to sort through my photos this week and post a proper blog post about my trip. Pictured above is the Burrastow house where I stayed with 12 other ladies on my very first knit retreat. Just staying around the house was inspiring... you won't believe what the rest of the island looks like!
From Hiro's blog: http://thehareandthecrow.tumblr.com/
Two boxes met upon the road,
Said one box unto the other,
“If I’m a box,
And you’re a box,
Then you must be my brother.
Our sides are thin,
We’re cavin’ in,
And we must get no thinner.”
And so two boxes, hand in hand,
Went home to have their dinner.
“Where the Sidewalk Ends” – Shel Silverstein
See my skein and how it's just a wee fat little thing. This photo was taken two days ago. Hiro has already started a another skein and knit through it and now here is that skein today:
Mine is a just a bit smaller. Same skein.
Conclusion: Hiro knits FAST.
I tried on my sweater today! It looks so good and I am excited. we measured and it looks like I have 23 centimeters more to go before I start the pockets.
Since these photos were taken I have started a new skein... :)
A few months ago I bought some fantastic yarn on the Madeline Tosh online shop. Amy Hendrix had been working on some fun new colors and she always puts her test colors online to sell. If you watch her Instagram feed you pretty much know what is going to show up that week on the online shop. Reminds me of the days of the old Etsy updates. I'd just buy skeins without a project in mind. The colors were so inspriring and I just had to have them. I had this feeling when I saw these skeins of Comic Silver pop up in her shop.
I bought four thinking that I would make something for Alixe but when the skeins arrived I knew I wanted a sweater for myself and got back online and bought 8 more skeins. It's a worsted weight so i wanted to make sure I'd have enough to make myself a sweater and have a little bit extra just because the skeins were so beautiful. Funny as it was, when I ordered them Stephen West was visiting and were talking about yarns we had just recently bought and it turned out that he and I bought large amounts of Cosmic Silver at the same time. We both have a weakness for Tosh yarns. :)
My employee, Sabrina has recently learned to knit and has really taken to it. She has knit a hat and a cowl and announced to us that she was ready to knit a sweater. Hiro was excited because she saw the opportunity for a KAL and those two set off on Ravelry looking for a sweater to knit together. All the while, I listened in because perhaps they would find something lovely that I could use my Cosmic Silver. Sabrina found Portage by Melissa Schaschwary and Hiro immediately proclaimed it was the sweater to knit. Of course, if you know me this is my style of sweater. Long with pocket and non fussy design with just a bit of technique it it to keep it interesting. Quick calculations showed that with my 12 skeins of worsted MCN in Cosmic Silver that I would have enough yarn to knit the sweater.... maybe. Luckily, Stephen has an extra skeins left over from her shorteralls he knit in Cosmic Silver and this should be my insurance skein to make sure I have enough to finish the cowl. Thank you to knitter friends who love the same colors as I do! :)
L'OisiveThé has just gotten a huge delivery of Tosh DK in 40 colors so the choices for this sweater were bountiful. Hiro chose Cosmic Wonderdust to knit her sweater in and with me knitting in Cosmic Silver the #cosmicsisterKAL was born.
Technically, the KAL name was born on our trip to Cologne while we knit our sweaters on the Thalys. Lots of wonderful memories have already been knit into this sweater. I can not wait to finish! Here are a few WIP shots:
I am currently two body reps in and should go for another 4 reps. Since I am knitting this sweater on a larger row gauge because it's supposed to be knit in DK I might not go the full 4 reps. I do want to have nice deep pockets so I'll have to see about that when I get there. My project details are on my Ravelry page if you want to know more.
Seeing my last blog post from February really hits me that I have no time to blog these days. I really miss it and want to get back to it. So many little life things that I want to remember and I know that my tired Mama brain won't be able to remember it all. I revamped the design of my blog. Taking down the sidebar and the blog her ads. I don't know what happened to them but theyr disappeared. Probably due to the fact that I haven't blogged in five months. Five months! So much has happened in the last five months... Maximilien turned six, L'OisiveThé turned five, the yarn portion of my business has really taken off and my kids have finished another school year.
Alixe will be starting Moyenne Section and Maximilien will be in CP (first grade) this fall. My first born in first grade already! Time is just getting away from me. How do we make it slow down?
It's been a super busy time at L'OisiveThé the last few months. Lots of yarn activities with the new classes that I started in the spring and collaborations with my friend, Cécile on crochet projects. I have started crocheting and find it very addicting.
The fact that there is only one stitch to manage at all times is very fun. I always find myself easily picking up where I left off where as in knitting it isn't always the case. My first project is The Babette Blanket by Kathryn Merrick. A twist on a classic granny square blanket. I never got tired of making the same square over and over again especially since I used 32 different colors of Koigu KPM and KPPPM.
The kids have expressed intersted in learning to knit. I started Maximilien off with a French knitting doll. He loves it. He puts it down and comes back to it regularly and just this morning before leaving for day camp he asked to do a few rows. I love seeing my children being fascinated by new things even if it makes us late in the mornings it's worth it.
I always seemed to try to not talk about work too much on my blog. I don't even really remember why... but since my life is pretty much all about working and taking care of the kids I might as well blog about both instead of just trying to filter it out. Things at the tea house are going well. We are getting ready to close for the summer holidays and that will be a nice break of the routine. We will be re-doing the floors next week and after that I will be able to spend a couple weeks without thinking too much about tea house business. Maybe just a week without thinking about tea house business... fall is knitting season and I have to get things lined up for the Marie Claire show in November. Time as I mentioned before is going by fast... in every aspect of my life.
I was up late night and caught an article come across on the Huffington Post about a sweet knitting related initative to make 600 monsters for the students at Sandy Hook elementary school. Since I couldn't sleep I jumped on Ravelry to search for the group that started this idea. I absolutely love the knitting community. Such great people. I found the guidelines for the monsers and cast on immediately...
She's not quite finished yet as you can see. I was able to get her stuffed, sewn up and legs attached tonight at TricoThé, my weekly knitting group at my tea house. Also, I have to decide on how to make her a mouth. :)
A few of the other knitters have joined in and we are going to send a small French army of monsters to show our support and love. Knitting has always been a big source of comfort for me in difficult time. I pretty much have been knitting nonstop for the last few weeks because of end of the year stress and now just to try to get my mind off things. It's been helpful to work on this monster knowing that it will find it's way to someone special very soon.
The last seven shots on my series of 12 shots of Alixe. Each one is so very Alixe. Her personality shines in every one of these shots. These were taken with my D200 with my 50mm f1.8 lens and my SB-600 lens. They are straight out of the camera.
My girl and her many faces...
12 faces of Alixe. 12 faces I adore.
I took twelve shots of Alixe as part of my 12 Shot photo challenge. I used my D200 with my 50mm f1.8 lens and my SB-600 speed light. I did not edit these photos once I pulled them from the memory card. The only changes made to the image are the settings I had long ago set in my D200 for portraits. And you know what? I can't really remember what tweaks I made to my D200. I remember thinking that the images were a bit warm for my taste so I changed the temperature settings of the photos a bit.
Here are shots my shots two through five:
The last photo is my favorite one out of this bunch. Such a genuine smile from Alixe. I remember I called out to her to get her attention. She was climbing down from her chair and I had stuck a photo sticker of herself to my speed light. As you can tell she was happy to see herself.
A photo challenge has been set forth by a photographer I admire with the goal for us to be mindful photographers. The challenge is take photos as if you are limited to only two rolls of film. Easy right? In this age of digital photography we have a tendency to snap away and before we know we have 200 photos to sort through. I have been there and never want to be there again.
I remember shooting film back in college. It was expensive to get film developed so when I was eligible to take the fine arts photography class I jumped at the opportunity. We were never taught to be mindful of the photos we took, per se, but I suppose it was understood that we would mindful all the same. Usually we only had enough time in a class to develop one roll of film.
I chose Alixe as my first subject for my tweaked version of this photo challenge. I'm calling it my 12 Shot Challenge. I am limiting myself to only twelve shots. Remember those rolls of film with 12 photos on them? Well, as busy as I am these days I don't have time to take more than twelve photos at a time. Alixe is at a hard age to photograph. Unable to sit still for more than a few seconds and she wants to grab the camera from my hands ALL THE TIME. Anyone who has tried to photograph an 18 month old knows what I'm talking about. And anyone who knows me knows I love a good challenge...
Here is shot number one:
After dinner, bib still on. Window light + flash. No editing. SOOC. I used my D200 with my 50mm f1.8 lens and SB-600 speed light.
I'll post my next eleven shots in a few days. Anyone else want to play along?
Max's third birthday. I can hardly believe it.
Tonight after dinner we made invitations for his friends from the creche that he'd like to invite to his party. He decided on inviting four boys and two girls.
Sweet Georgia's Silk Merino Lace in Ultraviolet. Now available at L'Oisivethé!
I haven't written very much lately about the tea house here on my personal blog. I maintain a blog for the tea house here. And use Twitter and Facebook to post updates of things happening at L'Oisivethé. But lately things have really been taking off for the tea house and it's a part of my everyday life so I should include it in my 30 days. As many of you know, I dreamed of opening my own knit café in Paris. The first year I had L'Oisivethé, I ran only the cafe portion of the business. Trying to learn every aspect and reworking the work processes to my standards. I took my time incorporating the knitting portion of the business. I did market research and contacted potential yarn vendors in the United States and a year and half after I opened my business I received my first shipment of yarn, ShiBui Knits. And 6 months after that my next shipments which increased my yarn stock to include 3 more North American brands, Lorna's Laces, Dream in Color and Sweet Georgia and I'm looking to secure one more at the end of the year. It's a very exciting time at the tea house. Sometimes it's hard to process it all with the arrival of BB happening at the same time.
After I learned to knit, I'd sit around and fantasize about how it would be so awesome to just sit around and knit for a living. I am not an awesome knitter. I would categorize myself as an intermediate knitter who likes to try new things. As much as I love the actual gesture of knitting I love the who culture surrounded by knitting. Someone said something so true at knitting last night, they mentioned that we may not all be friends in real life but because of knitting we have a common interest and because of this common interest we'll always have something to talk about. It's very true but at the same time, I feel like because of knitting I have had a chance to meet people that I wouldn't normally of had the chance to meet and because of that I have made a whole new array of friends that I enjoy spending quality time with. And all this through what I do for a living... I am very grateful for what I have. I thank my lucky stars everyday.
One of the French speaking knitters last night announced jokingly, "Ca ya est! le tricot est à la mode! " according to some major fashion magazines who have declared this lately. We all had a nice little chuckle over that because many of us who have been knitting for years already knew this!
The nesting continues... all this knitting keeps my mind off the feeling that I'm going to pop any day now. I started the first sock over 2 years ago while visiting our friends in State College, PA. We were watching Ratatouille and making a nice evening of staying in and sipping wine and eating cheese. Just a pattern I made up as I went along. Top down, basic rib sock. Nothing too complicated.
Last night while organizing my projects that need attention I found the first sock and decided to finish the second one. I am the worst at finishing the second sock but I did it while watching Grey's Anatomy last night and now BB will have nice warm toes. I suspect she'll be able to wear these for a while. Now to finish a pair of socks for myself to wear in the maternity...
I'm in full nesting mode. I have this urgent need to knit warm things for my winter baby. Hats, booties, blankets... I am building her trousseau of baby things. Wee knits that I will treasure later on when she's out grown them and they will join those of Max and be kept as family heirlooms.
While I have the energy to stay up late at night to knit I don't have the energy to do the dishes or vacuum the apartment. I believe that the end of pregnancy gets us ready for the lack of sleep that is coming the first few months of your baby's life. I'm amazed sometimes how well I function on such little sleep. But then it catches up to me like today while I was trying to play with Max and all I could do was lay on the bed while he played around me. I know this uncomfortable time is coming to an end and before I know BB will be here.
Three more weeks to go and I feel like time is standing still again. I am trying to take in the moments of each day and appreciate and be grateful for what I have. I am grateful that I can take maternity leave and devote time to the end of my pregnancy.
Edit: I've finished the purple hat this morning: http://loisivethe.com/2009/11/09/norwegian-style-hat-for-baby/
The yarn shop portion of the tea house is taking off. French knitters love American hand painted yarns! But of course, they would....it's just so beautiful. :) With each pregnancy I've found myself in the midst of a knitting frenzy. Nesting for sure. Wee knits for BB. I can't wait until she's here.
or I should say creativity.
Something about being pregnant and working on a knit project just is a perfect match. The process of making something that I will wrap my baby in when she's born brings enormous comfort to me. I hope this blanket will do the same for her.
I recently learned how to crochet. And I mean in the most basic form that I can make a chain and then do one technique over and over again. Thanks to a sweet gal who attends TricoThé every week she has taught me her wisdom of crochet and I have started this baby blanket for BB.
It's very similar to the granny squares that most of us know. I mean I'm sure each of our grandmothers had some version of a blanket like this draped over their couch. I decided to use some lovely Rowan hand knit cotton in an array of bright colors. Something soft and colorful for this our baby who will be born in the middle of winter. I've been averaging about two hexagons an evening before bed and hopefully over summer break I will make some progress on the blanket.
Anyone looking for an easy patch work style blanket to do I highly recommend making a crochet blanket. It's an easy project to keep as an ongoing project while working on other things as well, like baby sweaters.
I'm happy to have knitting back in my life again. For a while there I was juggling so much that I did not have time to eat or sleep let alone knit. But things are starting to settle down and I'm prioritizing my time better and back to the knitting needles I am.
For the past month, I have been showing a local artist's dou dous in the tea house. I had heard about her work from a friend in the neighborhood and had to have her show a little expo at the tea house. Her name is Eve and she runs Lili Grenadine, creations pour enfants. Hip, stylish handmade creations for your little ones. Eve asked if I'd knit a few objects for her show and I was very happy to oblige. I pulled my friend, Irene, into it and we both turned out, in my opinion, some very cute creations for little girls.
I'm very excited to be showing these FOs at Eve's gallery show and I thank her immensely for the chance to do this. And who knows? Perhaps this could turn into something for the tea house. It's not like I have enough on my plate, right? But for now, I'm focusing on my Christmas knitting... and anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new needles!
I made it over to meet Debbie Bliss today. She is such a lovely lady! We talked for about a half and an hour if you can believe it. We stood in the middle of the mercerie at the Bon Marché while French women buzzed around us buying their buttons, yarn and ribbons. Most women were not aware that Debbie Bliss was there. Even one woman came and asked her if she'd write up a fiche de produit for her. I went over and introduced myself and she asked me to call her Debbie. I was a little star struck because I had been knitting with her yarns for so long that her name had become a household knitting term for me. At any rate, it was very cool to meet her in person. She asked me what kind of knitter I was? If I knit for other people or kept what I knit for myself? She cooed to Maximilien and noticed that he was wearing a sweater knit in her Cashmerino Aran. I asked her about her new books and she showed me her spring/summer book called Rialto. I did not know this yarn, it's a superwash merino with an amazingly cushy spring to it. She pulled out a sweater that she had knit with her Rialto and insisted that I try it on. I was in love. I bought the book and found that it had several other sweaters I instantly fell in love with. Isabella will be the next sweater I knit for myself.
I went on to try (upon her request) on some other sweaters she had brought with her. I was impressed. The construction was amazing and the fit was almost perfect. She had me try on sweaters she had knit in size 34 which isn't my size and they fit rather well. I jotted down notes to remember which size to knit as she autographed two books to me.
Before leaving, Debbie asked me to tell my regular knitting sales woman that the Bon Marché needs to bring her back every month to have a regular knitting session apparently she loves Paris and tries to come to visit as often as she can. She even said that she'd love to come to our knitting circle someday. Imagine that?
Once upon a time I used to post blogs about knitting amongst the other random things on this blog. Then I had a baby and Maximilien hijacked my blog.
Well, here is a little knitting content for ya... I've actually finished some top secret Christmas presents! I can hardly believe that I did it. Photos will be posted later as I don't want to ruin the surprise. Secondly, this Friday I am going to go and meet Debbie Bliss. I do enjoy her yarns very much. Cashmerino Aran has been a favorite of mine for a long time and I think I will go and buy her new baby knits book that she will be dedicating this Friday at Le Bon Marché. By the way, for you Paris knitters, she will be there from 11am-5:30pm.
I think I will buy some of her new yarn, chunky cashmerino to make myself a hat. No pattern in mind yet but maybe Debbie Bliss* can give me some advice.
* I know I keep using her full name but to call her Miss Bliss just sounds too... you get what I mean. :)
I first learned about it
So, I am taking this pledge to buy handmade for this coming holiday season. Gifts. Toys. Household items. I am excited to scavenger
Inspired? Read more about
Maximilien can sit up now. It is a new development that literally happened over night. I can not believe how fast he is growing up. Chatting with another mama friend online today, we were marveling at how fast our boys were hitting their milestones lately and at the same moment we both typed: :( because it's just happening too fast. Our little boys are becoming big boys.
Max is sporting a bottom up raglan with a placket-neck that I knit for him in just three days. Three days! That's insanely fast for me. But I have to knit fast now if I want Max to wear something I make for him more than once. He's got some time with this sweater. I knit the 1-2 year old size. Standing up he looks like he's wearing a mini dress.
Finishing this sweater was so fulfilling. I admired it as I laid it out to block and I was filled with this unexplainable feeling of love. I made something for my son. It made me think of my mother right away. She was such the fiber artist. She made us all kinds of amazing things for us: Dresses for school dances, graduation dresses, bridesmaid dresses, curtains for our bedrooms, hand knit sweaters, scarves (or mufflers as Omma always said) to keep us warm, booties, gloves, hats, a tube top (from seeing a picture in a JCrew catalog!) a wedding quilt, afghans, and the list goes on.... I was so lucky to have all those wonderful things growing up and I am so proud that I can do the same for Max. It will be a way to leave my legacy for him long after I'm gone just as my mother has done for me.
In the background is the quilt she made Julien and I for our wedding. This is a sweater that my mother knit for me after I showed her a photo in an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog of a sweater with long flared sleeves.
This is my favorite sweater and the last one she ever made me.
Not to get off subject here... wait, what's the subject of this blog again? Oh, that's right... whatever I want. So, living in France, married to a Frenchman, just had a baby and I knit... you still with me, there? Good. :)
Yes, I've finally found time to knit again. Who needs naps when there is knitting to be done? Anyway, when I try to take a nap while the baby is napping all I can think about is yarn like this:
So, while baby sleeps... mama knits.
I love stripes. A lot. Proof here. and here.
Last weekend I could have sworn that Spring was making it's way to Paris. Sunny rain showers and spring-like gales sweeping the streets reminded me of springtime in Kansas. I look around at the Parisians bundled up like it was below zero outside while I'm wearing my spring jacket (unbuttoned) with a light weight scarf lightly draped around my neck enjoying the gust of wind blowing my hair out of my face. Perfect weather for a pregnant lady whose oven has been on for nearly 9 months now.
I got in a little knitting in the park by my house in this weekend between rain showers. I finished sock one of the gray and green leg warmer sock for my husband. He kept trying on my NoNo kitty socks, so I gave in...
Per my husband's request, he wanted long cuffs. "Leg warmers", he said. Same pattern as the NoNo kitty socks I made a few weeks ago.
A week ago I finished a pair of socks for Riana of French Toast France. I'm keeping with my knitting resolution of one FO a month. Yay. Riana was sweet enough to send me a photo of the socks on her cute little feet:
I tried to send them to her in time for her to wear in the hospital for the birth of her daughter but her daughter had other ideas and decided to come a little early! Check out how cute she is!
And finally, I cast on last night to make a pair of Cable Twist Socks from Hello Yarn. I'm using my favorite yarn of moment, Anny Blatt 100% Merino. It's so springy and soft. It's the same yarn I used for Riana's socks. I'm have a little trouble starting the heel, I feel like the pattern might be wrong but it's more likely me reading the pattern incorrectly. Has anyone else had any difficulties with the heel portion of this pattern? Any ideas for an alternative heel?
The log cabin blankie is coming along nicely... I'll have an update photo of that very soon.
Ironic that I'm knitting socks when personally I hate wearing socks. First thing I do when I get home is strip down to my bare feet. Even in the winter time. So, I chalk it up to the addicting nature sock knitting is but I just can't bring myself to knit anything else right now.
Well, I'm off to figure out the heel on the Cable Twist sock. Thanks to everyone for their advice and support on my latest baby update. Time seems to be going by so fast now... I can't wait.
I have an FO for 2007! I can't believe it. Of all things, it's a pair of socks!
I thought that I would be forever doomed to only knitting one sock. For some reason I never could get my mind around the basic construction of a sock. But there was something about this yarn that mesmerized me into finishing them. Maybe variegated yarns are the key to getting me to finish a pair of socks? So, I've set myself a little knitting new year's resolution: One finished object a month. I think that's pretty do-able. I feel motivated to try anyways and since I'm starting my congé maternité very soon, I think I'll be able to get a good start.
So, I've got a couple projects on the needles these days: A log cabin blankie from Mason-Dixon knitting and a chunky baby cardigan for the babe. I'm also going to be making a couple more pairs of house socks to gift to a far away blogger friend!
A good friend here in France has just confessed to me that she wants to learn to knit, so we have to get that taken care of too!
And something totally random, I hear it's supposed to snow this week in Paris! I can't believe it. But here's to hoping...
This is the beginning of my 29th week of pregnancy and I'm starting to feel the weight of the baby partout! Especially in my hips!
I hope everyone's having a wonderful start to your week.
This is my new favorite pie! Last weekend was the fête de Galette des Rois or the celebration of Epiphany. The holiday has been celebrated since the middle ages but more modernly it's become a way for families and friends to gather around the table to celebrate and spend time together.
I'm not a huge fan of the tarte in itself. The original galette could look like this (Thanks, AliThinks for the great photo!) but different regions in France have their own versions. So, with that excuse I've made my own version that my husband and I will enjoy. I love pears and he loves raspberries. I've omitted the top crusty portion of the galette and made a tarte entirely of creme d'amande and fruit. The middle portion of the galette des rois is also called Frangipane. I call this my Frangipane tarte, just so much fun to say.
So check it out pre baking... the fruit will sink into the Frangipane once it's baked.
Here's the info you need to make one yourself:
Bourdaloue (Pear frangipane tarte, as I call it)
- 1 pâte sablée de 200g
- 1 crème d’amande (Recipe below)
- 1 grosse boîte de poires au sirop (or any other fruit you'd like to use)
- 1 moule à tarte
1) Beurrer la moule, le garnir avec la pâte.
2) Ajouter la crème d’amande
3) Ajouter les poires
4) Cuissons 30 minutes à four 200˚C
Crème d’amande (Or Frangipane)
-125g de beurre (en pommade)
-125g de sucre semoule
-125 g de poudre d’amande
-2 œufs à température
-30g de farine ou poudre à crème ou Maizena (corn starch) ou fécule. (I use Maizena makes for a lighter Frangipane)
1) Faire mousser le beurre. I heat the bowl in the microwave and let the cold butter sit in the bowl for a bit to soften up. Do not melt butter completely .
2) Incorporer la moitié de la poudre d’amande et la moitié du sucre ; faire blanchir (au batteur)
3) Ajouter 1 œuf, battre.
4)Recommencez étape 2 et 3.
5)Incorporer la poudre a crème.
My recipes are always in French and English, just the way my brain works now. Here's an english translation of the recipe.
So, maybe this is my nesting instict kicking in but I felt like making a pie tonight. Not nearly as bad as Riana's nesting kick. She made 24 dinners! But this urge for apple pie was plus fort que moi*! So here's is my tarte aux pommes pour la femme enceinte:
I kind of threw this together following my mind's logic! I love pies but I've found that pies in France are creamier and heavier and I just don't like them as much as my mom's homemade pies. I did not make the crust. I just didn't have the patience to do that tonight but had a couple Picard frozen pie crusts or påte brisées in the freezer that would work just fine.
- 6 large pink lady apples (3 for making compote with, the other three to layer into the pie)
- Cook down the apples to make a your compote sauce. Add sugar and spice as you like. I used my Penzey's apple pie spice.
- 1 påte brisée from Picard. Let it defrost while you are making the compote.
- Layer compote and then sliced apples that have been tossed in sugar and spice.
- Bake at 200 degreed Celsius for 30 minutes.
Making a compote for the base of tarte avoids using cream or eggs for your tarte base as the French like to do. I was thinking about my thighs while making this pie. :)
Serve warm with a big glass of milk. It's better smelling than any Yankee candle and tastes pretty darn good.
* too strong to deny
Couldn't sleep last night, jet lag is to blame. I made this during my winkless night:
Ballband Dishcloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting
Yarn: Lily's Sugar n' Cream Cotton
Colors: Hot Blue and Summer Splash
Needles: 5mm straight needles
Time: Early this morning before the sunrise
Maybe this will motivate me to do the dishes more often! :) Also would make great washcloths for the baby. And christmas presents. and....
Hubby is out enjoying his first night of vacation. I'm happy to stay in and knit and put my feet up. Smokey bars don't sound too appealing to me right now. I've started a pair of Opera Gloves and they are coming out very nicely. Maybe I'll have them done before we leave this Friday, on verra... Excuse the crappiness of this photo. Camera phone + Internet = easy!
My knitting TV of choice tonight is Grey's Anatomy, yet again!! I like Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey's characters. He reminds me of my husband. I have my very own McDreamy. :) And it looks like Meredith has taken up knitting to replace men. Does that really work? ;)
McDreamy: As a friend, I gotta tell you that you look a little weird...
Meredith: I'm knitting a sweater...
Bartender: You're knitting in a bar, you can't knit in a bar, you're scaring the customers.
Meredith: I'm knitting for surgical dexterity
All I have to say it makes for good knitting TV. :)
So, you're probably wondering if we're having a girl or a boy? Last week was the longest week ever, anticipating something like this is something I can hardly put to words. Our doctor brought us in exceptionally because we are getting ready to leave for the US for a month and he wanted to see us to make sure all was well and to take a peek to see what we were going to have. When he asked if we wanted to know we both chimed in "Oh, oui, Docteur!" and giggled. The baby was active and making it hard for the doctor to find what he was looking for and then all of a sudden he announces, " Et la, je vois un zizi!" Julien and I looked at each other and bursted out in laughter. Tears followed for me. We were both convinced that we were having a girl. I think it was because of how sick I was and Julien thought having an the oldest be a girl would genial. Though being the oldest of five I would have loved to have had an older brother. And as for names, Julien and I have been talking about baby names since the beginning of our relationship. We never doubted that we'd have children. Lately I had been re-thinking the girl's name we had chosen but the boy's name we were absolutely sure donc ca tombe bien!!
So, a weekend tranquille a la maison since in less than a week we'll be boarding a plane. We stayed in last night catching up on Lost and Grey's Anatomy all the while I cranked out the Phildar baby sweater:
Pattern: La Brassiere and L'Echarpe No. 6 from Phildar Tricotez Calin
Size: 6 months (sweater); One size fits all (Scarf)
Yarn: Oxyene color Emeraude (sweater)
Bowling in Folk & Partner in Petunia (Scarf)
Needles: 5.5 mm & 6.5 mm
Started: October 20, 2006
Finished: October 28, 2006
I can happily say that I think I've gotten over my fear of Phildar patterns and sewing sweater parts. It took me a couple false starts but seaming stockinette and garter stitch are very easy! Sewing on snaps on the other hand, I don't like at all. If I make this again, I'm going to add button holes. The scarf was just an added bonus, I fell in love with how it looked on the baby on the cover of Tricotez Calin. So, this will be put in the mail next week and hopefully the recipient hasn't already grown out of it! :)
Since security is tight I doubt that I will be doing any knitting on the plane. I've planned on checking some needles in my bag and knitting something for myself while visiting friends. Probably a scarf or a shawl like the Clapotis. I'm probably the only knitter who hasn't knit this yet. :) The gloom of Paris winter is creeping up on us and there isn't anything more motivating to knit than just that.
If you get close enough to the computer screen maybe you'll be able to smell how good this banana banana bread is! Are you sick of all the baking I've done? I know my husband isn't. :) It's also helped to pass time while I'm knitting. Knitting and baking, hmmm what a novel idea?
So, you see up there that's my Phildar sweater. Remember how I said I was going to kick some Phildar butt? Those confusing 1 x 2, 2 x 5 decreases have been explained to me by the lovely Tres Chic Veronique. Merci! And Michele pointed me towards a French knitters forum which helped to iron out any other questions I had. I'm hoping to have this little brassiere done by the end of the week. It's for my friend who's just had a baby girl. Check out the cuteness this sweater will be:
I've also made the scarf that's in the picture. What a fun excuse to use that funky Phildar Bowling!
And here's the recipe for the banana bread :
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup butter
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
I didn't have enough banana, I had three and half and probably needed two more to make the 2 1/3 cups needed for the recipe. I substituted with a pot of compote de poire williams and it worked like a charm. Also I used a different pan and my bake time was cut by about 20 minutes.
Happy knitting and baking... I'm off to have a piece of banana bread and curl up on the couch with my cheri d'amour.
*edit* I highly suggest using apple sauce or pear sauce with chunks of fruit for the banana bread recipe. It really made for a moist bread with delightful little chunks of fruit. Nothing like fruit cake, I'd never do wish that on anymore. Ew. :)
Cake au citron
from Eggs and Mouillettes
- 200 g de farine,
- 150 g de beurre,
- 100 g de sucre,
- 4 oeufs,
- 2 citrons non traités,
- 1 sachet de levure.
1 - Faites fondre le beurre (bain-marie ou four micro-ondes)
2 - Mélangez les oeufs et le sucre jusqu'à ce que le mélange blanchisse, puis ajoutez la farine petit à petit et ensuite la levure. Mélangez bien et ajoutez le beurre fondu.
3 - Lavez les citrons et pressez en le jus et ajoutez le à la pâte.
4 - Prélevez le zeste des deux citrons, coupez les en petits morceaux et ajoutez ces morceaux à la pâte.
5 - Mélangez bien la pâte et versez dans un moule à cake et faites cuire 45 mn a 180 degree Celsius.
My kitchen smells lemon-y sweet and so will yours! Enjoy!
My kitchen smells lemon-y sweet and so will yours! Enjoy!
Pattern: Dumpling from Rowan Babies.
Yarn: Rowan Ribbon Twist in shade 113.
Needles: Clover 10mm (adjusted from 12mm to get gauge)
Time: One week
Recipient: Our baby! :)
This sweater was a real joy to knit and I'm very happy with the way it turned out. I'm hoping that our baby will be able to wear it next winter as he/she will be 6 months old. The buttons were a suggestion by the lady who works the Rowan counter at Le BM. The toggles work well with the chunky yarn as the pattern doesn't call for button holes. I got to hang out with Felix and his mamma yesterday and he happily tried on Dumpling for me. The sweater was a wee bit short on him as Felix is 10 months old now and as tall as a one year old! Doesn't he did look dashing?
Currently on the needles, Trellis from Knitty and Une Brassiere pour Bébé (sweater on the book cover) from Phildar Tricotez Cålin. I am going to get over my fear of French patterns by conquering a baby sweater! I think I finally understand all the 1 x 3, 2 x 5 business! :)
**edit** I've put up a rough conversion of the grams to cups for the Lemon cake as requested. Check the comments below... :)
I've been feeling pretty sick the last couple days. Severe nausea like I had in the beginning stages of pregnancy and throwing up. I haven't been able to keep anything down but crackers and some juice. I hope this passes soon. Julien says that I'm busy making something important. I think the baby is surfing waves in my belly and giving me motion sickness. :)
I've continued on my knitting spree and have started two more baby sweaters. This just might be my thing to knit. I love how fast I can make these and am able to experiment with some yarns that I normally wouldn't use for myself. I've started a Chunky baby cardigan called Dumpling that's knit in one piece except for the sleeves from Rowan Babies. I'm using Ribbon twist in a lovely grey blue color with a light colored ribbon woven through. Though it looks more grey here, I'll surely take better photos later. I love the stitch definition of the Ribbon Twist. Again, I'd probably never knit myself anything this bulky but for a baby should be trés mignon.
I love the cowl neck. I've had to modify the sleeves a bit to make them a bit wider. I tried them out on my friend's daughter who is 3 months old and they were a bit tight. I'm hoping to have this sweater done tonight. There are no button holes because the Ribbon Twist is so chunky that you can make your own button hole in between the stitches. Easy peasy, I like that! With this sweater I've learned to do three needle bind off as well. Must say anything to avoid sewing is awesome! ;)
And, I have a shot of my growing belly. I'm actually very surprised how big it looks here but I think it's the combination of the white tank top I'm wearing and the angle. I shot this because just that morning my husband told me that my belly had passed my breasts and I really looked pregnant. C'est moi a 16 semaines. Next week, we find out the sex of the baby. I had a stranger today on the bus tell me that she thought it as a girl. My Korean girlfriend says because I've been craving fruits lately that it's a girl. What do you think we'll be having? Either way, we're excited! A little boy or a little girl... either would just be wonderful.
Finally, I wanted to shout out to my friend, Vivi, who's in the US right now. I love you, darling and I'm thinking of you.
**edit** 00:23: Frenzy knitting while watching Grey's Anatomy and the Ribbon Twist cardie is done! It's so cute. I'll be sewing on buttons tomorrow and hopefully my friend's son will model it off for me. I'm off to bed...
As promised here are photos of the baby cardigan that I finished this week for our future bout de chou. This was a good lesson in sweater construction for me and helped me get over my fear of sewing sweater parts. The pattern is from Knitting for two by Erica Knight which was graciously on long term loan to me from a good friend (Thanks, Ronica!!). I happened to have the yarn the pattern called for in my stash (don't you love when that happens?) and was able to finish little little pull de bébé in about two days time. The sewing took another couple days to make sure I got it right and then I had to find the perfect buttons to match. I ended up choosing some olive tree wooden buttons.
I have a skein and half left over so I intend on making matching booties. This baby will be rockin' Rowan at the maternité.
And yesterday we had an impromptu baby shower for a new little knotlet, Louise and I was finally able to gift her the cotton dress I finished a few weeks ago.
I used Plassard Gong 100% Cotton in a lovely aubergine color. And found some very cute print fabric at Ikea of all places for the shoulder straps. The pattern comes from Tricot pour les Bébés and this was my first successful French pattern I've knit to date.
The knitting bug has come back and I've found a new love for knitting baby clothes. So, question to the knitters out there what baby patterns are you or have you knit lately? I'm thinking about getting this book because I have such easy access to Debbie Bliss yarns here in Paris. I'm heading state side in about three weeks and will be looking for some sweet new yarns while I'm home. What new yarns are you into these days?
Happy Sunday everyone! The hubby and I are going to have a Devil wears Prada afternoon, hope the movie is as fun as the book was. :) Um... so much for the movie! We ended up eating a lesisurely lunch and napping in. So, Happy Lazy Sunday to all!
I only wish I could knit this fast!Thanks to Nick Cody for pointing it out to me! :)
Or in this case the other way around. While I was sleeping Leo goes to town on my latest knitting project.
Leo is our cat. I should have known better than to leave my shawl on the arm rest of the couch. It was late. I was tired and could only think about getting to bed. I left the livingroom door open. A clear invite to my nite kitty to come in a play. And he sure did play. I awoke a couple mornings ago to a pile of what was once my Little Arrowhead Shawl. Leo was long gone before I knew what had happened. I wish I could have caught his little paws in the action. He did a fairly good job of unravelling the shawl, I was able to salvage the skein and half very easily.
I can tell he's been feeling quite guilty. He's been following me around the apt for two days now. Even to the bathroom. The photo above is pretty much all he does all day. He lays with his back to me and when I stand up he runs and then santers his way back to me. I talk with my husband about this we think he was revenging himself for a cople days ago when I had forgotten to feed him. Leo is moody like his mamma. I guess I can't fault him for that. One thing is for sure, I'll be putting my knitting away every night. Don't want him to be getting any other catty ideas.
So, I contemplated starting the shawl again but I decided against it, It was to have been worn to a wedding coming very soon and now I won't have time to finish it. So, I've decided on a silk scarf. Something to throw on when I feel a bit chilly or need a bit of color around the neck.
I actually like the lace pattern better here than in the shawl. It's knit on smaller needles and it seems to work better for me. I"m thinking long and skinny to be wrapped around the neck a couple times. Perfect for this fall.
Oh, how you were so wise, Omma.
We were sitting at the kitchen table at our house in Olathe. 17582 West 112th St. I watched my mom as she worked her way around her kitchen. Making dinner and mixing cookies for my brother while happily singing to herself. I was a teenager. 16 years old. I told my mom that I didn't want to have kids right away and that I wanted to be a career woman. She turned to me and said you know you might change your mind. I scoffed because I knew what I was talking about and no one could change my mind, not even my mother. Well, I've been in the career world and I have to say it's not all that I thought it would be. I guess I had some vision where the thrill of being a career woman would be enough. The thrill is gone, baby. Way gone. Losing someone close to you make you realize so many things. As I work through all these feelings I'm realizing there are so many other things I'd rather be focusing on right now. Life is just too damn short to wait. Luckily, my husband is right there to back me up. I love you, honey. We're starting to make decisions that will change out lives. We're so excited! Though I'm no where near the domestic goddess my mother was, I've decided to follow in her foot steps and to teach myself. So many projects, so little time. I finally feel like I know what to do now.
Spending time with your girlfriends is the perfect remedy to settle one's nerves. Sitting around catching up on eveyone's lives. Laughing together. It means so much. Today was Knit in Public day. We headed out to the Buttes Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement and found a patch in the shade and knit. Might I suggest a monthly date of knitting in the parc? It does the soul good. :) Thanks, girls for the company. Looking forward to the next KIP date.
I'm planning on doing some knitting in public this weekend. Saturday is the second anniversary of The World Wide Knitting in Public Day. Will be meeting up with the girls and slathering on the sunblock to enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the park. Where will you be knitting this weekend?
If you're in Paris and would like to join us, drop me an email and I'll let you know the details.
I'll burn you a music cd with tunes I've been enjoying lately and you do the same and we'll swap? I'm feeling the need for new music. Or maybe a reminder of some good oldies. Something to touch my soul. Make me laugh. Boogie. Smile. Daydream.
Email me if you're interested. :)
Since last weekend I've done a little bit of work in the apartment while waiting for my copy of Apartment Therapy: The eight-step home cure to arrive. I figured I'd start with obvious things like fixing the disarray of our guestroom/office and do some basic decluttering. The guestroom is where we put things when we can't find a place for them. As I had mentioned in a previous entry, our apartment has no closet space whatsoever. Very typical for a Paris apartment. The guestroom turned into an office, dressing area and a random storage space. It became a room that I hated to enter because there was just so much stuff everywhere! After buying a new computer, I quickly realized that if I'm going to want to comfortably use the computer I need to feel at ease in our guestroom/office because that was the only feasible place in our apartment to place the computer.
I assessed the room and listed things I disliked:
- The desk. It's too big for this room and the shape is weird.
- My husband's clothes. They don't belong in the guest room!
- My makeshift vanity. It doesn't belong in this room, either!
- The futon placement. When open, you can't move around the room at all.
The only thing I liked about the room is the kitsch wallpaper from the previous owners. It's too funny to take down.
Here's the layout before:
I made an executive decision to replace the wonky desk with a desk of a more conventional shape, say a rectangle? So, I moved out kitchen table into the guest room and made a communal desk for my husband and I.
And....it works! Sort of strange to have two people at a desk like this but it's fun and my husband and I are together when we have our geeky computer moments instead of one us in the living room and one in the office. And yes, we have video chatted with each while sitting side by side. :)
Here's the new layout:
We sill have a little work to do in this room, we will install a shelving unit with a built lighting system to go above the desk. I'd also like to do a little decoupage and buy a glass sheet to place on top to bring a little more finish to the desk top.
I've started the process of decluttering our apartment. This is a hard process for me because I am the daughter of a pack-rat and was taught that it's okay to keep EVERYTHING. As I got older and more independant, I would do periodical purges of of personal things. Most times in fits of psychotic cleaning rages (my husband can confirm this) in preparation for parties chez nous. Remember my makeshift vanity? Well, I decided to that the guestroom/office should be a neutral space in our apartment, that would be the only way to keep this room clean and prepared for guests. That meant my husband's suits and my vanity had to go. I decluttered my beauty products. This was very hard for me. I'm very serious about skin care. I threw out anything that was older than a year or that I hadn't used in more than 6 months. I threw out two 20 liter trashbags worth of beauty products, people! It's been nearly a week since I did it and I feel great. All my body, hair and skin care products are in the bathroom (where they belong) and out of our guest room. My husband's suits? They are in the hallway...awaiting a shiny new home in our bedroom. Soon, very soon...
Since these changes my copy of Apartment Therapy arrived and I read on the book blog that we're working on the kitchen. Ça tombe bien...because Julien and I just did a little work in the kitchen as well. We've been busy little bees, n'est-ce pas? After a trip to Ikea to get some organizational ideas, we bought a few things to fix a few minor issues in our kitchen: the lack of counter space. A few holes drilled et voila! My new cooking nook.
My husband remarked that our kitchen finally looks habillé or dressed. Don't you agree?
As I'm exploring self improvement through creative therapy, I stopped and took a look around my apartment and realized that our apartment needs a little therapy, too. We've been living here for two years and haven't done much to fix our digs up. We hadn't intended to stay very long but not it seems like we'll be here for a little while longer so why not fix her up a bit to help pass the time and make it a more pleasant place to live. Ms. Jess over at Fig and Plum recently told me about Apartment Therapy's group cure. I, too, am wating for my Apartement Therapy book to arrive so I can start the eight step home cure. I'm often lacking in ideas about arranging the apartment as you can see from the rough floor plan I just drew up. We lack floor space. Drawing straight lines are not my forté, y'all. There will be a version 2 very soon.
Click here for better viewing size.
Click photo for some explanation of the lay out.
Our apartment is strangely laid out. It's long. Very long. In all, it's 59 meter squared or 635 square feet. But our hallway is 13 meters squared long (139 square feet). The hallway runs the length of the apartment and it's technically the biggest space in our apartement. . So, I guess I should start out with the things I like about our apartment. It's quiet. There's a lot of light and the ceilings are very high. In our previous apartment I could almost touch the ceiling jumping, we felt very closed in. The list of things that I don't like is much longer, so I'll just give you the short version:
- No bathtub
- No heater in the hallway. Hallway = Siberia most of the year.
- The bathroom and our bedroom are on opposite ends of the apartment.
- No closet space. (!)
The last one really threw me when we moved in. I figured we'd be alright and get a few armories and I'd just get over the lack of closet space. It's painful to get an armories when you have such little floor space, so we've contented ourselves to sharing one armorie which just doesn't work for two clothes horses like us! You'll see in the guest room/office that J has a clothes rack with just his suits and dress shirts. The guest room can be easily called our office, dressing room, vanity and Leo's bedroom and someday when we have our first child this will be their room too.
So, there you have it... this is chez nous. We're going to try to give our little apartment some love therapy so that we can all get along. First on my list, paint a wall in the living room green. Here's a color I'm thinking about...
Here's a shot of our livingroom today...
Describe yourself using only one word.
1. Yourself: Sentimentalist.
2. Your Lover: Realist.
3. Your Hair: Short.
4. Your Mother: Extraordinary.
5. Your Father: Formidable.
6. Your Favorite Item: Journal.
7. Your Dream Last Night: Omma.
8. Your Favorite Drink: Water.
9. Your Dream Home: Paris.
10. The Room You Are In: Office.
11. Your Pet(s): Léo.
12. Who You Are Now: Changed.
13. Who You Want to be in Ten Years: Mother.
14. What You Want to be in Ten Years: Happy.
15. What You're Not: Weak.
16. Your Best Friend: Husband.
17. One of Your Wish list Items: Closure.
18. Your Gender: Woman.
19. The Last Thing You Did: Blogged.
20. What You Are Wearing: Hoodie.
21. Your Favorite Weather: Sunny.
22. Your Favorite Book: Siddhartha.
23. The Last Thing You Ate: Sorbet.
24. Your Life: LOVE.
25. Your Mood: Gentle.
From my friend, Cindy...
A friend wrote this to me a couple days ago and I have to whole heartily agree. I had been contemplating therapy and in past entries have talked about my feelings on therapy and have tried it. I think therapy in any nature helps us to better ourselves. Growing up, tennis was a sort of therapy for me. It was a way for me to deal with my body issues and to work out stress, it turned out that I was pretty good so it was a confidence booster, too. As I got older, I found other ways to create to bring myself a sense of self ease. Tae Kwon Do. Photography. Mixing. Knitting. Being creative has been a savior for me these last few months. After my mom passed away, I was so scared that I wouldn't pick up knitting again. It pained me to look at the all of my mother's knitting needles and for weeks I tried to forget knitting. Then one day, my brother asked me to make her something and I felt this sort of pressure in my mind ease away as I tried to work through that knitting project. Time seems to stand still. My friend, Cindy, also said that art hits a part of your brain that takes you away from the logical side of your mind. That there is a feeling that you don't know how much time has passed. Thinking about this, I see myself obsessively knitting on the couch at 2am as I'm thinking just a couple more rows not even aware of what time it is. And recently while making earrings or sketching out skirts I'd like to sew myself, it's already past noon and I've been up since 7am. Being creative. I like to say the words. Be creative. I feel a sense of confidence rising in me when I create something. Even sitting here writing this blog entry, I feel my collar bone tingle and my toes feel warm as the morning air brushes them. The creative juices are flowing through every inch of my being and I love how this feels.
I couldn't sleep this morning because I was laying awake in bed thinking about what I could be making right at that moment. Is there a correlation between early morning hours and creativity? I feel less creative at night, except for knitting, something about the natural sunlight feeding my need to create.
Here's the window that's by my computer desk. Cracked ever so slightly to let in the freshness of the morning air.
And my computer desk is doubling as my creative space. My husband has pretty much called this my desk now that all my things are on it...
I know that I still have a long way to go. It's all about keeping the balance and I've found something to help me along the way.
Click photo for step by step explantion.
See KNOTs Blog
I've currently got
one two, no...three; knit projects going on. Turtle Shurg, Fun Scarf (yea, I need to finish this one... sewing in the ends has been a bitch though) , and Tweedy Sweater . Yeah, I like to multi-task or get bored easily you decide. So, I decided to make a knit stop with these:
From Rowan's magazine 38 these lovlies are called Eowyn. This is my first cable ever and it was so simple! I love cabling! It also helps that I am knitting with Rowan's Kid Classic, it knits so well and feels wonderful agains your skin. I will be sporting these this weekend! It's cold and I need them! One thing that's kind of neat is that there is a thumb hole that is made by sewing up the seam. The pattern calls for it! Great for a beginner knitter who isn't quite sure how to make a thumb hole yet! :)
You may have wondered where I've gone? Well, I've been on holiday and have een obsessively knitting. I've just started this:
This is will be my first sweater. :)
The pattern is from Phildar's Tendance Automne 05/06
A friend told me that knitting releases endorphines and makes you happy. I picked up knitting as a way to calm myself. My job is rather stressful and being married has it's stressful moments. It's nice to have something all to myself and the possibility to make wonderful things!