Friday, 19 July 2013

FO: Eiffel Tower Shawl

Hey, did you guys see this yet? It's pretty cool. I mean, if you like cool things.

Paris, more than any other place I've ever been, is defined in so many ways by its main monument. I kid about them striking oil with it one of these days, but you never tire of staring at it. It's an amazing, iconic piece of engineering. Originally, it was not meant to stand for very long, and was just a monument for the World's Fair to be torn down after the crowds have gone home. However, some genius knew an opportunity when they saw it and it remains as the most visited tourist attraction on the planet. It graces a whole lot of tourist tchotchkies and sells a lot of hotel-room views. You can't even fathom a Paris without it.

The first time I saw it up close, I honestly couldn't believe that it was painted brown.


For whatever reason, in my head, I thought it was inky black.

I thought that A Fitting Tribute to knit a shawl inspired by the gorgeous scrollwork in pink.

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The pattern is from Natalie Servant. It's well-written and totally unique. It's a pretty big shawl, with lots of stockinette stitch to eat up yardage. I used 750 yards of laceweight.


I do need to block it out a bit more. It could use a more drastic point, and I just couldn't get the shape right with my improvised blocking technique.

The yarn is a skein of merino Sanguine Gryphon Mithril in the "Woman under the Willows" color. It's not my favorite. It's really tightly overplied, so it's hard to get even tension and the yarn tends to twist itself into a tangle every few feet. Annoying. I don't see it pilling anytime soon, so I'm hoping it will wear well. I did frog back quite a bit at one point and the yarn is no worse off for it.


It is a lovely pattern though and I had fun making it. It's fairly mindless for a while and then you get to make all the pretty scroll work. It was a good pattern to travel with, and I'm happy with it.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Butte Chaumont

The quest for a quiet park away from the hoards of tourist that have taken over the more central gardens leads to some lovely places.


Not always true of Butte Chaumont. This was the hill where executed criminals would be left on display in the medieval times, and later it became a dump. Generally, an unpleasant bit of real estate until the mid-19th century, where it was made into a sprawling, hilly park.


It's a great place for a relaxing, wine-fueled picnic and you get a nice view of the city and a beautiful sunset as well. That's pretty much a Paris storybook tale right there.

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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

14 Juliet

The festivities just didn't seem quite as festive this year. Perhaps it was because the holiday fell on a Sunday this year, and it usually means a 3+ day weekend to celebrate. The dances that the fireman put on the night beforehand were packed (I had to tell a french friend please not to refer to them as "fireman's balls") and the crows and pigeons around town felt slightly ill at ease as fireworks and firecrackers were lit off all weekend.

Decided to forego the parade down the Champs-Élysées in favor for a BBQ in the suburbs. However, plans were derailed by the train wreck on Friday, and the train out to the 'burbs would not be running. Scrambling last minute for something to do, I packed a picnic and headed out to the Parc de Flora for an afternoon at the Paris Jazz Festival.

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They do love their jazz here in France, and most artist who get very little love in the states will draw adoring crowds in Europe. Trombone Shorty was no exception. A real New Orleans style funk jazz band got everyone on their feet and dancing for hours. No matter that he ran out of material when they called him back with rabid enthusiasm for his fifth encore. The spirt was there, and he was loved. Leave me alone, I'm a throwback and I love the Jazz Music and my grandfather and I will sit around and listen to Pre-war jazz on the turntable and he tells me about the bad old days and I actually listen. This is my music.

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The Parc is also a lovely place to meander around. Lots of gardens and bees and butterflies and quiet wooded paths.


They keep a small herd of Ouessant sheep to keep the lawns trimmed. They were quite warm and just sleeping in the shade. Lazy, good-for nothing lawnmowers.

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When the sun started to set, we headed off to watch the fireworks. Not wanting to be elbowed to death again this year, we opted for a posh party from a hotel room with a view in Montmartre.

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The show was spectacular. What a gorgeous city.

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Monday, 15 July 2013

FO: Rusted Root

Oh, the dreaded Summery Sweater!


Dreaded because it usually means silk or cotton or linen is called for, and my hands will ache the entire time with the dreaded inflexibility of it all.

Alas, I discovered Rowan Calmer before it was unceremoniously discontinued, so I have a nice little stash of it squirreled away. It's cotton and acrylic micofiber blended together, but it's plied tightly and bouncily so the yarn has enough give that it's closer to wool in feel. I picked up the last 4 skeins at the bottom of the bargin bin last summer at Le Bon Marché, an ultra luxe department store in the 6th. I picked this top because it was knit top-down, so if I was tight on yardage, it would just be a little cropped.


I love the cherry-red color and I love the fit. It's a snug raglan tee, but stretchy and comfy, and as long as I don't wear something terribly low-waisted, it will keep my stomach covered.


The puffy little cap sleeves make this.


The pattern is Rusted Root from Zephyr Style. Despite the tight gauge on US 5 needles, I had this done in a week and a half without really even hustling. I used every single last bit of the 700 yards of Calmer.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

FO: Beaufort Hat

My, my. I do make a lot of hats.


They seem to be my chosen way to use up odd skeins leftover from sweaters. I can usually turn one out in a few hours if it's a worsted weight yarn, and it's no problem sizing it up or down depending on your yardage. I give them away as freely as a fireship gives away herpes, but you know. Most people think of me fondly for the hats.

Beaufort is a lovely lace cap. WED_3688

Easy to make, easy to adjust. This yarn will not die and I'm so sick of it but I can't let that ruin a perfectly nice hat. Cascade 200 tweed in Stone Beige.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

FO: Pup Tent

Growing up, I had many, many cousins. I lived pretty far from them, so I wasn't really part of the tight-knit core group. When I would visit them, it was fun, if mostly because I got to ride around in the bed of a pickup truck and I was allowed to operate heavy farm machinery at a tender age. Plus, my vocabulary of bad words and insults would grow tenfold anytime I spent more than a few minutes with them. That is if I could stop coughing enough from all the cigarette smoke being inhaled second-handedly.


The name of this hat is Pup Tent. I can not say the words "pup tent" without cracking up a little bit. It's mostly because my disrespectful trash-talking cousin once yelled while observing clothes hanging out on the line, "Aunt Linda, your underwear are so big, I could use them as a pup tent!" and then we all scattered like so may giggling deer to escape the wrath of a chubby, angry aunt. When you are six, it's funny. Or, as we might say, "wicked funny".


The pattern is a freebie. I made it a little larger to use up the yardage and ended up with a nice slouch. I used it to use up the last 150 yards of Canopy Worsted leftover from the Vine Yoke Cardigan. It's simple and it used up what I had left, and it will now make a very nice gift for a winter-climate dweller (although perhaps just not for my Aunt Linda).


Friday, 12 July 2013

Carnaval Tropical

Carnaval Tropical has officially taken the place as my favorite parade in Paris.


Last year, it was pouring rain and hailing and thundering off and on, making for some wet costumes and running body paint, but it was still loads of fun. This year, it was sunny and hot, making the belly-bearing costumes all the more convincing that it is indeed a tropical carnival.


Between the dancing and drumming and crazy costumes, it's not long before you are shaking your shoulders and hips and craving a real margarita. It's fantastic.


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