Knitting My Way Through Paris

Eiffel TowerI admit I’ve been home for nearly 2 weeks and haven’t updated the blog. But let me explain: I’ve been knitting up a storm. Well, that and planning a baby shower, household duties, celebrating my son’s birthday (made a cake, of course) while he moved into his new house (that is basically a construction zone), ordering graduation cards for my college daughter, booking flights to rent her an apartment in her new school/job, putting an offer on a new house, while doing little things to prepare our current one for sale, all the while pining after French Strawberries and the little market street I stayed on and trying to get over jet-lag. So, here it is: a knitting/travel update. 

Paris was wonderful (as it always is to everyone who visits) but this trip was especially grand. My little grandson had his 2nd birthday so he is at the perfect age for fun and discovery. He had his first pony ride in one of the charming Paris parks where tiny Shetland ponies take children on the winding footpaths through the flowers and duck ponds. Then one day we went to Luxembourg Gardens and sailed boats on the pond (the highlight of my stay) and I bought him his first ice cream cone. My daughter took time from work while I was there so we did something fun nearly everyday. He had his first Easter Egg Hunt in their local park. His little face was priceless every time he found another egg. One day we took the train to Trouville by the Sea and had a spectacular lunch overlooking the harbor. We wandered tiny streets and strolled the busy boardwalk full of early holiday goers. It’s the most charming seaside town I’ve ever seen, like out of a storybook in bygone years. 

Easter egg hunting Pond boats Pony ride
Beach sign
My husband joined me halfway through the trip and we had a driver take us to the Loire Valley to several Chateaus. We had lunch in the darling castle village of Amboise on one gloriously sunny day. Leonardo di Vinci is buried in the chapel. We also saw the chateau of Catherine of Medici and it’s beautiful gardens and hedge maze. Then one day we took a train to Fountainbleu where Napoleon said goodbye to his troops before being exiled. The formal grounds are magnificent with swan ponds and fountains rivaling Versailles. 

Amboise Castle Formal garden Tulip Gardens  Amboise  

Shopping was wonderful. I bought dresses for all my upcoming events and my college graduate daughter’s special day. Lots of baby shops (the French love their babies) provided perfect shopping for my soon to be 3 grand children. And the Market streets have wonderful French household goods for that new house/construction zone. And of course, I visited the local yarn shop and bought a few skeins of cotton and wool. 

Sweater and tutu Blue knitting Cotton knit baby jacket
But all the while I carried my little Laduree knitting bag along and stitched a few rows. I made an entire newborn jacket for a friend’s baby due in August and started a ballerina surplice for my granddaughter to go with the tutu we bought. The surplice proved too large so I ripped it out, adapted the pattern and started again. That done, I’m now onto the cotton purchase in Paris for the new baby. Tiny needles and the DMC cotton make for perfectly smooth pieces. It’s going to be a little sailor collared pullover for this summer. 

I miss Paris terribly but I’ve got so much to do in the coming weeks, you’ll have to forgive me if I miss a Monday update or two! 

Eiffel Tower Arc de Triumph  Nortre Dame

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Pardon the Interruption 

I am spending some time strolling the streets of Paris, enjoying my family, buying French yarn and eating Lemon Tarts. I will write all about my adventures after April 18th. Until then…à bientôt. 

Paris cafe

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Of Ships and Sealing Wax

Walrus and the Carpenter illustration from Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-glass“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–Of cabbages–and kings–And why the sea is boiling hot–And whether pigs have wings.” Lewis Carroll – The Wlarus and the Carpenter Poem, Through the Looking-Glass.

So here I am happily knitting away at yet another baby blanket. All white and embossed with little sailboats and tiny anchors. It is to be a “Coming Home from the Hospital” size and since I elected to use size 5 US needles, it is half done in a week. I shake my head at my own inability to stay away from knitting them, and like those little oysters I trot right into another baby blanket knitting pattern on Ravelry, buy the yarn and cast on. I will never learn. But you must admit, it is coming along nicely. The pattern I chose had anchors and hearts but I sketched out a sailboat on grid paper and replaced the hearts as the boats seemed more fitting for the baby boy that will be gracing our presence come late June. What else should I make to go with the layette? Booties (that never stay on), a little hat, perhaps. More soft white cotton yarn is ordered so we will have to wait and see. Any ideas? 

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Monday Blues

Knitted hatHere it is Monday and I totally forgot to write my weekly post. [Face Palm] I’ve been busily knitting away. I finished the “Cabled” hat. Next time I use real cables, the pattern was hard to see in the work till it was done so any mistakes will remain because I have no idea if they are there or not! And I cast on a small baby blanket. I know I said I’d never make another one again but I had only 3 skeins of some acrylic yarn from France (also a “never again”) that I wanted to use up. Plus acrylic can be thrown in the washer and dryer without worry. But after 3 inches it was apparent the blanket was going to be only 12″ long. So I ripped it out and started over with many less stitches. Now on the last half of the last skein, I’m happy to say it is nearly done. I hope to finish today to make room for my next project if the yarn comes in: another small baby blanket. I know I’m totally nuts, but it’s hard to concentrate in Paradise! 

Blue knitted blanket

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Blanket Statements 

Anchor boatRemember those days when you first started knittting? You know, when all those abbreviations in patterns were like, “whaaat?” And after all those crossed and dropped stitches, remember the day you finished your first sweater? It took months but you stuck with it and finally FINISHED it. THAT, my friends is how I felt after finally finishing the CRIB SIZE (what was I thinking) baby blanket in size 3 (US) needles. The pattern was simple but I wanted the stitches to be tight, not lacy, so I went down several sizes on the needles. This is coming from someone who was under the gun to make an entire cabled sweater for my adult daughter – IN TEN DAYS! Baby blankets just go on and on and on. My frustration turned into frenzy when I made the coming home sweater in 3 days for the little darling. It was like I couldn’t wait to start something, anything that I could zing on and off the needles. Fair to say, I took breaks on the blanket to make the Princess Dress and Birthday Crown. But that blanket glared at me from the knitting bag over its glasses as if to say, “Ahem. We have a project unfinished over here. Are you sure you should be working on that?” I would sigh and knit a few zillion stitch ed rows and close the bag. I’d like to say I’ll never make another blanket again but that one is way to big to bring a newborn home from the hospital wrapped in, so I am making a small blanket with sailboat and anchor pattern. I have till the end of June. Wish me luck.

 Baby blanket and sweater

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Princess Pinafore 

Baby Book One of the fun things about having a baby girl to knit for is all the new patterns and stitches to try. Some turn out adorable and others (like any knitting projects) well..not so much. This time, thank the knitting fairies, it was perfection. I bought a King Cole baby knitting book (7) from Deramores that has me dying to try every piece but the cover has the most precious pinafore I’ve ever seen. Naturally as I was making something else, it kept calling me so I gave in and cast on the stitches. Now I’ve never done lace on the side before and expected difficulties with the pick up but since I used the James C. Brett Cotton On DK baby yarn it was easy as pie. I did change the needle size two sizes down for this yarn and used the 9-18 months pattern for a one year old (is it me or does that seem like a large size span?). The whole dress only took a few days and is definitely fit for our little princess grand baby. Her first birthday has come and gone but this will be the perfect Easter dress and summer pinafore. I plan to find a white eyelet puffy sleeved top to go underneath so the lace and stitching shows up better. 

Knitted dress

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Birthday Crown

Knitting a baby blanketI’ve been knitting furiously and am half way done with the blue baby blanket. Luckily for me it has been announced that the baby will indeed be a boy. Whew. But a large crib sized blanket can get tedious so I started another project for a certain little birthday girl about to be one year old (where did that time go?). This project was a struggle. It’s hard to say if it was the pattern, needle size change or the yarn. I used a “premium acrylic” from France. Yeah, it’s  still acrylic and I will never spend my time with this or any 100% acrylic again. Being from France did not elevate it one notch from difficult to work with, impossible to fit and less than desirable outcome. Besides it was squeaky on the needles. While the James C. Brett yarn for the baby blanket has a bit of acrylic blended with cotton rendering it soft, supple, and a joy to work with, the Phildar Charly of the Birthday Sweater was as if I used something from a discount warehouse. But once I started I just wanted it finished and I kept telling myself “But I bought this yarn in Paris.” The front of the little Cardi refuses to lay flat and be blocked to match the back so the point will have to be part of the design. Sigh. At least the ladybug buttons I ordered came quickly and dressed up the front bravely . 🐞🐞🐞

Pink ladybug sweater

My discontent prompted me to make a Birthday Crown. I used the James C. Brett cotton in lavender to match the photo in the King Cole Baby Book 7 I bought. It only took a few hours and turned out perfect. All is right with the world (of knitting, dears, only of knitting).

Baby Crown  Knitted Crown

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New Year, New Projects

So 2016 was not only the year of an horrendous election it was the year I knitted every person in my family something for Christmas. Most of the last months of the year I was on a tear to get them all done.

 Knit top hat Knit socks Knit socks
 Knit socks Knitted Cowl Knit washcloths
 Knitted Alabama Hat Family in hats Knitted Market Bag

Knit hat Knit socks

 Baby Sweater Knit cape
This does not include my 10 day cable knit sweater made for your daughter’s birthday on January 3rd. 

So now I’m taking it a bit slower but my idea is to knit everyone answeater for their birthday. This is going to be stalled by the birth of my sons baby for which I am assembling a layette, one piece at a time. For the moment I’m working on a crib size blanket out of cotton as this will be a summer baby. I’ve already had to order more yarn. My eyes are obviously bigger then my stash. 

Knit baby blanket in the process

But this does not excuse me from my efforts and Baby Emma is about to turn one year old. Those lovely sweaters I made at her birth are way to small as she is already toddling around on her sturdy little legs. So after 3 pattern trials I’ve finally found a top-down, raglan Cardi pattern in DK yarn (more stash from last year’s Paris trip) in her size with buttons all the way down the front. Sounds easy, it is not. It will be pink and white, simple with a picot edging; give me a week. 


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Pink Bows and Petticoats 

Baby sweaterThe new year still has morning dew and snow dust on it and already I’m a third of the way through another project. I have project envy when I get about 3/4 of the way through with something. In my mind I’m choosing yarn (pink or rose), selecting needles (straight or circular), buttons and bows (depending on who it’s for) and figuring on how much time I need to finish it. My determination to make sweaters for everyone’s birthday this year is still fresh but the announcement of a baby on the way in June (my son’s first) may slow things down a bit so I started early. Trust me, when I find out the gender of the baby I will go into “full-on Baby Knitting Mode”. But for now I’m working on a little miss who’s first birthday is the day before Valentines Day. So this project will be old rose and white. It will be my first attempt at crochet edging (the white) and it has the sweetest little bow and slit up the back of the jacket. She is the cutest little imp and it will fit her for a while as I’m making a size 2 for her. Of course I may have to get out the sewing machine and make that little petticoat to go with it. 


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The Little Professor

Christmas Dinner TableTwo rows left and it was Christmas Day so why wouldn’t I slip in a little knitting between stockings, wrapping paper clean up, cinnamon rolls, and a Christmas Dinner cooking marathon of Prime rib, asparagus tart, baby Brussels sprouts with bacon, creamed peas & pearl onions, Cranberry Bree encrute, lobster tail salads, my aunt’s enduring jello cream “salad” and an amazing Peppermint Forest Cake. I did need to make two little elbow patches but they only took a half an hour. So this sweater has become my Christmas sweater. It’s a size 3T for my grandson’s birthday in March. He lives in Paris with my darling daughter and son-in-law. Sure, they all got Christmas Knits but those were finished months ago and mailed early. (I always hold my breath sending packages to Paris until they arrive with good reason, this one went to several postal stations before they had to take a train to pick it up) So this little sweater will be hand delivered. Yes, we have another trip to Paris planned for the little man’s 2nd birthday. He is such a precious little boy and I’m lucky enough to FaceTime with him a couple times a week, many of which he grabs a bag, slings it over his should and pretends to go out his front door to work, waving and saying in a tiny French voice, “Au Revoir”. What’s not to love? It was an easy pattern, well written and done in 10 days even with Christmas festivities on the line. The pattern is on my Ravelry account (as are all my projects). Merry Christmas. 🎄

Child's cardigan  Christmas Tree Christmas Peppermint Cake

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