A Beret Goes to Paris

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC January is winding down and it's time I share the final installment for this month's theme. If you've been around all month you'll remember that the theme is Bonjour, which is one of the ways that the French say "hello"! January is a wonderful month for hellos.  Hello to a new year, hello to new resolutions, hello to longer days and lower temps.  Our family celebrated a wonderful hello last January when we welcomed our beautiful daughter into the world.  This year for her first birthday we decided to skip the party and go to Paris to celebrate instead!  How we're going to top a birthday in Paris, I don't know.  We may have peaked too soon.

For our trip I so wanted baby G to wear a mama-made beret.  I used this pattern from tangled with some beautiful wool my mother-in-law dyed and size 3 DPNs.  Well, apparently I made some errors in my measurements...and perhaps in gauge as well because the hat fits me and practically swallows baby G! Ah well, mama has a new hat it seems.  Though I think the fit will be much better suited to a child so perhaps it will find it's way to G as she gets older.  Either way this hat kept my head nice and toasty during our three very chilly days in Paris.  We romped about and saw many beautiful old buildings, ate delicious crepes from a street vendor, had the best chocolate macaron I have ever tasted, and gorged ourselves on baguettes.  It was a wonderful trip.  Our favorite souvenirs came from one of the oldest Parisian flea markets. Let me show you!

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A little green letter holder which adds such a perfect piece of charm to our entry way; a gray beret; a ring and necklace costume jewelry set from the 20s, the ring unfortunately did not survive more than a day and it looks like I'm now in search of a good jeweler; a little rosy-cheeked-girl figurine for baby G's room; and the piece de resistance, a beautiful painting of the Seine from the 30s, signed by the painter.

These little souvenirs are daily reminders of our French adventure.  I'll remember getting lost on our way to Clingincourt, buying the wrong Metro tickets, eating fromage crepes outside the Opera, and seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time.  I'll remember G being cranky on our river cruise on the Seine and teaching her to kiss.  The fashion in Paris is unforgettable and the language sang in my ears. I feel amazingly lucky to have had the opportunity to visit such an iconic city, practice my French, and to share that experience with my family.

So that concludes January and our theme, Bonjour.  With that, I bid you adieu and hope to see you in February!  Ciao! SONY DSC

Hedgehog Christmas

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I've always been a huge procrastinator and this Christmas was no different.  Though we don't do gifts for friends and family, I think there is always an exception to be made for children.  The magic and anticipation for that morning when you can finally open your gifts is a special experience I'd like to keep around for baby's first few years at least. Unfortunately I spent so long knitting a stocking that I barely had any time to knit a gift to go inside!

I knew that I wanted to knit some kind of doll, something whimsical to inspire creative play.  Purl Bee came to the rescue with their cute little hedgehog pattern.  Hedgehogs are such interesting little characters and hold a special place in my heart.  On my 13th birthday my parents let me choose between going ice skating or a surprise (what would you choose?).  The surprise ended up being a pet hedgehog who my little sister very creatively named Pokey.  I wasn't the best hedgehog owner, though I did feed him live crickets (more like allowed a bag of live crickets to escape into my parents' house...oops) and take him outside to run his little heart out when the weather was nice.  He had a nice, red wheel to play on all night and I think he lived a pretty good life.  Hmm...I think I may have gotten a little sidetracked here...

What I was trying to say is that hedgehogs are pretty sweet.  Knitted hedgehogs are significantly easier to care for and also very sweet so I whipped this little guy up for my little girl and she seems to like him just fine.  I love the woolly fibers he's made of and I selfishly hope he finds a place of honor amongst his plushy compatriots.

Pattern is Knit Hedgehogs by Purl Soho. Yarn is misc. Wool of the Andes by Knit Picks for face and belly, and Creative Melange chunky by Rico Design in the color Partie for the back and eyes/nose.

Vacation Knits, Part 3

SONY DSCSONY DSC Edited to add that these mittens were knit from this pattern: Irish Hiking Mittens by Karin Michel.

Today's installment of vacation knits features a project that I did not knit! These were an early Christmas present from my mother-in-law who knit them from recycled cashmere that she reclaimed from an old sweater (Isnt' that nifty?). They are exquisitely soft and elegant and I love them. I would love to someday have the time and patience to learn how to harvest quality fiber from old sweaters. Just recently I listened to a podcast on Woolful about this very thing.  One of her guests, Jerome Sevilla of Grid Junky, almost exclusively uses reclaimed wool from thrifted sweaters in his work.  If you go on over and take a look at his blog I think you'll be amazed at how sharp his designs look.  It looks like with a little time and effort  you can have great fiber for the price of a few days of work and a good eye for wool.

If you haven't started listening to the Woolful podcast (launched last month) and you're a yarn junkie you are truly missing out.  So far I am loving the themes and guests, and I get such a feeling of belonging when I listen in.  There's an unbelievably vast community of knitters, weavers, crocheters, dyers, and spinners out there in the world; so many, in fact, that it can be a touch overwhelming when you're looking for inspiration or a blog to fill out your RSS feed.  Listening to this podcast has already introduced me to a few new fiber enthusiasts who's blogs I hadn't yet stumbled on.  Finding new bloggers gives me the feeling that I'm building a network of new friends, even if they don't know me or my blog.  And don't you just love hearing your favorite bloggers talk?  It's like you've all gotten together for tea and they're sitting there telling you about their life.  So much closer to real, I think.

Anywho, thanks again for stopping by.  This concludes my little vacation knits mini-series but I'll have some beautiful woolly goodness to share next time. Take care and see you soon!

Vacation Knits, Part 1

We've just returned from a bit of a vacation and the jet lag has worn off just enough to sneak in a wee blog post.  Vacation was wonderful and full of family, knitting, and much holiday cheer.  I feel so fortunate to have the friends and family that I do all over the world, even though I wasn't able to see all of them.  It was pleasantly surprising to have the time to start and even finish a few knitting projects while we were away.  Yes, yes, I was showing you all progress shots of my Sidewalk Shawl before I left, and yes it's finished but sufficient sunlight is in short supply right now and I want to give my shawl the proper pomp I think it deserves.  So you'll just have to wait for a sunny day to see the final product. While we all wait for that I thought we could hunker down and look at my little vacation knits.  There has been just enough light pouring through my kitchen window to allow for some halfway decent photos of little things.  So grab a cup of tea or maybe some spiced wine and make yourself at home.  Maybe we can put on a little Christmas music to get the mood right? Ah, there.  I just love Bing Crosby, don't you?

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Vacation knit number one is a super basic beret made from just under one skein of Noro Koromo, Color 4, Lot A.  I'ts a cotton, wool, and silk blend and knit on size 3 and 9 circular needles.  I can't share the pattern with you all since it was a house pattern at a tiny yarn store I happened upon in my travels but it's very basic and I'm sure with a bit of time on Ravelry you could come up with something very similar.  It seems to me that the secret to a good beret is a nice, firm blocking.  Don't you just love these colors? The bit of fire on the brim that isn't visible from the top? I saw a sample hat knit up at the shop and could not stop myself from purchasing the yarn to make myself one.  I'm so glad I did because I think this hat is just fabulous.  You may notice a few loose ends in one of the photos...I'm a terrible procrastinator when it comes to weaving in my ends and with a hat that I can just poke the loose ends up into, I'm absolutely barbarous.  I just tuck them all away and toss on the hat! Oh my.

I do hope you'll come by again tomorrow for another peek into my knitting basket!  Now if you don't mind passing the gingerbread...?