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Look at what I got from my Secret Pal!

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My Secret Pal from the SPIII exchange just sent me a surprise that really knocked my socks off: A belated Halloween package containing candy corn [drools helplessly], much-desired bamboo circulars and some hand-knit fingerless gloves with a matching scarf! The gloves and scarf are both knit in the same mohair yarn, but the scarf was coupled with a yarn that has wool tufts in different colors. The fingerless gloves have a lacy diamond pattern stitch, with a picot edging at the top and ribbing at the palm for a nice fit. Very beautiful work. WOW. Thank you, Secret Pal!

Update: Knit these gloves! Thanks to Marnie Maclean for her fabulous Nearly Gloves pattern.

All over the place today.

Busy, busy weekend! Here are a few things that I wanted to get done, and what I managed to achieve:

1) Start Kittyville hat for my niece. Knit hat last night. Need to do crown shaping and then add ears:


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[Look, Silvia! I finally started it!]
(I'm using Bergere de France "Magic".)


2) Work a bit on my opera length armwarmers/mitts. It's a good thing I really, really want these armwarmers/mitts because I knit them in the round, and knitting what seems to be an entire sleeve on 4 double pointed needles is like being stuck on Sleeve Island for an evening with nothing but a game of pick-up sticks for entertainment. I finished one on Saturday evening and cast on for the second:


fall2004_armwarmers.jpg
See the armwarmer peeking in the photo?
And I must say, it looks really neat when worn!
(I'm using Plassard Merinos.)


3) Take pictures of my Manly Husband wearing his Manly Jacket. Done! The action shots were taken. I just need to take one of the jacket in better light, because the shots I took were taken in late afternoon while we were out in the city and the light was rather dim. (Oh, the SUSPENSE!)

4) Take kid to see Incredibles (Les Indestructibles). The non-dubbed version is only playing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays so I'm taking him to see it tomorrow. That freed up an afternoon, so we visited the Christmas market near Perrache instead. Bought some holiday things, including these cute fruit-shaped confections made from almond paste. (Yep. Already ate a few. YUM.)

5) Start seaming my Fluffy Jacket. Oops. Still need to do this. I joined the shoulder seams, though.

6) Send about a gazillion packages. Whew. Sent a load on Saturday morning. Just have about 6 that I need to pack up and send.

7) Maybe work on the sleeves of my son's Boyish Jacket. Unfortunately, I didn't work a stitch on the sleeves of this jacket at all during the weekend. The sleeve I started has been sitting in my knitting bag, half done, since Thursday. I'll probably work on it during tonight's knitting session because last night, when my son saw me working on the kitty hat, he pulled the sleeve out of my knitting bag and said, "You're supposed to finish my jacket, Mommy!" Sir, yes SIR. [Isn't the Captain a riot? Love that kid.]

In other news, I decided to do some stash busting because I'm really overflowing rather greedily in yarn, so I'm letting go of one or two projects' worth of yarn that are the most readily available to me. First thing up for grabs: Anny Blatt/Bouton d'Or Flamme in Glacier. (Read about it here and send an email as requested at that entry if you're interested.) [Update: The yarn is no longer available.]

Have a good Monday!

Mini stash buffet, and BOY look at that fog.

I must show you a picture of the fog hanging over the city today because fog never fails to creep me out just a tad:


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Kinda like a Stephen King novel, eh?


I expect Gary Oldman, wearing pasty-white makeup and a strange hairdo that resembles pastry rolls, to drop in any second. Fine with me, as long as he brings Keanu with him. And doesn't the fog make you want to stay indoors and knit/read/eat cookies all day? Yeah. Me, too.

My knitting projects haven't progressed very much as my son - also known as Captain "I like to bounce off the walls when I can't go to school" Destructo - hasn't gone to school since Monday because he's been ill with a virus. I'd like to start on the right front piece of Willow but I haven't been able to go downtown and ogle all the buttons in La Droguerie, and until I pick out the buttons I can't work the buttonholes. But I have been able to work a few inches on the front of my Salina. [Take a peek! Click here!] I also spent a frenzied morning trying to organize my stash because I like being neat like that. Okay, I lie. The truth is I got a letter from Plassard telling me to come and take advantage of the winter sale, sale, SALE so I'm getting ready to make room for possible stash additions. Saturday morning. Me. In the yarn store. Enjoying the sales. Send a barrel because I have a feeling I'll need to wear one when I walk out of there. Ka-ching! (I love me a yarn bargain.)

Anyway. As I reorganized my stash I weeded out a few oddballs that I've decided I'm probably never going to knit, even if I keep telling myself that I will. In order to keep good yarn from going to waste, I've decided to offer my readers a chance at a Mini Stash Buffet!


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I will send this whole buffet to any loyal fluffa reader in exchange for yarn, candies or other junk food goodies from the States. (It's no secret that I'm a helpless sweet tooth!) Conditions: The trade goods must be equivalent in value to the yarn I'm sending so that it's a fair trade for both sides, and whoever accepts the trade must take all the yarn I'm offering in the buffet because the point is, after all, that I make room for new stash additions. In this particular buffet you have: One skein of Rowan Plaid in Lavender Mist (enough to make the cap in The Rowan Plaid Collection), three skeins of Phildar Polaire in Horizon, three skeins of Rowan Cotton Tape in Glint AND a copy of It's a Tape Thing (three skeins can make the bag entitled "Cat", one skein of Phildar Aurore in Poudre, one skein of Phildar Phil Luxe in blue, one skein of Anny Blatt Libertine ribbon in lime green and two skeins of Phildar Phil Laine in Lin. All skeins are complete with labels still on them, and there is enough of each to make a small project. Interested? Let me know!

UPDATE: The mini stash buffet has a taker! Thanks to everyone who made such fun and generous offers. I was really - and I mean REALLY - having a hard time picking one because every offer contained something that I wanted. In the end the one that called to me was Sarah B's offer, with its tempting inclusion of the Scarf Style book (which I've been coveting) and various food treats.

Thanks again for playing along, and keep your eye out for other mini stash buffets in the future. I always have fun with these sort of trades!

The Music Meme.

Parikha from dropped stitches wrote to me to let me know that she tagged me for the Music Meme, so here you go:

1. Total number of music files on your computer?
Too many. All I know is that they take up a huge chunk of that little pie graph you see when you click on "disk space". Truly, it may pose a problem as my computer hubby man has commented about it several times. Viva la musica!

2. CD you last bought:
Best Of Platters compilation for my father.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Right before I wrote this entry I heard the song "On the Way" [I think that's what it's called] from the movie Ice Age. (The kid was watching it on DVD.)

4. 5 songs you often listen to, or which mean a lot to you?

1) "Fools Rush In" by UB40 and by Elvis. I had just started dating my [then boyfriend, now] husband back when the horrific Sliver came out, and UB40's Fools Rush In (Can't Help Falling in Love) was a hit. He knew I liked the song so he bought me the cd as a gift, and it was the first gift he ever gave me. Obviously, we played both songs at our civil and church weddings. The floor was opened with UB40's kicky version, and we danced the first dance to Elvis's original version. Everyone together now: AWWWWWWWW!!!!

2) "I get knocked down, but I get up again" by Chumbawamba. I bought this cd way back when it came out because I liked the song, and it was around a time when I started working REALLY long hours for a big law firm. The partner on whose team I worked was known for being the most productive partner in the firm, and anybody who's worked for a partner in a firm like this (Claudia, you're one of the people I'm looking at) knows that the hours and stress can be hellish, and that mega productive law firm partners can be despotic even though they don't mean to be. As I'd drive home every day after work I'd play this song in the car full blast and shout the lyrics like bad karaoke, but BOY was it cathartic.

3) Glenn Miller's music, particularly In the Mood and Pennsylvania 6-5000. My grandfather was a fan of Glenn Miller and he could dance a mean dance to big band music. To this day I can't listen to Glenn Miller's music without thinking about my good old gramps, may he rest in peace.

4) Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles. Just because I saw it when it actually aired for the very first time on MTV. And that means that I can tell my grandkids, "HEY! I saw the very first video EVER to get aired on MTV." And that makes me cool. (P.S. Insert any and all 80s music in here, please. I listen to it all often.)

5) La Negra by Mariachi Internacional. There's nothing that'll make me feel like heading back overseas more than hearing this song and, if I'm lucky, watching dancers in traditional garb dancing to it. It makes me think of warm corn tortillas, tacos al pastor, tequila and sangrita at weekend lunches that last 4 to 5 hours.

5. Which 3 6 people are you going to pass this on to and why?

I'm not passing it on to anybody with a blog. I want to hear from a few of my readers who don't have blogs, but who I've gotten to know through their comments and emails. Leisl, Sarah, Patricia, Evelyn, Chicago Evelyn and Maud: Come up and sing the music meme in my comments, or via email if you prefer. But answer to the call of the meme!

Finally!

A moment to breathe. End of the school year activities have kept me on the go during the past two weeks: costumes had to be obtained, my son's circus school show was held in the big circus tent (yes, he goes to circus school on his day off from regular school...awwww!), followed by his regular school's kermesse and pageant, new glasses were obtained for the boy (I'm solely responsible for his slight case of myopia), a wedding was attended, social lunches and coffees (including a visit to a private sale at a hat "atelier" with a hat-making friend where I obtained the cutest and floppiest linen hat EVER) were enjoyed and it looks like things are finally winding down in time for the summer break. Oh, wait. I almost forgot to mention this little surprise Monsieur Le Hubby got for me:


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It's called "Nymphea"...oh, how cheeky!


Remember when you were a kid and on Christmas morning you'd get all bent out of shape when you saw that the bike you were wanting the whole entire year was under the tree? All sparkly and shining and waiting for you to ride it around the block? Well, I got bent out of shape like that when I saw that my husband got me my first grown up brand spankin' new sewing machine. It's just a starter machine, but it sure feels like a big step up from that little Singer electric toy sewing machine that my mother got for me when I was a kid. And I can hardly wait to start using it! This, my friends, will be the summer I learn how to sew like a big girl.

And guess what: A finished knitted object is soon to come! During my free time I managed to complete the project I worked on while I was in Paris and yesterday afternoon I finally got the buttons for it. Not sure which project I'm talking about? Well, let me give you a teaser photo:


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Psst...it's knit in Phil Lin.
And yes! That is a tubular cast-on for 2x2 rib*.


And speaking of Paris, I've got a couple of slideshows still waiting in the wings. In the meantime, and because I'm being such a tease, let me show you a photo of the little ladybug I got (at almost half the asking price, to boot) in a flea market in Paris. [Click to see in popup.] I love this little ladybug! I got it so I could wear it on my denim jacket à la fab Bonne Marie of ChicKnits. Cute, eh?

*Yeah, yeah. Such a 'ho for the tubular cast-on. The method I used for this particular piece is the one described in Big Book of Knitting.

The view from my window:

It's raining outside, and I'm stuck inside with the flu. And doesn't the mist look like something out of a Jane Austen adaptation? I'm thinking...Sense and Sensibility. Yeah, that's it. Sense and Sensibility, when Marianne Dashwood wanders like a lovestruck fool* to Willoughby's pad, then collapses like a frail flower in the rain before Colonel Brandon (played by Alan Rickman in one of his most appealing roles EVER) comes to save her. Colonel Brandon, we love you in that scene! [Swoons.]

*We love Colonel Brandon in that scene, but Marianne Dashwood makes us want to grab a copy of Vogue Knitting, swat her on the head with it and say, "Snap out of it, already!"

Anyway. Let me show you some more greenery before I crash back on the couch with my swollen flu head:



Froggy pieces, in Phildar Tropic and Aviso.
And look at all those ends I'll have to weave in!
Give me a couple of frozen margaritas, stat.


It's the beginnings of a knitted toy frog for my Captain Destructo. Even though it means knitting a bunch of little pieces, weaving in too many ends and closing more than a few seams I get the urge to knit a toy every once in a while. (Remember my knitted chicken? And my knitted ostrich?) One of the Captain's favorite books is Frog and Toad are Friends, so why not make my next toy project an amphibian? Ribbit.

Welcome to another segment of the Skinny Rabbit Sewing Hour.

I was looking at the lovely items at Anthropologie (big thanks to Silvia and her Tip Top Smock) and these caught my attention:

Details at Anthropologie:

Punch Bowl Halter
Salt Air Blouse
Sea Bloom Shell
Cambric Tea Blouse

Sigh. I love those designs. Very fresh and wearable. Unfortunately, Anthropologie doesn't ship to my location. However, I'm seriously coveting one of those tops and thankfully I'm in possession of vacation time and one year of design knowledge acquired from a top fashion school in France. What does that mean? It's Let's Make a Knock-off Time!

Alrighty, now! Tell me, blog friends: Which design should I make*? It's up to you. I chose different designs on purpose; makes picking one more fun. Let me know in the comments and I'll make the one that gets the most votes because I'm still suffering from lack of desire to knit due to Too-Freaking-Hot-Weather-itis. I will draft the pattern from scratch, look for appropriate fabric and then sew it up without (hopefully) any boneheaded moments. I'll show photos here, of course. Welcome to the Skinny Rabbit Sewing Hour!

P.S. Most of my crafty time is currently spent sewing, but I should mention that I have been knitting a few rows at night, when it's cooler. Still need me knittin' fix, lassies. Arrrr!

*/Disclaimer because my other career used to be, after all, of the lawyer kind: With all due respect to the designers of Anthropologie (who I see are also inspired by runway designs...cool) I am making this knock-off for personal use. I will not resell it, include it in a professional portfolio and/or provide the pattern for it (nope, not even for free) for others to use, etc. /End of disclaimer.

Miscellany Monday.

Okay, I went to a couple of shops in order to check out [READ: CHECK OUT...NOT buy] possible ribbons for my Crinkle cardi and, er...I kinda walked out of there with shiny little bags full of ribbons.



They're from my favorite notions shop: La Mercerie.
Except for the two white ones in front. They're from La Droguerie.
(The one on the right is embroidery on tulle. I lurve it.)


Note: None of these ribbons is for Crinkle*. I just thought these ribbons were pretty and they'll all go into my stash after I play with them by coordinating them with my fabrics, tying them into bows in my hair and hanging them from my windows like they're streamers while I yell in sing-song: "I got new rib-bons! I got new rib-bons!"

Just kidding. About tying them into bows in my hair, that is.

I also got more fabric (batiste, embroidered voile and a cotton print). The sales are still going on and how can I ignore signs that read "Dernière démarque! 60%! 70%! 80%!"? One can never have enough good quality fabric, especially if it's on sale and even if it means storing it all in several of those humongous plastic zippered bags used to package quilts.

In project news, I'm having fun with my bustier top. I finished draping on the mannequin, did a quickie sketch and drafted the construction for a pattern. I'll cut into the fabric soon so I can start the actual sewing. Then after that, my Anthro top knock-off. Meanwhile, the weather is nice and cool so I've got the urge to knit on Crinkle. I hope the weather stays this way for a few more days: I've got just half a sleeve and a back piece to go before it's Seaming Party time. (Complete with kir accompaniment. Wine + chatting with Monsieur Le Hubby + seaming = Seaming Party.)

*As none of those ribbons is for my Crinkle (which is progressing nicely) I'll obviously have to go back and do some more ribbon browsing soon. Ha! Like I'll really need my arm twisted for that.

Where to start?

UPDATE 28/11: Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! Right now I am really busy with two very big design projects for school and I haven't a free minute to spare. I haven't touched any knitting at all in over a week! As soon as I have these projects turned in I'll get back with a proper update and make the blog rounds. Thanks for hanging in there with me :-)


Let me see....oh, yes. Why, I do believe that yesterday was my birthday. So Happy Birthday to me!

Next up, I have no knitting to show. Long story. Will get into it tomorrow, or Thursday at the latest. But let me just give you a clue as to why: My shexy Ultra Femme top has been renamed the shexy P.I.A top. Yes, P.I.A as in [whispers] pain in the ass. Again, will get into that in my next entry, when I have more time because I only have about fifteen minutes to update. So let's just forget about it until my next entry.

In the meantime, I do want to chat about what I did yesterday. It is just too cool to not talk about it. Yesterday (yes, on my birthday...how that's for timing?) the school sent us second year students on a day long field trip to take detailed tours of three different companies (owned by Hermès) outside of Lyon. First, we went to the workshop where the artists create all the prints you see on Hermes products and on products of other haute couture designers. We saw how some are handpainted and how some are created on the computer. We also saw some prints that will come out in Fall Winter 2007, including an AWESOME print for Gaultier. After that, we went to the factory where these prints are placed on the fabric. I saw how all the dyes are chosen and mixed, and how feet after feet of Hermès silk scarves, shawls, squares, ties, towels get printed and cut. After that, we went to visit another factory where the silk fabric used in these products is woven. It was all so brilliant. I mean, we were given access to the very innards of this factory - of all the factories we visited - and I saw a machine at work as it wove a silk lining with a swirly motif and Chanel logo in it. This last factory was a riot - the noise of all those textile machines weaving is simply unbearable and earplugs are a necessity. And you know what this weaving factory reminded me of? The factory where Debra Winter's character in the movie An Officer and a Gentleman worked. As we walked by all those machines I imagined Joe Cocker's "Up Where We Belong" cueing in (really, really loud...I mean glass shattering loud because those machines are noisy), and then Richard Gere strolls in with that eye-popping officer's getup while everyone stares. Of course, he'd be picking me up in his arms and not Debra Winger. That would have been the icing on the birthday cake, let me tell you.

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos to show you of any of the prints or fabric designs I saw because for legal reasons (obviously) cameras and picture taking were not allowed in the factories. I do have, however, a small slideshow of some touristy pictures of the countryside surrounding these factories. Most of them were taken while I was in the bus. (It was a long ride, people.)



This is the exterior Siegl, the factory where I saw fabric getting printed.
P.S. I was in the bus for a total of three hours. (Round trip.)
(Yes, I was kicking myself in the butt for not taking my knitting. Argh.)


Okay, I really must go now because I have a lot of work - there's a tailored suit I have to turn in next Monday and a tailored suit design project (with fifteen original designs, four color renderings, inspiration images, samples...it's endless) - to turn in next Tuesday. I'll update later in the week with news on my P.I.A. top. Have a good one!

Happy Vacation Days!

Granted, I still have lots of work to do even though I'm on vacation, but I get to do that work at home. Yeah! In celebration I'll be posting one entry every single day this week, even if the entry has one measly photo and/or one paragraph of text. But at least I get to hang out at the blog! :-)

new knitting mags! woo hoo!In order to kickstart my knitting back into gear, I've been browsing some of the new knitwear designs out for Spring 2007. I took a look at the latest Rowan and Interweave Knits, and even though Dandelion from Rowan and the Swan Lake cardigan from IK are both pretty I saw absolutely nothing that made me want to pull out the needles. I did find a couple of designs I like from the latest Phildar stuff, so I may go downtown later this week and take a look at the new yarns. In the meantime, I did receive the latest Rebecca from Rike's Wollmaus and there more than a few things in there that I really want to knit. There's some cute stuff in this issue.

Of course, I'm constantly browsing runway looks for design inspiration and this morning I looked only at knitwear from the spring 2007 collections:



Runway knits from the spring '07 rtw collections.
[Click to see the rest of my lookbook!]


I don't look around for what's "in", or even for garments to be worn as they are. I look for interesting elements, textures and volume, and found a number of inspiring ones for spring. Despite a few comments along the lines of "who'd wear that?" or "what were they thinking?" I've gotten in the past when I share fashion blab or photos here I've decided to put all my favorite runway knits for spring 2007 in a lookbook and share them for those who like looking at them, too.

Have a good Monday. "See" you tomorrow!

See this Valentino ad?


(Spotted while leafing through French Vogue.)


I was inspired by the fishing net and sand debris in that ad. Yep. Just that. (I'm always doing that; observing details in everything and everywhere and seeing how I can use them. If one looks more closely at things one may find something interesting to play with.) After digging out some embroidery floss, random beads and a pair of 8mm bamboo straights from my stash I made a sample...



P.S. This constitutes your daily sneak peek at my messy
"It would be fun if I could knit all day but I must work on big
design project due when vacation is over" table.


...by working just a bunch of yarn overs and knit togethers. I don't plan on using this sample as is or as the stitch pattern for a whole knitted garment. I'm going to do a bit more [non-knitting] work on it and use it as an element in a [non-knitted] garment design that has a sea-related theme.

In real knitting news, today I start a new knitting project for Captain Destructo, and I'll write about it tomorrow. On Wednesdays we rent movies at our local DVD rental (rent one movie, get an animated film free...woo hoo!) so I'm looking forward to at least 90 minutes of quality knitting time this evening. Oooooh, yeah.

Greedy for spring projects!

I was going through my stash of knitting magazines yesterday afternoon and found myself getting itchy knitting fingers for all kinds of cute tops published in past magazines. There's a ton of 'em, but today I'll show the ones from my Rebecca magazines:


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Clockwise, from top left: Rebecca 23, Rebecca 25, Rebecca 31, Rebecca 29, Rebecca 22, Rebecca 25.


If I had the time I'd knit* every single one of these shexy numbers this summer. Every. Single. ONE. I want 'em all. Say it with me now, friends: Rabbit is a greedy knitter!

*I love all these tops because if knit in the right color and styled with the right garments, they could work really well for fall and winter. That's something I look for in spring and summer knits, because even though I knit them during spring and summer, I only occasionally wear them in spring and I never wear them in summer...I wear them in fall and winter. But even though I never wear knits in summer, I love to KNIT in summer, and it's gotta be a smaller knit in a lightweight yarn, bay-bee!

P.S. for a random trivial note: Just as I finished typing this entry, Radiohead's Creep started playing in my MP3 player. Remember that song? I love it!

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