If Monty Hall were a knitter...

Yep. Still like to play with the camera.
(Just inside an entrance to Parc de la Tête d'Or.)
[Click to make big!]

On Saturdays and Sundays this area of the park is swarming. But if you walk through here on a weekday (on your way to the Musée d'Art Contemporain*, as was the case here) it's nice and quiet. Perfect picture opportunity. So there you go. [Don't mind me, I'm just a camera-happy tourist lady!]

As for my knitting, I've kicked into serious multi-project mode. So that means that it's time to play "Let's Click a Thumbnail". Go on...click one:

fall2004_tweedgarn_back_thumb.jpg fall2004_manlyjacket_front3_thumb.jpg fall2004_ponchopull_sleeve2_thumb.jpg

1) I started another project. But with good reason! My son saw the Manly Jacket I'm knitting and the Pull Poncho I've recently started, and with the beginning of each project he's asked me (hopefully, I might add) if what I'm knitting is for him. [Awwwwwww!] There's going to come a day when Captain Destructo will think that wearing Mommy's hand-knit sweaters is beyond dorky, so I've got to take advantage of his yearning for knits while I can. To the rescue is a quick sweater: Pattern 19, the "child's tweed sweater", from Rebecca 24 using honkin' big 9mm needles and GGH Sierra. I'm not a big fan of bulky but this yarn is so fabulous I'd knit bulky more often if all bulky yarns were like this one. Very soft and creates an even fabric. I cast on for the back on Sunday evening and finished it while watching the Sunday night movie. (See, I told you it was quick!)

2) Manly Jacket: Two gorilla arm sleeves - check. One right front piece - check. Beginning of left front piece - check. [Scroll to the right to see it.] I started the left front piece yesterday evening, and completed the ribbing before I went to bed. Now it's all straight knitting until I reach the armhole shaping. Sounds monotonous, but this is my favorite kind of knitting because it means that I get to drink a kir royal before dinner and chat the husband's ears off without making mistakes.

3) Pull Poncho. Late Friday afternoon, while knitting with my friend Christelle [coucou, Christelle!], I finished one sleeve of the Pull Poncho and immediately cast on for the second. By the next morning I had finished the second sleeve. And now I see, my friends, why some knitters like big honkin' needles and bulky yarns. The knitting satisfaction one gets from completing something so quickly is so keen it's almost sinful. I think I'll ask Santa to put some 15mm needles in my stocking this year. And some more yarn with alpaaaaaaca.

*One can see the Musée d'Art Contemporain from the window of my apartment. It's in the long orange/glass building (La Cité Internationale de Lyon), partially hidden by the trees. Behind it is the lake seen in the photo of the park above. (And doesn't it look like we're having nice weather? Well, that photo was taken on Sunday. Today it's raining.)

Go go Speed Racer...

Why, it's a gratuitous Captain Destructo shot!

I can't help it. My son cracks me up. I took him to the carnival set up in the square in La Croix Rousse, and he immediately wanted to ride these cars. One can't tell from the photo, but those cars are not slowpokey go-karts that are stuck on a rail or anything similar. They're electric cars that run noisily around the track at what seems to be 1,000 miles per hour, and I nearly jumped out of my skin every time I saw the Captain speed by like he was zooming around a glorieta on Reforma in Mexico City*. Just look at him frowning in concentration as he careens past that curve! He had the time of his life. (And heck YEAH I'd let him go on again if he asked me. Fun times.)

As for my knitting for the Captain, I've made a lot of progress with his tweedy sweater:

It looks like a sleeveless poncho.
[Click here to zoom out.]

I completed both the back and front pieces late last week, and joined the shoulders together using three-needle bind-off because i) the yarn is so thick, and ii) stitches are picked up along the armholes for the sleeves, which are then worked down. [BONUS: Photo of the pajama-ed child trying on the sweater after I joined the shoulders.] Now I'm blocking the whole piece so that the edge stitches along the armholes are nice and neat for when I pick up stitches for the sleeves. [How I blocked: Placed on a blocking board face down, sprayed with water, covered with lightweight cloth, sprayed that with water, then gently steam-blocked.] This evening and tomorrow I'll work both sleeves, and if I'm feeling on a roll I'll probably work the neck immediately afterwards so my son can wear the sweater back to school after vacation.

But that's not all. New stash alert! Kimberly sent me a load of great stuff: Some lovely Noro Silk Garden and Debbie Bliss Cash-mer-ino [let it roll slowly off the tongue, please] Aran, some food treats and Debbie Bliss books in trade. Check it out!

*That's where I learned how to drive. People, after years of driving around Mexico City, which is quite possibly among the top ten cities inhabited by the highest number of wackiest drivers EVER (really..don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise), I've discovered that there is NO amusement park ride that can provide more nervous excitement than zooming down Mexico City's main boulevard at 8:50 a.m. in a rush to get to work.

It's, like, a TOTALLY excellent finishing party, dude.

Why, it's a seaming party! [Breaks open a piñata.]
[And don't miss the rest of the finishing photos.]

Lots of finishing going on Chez Skinny Rabbit! Mostly on my son's "tweedy sweater" from Rebecca 24. All pieces have been blocked, the sleeves and neckband have been worked, and seams have been joined. Here are some finishing notes for you:

1) Stitches were picked up along the armholes and the sleeves* were worked from the top down, which means that shaping was done via decreases instead of increases. I loved doing this! Watching the rows get shorter instead of longer as the sleeves progressed makes a stay on Sleeve Island more enjoyable. Send a kir royal.

2) When I finished the sleeves, I decided to work the neckband before joining the side and sleeves seams. I thought I'd just pick up stitches and work in the round but then I discovered that the English version of the pattern instructions for the neckband reads like a cryptic spy note: "...Turn work to front, [x] sts below right shoulder, divide between [x] sts and cont in rib patt in open rows..."

Open rows? Divide between? Turn work to front? For a second I thought I was going to have to write that into my own personal algebraic expression. ["Skinny Rabbit has 12 sts below the right shoulder. How many sts does she need in order to complete a rib pattern in open rows?"] But after looking closely at the photos of the sweater in an attempt to decipher the instructions (story of my life with Rebecca patterns), I saw that the neckband is OPEN at one side. (At first glance, it looks like a closed neckband worked in the round.) So the quasi-algebraic expression simply means that after working a few rounds of the neckband ribbing, one must separate the work into two at the right shoulder and continue in rows. That's it. And funnily enough, even after I deciphered the text, I decided to work the neckband entirely in the round because I like it better that way.

3) After the neckband, I closed the sleeve and side seams. The yarn is bulky, and after joining the shoulders using a three-needle bind-off and picking up stitches for the sleeves, both which left very little bulk in the seams, I decided that I wanted to do away with thick seams entirely. So I looked in the stash and came up with some leftover fingering yarn in a wool/acrylic blend comparable in composition to GGH Sierra. [Look, Ma! No bulky seams!]

End of incredibly blabby finishing notes. And you know that I documented all of this for you in a slideshow, right?

*I saw Girl with a Pearl Earring while knitting the sleeves. Provided nice sleeve entertainment and definitely gets a thumbs-up, in spite of the hideous wig that Colin had to wear. (I mean, it's COLIN. He could wear a bag of roving on his head and still look appealing.)

"Ich Liebe Tweedgarn"

This is the "trying to sit still" shot.
[For Daddy, here's the Mini Man pose!]
[BONUS: The silly behind-the-scenes snapshots.]

My son's tweedy sweater is finished! And just because I'm happy with the way the sweater came out and my son really loves wearing it, there are more finished sweater and scenic photos than you can shake a US13 double-pointed needle at. Here is the sweater making its debut in La Place des Terreaux*:

[Don't forget to take the scooter tour!]

Captain Destructo loves to ride his scooter around the mini fountains and ruin his shoes by sliding them through the water when he thinks Mommy and Daddy aren't paying attention. Funny guy. [BONUS: It's a virtual scooter slideshow tour! Shots of La Place des Terreaux, the fountain, the town hall and the museum featuring Captain Destructo racing around on his scooter like he's got rocket jets attached to his feet.] Oh, but that's not all. As Mommy likes to snap photos like a camera-happy tourist, here is a photo of the sweater at the big fountain:

This is right before he spontaneously kicked into dance mode**.
[As customary, here are the whack dance shots!]

Project details: Pattern is from Rebecca 24 [thanks, Janet C], using GGH Sierra in shade #2 [thanks, Carolyn] and honkin' big 9mm (US13) bamboo needles. I used 9 skeins and knit a larger size (chest size 56/58), lengthening the torso by about 4 centimeters so that my son can grow into it for next year. It's just a basic drop-shoulder turtleneck, but it has small interesting details that make it a little distinctive: Knitting sleeves from the top down, ribbing at the tops of the sleeve caps, and a wide neck. Plus, it's quick to knit, has lots of ease and is so thick it's warmer than a polar fleece jacket. I give it a big thumbs up!

*I love this area and come here often. Le Musée des Beaux Arts (which always has excellent exhibitions) and L'Opéra are nearby. Another plus is that my favorite YARN haunts [La Droguerie! Phildar on Rue Grenette!] are a short walk away.

**After he looked at the fountain, he turned around and started dancing in front of it. (I had taken dancing shots of him before we headed out, but I couldn't resist showing the spontaneous fountain dancing shots instead.) He's done this before [photos linked in third paragraph], so I'm starting to think that he gets a kick from dancing at fountains.