"Ultra Femme"

Okay, so I needed some quick knitting satisfaction.

And the best way to get it was by digging in my stash and pulling out the GGH Samoa and Soft Kid I bought a few months ago, and casting on for a cutesy little top called "Ultra Femme" from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation. I cast on for this last night and this is how far I got after a while:



The beginnings of "Ultra Femme"
P.S. See the little picot edge?
Oh, how FANCY!

Oh! I just love it. I'm not a huge fan of circular knitting or worsted cotton, but I certainly don't mind a little bit of it every once in a while. This stuff knits up so fast I have no time to feel guilty that I'm churning it out so quickly. If anything, I'm enjoying it. And isn't the picot edge a riot? It reminds me of a pie crust. I had contemplated not including it but I figured, what the heck? If I'm going to knit a cutesy top I might as well go the whole nine yards. (I initially wrote that "nine yarns". Haha...big indication as to where my mind is.)

[Footnote: The pattern calls for Rowan's All Season's Cotton, and while I love that yarn it doesn't come in black so I'm substituting it with the GGH Samoa. The pink version is cute but I know I'm more apt to wear it if it's all in black, so black it will be. (Tired of my neutrals yet? I hope not 'cause they're a-stayin'.)]

And while we're on the subject of new projects and GGH yarn, yesterday I got a new stash addition from Germany [thanks again, Rike's Wollmaus]:



New yarn! New mags! Aaaaaah!
[Runs madly around the room in circles.]


winter2006_rebecca_thumb.jpg Lots of skeins of GGH Taj Mahal so I can knit this FABULOUS frilly jacket (thanks to Silvia for helping me decide on a color), Rebecca 32 and Lang Fatto a Mano 155. Lots of cute stuff in Rebecca 32...wow. There are a lot of designs I'd love to knit from there (I wish I had more knitting time) but I may narrow it down to just one other thing. The Fatto a Mano also has some nice designs; lots of things that can be worn over several seasons depending on how they're styled. A good example is this vest; it has classic cables but unfinished edges that give it a modern twist. And the model is wearing it layered...bonus points for the layering.

Today is my last day of vacation and I go back to school on Monday. I'll have less spare time starting next week, but I'm excited about these new stash additions so I'm still feeling energized in the knitting department. Nothing like feeding the Stash Monster to bring on some more knitting mojo, eh?

Hey hey hey!

Here's a little multiple choice for you today. Let's just pretend that you don't know what I'm knitting, and I show you this photo:




Now here's the multiple choice part. Would you say that I'm knitting:

1) A lampshade?
2) A mini skirt?
3) A top with a ribbed waist and a peek-a-boo bra area?
4) An extra long hat, like the one that Dumb Donald from "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" wears?

Be honest.

(I would probably choose 2. To me, it really looks like a skirt with a frilly hem.)

Incidentally, for those who really don't know what I'm knitting, it's a top with a ribbed hem and peek-a-boo bra area. (But I'd understand if you picked any of the other options. Really, I would. Especially number 4, because Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was one of my favorite cartoons when I was a kid.) And before anyone has a little shock seizure at the idea of my wearing this top with its peek-a-boo area, let's not forget that I live in a city in France where people don't think anything of a peek-a-boo bra top. So heck YEAH I'm gonna wear it. Vive la France!

P.S. Again, I'm using GGH Samoa for this top. I'm definitely liking it so far. It's soft and, unlike some other worsted cottons I've knit, it's easy on the knitting hands and it doesn't play games with my tension. I'm gonna have to use it again for future projects.

No, I'm not knitting dreadlocks.

Even though it looks like I am.



Look at all those ends I'll have to weave in!
Don't you feel just awful for me?


Don't those dangly things look craaaazy? They're the belt loops for my shexy Ultra Femme top. Totally forgot that I had that project in the works, until I found it in a bag in my room. Oops! Poor, neglected shexy top. I figured I'd better get some progress on it, so I worked the belt loops (pictured) and joined in the mohair yarn for the upper part of the top. The mohair portion is worked in a needle two sizes smaller than the ribbing, so all I'm gonna say is: Don't expect this thing tomorrow. Knitting speed just slowed down a bit.

That's basically all I'm working on right now. I may start something else soon...I'm not sure what although I think I'd like it to be a small project. (But not socks thankyouverymuch.)

In non-knitting news my vacation is now over and school let back in today. Yippee. We're beginning a new design project and as I'm typing this entry my printer is printing out a slew of images I gathered for this project. So...let's have some fun with them. I've placed a few of those images in a popup window, and I'd like to know which one of the designs in those images you like. That's it! Just: Tell me which design you like. And have a good Monday :-)

M-I-C...K-E-Y...M-O-U-S-E!

I just attached the beginnings of wee sleeves to the body of my shexy black Ultra Femme top. They remind me of Mickey Mouse ears.



We've got sleevage!
It's all downhill from here, my friends.


All I have to do now is knit a few inches for the neck and I'll be binding off this little number. Still gotta see about a ribbon, but I see a finished knitted project on the horizon. [Horizon = After the Weekend. Hopefully.]

Here's a little footnote re the sleeves: They're knit in the round separately and then joined to the body. I could have knit them flat (you all know I prefer knitting flat) but this mohair is a fine gauge and having the top seamless makes for a more professional result, as there will be no seams showing through to the right side. The pattern calls for double pointed needles for the sleeves, and even though I prefer knitting with double points over magic loop, knitting with two circs, etc. I ended up knitting the sleeves in the round using two circs because I don't have any 3.75 double pointed needles and, to be frank, I don't feel like buying any. And that's the end of my blabby footnote.

I've only got my Cabled Jacket and my shexy Ultra Femme top on the needles right now, so this concludes the Knitting Report for this Monday. Now if you'll excuse me, lunch is a-calling. Croque Monsieur, to be exact. Fresh out of the oven. Yum, yum.

Like the phoenix from the ashes...

...my shexy Ultra Femme is rising again. And that is because since last week, she was ripped out to her waist, right up to the GGH Samoa ribbing. For reals. Let me tell you why.

Remember I knit on the Mickey Mouse sleeves? Well, after I worked a few rows something told me to measure my knitting because my tension always loosens up when I knit in the round and the garment is adding weight to the needle. So I did, and was simply disgusted to see that my knitting tension had, in effect, loosened up BIG time after I had added on the sleeves. With a feeling of dread I pulled the whole BIG black blob off the needles, pulled it on, ran to the mirror, and screamed in horror when I saw that the sweater was blousing around in an unattractive manner at the upper chest and the sleeves area. Okay, I'm kidding about the screaming part. But not about the blousing around in an unattractive manner part. Dammit.

I'm currently too burdened with work to rethink and/or modify this pattern at this point. I do enough garment construction and designing everyday; right now I've no desire to add on more when I'm knitting for relaxation. So I am going the Lazy Rabbit Want to Finish This Quick Route: I ripped the whole thing back to the waist, up to the GGH Samoa part knit it ribbing (which is at the perfect gauge, by the way) and am reknitting the GGH Soft Kid part in the XS size instead of the size S. And this is where I am right now:



Second time will be the charm.
Because I say so.


The sleeves are done, so all I've got to do right now is knit about 7 more inches and I'll be able to call this a finished shexy top. I'll do that in spare time over the next week, because I've got a tailored suit due on Wednesday and am working on that right now. december_fabric_thumb.jpgI'll be cutting into the material [click on thumbnail to see a bigger view of my fabric...I just love it...pura lana italiana purchased from a wholesaler] and working on the flats and specs today, so I can dedicate Monday and Wednesday to the assembly (Tuesdays I have fashion design and illustration; can't work on tailored suit then). I'll take photos if the light is good. Wish me luck! And have a good Sunday :-)

Think I got enough black in my wardrobe?

I don't. So I got some more progress on the shexy Ultra Femme top to show:



Still-life photo entitled: "Black blob rests on table", or
"More ends than you can shake an embroidery needle at!"


We rented Da Vinci Code (read the book, never saw the movie) last night. I spent the first half of the film drawing sketches, and the second half knitting the sleeves onto the shexy top. Progress! As for my thoughts on the Da Vinci Code - not the book, just the film - I can sum them up as follows: Hahahahahaha! Good one, Richie Cunningham. That is all.

Are you wondering where I am with my pinstripe suit? Well, even if you aren't I'm going to give you a progress shot because I decided to bring the suit jacket home for the weekend. (Garments in progress usually sit on my mannequin at school when I'm not working on them.)



"Pardon me, my interfacing is showing."


december_fabric_thumb.jpgWhat else? Tonight the long tradition of the Fête des Lumières begins in Lyon. The streets get really crowded, especially downtown, so we don't always go out for the light shows during the Fête des Lumières. (Some loyal readers may remember that I did wear a costume and participate in a parade and light show during last year Fête des Lumières, though. It was a crazy lit costume I designed and engineered with a fellow design student. There's a little picture of the costume somewhere on this site.) Anyway. This year we decided that we're going to hang with the tourists and take in a few of the shows and lights. Not today or tomorrow, but over the weekend. I'll try and take a couple of good photos to show!

Look what's almost finished:

Shexy Ultra Femme!



A successful fit.
Second time was the charm. Woo hoo!


And this time my knitting tension behaved after I attached the sleeves. Yeah! Think I should reward myself with brownies? Me, too. With walnuts. I love brownies with walnuts.

All I have to do now in order to finish Ultra Femme is:

1) Graft underarm seams. (In black mohair. Fun!)
2) Sew down loops.
3) Weave in ends. (Ugh.)
4) Get ribbon for the waist.
5) Block.

I'll do all that next weekend. (All this week I'm working on my tailored suit in pattern making and on a lace motif for fashion design.)

On another (and very happy) note, High Energy Knits Jenny just welcomed her baby into the world. Congratulations to the High Energy Family!

That's all for today. But keep an eye out for my next entry. I've got a few photos of the Fête des Lumières to show :-)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I wish my blog readers a wonderful year filled with lots of stash enhancement, as few trips as possible to the frogpond, and no boneheaded moments when knitting. And lots of good health and happiness, of course.

As for new year's resolutions, I rarely make any because when I decide to do something, I just go ahead and do it without waiting for the new year to roll around. But this time I decided to list a few resolutions, just for the heck of it:

1) Eat more dark chocolate, just because it's yummy.
2) Knit through my stash in its entirety. (Hahahaha! Good one.)
3) Sew through my fabric stash in its entirety. (Hahahaha! Good one.)
4) Watch more movies starring Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman, Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom. (Rawr, bay-bee.) I'm also getting a bit of a crush on Ewan MacGregor, so what the heck! Let's watch some more movies starring him, too.

Moving on, I've got a shexy Ultra Femme top to show you. It's on the mannequin because the lighting is excellent today and besides, if I waited until I have time for a proper photo session with dancing shots (not to mention downloading, resizing and uploading the photos, etc.) this blog would have remained without a new entry for another two weeks. (I asked Santa for more time in the day but I didn't find it under the tree on Christmas morning, unfortunately.)



Well, it's about time she showed me off. Sheesh!


It's a great fit and I really like it. I'll take photos of me wearing the top soon, hopefully this weekend, will give more details on the finishing, etc. when I publish the photos on the blog. In the meantime, you can look at some scenic photos of Lyon I took during the holidays:



La basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière à Lyon.
[There are more in a slideshow, of course!]


I had some family visiting with me here for nearly three weeks and had a great time taking them around and showing them my favorite sights. As I have very little knitting to show (with the exception of a ribbed cap I made for my father, I haven't touched my knitting needles for three weeks), I'll share a slideshow of some photos I took while I traipsed around and outside the city of Lyon like a camera-happy tourist rabbit. Enjoy :-)

Ultra Femme!

As featured in the Official Sweater on Real Person Photo:

*Psst...thank you to Monsieur Le Hubby for taking photos of me in my knit top even though it was his birthday and all he wanted to do was lounge around in his jammies all morning. Love the hubby.



This is the stand-still-like-a-mannequin shot.
[Hey! Click here for a couple of whack dance rabbit shots.]


Project details: Ultra Femme from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation using GGH Samoa and GGH Soft Kid. I knit the lower ribbing in the extra small size and the upper mohair portion in size small. I had to go down to size 3.5mm or 3.25mm (I need to check my previous entries to remember which) in order to get gauge on the mohair portion. (Remember the frogging and reknitting I did? Ugh! So not fun.)



Look, Ma! I made a ribbon!


I didn't buy a ribbon for this top. Instead, I cut a couple of lengths of heavy satin fabric I had in my stash and machine stitched a reversible belt. I did a rushed job of it because I was eager to wear the top [Impatience, thy name is Rabbit], but I may make another one that's a bit wider. I'll leave the length as it is, though.



Darling! Shall we go out for some before dinner cocktails?


What else? Oh, yes. I also gotta tell you that the mohair portion, if knit at the gauge required in the pattern and in black yarn, is not too see-through. Therefore, there ain't nothing between me and this top but a lacy bra, lassies! And even if the top were see-through (which is what one is led to believe from looking the light pink sample sweater layered over BLACK bra in the book), there would still just be me and my bra underneath the top, and nothing else. Nothing wrong with a little shexy every once in a while, people :-)