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I'm back from vacation! And guess what?

....I had enough yarn to finish a Fiery Bolero! (The yarn gods must like me.)

This is the stand still like a mannequin shot.
[What's that? A wacky dancing while on vacation shot? Oh, alright.]
BONUS: I made the petite sundress, too. Oh, how CRAFTY!

Fiery Bolero details: Fiery Bolero from Interweave Knits Summer 2005. I used 5 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cathay for the size small, and barely had enough. I made no changes to the pattern other than adding a couple of extra rows to the body of the bolero for length, working three rows less on the ribbing of all edgings, and wrapping the stitches when working the short rows on the edging in order to avoid the "eyelets". [Footnote: Best instructions I've seen to date re wrapping stitches for short rows: Vogue Knitting's Ultimate Knitting Book.]

Petite sundress details: Simplicity pattern 4994, size 6-8 (I cut the pattern so that it would be between those sizes). I purchased the fabric at La Maison des Tissus and all notions at La Mercerie. Both are in La Croix Rousse, which is a walk from my home which makes me sooooooooo happy.

(Here's an action shot of the dress looking over the Loire Valley.)

And speaking of my vacation, I had a fabulous time. In summary: I traveled down the Loire River in a traditional boat called a futreau, strolled through fog in an international garden festival at Chaumont, watched July 14th fireworks from a terrace overlooking the river, visited where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last days, looked at over 300 portraits of illustres in a castle gallery, watched some jousting at a dungeon, got my hand kissed [!] by a stunt horseman wearing a knight costume, and then traveled up north outside of Paris for a surprise party for my dear friend Laetitia (with whom, incidentally, we stayed for a few days and had the best time ever). And when I wasn't doing all that, I was knitting, bay-bee! Mostly in the car or early in the morning while sunning myself on the terrace of the apartment. No sassy photos for you of the sunbathing but I do have, of course, a customary slideshow of the car knitting**. (You knew I would, right? I always do.) Click to see all the snapshots:

**Rules of my car knitting snapshots are as follows: All snapshots must be taken while knitting, or with knitting on one's lap, IN THE CAR. Further, the car must be in motion, temporarily stopped at a traffic light, intersection, in traffic or similar with engine always running. In no event may the car be parked, halted for more than 30 seconds or deliberately stopped for purposes of taking a photo. The seatbelt must remain on at all times, but the hand may be carefully stuck out of the window in order to obtain a good shot provided it doesn't cause any traffic accidents and even though it makes one look like a wacky camera-happy tourist.

P.S. Speaking of good friends, I had some WONDERFUL things waiting for me in my mailbox when I got back from my trip. My pal Bonne Marie sent me a surprise mega package filled with lovely gifts: some VERY haute yarn, a book of her prints taken in Paris, Last Minute Knitted Gifts, a slinky black long-sleeved shrug [!] (how she knew I wanted one, I'll never know) and some fab knitting mags. But that's not all: My pal Silvia has been doing some pattern shopping for me, BIG time. We're talking major pattern enabling...check out all the great sewing patterns she sent me! Woo hoo! What a welcome back, eh? I know I'm gonna sound mushy, but I don't care. I am so thankful for all the good friends I have, and for their sincere thoughtfulness and everything they do for me. They've all got star status around here. THANK YOU!

The fruits of my vacation knitting:

Look at this pile of knit pieces screaming at me to block, block, BLOCK us already!

Pardon us. Our ends are hanging all out.

And then I'll have to seam them so that they look like this cute little Flowery Cardigan and this cute little Flowery Jacket. I don't know about you, but when I see a little pile of knits like that waiting to be seamed I want to dive under the bed and knit a scarf or something in the round. Anything that doesn't require seaming, slappy.

But I'm not doing that. Instead, I'm working on the matching culotte with flower on the po-po that goes with the Flowery Cardigan. Yeah. Nothing like a spot of intarsia to keep us from blocking and seaming.

How I love working this flower!
But I dread sewing the sides together*. Sigh.

I'm having so much fun working that flower that I flew through most of it while watching Sofia Coppola ruin Godfather III with her monotonous speaking voice and sorely lacking acting skills. [ But we loved how you directed Lost in Translation, Sofia!] And speaking of the intarsia, I can't think of a better yarn than Phil Eponge for intarsia work. It's elasticity and stitch definition are ideal for it.

So, now that you've seen the pile of finished pieces that constitute the fruit of my vacation knitting, I've got Postcards from La Loire Slideshows for you! We did and saw many things, so this is just the first of a series of snapshots. (There will more in future entries. The fun never stops here, people.) Click to view:

*I'm getting mad ideas now that I have a sewing machine. While I love working the intarsia with Phil Eponge, I don't think I'm going to like seaming this bad boy fluffy yarn. The culotte has edges that are shaped via bound-offs and increases, so that coupled with nearly nil stitch definition will not a happy seaming party make unless there is much pouring of kir royals. While I don't mind a kir or two while seaming, I like to avoid the dancing on table with lampshade on head variety so I'm actually considering sewing the sides of the culotte using my sewing machine. I may not get the courage to do that, though, so don't take that as a promise.

Would you like some soy sauce with those noodles?

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

Yeah, yeah. I knew I was gonna have to some weaving with the Flowery Cardigan and matching culotte, but STILL. If someone had shown me a picture of the wrong side of that cute little flower with all those blasted ends hanging out of it, just waiting to be woven in, I would have totally STEPPED AWAY FROM THE INTARSIA, dude.

Just kidding. But I still hate weaving in ends.

summer2005_babyschtuff_flowercardigan_culotte_seam_thumb.jpg Speaking of which, why yes! I did sew the little diaper cover seams together using my sewing machine. I got up on Sunday morning, kicked back a cafe au lait, and revved my little sewing machine UP. Please note, however, that:

1) I used a special ball point sewing machine needle destined for knitted items.

2) I carefully basted the edges together, not pinned.

3) I sewed very close to the edge using a narrow zigzag stitch. (Thanks, Sil!)

4) I would NOT do this with all knits. Only the bad boy ones.

Voilà! It came out so nice I got brave and did the same with the diaper cover's matching cardigan. Now all I have to do now is sew these little leg bands onto the diaper cover using free-loop backstitch on the right side. No sewing machine for the leg bands, though. Some things are better off being finished the old-fashioned way.

Which reminds me...I started seaming the Flowery Jacket** already. I'm on a roll, people:

Yes, the old-fashioned way. By hand.
It's worsted cotton, after all.
I'll save the sewing machine for those bad boy fluffy yarns.

I love this little jacket. It reminds me of watermelon, or "wala wala", like my sister used to call watermelon when she was a girl. (And yes! In my home we still call watermelon "wala wala". It's like a rule.)

Alright. Enough with the knitting blab. How about some more Vacation Slideshows of Rabbit in the Loire Valley? Yes? Okay. Click the wee thumbnails to view the slideshows. Lots of cool things to see inside:

**Seems like I'm going bonkers with the knitting layette, doesn't it? I'm knitting for two babes, actually. One of these knits if for my brother's baby girl, and the other is for my sister's baby girl. Both items are knit in the same size, so they won't know who receives what until the gifts reach their destinations. Hee hee!

I don't know about you...

...but I just love doing raglan sleeve decreases. And that's not all; I also love seaming garments with raglan sleeves. There's something about putting the pieces together that make me feel like I'm playing around with an incredibly easy jigsaw puzzle. I know, I know. I'm easily amused. Anyway...behold the second front piece of my son's Letterman Jacket with it's amazingly fun raglan sleeve decreases:

[Hey! Wanna see both completed front pieces? Sure you do.]

I've already completed both front pieces and am now working on the sleeves. Woot! And you're probably wondering where I am with the Mystery Project for Winter. Well, wonder no more. I worked on it while riding in the car to Vienne this afternoon:

Send hot chocolate and some decent lighting, stat.

Yes, yes. I know what you're thinking: The Thing looks like a dull-colored animal pelt sitting on my lap. I assure you; it's much more beautific in person but light conditions were far from favorable. (We had lots of sun during the week but today was a cold gray day, complete with snow. Send hot chocolate.)

And in order to distract you from the fact that I've yet to get off my procrastinating bee-hind and seam Butterfly ALREADY I'll share a gratuitous slideshow of snapshots taken during hat night on Friday (Sainte Catherine Day), when all of us crazy fashion design students danced about while wearing outrageous hats we made in class last Tuesday. Rawk out.

Why, it's a finished Fluffy Halter!

This is the stand-still-like-a-mannequin shot.
[What's that? The "Look, Ma! No hands!" shot? Oh, ALRIGHT.]
[This is a muscle tank with a really funky back. Wanna see?]

Details, details: Fluffy Halter from Phildar's SpecialTwenty 438 using Beaugency in Myrtille, a deep berry color. Summary of project in a few lines: Darn easy, darn quick. Lemme see...size 5.5mm needles, no sleeves, and no major finishing other than the big old turtleneck and the side seams (which were joined using mattress stitch). It was so mindless I should feel guilty! But I don't. Me like mindless knitting. Now how about some gratuitous whack dancing shots, just for the fun of it?

This is, hands down, one of the most frivolous things I've ever knit. Totally unnecessary and pretty trendy. AND I LIKE IT! It gives me a kick to pull these kinds of things off my knitting needles. So go for the frivolous knits if you feel the urge. Because I say so.

On another note, I have a BONUS for you:

One of the trains at the Parc de la Tête d'Or.
[BONUS: Wanna see the train ride slideshow?]

Yesterday, after the Fluffy Halter photo shoot, we headed to the Parc de la Tête d'Or so we could enjoy the warm spring weather we're currently having. (The Fluffy Halter stayed behind - the weather was too warm for it.) While at the park we decided to take a train ride and I took pictures like a camera happy tourist. Which means, of course, that there's a SLIDESHOW for you. Enjoy!

P.S. I almost forgot! I also knit the fingerless mitts that go with the Fluffy Halter. But, er....I still haven't seamed them. [Oops!] I'll do that when the cold weather hits again or when I feel like seaming. (Which is, oh, NEVER. Good thing it'll get cold again.)

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Froggy!

Just chillin' on the bookshelf, dude. Ribbit.
[Please, ENLARGE this shot for a better look.]

Details, details: Hand knit toy frog from Phildar's Pitchoun Printemps 2006, using Phildar Tropic + Aviso for the body and Phildar Lambswool for the shorts. The suspenders and feet are felt pieces. The suspenders were sewn onto the shorts at the same time as the buttons, using regular sewing thread. The feet were glued on using non-toxic fabric glue, and I further secured them by embroidering the edges together using needlepoint thread [see closeup] I have in my stash. The red part of the mouth is a crochet chain of slip stitches, and the bulgy eyeballs are actually crochet BOBBLES I decided to make because I didn't like the way the eyeballs came out when knit flat as described in the pattern. Both the mouth and eyeballs were made using leftover cotton yarn from my stash, and it is at times like this that I am glad that I like to save all of my itty bitty leftovers. And that is the end of my blabby project details summary.

Now, what you really wanna know is how Mr. Froggy went over with my Captain Destructo, right? Check it:

Mr. Froggy and Captain Destructo are BFF!
P.S. Don't miss the slideshow of Frog's Day Out.

spring2006_frog_slideshow_thumb.jpgThe Captain and I had some things to do out in the city, and Mr. Froggy came along by hitching a free ride in the Captain's backpack. Shopping, walking, fast food junk eating, train-riding...the flashy-trousers wearing frog got a day out. Of course, I documented it all for you in a slideshow. Come know I was gonna :-)

"Argh. This sweater had better be worth it."

Said the Rabbit to Monsieur Le Hubby as she spent TWO FREAKING hours sewing on a loooooooooooong neckband to the Holey Twisty Sweater* this morning.

Free-loop backstitch, anyone?
[Psst...don't miss the SLIDESHOW.]

We're almost there, people. I have knit the (seemingly) miles-long neckband separately and am sewing it on using free-loop backstitch on the right side of the work. I don't always use this technique, even when the pattern calls for it, but it's a good alternative to picking up stitches and knitting on a neckband in certain situations. [Read more about when I like to use the free-loop backstitching technique here.] I decided to do it for this sweater because:

1) The border of the neck is too uneven and holey and, as a result, will not make for a nice foundation row for picking up stitches. This is the main reason why.

2) I'll be able to do the tubular cast on for 2x2 rib so the neckband edge will match the hem and cuffs. This is just a plus, though. If I had picked up stitches for the neckband, I would have done a tubular bind-off for 2x2 rib, like I did for the knit-on neckband of a sweater I knit for Monsieur Le Hubby a while back.

thumb.jpgI taught myself to do free-loop backstitch on the right side of the work by looking at the dinky little illustration provided in all Phildar pattern books while sewing a collar onto a sweater I knit for my Captain Destructo when he was a toddler, but I know that there are excellent instructions for it in Katharina Buss's Big Book of Knitting. Instead of rehashing what Ms. Buss has already explained in an excellent manner, why don't I just share another slideshow of photos I took during this morning as I sewed on this looooooooooooooooong neckband to the Twisty Sweater? I'll add my own personal tips that I've come up with over time to make the technique easier for me. Okay? Okay.

*I've re-christianed this sweater the "Twisty Sweater", because all those little faux twisty cables in the stitch pattern cause the WHOLE sweater to twist around slightly. I noticed this bizarre twisty action when I tried the sweater on my mannequin, so I'm going to give the sweater another major blocking session when I'm finished sewing on the neckband. Sigh. I feel a letter coming on....

Dear Twisty Sweater,

I wish I could bill someone for all the time I've spent working on you because I'd get a helluva productivity bonus at the end of the year if I did.


President of "I Sure Could Use a Margarita" Finishing Club, Lyon Chapter

It's a finished Teeny Camisole!

This is the pose-like-a-mannequin shot.
(Alternatively titled, "A bra! A bra! My kingdom for a bra!")
[What's that? You want CLOSE-UPS?]
[P.S. Whack dancing shots are here. As always, I give you silliness.]

People! Temps are currently in the sixties in Paris, and THIS is the way I wear a Teeny Camisole. I laugh in the face of cold weather. Ha ha!

Just kidding. Actually, that's the way I'll be wearing it come summer. The weather is still just too crisp to wear Teeny Camisoles on their own so for now I'm going the layering route, just like I did with my Butterfly. When the weather is like this layering shirts and I are BFF's:

[Click here for the "Look, Ma! No hands!" shot.]
[Psst...wanna see the back? Sure, you do. Click here to see it.]

Quick project recap: Teeny Camisole, otherwise known as pattern 13 "le top ajouré" from Phildar's L'été 451 pattern book in French. I knit the size small and used a little over three hanks of Tahki Cotton Classic in a deep cranberry red, shade 3432. The pattern calls for Coton No. 4 (which I used to knit my son's Ribbed Jacket last spring...remember?) and even though I really like Coton No. 4 I used the Cotton Classic instead because:

a) They're close in gauge. (At least that's what my swatch told me.)

b) I had the Cotton Classic in my stash (it was a gift from Miss HEK Jenny) and I've been dying to use it. Teeny Camisole was the perfect opportunity. Plus, who doesn't love to stash bust? I know I do. It gives me an excuse to buy more yarn. Muwaahaaaaaaa!

Anyway. All in all, I really like this top. It's a perfect fit and the Cotton Classic makes it lightweight and airy. And that is why I took Teeny Camisole to Paree while I met up with my sister over the weekend.

Don't miss the Random Shots of Sunday in Paris Slideshow!

Monsieur Le Hubby, Captain Destructo and I were so busy catching up with my sis and her husband, and meeting my adorable baby niece that no time was available for taking shots of the Teeny Camisole (which my sister says reminds her of Amelie Poulain...isn't that cool?) in action. But I didn't want to leave you totally pictureless, so I did snap some shots for you on Sunday as we walked around after lunch. Come knew I'd have another Paris slideshow for you, right? Enjoy :-)

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 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,'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!

Ah! Seven days till Christmas!

I've been wanting to update with an entry since last week but I've been getting home too late every day; no time to go online. Among other things, this is what I've been doing:

Working on a tailored suit and drawing lace motifs. (Two separate projects.)

Shopping and getting ready for family members who are coming to spend the holidays with us.

And this is what I've NOT been doing:

Working on the poor, neglected shexy top. But I want to wear that for Christmas Eve or Christmas day, so I will work on that as soon as I have some quality free time. Turning in the tailored suit will free up my schedule, so let's all give a big Mexican wave for when that day comes. Ready, set, wave! And speaking of the tailored suit, I'm gonna show another in progress shot of the jacket (there are trousers, too) even though it needs pressing, finished top pocket, lining, hem, shoulder pads, buttonhole and button, more get the idea.

Ah! I feel like you've caught me in bathrobe and avocado mask.
Please pardon my sloppy unfinished state.

But believe it or not, I do have a wee bit of knitting to show. Remember my Cabled Jacket? I needed something small to carry around and work on here and there, so I decided to start the second sleeve for my Cabled Jacket.

I still think donut twists when I see those cables.
Donuts...yum. (I gotta stop updating before I've had lunch.)

I'm so glad that I'm able to get at least some knitting done. Really, I do need to knit a few rows every now and then on SOMETHING otherwise I get twitchy and I twiddle my fingers around in mock imitation of knitting, even in public.

Okay, I'm kidding about the twiddling fingers part.

What else? Oh, yes. I promised to show some holiday lights and a few things I saw during the Fête des Lumiéres. We love Lyon holiday lights. So fabulous. Check 'em:

Slideshow, slideshow!

Of course, that's not the only shot I took. There are more, and I put them in a slideshow. Come knew I would :-)


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 :-)

Silk Top Goes for a Ride.

We headed out for a 45 minute car ride to the town of Cremieux to spend the day with a friend of mine and you know what that means: Car knitting, bay-bee! And when I was in the car I totally waved my Silk Top around like it was a banner while I yelled out the car window, "knitter's rule, duuuuuuuude!"

Okay, I'm kidding about the yelling part. But not about the waving part.

"Mommy, why is that lady waving around a sweater on needles?"

may_cremieux_thumb.jpgI got to finish up another lace repeat, so it was a productive car ride. (I was too tired on the way back home to do any knitting. Wine + Sun = Rabbit Snoozing in Car.) But! I did take out my camera and took a few extra scenic shots to put in a slideshow. Come on, you knew I would. Skinny Rabbit loves to share photos with her readers. Click here to see the slideshow.

Okay, I'm off catch up on a few blogs before I pick up Captain Destructo from school, and then I've got some work to do offline. In the words of Miranda Priestly, "that's all". (Love, love, love Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly.)

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