Pretty, oh so pretty pink cardigan.

Postcards from La Loire.

Back from the Loire Valley!

The royal chateau in Blois.
[Click here for the BIG view.]
[Psst...don't miss the slideshow!]

Lots of chateaux, lots of wine, a perfect view of the July 14 fireworks from the terrace of the apartment, a visit with the white tigers at Beauval, ogling Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester at Chambord, rowing a small boat around the Cher river at Chenonceau castle, a magic show at Robert-Houdin's Maison de la Magie, a horse-drawn carriage ride through Blois, a light show at a royal castle...our trip to La Loire was incredibly fun and went by all too quickly. We made headquarters in Blois, where we stayed in an apartment ideally located in the vieux quartier with a beautiful view of the city. Some days we stayed in Blois; other days we hopped in the car for outings to Amboise, Chenonceau, Chambord and other places. Click the thumbnails below to see a few images of some of the wonderful things we saw and did during the first days of our vacation (there will be more photos in a subsequent entry):

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Even with all the activities, I got to do some summer knitting! We made several outings to surrounding areas which required 15-30 min rides in the car, so when I wasn't reading, admiring the scenery, or napping with face embarrassingly squished against the passenger window (happened only once, thankfully), I was KNITTING. (The MS&W Festival tote that my pal Claudia gifted me a few months ago rode with me all over the Loire Valley. XOXO, Claudia!)

[Click here for the rest of the road knitting!]

road tripPhoto above is of the front piece of my Phil Ruban cardi, and I seamed it while I was there, opting to save the dreaded weaving of the ends for when I got back. The cardi was too big to tote around with me, so I spent time swatching for some projects when in the car. I got lucky with the gauge on two and decided to start one of them while I was there: The "Jacke in Apricot" from Rebecca 27, using GGH Java in light pink. [Rebecca 27 is from Athena, who sent it to me back in May. Java is from Marta, who sent it to me a few weeks ago. Photos here!] And just for you, I have car shots: Pictures I took of things I saw while knitting in the car. All photos were taken while the car was in motion, and some required that I stick the camera out of the window in order for me to get a good shot. [Hello, I'm just a photo-happy tourist with some knitting in her lap!]

But wait...there's more! I left the Loire Valley with some stashy goodness [click here to see it]. While driving through a town after a visit to Amboise, Monsieur Le Hubby said to me (and I'm sure he regretted it afterwards), "We just passed a Phildar." Oops! The car skidded to a halt and I ran inside the store, on a quest for yarn on sale (SOLDES - magic word, that). I was in the store for five minutes only, but all I'm gonna say is: If you live in Contres and were hoping to pick up some discontinued Phil Ruban in fabulous colors, a whack tourist rabbit already cleared it all out.

More postcards from La Loire.

Back piece, take two.
[Zoom in, zoom out.]

This is the back piece AFTER I had reached the armhole shaping and ripped back [only about, oh...50 rows!] to where the waist shaping began because I discovered that I had done the increases over an incorrect number of rows. I surely wasn't going to leave it the way it was because doing so would have required omitting an increase, and you just know that I'm not going to do that. Maybe I'll get in the car and head back to the Loire for another vacation, because the return home appears to have broken my knitting concentration. (Okay, I'm kidding.) Speaking of which, I present you with:

More postcards from the Loire!

The Captain, playing in the gardens at Chenonceau.
Click the thumbnails below for lots more pictures!

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I thought I'd throw in some more vacation photos for the cool people who visit my site on the weekends. Now, it's time for me to settle in for a quiet Saturday evening with the husband and some Cremant de Loire, which the good man bought during our trip. Maybe I'll knit some more rows on this cardi, which (in spite of my having to rip out once and wee bit of grumbling) really is a quick and enjoyable knit. GGH Java just rolls on the needles!

Rolling, rolling, rolling...

Beep beep! Someone's now rolling along nicely on her "Jacke Apricot". I finished the back and am moving along on the front pieces now. Here's the back, which I knit while watching "Anne of Green Gables" [love that series!]:

Hello. Please block me.

This yarn is so smooth to knit! GGH deserves a gold star on their forehead for coming up with this one. It's light, airy, and doesn't tire out the hands like some worsted cottons. If someone offered me 5 sweaters' worth of Java in exchange for my donning a pair of lederhosen and dancing around the block while singing out, "I LIKE JAVA", you bet your java I'd do it.

And there's stash enhancement news! A friend just had a baby boy, and I - under the notion that I have no yarn in my stash suitable to make a gift for a baby boy [please allow me to continue to remain under this notion for purposes of justification] - go to the yarn store with the intention of (as I told my husband) "checking out yarn colors". I checked out the yarn colors, and then I walked out with the latest Tendances and Layette pattern books, and some yarn to make the new baby a sweater. Oops! Say it with me now, darlin': Rabbit likes to yarn shop!

Yarn is "Oxygene" and "Brumes".

There's's another stash enhancement I can't help sharing because it's just so fabuloso: Some Cotton Fleece from my pal Theresa, which she sent on over so that I can make Gigi. (Yes, I must think that I have a thousand knitting hands.)

Welcome to the stash, my dears!

I need to get my hands on some 3.25mm dpns, so I can get to Gigi this summer. Then again, I'm on such a cardi kick right now I may end up doing it in fall, instead. In any event, I've got some fun knitting months ahead.

Eyelets are pretty.

The Captain, indicating what he likes about the cardi.
(The eyelets are his favorite part*. [Awwwww!])
[Click here to zoom out on just the knitting.]

I'd better start looking at buttons, because my Jacke in Apricot is on its road to being finished. Here are both front pieces, looking all rumpled and skinny in their unblocked state, and as you can see I left the shoulder stitches on temporary holders because I'm not sure if I'll be doing a three-needle bind-off to seam the shoulders. I probably won't. But I always like leaving that little option open.

There's more. Here's a sleeve:

I'd yodel for ya**, Java.

I just loooooooooove when the shaping of a sleeve cap starts, because it's all quick and satisfactory knitting from there. The only disappointing thing about reaching the sleeve cap shaping on THIS particular sleeve, however, is that it means that my knitting time with Java is coming to an end. Sob! This yarn is such a pleasure to knit, I'd stick my head out of the window and yodel if I knew how. Heck...I may even do it anyway.

Blocking all pieces and a quest for pretty buttons is next. Searching for buttons is as fun as knitting with Java because it means I have a valid reason for going into La Droguerie and spending over an hour eyeballing everything in there without looking like I'm casing the joint.

*It was bound to happen. My son, who is becoming more and more opinionated on what he wears, has decided to branch out on what Mommy wears. The other day I pulled out a plain skirt and when my son saw it, he called out (and I quote literally), "C'est pas cool." Ouch! I took out another skirt with a print pattern and he declared it to be "jolie" and "cool", and even tagged on the phrase "I like that one, Mommy" in English for good luck. And now he is giving his unsolicited two cents on what I knit for myself. As I was taking a photo of the front pieces of the cardi he stuck his hands in the shot, pointed to the eyelets and said that he liked them. Which means that this cardi has been given the Captain Destructo stamp of approval and is, in effect, "cool". Did I mention that the kid isn't even four years old yet? I see a loooooooooong road of this before me.

**I thought of Culture Club's I'll Tumble 4 Ya when I wrote that.

P.S. On an unrelated note, check out these Japanese knitting books I got from Pinku. Are those cool, or WHAT? Thanks, Pinku!

A finished jacket at the park!

Why, it's a finished Apricot Jacket!

[For my hubby, here is a "wannabe siren" pose.]
[Click here for the BIG "Look, Ma! No hands!" shot.]
[And how about a CLOSEUP of a button, folks?]

My Jacke in Apricot is FINISHED! (Pattern from Rebecca 27. Size 38/40 [the smallest in the pattern], using GGH Java in Apricot No. 3, going down to size 4mm needles in order to obtain a smaller gauge.) And let me just say this: I really like this jacket. Eyelets and pink are not what I'm used to having in my wardrobe, but pulling on this jacket makes me feel like wearing a flouncy skirt and dancing the Mashed Potato. So I did! Hehe. And after I did that, I decided to give my Apricot Jacket a debut by wearing it to the Parc de la TÍte d'Or on Saturday, when we were having lightweight jacket weather:

The obligatory standing by the lake shot.
[ here for a better view of the back.]
[BONUS: Random shots of the jacket (and family) at the park!]

Of course, I have action shots for you. As customary, here's the whack rabbit dancing fool shot. And you know how the Rebecca fashion spread has a "look at me run for the camera" shot? Well, me too:

(I was running after my kid.)
And I must say: These shoes are NOT made for running!
[P.S. Don't forget the dancing shot is here, pally.]

Finishing details: I used backstitch to join the shoulders and mattress stitch for everything else. The buttonholes are actually crochet buttonloops, 2 chains in size, which I made when working a row of slip stitches around the front pieces. I used a smaller crochet hook then called for in the pattern, but I worked the slip stitches loosely. At first I wasn't sure if I'd like having the jacket buttoned this way, but after I had worked the loops and sewn on the buttons I found that it made the jacket look more polished and completed the "vintage" look. (Incidentally, I got the pearly buttons at La Droguerie, my favorite button place in the world.) All in all, great jacket that is fun to knit and fun to wear!

P.S. Don't miss my tip about using stitch markers for the center panel on the back piece. (Published September 16, 2004.)