Ribbon cardi for summer.

Cotton ribbon, combined knitting and Josh Lucaaaaaaaaaaaas!

[Zoom in, zoom out.]

My summer knitting has begun! Remember the Phil Ruban cotton ribbon I bought during a stash enrichment expedition back in May? Lovely caramel-colored? Well, last week I pulled it out of the stash, and started knitting a cardi with three-quarter sleeves and a lacy leaf-pattern around the neckband [pattern from Phildar été 2004], so that I could have a nice little garment to throw over my sleeveless halters and strappy tanks. Oh, how fancy!

So far, I am rolling along happily on this cardi. Last Saturday morning while running errands with my husband I took the beginnings of a sleeve and came home midway through the sleeve cap. All knit in 10-15 min spurts in the car. I've finished both sleeves and the back piece, and last night I started one of the front pieces*. It's like eating chips; I have to knit another row, and another, and another... Phil Ruban, how I love thee! And in order to keep you from missing out on any of it, here are some pictures of the sleeves as they progressed:

Note: I am using combined knitting for this cardi. I also used it when knitting my sister's poncho in this yarn. Phil Ruban is a flat cotton tape, and when I was using my regular method of knitting (knitting the knit stitches from front to back and purling the purl stitches by wrapping the yarn over), I was getting a striped effect even though my tension was even. This was happening because working the knit stitches from front to back was distorting the flat yarn, thus making my knit rows look "thin" in comparison to my purl rows. So I decided to work all my knit stitches through the back loop, and then untwist them on the wrong side by wrapping the yarn under my purl stitches. It works. [Look, Ma! No stripes!] Combined knitting rocks my socks.

P.S. The color of this yarn as my camera picks it up may show up differently on some browsers. It is copper/caramel as featured in this entry, and is the same color as the one shown in the pattern book.

*Last night I knit 50 rows of the front piece while drooling over Josh Lucas in Sweet Home Alabama, which I had never seen before. Good golly Miss Molly, let's just add Mr. Lucas to the top of my list of crushes right NOW. (Funnily enough, I saw him in A Beautiful Mind, and he did absolutely nothing for me in that movie.) But there is something about him in Sweet Home Alabama that makes me want to sit down and knit something for him. Anything! SOCKS, even. Want some socks, Josh? I'll use some US1 dpns and extra fine 4 ply. Knitted 'specially!

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):

loire_thumb loire2_thumb.jpg

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.


Why, it's a finished ribbon cardi!

[Just because, here's another view.]
[Click here for the really BIG sweater picture.]
[And how about a CLOSEUP of that neckline, folks?]

Finally...photos of my second finished project of the summer: my ribbon cardi! (Pattern from Phildar Ete 2004. 34/36 size, using Phil Ruban in Cuivre.) Oh la laaaaaaa...I really love wearing this cardi. It's lightweight and drapey, and my favorite part is the leaf edging at the neckline (probably because that's what I had the most fun knitting). The cardi's been finished since I returned from La Loire, but I didn't get the chance to wear it out until Sunday. And wear it, I did! Here it is, making its debut at one of the many murals in Lyon:

Where's Rabbit?

This mural is in the Croix Rousse.
[Click here for a bigger view of the mural.]
[BONUS: Fun shots of the cardi (and family) at the mural.]

[Footnote: I just love these murals. We always have fun posing in front of them and looking at the details regarding Lyon that the artist included. Notice the spools of silk shown in the shot where I'm pretending to open the car door? Well, that's just one of many such details.]

Finishing details of the cardi: The pattern called for two cords, each made using two strands of Phil Ruban, to be attached to the front pieces. I decided to make the cords using my lovely new lucet*, which I had never used before. HELLO! Mademoiselle Lucet made a cord that was so fabulous I actually got up and did a happy dance right there. And speaking of which, you just know that there are customary dance shots for you for no reason other than it's fun:

*I had never used a lucet before, but I am so glad I did! It makes such lovely cord. I learned about it from Claudia, and was finally able to give a it try thanks to Carolyn, who very thoughtfully got it at MS&W festival and brought over to me when she came to Paris in May. Merci!