Lacy cardis are like white shirts.

You can never have too many of them, I say. Therefore, I bring you a lace cardi for my first summer knit:

Click HERE to see the whole enchilada.

It's a right front of Crinkle, the scrunchy lace cardi from Rowan 39, which I'm knitting in black. (I was supposed to be knitting this in tandem with Claudia, and she's already got her orange Crinkle almost knitted up. We should call my version "Rip Van Crinkle", because it seems to have taken me 100 years to finally cast on for it.)

Anyway. Right front of Crinkle progressing nicely. I'm looking forward to working some rows on it this weekend. I love mercerised cotton in the summer. [You have to read that last sentence in singsong followed by a "la la la laaaaa!".]

In other news, on Monday I started working my summer job as an "assistente modéliste" at a studio owned by a design team of two talented women who are alumni of the fashion school I attend. It's busy, but I'm lovin' it! In the four days I've been there I've made one custom backless dress with lining* and a top with lining and attached wrap. I've also deconstructed a skirt, made corrections to it and then put it back together. Next week I'll be working on prototypes for next season's collection, among other things. It's all very inspiring as someday I want to have my own design studio and label.

*There are no instructions and no patterns with notches and seam allowances and whooshes and whirls. The only thing I had to guide me was a prototype dress. I used the industrial machine and cranked out the dress in a day and a half. It was great practice! The woman who ordered the dress came in to pick it up, and when she tried it on and admired herself in the mirror I felt so darn proud of myself I felt like screaming into a bullhorn "Hey everyone! I made that dress! Woooooooooot!" Good thing I didn't have a bullhorn handy, eh?

And while we're on the subject of the design studio, look at what I brought home from there today:

It's a fabric extravaganza!
[Revs sewing machine pedal.]

Leftover fabric I got from the design studio's summer and winter collections! All for me and my fabric-lovin' heart. During my off time in August I hope to cut and sew through some of this fabric, because it's just so darn fabby and good-lookin'. (But first I'll be finishing my "pantaloons" and designing the skirt I mentioned a few days ago.)

Still reading? Good, because I have two other miscellaneous things to show you:

First: About an hour ago I made a pillow for my dog Lucy, because she keeps flattening her fancy dog beds until they look like raggedy pillows. I made one side in denim fabric (and I stitched an "L" for "Lucy" on it, like Laverne used to have an "L" on her sweaters), and the other side in a hawaiian-inspired fabric. I finished the edges in contrast thread and reversed the seams for a rustic look. Yee-haw! I'm showing a photo of it because Lucy got all happy when I tossed it on the floor and said it was for her. Awwwwwwww!

thumb.jpgSecondly: Who's been following the FIFA World Cup? I know I have. I'm a fan of the Bleus, and if you heard someone screeching all sorts of wacky soccer-related stuff on Tuesday evening, I apologize because that was me getting all hyper during the match between France and Portugal. For giggles and in honor of the final match between France and Italy on Sunday [allez les Bleus!], I show you a photo of yours truly with number 11 Sylvain Wiltord (of the Equipe de France and formerly of the Olympique Lyonnais), taken back in February when he (and a few other players) showed up at the school to autograph look-alike dolls students had made for a charity auction. Sylvain is one of the nicest people I've ever encountered, and he took the time to visit the school and look at our work. When he heard that I have a son who's a soccer fan he came into the class and gave me an autograph for Captain Destructo. So everyone say, "Salut, Sylvain! We'll be cheering for you on Sunday, and we love your knit hat!"

I snapped this shot while leaving work today:

A view of part of the city, taken in La Croix Rousse.
(I was waiting for the, thankfully air-conditioned, bus.)

Look at the pretty blue sky! What you can't see (or feel) is that it is 34 degrees celsius outside and I was sweating like I had run a 20 mile marathon. The makeup I put on this morning? Slipped right off my face and landed on the floor in a puddle. Send air-conditioning and some iced tea, stat. But don't send makeup, because I'm not wearing any until this stifling heat passes. Vanity, be damned.

In sport news, my beloved Bleus have lost the World Cup. Sob! I bury my disappointment and grief in a lacy Crinkle cardi:

Partially knitted Left Front meets completed Right Front and says,
"Dude! You're, like, all knitted up already. Coooool."

I've already reached the neck shaping on the left front, and it looks like I'll be finishing up this piece tonight. I haven't gotten bored with knitting black lace yet so I think I'll just go ahead and cast on for the sleeve. Strike while the iron's hot, and all that jazz.

In sewing news, I've finished my pantaloons. (Arrrrr!) All I've got to do is hem them. And because those are almost finished, I went ahead and made a pattern for another pair of pants. This time they'll be full-length, and in linen. I'll cut into the fabric as soon as I get off my procrastinating bee-hind and hem my pantaloons, already.

thumb.jpgBefore I go and pick up Captain Destructo at the rec center, I present to you what has now turned into my Favorite Snack of the Moment (and what I'm eating as I type this entry): Petit beurre biscuits topped with Bonne Maman cherry jam. They HAVE to be petit beurre and it HAS to be cherry jam; no other marriage of biscuit and jam will do. And you don't understand: I don't have like two or three jam-topped biscuits and call it a day. I'm capable of inhaling half the box in one sit down. Greedy gut, they name is Rabbit.

Fabric explosion?

Nah. Just a random Rabbit at Work Table Shot.

This is to distract you from the fact that I've yet to hem my pantaloons. Suffice it to say: The three of us at the design studio have been very busy. I am having a blast at work and find that the time flies when I'm there, but when I come home in the evening the last thing I want to do is is hem pantaloons. This weekend, once I've had a break from playing with fabric and patterns all day.

But! I've been knitting. The Crinkle, she has the beginnings of a sleeve:

She's bored of me? Already?
Sheesh. Fickle Rabbit.

I cast on for the sleeve yesterday evening and knit what you see while watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which I missed when it came out in theaters. I really liked this movie! I think it's my favorite of the four. Yes, even if Ralph Fiennes looks superfreak with that Voldemort makeup on. Yikes. Nearly poked myself in the eyes with my knitting needles when he pranced onto the screen. He's excellent as Voldemort, though. Just remind me to put on my scary glasses when I watch the next Harry Potter film.

Anyway. Back to Crinkle. Even though I cast on for the sleeve and knit a few rows on it, I admit that about a third into the movie I got bored with knitting it, and I don't know if I'll be knitting it this evening. I knew it was too good to last! Too much of the same thing every evening. So, I need to do something to break the monotony. Something temporary, and then I'll get right back to knitting Crinkle. Possibilities are as follows:

1) Work on a front piece of Captain Destructo's Linen Jacket*.

2) Cast on for a new (quick) project for myself (scoop-necked tunic in linen drape, anyone?)

3) Knit something small, like a toy.

4) Hem my pantaloons. (Hahaha! I joke.)

I'm leaning toward the front piece of Captain Destructo's jacket. He probably won't wear it until September but I figure I should get some more progress on it now because I'm suffering a slight case of Mommy Guilt over taking so long with it. Should I eat some cookies to ease the guilt? I think so.

*Bet you thought I forgot about that, eh? Well, I didn't. Muwaahaaaaaaaaaaa!

P.S. I want to give a public thank you to my friend Brenda (who just celebrated a birthday...go wish her a happy birthday!) for surprising me with a wonderful package full of goodies from back home, including some toys for the Captain. [Here's a gratuitous photo of a very happy clad-in-pajamas Captain for Brenda.] Thank you, Brenda! (Who we're hoping will come back soon to Lyon so we can do some mad shopping at the yarn store and drink margaritas again.)

Random Rabbit at Work Shot:

Say hello to "Speedy".
It's the machine I used at work, and he's my pally.
Sniff. I'll miss him.
(I was making a bustier dress in the photo.)

Yesterday was the last day of my internship at the design studio. I can't believe it's already over; the time flew when I was there. I'll miss it and the girls with whom I worked, but I am sooooooooooooo ready for some time off. Bring on the vacay, bay-beee!

And bringin' it in is a little bit of Crinkle:

Finish me ALREADY.

Working a bit on my son's Linen Jacket broke the monotony of knitting all those eyelets in black yarn, so I got back to working some rows here and there on Crinkle's sleeve over the past few evenings. I'll probably knit on through until I finish the sleeve, and then I'll work on another piece of the Captain's Linen Jacket. Then, once I finish either Crinkle or the Linen Jacket, I'll have room in my stash for some new yarn purchases. Muwaahaaaaaa!

Welcome to the Skinny Rabbit Sewing Hour.

I've also got my sewing machine and serger out at home, and am making a linen pant for me. Nothing fancy, just long full trousers with darts and a side zip...something I can wear casually with little halters or sleeveless t-shirts because people, it is freaking HOT over here and I don't even want to look at another pair of jeans until fall rolls around. This pant is straightforward, so I quickly drafted the pattern using my basic pant construction. (In case you're wondering what my basic pant construction - which we call a "rhodoid", because we draft it on rhodoid plastic in indelible ink - looks like, here's a peek at it.)

While we're on the subject of sewing for myself, I kinda went whack-greedy at the fabric store summer sale and bought a load of basic fabric in solid neutrals, mostly cotton and linen. I'll probably stash most of this fabric for school projects but I do want to make a couple of mini dresses (I like to wear these layered over lightweight pants in the city), and maybe a feminine frou-frou white shirt. I particularly like some of the pieces Chloé featured in her Spring 2006 RTW collection, and am really inspired by those. Here are a few of my favorites:

spring2006_chloe1_thumb.jpg spring2006_chloe1_thumb.jpg
spring2006_chloe1_thumb.jpg spring2006_chloe1_thumb.jpg

[Click each thumbnail for a full view.]

Some call to me for their volume, others for specific design elements. I admire how she takes a simple piece and makes it fabulous with a beautiful fabric and a good cut. I curtsy to the fabulousness of Chloé.

Vacation, all I ever wanted...

Hey! Remember that Go-Go's Vacation video where they're wearing tutus and "dancing" on water-skis? People, I am so enjoying my time off that I would totally wear a tutu and tiara while water-skiing. Point me to the nearest lake, Cap'n Slappy. [I do know how to water-ski. Never done it while wearing a tutu, though.]

Let me show you what I got this Monday afternoon:

Ahhh...the Sleeve Cap in a sunbathing moment.
(And it is very hot and sunny over here, lemmetellya.)
P.S. Now I'm craving a coco loco.

It's all about Sleeve Cap City! Which means that I finished the first sleeve of my Crinkle cardi. Frankly, I wish I had a second sleeve progress photo to show as well, but I haven't even cast on for the second sleeve because I am being depleted of my desire to knit by a little thing called Too Freaking Hot Weather-itis over here.

Therefore, I sew. I finished the linen pants I mentioned the other day (photos as soon as my photographer, a.k.a. Monsieur Le Hubby is available for a photo shoot) and I'm now working on a summer top of my own design. Here's a preview of it:

Don't mind me.
I'm just hangin' on the hanger and waiting to get hemmed, ALREADY.

It's a scoop-neck sleeveless top based upon a design croquis I made in early June. This one is a toned-down version of my initial design but the basic elements are there. This weekend I sorted through my fabric stash and decided on a thin cotton print I got from the design studio, then I drafted the pattern. [Click here for a sneaky peek at it.] Yesterday afternoon was spent sewing the top, and all I need to do now is press the armholes and lining (the fabric is really thin, so I lined the bodice), and - you guessed it - press and stitch the hem. (HEMS. Oh, how I love pressing and stitching them...NOT.)

Up next on my sewing plate: Lemme see...I want to design a bustier and a halter; I was inspired by starlets of the 50s and I already made some sketches with stash fabric in mind. And I'd like to try these clever "Built by You" Simplicity patterns that Silvia - she of the mad design and sewing skills - sent me. I really want to sew that cute little jacket shown in plaid...I've been wanting to make something like that for myself ever since I saw the brilliant rounded coats that Nicolas Ghesquière designed for Balenciaga's Fall/Winter 2006/2007 collection. I'd be able to use the Built by You pattern for it which means that half the work is already done. Woot, woot! [Revs sewing machine pedal.]

The weather gods have taken pity on me...

...and decided to send over some lower temps last night, and I'm enjoying the coolness brought by a light summer rain as I type this. It feels so mah-velous!

Thank yoooooooooooouuuuu, cool breeze.
P.S. If you press your face against Crinkle's eyelets
you can see the Cité Internationale. Go it.

Cooler weather means that I got the desire to watch Coach Carter (yes, it reminds me of Stand and Deliver and YES I cried during the scene* where they all offered to do push ups for Timo Cruz) and knit a few rows on the second sleeve of Crinkle yesterday evening. Yeah! Crinkle progress! But before you scroll down in the hopes of finding photos of even more knitting, you might want to cool your jets there. Playing with my sewing machine and draping things on my mannequin is still my number one fun activity right now while knitting remains at a couple of rows leisurely worked in the evening when I chill with my family, and that's the way I plan to keep it until the end of summer. Maybe longer. So if you're still waiting to see only knitting content, make sure your chair is comfy 'cause as we say in Mexico: "You'd better wait sitting down". It might be a while, amigo.

Speaking of my sewing machine, here's a peek at my current design project for my sewing pals: Inspired by 50s pinup looks, I want to make a bustier-inspired top, hip-length. Reminiscent of a bustier dress, as a matter of fact. I want it to be form-fitting with some ease at the waist and a very slight flare at the hips. I've got a stretch woven in a discreet polka-dot print that I think would work for this design, and there's just enough metrage for a sleeveless top. This is something I'd like to wear with my Crinkle cardi, if I think they look good together. I'm not drafting the pattern flat because I want play around with different seam lines in 3-D, so I'm draping on the dress form.

Before I head off for the evening, I want to show the bag that the very talented Maria from Maria's Cloud sent me as a gift (along with a really creative card she made). It's a large reversible tote that is beautifully crafted and constructed, and I'm so happy to have it. Check it out:

july_mariabag.jpg july_mariabag2.jpg

I am a regular visitor to Maria's blog, where she shares slices of her life and photos of her creations, and I encourage you to go visit her if you'd like a good blog read and creative inspiration.

*I'll have to add that scene to my short list of Scenes from Movies that Make Me Bawl, every single flipping time:

Dead Poets Society where Ethan Hawke courageously climbs onto the desk and cries out in a tear-strangled voice, "Oh Captain, my Captain!"

The Color Purple has a triple whammy: The scene where Celie and Nettie are separated, the scene where Shug and her father are reunited ("See, Daddy? Sinners have soul, too"...SOB!) and the final scene where Celie finally gets to see her sister again and meet her children. Waaaaaaaaaaah!

Rudy: What is it with this movie? It's like one long, drawn out tissue fest for me. I cried at so many scenes in that movie my eyes looked like Rocky Balboa's after a fight with Clubber Lane.

Seabiscuit: The final scene where Tobey Maguire is riding Seabiscuit in the race and losing, and his friend George lags behind so that Seabiscuit can see the other horse in order to give him the push he needs to win...sniff. Pass the tissues, please.

Yesterday I finished my bustier top!

Today I did the finishing touches on it, like hemming. [Look, Ma! No procrastination!] All I have to do is press. Rock. Here's a Bustier in Progress Table Shot:

I deserve a gold star for not procrastinating on the hemming.
Okay, I admit: I had to finish it so I could change the thread on my serger.
But STILL :-)

I'm really happy with how it came out. It fits perfectly and looks just like my initial sketch. Process from design idea to pattern construction to assembly was successful. I'll show a photo of myself wearing it, probably when I show a finished Crinkle. Or maybe before if the weather heats up again and I get all slow-pokey on knitting Crinkle. And speaking of which, here's a Sleeve Hanging Outside Window Shot of Crinkle:

Somewhere out there are a few neighbors who are probably wondering
why I'm waving a lacy black kerchief hanging on a bamboo stick at 'em.
I should have shouted, "VIVA KNITTERS!" while doing it, no?

Weather report: As you can see, the weather is still nice and cool and kinda cloudy. Some might say it borders on the crappy. I, however, love this kind of summer weather and hope it continues just a while longer.

I never knit during the day. I knit only in the evening or late at night, and sometimes the black lace gets monotonous so I rarely work more than a few of centimeters. Once I finish this sleeve I may cast on for a new knitting project so I'll have something to break up the monotony. I still have the sleeves of the Captain's Linen Jacket to knit, and I don't want to feel like I'm stuck on Sleeve Island. Sometimes a little startitis makes me more productive.

What now? My Anthro knock-off top. But before I start that, I am going to spend this afternoon sewing a set of pajamas for Monsieur Le Hubby. He's going into the hospital tomorrow afternoon for some minor surgery (really, it's not major and he'll be walking out of there better than ever in two days), and he asked me to sew him some pajamas [awwwwwwwwww!] to wear in hospital. His only request is that they be "summery" and in a "bright" print. Oui, oui, Monsieur! I picked up this orange Hawaiian inspired print and it's definitely "bright", "summery", and a whole lot of flashy. That print should brighten up those hospital walls, no doubt. There's no time to make a pattern or shop around for one: I'm using the Simplicity 6931 pattern I used last year when I started sewing. (Remember when I made these pajamas?) I just got the fabric, cut the pattern out and am now on the clock to sew it all up by tonight so I can wash it and pack it in his bag. Ready, set, GO!

If you stash, it will come.

The knitting mojo, that is.

I cast on for the back piece of Crinkle on Friday evening and knit through while watching Koh-Lanta. On Saturday evening I knit some more while watching a couple of DVDs. At approximately 10:25 p.m. (during the third episode of dubbed-in-French Cold Case) on Sunday evening, I cast off a completed back piece. That, my friends, is proof that watching television in moderate amounts and buying new yarn in (not always so) moderate amounts can be productive. Because I say so.

My mannequin Gigi kindly models all pieces (now complete!) of Crinkle for us. Here is the back view:

Ferpetesake...BLOCK US, ALREADY.
(The pieces feel like you've caught them wearing an avocado mask
and terry cloth robe because I am showing them with their curling
edges and loose ends all hanging out.)
[Click HERE for the front view.]

Seaming party at my house next weekend. Bring chips and tequila.

Almost there...

...because Crinkle is seamed:

Please pardon my gym clothes.
[P.S. Of course, there's a seaming slideshow.]

thumb.jpgShe may be seamed, but she's definitely not finished. I need to pick up stitches around all the edges and work a picot cast-off. And let's not forget those ends I gotta weave in...look at them dangling down like so many noodles. Plus, I still don't have the ribbon. Crinkle will be ribbonless until later this week because my favorite notions shop is closed until Wednesday.'Tis alright. I'm in no rush. Gives me a chance to leisurely work the picot cast-off.

Two things to look at today:*

An "Almost Evening" shot of Lyon from my window:

Oh, how romantic!

And some knit picot cast-off on a Crinkle:

Oh, how NOT so romantic! (The picking up stitches bit, that is.)

I'm now on the last bit of picot cast-off! Just one sleeve cuff to go, and I'm ready to weave in all ends and call Crinkle a finished knit.

[Picot cast-off on sleeve cuff footnote: I seamed Crinkle's sleeves before working the cast-off on the cuffs because I have circular needle 40 inches in length. The cast-off is not worked in the round but if the sleeves are seamed, picking up stitches around the cuff using a straight needle or circ longer than 40 inches is gonna be a pretty hard thing to do.]

*Yes! Two entries over two consecutive days. We have the leak in my kitchen plumbing to blame; I've been trapped in my house all afternoon as I wait for the plumber.

Double the fun:

With a finished Crinkle and finished bustier! (And my Crinkle knitting partner Claudia just finished hers, too. So we've really doubled the fun.)

This is the stand-still-like-a-mannequin shot.
[Hey! You want some Crinkle SHOW-OFF poses? Click here then.]

Crinkle details: Srunched up cardigan in eyelet lace pattern called "Crinkle" from the infamously styled Rowan 39, using Phildar Licorne in what I like to call "passe-partout" (goes with anything, slappy) black. I knit the smallest size and used about 9 skeins of Licorne. I made no changes to the pattern, and that makes me happy because all I want during my summer vacation is mindless knitting, bay-bee.

thumb.jpgQuickly, let me tell you about the ribbon. I went with simple black, but I do have a couple of other ribbons I may use depending on the look I want to achieve and depending on what I'm wearing under Crinkle. I may switch to a plaid ribbon if I want to wear a plain white t-shirt or a print that contrasts nicely with the plaid, or I may use the red and white gingham for a look "poupée". For now, though, I want to stick with the black.

thumb.jpgWe also have the Crinklage Factor. Crinkle's look changes depending on the amount of Crinklage: We got level 1, level 2 and level 3 with sublevels in between. *My* favorite is level 2, but I may use level 3 if I want to achieve a bolero look and level 1 for something more low-key.

And there's a bonus. Let's not forget the bustier I designed, drafted and sewed up at the beginning of August:

Those polka-dots are really camera shy.
[What's that? You want to see a CLOSE-UP of the fabric? Oh, ALRIGHT.]

Bustier details: Inspired by images of 1950s pinups and 1820s corsets, I came up with a rough sketch of a bustier dress-style top. I drafted the pattern by draping on the mannequin because I wanted to play around with seam lines in 3-D. Fabric is a polka-dotted stretch cotton woven that I suspect has at least 2% elasthane in it. I love it! Next summer I'll wear it alone (oh, how saucy!) with form-fitting above-the knee shorts or pants. This fall I plan on wearing it under my Crinkle cardi or a short bolero, or over a tank, tee-shirt or blouse. Like always, I love layering.

Our Sunday morning photo session was short because we're having great weather and Captain Destructo was itching to ride his bike at the park. But before we took off I did kick into silly mode for a couple of gratuitous silly rabbit shots, of course :-)