Sunday, June 15

Postcard from Provence

Who knew Amsterdam could be a lot of fun with 2 boys in tow? We covered the 'G' or 'E' version of the city with a canal boat tour, shorter visits to the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt's house and stops for pancakes, t-shirts and clogs over the course of a couple of days.
"Why are there three x's on everything, Mom?"
"It's part of the city crest, dear."

Thanks to the April issue of Craft, I made a stop at the de Afstap yarn shop which carries all of the Rowan yarns. I bought two grab bags of the 4-ply cotton for 14 euros, 400 grams total, various colors; of course, I got the 'you can't find that in the States?' look from Mr. Mary. Not on sale, dear....

I have to mention that our flight on KLM from Amsterdam to Marseille had some of the nicest flight attendants I've seen in a long time. Amazing how a little smile can go a long way on a routine flight.

And now we're in Provence, just south of St. Remy. The air is perfumed with the smell of broom and lavender. The weather is mild, meaning anything under 90/30 degrees is mild to a Texan. I should have the second sleeve finished on my slouchy cardigan and have it finished tomorrow, just in time for a visit from my IN-LAWS!

Friday, June 6

Summer days driftin' away...

Summer WIPsfrom left to right: Bamboo top-down raglan shrug, slouchy cardigan with Blue Sky alpaca&silk(my airplane sweater), Lovlund with HandMaiden cotton/silk.

The daily temperatures are in the 90s and working with wool is pretty much out of the question. If I was as monogamous with my knitting projects as I was in my marriage, I'd be the poster child for summer knits. Alas, I've got three WIPs that are at different stages of completion. I just saw a fall/winter 2008 preview from Berroco and thought, "Fine, you guys can't run away from cotton, linen, bamboo and viscose fast enough, but what about the other 2/3 of us sweating schmos that won't see 60 degrees until November 24th?" 

My new highlightsThe dog got shaved and I got my summer clip complete with striped highlights. This is to distract you from the 12 lbs that I've gained since I stopped smoking. I told my kids that this is what Rogue looks like after she leaves X-Men, gets married and has kids. Summer ReadingRecently, I blew through all three books in Sharon Kay Penman's trilogy about Wales and England during the 1100s. Someone mentioned that after reading "The Sunne in Splendour" they actually understood the The War of the Roses. So, here I am, ready to tuck into this 927 page epic, just in time for summer vacation.
Stash fabrics for summer patternsSkirtsThe aforementioned weight gain has me sewing at the moment. I've got some stash fabrics waiting to get matched to patterns and, on the right, are some skirts I've made. That beaded ribbon won't last long, but it's fun. The other two are leftovers from shift dresses that I made years ago.
McCall's MP256Simplicity 3673McCall's MP255I love the 'A' version of the caftan top--kinda like 'Sahara' for the sewing crowd. The 50's dress would be cute in the madras plaid to the far left(above) and I like the simple, clean lines of the dress on the right--maybe one of the big florals with a solid contrast?
Simplicity 2962New Look 6945Here's what I plan to run up in the next couple of months. I saw the pattern on the left done up in a really cute fabric for a 'hottie hausfrau' look. I love, love, love the 3/4 sleeve version of the pattern on the right. The French call these 'gilets' and there are some stunning examples of hand embroidered gilets in the Musee de la Mode de la Ville Paris. Speaking of which, it's that time of year again.....
Mark Miler Eiffel Tower fabric
Mark Miller Eiffel Tower fabric, discontinued. I just got the last 3.5 yards from Fabric Finders. Hmmm...dress, top, or skirt?

Wednesday, June 4

The (5th grade) Graduate

Stocking Cap
Stocking cap, Lion Brand Microspun, original design

Today was the last day of school and Tex attended his 5th grade graduation with all of us in tow. Now, as to why we're commemorating the fact that my kid is going on to 6th grade is a mystery to me. Currently in the United States, there are graduation ceremonies for kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade as well as the traditional high school and college rites. Apparently, while we were living in Paris from 2000-2003, President Bush decided to "leave no child behind." Everyone got so excited that their kids passed the state tests they celebrated every chance they got. Today's ceremony, lasting longer than my own high school graduation, had four speeches, a special song and an event video available for sale at the front door for thirty-something dollars. Have we set our expectations this low? This is a public school in Austin TX, people, not some $30,000(or more) a year private school on the East Coast.

There was even a guest speaker and this is where I draw the line. How can anyone expect a bunch of 11 and 12-year olds to pay attention to, much less appreciate, the amazing story of a world class runner that survived the genocide in Burundi? Gilbert Tuhabonye spoke to the kids about his childhood and brutal experiences during the Hutu uprising against the Tutsis. I am definitely not one to shelter my children from the harsher realties of life and the world, but hearing someone talk about burning buildings at their boarding school, machetes and death is a bit hard to reconcile with the advice, given later, to "listen to your parents" to a bunch of kids squirming in their seats. Look, Mr. Tuhabonye's accomplishments are incredible and his work is inspirational. I just think the speech would have had more impact with 8th graders than 6th graders. The whole ceremony was a bit over-the-top--I would have loved to hear the new Cuban chief of police, Art Acevedo, talk about when his mom calls him on his cell phone at crime scenes. OK, I'll work on that for the next year's graduation ceremony.

Here's a stocking cap that I knitted up for a friend of mine. Her kid loves Snoopy and wanted a hat just like him, soooo a few months and a million waiting room visits/music lessons later, here it is. Just knit a hat in the round and then, towards the top of the crown, start decreasing. This hat measures about 20 inches. You may want 24-30 for a skate-boarding teenager.
Stocking Cap