Week One in Paris

It’s been a long time since I have been in Paris. It’s an amazing, amazing city, so beautiful, and we have packed a LOT into our first week here. And I finally get to wear all my knitted things!! Woohoo!! Socks, beanies, jumpers, jackets, gloves, mittens…as much as I love Queensland, it sure is nice to be genuinely cold. Even got to wear my Fireside Sweater and my Amadeus. 🙂

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This week we have walked and walked, exploring on foot many back streets as well as the usual attractions. We have seen the Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Plantes, the zoo, the Marais, saw the Paris marathon, Notre Dame, Rue Mouffetard, Montparnasse, a Fat Tire night bike tour (SO much fun), the Louvre, a night cruise down the Seine, sunset tour of the Eiffel Tower, Monet’s gardens at Giverny, a Degas exhibition at the Impressionist Museum (*sigh*) and the Catacombs…(quality not great on some photos sorry, these are mostly snapped with my phone)

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We have an apartment in the Latin Quarter, it is quiet and beautiful, and I have still found time for early morning knitting….I only brought along some Drops Delight sock wool as it took up the least room in my bag. I should have done an afterthought heel because of the colour transitioning, but yeah, I didn’t. Still addicted to the Fish Lips Kiss heel. 🙂 The yarn is a single so slightly uneven and a little scratchy, but super cheap and I am really loving the colours.

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Next week I’ll be visiting the yarn and haberdashery stores on the other side of the river. There are some absolutely beautiful clothes around, but knitting? Not so much. Which has kind of surprised me given the climate. I have only seen a couple of hand knitted items the whole time we have been here, and I’m pretty sure they were on tourists…

The food, omg the food…we got an apartment because paleo can be tricky when travelling, and we wanted to be able to cook our own meals. The fresh produce available made this a really good choice, it’s hard to find restaurant meals that are grain, dairy, sugar, gluten free all at once, and frankly I didn’t want to be ‘that’ person at a restaurant, you know, the pain in the arse….instead we have had beautiful bacon, eggs, steak, salads, olives, nuts, salmon, chickens from the Rue Mouffetard (anyone who has read Paris Letters will appreciate this!), sweet potato was a little harder to find but it is available, coconut milk and fruit and berries are easy to find. We have eaten and eaten, but I think the walking burns it off again!

A few things I’ve been surprised by…
Whenever you try to practise your French, the French are determined to practise their English. 🙂
‘Do not disturb’ signs on the door are not taken literally (sleeping off my usual plane cold while M went for a walk, I awoke to find the housekeeper in my room actually trying to make the bed around me lol).
There are amazingly few people around in the early morning, a great time to wander through streets, along the river and gardens and buy coffee.
Smoking…whoa, the smoking! Electronic cigarettes are a huge thing, but still plenty of real ones around too. So weird to see ash trays on the tables at cafes again! Flashback to my teenage years in Adelaide! 🙂
A boulangerie on every corner…it’s been a long time now since I touched grains, but boy they make pastries look good here. My only concession has been a Florentine from the chocolatier. Almonds, honey, candied peel and dark chocolate…
Next week we are also making a little day trip to Belgium, where chocolate is part of the culture, and I’m all for respecting and absorbing PLENTY of culture….:)

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The Shawl from Hell

I normally love making presents, thinking nice thoughts about the recipient while I knit, infusing it with love and good wishes….but what is it about some projects that just evolve into a chaotic cascade of problems. Oh my god. What a cluster f**k-up this shawl has been.

So, my wonderful mum had seen my two Dragonfly Wings shawls and asked for one for her birthday. No worries, I thought. Went online, found some pretty yarn in her colours, Debbie Bliss Angel Prints in the beautifully named colour family ‘Renoir’. Mohair and silk, just lovely.

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Stuff up 1: I use Knitpro Symfonie needles for everything. They are almost the same rainbow colours as the yarn. Couldn’t see a frickin thing. I had to go outside in the bright daylight to get anything knit, and therefore I couldn’t work on it at night as I usually would. I was squinting at the thing like a little old blind mole.

Stuff up 2: I’m allergic to the yarn. A surprise as I’ve never been allergic to mohair before. That remains a mystery. But I have never ever sneezed so much in my life. I mean constantly.

Stuff up 3: The yarn had three joins in a ball. Wtf. In expensive yarn, that really irritates me. In a project like this, they are almost impossible to conceal.

Stuff up 4: Tink, tink, tink, tink. 😦 I had already made two of these shawls without the merest glimmer of a mistake. Stuffed up two rows of the lace section of this one. Had to tink back over 300 sts of lace patterned mohair all up. At this point I was ready to burn it.

Stuff up 5: not really a stuff up, as at least I had the foresight to buy two balls (very unlike me). But the first ball ran out halfway through the long and tedious bind off, so I had to unwind the next one to get the right colour to continue, and wasted metres of yarn.

Sigh. Okay, whinge over. My mum loved it, and that’s what counts. But if I never ever see it again…it will be too soon.

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The beautiful Boo Knits Dragonfly Wings shawl is now officially out of my system.

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