I love Paris! Week 2 and home again

Week 2 began with a trip to Bruges, Belgium, so gorgeous and so much chocolate!! (Also marzipan, meringues, nougat, more Florentines…) Much willpower was needed. It was a beautiful drive there and back too through Northern France.

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We also went to Versailles. It was so overwhelming I don’t even know what to say about that. Intense.

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Our favourite part of Versailles was wandering alone through the oak forest, having finally escaped the squillions of tourists and seeing a squirrel! Yay! (In case it isn’t obvious, we don’t have squirrels here.) We followed that squirrel for about ten minutes.

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Then back to the city and we once again walked and walked the streets of Paris. We packed so much into our trip, every street was like a postcard and it was breathtakingly beautiful and stylish.

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I didn’t buy any yarn, but I still had to sit on my suitcase to close it to come home. A few too many souvenirs and pressies…the scarves, the linen, the clothes, the earrings!! Oh and the handbags…I am such a sucker for rainbows…

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I think it’s safe to say that knitting is not a huge thing in Paris. My Fireside Sweater and Amadeus got plenty of looks, but not the ‘oh I should knit that too’ kind of looks, mainly ‘what the hell is that, knitting??’ kind of looks. 🙂

We were soooo lucky with weather, tours and flights, not a single glitch. That West to East jetlag though…Ergh. A lot worse than going the other way, that’s for sure. As Paleo people we had raw vegetable and fruit platters on the planes which were good, but didn’t quite cut it over 30 or so hours of travelling. But after arriving home at 3:30am like starving insomniac zombies, we were greatly helped by the sight of a Paleo smorgasbord in our kitchen, left for us by my wonderful Mum…chicken soup, brownies, apple cinnamon muffins, toasted macadamias…Aren’t Mums the best.
I did a few super quick watercolour sketches while we were away, and nearly finished my Drops socks.

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I’ve come back huuuugely inspired to make things…helped by a big parcel of yarn from loveknitting.com waiting for me….:)…..four more knitting projects on the needles today on top of the ones I already had! One is a scarf for my mother-in-law, and another a warm trapper hat lined with eyelash fur for my November trip to Finland. And I have also started another new design of my own, will update on that soon.
As always though, after a big stint of travelling even to somewhere as breathtaking as Paris, it was nice to come back to our simple little cottage on the mountain.

B 🙂

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….:)

B

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Paris Hoodie

I finished my Basic Chic Hoodie by Bonne Marie Burns (Chic Knits) this week. I am calling it the Paris Hoodie, as it was a piece I specifically knitted for my upcoming trip to Paris. Every stitch of this has a little travel bug in it! 🙂

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The original pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, but I wanted a slimmer fitting hoodie than the pictures, so I worked it in the smallest size in a DK weight yarn. It came out just right for a fitted AU10.

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The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8 ply in colour Slate. As always, great quality from BWM, and I love the super long 200g balls, which minimises weaving in the ends. Although I’ve had a few issues dealing with BWM, I cannot fault the yarn or the price! I have knitted many things now with a variety of their yarns and they’re all good.

The hoodie pattern was simple and clear, worked top down on 4.5mm needles. I used a Knitpro Symfonie circular the whole way, and magic looped the sleeves.

I wasn’t originally going to put the pockets in as they seemed a bit tiny and useless, but in the end I did and I think now they are actually pretty cute with the little button closure. Already they are collecting my usual ephemera. Tissues, bobby pins, seeds, shells, feathers, scraps of yarn, dead butterfly wings, rocks….
Anyway, I extended the length of the body slightly and also extended the sleeves and ribbing in order to make fingerless mitts on the end. I only did half of the sleeve decreases. The thumb hole is a simple 4 stitch cast off. I made it as unobtrusive as possible so I could also fold the cuffs back instead if desired.
The hood is picked up and knit upward, with a few small increases along the way, then bound off with a three needle bind off. The front band is picked up in two parts in the pattern, but I did it in one piece. Mine worked out at a total of 320 stitches picked up. The buttonholes are simple yarnovers/k2tog.

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I knitted this while doing a French refresher course, so it is doubly a Paris hoodie. I still have a couple of months to keep practising fortunately. I love languages with a passion! French is beautiful, but Finnish is my favourite, as it seems to flow most naturally off the tongue for me. Perhaps that is genetic memory coming into play. I don’t even dream of ‘fluency’ in Finnish, but I will keep studying as much as my little brain will allow before I head there later this year! And I can’t wait to be knitting and designing for that trip too. 🙂

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