Welcoming a new year!

Written by Lydia

Today’s post opens with my latest finished object, Veste Croisée, which I finished knitting on December 31, but hadn’t been able to post about until now because my son and I celebrated the changing of the year with a good dose of stomach flu.  After days of laundry and sprinkling baking soda on the strategic smelly spots of carpeting throughout the house (anyone with children will understand this), we are doing well and I have just completed the final finishing touches to the sweater.  It has been blocked, and I have sewn on the button, added the button-loop and ties at key points according to pattern suggestions, and it is a done deal.

The sleeves took a lot longer to finish than I thought because they are longer than a typical sleeve:  most sleeves join at the top of the shoulder where they meet the joining of the front and back panels, but Veste Croisée sleeves extend up the shoulder and between the front and back panels to meet with the collar (also known as “saddle shoulder” sleeves), so they went on forever to knit.

It’s a very different style of sweater, but I like it for that. I am very happy with it, and like the look of it so much, I might just have to make another in a slightly heavier yarn. It’s interesting that the two consecutive sweater jackets I have made are both very similar in the front: both Cabled Coat and Veste Croisée have extra fabric that drapes down the front. Maybe I’m in a break-the-mold kind of mood these days in my knitting that I chose designs out of the ordinary.

It’s a very easy pattern, being about 80% stockinette, and with rest of it in garter stitch for the edging. The combined yarns used are of a very fine quality and are very comfortable to wear against the skin, lacking any itchiness whatsoever.

Pattern: Veste Croisée by La Droguerie (in French, and available only with purchase of relevant pattern yarn)
Yarns: Alpaga and Plumette, both from La Droguerie, Paris, Ile-de-France
Button source: La Droguerie
Needles: 4.5 mm/US 7

I’m looking forward to life as normal for while, since it was a crazy holiday season with the wild weather here, causing the repeated re-scheduling of the family Christmas dinner. No one could to get to our neighborhood until December 28 because the softening snow had made our driveway impassable to every vehicle (we just had more than 2-week’s worth of recycling removed). So instead of beef tenderloin that night, the three of us dined on shrimp fried rice, which I hadn’t made in many years. But we finally had our dinner on the 28th and it went very nicely, and maybe making us all wait so long for it made the beef tenderloin taste better than ever before.

Christmas dinner stand-in

Despite recent end-of-year rough spots, it was a good year especially given our trip to Europe that, if my sister hadn’t won it, we wouldn’t have made such a trip with our son for many years to come. But above all else, the best thing about 2008 was the recent unexpected news that our son, whom we adopted as an infant almost 4 years ago in South Korea, has an infant sister available for adoption. Suddenly, we find ourselves scrambling to get the necessary documentation in order so that we can hopefully be allowed to adopt her. We had often thought about adopting again, but never really moved on it. We’d also thought that maybe one child was a fair enough deal, and that we would raise our son as an only child, but when we found about his sister, we knew that we were meant to try our best to bring her home. If all goes in our favor, we look forward to bringing home a baby girl in 2009. Maybe there will be some knitting projects to do for her….hmmm.

Well, gotta go now, I have Christmas cards to send, since the long-awaited order of our picture-cards was delayed by ice, snow and slush, arriving on December 30th instead (it was due to arrive Dec. 19).

Trip Plunder

I’m finally posting some pictures of the knitting stuff I bought during my trip to Europe.

Two-100 gr./1250 m. skeins of Cento Undici by Sandilane SAS, 100% washable merino wool, 2-ply in antique rose.

Four-50 gr./90 m. skeins of Opale by Adriafil, 47% acrylic, 36% mohair, 17% wool, colorway 90.

Three-50 gr./70 m. skeins of Andromeda by Lana Gatto, 50% acrylic, 26% polyester, 22% mohair, 2% lamé.

I believe these buttons are horn with plastic shanks: one 30 mm. and eight 18 mm.

Four 27 mm. buttons with abalone shell tops and one 34 mm. button that looks like it has birdseye maple encased in plastic.

I bought this 30 mm. pewter button at La Droguerie in Paris for Veste Croisée.

Whew! Of course, not pictured here is the alpaca and mohair yarns bought for Veste Croisée.  After I bought all of that Cento Undici, I thought I’d overdone it, figuring that one skein would have been sufficient for a nice lace shawl, and I wondered what would do with the extra 1250 m. skein. But then my copy of Nancy Bush’s new book Knitted Lace of Estonia: Techniques, Patterns, and Traditions arrived and then I remembered that along with my copy of Victorian Lace Today and my Ravelry queue I’d have plenty of options to use all 2500 m.  I’m really looking forward to knitting something with it, but it won’t be until next year and until I get some other projects done.  As for the Opale, I thought I could make a fun simple scarf with it, and the Andromeda is for my mother, who fell in love with it the last day we were in Montecatini Terme, Italy, and asked that I make her a scarf of it for Christmas.  Other than the pewter button for Veste Croisée, the other buttons I bought just to have on hand for future projects.  Actually, the few times I was around buttons, were more tempting to me than the yarns because the buttons were amazing, although they were pricey.  Afterall, I have plenty of yarn in my stash, so I was relieved that I came away with as little as I did. I guess having a yarn stash makes up for all the times I didn’t knit because I couldn’t afford most yarn for large projects (and wasn’t really into scarves—i.e., back then I thought to “really” knit I had to make sweaters—and didn’t know how to make mittens and socks yet).

Skating Along on Veste Croisée

Things are skating along on La Droguerie’s Veste Croisée and I finished the back last night and it looks good.  Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t look good, I missed the light today and had to use a flash. I guess it’s getting to be that time of year for bad light.

I went to Skate America figure skating competition today in Everett and cast on for the right front while there. I hadn’t been to an international figure skating competition in eons because they rarely come anywhere near my area, so when I heard that Skate America was coming, it seemed like a rare opportunity not to be missed. My mom, sister and two sisters-in-law packed into a car and went. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so I made due with that modern age stand-by, the cell phone camera.

This is the right front all in a jumble after a few hours at Skate America:

Can you see Brian Orser? That's the back of his head just above the rail on the right. I know you're impressed.

Three great skaters facing the media: Yukari Nakano, Kim Yu-Na and Miki Ando.

All eyes on the gold-medalist Kim Yu-Na.

Knitting at a skating competition isn’t as simple as I thought it would be because I had to stop to applaud every jump and because people don’t stay still very long, so I stopped countless times to let my row-mates through, my own group being the particularly restless.

My Mac is out of wack.

We took my Mac to see the genuises at the Apple Store Genius Bar today and they said they’d get it back to us in about 5 days! Little do they know, but all of my pictures are on the Mac and I have some posts to write. I’ll have to get creative about posting without my computer, so I’m posting from my iPhone using the WordPress app. and the Camera Bag app.

We had lunch at Blue C Sushi today (“McBlueCSushi”), which seemed pretty darn good after not having Asian food for a few weeks; it’s a belted sushi place that serves mostly cooked Japanese food. This picture is lunch at Blue C today using Camera Bag’s “Cinema” photo setting.

The next photo, using the phone’s built-in camera app., is of my newest project, La Droguerie’s “Veste Croisée” (“Folded Crossed* Jacket”, according to my French dictionary, which suits the final product’s design) in La Droguerie’s house yarns of Alpaca and Plumette (70% super kid mohair, 30% polyamide), both in an aubergine shade. This the first 6 cm of the sweater in the dreamiest of yarn—sooo luxuriously soft. I translated the pattern easily using a French dictionary and Chez Plum’s French Knitting Dictionary. Of course, the proof is in the pudding, and we’ll see if it ends up with eight arms and three collars!

*[Update:  er, according to my French dictionary croisé can mean folded or crossed, but that croisée means crossing–hey, I was jet-lagged when I translated it, and besides, I don’t speak French.]