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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sewing Bee Round #3

I have to admit, I groaned a little when I read what the challenge for round #3 was. I think the Pattern Review Winter Street Dress is very cute, but just not my style. I guess that was my personal part of the challenge--to make it into some I would wear.
Another challenge was that I had just purged the knits from my stash and shared with a co-worker who is learning to sew on knits.
I had a couple of pieces, but not 2 I would pair for this pattern (because we had to use 2 knits for this challenge, and only 2.)
I pulled out a wool double knit I got in trade for some pattern work--it had quite a few moth holes, but enough large areas without damage that I could cut out the dress.
Though I was trying very hard to only use fabric from my stash, I knew I needed something different for this challenge.
I found a paisley print in grays, reds, white, black and silver which looked great with the charcoal grey I already had.

I'll post more details about my thought process and construction, but for now, I'll let the photos do the talking:
First, here's the pattern we were required to use:

Although the pattern is drawn as though the sleeve is cut on the bodice, it is a set-in sleeve, and the tucks at the waist are box-pleat style. Also, the flounce on the sleeve is shirred where it is sewn to the sleeve.

Sketch 1--peplum, v-neck
Many thanks to Carol Kimball's excellent fashion sketching class, I was able to try out some different ideas before I even cut into the fabric:
Sketch 2--skirt made from
weaving wide bands of fabric
Sketch 3--Cowl neck

Final Sketch--faux jumper with 'under dress'

and now for the final product:

Wayne said I looked British in this outfit, which take as a compliment. I've entered this is in the challenge and now must wait until after the holiday to find out if I've made it to the final round.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and those in US have a great holiday!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sewing Bee Round #2

So, I made it to round 2 and there was a communal groan when the second challenge was announced: Make a new garment out of men's shirts. We could pick 1 - 5 woven men's shirts, any size. I hit Goodwill on Monday after dropping off my big machine for service and found these:

I got the shirts washed and dismantled by Tuesday night, then started construction on Wednesday. Thursday we had our first hard freeze and of course, this is when my heater stops working. So, I spent my lunch break on Friday moving the machines and supplies to the house so I could finish the dress.
At one point I was top stitching something and Wayne came over and stood there for a bit. Then he said, "So this is what it looks like when you sew." I realized that any time he comes to my studio, I stop what I'm doing and pick it back up after he leaves. So even though we've been together for 20 years, and I've always sewn, he's never actually seen me 'in the act'.
This morning, I was (trying) doing some hand-stitching while chatting with him and realized I cannot do both things at once. I take for granted how focused I get/need to be when I'm working. I also realize that this is one of the reasons I find it so meditative.
I finished the dress earlier today, but when I went to take pictures, my camera wasn't cooperating. Every picture is blown out. So maybe they'll be a new camera in my future.
Update: Wayne reset my camera and is working! (so glad because I love this one and I know how to use it. ;) )

I borrowed Wayne's camera and got the photos taken and the review done and entered in the contest.
I love this dress. Too bad I didn't make it my size. (Maybe if I lose some weight, which I want to do anyway.)

New Look 6208

 My shop is still cold, and I've got knitting to do, so I'm on the couch for now. The girls are very happy.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Round 1 of the Sewing Bee

I just submitted my entry for the first round on the Pattern Review Sewing Bee.
You can see my entry here:


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Back in the Studio Again

I've been doing a much better job getting to the studio (even though I have a sweater pattern to write, patent papers to review and a couple websites to get together). The new machine has helped, as has recently watching a few episodes of "The Great British Sewing Bee".
The yellow girls hangin' on the porch.

My husband walked into my studio the other day and said "this place is a wreck!" (He seldom enters my studio due to my successfully instilling in him both a great respect for my workspace and a healthy fear of my wrath should he damage anything.) Of course my response was "I've been cleaning and organizing. You should have seen it before I left for conference."
I like how my dear friend Rae Cumbie puts it: "This is a working studio and I am VERY creative."
Truthfully, it has gotten past my personal comfort level of chaos, but I prefer to work through the piles of projects to clean up rather than put everything away, then turn around and pull it out again.

One project I'd been meaning to do is a pattern that was included in the goody bag for the Pattern Review weekend in Austin earlier this year: Have It All Wallet. Whenever I get a new machine I like to do a project to get a sense of what it can do, so I did this project on Melly.
I'm still not used to the default far-left needle position, but I understand the reasoning (you get better control by having the fabric entirely on both feed dogs and under the presser foot.)

Melly with our first completed project together.

Yesterday was the first day of the Pattern Review Surprise Sewing Bee, so I also did that project on Melly. I did cheat a little by using my Bernina 350PE(Madeline) for the zipper and hem, but only because I don't have an invisible zipper or edge stitch foot for Melly.
I also did some machine embroidery (on Mathilde, Bernina 830) which is outside Melly's skill set.
I'll post a link to the review and photos as soon as I'm done.

And in spite of spending more time in the sewing studio, I am making progress on the pattern for the Gabrielle Cardigan. This is my first original design and first attempt at writing a knitting pattern, so I am going very slowly. Thankfully I already have a very experienced knitter who has agreed to review the pattern, and quite a few folks willing to be test knitters.

One of the piles I mentioned earlier is fabric and partially done knitting bags for a couple of my mom's sewing buddies. Her instructor sent me a huge number of vintage sewing magazines, books and patterns, and a fellow student sent me back issues of Threads Magazine.
The fabric is cotton and laminated cotton that I purchased at France Duval-Stella in Paris when shopping with my friend, Ségolène. This is her favorite fabric shop in Paris, and one I would have never found on my own.
The two bags are based on ones I picked up at Papa Pique et Maman Coud in Lyon. The round one is my own design--a holder for a ball of yarn.

And finally, I've been planning my next DeskAway. I'll be on my own for most of the trip, and I'll only be going to London and Paris. I loved the apartment in Knightsbridge, but would like to check out a different neighborhood, so this time I'm staying here: WEST END STUDIO LONDON COVENT GARDEN
I'll be staying in the same apartment in Paris: AMAZING TERRACE EIFFEL TOWER VIEW
This time I'll be staying there for a little over 2 weeks since I've invited my mom to spend a week with me. Since she took her first transatlantic flight earlier this year, I decided it is time to share my favorite city with her.

Back to my studio...

Friday, October 31, 2014

I'll Bee Sewing...

After watching a few episodes of "The Great British Sewing Bee" generously recorded by a colleague in London, I decided to join Pattern Review's version of it.
The Great Pattern Review Sewing Bee
To challenge myself a bit more, I've decided I will use my new machine which I'm not very familiar with.
I am confident I'll have the supplies needed (I could probably supply ALL the participants and not even notice anything was gone.)

I have to admit, I'm mainly interested in the Eilliot Berman gift certificate. Not because the other prizes aren't awesome (they really are), but I now have more machines that I need (I had move my backup overlock off the counter to make room for the Babylock). Okay, NEED may be too strong a work--I already had more than I need. I just bought the Reliable Sensor iron, and LOVE it. It steams like crazy when you pick it up and stops as soon as you put it down and has an auto-off override. Yep, no more shaking your iron to turn it back on since that auto-off feature seams to be timed perfectly to shut off right before you need your iron again. Seriously, did some evil designer do a test?: sew a seam, press open, pin to next garment piece, sew seam, return to iron: yep, the iron just turned off--that's the exact right timing.

Anyway, good luck to everyone who enters!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Say "Hello" to My Little Friend

Okay, she's not really little. She's actually pretty big. I'm talking about the BabyLock Melody that arrived today, compliments of BabyLock USA. I took a few photos of the un-boxing before I got her set up for a test drive.

 This is the underside of the quilt table. I love that the presser foot knee lift snaps into place here.

You can see this is not a small machine, and it weighs a decent amount (which makes me think there may be some metal parts in there!)

 It came with quite a few accessories, including a walking foot. I wound a bobbin, tried a few stitches, the auto cutter and knee presser foot lifter, and changed the language to French. :)
It makes a very nice stitch and is really quiet. Now I just need to figure out what all the buttons do.

I think Melly and I have some great times ahead if I can just figure out where to put her....

Many thanks to the judges of this year's ASDP Threads Challenge for selecting my suit as a winner, and to BabyLock for donating such fabulous machines to all the winners!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's been awhile...

I always promised myself that I'll be better about blogging when I'm 'in country', but then I get back and life takes over. Dogs want to be fed, the house needs to be cleaned (at least once a month) and my husband expects me to listen to him sometimes...and that's on top of knitting, reading, sewing and all the other stuff I try to do on a regular basis. Oh, and the full time job.

I have been knitting and sewing since we got back in April, but most of it was for the annual challenge for the Association of Sewing Professionals (ASDP) put on by Threads magazine. This year was "Rethinking the Power Suit". These challenges are blind-judged, so I couldn't share anything about what I was doing--the fabric, the techniques, the finishes--anything that might give away which entries were mine.
As much as I'm enjoying knitting, it really has become a problem for my sewing. I sit down in the living room thinking "I'll just do a few rows." Then I get a cup of coffee, find something interesting (enough) on the tv, and then the dogs join me. 3 hours later I haven't gotten to my shop and no sewing has gotten done.

I submitted 3 entries this year:

"It's Not What You Think"
Knitted herringbone sweater in Hikoo by Kenzie(wool, nylon, angora, alpaca, silk) in color Kale with a front zip and seed stitch peplum.
Full leg Italian wool trouser with self fabric loops and shell buttons down the side seam that expose a silk charmeuse panel when open.

"M'en Fiche" (I don't care)
Faux fur cropped jacket with leather waistband
High-waisted sequin skirt with chiffon band at hem
I finished the jacket enough to show it in the fashion show, but my relationship with the skirt fell apart at the last minute and she stayed home. She wasn't fit to see any of my sewing friends in any case. We'll start therapy next week to try and work things out.

"Going Places"
Silk Denim jacket over-dyed with Pecan brown acid dye. Double princess seams front and back, a wide back vent, waistband and tab peplum. Lined with charmeuse and hand top-stitched with 2 colors of jeans thread.
Printed ITY knit dress with draped neckline and elastic belting waistband

I was really happy with the first and third entries, but left "M'en Fiche" to finish at the 11th hour. Entries were due by midnight, and that last one was time stamped 11:55. The one I spent the most time on by far was "Going Places" and it was the one I was the happiest with overall. So I wasn't surprise that the other 2 were not selected as finalists. But "Going Places" was selected! If you know anything about the caliber of the men and women who are and have been members of ASDP(formerly PACC), you know how high the bar is for these challenges.

I know my skills have improved over the 9 years I've been a member, and it isn't just the classes I've taken at every conference, or the projects I've done for clients, myself and for the challenges I've entered. It's also from the conversations I've had or observed with other members, in person at conferences(sometimes other places) and on the discussion list, and by example with the amazing work my fellow members do and share with the rest of us. I've been inspired, challenged and encouraged by the most talented group of people I know.

I was still shocked when my name was called this year as a winner. They created a category (which they often do depending on the challenge and entries each year), "Best Suited for Travel". This especially thrilled me, since every decision I made for this outfit was geared towards it being a travel suit. The silk I used for the jacket is warm, lightweight, acts as a wind-breaker and dries quickly. The tabbed peplum moves around the body while sitting and moving so it doesn't bind or bunch up. The wide back vent allows the wearer to raise her arms in front of her--to grab her bag or work on a laptop. The knit of the dress is comfortable, forgiving and never wrinkles, and the attached belting means you can be fully dressed in about 15 seconds.

I'd love to share photos, but Threads now has first right to publish, so you'll just have to wait until the Spring when all the winners garments are featured (tentatively issue 178).

I'll get some photos of M'en Fiche over the weekend.


Monday, April 21, 2014

My kind of souvenir

Did you know that 'souvenir' is the French verb 'to remember'? Makes total sense, right?

I have to admit, for awhile I bought coffee cups, and I still try to get a magnet for our fridge for each city I visit, but my favorite souvenirs of all are things we use all the time--shoes, a hairbrush, small bags for projects, fabric, yarn.
These are little reminders are where we've been (and will hopefully go again).

Some of my treasures will remain a mystery for now since they may end up as part of my challenge entries for this year's Threads/ASDP Challenge, "Rethinking the Power Suit".

Here are some treasures I can share:

I've been making cotton dish/wash cloths for awhile now--they are great projects when you don't or can't pay close attention, and want to get something done quickly. (I just finished a sweater, so these are nice for a change).
I found these great colorways at Cat' Laine in Paris.

One of the problems with buying yarn when traveling is that if you buy enough for a sweater, it gets bulky really fast. So I bought sock yarn instead.
On the far left is a cotton/lyocell from Phildar (not sock yarn)--I've already knitted up one dishcloth with it, and we love it.
The next 2 are sock yarns from I Knit London--the owner hand-dyed these. The brand is "I Knit or Dye" and the colorways are "A Different Class" (the blue--100% superwash bluefaced Leicester wool) and "Ziggy Stardust" (the rust--Superwash merino/nylon/stellina(metallic)(
On the far right is another sock yarn which I bought at L'Oisive Thé in Paris. The brand is Socktopus (from UK0 and the color is "Tea & Monkeys"

Finally, I picked up some basic cotton yarn to practice crochet. I found these at a stall at the fabulous market at Bastille on our last Sunday in Paris, which we spent with our good friends, Joerg, Megan and Sophie who drove from Cologne to hang with us in Paris for a couple of days.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Daily Dose of Fiber

We are back and trying to deal with our grief at being back in Texas.
We like our house, love our dogs and our friends, but France. It is so French. (in this house, that is a good thing.)

Anyway, I promised an overview for my fiber-oriented friends, so here it is. I'd say we got our recommended daily fiber intake on this trip, except for our time in Marseille, where I didn't have time to hit up the shops.

Some comments/ observations/disclaimers:
I knit and sew, primarily clothing. I love high-end fabrics and use natural fibers as a rule. I have a pretty large stash of fabrics, have excellent local and online resources, and often buy fabric at the annual conference for ASDP (Association of Sewing and Design Proressionals). I wasn't out to find anything in particular, more to explore and see what I could find.
The shops I mention are by no means the only or best shops in Paris--they are simply the ones I visited on this trip.

I speak enough French to have conducted most of my transactions in French, so I can't report on how much English is spoken in each shop, except that La Droguerie in Paris had at least one salesperson who was fluent in English. Practice "Parlez-vous anglais?", and always say "Bonjour" (hello) when you enter a shop, and "Bonne journee" when you leave. This basic courtesy and will get you off on the right foot before you start using sign language to indicate how desperately you need that piece of Liberty lawn.

The French don't queue--they hover. In most cases, the salesperson keeps track of who is next (I am very impressed by this skill), but people will try to shove in. Be assertive.

None of the shops I went into had cutting tables--the fabric is cut where it is. At Tissus Reine, the cutters roam the floor--find one and follow her until it is your turn. She will walk with you to each table where your fabric is and cut if for you, then hand you the fabric and your ticket to take to the cashier.

Fabric is sold in meters/centimeters. If you want 1-1/2 meters, ask for 1 meter 50.

Don't even try to be in a hurry (this goes for most things in France). Unless what you want is right by the register and already packaged, you will wait.

Smaller shops are closed at lunch for 2 hours, so be sure to check times before heading over. Of course, if the shop is closed when you get there, you can always do as the locals and head to a cafe for a leisurely lunch.

Victoria and Albert Museum
Station: South Kensington
The "V and A" is one of the many museums in London that has free admission (though you will need to pay for special exhibits).
This is an amazing museum, with a wide range of items in terms of genre as well as dates.
There are a number of tapestries and other textile pieces. Unfortunately most museums have done away with permanent displays of historic costume because of their fragile nature, and the V and A is one of them. Check the website before traveling for special exhibits.
There is also an excellent bookstore with many titles on textiles, fashion, clothing, embellishment, etc.
A new research center has recently opened: The Clothworkers' Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion
I had hoped to make an appointment to see some garments, but we only had one full day free, and we chose to visit somewhere a bit outside London:

Hampton Court Palace
Station: Hampton Court (Tube to Waterloo, then train to Hampton Court)
I've been a bit obsessed with the Tudor era for a while, having read quite a few biographies/histories (Alison Weir is a favorite) and historical novels (Philippa Gregory got me started). I'm not even allowed to to mention Anne Boelyn to Wayne anymore--he's just so over her.
The Palace has been modified a number of times since Henry VIII and Anne moved in but there is still so much history here.
Not only are there beautiful tapestries, but there are also cartoons on display--the intricate paintings used by weavers to create the tapestries. The ones in HCP are 17th century copies of cartoons by Raphael. Poor Wayne had to listen to me chat with a very enthusiastic docent about tapestries, cartoons, dyestuffs and dating. I thought he was going to scream when she got into thread count.

A surprise find while walking back from the gardens was the tiny(but very nice) shop for the Royal School of Needlework. (I didn't even know there was such a thing.) You can shop online, and they offer classes around Great Britain and in Williamsburg, VA and San Francisco, CA(really Burlingame)

I Knit London This was my last fiber related stop in London--I had heard great things on Ravelry about this shop, and wasn't disappointed. The woman working in the shop was knitting, and the lady before us said, "please, finish your row first" when she got her up help her. I found 2 gorgeous skeins of sock yarn hand dyed by the owner. "I Knit or Dye".

I love the research related to planning a trip, especially finding out what a new city has to discover, and I was very excited to find the Musée des Tissus et des Arts décoratifs de Lyon (Fabric and Decorative Arts Museum of Lyon) My brother's comment was "Wayne must be thrilled about this one."
Metro: Ampere/Victor Hugo
Lyon was a major producer of tapestries and jacquard fabrics, thanks in large part to the invention of the Jacquard loom in the early 19th century. There are still a few workshops that weave for top couture houses around the world.
The museum was under construction, but we were still able to see a wide range of items: Textile fragments, tapestries, garments, scale models of looms. If I had planned ahead, I probably could have seen some behind the scenes, but we only had one full day in Lyon, so time was limited.

On our last evening in Lyon, we were walking around the old part of town (VERY cool area) and wandered into a tapestry shop, Au Tapissier D'Antan, mainly because she had a small copy of "Mon Seul Desir"(My Only Desire) from the Lady and the Unicorn series (and a few others, too). We had a great conversation even though her English was about as good as my French (not so very). She told me that with a business card, you can get into private silk weaver studios. So, need to plan the next visit to Lyon.
I also hit some knit shops while in Lyon since I discovered my knitting kit was lost somewhere between London and Marseille. I was most bummed about losing the bag itself--one I bought in Paris last year with "pas d'art sans liberte" (no art without freedom) embroidered on it.

Phildar--one of the many yarn manufacturers in Europe. The front part of the store was clothing, the back yarn, needles and magazines. I found some cotton/Lyocell yarn for dishcloths which are supposed to be antibacterial, and a pattern magazine.
(Croix Rousse) --one more?
I stopped in Papa Pique et Maman Coud (also a chain)--not a knit shop, but they have a wide range of pouches and bags in laminated cotton that are great for small to large projects. They have small accessories and fabric, too.
I was sad to find that the Bouton D'Or/Anny Blatt shop had closed and I've heard from folks on Ravelry that other shops around Europe has closed as well.
I was trying to find my way back to the apartment and happily stumbled upon La Marchande de Couleurs, a "La Droguerie" shop.
Here I picked up some (yes, more) cotton yarn and some circular needles. In this shop you pick your yarn from samples and tell the salesperson how many meters you would like. They measure it out, then weigh it. The price is per so many grams (in this case per 50 grams which is about 100 metres).
The next day Wayne and I decided to try and find a weaver studio a friend told us about, so we headed North to Croix Rousse. We never found the studio (pretty sure is was what is now a vacant lot), but we did find a cool artist area with all kinds of workshops, studios and boutiques. I stopped in a yarn shop, Florimode, and picked up another pattern magazine(Bergere de France).

MUSÉE DE CLUNY/Musée national du Moyen Âge
I visited this museum last year with my friend Mario in the hopes of seeing the tapestries written about in Tracey Chevalier's historical novel "The Lady and the Unicorn", but they were in the process of being restored. This year, they were back and displayed in a new room just for them. This is a really cool museum--not very large and not packed with tourists like the Louvre and D'Orsay.

Musée Carnavalet--Histoire de Paris
Wayne didn't like this museum at all("boring"), but it is another of my favorites. (He's not a history buff at all, though he really liked the Musee de Cluny). Complete rooms from Louis XIV's day, shop signs, maps and models of Paris from when it fit on the tiny island in the middle of the Seine and through time, scale models of the Bastille, are just a few of the treasures displayed here. And since this is city museum, entry is free.

Following are the shops I visited with my friend, Ségolène, on our "Touriste des Tissus"(Fabric tourist) day.
We started off in Montmartre, near our apartment:
Metro: Anvers
Follow the flood of tourists up the hill towards Sacre Coeur.
At the base of the big hill(were the tram and carousel are), turn right and you'll be in the heart of the fabric district.
Note: watch your valuables here--this is a great place to get pick-pocketed or scammed. Wear a cross-body bag and put as many zippers between your wallet and the outside world as possible, or better yet, put your wallet in an inside zippered jacket pocket, with the jacket zipped or buttoned up.

Marche Saint Pierre 
This was the first big shop Ségolène and I stopped in. Neither of us found anything we wanted, but they have a huge selection of fabrics, especially for costume/Carnival and home dec.
Les Coupons de Saint Pierre
This is the 'remnants'(coupon is the French word) shop for the one above, though the pieces are usually 3 metres. The fabrics are organized by type and fiber, but be prepared to dig (I loved watching all this people walking around touching fabric, holding it up to check color, etc). I found a great piece of striped denim, 3 meters for 10 euros.

Tissus Reine
Aptly named "Fabric Queen", this is the best organized shop in the area--4 floors of fabrics and notions (including patterns and some knitting supplies). We noticed that for comparable fabrics, the prices were lower here than Marche St Pierre, so you may want to make this your first stop.

Moline Mercerie and Mercerie St Pierre
In France they have "merceries"--the best translation is "notions shop", but that doesn't seem to cover it. The ones in Montmartre have thread, buttons, appliques, knitting and crochet supplies, books, patterns, needlepoint kits, pretty much everything but fabric, and a couple I visited in other areas had some fabric, too.

Metro: Corvisart
This knit/tea shop was highly recommended by folks on Ravelry. The owner is American, so a great stop for English-only speakers. The pastries Ségolène and I had were good, and I found a gorgeous skein of sock yarn.
She has piles of knitting and crochet books for browsing all over the shop, though we were both disappointed to see no one knitting.

France Duval-Stalla
Metro: Babylone or Saint-Placide
Ségolène introduced me to this shop, one of her favorites in Paris. A small but well organized and stocked store. She does a color story--about 12 colors--and everything is coordinated. Check out her website for details--there is too much to list here, but notable were the cotton fleece, cotton jersey, linen, printed woven cotton and laminated (glossy or matte), and zippers, thread, trims, lace, appliques, even yarn from Lil Weasel to match/coordinate. All were very good quality and well priced. 

That covers the shops I visited with my friend. The following I tracked down on a day on my own--Wayne needed to rest his legs and play some guitar (and I think he'd seen enough fiber related stuff to last him a few months)

Shoemaker and Phildar in BHV Marais
Metro: Hôtel de Ville
Wayne and I discovered thisearlier in the week when we were shopping for gifts--just inside the store from the Metro station is a shoemaking department. They have all the hardware materials and tools for shoe-making. If you do any sort of leather work, you'll want to stop here. They sell full skins and remnants--I got a nice sized piece of textured black leather for 10 euros.
Phildar is a yarn manufacturer, and this is a small store-in-store. I found a magazine and some more of a cotton/lyocell yarn for washcloths. Select your purchases, hand them to the salesperson. She'll hand you slip that you will take to a cashier (they are all over the store). Bring back the receipt to retrieve your items.

Entrée des Fournisseurs
Metro: Saint-Paul or Chemin Vert
This was another suggestion from Ravelry folks, and a very good one. The shop is in a courtyard off the street, so easy to miss. Beautiful shop with a crazy selection of buttons. She also has thread, trims, yarn, books and fabrics. Definitely worth a trip to the Marais. (and very near the Musee Carnavalet)

La Droguerie
Metro: Les Halles
This is a chain throughout France--mostly yarn, but they sell fabrics, trims, buttons, patterns, kits.
When buying yarn here you ask for the length you want, then they weigh it. (see the comments above for more details)

Metro: Richelieu-Drouot
Yet another Ravelry suggestion--a small but packed shop. They don't take credit cards, but there are ATM just around the corner. Lots of Katia yarn and great selection of colors. 

On our last full day, Wayne and I decided to visit a museum that we really enjoyed the last time we were here together in 2004

Musée des arts et métiers
Art and Works (Science) Museum.
Another non-tourist museum, and a favorite with my Paris co-workers with kids, it is a great museum for adults as well.
This place is filled with machines and tools, organized by time, so you walk through the evolution of the technology.
For the fiber addicts there are looms, sewing machines, carding machines and more.

Whew! I didn't realize how many shops and museums we'd visited until I started on this post. I hope you find it useful and/or interesting. Please don't hesitate to post any questions you might have.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One more day

Today was our last full day in Paris. We will be meeting Thomas for a dinner cruise on the Seine tonight, but assuming we get back to the apartment at all, it will be far too late to post.

We took out time getting up and out, and before we went anywhere, we head to "La Poste" to send 2 big boxes of dirty clothes home so we could pack the gifts and yarn (lots of it) in our bags.

A little snack before we brave the packs of French children

The last time Wayne and were in Paris together was January 2004. We had bought museum passes and spend most of our time hitting the smaller, less crowded one. (Though even the Louvre crowds are tolerable in January.) The one we like the best, Musee D'Arts et Metiers, is where we headed first. This is a favorite with many of my Paris co-workers, especially the ones with kids.
This museum is so cool--they have a mechanical area, a transportation area and a technology area--each one ordered by time, starting with "before 1750" to present day. They have cars, engines, astrolabes, cameras, sewing machines, printing presses, televisions, computers, the list goes on.

While we were still in this museum, Wayne wondered if there was a music museum--a quick search on my phone, and that was our next destination.

We have run out of time, so I will have to update later--off to dinner with Thomas.

Monday, March 31, 2014

I Knit, You Knit

I spent a good chunk of today hitting knitting and sewing shops around Paris. The first one was mostly sewing supplies, though they had some yarn and knitting books, too: L’Entrée des Fournisseurs
The shop is in the Marais area, tucked in a little courtyard off the street.

I found a beautiful Liberty print in a colorway I hadn't seen before, and the perfect buttons to go with it. 

I also picked up a "learn to crochet" book in French.

My next stop was BHV--one of the big department stores here. Wayne broke a glass in the apartment and I wanted to replace it. Since we couldn't find an exact match, I bought a pair of glasses that I hope Alexandre and Olivier approve of.  After I found and purchased the glasses, I headed up to check out the "mercerie". It was a small store-in-store, Frou Frou. It was pretty small and didn't have anything I really needed, so I went right next door to Phildar, another store-in-store. Here I found another skein of yarn that I bought in Lyon--a cotton-Myocell blend that is supposed to be antibacterial, and a Phildar magazine.
My next stop was at Les Halles, La Droguerie, but I needed a pit stop and some food, so I stopped in an Italian restaurant near St. Eustache and had a glass of wine and a caprese and arugula salad.

La Droguerie was a bit of a scene, and I had two women try to cut in front of me (the salespeople are hip to this and don't usually let it happen), and another two women who were hovering right behind the others complaining about having to wait, even though about 6 other people had been waiting longer. Oh well--there's always someone. I picked up some Linen/Cotton yarn for a scarf, then headed to my final destination: Chat'Laine.

This is a very small but well stocked shop. I asked if I could take photos, and she hesitantly agreed after I explained it was knitting friends and my blog. She only asked that I not photograph her many sample garments (which is too bad, because they were really nice).
She does not accept credit cards, so I had to run around the corner to get cash.
I found some cotton for washcloths and wool/wool blends for some fancy scarves.

I got back to the apartment after 5:30, picking Ibuprofen, a baguette and a chocolate/almond croissant on the way. Wayne had stayed home to rest and play guitar and was happy to see the ibuprofen and baguette.

For dinner we headed down the hill to our favorite local restaurant, Pomodoro. I had pizza and Wayne opted for the lasagna.

Danke Shen!

Wayne and I spent Saturday morning/early afternoon shopping for gifts, then headed back to the apartment, did some grocery shopping, then back to the apartment to wait for our friends, Joerg, Megan and Sophia who were driving from Cologne Germany to spend some time with us.

After we got them settled in, we headed down the street to get pizza. It is amazing what great treatment kids get here. When we walked up, the owner indicated a group of people were getting ready to leave. After a few minutes he told they needed to go because he had this little girl to feed.
Megan and I split an eggplant pizza, Wayne got an anchovy and caper pizza, and Joerg got the lasagna Bolognese.

Saturday Wayne got up and hit the pastry shop for us: Apple, chocolate, almond croissants and a "snail".

Our first stop when we headed out was Bastille--Megan had read about the markets in Paris, and this one was in full force. Fresh fish, meat, sausages, Paella, Lebanese food, gorgeous vegetables, cheese, clothes, leather bags, and my favorite: a notions stand.

Fresh seafood

OMG, yarn! OMG, sewing stuff!
Art or food?

Sophie was so tickled to find a 4-leaf clover.
Next we made our way to Butte de Chaumont--my friend Momo suggested it for a picnic spot--Merci, Momo! We found a great boulangerie a few blocks from the park where we got sandwiches and some desserts.
It was the perfect spot to rest and get some quiet after the frenetic energy of the market.

The bakery near Butte de Chaumont

Latin Quarter
Wayne and Joerg

Our next stop was Notre Dame, on the island in the middle of the Seine river. We walked across the bridge to through the Latin Quarter, then to Jardin du Luxembourg.

Spring in Luxembourg Gardens

Pate (or 'patty' as they call it in the Chicago airport)
We headed back, hung out for awhile to enjoy the view, then made our way just a few blocks to "Petit Parisien" for dinner.
Joerg had been talking about pate (sorry about the lack of proper characters there), so I chose this place in part because they served that and foie gras.
I thought I had gotten a photo of Wayne's duck breast, but apparently not...

Roast Pork

Daurade for Megan.

The creme brulee was perfect

As was the chocolate mousse.
It was so nice to see these guys, and spend a day in a beautiful city with them.