Hand-knit-downs

The other day I was sorting through baby clothes (this is a big part of my life nowadays!) and I came across this lovely little cardigan that I had painstakingly made for A while I was pregnant with him. Here’s a photo of him at 4 months wearing it:

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Baby A

It’s a pattern called “Korrigan” by a fantastically talented French designer (her line of yarns is also gorgeous). I remember that, even in a 6-month size, it seemed to take forever using fingering weight yarn (I used madelinetosh merino light in the Candlewick colorway).

I was really proud of the result, it looked really precious and beautiful, and had that special heirloom quality.

Z now wears this little cardi often, and seeing her in it brings back so many memories of her brother as a tiny baby. I love that these sweet hand-knits that I poured a lot of love into are being worn by my second baby as well :)

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Baby Z

A look back on 2013

After feeling for a long time that I should just give a final send-off to this old blog, I’m realizing that I still get a lot of visits (hey, I’ve been around for 6 YEARS, which is pretty unbelievable). It’s also nice to have a record of what I’ve made and where I’ve been. I’ve lived in 4 different states/countries since starting the blog!

I’ve also been inspired to start blogging again by Lauren and Rae, who are both very cool and driven ladies (not that I know them IRL, but I feel like I do! You know how that goes). They also have managed to get their ducks in a row with 2 young children at home, so I feel like I should get more organized and give this a try. Here’s a good resolution for 2014! More blogging, more regularly.

Rae just had a great Top 5 for 2013 post, and boy, she’s been busy! Things haven’t been exactly quiet around here either, but since I haven’t documented much of the behind-the-scenes stuff, I though this post would be a good way to catch you up!

#1 Thing That Happened in 2013:

I had a second child! She is my little knitting assistant from the previous post. She was born in late September after a pretty exhausting but uneventful pregnancy and a lightning-quick labor — although she was technically born inside the hospital, I didn’t make it to the delivery room, ha!

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I have to admit that I am still a little traumatized by my new mom-of-two rhythm (or should I say total chaos) but I vow to do all I can to get it somewhat under control.

#2 Thing That Happened in 2013:

I’m more than a little bit proud to say that the money I earn from my knitting pattern sales can now be considered an actual income, and things really took off in 2013 for me, with a few patterns that became “hits” and a serious increase in sales overall. My Entrechat, Latte Baby Coat and Tiered Baby Coat patterns have been especially popular.

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I no longer feel a bit embarrassed/stumped for an answer when people ask me what I do besides take care of my kids (which is of course a very respectable and busy-making occupation in and of itself).

It’s so rewarding to make real money from something you absolutely love and I’m so grateful for every person who supports this little enterprise by buying my patterns.

#3 Thing That Happened in 2013:

I started treating my knitting pattern business like an actual business. Much progress could still be done here, but I’ve started doing things I had previously neglected:

- I’ve started selling my patterns in places other than Ravelry, I now have an Etsy and Craftsy stores and this has been a great experience for me so far. Craftsy especially has worked out great.

-I’ve started paying more attention to social media to get more connected to my customers and people who appreciate my patterns in general. So I now have a Facebook page, a Pinterest and an Instagram. I don’t think I’ll do the Twitter thing for now though, but I will definitely emphasize blogging more.

- I’ve gotten a couple of my patterns professionally translated, to test the waters, and it has been a positive thing, so I think I will get a few more translated at least in French over the course of the next few months.

-I’ve started thinking of knitting-related purchases as business expenses, and I’m so happy I don’t have a nagging sense of guilt when I buy yarn anymore :)

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Lovely lovely yarn

#4 Thing That Happened in 2013:

I now put a lot more thinking into which designs I publish. I have notebooks full of ideas and it would be nice to have the time to turn a lot of them into patterns. But the truth is that I still have precious few hours every week to devote to knitting and pattern writing, so I have to be ruthless. I have a few strict conditions that a design has to satisfy in order to be selected, but this will be the subject of another blog post :)

What about you? What is your roundup for 2013?

A new knitting assistant

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Hello everybody, miss me? Here’s little miss Z, who explains in part why keeping the blog up to date has been a challenge of late. 

As you can see she is already very fond of yarn, just like her mommy! As we say in French, “ça promet!”

If she lets me, I will catch you up this week on what I’ve been up to. But right now someone is grumbling a lot, so, I bid you farewell for now.

Coming home outfit

So… I had mentioned that I needed to get you all caught up on what’s happening in my neck of the woods. This should partly explain my long silence, too!

As you’ve probably guessed from the title of this post, we are expecting Baby #2, a baby girl!! She should arrive sometime in September. I’ve already knit a few things, including this little outfit:

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The crossover cardigan is an improvisation, it turned out quite small, a true newborn size. I’m happy with the contrasting i-cord edging, that was fun to do and gives it a nice “finished” look I think. I also had the perfect tiny vintage buttons for this project.

For the pants, I meant to follow the Balloon Baby Pants pattern but ended up skipping the increases (didn’t want them too “balloon-ey” after all!) and I also did the crotch differently (didn’t understand the directions). I think they turned out way cute, a bit clown-like, but in a good way :)

As far as the hat, it’s the ubiquitous Aviatrix, which is such a fun and quick little project, especially using the German Short Rows method, which I recommend you google immediately! I did a simple i-cord for the tie instead of the strap and button, because the strap wasn’t the most practical when I made this for Axel, so I always ended up leaving it hanging.

So there you have it, more baby stuff, specifically girl stuff in the pipeline! By the way, any baby name ideas?? Needs to work both in English and French (similar pronunciation if possible)

Bonne Fête des Mères!

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J’adore cette photo. L’air sévère/amusé de ma mère et moi, cachant le BN et tentant de l’amadouer avec un petit sourire espiègle… C’était en Afrique, où j’ai passé une bonne partie de mon enfance.

Bonne fête Maman!

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In France, today is Mother’s Day! So I unearthed an old pic of my mom and me… Love it. Her face is trying to convey parental disapproval but you can see that she really feels like cracking up… And me, trying to hide the cookie while giving her a mischievious (and hopefully charming) smile. This was in Africa, where I spend most of my childhood.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I love New York

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Je suis arrivée à New York le 1er Septembre 2001. Les cartons à peine déballés, on était en plein drame.

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J’ai vu le deuxième avion exploser contre le World Trade Center depuis ma fenêtre, et les deux tours qui faisaient face à mon quartier de Brooklyn se sont effondrées pendant que je cherchais desespérement un téléphone public pour joindre ma famille. Ensuite, le choc général, la confusion des esprits, et puis les semaines qui passent et la vie qui continue malgré tout.

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Les deux ans qui ont suivi ont été très intenses et éprouvants, et malgré des sentiments très fort pour la ville, j’ai fini par “m’échapper” d’une relation qui ne fonctionnait plus pour m’installer, un peu hébétée, dans la ville qui est aux antipodes de New York en tous points: Los Angeles.

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Revenir à New York après tout ce temps risquait d’être “bittersweet” comme on dit ici. Mais j’ai été surprise de voir à quel point l’énergie ambiante et le grouillement général effacent les mauvais souvenirs, et c’est avec plaisir que je me suis replongée dans la ville, avec l’espoir que je m’y réinstallerai peut-être un jour. Je vous laisse avec quelques photos:

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DKNY mural in Soho

DKNY mural in Soho

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School bus in Soho

School bus in Soho

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Café in Soho

Café in Soho

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Canal Street in Chinatown

Canal Street in Chinatown

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Elephant Ride in Chinatown

Elephant Ride in Chinatown

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In the Meatpacking District

In the Meatpacking District

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In the Meatpacking District

In the Meatpacking District

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In the Meatpacking District

In the Meatpacking District

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French pastries at La Bergamote in Chelsea

French pastries at La Bergamote in Chelsea

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On the Lower East Side

On the Lower East Side

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I moved to New York City on September 1, 2001. The boxes were barely unpackeed when tragedy struck.

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I saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center from my window. The twin towers that had been the backdrop to my Brooklyn neighborhood fell as I was frantically looking for a payphone to reach my family in Europe. And then, after the initial shock and confusion, weeks went by and life went on.

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The following two years were intense and trying on many levels, and I ended up “escaping” the city and a relationship that was no longer working, to settle in the city that is arguably New York’s polar opposite: Los Angeles.

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So, I knew that coming back to New York for a visit was likely to stir up some bittersweet feelings. But I was suprised to see how easily the city’s energy and bustle can wash over any mixed emotions, and I surrendered to the happy chaos, with the hope that maybe one day I’ll call New York home again.

Self-portrait Thursday: New York avec toi

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On revient de 3 jours passés à New York, juste nous deux en amoureux…  ça fait maintenant 6 ans que j’ai quitté NY pour Los Angeles (et maintenant Washington pour celles qui suivent!), et je n’y avais pas remis les pieds depuis!

Nous voici donc en maxi-touristes pour le Self Portrait Thursday ;)

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Avec Lady Liberty

Avec Lady Liberty

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Je vous mets plus de photos de New York (et de mes petites emplettes!) dès que j’ai fini le tri!

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I’m playing the Self-portrait Thursday game, and this week the theme is… our men! Gabe and I are just back from spending 3 days in NY (his treat!) so here we are as tourists with Lady Liberty… More pics of the trip (and my purchases!) coming your way very soon!

Taguée!

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Je viens d’être taguée par Fabienne, qui veut voir la 6ème photo de mon dernier album de vacances…

Alors voyons voir, Floride, Noel 2008! Oui ça fait un moment… Et aie aie aie, la 6ème photo est une photo de moi! C’est sur l’île de Sanibel sur la côte Ouest de la Floride.

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Sanibel Island

~~Je vous mets quelques autres photos du même voyage en vrac pour compléter, et je renvoie le tag à Frédérique et Laulautte:

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Islamorada in the Keys

Islamorada in the Keys

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Key West

Key West

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Sunset in the Florida Keys

Sunset in the Florida Keys

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I was just tagged by Fabienne, who wanted to see the 6th picture in my latest vacation’s photo album…. Ouch! It’s a picture of me! This was taken at Sanibel Island, off the coast of Florida. I’m also adding a couple more pics of the same trip, just for the hell of it, and I’m tagging Frédérique and Laulautte!

Feeling blue

Désolée pour mon silence ces derniers temps. J’ai eu quelques moments difficiles. Parfois de grandes joies sont suivies de près par de grandes peines… En conséquence, la motivation n’était plus au rendez-vous. J’ai même eu envie de fermer ce blog, de me tenir à l’écart en attendant des jours plus souriants. Et puis, je me suis dit, on va voir, il ne faut pas sous-estimer le réconfort que la blogosphère peut amener.

Et faire des choses de ses mains peut avoir des vertus thérapeutiques. Donc, presque à contre-coeur, je me suis fait une petite jupe toute simple (à partir de ce tuto – en Anglais) avec quelques petits détails enfantins. Elle me plait bien, et du coup je me sens moins triste:

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wornskirt

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Poches à soufflet avec mini-croquet

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Encore du croquet sur l'ourlet du bas

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Sorry for being MIA these past couple of weeks. I’ve had some difficult times. Sometimes great joy is closely followed by great sadness… So I wasn’t feeling motivated anymore, I even thought about closing this blog. And then I thought, you never know, comfort can sometimes come from unexpected places.

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And making things can sometimes have a therapeutic effect. So I made myself a simple skirt (based on this tutorial) and added a few playful touches. The cheerfulness of the result was uplifting, and I feel less sad already.