family, knitting, living

Archive for November, 2009

No real post today

Kidney stones suck….that’s all I have to say.

French Socks

On my way to France I chose to work on my second sock of the Nutkin socks by Beth LaPensee.  I had finished the first one over a month ago and just couldn’t make any real progress on the second one.  I had managed to cast on and make the fold down top, but that is all.  I am seriously wondering if I will ever be a sock knitter, as the pair took over 4 months to complete and Wendy is on her third pair of socks after we started together.  Anyway, I knit through a good portion of our flight to France and some on the TGV.  By the time I got to Becca’s I was ready to turn the heel.  I finished the socks after three days of being in France.  I would have finished them sooner…but Christophe was busy making sure I did not miss anything of interest in the south of France.

The pattern is easy to remember and very intuitive, so I did not have t lug out the pattern when I knit.  I only needed it to remind me of the number of repeats.  I did change the heal to an eye of partridge as I had done the short row heel as suggested on the first sock and found it to be thin.  I had to rip that out.  I did not want a sock that I spent so much time on to crap out on the heel. I also did a standard toe rather than her toe.  I like the look better.  Of course, my Kitchener is less than spectacular, so the toe on the pattern would probably have looked better.  I used ShibuiKnits Sock.  Unfortunately I don’t remember the colorway.  The bright sun in the south of France make the variegation really stand out.  In person, the difference in the purples is much more subtle and not so distracting from the lace pattern.  I have not washed these yet, but my girlfriend made her first pair with the same yarn in a different colorway and they faded terribly.  The socks started out as vibrant as mine and after the first cold water handwash looked very dull.  I hope that will not be the case with mine.

Here is the Ravelry link for those of you on Ravelry.

Here are the photos that Becca took in her back yard….doesn’t it look like I’m at a resort!

I wore my socks on the plane coming home.  They are very, very warm!  I had to take them off for the last flight as I was about to pass out.  If I stick with knitting socks, I may have to find a lighter weight yarn!!!


France, part 2

On Thursday or Friday (not sure which) my brother-in-law, Christophe, took us to a cave.  No, that is not cave, but /cav/.  Yes, short a.  Anyway.  A cave is a place where grapes are processed into wine.  Christophe is in the Languedoc region of France.  He is part of a different co-op than the one he took us to.  This cave was the largest in the region.  It is the Pomeroles Cave.  Here is a photo.

pomeroles cave

We were able to taste several wines (before noon).  They were really good.  The tasting is inside the warehouse where the wine is fermented and stored.  It was so cool.  There was the coolest thing, too.  There were spigots where you could bring a jug and fill it with one of three types of wine.  this wine is what the older locals drink.  It is not aged, but Christophe says it is perfectly good table wine and it is cheaper than gas!  That’s right, a liter for a 1.2 euro or so.  Here’s a picture of that.

wine to go

Here’s the price list.

price list

Here are a group of photos from the inner workings of the cave.  You can see some of the fermenting and purifying tanks.  I don’t know what every thing is because Christophe’s English is marginally better than my French.  Let me promise, we were both at a disadvantage, but somehow managed to get along.  Notice my dad…he had already sampled a few wines.  They were NOT skimpy with the samples, either.   It was so funny…I was every intimidated by the idea of going to a real French wine producer and tasting the wine, but the people there just acted like it was another day on the job and so did Christophe.

On the way back from the cave, Christophe took us to see his vineyard.  All I can say about that is WOW! He has a lot of land and a lot of grapes.  He grows two varieties.  One is picpoul.  The other is a red.  The picpoul is a grape that is protected.   Only the growers in his region can grow it.  In addition to all fo the grape vines, there are almond trees.  Christophe pulled and cracked fresh almonds for us.  He also showed us wild rosemary and thyme…not to mention many other herbs that I did not recognize and could not get the jest of through translation.  There are also tons of markers on his land.  The markers tell the story of the area using cartoon Roman soldiers who appear to be less than smart.  Here si a gallery of the vineyard and the signs.  I also tried to get a couple fo horizon shots. Remember, they are 25 miles from the Sea and about the same from the mountains.  They really have it all in this area.


Tomorrow I will continue my France posts with pics from the coast.

France, part 1

I am planning on posting about France in several parts as I do not have the ability to sit here linking photos and blathering on for hours at a time.   I get bored and frustrated when a post gets to long.  (Oh, on  side note…I cannot tell you how relieved I am to be typing on an English language keyboard.)

Caux is a little town in the south of France.  It’s population is about 2500 according to Wikipedia (I’m pretty sure that’s close).  The village used to be a fort as you can see in one of the photos.  French cities are so different from American cities.  The town centers are packed together buildings with winding stairs leading to open courtyards, crooked halls leading to a front door or nowhere and buildings that belie the interior lives.  The buildings are so closed that it looks as if no one lives in the town until someone appears from nowhere or a window may be open two floors above the street.  I really don’t know how to describe it.  It was so beautiful.  I have to say tha it was a little creepy in that with everything always closed and the streets so twisty and little enclaves so hidden, that I felt someone could jump out at any time!  Of course, i wouldn’t happen…it was just eerie and I was out of my comfort zone.

The center of town loosens into free-standing structures as you move out-of-town toward Becca’s house.  The houses are fairly close, much like the area where I live.  The have small lots that they use to maximum advantage.  Most yards had at least a couple of fig, nut or olive trees; many had swimming pools; and many herb or vegetable gardens.  All houses also have shoulder-high walls around them.  The architecture is very Mediterranean as they are just 30 minutes from the Mediterranean Sea.  The houses are stuccoed with clay tile roofs in washed out colors that are usually of a warm tone.  The place is so safe that the kids can walk the 5 minutes into town together…without needing an adult.

I have to say the overall impression I got of the town was that of a fairy tale. It was so quite, relaxed, peaceful.  I really liked it and would recommend the area to anyone.

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

I am posting from the train for my November second post as it appears I won’t have another chance today. I generally love the train but we have not been very successful this trip with France’s TGV. I have been on the TGV before but it was more than 10 years ago and was not this hard. The train is overbooked so the controller sais we may loose our seats at any time. I don’t mind standing but it is three more hours to Charles deGaul and I feel like shit.

November 1st, time to blog all month

Greetings from France.  This is just a quick note to say that I am planning to blog every day in November again this year.  Due to the enormous number of pictures I have taken in France and in New York over the last two and a half weeks, there should be no shortage of things to write about.  Here is one picture of my niece, nephew and brother in law to hold you off!

for blog