Mr Stitches French Sweater (so named because we bought the yarn in France last year) is finished.  It’s not been particularly straightforward, mainly because I’m a knitting numpty sometimes.
Firstly, I added length to the sweater without factoring in the need for additional yarn.  Basic schoolgirl error – more of that in a mo.  Secondly, on one of the sleeves I consistently knitted a cable in the wrong direction, frogged it, reknit it….in the wrong direction.  Doh!  But not just once. Oh no……about 5 times.  I lost count after the third time…trying to blank from my mind the absolute idiocy of making the same mistake over and over and over again.
However, its finished and he loves it:

And so do I.  It was a joy to knit.  It looks quite complex but it’s a very simple cable pattern once you’ve got into it.  The most difficult task was translating the pattern from French into English. Whilst I have sufficient French for the basics – buying wine, coffee, food, yarn and embroideries (not necessarily in that order) – translation of patterns is a completely different kettle of poisson. 

If you too are brave (for brave read foolish) enough to embark on such an endeavour then I cannot recommend Chez Plum highly enough.  Her French Knitting Dictionary is a life saver and, if all else fails, she offers a translation service (I haven’t tried this so can’t comment on it).
One other thing I can recommend is DON’T BUY PHILDAR!  
I love, love, love their patterns. They have a certain je ne sais quoi and I’ve always had good results from them. Their yarns are relatively inexpensive and whilst they are often a mix of natural and manmade fibres, this makes them less susceptible to the ravages of boys.  But, their customer service sucks.  
I had to order an additional ball of yarn to knit the neck and do the sewing up. The yarn cost 3.60 Euros.  The shipping cost 13.90 Euros.  The solitary ball of yarn was shipped bouncing round in a box which would easily have carried 20 balls of yarn. A Jiffy bag would have been so much more appropriate.  There was no option for a cheaper alternative.  It was ridiculous.  I wrote to them a week ago to express my disappointment.  I’ve had no response.  
In the current economic climate I think the least we can expect is an acknowledgement of our comments on poor service, choice, or the waste of over packaging, even if no remedial action is to be taken.  To be ignored makes it very easy for me to vote with my wallet.  No more Phildar for me.  It’s a small protest, but I feel good about it.
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I’ve also completed this embroidery.  This isn’t my version.  Guess who forgot to take a picture before wrapping it up and gifting it.  I’ll hopefully be able to post it soon.
The chart is by Little House Needleworks and my version is slightly different in that I changed the threads and used Oliver Twists instead of the recommended colours.  Just a word to the wise – the Oliver Twists bled all over the linen when I washed the finished embroidery.  Cue mass hysteria.  
However a quick visit to Morrisons and a soak in some colour run remover and all was well.  But you have been warned.
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And finally to weightier matters.  Having finally finished the black jersey dress (I’ll post as soon as I’ve got pictures) I’ve moved on to Ma Stitches-in-Law’s Christmas present skirt.  I’m making the 10 gored skirt from Ottobre Designs 2/2007.
And I’ve got the cutest vintage ‘weights’ to hold the papers in place whilst I do the tracing:

It’s the little things that make it all the more enjoyable.

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