Friday, 27 January 2012

How Does Your Mansfield Garden Party Grow?

One look at this book and I was smitten.
I fell for the undeniable charms of the pattern "Cinnamon Girl" and the yarn "Rosebud" from Juno.  I simply had to have these treasures to love and to cherish. Loop Knitting delivered the goods swiftly.  Cheerily I skipped off to Ravelry and organised a knit along of "Cinnamon Girl" with a fellow knitter starting today.

And then my pink bubble burst.  
Experienced knitters feel free to cackle and hoot at my naivety.  I saw the complexity of the pattern and I grew fearful.  I know little of provisional cast-ons and the rest of the mumbo jumbo which ensues.
Am I ready for this?  Or is this a case of 'marry in haste, repent at leisure'? 

Is there a benevolent soul out there willing to hold my hand through this daunting ordeal, please? 


Today is my youngest's second birthday.  I love this special date of hers.  She had the good grace of arriving a few days earlier than expected.  MInutes after she was born the midwife cheerily asked me which name we had chosen for our baby.  "Angélique", I blearily replied.  "How wonderful", she exclaimed with a broad smile: "today is Saint Angélique's name day!"  How wonderful indeed I thought.  You chose your day wisely, dear child.
(If the sight of variagated yarns make you come out in a rash this is the time to avert your gaze.)

There is no doubt that January 27th falls in winter and for those who are beginning to know me you will understand that this fact delights me. The end of January however is on the cusp of change.  If you remain still you may hear spring quietly urging you to be patient for just a little while longer.  We celebrate Angélique's birthday with one foot firmly planted in winter's domain and in the knowledge that spring will soon tune up the dawn chorus, lay down a mossy welcome mat, and unlatch her ornate green doors.  And if our gardens are mostly barren (not so much the case this year, I hear you say) I am determined to celebrate this important day by bringing flowers into this simple home of ours.
So today I fill my youngest daughter's arms with cut hyacinths to herald the glorious months to follow.
Please forgive the blurred picture; it must be the heightened emotions getting in the way!
And if a wreath of hydrangeas seems a strange gift for such a little girl I should add with a big beaming grin that it is a lasting treasure to celebrate a charming soul who has become my very own garden muse.
Some of you may recall the Madelinetosh Fairy generously delivering some Mansfield Garden Party yarn in the cabbage patch last summer.  Knitting up a Tiny Tea Leaves for my birthday girl was the perfect occasion to use this yarn.  Let me just remind you of the description in Katherine Mansfield's short story The Garden Party which inspired the creation of this colourway:
"And after all the weather was ideal. They could not have had a more perfect day for a garden-party if they had ordered it. Windless, warm, the sky without a cloud. Only the blue was veiled with a haze of light gold, as it is sometimes in early summer. The gardener had been up since dawn, moving the lawns and sweeping them, until the grass and the dark flat rosettes where the daisy plants had been seemed to shine. As for the roses, you could not help feeling they understood that roses are the only flowers that impress people at garden-parties; the only flowers that everybody is certain of knowing. Hundreds, yes, literally hundreds, had come out in a single night; the green bushes bowed down as though they had been visited by archangels."
To be honest when I look at this cardigan I see snowdrops, muddy earth, pink and blue hyacinths.  I must confess that I like the fact this variagated yarn makes my cardigan look rather homespun... or should that be gardenspun?  Angélique certainly loves it in a hopping, skipping kind of way and it suits her beautifully.  Tiny Tea Leaves will be taking second position in my Ravelry 12 Sweaters in 2012 project and you can see it on my Ravelry profile.
So in answer to the question: 'How does you Mansfield Garden Party Grow?'  My answer is 'quite splendidly, thank you'.
Happy Birthday my dear child.  You have made us all very joyful these past two years.  Be mindful however for you are still, I believe, under guarantee!
I am deeply grateful to Lori for this adorable rabbit she gifted us as part of her giveaway.  Angélique sleeps, eats, and reads with her each and every day.  She has been named... "Eek" by her owner Angélieek!  Please pop over and visit Lori's pretty blog which is bursting with creative talent.  I am certain you will be impressed! 
Wishing you a peaceful, joyful weekend.



  1. Happy happy birthday little one!!! Two is an very very important age to be!!! Love your little tea leaves--so pretty!! for a pretty!!

    I'm totally smitten with Juju's Loops book, too! I've done the fingerless mitts and am working on the brown-eyed susan and I think I've got some great yarn for the baby sweater. I really wanted to make the shrug, but decided to wait until I had some serious thinking knitting time--that pattern, too, seems to be written in a way that I didn't quite "get" on my first read-through. The other patterns are so well written, though, that I'm hoping if I just FOLLOW the instructions, I'll be ok. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the sweater works for you the same way---the yarn is stunning!!!! Can't wait to see progress!!!

  2. Happy birthday Angelique! And what a pretty cardigan to have made for you. Have a lovely weekend and birthday xxx

  3. Happy Birthday to little Angelique! She looks so pretty in her speckled coat.

    Don't be afraid of the knitting instructions... it's the only way to learn and when you have you'll realise it's not so hard.


  4. Awwwwwww HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! What a beauty!

    What a beautiful post full of lovely words and gorgeous yarn candy! That yarn looks divine and the pattern too. How I wish to knit. It's my aim for this year, but so far, all I have done is think about it!!!!

    The Cardigan for Angelique is beautiful. My mum used to knit me all kinds of jumpers in that style of yarn. For years and years after, I DETESTED it! Although, it was more probably that my mum could never make the hole for my head right and they were always a struggle to get on and off (traumatised child!!!!). And, that I was a seventies child and the colours always clashed! But, last year I was drawn to a ball of wool just like that and ever since I have begun to have a love affair with it! Funny, that I now love something which I detested for so many years!

    Have a beuatiful weekend, and I hope you manage to find a Ravelry buddy who can hold your hand through your new project!!!!!!


  5. happy birthday to angelique!

    pretty sweater too...your new book and yarn look great~i'd probably have a hard time with all the instructions too but i'm sure you'll do fine :)

  6. "Bonne fête" to Angelique. She sounds like a little sweetheart and no doubt looks fabulous in her garden sweater. I think I'll track down the Mansfield story for a good read.

  7. wish i could help with your knitting.. but no, i’d be hopeless. I can sit nearby and have a cup of tea while you try though... :)
    Angelique is just so cute, and pretty and adorable. Joyeux anniversaire petite princesse!

  8. Hello! I love her name!!! Just scrumptious and adorable,just like her. What a sweet face and the little legs, aww! Gorgeous gorgeous little knit. You are very clever and multi talented.
    It is lovely to give her flowers. She will grow up to be creative and clever with you around as an influence.
    The books looks gorgeus. I love the cardi and the colour of the wool. I have never attempted to knit sadly, as I have a fear of it. I don't know why.
    I have been ill this week, so sorry for rubbishy response to your email. xxx

  9. Happy birthday to such a lovely and beautiful little miss! And on her name day too, how perfect!
    The little cardigan you knitted up is so sweet. I love the homespun look. You always impress me with your skill! Your new project looks wonderful too, and oooh that yarn. So pretty!~! Hope you all have a wonderful day celebrating your little one!

  10. I love the wreath of hydrangeas - such beautiful colours.

  11. Hi Stephanie,

    Congratulations on the birthday your beautiful daughter Angelique! She looks very sweet on the photo's with the bunch of hyacinths in her hand.

    She is a lucky girl to have you as her mother. The multi coloured cardigan you made for her looks beautiful! I love the colour of yarn you chose for the new cardigan, which we can see in the book. I am sure it will look lovely once finished. I don't think it is necessary at all to hold your hand, but if you need moral support....I am your girl :-)!

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Madelief x

  12. Happy 2nd Birthday to Angélique, how pretty she looks in her 'Tiny Tea Leaves'!! I love the fact that she is still under guarantee, that did make me smile. :)
    The wreath of hydrangeas takes my breath away Stephanie, so beautiful. I need to plant some this year!
    A lovely knitting book and delicious yarn and I have every faith in you to knit 'Cinnamon Girl'!
    Happy weekend,
    Vivienne x

  13. Your knitted cardigan is adorable! and the hydrangeas wreath is a masterwork of nature.

    You have a gift with taking photos!

    HUGS lorraine

  14. Happy birthday to the lovely Angelique! She looks so pretty with those hyacinths :-)

    What a lovely lovely pink yarn and it truly is a gorgeous design but the pattern!! You will manage it but I find when knitting from patterns like that you need to really follow carefully and have no distractions, no television or anything or I lose my place totally. I'm happier with simpler ones!

    Love the little cardigan, I'm one of those people who adores variegated threads and yarn.

    So that's where the name Eek came from :-) Glad she's loved and looked after so well!

    Lori xxx

  15. happy birthday to your dear little girl...what a little sweetheart x
    such beautiful photos of flowers and yarn and beautiful things
    have a wonderful weekend
    love jooles x

  16. Happy Birthday Angelique! I love your tiny tea leaves:)

  17. Happy Birthday Angelique :D How pretty your look in your new little knit with your arms full of flowers!

    That is a glorious book ... I have ordered one for myself just yesterday, what a wonderful coincidence! I'm happy to offer any help required with the knitting my friend, although I'm sure you're entirely up to the task x

  18. I so look forward to your posts- they are always filled with such beauty and this one of of course no exception. Happy birthday to your sweet daughter- I adore the cardigan you made- it is just beautiful. Alas I can proffer no knitting advice, as I cannot knit at all!

  19. Happy Birthday to your adorable little girl. Wonderful yarn and beautiful flowers. In answer to your question on my blog - it will have to remain a mystery!

  20. What a lovely birthday girl! Don't let the sweater pattern frighten you, it looks relatively simple, just take it one bit at a time.

  21. thank you for stopping by my blog.
    I popped over and like what I see.
    I wish your little girl a happy birthday. She is very, very sweet.
    I am unfortunately not a knitter, but whenever I think I cannot do something....I enlist everyones help and get going. Don't be scared, you will do just fine. It is all in the will to learn something new.
    I wish you much luck...the yarn is beautiful.
    I will follow your blog with pleasure.
    Blessings, Evi

  22. This is absolutely darling my sweet Stephanie! Your daughter is just precious and the knitted wares are always a delight to behold, ESPECIALLY how you display them in nature's embrace. AND THAT BUNNY IS SOOOOO SWEET!!! Enjoy a lovely weekend, Anita

  23. What a wonderful day to celebrate. She shares a birthday with a rather well-known composer, I believe. :)

    I love your description of the yarn - especially the "muddy earth" which is perfect.

    Have you ever visited Tech Knitter's site? She has wonderful explanations and tutorials for just about all things knitting. For instance:


    That yarn is irresistibly beautiful, as is the pattern. I'm sure you can conquer it.

  24. such an adorable post, Stephanie, dear little Angelique in her new cardigan ... this wool is so charming
    despite knitting for so long I have avoided provisional cast-ons,and to a large extent charts - very silly I know as it's probably not difficult at all! I think the basic idea is to crochet a long chain in spare wool and then pick up stitches from that? so that it can be unravelled later and the edge looks pretty? I hope you find someone really helpful and kind on ravelry, everyone on ravelry seems delightful I must say and once again thank you for alerting me to a "must-have" knitting book for when the weather cools - extremely warm here today as the tennis continues!

  25. There can be no lovelier present than hyacinths for a little girl - transient, sweetly scented and beautiful. Compare that with a lumpen plastic toy and I applaud your judgement. May she have the best of years.

    And the complexity of that pattern would frighten me into heading straight for the wine-rack.

  26. Such a cute bunny, lucky girl:)

  27. Happy birthday to the sweet Miss Angelique! I am certain that you all shall enjoy a most exciting and lovely day of festivities!
    Such a treasure Mommy creates for her darling sweet-pea...a wee kiss in each and every knit/purl.
    And the hyacinths...I am able to enjoy their fragrance from my perch thousands of miles away...LOVELY! Thank you for a bit of Springtime!
    With gentle hugs,
    Judy x

  28. Happy, Happy Birthday to your sweet Angélique! Such a joyful day!
    I know very little about knitting other than I think it is a beautiful art. The pattern and yarn you chose are gorgeous - I hope someone will be able to assist!
    Happy weekend,

  29. ahh happy birthday to your little 2 year old - love your comment about being under guarantee - that did make me giggle. Oohh I do love spring, can't wait for it to arrive and those flowers look like a gorgeous pressie for you gorgeous girl. Love the knitting, one thing I have not learnt yet :-) Eek is very gorgeous too :-) Thanks for your lovely comment re the tu tu, you should try it out, very easy and no sewing required :-) x

  30. Hi Stephanie,

    Happy birthday to sweet Angelique, she is so gorgeous and love her name.
    Love the pretty hydrangea wreath and your wonderful knotting.
    Enjoy the weekend and celebrating your sweet one's special day,

    Warmest hugs

  31. To Angelique a Happy Birthday. Lovely yarn.

  32. What a sweet post. Happy birthday to your lovely little lady! She looks adorable in her new cardi. Kellie xx

  33. I really love your blog and have added it to my blog list! I have had lots of inspiration from your blog. I bought The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield, glorious writing. And I adore all your knitting and doll making etc and wait eagerly for your posts!

  34. Hi Stephanie! Birthday wishes to your sweet little girl! Her sweater is adorable! Alas, I can't help with complicated knitting...the words provisional cast on strike fear into my heart! I am sure you will do a wonderful job! I am cheering you on! Happy Weekend xoxo Debbie

  35. A wonderful post full of the havens of family and gardens..and knitting! The rose yarn is so pretty, I can see why you 'went' for it. but what could be sweeter than that sweater you knit for your sweet daughter??

  36. Happy birthday precious little girl, what a beautiful story of her name, my youngest is almost two and it is such a fun age. I think I will have to knit the cardigan for her a swell. Thank you so much for taking the time to make a 'chicken' comment on my blog, much appreciated

  37. Happy birthday to your dear daughter...she looks gentle, kind and warm in her demeanor. What a beautiful cardigan, it does indeed look like snow drops, muddy earth, and pink and blue hyacinths, beautiful.
    Much love

  38. I am feeling your knitting pain but alas i am not the knitting sherpa you need.
    Two is such a great age - my favourite time of a child's life - happy celebrations.

  39. Happy birthday wishes for a little Sweetie Pie, so pretty with her flowers and delighted smile.

  40. Dear Stephanie,
    This cardigan is gorgeous, I´m absolutely delighted! And the Rosebud yarn...fantastic. I´m sure you will manage this pattern!

    A belated Happy Birthday to your charming little daughter!

    Liebe Grüße, Bärbel

  41. Happy birthday to your little girl!

    You've got so many lovely knits in your life. I do hope you figure out the Cinnamon girl because the pattern and yarn you've chosen look very pretty.

  42. I am with Celia - go for it with the pattern. It will probably be fine and I have learnt at long last that, if it isn't, it doesn't take too long to pull back and start again. My brioche stitch neck warmer didn't get going until the 5th attempt!
    Your daughter is perfectly lovely, as is her cardigan.

  43. Happy birthday to your little darling she will be the best dressed tot in her lovely new cardi.
    Your choice of yarn is beautiful for the Juju sweater.
    I'm sure there are fellow knitters that live nearby that would be more than happy to help. Is there a yarn shoppe in town perhaps with a knit night like we have here.
    Have a wonderful week.

  44. What a wonderful post - happy birthday to your little one Stephanie. What a gorgeous series of photos - a tiny birthday girl, a tiny cardigan and some hyacinths.

  45. All that lovely yarns is a feast for my eyes. Good luck on your new project, the pattern looks beautiful. Your little one is such a sweetie, I just love that age, they are cuddly one minute and into something the next. She is lucky her mom makes her such pretty sweaters! Take care!

  46. oh my goodness stephanie, i read your entire post with a smile. and almost had to hug my computer when i saw your gorgeous sweet baby. um, i mean big girl (still a baby to me). happy birthday darling little one.

    your tea leaves looks pretty and i see all those colors too, i love the image of angelique overjoyed to wear it. so cute.

    i own juju's knits too, and am also in love with every pattern. but you are right, it is not knit while reading (or talking) material. it's much more fussy than i like to do. so i'll see how it goes here as well. your wool is gorgeous, i wish you luck!

  47. What a gorgeous post! I love the soft colours! And that book looks AMAZING!!! I wish I was a good enough knitter to be able to justify buying it..... or perhaps I could get it and call it 'inspiration'???

  48. Thank you for comment on my blog,your
    blog is realy lovely,Happy birthday Angelique!...Hugs Nely!

  49. What a pretty picture little Angelieek looks with her tiny tea leaves and huge bouquet, happy belated big birthday to her.
    Your latest challenge looks stunning, I wish I could offer a hand to hold but I am a little overawed at the chart you show. I know you can do it though and I can't wait to see the result. Beautiful colour!
    Have a happy week
    Kate x

  50. Hey, have just dicovered your blog and all the gorgeous knitting projects making me very envious~~

  51. p.s Happy birthday for yout little one

  52. Hello lovely Stephanie...I am always at the end of this long line..have you noticed?...I am trying hard to reorganise myself as I juggle all those balls in the air..but it is always a pleasure in my week to call on you!
    Firstly, Happy Birthday to pretty little Angélique!...Such a wonderful age...it doesn't seem a moment since my girls were 2 years old...How time flies by!
    Your latest project looks wonderful and I know you will rise to the challenge...Beautiful photographs as always ...and now I have to find you on Ravelry!
    Wishing you a wonderful crafty week,
    Susan x

  53. A belated Happy Birthday to your gorgeous little girl. I love the yarn... I will be paying a visit to the loop very soon. The hydrangea wreath is stunning. I might be easier if a say I love all of it.

    Lou xxx

  54. Happy Birthday to your beautiful little one!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. The cardigan is delightful; I love the colours!


  55. Happy Birthday Angelique! Very happy to hold your hand through knitting instructions - you'll be fine :)

  56. Hi; Thanks for visiting my blogs; I have not much french readers!
    I also liked it to read some posts on your blog...you knit beautiful things and live on a beautiful spot!...I also love gardens, like you.
    greetings from Fleur from Holand

  57. I think that if you weren't named Stephanie, you could have been named Rosebud! I think of you as a delicate Rosebud........... and the colour of that yarn is just you Stephanie, I know it will look gorgeous on you (I think it's for you? maybe I've got that wrong). Lace patterns are very intimidating, and the only thing to do is have a tantrum to get it out of your system, then go back again in a few days and calmly accept it's going to be a challenging ride, it seems to work for me. The rewards of conquering the pattern are good though, so it's worth persevering, and then having the triumphant feeling at the end. It will be a beautiful cardigan, as is the Mansfield park cardigan, so interesting to see how the variegated yarn knits up isn't it! Happy Birthday to dear Angel. Vanessa xxx

  58. Love the hydrangea wreath - the colours are great! Not much of a knitter - I remember when I made a scarf and a tank top (when younger) and they were too small for me at the top and too large for my dad at the bottom! Do you find getting supplies over here difficult? I get really frustrated at the price of basics (cotton, fabric) - the down side of living in Rural France. Great to find another mother living here and blogging too - look forward to following you! Rae

  59. Popped over to visit having discovered your blog. I love it! The way you write is lyrical - i especially like your beautiful juxtaposition of the soft colours of Angélique holding the hyacinths, the hydrangeas - that wreath is just beautiful - and your knitting in this post. I also have a weakness for the variegated stuff! Am now going to see if I can track down Katherine Mansfield's Garden Party!

  60. What a beautiful post, such beautiful words of your daughter and Spring. You have a gift for writing, I so enjoyed reading this.
    I do so love the yarn and patter you have chosen and hope you have someone t old your hand through this. I am unfortunately not experienced enough in the world of knitting but I can see why you were so attracted to the pattern and yarn.
    Hope you have all had a celebratory weekend and I look forward to seeing how your cardigan progresses xox

    ps. your little tea-leaves is just too perfect x

  61. Ahhhh what a gorgeous post. Your youngest is a wee cutie and that is an understatement, she looks so happy, a lovely wee munchkin! I love Eek too, my friend made me a little rabbit friend for my little baby and while he is too young to appreciate it, it has a very grateful owner in me until he is ready to love it too.

    The cardigan is beautiful too, you are vey talented!

    Helen xx

    Ps my birthday is the 24th so I just miss Angelique by a couple of days!

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