Monday, 10 September 2012

A New Leaf

Hello there!
I don't know if I'll be keeping this new Millefeuilles banner for long. I know this little rosehip bearing rabbit wove some potent magic upon me as I found myself, as if bewitched, stitching a combination of colours which do not usually find favour with me.  But on reflection these are the colours of early autumn, surely; butter-yellow, vivid scarlet and plum jostling for attention against the still predominant green pigment of chorophyll.  What do you think?
Mother Nature has been drawing us out each and every day.  That special september sunlight is too precious to ignore.  We cycle along the Loire river banks - the only level ground around our hilly parts - we tread familiar bridle paths through the vineyards and embrace new secret trails, picking blackberries and trailing our hands through brittle long grasses.  The leaves on the vines are beginning to turn but the green grapes have a few sun-drenched weeks of respite before hoards of grape gatherers descend upon the regular rows sending pheasants and roe deer scuttling away.
Our glorious countryside, more bleached than green now after weeks of heat, inspired me to knit the leafy shawl you can see above.  Cedar Leaf Shawlette is the work of Alana Dakos. The Madelinetosh DK yarn in the Filigree colourway lends itself beautifully to the drape of this crescent-shaped shawl worked in short rows with the leaf border added sideways once the main body is finished.  It is a pleasure to observe the leaves unfold gently as you knit; the repetitive pattern is never tedious.  Simply perfect to welcome in early autumn, don't you think?  For those who are interested my Ravelry notes are to be found here.
On a sultry day two weeks ago we headed off to the Chaumont-sur-Loire Garden Festival.  This year the theme - "Gardens Of Delight, Gardens Of Delirium" - promised to be both enticing and intriguing.
As we eagerly traipsed around the twenty-six show gardens we were gently pulled into an enchanted world where fairy tales and culinary delights reigned supreme.  One garden set the stage for Antonin Carême's elaborate marzipan cakes displayed in his eighteenth-century Parisian pâtisserie window and modelled on the ideas he would take from his passion for architectural history books.  Another, poetically named after the legend of Sleeping Beauty, was composed of thorny white Climbing Iceberg rose bushes and giant purple thistles to symbolize the hedge of thorns which surrounded the princess's slumbering castle. In another garden a fairy, wearing a brightly-patterned pinny, ruled over her magical vegetable patch in which dozens of mouth-watering recipes dangled from tree branches above magic pumpkins and giant artichokes. The Garden Of Sensual Delights was an orchard of closely planted fruit trees with a four-poster bed set on a base of red roses.  Most enchanting. I would be tempted to confess that sometimes the written descriptions, displayed at the entrance of each garden, were much more evocative and exciting than the gardens themselves.  I thought at the time this might have something to do with the fact that I chiefly garden with words and that I enjoy reading about gardens in particular.  My husband and Héloïse, however, agreed that they too had been more seduced by the words.  If any of you have also visited Chaumont this year I would love to read your impressions.
 Before I leave you for now I would like to tell you that I am busy making up, alongside some lovely custom orders, a family of autumnal hares dressed in jewel colours gleefully ready to face the turn of the season.  I have also put up a couple of limited edition hares on my Gallery of Hares page (you will find it just under my Millefeuilles banner) which were made for two lovely ladies a little while back.  I also intend to post here a little more frequently.  I am looking forward to that enormously. 

A bientôt, lovely readers,



  1. Love your new banner Stephanie, very autumnal! Looking forward to seeing the hares too ...

    Have a lovely week,

    Claire xxx

  2. I LOVE your beautiful new shawl, the colours are absolutely made for it......I may well take a closer look at that pattern.

    The garden show sounds wonderful, I love to visit gardens, and have a weakness for (probably now very unfashionable) formal gardens, box hedges, symmetrical borders, long aisles with sundials......if I was disciplined enough to keep it up, I would love to create a garden like that.

    Thank you Stephanie, an evocative post starting me well on my day.

  3. Your newly knitted shawl is beautiful and looks like a leaf all stretched out. The new header is great and I can't wait to see the new batch of autumnal hares. Glad to hear that you plan to post more often because I love to read your descriptions of what you have seen and done.

  4. What a beautiful post.
    The shawl is gorgeous and the photography is wonderful.
    I think the blog header is delightful.
    Looking forward to seeing the new hare family.

  5. That shawl is a triumph. The muted colour and weight are perfect for something for end of Summer/early Autumn. I love the Autumn colours you chose in your banner. The stereotypical tones of this season are bright yellows, reds and golds but the reality is so different. We see mellow greens, purples, browns and greys here, and it is all the more beautiful.

    Gillian x

  6. this is so pretty! i love the scalloped edges too :)

  7. I for one love your new header it so cute and beautiful. As with your gorgeous shawl just love the soft colours it looks so soft and lovely a joy to wear I am sure.

    The gardens that you visited sound wonderful and very magical, I think sometimes words are most powerful particularly in descriptive passage. Love some of the ideas from them though.

    P x

  8. Good morning to you dear and most precious Stephanie!!! Let me just say that upon opening your page, I was warmly welcomed and ENCHANTED by your new banner. The way the sunlight slightly reveals itself on your design, makes me FEEL the autumn sneaking slowly into our lives. I LOVE YOUR NEW BANNER and the sweetness of the rabbit. I too am not a lover of the autumn colors, BUT their effect however, is quite poignant. These colors leave me with a peaceful sense that though the season slows us down, we are actually encouraged to take this time to reflect, plan and create.

    I so love how you use nature to showcase your work. I am also so happy to know that you are busy. My Etsy business has hit a plateau and I am not sure what that indicates. But I will take advantage of this quiet time in my life to plan and create.

    I wish you a magical day as you bring your visions to life during this most gracious time! BISOUS! Anita

  9. Hello Stephanie, I loved your post. I love Autumn, I find it fully charged with creative energy. Your banner is adorable, and the shawl so soft and beautiful. The garden exhibition sounded like fun. Wishing you a productive Autumn, with love Linda x

  10. Love the new banner! Keep it. Great shawl and I love the yarn you paired with the pattern, absolutely perfect!

  11. Your little embroidered bunny is so sweet and as for that gallery of hares ~ wonderful!!!!
    What a beautiful shawl and beautifully photographed in your amazing French September landscape.
    The garden festival looks and sounds wonderful.
    Happy new week Stephanie,
    Vivienne x

  12. I love your stitching, your knitting and your photos

  13. I love the warming, cosy feel of your new banner.
    The shawl is beautiful and looks stunning in the wonderful light you photographed it in. M x

  14. I think your new banner is wonderful and I love the colours - especially at this time of year. And the new shawlette is perfectly suited to early autumn too. Juliex

  15. Stephanie, I think that the colors you've chosen for your witty banner embroidery do sing the September song. Autumn has a vast variety of colors and those in that wonderful Madeleintosh yarn add to the mix. Your shawl is lovely, and knowing the softness of that particular wool, I know it also feels elegantly cozy.

    Now, on to the garden. It's unusual, in my part of the world, to see a garden exhibit of any kind at this time of the year, and so I was curious to see what your photos would reveal. I do agree with you that the concepts were delightful, though the visual translation might have not quite fulfilled the promise. All the same, I would love to have seen it in person.

    Now I look forward to seeing how your stylish hares will present themselves in this new season.

    As always, it's a great pleasure to visit here. xo

  16. The banner just makes my heart sing. The raspberry looks like one rabbit has dropped while hurrying home with his paws full of them.
    Then I saw the poster by Henri Rousseau and decided it was the most wonderful idea for a Garden Show poster the world has seen; followed by such imaginative and lush samples of peoples hard work and whimisical ideas. Did you wear your new shawl as you meandered around the paths?

  17. Hi Stephanie,
    I adore that banner! It's so cute, and the autumn colours are just perfect!!!
    Ooooh! I love the shawl too - there's no end to your talents, my dear bloggy friend!!! :-)

  18. I love your new banner and hope you keep it for a while! How lovely it is that everything you make seem to match the seasons. I always enjoy look at show gardens and I also enjoyed your photos of these too.
    Sarah x

  19. Your day at the garden festival sounds lovely Stephanie. I always enjoy visiting festivals like this too. You get so much inspiration. Your scarf looks wonderful too. It will come in handy when the autumn winds start blowing. I hope they will stay away for a little while longer, as we are still enjoying sunshine and warm temperatures in Holland. Looking forward to see the lovely hare you made for me. Please let me know when I can pay you.

    Your new header looks lovely!!!

    Wish you a happy new week!

    Madelief x

  20. Please keep the banner at least until the snows come :D

    That is a gorgeous shawl m'dear, perfect for a cool evening walk through the vineyards or one of those enchanting gardens.

  21. Dear Stephanie,

    Love the gorgeous shawl and so perfect for wearing out on a cooler evening.
    Sounds idyllic, cycling along the Loire river banks ... just perfect and so glad that you are enjoying the September sunlight.
    The trip to the enchanting Gardens would have been a treat and thanks for sharing.

    Happy week

  22. Oh, do keep the banner! I just love the colour palette, so warm and comforting. Your needlework is exquisite Stephanie, as is that shawl. Perfect for a cool autumn walk through those gorgeous gardens. I am inspired now to knit a shawl using that delicious yarn.

    I am off to explore your Gallery of Hares page. Have a wonderful week! xox


  23. Oh what a lovely, lovely shawl. It looks perfect for draping elegantly about the shoulders or wrapping in multiple lush folds about the neck. And what a perfect colourway for the pattern.

    I like the banner very much ... perhaps you will find it growing on you if you leave it up for a while. I particularly love the shape of the hare's feet - I don't know why.

    Beautiful garden photos, though I can see how the descriptions might well be more seductive than the gardens themselves.

    I look forward to reading an oboe post if your schedule allows you to write one.


  24. oh stephanie! i love your banner, counted cross stitch on linen is one of my very favorites! i think you should keep it, it's really lovely! your shawl is too, so pretty in the shade of green. and the dress you made for your baby girl, precious. i don't know how you do it, knitting, making bunnies, oops, hares! gardening and keeping up here, you are an inspiration dear.

  25. I can sum up my comment in just one word: beautiful!
    The banner is really cute, the shawl is something I would like to wrap around me and those garden pictures are simply magical.

    (You taught in Athens? You must be very brave! :) thank you for your sweet comment!)

  26. Butter yellow is one of my favourite colours! The shawl looks so beautiful in colour, shape and texture. I can imagine sitting in an Autumn garden with it loosely wrapped around my shoulders. The gardens look fascinating. I look forward to seeing more of your wonderful creations. x

  27. The banner is lovely and I know what you mean as I found myself drawn to some new colours in my crochet recently, maybe it is the change of season. The shawl is also beautiful and your writing about the gardens is too! Heather x

  28. I, too, love Baroque music, AND your shawl, AND your photography!

  29. I love the colors in your embroidery! And I really love that shawl. I am about to knit myself a mustard-colored autumn shawl...not this fancy, but I have high hopes for it. I'd love to knit this pattern before the year is over. I think this will be my year of shawls. And maybe socks.

  30. Hello Stephanie
    I am so glad you found me, you are most welcome
    Thea x

  31. Hello lovely Stephanie...I was born in September and it is without doubt my favourite time of the year and this post sums up all the wonders of autumn for me...beautiful colours and enchanting misty mornings...ah, I do love it!
    Your shawl is so pretty too Stephanie and very fitting for this magical post ...I sense some gypsy spirit here!
    Hope you are having a lovely week,
    A bientôt,
    Susan x
    P.S See you on Facebook Madame Millefeuilles!

  32. hello stephanie, a nice and relaxed "ahhhhh" is always the feeling i have when i settle down to read a post from you. This is a lovely post as always. Your shawl is just the perfect color and it's leaves are pretty pretty pretty. it's funny that we both were knitting shawls with a side-ways border at the same time...perhaps we had our knit along without realizing it!! i also saw happy mademoiselle chocolate on your gallery of hares. she looks so beautiful in your photos! i can't wait to show heather in the morning. she will be tickled to see her. at the moment they are tucked up in bed together.

  33. I think the rabbit is very sweet. And the shawl is gorgeous. (as are all the things you make) The Garden of Delights sounds like it was lovely. Gorgeous passion fruit flowers.
    Thank you so much for your kind and comforting words. I really appreciate all the support from my blogging friends.

  34. Stephanie, The show gardens sound wonderful. Looking at the shawl makes me want to put down the book and pick up the needles again. I know once I begin to feel the weather change I will want to begin knitting again. This may be the perfect project. Bonnie

  35. Hello dear, yes I know just what you mean about the tones of the little hare & the rosehips...but they are indeed quite perfect in such a lovely Millefeuilles autumnal context. The texture of the linen base works so well with it all too, I do feel. What a fun garden tour. I have been very busy in one of my gardens today..it will be one of the toured gardens in a Holly Hospice Trail in early November...eek! In this instance, it is me, that is known as The Garden Fairy : ) And the leafy shawl...just delightful! much love Catherine x0x0x

  36. I adore your new banner Stephanie - it's perfect for this time of changing seasons. What an incredibly beautiful light you've captured there and that really is the perfect early autumn shawl, reminiscent of apples and bronzed leaves. I look forward to seeing your family of autumn hares xxx

  37. I think that your banner is amazing and would wear it around my neck on chilly days, and as I walked along everyone would stop and admire my gorgeous attire. The color is perfect for Autumn and you are one talented lady.
    I was out looking to see who my followers were following when I came upon your blog. I am your newest follower and I'm looking so forward to sharing your blogging adventures. Have a great weekend and please come visit. Connie :)

  38. Aaaah a Madalinetosh shawl and September sunlight, what a beautiful combination. I really like your new header picture!

  39. So many riches here! Your knitting is inspirational. I have been away for a while so missed your last couple of posts so am enjoying a lovely catch up.

  40. Oh lovely....feels a bit like a Joanne Harris novel, make me go all glowy and want to eat apricots and chocolate whilst snogging Johnny Depp! Hmmmmm might need a bit more sleep ;) Lovely blog Stephanie xxx

  41. I do like the new header - very early Autumn. I saw beautiful giant wild rosehips in Maine. Mine are yet to turn red.

  42. Oh your shawl is just beautiful and perfect for the change of seasons.
    What a fabulous garden festival, it looks so magical.
    love jooles x

  43. I love your new banner!
    hoping you keep it for a while ... for your autumn and our spring perhaps?
    and your shawl is just gorgeous, Alana's patterns are always so feminine

  44. I love the new look!! And your shawl is perfect for the fall--madeline tosh, my FAVORITE!!! (I made a cedar leaf out of raw silk---that I thought would be over-the-top wonderful; it can't compare to the madelinetosh!!!!)

  45. I love how you have a minor outside in your garden. I never thought that it would look so nice in a garden. I'm going to ask a minor in my garden.

  46. After reading this I came to know that this is the best explanation. Always share these kind of information.Thanks for this and there is some.


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