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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Dandelion Clocks

 
This is the time when everything drops into the earth.  In spring there is an upward movement all around one, with a lift in plants and trees.  Now it is the time of weight, when seed pod and berry, fruit and leaf fall and return to the earth.  It is truly the Fall, a lovelier word for this season than autumn.

Clare Leighton, Four Hedges (Little Toller Books: Stamford, 2010), p107.

Seedpods decorate the wayside and gardens with an Orient of riches.  They sit atop long stems and, weighing more than the leaves, rise to a certain architectural beauty.  Dry brown purses, spindly candelabras, round pepper shakers and round-hipped cups; with one thwack they scatter seeds higgledy-piggledy, sprinkling a chaotic hoard on the ground beside each plant.
Don't you think the dried-up flowers and chattery pods of some plants look almost unworldly?  Queen Anne's lace pods look like ethereal birds' nests when they are closed.  Asters form fluffy pods and dandelion clocks full moons of silky parachutes.  Autumn may be the season during which everything falls to the ground, transformed with time into decaying matter, but dandelion seeds, with one puff, become windborne, propelled into a floating trance which I almost envy; a far cry from the squashed damsons and decaying quinces I tread into the sodden pathway on my daily walks with Gaspard.

 I may be on the constant lookout for flashes of colour during these autumnal walks but I am, in truth, craving subdued hues these days, a little like the drab, so eloquently described by dear Knitsofacto Annie on her latest post entitled A Dingy Day.  During my evenings of knitting last week - such a treat - I snubbed my fabulous stash of mostly kaleidoscopic yarns and reached out for a single skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light in the delicate colourway Calligraphy.
It was time to create something for the eldest daughter of the household (our feisty youngest is very well served in the knitted garment department) and the beautiful cowl pattern, Dandelion Days, won instant favour with Héloïse.  Not in the lustrous yellow of the original pattern however but in the colour of dandelion clocks.  It is a perfect pattern with four eighteen row repeats, once the eyelet edging is completed, each row divided into twelve clusters of sixteen stitches.  A perfect balance between varied and meditative knitting.

My Ravelry notes for Dandelion Clocks may be found here

On a fraught day of university application deadlines during those first cold-ridden days of half-term (I can truthfully say that the final year of Baccalauréat preparation in France is intensive and exhausting) we grabbed an hour to be outside in the waning sunshine.  Both mother and daughter were pale and a little on edge - it was one of those days - but Héloïse graciously succeeded in shaking off a day's accumulation of tension infront of the eager camera.
Not all days are plain sailing, you will agree, but I choose to recall the glint of the October sunlight on my eldest daughter's hair instead of my unnecessarily sharp words: her pleasure whilst watching this cowl blocking on her bed instead of the nagging sadness that I am not in England with my parents on their respective birthdays this week.  Surely, in retrospect, the good moments prevail over the not-so-good?  I am mostly endeavouring, these days, to find the balance between the thrill and the inevitable wrench of my first-born daughter leaving our home in a few fleeting months.

So here's to those few months and savouring them to the full before this silken dandelion seed of a wonderful daughter floats off to take root somewhere else.

Before I leave I wish to share my huge admiration for the courage of this lady who has, through the past exceedingly difficult months, never ceased to capture and share her own unique and marvellous sense of beauty.  And finally to express my gratitude for another inspiring woman who always makes me feel ridiculously happy after reading each and every one of her blog posts.  Thank you, Lori, for the precious giveaway yarn and sea glass you sent from California to France.  Be patient a little while I transform your sea-coloured yarn into something worthy of its beauty.  Pictures to follow!

A bientôt,

Stephanie






41 comments:

  1. What a beautiful, young lady. Her new cowl is grown up but delicate and feminine. Jane Austenish too.

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  2. What a pretty hand knit modelled as always so beautifully!
    Happy birthday to your parents....they know you love them!
    And don't worry about Héloïse she'll be fine......you'll be fine!
    V xxx

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  3. Beautiful daughter and beautiful cowl - both perfect x

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  4. Le parcours automnal que vous m'avez fait faire était plus que poétique ... Je sais ce que signifie la terminale dans les lycées français mais avec un peu de perspicacité , je peux dire que votre belle fille s'en tirera avec de résultats excellents. Jolie écharpe comme d'ailleurs tout ce que vous faites à la main.

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  5. How bittersweet these last few weeks before your daughter leaves the nest....i remember feeling the same way when mine left for university. It's probably little consolation to you now....but mine went from being my precious daughter to being my very best friend. There are many great years ahead!!! (Lovely cowl!! I think I might go cast one on!!!!)

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  6. These tricky times will pass, good luck to your lovely Héloïse x
    and Happy birthday to your parents, it must be hard to be apart on those special days, but you are in each others hearts I am sure.
    Such a lovely Cowl.

    love jooles xxx

    P.S I have a Christmassy giveaway happening over at my blog x

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  7. That hair - so beautiful in the autumn light !! Heloise is a true beauty and as always, I am in awe of your knitting! Perfection!
    I hope you get to see your parents again soon and perhaps celebrate their birthday's belatedly.
    Sending autumnal best wishes
    Sophie
    x

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  8. Héloïse is lovely indeed...and so beautiful adorned in her new cowl!
    Wishing you gentle, peaceful days dear Stephanie.
    Sending hugs your way ...
    x

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  9. Another wonderful piece Stephanie! The ethereal colour suits your daughter's colouring so well with her rich chestnut hair. You're doing the right thing, savour the time you still have with her before she starts on her adventures. They never really go away though, so don't think it's all over. :) My middle daughter came to stay with us for a couple of days this week and it's her that my latest blogpost was about. It amazes me when our children are the ones who teach us, so unexpected. ♥
    Jess xx

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  10. It is not easy having older children, but the love you share with each other will override any harsh words that are spoken. Your daughter is gorgeous, you can see the dancer in every pose she has, and the cowl is gorgeous too, but does not shine as much as the beatuy that wears it.
    hugs,
    Meredith

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  11. Your daughter is growing up to be a beautiful young lady. What a delicate cowl - something else to add to the never-ending "make someday" list.

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  12. The seed pods are lovely aren't they, one good reason not to over garden in the autumn. I too am using, quiet colours at the moment, fawn and biscuit and grey colours, just feels so easy! The cowl looks very delicate on your daughter, it sounds as though you feel a little delicate too. All the best with new changes, Heather x

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  13. dear Stephanie,

    everything in this post is heartbreakingly beautiful. your knitting is so exquisite, your perfect choice of woolly shade, that pattern. but even more stunning is your girl, and your relationship with her. Steph is right, there is so much to look forward to.

    xoxoxoxo


    p.s. so happy your package arrived, even if delayed. and so many hugs for dear madelief and her girls.

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  14. Good evening dearest Stephanie! I have missed you SO MUCH, but I understand how fatiguing the BAC can be! Ta fille est superbe! And that fabulous shawl you have created is the perfect color for the fallen leaves, pods and flowers of the season. There is always something to celebrate.

    I miss you, and wish you the best rest you can gather before more of the season demands your attention! BISOUS, Anita

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  15. Beautiful and delicate post once again Stephanie, your Heloise is a joy to behold and so precious to you it is evident. I do hope that life is a little more gentle now with applications and studying.
    As for your knitted cowl, such a graceful knit which pays homage to the earthly colours of this changing season xox Penny

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  16. Such a wrench when our daughters fly the nest, but yours, like mine, will become a young woman you are proud to know is out there making the world a brighter place, and who will always fly home to you.

    And your 'drab' knitting is just perfection :)

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  17. Hello dear Stephanie

    We are in Spring here- but Autumn/Fall is my favourite season.
    I too look forward to everything seeding - another part of nature's bounty.
    I have Queen Anne's Lace growing taller everyday and I’m waiting for the flower heads to form.
    I pick some of them near the end of Summer and dry them to use in my art and for cards.

    I know the feeling of your daughter spreading her wings - mine did the same and she now lives in France.
    She is bringing up her three little girls in a lovely village - an idyllic life away from the rush of the city.

    Wishing you a happy weekend
    hugs
    Shane

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  18. Dearest Stephanie, you know I have thought so many times over these past few months of your truly enchanting photos taken in the summer meadow with the youngest feisty one..& now it is autumn. Yes, much of life is a little bitter/sweet & not quite as gentle as might be reasonable. What charming names for the yarn. Barbara at March House Books Blog (she sells vintage children's books) shared the sweetest Margaret Tarrant illustrations recently, one was of the Foxglove Hat Shop which utterly took my fancy & the other of Dandy Puffs...isn't that the quaintest name for the "clocks".
    It is not often said, but once the parting transition is made (all things being well) we, in fact spend a great deal more time in life having an adult relationship with our children than we did when they were children in our care. I am really enjoying that adult phase with all three of mine & I'm certain that you will too...in time. Much love & friendship Catherine x0x0x0x

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  19. Dear Stephanie,
    As usual, reading your new post is a delight. I can't have enough of your description of seeds. You're a fantastic writer. yetserday I've been walking in the botanical park that surrounds my workplace, and your words immediately echoed to my promenade, filled with many seeds and leaves of all shapes and colours.
    Heloise' shawl is a beauty. The pattern and this so special shade together (I wish I have more time to knit). Heloise is a beauty, and beautifuly photographed here by her mother. Thanks also for sharing these precious links to your friends websites.
    Have a nice week end.

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  20. beautiful shawl and so lovingly modeled by your pretty daughter :) I like the intricate lace design, which as you know I love to have on the needles :) Wishing you beautiful autumn days ahead.

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  21. You have such beautiful daughters to model your wonderful pieces. The cowl looks so lovely in that colour and the pattern is so nice. I share your admiration of Madelief.
    Sarah x

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  22. Stephanie this is such a beautiful creation and your model is stunning!! I love the colour you chose for this, it is perfect for any time of the year, but especially now. Thank you for sharing this pattern with us, it is now in my ravelry library as I intend to pick up my knitting needles after all these years (well since school). Thanks for the inspiration as always! Enjoy your weekend xoxo

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  23. Hello Stephanie,
    I know I have said it before but you write so beautifully and it is always a pleasure to visit your gorgeous blog. Heloise looks stunning in your beautiful creation. It must be very hard for you knowing she will soon be flying the nest and not being able to be with your parents on their Birthdays. Whatever the distance they will always be in your heart and they will always know how much you love them. Hugs Vicky ♥ ♥

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  24. Good morning beautiful creator of RABBITS! Please see your email! Anita

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  25. Dear Stephanie, how wonderful it is to be back in this blogging space and read your delightful words. I will look upon seed heads in a new and wondrous light from now on!

    Beautiful cowl - beautiful girl. Happy birthday to your parents back here in fair England oh, and I'm so happy to hear Gaspard is well and enjoying his autumnal walks!

    Jeanne
    x

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  26. The pattern in your latest piece of knitting is lovely with the repeating pattern. Of course, the model is beautiful and, apparently, clever as well. You must be proud of her.

    -Karen

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  27. I know that feeling only too well when an offspring flies the nest. The homecoming is such a joy. Wishing Heloise a wonderful time in her new role. Her cowl scarf is as beautiful as the wearer.

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  28. Dear Stephanie, I remember also the heavy heart when our youngsters leave home for the first time...and my heart goes out to you. You are proud but sad also...and yes the home comings are quite a celebration! Of course I love your latest cowl, it's so dainty and pretty, like your young model .....Wishing you a week full of inspiration, dear Stephanie and thanking you also for the kindest words always.....Hugs and twinkles ***** Maria x

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  29. Beautiful post Stephanie...You mustn't worry about Héloïse...she has a truly wonderful time waiting for her and lots of exciting adventures which you will enjoy sharing when she returns home too...Ashley and Leah both left for university within the space of a year and it was a huge adjustment but I promise you all will be well!!
    Happy Sunday!
    Susan x

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  30. Darling friend,

    Thank you.

    Your presence at my post is extremely special, and let us carry on with what gives us the mos POWER to be who we really are. LOVE! Anita

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  31. The cowl is simply beautiful.I think the understated colour works very well with the pattern. It is as elegant as Heloise (Ohm, how I wish I had that poise as a teenager!!). I hope this coming year is not too hard on you both, and wish you lots of luck with the coming challenges and changes. xx

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  32. There is so much to admire in this post it is hard to know where to start. Firstly, we share a love of "Four Hedges", I have a treasured copy here on my bookcase. Secondly, the colours you have chosen for your knitting and the patterns of dried grasses, all so very lovely. Your photographs are as enchanting as your model.

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  33. A beautiful thoughtful post... and such a beautiful cowl for your beautiful daughter. I'm sure she will be fine as she moves away.

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  34. Soft, lace-like cowl, beautiful daughter, seedpods that reflect the quiet nature of the season.... as always a very beautiful post. Enjoy every minute of these last days with all of your family together... the time passes too quickly.

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  35. Stephanie, as always, I have found beauty in many forms in your posts. Heloise is truly lovely, and what you knitted for her seems to my eye to compliment her beauty very well. How great it must be to know that Heloise is also a wise young lady.

    I also like the words about autumn allowing nature to return riches to the land. Very true. We know it, we see it, but perhaps we do not always realize it poetically.

    Last week when in Cambridge (and I will get around to posting about that time) I was delighted to learn that you and another talented lady have combined some creative forces. I do look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration.

    And...perhaps my travel plans for next year may allow me to venture into France. It has been a very long time since I was there and tried to exercise my disappearing use of the country's beautiful language.

    Best wishes. xo

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  36. Brilliant writing as always, chere Stephanie....and your daughter is stunning, as is the luxurious art you have created....
    This post has put me into a contemplative and Autumnal mood.... :)
    Gorgeous....
    All the best....
    Hugs,
    - Irina

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