Sunday, 31 August 2014

Gift From The Sea

 "The beach is not the place to work; to read, write or think [...] - at least, not at first. [...] the tired body takes over completely.  As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy.  One is forced against one's mind, against all tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the sea-shore. [...] And then, some morning in the second week, the mind wakes,comes to life again. [...]  It begins to drift, to play, to turn over in gentle careless rolls like those lazy waves on the beach.  One never knows what chance treasures these easy unconscious rollers may toss up."

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From The Sea (Pantheon Books: New York, 1955), pp. 15-16.
Dear friends,
On returning  from our holidays in Belle Ile en Mer a few days ago, I found a parcel from Stephanie over at Woolythyme; an exquisite knitted shell together with the book, Gift From The Sea, quoted above.  It was, simply, the perfect gift to receive after our time away by the sea.  I have already touched upon the enchanting beauty of this Breton island last yearCountless thoughts and adjectives spring to mind when I look back on those precious weeks.  Sometimes returning to the same place twice with the same fellow travellers can be a little risky.  Will it be as wonderful as the last time?  Will the place hold the same magic still?  Of course, we needn't have been concerned.  The air was still as pure, the weather as gloriously clement and the seafood as delectable.  However, if I am honest, the predominant emotion I am left with is gratitude.  Not for this island (I've always really wished I could live an entire year there) nor for the salty air and glittering sand but for my family.  It's hard not to get emotional whilst writing these words.  As many of you know from personal experience, it isn't easy living in a different country from the majority of your loved ones.  I prefer to put these regrets to one side and to feel deep, deep gratitude for having a family in which EVERYBODY gets on so very, very well.   All those lengthy conversations, silly jokes and long, long hugs have left me feeling calm - I'll admit, it took me quite a while to relax this summer - and positive.  Perhaps the person I hugged the hardest was my father - can you believe he will be turning ninety-two in a couple of months?- and my wonderful mother too, of course!  It is thanks to their love for us all and their generosity that that we were able to spend these days together.
And so I am back home. There are new adventures around the corner, many animals - not just hares - to create and an exciting business venture I'm so thrilled about.   Until I return with more news I will share, below, a few pictures of recent knits.  Because when there are holidays there is time to knit and read, and read and knit.

The Duck Egg Blue cardigan Angélique is wearing is a new pattern by Georgie Hallam called Posy.  If you'd look closely you'd find the odd grain of glittering sand and wisps of dried grass from Belle Ile as I knit this pretty much everywhere we went.  I even took it on a four-hour boat trip around the island although it was far to windy to wrestle with four double pointed needles!  The flower meadow, incidentally, is not the one in Belle Ile but another, equally beautiful, a few minutes' stroll from our home.
The baby cardigan was a gift for the hotel manager's wife who has a eight-month old daughter named Valentine.  I wanted to show my gratitude for the summer job Héloïse had been offered in Belle Ile.  The pattern is my third version of Dani Sunshine's Bella and I still love it as much as my first attempt.

My Ravelry notes for both knits may be found here and here.

Tomorrow is school and I would like to wish all parents and children a very happy new school year.  Finally, whilst I've been away from the computer for the best part of a month I have finally joined Instagram and am thoroughly enjoying it!  Would you like to come and say hello?
I am hugely looking forward to visiting your blogs again.
A bientôt,


  1. You return full of positive thoughts, good energy and a lot of projects. How amazing is join the family living in another country, those precious souls, the father, the mother...They are blessed to be healthy and be surrounded by all the beloved ones. The photos of Angelique are pieces of art.
    Thank you Stephanie for this wonderful post and welcome back!
    A warm hug from me

  2. Welcome back Stephanie,

    Glad to hear you had a lovely holiday. Spending it with your family is the best way there is. I can imagine how difficult it must be to live so far away from your relatives. Fortunately mine live close by. Which I am grateful for. They bring lots of joy? Love the photo!s of your parents and family!

    You made some lovely things during your summer break! Somehow I don't have enough inspirarion yet to start making something new. Hope it will come back soon!

    Have a lovely week!

    Madelief x

  3. It's not hard to tell that you had a wonderful time Stephanie, such a beautiful place.
    Your parents look amazing !
    Gorgeous knitting, pretty flowers and beautiful children.
    I'm looking forward to hearing all about your new ventures.
    V x

  4. Stephanie, WOW!!! Those wild-flowery photos are just stunningly beautiful. Love them!!! :-)

  5. Family time is precious - and when it is spent by the sea it's especially wonderful. It sounds (and looks!) like your holiday was lovely. How could it have been otherwise? You (and I) are blessed to still be able to spend time with our elderly parents. In two weeks my parents will arrive from the east, making a final move in a lifetime of traveling. Like you, I have spent years far from family, so it is particularly sweet, at this time of life, to know that they will be just around the corner.

  6. Good evening dear friend! It is so lovely to read all of your accounts of family life, your vacation, and your plans to surprise us with future business ventures! I am SURE you are going to succeed. And these pictures of your parents. WOW. They look stunning. Beautiful people with such health shining from them, Stephanie! And then there's Angélique.....that cardigan, those flowers....summer is waning here, but you have managed to hold on to it by gently throwing in a sweater for the chillier evenings, but the flowers still sing summer. This is glorious, and I am happy to be here with you.

    I started classes last week, but we have un jour de congé tomorrow for the American Labor Day. But it feels good to be back at school in French class.

    Big hugs to you dear friend, and I loved that excerpt from the book. When at sea shore, no reading, no writing, no planning...just sit or walk and listen to the song of the waves. Sounds good to me. BISOUS!

  7. Living by the sea for seven years, I never tired of it and I loved reading about your latest visit, Stephanie. I'm so glad you had a precious time with your family, and Angelique's sweater and your photos of her in it are beyond beautiful. Thanks for posting! xx

  8. It sounds as though you have had a great summer. I hope that the return to "real" life is good and I look forward to seeing your new projects. xx

  9. I woke reluctantly this morning to get my eldest out the door for her first day at secondary school - but my heart is still on holiday, too! Ours was a reunion of family and friends from the States, such easy, fun, comforting company - I completely understand your sentiments about living in another country far from family...but how lucky we are to have beautiful lives in our adopted countries! Thank you for sharing your photos, they are full of beauty and happiness - your parents are so lovely! I look forward to seeing what you get up to this autumn....those knits are just sublime! Chrissie x

  10. the beach is where we gather as a family, too.......where memories are made!!! (So glad you enjoyed the little book----it's one of my favorites.) Beautiful knits...beautiful photos.....beautiful family!

  11. So lovely to see you back. What a wonderful time you had. Love that your were able to give many hugs to your family.
    Best wishes on your new business venture, you will be amazing!
    The knits and your photos are beautiful as always. :)

  12. love the sweater and the wreath of flowers! Glad you had a good vacation and now you are back.I love the beach :)

  13. such beautiful knits, real treasures! and the book I have, it's so true about the 'deckchair apathy' this was the first year in a long time I experienced this! X

  14. Welcome back to blogland Stephanie! I know the sadness of being far away from my family as well so I cherish every moments with them. I am glad you were able to see your parents and relatives! Your father looks so well for his old age! I wish your children a great school year!

  15. Such a beautiful holiday post ... I adore the wildflowers and your photos are gorgeous!
    Barbara x

  16. Stephanie, welcome back to blogdom. Your have brought us a very special post with its island views and pictures of truly happy family members enjoying a holiday together. Lovely!

    Of course, the views of your knitting, particularly the blue cardi modeled by enchanting Angelique, are as inspiring as ever. The designs and yarns that you've chosen suit each other so very well. Thank you also for reminding that such a beautiful field of flowers actually exists!

    It's funny to report that here in New York had an unusually cool summer...most of the time, but since September has arrived, the heat and humidity have set up camp around here.


  17. Welcome back, Stephanie. It look like you had a beautiful holiday. Your knitting is gorgeous, as always. Best wishes to all of you on the return to school.

  18. It seems like you had a wonderful holiday and some precious family moments. I love your daughter's delicate cardigan and such beautiful photos amongst the flowers.

  19. Your father certainly does not look anything like his age! Such beautiful photos of you all. :) The meadow, your beautiful knitting and of course sweet little Angélique all look stunning. In a moment I'll go and have a little peep at your Ravelry page, although I'm taking an age to finish a cardigan myself so I shouldn't really put anything else on my to-do list just now. I might be tempted! ;)
    Jess x

  20. It sounds like you had a wonderful time and wow your Dad looks super young for 90, I hope I look that fab at such a wonderful age ! I have yet to join Instagram, one day, yes one day I will get one of those magical photo phones :-)

  21. Sounds like the most perfect holiday, and what lovely little cardigans you've knitted there, one very lucky little girl! :) xxx

  22. Great family shots.
    Your holiday looks idyllic, and your knitting fab. How do you get the time?
    Hope you have a lovely day,
    Liz x

  23. Oh wow -- your pictures are so beautiful! It looks like you had a wonderful time away. And little Angelique is so pretty -- with such a lovely new sweater. Gorgeous knits, as always!

  24. What a precious post dear Stephanie. These images of Belle-Ile, of the flower meadow warm my heart. How wondeful to spend time with beloved ones in such a place. And enjoy reading, knitting... sound like a moment of paradise.
    Happy new school year to Tristan and Angélique (what will the talented Heloïse be doing this year ?)
    Much love

  25. What a blissful sounding holiday with your lovely family. The photographs of Angelique in the meadow are stunning. So pretty with her flower garland in her hair and that lovely cardigan. Happy summer memories Stephanie. X

  26. Hi Stephanie, what a lovely holiday with your family, made all the more precious because you live away from them - your parents look wonderful, much younger than their years. Your cardigans are lovely and such beautiful photos of Angelique in the meadow. Good luck with your new business venture.
    Jane x

  27. Hi, I love your craft, is beauty, I love a colors, I follow your blog, hugs from Brazil.
    Visit my blog - Tita Carré - free patterns crochet

  28. I love the quote from a "Gift from the sea". I'm glad you all had such a wonderful holiday and our refreshed and ready for new projects and the autumn. The meadow looks just as beautiful as last year. Sarah x

  29. Gift from the Sea is an enchanting book in many ways and you have picked the perfect quote. And that meadow ... it is exquisite!

  30. Ma chère amie! I am coming via email...Anita

  31. Your photographs are a dream. The sea and the views and gorgeous Angelique in that pretty meadow in her equally pretty cardigan are pure delight. That duck egg colour suits her very well. Look forward to hearing about your new venture and so happy you have joined in the fun of Instagram. So happy to have stumbled across you there.xx

  32. Stephanie, your knitting is a dream as always. I love Angelique's duckegg jacket, and what a kind gift for the Hotel Manger's wife. I love the spray in your first picture, I can almost taste it. So glad you had a lovely holiday and got to enjoy your family, your mum and dad look amazing, so full of life.
    Good luck with all your plans, you deserve every success. With love, Linda x

  33. What a wonderful read, so beautiful and so full of the loveliness of summer. I just spent time with my family who all live in a different country, it is just fabulous and refreshing to be with them even if it is brief. And now we come to my favourite time of year, late summer early autumn full of nostalgia and a readiness to snuggle into winter. - Annie

  34. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?


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