Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Puddle Duck

Puddle Duck.  It's a pretty sweet name, wouldn't you agree?  After last week's creamy rice pudding knitting experience (aka Worsted yarn knitting) I was hungry for more.  I happily chanced upon Melissa Schaschwary's latest pattern on Ravelry, Puddle Duck, and I was hooked.  And then I became rather excited at the thought of knitting it in white and yellow; the colours of Beatrix Potter's Jemima Puddle Duck.  These are simple pleasures, dear friends, and I do not know whether it was that particularly cheery shade of yellow or the style of this sweater but that happy feeling accompanied me during every stitch.  Melissa's pattern though simple nevertheless taught me a few new techniques; the Twisted German Cast On method and Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn Bind Off, for example.  I opted also for adding pockets which Angélique finds very handy indeed for storing her neverending collection of stones and leaves.   Finally, the yarn - Madelinetosh Vintage in the Butter colourway - was a joy to use.  I would best describe it as robust and hearty which just shows how sorely lacking I am in knitting terminology!
On Sunday we took the long, winding route (made longer still by a charming-looking elderly man, sporting an orange silk scarf, who was driving a tiny, vintage and bright green car at a very slow speed) to one of my favourite villages, Azay Le Rideau, where we visited its Renaissance château once more.  It is a jewel in the crown of the Loire Valley historical monuments, built between 1518 and 1524, and even the fact that the gardens were closed for renovation did not dampen our spirits.  It is, I am sure you will agree, a delight to observe the children's enthusiasm on such outings.  Tristan was especially thrilled by the beauty of his surroundings and almost cried with disappointment when we finally left.  Therefore I chose to include some of his pictures here to share with you. 
And what a delight it was to capture so many glimpses of yellow through the diamond panes.  I am not certain whether my current craving for all shades of yellow stems from the short-lived beauty of autumn leaves, like detached pieces of sunshine, or perhaps I am instead in search of glowing light as days dwindle with every passing week.  Last night I read Victoria Finlay's chapter, Yellow, in her rich and wonderful book, Colour, and fell upon these words:
"No colour has a neat unambiguous symbolism, but yellow gives some of the most mixed messages of all.  It is the colour of pulsating life - of corn and gold and angelic haloes - and it is also at the same time a colour of bile, and in its sulphurous incarnation it is the colour of the Devil.  In animal life, yellow - especially mixed with black - is a warning. [...]  In Asia yellow is the colour of power - the emperors of China were the only ones allowed to sport sunshine-coloured robes.  But it is also the colour of declining power.  A sallow complexion comes with sickness; the yellow of leaves in autumn not only symbolises their death, it indicates it."
Colour, (Hodder and Stoughton, London: 2002) p.  225.

So, how do you feel about the ambiguous colour yellow?  Which things do you associate with it?  I always think of bees, the crocus and daffodil and lemon tart, of course, and real farmer's eggs with bright yellow yolks.   And cats too, obviously!  For those of you who haven't spotted her on my Madame Millefeuilles pages both here and here I must introduce you to Miss Primrose Kitten below.  I was very nervous indeed about making her for a wonderful lady who breeds pedigree cats in England but I am glad to write that she has found favour with her future mistress.  I have, incidentally, given curious Primrose a tail since this picture was taken when she climbed the old stone wall to admire the lichen and could not get down again!
 Happy week friends!  May your autumn days be filled with golden light.

Stephanie x

ps   For information, I purposefully juxtaposed the two photographs of the rear view of Angélique and the cherub sculpture.  I simply could not resist!

ps My Ravelry notes for Puddle Duck may be found here.


  1. Oh, what a delight this post is! Your little girl is too cute. And I'm completely in love with Miss Primrose Kitten ♥
    Yellow reminds me of my aunt Maria, of her little country cottage and her little garden of daffodils that used to turn into a yellow blanket every spring... If I close my eyes I can still smell the heavenly perfume of that yellow sea of blooms.

  2. Well your little cherub is looking beautiful in her new yellow sweater! I love yellow it's the colour of sunshine and that is the only association I need to make me love it!
    Congratulations to all the photographers concerned in the making of this post....such an amazing place!
    V x
    P.S. Tarte au Citron is another good yellow!!! ;)

  3. Angélique looks angelic and cheeky by turns - many faceted, just like the colour yellow! ;)

    I've also been working with yellows recently and have just finished grafting together a new cowl made with several shades of yellow: Butter, Pollen, Cadmium and Sunshine - all but the 3rd are great things to associate with the colour - I'm afraid I can make no sense of 'Cadmium' as a name for a shade of yellow! I'd like to think that my inspiration to make my yellow cowl came from the beautiful colours of Autumn around me, although I can't say for sure...

    Adore the little Puddle Duck jumper - especially like the shaping around the shoulders and the line details. Lovely :)

  4. There is SO much here, I don't know where to begin.

    Azay le Rideau is one of my favorite stops while in France, and I have a large tapestry of this special château hanging on the wall leading up to my loft bedroom!!!!

    Stephanie, the little one is gorgeous in this mellow yellow of autumn, and against the backdrop of this old site, the promise of youth blends in so perfectly with the history of this area. Your creation, oh dear, what a joy to never grow up in spirit, for us ladies still want a lovingly made stuffed animal to hold on to...I want one so badly! And the description of that very fashionable gentleman with the orange scarf makes me happy - it makes me happy to know there are many fashionable people out there still who just want to go out in their motor car and enjoy the wind against their face.....

    Big hugs and thanks to you for making my day! LOVE, Anita

  5. Your daughter looks adorable in that sweet yellow sweater. The colour suits her and compliments her beautiful eyes.
    Your little tour of the wonderful architecture was enjoyable too.

  6. Awww, your little Angelique is such a doll. What a beautiful sweater! And photos (Thank You Tristan!)! And the yellow! Annnnd Miss Primrose Kitten! Just a beautiful post all around!!!

  7. Beautiful location for a photo shoot, your daughter looks adorable in her new sweater. I love yellow, but unfortunately it doesn't like me, it makes my skin look green.

  8. Dear Stephanie,

    Your daughter makes a beautiful model! Your yellow 'puddle duck' sweater looks really pretty on her! Lovely name for a pattern too :-)

    I enjoyed your description and photo's of your tour cross the country. An enchanting castle and beautiful shades of yellow!

    Have a lovely evening!

    Madelief x

  9. love the sweater! the design is really interesting, with the yoke and the exposed seams. Lovely. Now onto the yellow! I love the color yellow and yet rarely wear it, but when I do, I am beyond cheerful :)

  10. Oh, this darling is growing up! What a happy frock she wears. Ams what a lovely venue for this photoshoot.

  11. Wow, the chateau and her grounds are beautiful. Love Miss Primrose too.

  12. Such a wonderful post dear Stephanie with so many beautiful images. Angélique looks so lovely in this bright yellow and white sweater, a lovely pattern. I also love the little duck she is holding, is that also one of your creations? Miss Primrose Kitten also looks delightful in her pretty patterned dress and shoulder bag.
    Yellow in all of its shades is my favourite colour, it always reminds me of happiness and sunshine.
    xoxoxo ♡

  13. I adore yellow and think the wee jumper is just perfect. You do have a talent for finding lovely patterns and then making them in the most perfect colours. I had a wee giggle at the cherub's behind photo! It looks like a wonderful place for a family trip too. Juliex

  14. Yellow has always been one of my favorite colors, more so now that I have read your post! The sweater, and your daughter are beautiful!

  15. The yellow you've chosen for the sweater is wonderful and Angelique looks so sweet in it. Miss Primrose Kitten is adorable too. Have a lovely weekend Stephanie xx

  16. Angélique is a beautiful model .:) To me yellow is a happy colour, warm sunshine, golden light. I love the cheeky cherub picture! All the pictures show what a beautiful place you visited and Miss Primrose kitten matches the lichen perfectly! Jess xx

  17. This is too cute for words!!!! Your little 'A' looks absolutely darling in yellow! I loved every beautiful photo on this post Stephanie!

  18. Your little one is such a cutie pie! Her sweet smile is really adorable! You took great pictures of the château. I love the view from the window. Yellow to me is a sacred color because back in the old days, only the emperor and highly religious masters were allowed to wear yellow. My family is very conservative so I was brought up to revere yellow. We never wear the color and never put it on anything that may disgrace it. Such is the price of reverence. Even nowadays, I can't bring myself to wear yellow although I do own objects of that color.

  19. Oh my! Here I am enjoying your post and my laptop just gave a ding and announced you just left a comment on my last post :) Fun! Puddle Duck and the one who is modeling it are charming indeed as is Miss Primrose Kitten even sans tail. I love the quote about yellow and that is a book I want to check out. I just got a copy of Merry Hall and have barely begun it although I am enjoying Nichols chatty style so far. It is rain/snow/icing here today and I have another bunny on the needles. Blessings to you and yours. xx

  20. Miss Primrose Kitten is a delight, she looks very fresh in her yellow dress. And Angelique!!!!! Oh my could she get any sweeter? She is darling in anything but especially that yummy sweater.

  21. Such beautiful photographs, a beautiful cheery little sweater and of course, such a beautiful little girl. Such a joyful post!

  22. Beautiful - all over it including the jumper and Angélique! I have golden yellow in my living room, it just suits the room.
    When we went to Villandry in September, my mother mentioned that she'd heard of Azay-le-rideau when she was 15 and had dreamed of going ever since - I hadn't known that and we saw the signs, but I'd heard of Villandry gardens, so we went there…! Perhaps next time!

  23. that sure is bright and cheery! lovely color-it reminds me of springtime : ) cute kitten too!!

  24. Oh yes, yellow. As a natural dyer I can tell you that it's many varities are the easiest colours to achieve on naturally dyed yarn. It is the colour that reminds me of the cyclical nature of life... as Findlay says, it marks both the rise and the fall, the spring and the autumn of things.

    Lovely cherubs in the post, both flesh and stone ... she looks to be growing up fast that girl of yours.

  25. Yellow was my favourite colour when I was little, nothing looked right to me without it. Recently I've been craving a yellow scarf. I just need to find the right yarn and I'll be away.

  26. Angélique is adorable in her Puddle Duck outfit. I like yellow; most of the walls in my home are painted a shade of yellow with the attractive name of "Honey Harbour". Rather fitting for my little harbour of a home, cozy insider while the first snow flies outside my window.

    Thanks to Tristan for sharing some of his photos of your glorious explorations.


  27. Dear Stephanie,

    Beautiful cheery post and I enjoyed seeing Tristans lovely photos of your day out.
    Sweet Angelique looks so beautiful in her Puddle Duck outfit and love the rear views of her and the little cherub. Miss Primrose Kitten is so very cute too. Also loved seeing the magnificent Castle and the reflection in the water
    Many thanks for the kind visit and the lovely words you left me -
    Wishing you a happy new week

  28. The yellow and white look perfectly fresh and charming, Stephanie, and it's good to catch up with you again. I've spent some time in your lovely country lately and plan to do much more so.

  29. Dear Stephanie,
    Azay le Rideau is a jewel and so is sweet Angelique, little angel. Yellow suits her perfectly and she is a perfect match with the decor! (even her eyes reflect the water colours!)
    I was in love with your hares and it seems that I now will be with your cats!
    Each of your posts is a very precious moment, and brings new thoughts, new dreams, and a lot of beauty.

  30. Mille mercis pour tout.
    Tu es incroyable, mille bisous pour toi.
    voyance gratuite en ligne par mail


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