Springtime In the Bunny Garden

Enjoying the sun

Enjoying the sun

Aha!  I managed to convince a few of the bunnies to hold still long enough for me to snap their picture!  It’s been so long since I’ve written that I thought today I would try to update my blog. I was surprised to find that even though it’s been so long since I’ve last posted, I’m still working on the same thing; knitting bunnies!

When I last wrote, I had just finished knitting the first few that I’d ever knit. To date, I’ve knit 16 ~ and just started on my 17th bunny! They are all one-of-a-kind and as you may be able to tell from the photos I’ll post; each has his/her own very distinct personality. I love knitting them and get so excited as I get close to completing one, because even I don’t know who they are or what personalities they have, until they’re totally finished. More than once,  I’ve stayed up all night working  because I was close to completion and couldn’t wait until morning to  find out who it was.IMG_6594 copy

The bunnies, as I’m sure you’ll notice if you look at pictures of the first ones  I made, (see previous post,)  have been gradually evolving. In creating them, my desire is to capture what I find most dear about rabbits and try to convey that essence in the bunny that I’m making. It’s definitely a challenge! The one thing that seems to really define the bunny, and make one bunny different from another, is it’s head shape and the size and shape of it’s facial features. When I say that they have evolved from the first few that I made, I’m referring to things about their heads and faces.IMG_6664 copy With each bunny that I make now, I’m sculpting their heads to make them closer to the shape of a real bunny. I have no pattern telling me how to do this it’s done purely by how I perceive it to be. The same is true with  stitching the facial features: it’s a process  mostly of trial and error, based purely on my perception at the moment~ about as far from an exact science as it could be and that’s what makes it so difficult to do.

As I’m creating a bunny, I can feel it’s story starting to develop in the back of my mind. At that point, I just “feel” it. I don’t really “know” it yet. It usually waits until I begin writing a listing for it to be revealed. I have enjoyed so much writing the beginnings of each of their stories in listings, that I have a new idea in mind that will involve each bunny being accompanied by a little book that will have an expanded version of that particular bunny’s story in it, illustrated by photos similar to the ones I’ve posted in their listings. The small book and the bunnyIMG_6702 copy IMG_6709 copy will be sold together as a set and will, of course, be one of a kind. This is still in the idea stage, but I’m very excited about it and hope to be able to begin the project within the next few months! Below are a few photos of my most recent bunny, finished 3/30/13, and just listed. I am going to include the beginning of her story as I have it listed and that will give you an idea of the kind of thing I have in mind to do. If my idea were now in the finished stage, what you would see in my shops is the bunny and an accompanying little book with an expanded version of her story, illustrated with photos of her~IMG_6960 copy something similar to this abbreviated version about Peony~
Everywhere I look I see Spring! If Spring were a flavor,  it would most definitely be sweet. Think about it.  ~  The spring trees are abloom in cotton candy shades of pink and white that hug their branches like puffs of spun sugar. The spring sky is unpredictable; one minute sun, the next- showers. The clouds pulling sun minutes into  shower minutes are the puffy billowy kind; marshmallow clouds. Sweet again! Spring is also about babies~ and all babies are sweet. Spring simply is~  Sweet!
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Spring has definitely come to the bunny garden! Aahh~ take a deep breath. What do you get? Sweet! The air is intoxicatingly sweet with the scent of Freesia. Looking out over the garden I see bunnies hopping every which way, heels so high in the air it seems they’d pull a bunny right over in a back flip! Like Spring, bunnies are sweet and Spring is bringing new bunnies to the garden.Looking out over the garden I can tell the bunnies are extra excited. They’ve discovered the crop of new spring greens, always the sweetest of the year. A pretty, large, pink flower suddenly hopped into the air with the bunnies. Wait! A hopping flower?? I looked closely before realizing that what I’d been staring at and thinking was a newly opened flower, wasn’t a flower at all, it was a new bunny!!! This little one kicked her heels higher into the air than the other bunnies & because she happened to be in front of a tree, she looked just like one of the tree’s pink blossoms. No question about her name. This was Peony, the sweetest little flower bunny; Sweet as Spring, Sweet as a marshmallow cloud, Sweet as the flower-scented air-  Sweet—– as a bunny! Peony is the newest bunny in the garden, and Peony is a genuine baby bunny, Springtime Sweet as Sweet can be!!

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July/August~ Needles and the Bunny!

Bunnies, bunnies and more bunnies!! Taking a little break from making handsmocked & embroidered dresses, I’ve spent the past few months knitting; one of my favorite things of all, to do. I first learned to knit when I was 12; my teacher was my 13-yr.-old friend who was very gifted & knew how to do more than most adults did. I think of her with gratitude every time I pick up my knitting needles. I never would have imagined when I first held a pair of needles in my hands that knitting would become the much-loved activity in my life that it very quickly became. I’ve truly enjoyed the past two months that I’ve devoted to  knitting!

I started a few months ago knitting a bunny from a Debi Birkin pattern that I found in an Etsy shop and fell in love with. This was the first time in all of the years that I’ve spent knitting, that I knit a bunny doll. I loved doing it! I loved knitting the little bunny so much that I had to knit another right away. To date I have knit several bunnies, each one different. It’s always a wonderful surprise to see the unique personality that emerges with each new bunny.  After knitting the first bunny I started experimenting, making changes to the pattern; molding it to get the “look” that I’m after.

I have always loved bunnies. Over the span of several years, I had 4 house bunnies; all very sweet and very special. I loved to study their faces. There is a special & unique sweetness that even the mischievous ones had. It is that special “sweet” look, so unique to bunnies, that I’m trying to capture in the faces of the bunnies that I knit.

The bunnies aren’t at all easy to make, in fact I find them more difficult than any sweater I’ve  made. It’s not the knitting itself that’s difficult, it’s the assembly; particularly the heads & faces.  To capture the bunny look that I want, requires much more than knitting an oval, bunny-shaped head. I start with that knit shape, but then I need to put a lot of filling into it so that it’s very firmly stuffed so that  I can squeeze the face to make indents where the eyes belong and make it pouffe-out in the cheeks and over the mouth. Once I squeeze an area to be the way I want it, I have  to stitch through the head from one side to the other;  back & forth, to hold the shape permanently.  Sculpting the face in this manner is a slow, difficult process, but one that I love doing, as this is where the bunny is formed as an individual. This is where its personality emerges.  Once the head and face are shaped the way I want them to be, I hand stitch with embroidery floss, the eyes, nose & mouth. Work on just the head/face alone, is very intense and takes several hours. This is the part that I find the most difficult in making the bunny~ but it is also the most fulfilling.

Assembling the rest of the bunny is easier than shaping the head & stitching the face, but it too is difficult. (The details are too long for this post, but perhaps in a follow-up post I’ll describe what that involves.)

Once I’ve created a bunny, it’s time to knit something for them to wear.  Usually I haven’t an idea what it will be until I’ve created them & seen what their personality is. For the first few bunnies, I knit sweaters,  but as I knit more bunnies I felt like it would be fun to knit whole outfits for some of them, so my more recent bunnies are dressed in coordinating outfits; sweaters & pants or sweaters & a skirt- or overalls. I like to hand embroider a little flower~ or vegetable, on their clothes, it’s sort of become my signature.  I will definitely continue with bunny-making in the future, as they’ve become one of my very favorite things to knit. I also knit lamb dolls and have a few patterns of some new animals I’d like to try; an elephant, a mouse, and a puppy, so keep checking back and you may see these in my shop soon.

In addition to my animal menagerie, I’ve knit a few baby poncho & pants outfits that I enjoyed knitting and I just started a new outfit, so it should be in my shop, in about a week. And THAT’S what I’ve been up to!!!

August has started off to be horribly hot. I’m really hoping that this isn’t an indication of the remainder of the month. I’m trying to keep in mind that Fall, my favorite season of the year, is just around the corner~  Trying to knit on a hot day can be a challenge. I find if I imagine Fall outside, with it’s wonderful crisp, refreshing air and brilliantly colored leaves that ride a breeze with the grace of a surfer riding a huge rolling wave, I can almost forget about the 100` plus temperatures outside. Almost!

I hope you’re enjoying your summer and are able to stay cool!