Spring: Early Arrivals to the Bunny Garden

IMG_9258**(Be sure to click each photo to see it in full!)

I was so excited when I saw the two new arrivals to the Bunny Garden; the first this Spring. They’re a continuation of the ongoing evolution of my hand knit bunny creations that began a little over a year ago. Each bunny is one-of-a-kind & I never know who he or she is until they’re totally finished. I’m always  excited to see who emerges from the crossing of two needles and a ball of yarn.

The first arrival this Spring was Olivia.  As it turned out,  Olivia was just passing through the garden- (she sold immediately,)  Assembling her,  a little voice in my head said,  Hmm~  I wonder how she’d look if I attached her ears more behind her head- kind of like this-  and I held them about where I thought they should be…  They might look cute that way!  I’ve seen bunnies hold their ears like that before- and certainly if she was a lop her ears would be like that… but what if they didn’t look good? Once I sew them on I can’t take them off without ruining the bunny-IMG_9247

Then  another little voice sounded in my head~ Why take a chance? Just sew them on top of her head like the others, where you know they’ll look good-  Yes, but…  Back and forth the two voices went- until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I held the ears up to the back of her head one more time~ took a deep breath and began sewing them-  onto the back of her head.  Once I’d finished sewing them on, I looked at her and she seemed to have a little grin on her face. She looked back at me~  (I could swear I saw her wink~ )  with a grin that said, ” Yes!! I’m so cute now!”

That’s an example of the way my bunnies are constantly changing & evolving. I hadn’t planned on putting Olivia’s ears low on her head when I began to knit her. Each bunny is determined more by the shape of their head than anything else.IMG_9246

For some reason I don’t understand, every time I knit a new bunny their head shape ends up being different than any of the others that I’ve knit-  even though I do the same things when knitting them. Once I see the head shape that I’m going to be working with, ideas start coming to mind, guiding me on how to best sculpt the head and stitch the facial features;  my goal being to create a bunny that embodies the unique irresistible nature of live bunnies that I’ve known and  loved so much over the years.

Finished just yesterday, Rebecca is the second of the new Spring bunnies to the garden this year. You can see the difference in head shapes, between Olivia’s, pictured above, and Rebecca’s, (to the left.) Rebecca’s head has a shorter, rounder shape than Olivia’s did. IMG_9382 copyWith Rebecca, I again experimented with the placement of her ears. I also tried to fill her little cheeks out a bit to go with her more rounded head shape, the way real bunny’s cheeks appear. I once had a Netherlands Dwarf bunny that Rebecca’s  more compact, rounded face shape reminds me of. Soon I’ll be ready to begin another bunny. I’m curious to see what my next attempt with the needles is going to produce.
I wonder~ could this be the way a “real” bunny mom feels? Perhaps I’ve discovered the reason bunnies have such large families; they simply can’t wait to see who’s coming next-?
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Air Time for Me

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So, to steal a few minutes back from Pascal~

In my last post I wanted to give you a preview of the dress that I’m working on, but, as I explained then, Pascal has this way of dominating my thoughts, hence my blog! Since I’m ready to sew the dress pieces together, I thought I could still give you a bit of a preview.

The photo on the left, underneath this first picture is a view of my working area- Notice how neatly organized everything is? This “mess” is totally typical and necessary to my dress designing/making process.

IMG_8355 Next to the dress front you will see a picture torn from an  old calender. I like to have a picture to look at while I work. I especially like to look at these old calender photos because there are always so many things going on in them; lots of mini stories within the whole. I find them great for sparking story and design ideas. You probably won’t notice any correlation between the picture I am looking at and the work on my dress, but in some undefinable way, what I have stitched was probably remotely related to a thought about something I saw in the calender picture. At the very least, I love looking at these pictures when I work.

I think it’s probably very similar to another “necessity” while I work, and that is that I must always have classical music playing. You definitely don’t see Beethoven anywhere in my work, but believe me, ( I know this sounds funny,) but there is a very strong influence of classical music in my  work. Somewhere in my mind these “necessary” elements merge and produce what you see when you look at one of my dresses.

The last photo is the other photo that I had intended for the preview in myIMG_8346 copy last post. At that point I was about halfway finished with the smocking and embroidery, as you will see if you compare this photo with the one at the beginning. I cannot yet refer to the photo at the beginning as being of the finished front. It may be, but I won’t know that until the dress is completed. Often while I am putting a dress together, I’ll see that maybe it would look better with an additional row or two of smocking- or I’ll see a change I want to make in the scene. Sometimes I assemble the dress without wanting to change a thing. Right now I think I’m finished with the front, but we’ll see~  I plan now,  to begin sewing the dress together. This normally takes me about two days, so hopefully, in 2-3 days I will have this size 2 dress listed for sale. You will be able to find it on my website, as well as in my etsy shop .

* I apologize for the gaps in the text. Everytime I insert a photo it creates these gaps, and I haven’t been able to fix them back again~

Work In Progress; A Peaceful Ending

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Good Morning!

As you can see from this photo, I finished the dress I’ve been working on! On January 25, and 27, I posted photos so that you could see how such a scene develops.

The scenes on my dresses are always a combination of smocking and embroidery. Smocking is wonderful for covering large flat areas, such as in the pasture, the hills, and the sky and for creating interesting  design patterns by varying smocking stitches.

Everything else in the scene is embroidered. I like to use embroidery because it allows me to add texture. Figures such as the lamb are almost three- dimensional. Tiny details like facial characteristics, become much more defined and realistic when they are embroidered. Embroidery allows me to work with thread almost as if it were paint.

As you can see in the first photo, (from the post of Jan.25,)  Peace sort of blends into the background, as does the little bird in the tree above her. When I encounter that problem, a little “landscaping” usually solves it.

By the time of the second photo, two days later, I had embroidered lots of flowers and grasses surrounding Peace and she becomes more visible. At this point, the scene looked kind of pale and blah. It definitely needed color to perk it up and bring it out, so I added some bright, orange-red, flowers, and a bright- green line at the edge of the pasture defining the pasture as well as adding color. The Magnolia tree with the bird in it, seemed to be lost in the background as well, so I filled the entire area behind it with blue sky.

Once the scene was completed, I returned to the smocking across the bottom and top of the scene, to see how it might better be  “framed.” I added four additional rows of smocking to the bottom, using the pale yellow of the main smocked pattern, a row of white, and then finishing with a row of the same bright yellow that I used in Peace’s flower garland. The last row of smocking in bright- yellow,  finished the scene off nicely with an additional touch of color.

Later, once I put sleeves on the dress, I was able to use that same bright yellow to trim the sleeves and button placket and tie it all together!