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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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!

June, 2012

It’s hard to believe it’s summer already. I feel as if I’ve just taken a giant leap into June from January, 2012. The past several months have been very busy, presenting surprises,  not all of them welcome-  but also, lots of exciting and challenging projects for me to try. You may have noticed my website was down for a while~ that’s because it got hacked. A lot of work on my son’s part, set me up with a new website.  Unfortunately, I’m having problems uploading my photos onto the site. A listing with no photos,  doesn’t work-   but my items, (currently 96 products,) can always be found here, at my Etsy shop. Please come and take a look and as soon as I’m able to get my website working smoothly, I’ll let you know with a new blog post. I’m hopeful it will be soon!

I’m very excited about the recent completion of one of my newest projects,  a hand smocked, hand embroidered decorative throw pillow. This is something I’ve wanted to try making for a few years now- you may even remember me mentioning it, many, many blogs ago. It took a long time to summon the courage to give it a try, but I finally decided to jump-in and tackle it. I found it extremely challenging, taking weeks to make since it’s almost entirely done by hand. It’s one-of-a-kind, and I think you’ll agree, definitely unique.  I’m very pleased with the results. Here is a picture,  and other views can be found in my Etsy shop~

Most recently, I’ve been spending all of my time knitting. I just finished knitting a baby blanket for my nephew’s soon-expected, baby boy. I created this blanket  without a pattern, designing it as I knit. It was a lot of fun to make! Here are a few pictures of the finished blanket- 

  I learned to knit when I was 12 from a good friend whom,  it seemed, could do everything. She was 13!  Little did I realize then, how invaluable her teachings would become. I have now been knitting for most of my life and it’s absolutely at the top of my list of favorite things to do.

I’m excited to try some new patterns that I got for some knit animals that will join the lambs and bunnies, of which I now have several,  in my shop. Currently I’m in the process of completing a little knit outfit, size 12mos., consisting of hand knit long pants & a little hand knit poncho, so that will be the next new item you’ll see in my shop~ as well as in my blog.

The past year’s been kind of a tough one for Pascal, who turns 13 July 4th. Though he no longer hears or sees well, we try to continue our walks as much as possible- weather permitting. Although yesterday’s 102` heat didn’t motivate either of us to even walk out the front door! I try to bring my camera on most of our walks, constantly looking for new pictures for the note cards that I love making. Within the past few months I’ve listed several new sets of cards with lots of fun and beautiful images to see, so if you have a minute, and enjoy looking at pictures, please feel welcome to stop by my etsy shop and have a look~

I hope you are enjoying summer, with it’s beautiful flowers and long, carefree days. I hope to be back soon with news that my website is fully working-  and with lots of new listings for you to see~  Until then, Enjoy!