Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sunflowers at Sunset and a Colorful Hen Party

The other night Julia and I arrived at The Sunflower Field just before the sun was setting. This is one of the prettiest times of the day. As we were picking armfuls of the Giant Sungold blooms, the light got even prettier. The sunflowers began to glow almost magically as the light went lower in the sky. I ran for the camera and started snapping away.

This season's difficult weather has caused so many of the different sunflowers to blossom late. This variety, which I cannot remember the name of, usually is one of the most reliable bloomers, sending out multiple stalks of bright yellow flowers on rather short stalks. This year, they began so late but they sure looked beautiful the other night.

The sun began to disappear behind the mountains and the field went dark. I finished up my picking in almost dark, stocking the buckets for "sunflower fairies" to enjoy on their kitchen tables throughout the weekend. The season is sadly almost over. We've got a few more rows of plants that are about 2 feet high and we're not sure they will even bloom. They're trying hard and we'll see what the next couple weeks of weather brings.

To continue the previews of my new book Color by Kristin, here's a photo of the knit in the round yoke sweater I tentatively titled "The Duchess of Devonshire's Pullover."I think the colors of this sweater fit in nicely with the late season sunflowers. I wanted to include one of these traditional "knit in the round yoke sweaters" in this book because I think they are great for knitters just beginning to explore colorwork.

I'm kind of chicken crazy. I have raised egg laying chickens since the 1980's. I love all the different colors the birds come in. I thought it would be fun to include my brood in the photos we took at the farm. Here, my friend Shalee looks to be having quite the conversation with the birds.

Here's a close-up of the bottom sleeve and sweater edging showing the several color garter stitch.

So where did "The Duchess" come in? In my studio, I have a photo of The Duchess of Devonshire feeding her chickens in a fabulous silk ballgown at Chatsworth, her family's magnificent estate in England. My sister Laurie sent me the card several years ago and it makes me laugh everytime I look at it. (The photo was by Bruce Weber.) If only I could look so elegant feeding my chickens every morning. Instead, I slop around in Blundstones and old pants. But my chickens love me all the same. We wanted to use the postcard as spot art in the book but were advised not to for legal reasons. Here's a photo of The Duchess in a snappy coat that I found on the internet which has a similar feeling.

In the end, we titled the sweater "Hen Party Pullover" but I will always think of it as "The Duchess' Pullover." I love the how the Pumpkin and other fall-inspired colors turn the traditional "knit in the round" sweater on its ear.


SusanR said...

Gorgeous photos of the sunflowers in the late afternoon sun Kristin. Love the background story to the Duchess pullover which has wonderful fall colors. Now you've got me wanting to raise chickens!

Turtle said...

i was so bummed to not have any sunflowers this year (sadly my neighbor kept accidentlly mowing them before they could get any heighth!) I am still begging hubby for chickens, but i agree with you! gorgeous sweater!

Willow said...

I can never look at a sunflower now without thinking of you, Kristin. I love the colors in the cuff.

Vermont Designs said...

I visited Chatsworth in '96. Driving across the bridge to the parking field we had to be very careful, Debo's chickens own the place! I collected wool locks to bring home to spin a memento. Hmmm, wonder where that went? Cheers, Shelagh.

Christine Thresh said...

I'd like to see your photo of the Duchess feeding chickens in her ball gown.