It’s Flower-Knitting Season

Web-Flowers-are-Quick-Knits

Knitted Flowers are the quintessential quick knit. Add knitted flowers to anything old, new, hand-made, ready-to-wear, unapologetically for you, and that made-to-be-special heirloom gift.

While a scarf of simple construction takes days, or much much longer if it is made in fingering weight yarn and has any sort of color-work, short rows, or gradient color changes and patterning so popular now. Brioche can take weeks.

Flowers, on the other hand, require a few hours, or as little as 20 minutes. I was sitting at the kitchen table the other day making Camellias and Bling Flowers (Cherry Blossoms by another name) in different gauge yarns, from fingering to worsted-weight, so as to achieve a variety of sizes, from delicate cherry blossoms to  . . . one right after another.

The picture below shows a purse I recently made: a W purse in Hot Pink with 2 beaded Camellias and many Bling Flowers. After beading all those flowers, I decorated the purse in an extravagant way.

W-purse-with-camellias-and-bling-flowers

Picture a 6-8-10 bag in white and pale green for a spectacular bridal keepsake purse. Or Grace Kelly’s Overnight Bag in black and grey for a gallery opening, or in palest blue with a bright garden of flowers in the colors of sorbet as a Mother’s Day gift.

For smaller, quicker gifts, I make pairs of flowers, sew them onto flower clips and give them as decorations that can be used singly or in pairs to adorn sandals, one’s hair. . . the neckline of a favorite t-shirt. Here is a picture of a purchased ruffly scarf decorated with a single beaded bling flower.

Noni-bling-flower-with-ruffled-scarf

How long does a Bling Flower take to make? you might be wondering.

I timed myself. It took between 15 and 30 minutes to make each worsted-weight Bling Flowers on a size 6 needle. It didn’t take long for me to memorized the pattern. That’s a speedy hand-knitted gift. You could have a lovely hostess gift flower clipped to a bottle of wine or jar of tasty Sundried Tomato bread spread done in less than an hour.

Sundried-Tomatoes-with-Cherry-Blossom.gif

Knitted flowers are a beautiful and economical gift that allow you to demonstrate your devotion to loved one in a heartfelt way. That’s the best kind of gift.

When you seek inspiration, look into the world

Bluebells-Gauntlets-with-Forget-me-notsI look forward to and enjoy Spring flowers more than I ever did before I wrote my book on knitted flowers, Noni Flowers. It has always been my favorite time of year, but the process of working on knitted flowers for my book taught to me notice things about plants that I had previously been a bit blind to: the structure of a flower, the coloring of its petals, the way it unfurls, the shapes of buds, the procession of leaves, bud, flower. . . there are details I had not previously noticed. I notice the color of stems now, the shapes of sepal leaves, the colors and form of stamens all with an eye not just to enjoy but to knit.

The Forget-me-not flower details we can't usually see.

The Forget-me-not flower details we can’t usually see.

When an interviewer asked me, on the heels of the book’s publication in 2012 what inspired me to make these flowers, “lifelike flowers,” my answer to her question is, in many ways, the same answer or, rather, advice that I gave to writing students so many years ago and to my knitting students now: When you seek any inspiration, the basis for a story, a description of place, events in the past or future, a design theme, a color scheme, a fair isle design, the colors to pick for the tulip you might be inclined to knit out of my book, you don’t have to come up with that material whole cloth out of your own brain.

tulip-color-possibilitiesIf I resorted only to what resided in my mind already, the flowers I might knit would look little different from those in the drawings of daisy-like or tulip-ish flowers I drew as a child. They were approximations of what I was then capable of drawing, the flowers most familiar to me.

I suggest to all of my students to become better observers of the world, but also to trust their own creative impulses. So often we talk ourselves out of our ideas. The first idea might be so grand we don’t think we can possibly make it real . . . but maybe we can. Maybe you can. When I started working on my book, I didn’t know if I could pull it off. But I said I could and I told Random House I could. And then I did. There were flowers I chose not to try, telling myself they were too hard: orchids, for example. but I am quite certain now that if I set my mind to sit down and work on an orchid until I could hold the finished one in my hand, I could do it. I could make an orchid out of yarn.

It’s not easy to sit down and do what you don’t think you can do. . . but what if you do and you create something amazing. There are examples of this everywhere. Take a look at this inspiring Ted Talk “Embrace The Shake” by artist Phil Hansen. And his inspiring and unconventional work:

Phil Hansen's beautiful portrait on Starbucks cupsHis recipe for exploring the limits of your creativity?

phil-hansen-quoteDon’t talk yourself out of your creativity.

Expect to fail. Expect the creative process to lead you to a place you might not have thought you’d go.

 

An Argument for More Ruffles . . . and More Flowers

Ruffles and Flourishes . . .  you can just imagine how they will look. Abundant. Lush. A bodice crusty with embroidery, beading, gold flourishes. Or fine silk charmeuse ruffles across a pretty peach-pink chemise. In music, ruffles and flourishes are also lushness and also honor, the highest honor, in fact, that can be paid. Ruffles are played on the drums, and flourishes on bugles. Four Ruffles and Flourishes is the highest honor of all.

This is an argument for more Ruffles. . . and more flowers. In my own knitting bag right now, lying on top of the almost finished sleeves for my new Ella Coat, are dozens of little knitted flowers. You see, I intend to decorate the bodice of the coat with these floral flourishes, a nod to beauty, to knitting, and to honor my own work.

These little flowers, as I make them, please me, every single one. The patterns I’m using are Bling Flowers, the small and large flowers. I’ve also gotten out Hydrangeas (small ones), the Cactus Flower, and Forget-me-nots in DK weight yarn. Besides decorating the bodice of my Ella, I’m making flowers as gifts.

They are, in my opinion, perfect gifts. You see, I wish I had time to make gauntlets for my women friends, and lovely ruffled scarves that can be wound around and around on cold snowy days. But my knitting time is quite focused and gifts must be small. Last minute flowers sewn to flower clips (big shipment just in! Tell your LYS!) are just the thing: I clip them to the necks of wine bottles that have been tied round with ribbon, clip them to the tops of gift boxes. Clip one to the corner of a place card at a party, give a pair to clip to strapy sandals in summer or that mid-winter cruise to the Caribbean. Clip them to the cuffs of your cropped jeans, or the neckline of your t-shirt, to your hair before you go to that wedding, to your daughter’s hair before she goes down the isle. . . something blue, forget-me-not . . .

You’ll think of myriad lovely ways to deck and be’deck your friends, the halls, holiday wreaths, trees . . . yourself.

Starting next week I will be sharing several different ways you can hand knit some of these as last-minute, quick knits and economical but gorgeous ways to present them as special, thoughtful gifts! This time of year we all feel pressed for time to knit something beautiful for those we love. Come back soon and I will show you how easy it is to incorporate beauty into your holiday knitting without feeling overwhelmed . . . and without overwhelming your budget!