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  • Thank you for the lovely photos at the top of this post. I spent an idyllic two weeks in a small town south of the Loire Valley like 25 years ago and your photos brought back many happy memories. We did day trips to the chateaux — all the biggies and a few really small ones. My most memorable was the Château d’Amboise where I wandered into a small chapel and discovered that Leonardo da Vinci was buried there! A moment I’ll never forget.

    • Thank you Kate ! Now I want to go too! Which brand of yarn are you using doe the Hana sweater??? I, too, morn the loss of Rowan’s Denim

    • I visited both Amboise and Chenonceau about 20 years ago. Plus a big ole pile of other chataux. It was a glorious two weeks. The sun shone happily throughout the whole holiday. #lifegoals to buy a cottage in Chinon and retire there.

  • The first gardening book I ever bought was of French gardens. Oh how my novice self aspired to create that seemingly effortless beauty and style. Reality soon reared its weedy, patchy head, but every year I ride my bike along a block long path in Minneapolis where the apple blossoms arch overhead and say to myself “I’m in France, I’m in France!”

    • I have yet to find that block in Minneapolis that will let me pretend I am in France, I wish you could share its location, or even just its neighborhood so I could stumble upon it. Several years ago, we took a garden tour of Provence, and were able to visit several private gardens; it was pretty glorious, and anything that could recapture the memory, if only for a few minutes, would be a lovely reminder.

      • Absolutely adored seeing several chateaux in 2018. Fell in love with Chenonceau – would live there in a heartbeat!! The floral arrangements were gorgeous – icing on the cake!

        Hope to one day be able to make such beautiful cables. Your work is lovely!

  • I’m totally ignorant of French gardens, thank you so much for the pictures, but it really reminds me of Biltmore which is always full of flowers and whose gardens are lovely and designed for cutting

  • Your vacay photos are absolutely WOW! And your ‘fate intervening’ sounds the same as mine…except a deadline;)

  • Oh, France!! It’s been too long! Thanks for giving me a virtual visit! Those flowers! Im inspired to grab all the French yogurt jars I’ve been collecting and fill them with fleurs!

    And Junko Okamoto!! I recently discovered her, too! Working on her Papa sweater now, but several of her designs are on my to-do list. Cool stuff!!

  • Oh what gorgeous photos! That alone must have kept you busy. But then you go and take along a beautiful complicated sweater and work on it on a trip and it doesn’t get lost! Like a high-wire act with no net. All that texture in denim looks A-Mazing. Still thinking about those jam jars…

  • On one of my daughters and my trips to Paris we visited Giverny, Monet’s home and garden. Very peaceful and lovely. Better than seeing pictures. We also visited Versailles on the day the gardens were open and the fountain was dancing to music. Beautiful memories of two very distinct garden styles, Monet’s wild and free, Versailles tamed and perfect.

  • I put aside my Daytripper dreams when warm weather came calling. Now that it’s nippy in the morning, I get to pull out my swatch and all those gorgeous colors! Thank you for the reminder. Also, I love the colors you chose!

    • Me too – those are gorgeous colors!

  • Well jell as they say! We did chateaux in our youth with the just-take-the-next-train planning method and so ended up at a ruined one… must get back there one day. Too hot for knitting for much of August! I hope you are not flooded out or otherwise suffering from weather!

  • Thanks for that video and for your own photos, Kay. Wow – all I can say is that it’s been too many years since I saw Chenonceau. I must return, and on a weekly schedule to boot.

  • The flowers are nice and the works in progress are looking good. However, you didn’t address two major questions: 1) what yarn did you buy? and 2) has Olive forgiven you for not bringing her with?

    • I did not get to a single yarn shop (which likely would have been closed in August so I didn’t really look for them), but I found a lady selling her handspun at a little marketplace and I got a lovely skein of onionskin-dyed linen/cotton/ramie. What to do with it didn’t enter my mind….

      Olive is still mad. Annoyance is her baseline.

  • Ooh, a vacation! Actual, real travel, not virtual! How lucky you are. I’m gobsmacked by the floral arrangements. So many are just green, wow! Thanks for sharing these fabulous photos.

  • I loved Chenonceau! It was one of the few places that still had an intact kitchen. I also loved the kitchen garden (sense a theme here?). I loved all the funky pumpkins so much, I planted them in my own garden the following spring. I would go back in a heartbeat!
    Btw, are you allowing for shrinkage in your sweater? It’s beautiful!

    • Yes! I really appreciated the kitchen as well, and the fabulous pulley system they had for getting supplies up from the river

      • I loved that pulley system! And the extravagant number of giant copper pots. Really craving a return visit, during tulip season or Christmas. They really do it up!

    • Because of this sweater’s “log cabin”-ish construction, it should shrink fairly evenly on all sides, and it’s a square sweater with no shaping, so I just cast on for a bigger size than usual and am leaving it in fate’s hands. Pretty confident though!

      • Exactly what I was going to ask you – how to accommodate for shrinkage. I happen to have ten skeins of Rowan Denim in my stash and I love how your Hana is coming along.

  • Fabulous photos, reminding me that France is just as inspirational as I’ve remembered it is. Because of your earlier post, Kay, I’m also working on the Hana sweater (out of handspun merino). I’m also on vacation for the last week (coast of Oregon) and have had several hours a day to knit. However, I’ve only finished piece #1 and most of #2 for the back. You’re fast, and your sweater is so lovely. I may have to make another Hana in denim cotton.

    • Lol wait until we see how this one works in denim! And your progress sounds great to me, this is not fast knitting, especially at first when the knitter is so chart-bound. I had two 7 hour flights plus a fairly long train ride, which gave me a huge boost. I’m finding the front is going faster just because I know the charts better now, but alas I no longer have anybody driving me around for several hours a day and I’m stalling!

  • Beautiful Kay, just beautiful!

  • Oh my, this is divine! My passion-meter for growing Things That Bloom is pegged with those lovely pictures. It would be harder than picking a favorite child (unfairly easy, I only have one) to have a favorite, but that red really captured me. The casual, flowy elegance throughout, oh my! My Destination Pullover with some delightful peek-a-boo flower pockets (again, with the flower blooms!) made it to her sleeve divide and a bit – then lack of concentration to do more than one instruction on a row and ‘emergency’ gift knitting interrupted. It will be great to have a ‘nearly done’ sweater to pick up and finish though!

  • I can’t help wondering how this patchwork business works with cotton denim yarn that shrinks in different proportions length- and width-wise. Did you shrink the yarn before beginning to knit?

    • It’s a slight gamble but since I’ve knit many log cabin blankets in denim, I’m pretty confident that with the knitting going in 2 directions, I’ll get fairly even shrinkage. It’s super helpful that the sweater body has no shaping. Watch this space, I may go down in flames on this thing but I had to try it. I am thinking of washing and drying the finished back piece before spending more time on the front and sleeves.

      • Maybe designate this sweater as gently hand wash and air dry only? It would be a pity if it shrank. It’s absolutely lovely.

  • I am partial to a jam jar, too. The arrangement in front of the Madonna and Child is beautiful. The garland of leaves around it gave the right touch of completion. The progress on Hana is also beautiful. I like the yarn and think its color is perfect with cables. They look so crisp and balanced. Hopefully there will be no shiny objects coming your way until after its completion. 😉

  • Why is everything more beautiful in France?? I cannot wait to get back there one day, it is a destination that is more beautiful than any picture you ever see.
    I started a Hana too, and I love it. I haven’t done lots of cabling in my knitting life and was a bit worried and wow – I am cabling without a cable needle and chugging right along and feeling like a knitting genius. It’s my first JO pattern and it’s amazingly straightforward and easy to follow. It is my first experience of really being in awe of how good the pattern writing is.

  • 1-800-fleurs! Love it. Your knitting is so dreamy. Looking forward to see what it does!

  • In spite of the title of this post, when I looked through those pictures I was sure it was going to have something to do with Kaffe Fassett. Those colors!
    And the sweater looks amazing. I’m not quite ready to face Rhinebeck this year, but fingers crossed for next….

    • Jam jars! So sweet!

  • What color embroidery are you going to seam your Hana sweater with? I am going to have to make this one! I love the blue you are using. I put this pattern on my list but I have just started my Petula sweater in Barnsides with a side of Roasted Persimmon. I love the way the Mohonk yarn feels. The hand is different. It seems as if it will wear and age very well, and I am very happy with the way the two colors look together. Maybe I can find some yarn at Rhinebeck for the Junko Okamoto project.

  • Thank you for the inspirations! I’ve screen shot some of the wall paper and florals for my next sweater design. You are very lucky to have these memories. And very generous for sharing!

  • This brought back memories of my trip to the Loire Valley ten or so years ago. It was absolutely lovely! I just finished my Mucklestone mash up last night. I combined the styling of Stopover with the patterns of Daytripper and some of the colors Ann used for her Daytripper and am quite pleased with the results. https://www.ravelry.com/projects/dsews2/stopover

  • I just want to go to Paris, sit at a cafe with my special coffee ☕️ and knit while taking in the city.

  • You went to Chenonceau ? I am tres jealous. On my bucket list, along with Chatsworth (whch was closed when I was nearby) and Castle Howard (shades of “Brideshead, Revisited”, a grad student days touchstone) are the chateaus of the Loire Valley.

    I did get to Fountainbleau and Vaux le Vicomte, ages ago.

    Wish you guys were at the NJ Sheep and Wool next weekend (Sept 11/12) — it’s like a mini-Rhinebeck, with lots of sheep and herding dogs. Very manageable, very outside in open barns with lots of indie dyers and bales of wool to purchase.

    oh — beautiful sweater.

  • Those cables are mesmerizing. Also have to get to work on my Rhinebeck sweater.