Saturday, 1 March 2014

Wild Violet Season

Happy March dear readers!

I am shyly joining in with Karen's Sunlit Sunday this weekend.
"I can see meadows, deep woods, which the first outburst of buds mists over wth an elusive green, cold streams and forgotten springs.  Easter primroses, daffodils with the saffron coloured heart, and violets, violets, violets...

I can see a silent little girl whom spring has already enchanted with a wild happiness, with a bittersweet and mysterious joy. A small girl imprisoned by day in a schoolhouse, and who exchanged toys and pictures for the first bouquets of violets from the woods, tied with a red cotton thread, brought by the little shepherdesses from the surrounding farms.

Oh, violets of my childhood!  You rise up before me, all of you, you lattice the milky April sky, and the quivering of your countless little faces intoxicates me." 

This is an extract from the French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette's kaleidescope of fragments dedicated to her childhood first published in 1908 under the title of Les Vrilles de la vigne.  Although there is no particular logic to be found in the sequence of these eighteen short stories, there is a poetic or musical beauty to be found in the construction of each together underscored with a strong feminine sensuality.  The above description of wild violets is from the short story Le Dernier Feu which has marked me particularly.  If you would like to read these stories in English you may find them in this book.
 If Colette writes in the final words of the above extract that wild violets belong to the month of April, I usually see their tiny faces appearing during the course of February along the shady banks and hedgerows of our local vinyards and in our garden.  Spring flower obsessions are shared by many as dear Elizabeth reveals in her recent and beautifully penned post on snowdrops which further endorses my opinion that she should really write a book on gardens.  I am fickle in nature.  Spring provides an intoxicating potion of vibrant colours and tantalising scents and I usually fall madly in love each year with each spring flower but, as loyal readers know, my passion lies with violets.  Greek myths tell us that violets first sprang where Orpheus laid his enchanted lute and that the goddess Persephone and her companion nymphs were gathering rose, crocus, violet, iris, lily and larkspur blooms in a springtime meadow when she was abducted by the god Hodes. This year I have succumbed to one of my favourite scents once more, Violettes de Toulouses, and, as you may see, to knitting a cardigan inspired by these brave, delicate and diminutive blooms hardly bigger than a fingernail.
I have observed with a little gratitude and much delight how the poetry of flowers has woven its magic on my dear Angélique since a very early age.  I wanted to create a cardigan for her which captured the elusive colour of violets.  The Old Maiden Aunt colourway, Bluebells, together with Madelinetosh's Olivia were a match made in Heaven.  

The pattern is Dani Sunshine's Bella.

My Ravelry link is here; do come and say hello!

The pretty wreath of violets was created by Amore Bride.

Please take a few seconds to look at the white dress Angélique is wearing.  It dates back to the late nineteenth-century and the collar, which you can see more clearly in the third picture from the top, is exquisitely embroidered entirely by hand. 

And before you leave PLEASE tell me which spring flower do you love the most?  I would love to know!

A bientôt,


ps  As my Facebook page, Madame Millefeuilles has very kindly reached over two thousand likes I would like to arrange a special giveaway, both here and on Facebook, once the flurry of pre-Easter orders has been dealt with!  

pps  I am also, tentatively, joining in for the first time with Jodi's The 52 Project.


  1. You darling girl, I had ordered 2 violet things for your parcel but they didn't come and I was too excited to get it posted, I'm delighted to know you love violets too :) Its one of my favourite scents, I wear Welsh violet perfume and people tell me i smell of sweets :)
    I adore Violets, daffodils for the scent, I love hyacinths and snowdrops, i think my all time number one is Lilac <3 it always used to be hard to find for my birthday in May, it was never flowering, now its mostly all over in April :( big hugs to you, Angelique looks SO much like you xxx

  2. happy happy march!!! i adore this latest set of photos, sweet Stephanie! your children, all of them, look like beautiful paintings......

    1. Happy, happy March to you, dearest Melissa! May this month be filled with joy for you and your sweet family.


  3. Stephaine,
    It's wildly snowing outside my studio at the moment, winds drifting the new snow across the paths we so carefully shoveled this morning. It will be a long while before any wild violets appear here or any other bloom or bud.
    Nevertheless, reading your blog entry today has filled me with delight. Who can resist little girls with flowers in their hair? You ask that we name our favorite spring flower. A difficult task. I do love the wee faces of the tiniest of violas. They plant themselves, diminutive gifts in unexpected places.

    1. Dear Sharon,

      It is always a pure pleasure to read your comments here! Please stay warm and cosy and keep the faith. Your turn will come to feel the magic of wild violets.


  4. Oh your Angelique is a true delight of a flower girl, she is too beautiful and is the perfect model for your amazing knits Stephanie. Love your photography and the violets too. I have to say that nothing beat Lily of the valley for me, I adore their scent x BIG congratulations on reaching 2000 likes xox

  5. What a beautiful post, i have enjoyed reading it. I love spring it's my favourite season, a new freshness in the air and the beautiful colours of spring blooms, my favourite being crocus. I have never seen wild violets but i am sure i would be as enchanted as you.

  6. Beautiful post, beautiful photos! I must share with you my historical novel, which is set on a 19th-century Hudson Valley, NY violet farm: http://kathyleonardczepiel.com/
    So jealous, because here still 6 inches of snow, more coming, and not a bud in bloom!

    1. Oh my goodness, I will most certainly be looking for that novel! Thank you so much.

      Stephanie x

  7. Dear Stephanie . Your photos of your Angelique are delightful; a pretty flower who seems to announce herself the beginning of spring ...fresh young life and innocence.
    Beautiful knitting and I so admire your sense of colour but then you have the perfect model. Congratulations on 2000 likes....not really surprised! Spring is my favourite time of the year both in the UK and Spain however if I had to choose a flower to herald the coming of spring it would have to be a British flower. As much as I love daffodils,bluebells and snowdrops it must be the delicate some call common primroses ....it brings to mind fond childhood memories of walks where the abundant patches of pale yellow dotted the woodland paths near my home back in Somerset.

    keep well

    Amanda :-)

  8. Beautiful, beautiful post Stephanie!
    Angélique is a stunning little model, her cardigan is amazing and her dress fabulous!!
    Unfortunately I don't see many wild violets, I wish I did they are beautiful but I do love to see the daffodils come into bloom, it's like someone has switched the light on after the winter!
    V xxx

  9. Blue bells are my favourite Spring flower and we are blessed to have many around our mountain cabin!
    Lovely jumper!! Many thanks for the links BTW!

  10. What a beautiful cardigan. Thank you for the mention too. I love all spring flowers, including violets. I have hundreds of daffodils too. Must show you.

  11. Hello Stephanie \7 what a lovely post. I love violets too & have a posy in my kitchen at the moment. I also love daffodils for their cheery colour & bluebells for the density of colour *& that amazing perfume. Actually, I love most spring flowers I think! xx

  12. Spring still has a way to go yet over here, but it is so nice to see the blossom in your post. Such beautiful colours in the cardigan, but the collar I had to double take - what intricate stitching to behold, such beauty. You are lucky to own such an item Thank you for sharing. x
    For my favourite spring flower is the snowdrop.

  13. That is a very sweet photo shoot. The cardigan is pretty on your little beauty.

  14. An enchanting post! I am still awaiting the first violets here in the UK, your book quote at the beginning struck a chord! Your little one looks so dreamy in her beautiful dress and violet-inspired cardigan...and I will share my secret: on my blog I refer to my youngest as Little Flower - her name is Violet! And even with my new-found cross stitch love, I created a violet initial for her: http://www.chrissiecrafts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/a-bag-for-little-flower.html
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful creations and writing, Chrissie x

  15. Just beautiful, I have violets around the Apple tree, they are my favourites too, xx

  16. lovely post love wild violets

  17. She looks so beautiful, the dress, cardigan and flowers in her hair.....violets are exquisite aren't they, I'm like you fall in love with spring each year! :) x

  18. Dear Stephanie - you have perfectly encapsulated the magic of early spring.
    The pictures you have taken of dear Angélique immediately reminded me of Cicely Mary Barker's paintings of Flower Fairies.
    How beautifully the violet colour has reproduced too - perfect.

  19. I can almost smell the delicate violet scent reading this delightful post. We have them spreading on our front lawn so I think I must agree they are probably my favourite spring flower too

  20. beautiful!
    happy march to you too~
    i love violets and primroses -can't wait for my spring flowers ... but we've still got snow on the way...

  21. Dearest Stephanie ... As I read your lovely post, snowflakes are falling every so gently outside my windowpane. I shall wait (im)patiently for the arrival of our Springtime, and the violets surely snuggling deep beneath the soil.
    Your darling daughter is a delight ... a soft step back into time with her dreamy frock and delicate cardigan. The flowers in her hair remind me of the many "tiaras" my Mama would create for me ... carefully braiding together violets and sweet clover.
    Wishing you blissful Spring days ...
    Judy x

  22. My dear friend, ma chère amie,

    When I opened your page here and saw the photo scroll open, I gasped.

    Your sweet comforts reach me beyond the many cold miles of ocean and land, and not only is spring on my mind, but the delightful art of crochet has been revived in my life. Though I myself do not engage in it, having grown up seeing my mother weave out magical works and being the recipient of her wonders, I am taken back by YOUR WORK. Your color choices along with the story telling are of therapeutic value, as well as inspiration. This darling sweater, coupled with Colette's muse and Angélique's beauty......WOW, what a gift for this cold Sunday. Purple and yellow are the perfect matches my friend, just perfect. Please, may I enter your give away?

    Stephanie, if I could, I would commission you on the spot to make me a shawl with these colors. Oh how I love your work. Thank you my friend, for continuing to share your world with us, in this blog land of great artists and friends. Much love, Anita

  23. That is a beautiful cardigan :) As for the violets, didn't Shakespeare say it best?
    "A violet in the youth of primy nature,
    Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
    The perfume and suppliance of a minute.
    No more."

  24. Many thanks to you Stephanie, for giving us this delightful entranceway into Spring's beauty. I like being entranced this way!

    When lovely little Angelique grows up she will treasure all these images that you have saved of incredibly sweet times shared with you. Of course, I am sure that she is enjoying every minute right now, but just thinking of what treasures you are setting aside for her is very touching.

    Violets are perhaps the most feminine of flowers. Beautiful colors ... in both the purple and other varieties. The scent...bliss! Angelique's violet crown, delicately embroidered antique dress, and lovingly-knit-just-for-her cardigan join with her own curls, expressive and beautiful face and delicate hands to create a storybook heroine. The colors you chose for that cardigan are wonderfully subtle.

    I do believe that I did read those Colette stories long long ago. I may have to refresh my memory with another read. She, like you, clearly understands Spring and knows how to share that understanding with others.

    I do not know if I actually have a favorite Spring flower. Each one has a special place in my heart.


  25. Wow, this sweater resembles the cape I made for my daughter. It is a beautiful sweater. I love the colors. I love your blue, actually better than my orchid. But, I am trying to use hop my stash of this orchid which I bought for another project years ago and my next project will finally use it all up. Hurrah. My daughter seems to like the color though, thank goodness.


    Here is the ravelry link to the project.


  26. what a treat seeing the sunshine in your post....and the flowers and your darling daughter...while outside we are experiencing the beginning of an ice storm. still have power...but for how long??? so it's a good day to dream about spring flowers....to have in the house, white tulips. favorite favorite favorite.....but in the garden i do love my hellebores.

  27. bonjour stephanie!
    I am loving your photo journey here today [my 1st day at Sunlit Sunday]
    I am most pleased to find your wonderful exploration in a Springlike setting!
    I am buried in snow and cold temps . Your post is a breath of "HOPE" !

    Merci . . .

  28. I was saving your post, Stephanie, until I knew I could sit down and enjoy every word and image. It was a lovely surprise to find that you linked it to Sunlit Sunday this week. Thank you.

    Angélique is looking ever so charming with violets in her hair and her newest cardigan. The contrasting colour on the yoke, cuffs and bottom adds a pretty touch, rather like the stamens on a flower. Is it bits of cables that I see here and there, tiptoeing over the "Olivia" yarn?

    Set in a scene of flowering branches, coming here is like visiting a fairyland. I can't choose a favourite spring flower; the delicate but hardy snowdrops will come first, the soft blue forget-me-knots never cease to please, then there is the abundance of waving tulips. For now, the ground is snow-covered.

    I've made note of your book suggestion and hope you're progressing well on your doctoral thesis.


    1. Thank you Karen for your visit here this evening. It has been an honour to join your Sunlit Sunday today. I hope to do so again soon!

  29. It's wonderful to see the spring arriving in your part of the world Stephanie and with a beautiful flower-crowned Princess to welcome it! Isn't it uplifting to see colour returning again to the countryside. Your homage to violets cardigan for Angelique is beautiful and the perfect attire for a spring Princess. Here's wishing you lots more sunny spring days ahead and happy wildflower hunting x

  30. That sweater is enchanting as is your sweet little girl. I love how you write, weaving a story aroung every post. By the way I love lilacs, but we can not grow them here.

  31. Good evening lovely Stephanie...Ooh, such a beautiful post today...Angélique looks so pretty in her new cardigan and I can almost smell the scent of her sweet violets...(you've inspired me to look for some violet perfume dear friend!)....I love all spring flowers and would find it difficult to choose a favourite but violets are special indeed...x
    Wishing you a wonderful new week!
    Susan x

  32. Charming photos of your girl- love the colour combo on the sweater too- makes me long for spring... I think my favorite spring flowers are daffodils- I love their posture, and bright colour

  33. Your post is beautiful. I love the sweet photos of your Angelique and the gorgeous mauve sweater that you created. Lovely! Have a blessed week. Pamela

  34. Dear Stephanie, your Angélique is beautiful! The pretty cardigan is just the perfect complement to her lovely dress. I admire your work very much and your photos are so inspiring. My favorite flowers... well I sadly don't know much about flowers to be honest. But I do love orange blossoms and peach blossoms the most during Spring.

  35. I think you know which is my favourite spring flower, as it is also yours! :)

    What a glorious post, and what a beautiful cardigan and dress and daughter. The hand embroidery is amazingly perfect - think what skill and patience went into those satin stitches. I wonder how the stitcher would feel if she knew that her work would still be worn and admired more than a century later?

    I am so glad that Spring has reached you there ... here it is still very icy and snowy (it will be -18 F tonight, which seems all wrong for March!). What a refreshment to see blossoms and green grass.

    P.S. My compliments to your husband on the stunning photography. He has really outdone himself with these photos.

  36. Violets! Although I have never seen a carpet of them in the wild I can imagine that I would love to see them and smell their sweetness, Stephanie :) I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this post. The images of Angelique with her violets, and special sweater and dress are precious. I followed many of your links and found them interesting. I also noted one of the commenters before me mentioned the book she wrote set on a violet farm in the Hudson Valley, NY. I lived in the area for almost 20 years and am keen to read her book...see how she describes the area, learn more about violets as well as her characters.
    It is a treat to visit your posts! Thanks for sharing your creativity so beautifully xx

  37. how absolutely adorable! your knitting is so pretty and looks so charming on your sweet girl. i don't know what i love more, the wreath in her hair, the embroidered dress, the flowers! your posts have a fairy tale quality to them stephanie, reading them feels like a gift.

    spring flowers i love would have to be wildflowers, tidy tips, lupines, california poppies! all of them!
    have a wonderful week ahead sweet friend! xox lori

  38. love the bit of green in the garter stitch, just lovely! I am admiring the beautiful weather you were having to photograph! We have snow everywhere, slowly melting but it's there.

  39. Dear Stephanie

    Your daughter looks really sweet with the beautiful wreath in her hair and the cardigan you made! The blossoms look enchanting! It must be warmer in France than in Holland :-)

    The words by Colette are beautiful! They read like poetry.

    Wishing you a happy week ahead!

    Madelief x

  40. What a delightful post Stephanie......Angelique's sweet, little cardigan is just perfect and her dress....I would've felt like a princess wearing that as a child.
    I think it's so important to instil in our children a love of nature and show them how to hold onto the love of life's simple pleasures as they grow up.......
    I love Violets and always have a sweet, posy of them in a little, crystal vase on my bedside table.

    Claire Xx
    Sweet Birdy Love

  41. Beautiful pictures of a gorgeous little girl. I especially love the twist in the pattern as well as that delightful headress. I'm afraid I can't pick a favourite anything. My girls are always asking what is your favourite song, food, place ..... And then I exasperate them by answering I don't have one. I love too many varied things and find it impossible to choose. I love the snowdrop for being the first to peek out and then moving through each month to dahlias. Aaahh I can't wait. X

  42. Oh my goodness! What a wonderful series of photos!!! How beautiful!!!
    I love the colour-combination in that cardigan!

  43. ~ Beautiful words, sweet, sweet, pictures and a perfect little princess to model that beautiful cardigan....all so very lovely! Spring has sprung so it would seem here, dear Stephanie, I can see a little of her promise peeping out each day...For me crocus are the sweetest flowers ever to see...I want to capture their beauty before their short day is over .....
    Wishing the sun to be shining on your week, my friend..
    Hugs Maria x

  44. Ta fillette c'est la poesie elle-meme! Qu'elle est gracieuse et tendre la petite! J'adore Colette, elle savait penetrer dans l'ame des enfants et les sentir...Qu'est-ce que je peux dire de tes creations Stephanie,moi qui ne sait comment tenir une auguille...?
    Uniquement belles toutes tes publications.
    Bonne soiree!

  45. Such a pretty cardigan for a pretty little girl...My violets are not quite out yet but it has been sunny today so hopefully soon
    Thea xx

  46. Whilst I do not think of them strictly as a Spring flower, my favourite is Lily of the Valley. Not only for their gentleness, nor for their ethereal scent but also for the memories which they evoke, of times past and loved ones lost. Each year I wait with anticipation for May when they make their appearance to the world.

    Angelique looks more like her Mama with each passing day.

  47. Lovely, lovely Angélique! Isn't it amazing to look at last year's violet post and see how much she has grown? The second photo is magical!
    Before I reached your words, I had noticed her white collar and was wondering about this wonderful dress. Perfect with your cardigan and her flower headband.
    I love Collette too. It has been many years (even a few tens of them:)) since I've read Les vrilles de la vigne. And now I know I'll will look for it (lost somewhere on my shelves). Elsa and I are currently reading Histoires pour Bel-Gazou. We both enjoy it.
    My favourite spring flower? Can snowdrop be considered as spring? more wintery surely. And since Elsa's birth it is for me linked to the gentle snow of her birth day. I love the tender blue of grape hyacinth, the snow blossom of blackthorn, and dancing daffodils, but my favourite is probably wisteria. From my childhood and our house that was nearly entirely covered by a very old wisteria, making walls, roofs and meadows of pale and sweet scented mauve.

  48. What a beautiful post. The photos of your dear little one are magical. The little cardi ... perfect for a Violet studded Spring ... especially with the delicate white dress. Just gorgeous! M x

  49. An enchanting and gorgeous post in every way, chere Stephanie! Your darling Angelique is a princess in a Springtime fairytale! :))
    I love Violets, the color and the flower, as well as its romantic fragrance....
    The sweater is so beautiful!
    And my favorite spring flowers would have to be Lily of the Valley... :)
    Enjoy the magic!
    - Irina

  50. Your posts are always so beautiful, they lift my spirits.

  51. I noticed the collar and was phrasing a comment in mind mind before I reached your paragraph about it! What special stitching and it looks so pretty worn with the lovely scrunchy cardigan.
    I think my favourite spring flower is the Primrose, because they do so well in our garden and they are closely related to my very favourite garden flower - the old fashioned victorian Polyanthus, with which some have cross bred to produce a crop of sugar almond coloured Primroses unique to our garden.

  52. Preciosa entrada, fotos maravillosas y una niña que es un bombón como se suele decir en España, me ha encantado transmites tanta dulzura, besos Avelina

  53. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.
    You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material.
    Top Ten Web Hosting Revi5ews

  54. Good evening my friend. Just coming by to (((HUG))) you. How this violet color makes me happy! Anita

  55. I am rejoicing and thanking heaven RIGHT NOW! I am so happy for you my friend. Yes, such relief does take a while to sink in. Celebrate this weekend with a quiet stroll in your beautiful surroundings and listen to the precious and special sound of your heartbeat. We are so lucky to have it. BIG HUGS OF JOY! Anita

  56. Hallo Stephanie,
    ich liebe Duftveilchen, sie erinnern mich sehr an meine Kindheit. Wenn ich im Frühling nach draußen in den Garten ging, war die ganze Luft mit herrlichstem Veilchenduft erfüllt. Seit ein paar Tagen blühen sie nun auch in meinem Garten, allerdings sind es noch nicht so viele und um ihren Duft wahrzunehmen, muss ich mich tief auf den Boden knien...
    Die Fotos von Angélique in ihrem neuen Jäckchen sind so wunderschön, vor allem das zweite hat es mir sehr angetan, es wirkt auf mich wie ein impressionistisches Gemälde.
    Ich mag ALLE Frühlingsblumen! :-)

    Ganz liebe Grüße, Bärbel

  57. Oh the first picture is breathtaking! Beautiful cardigan on an adorable model... There is indeed something so sweet and soothing about the scent of violets.
    Wishing you a wonderful, sunny Sunday!

  58. Superb article that gave me real tracks for my items to me. I will test starting next article. To say I even put the page in Favorites.
    Thank you


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