Wednesday 24 September 2008

Ameliaranne and knitted elephants

Aren't these illustrations just wonderful? They can be found in the book 'Ameliaranne at the Circus'. The first Ameliaranne story was published way back in 1920 in the days when families like hers were very often large and very often poor. Over the years the stories were penned by a variety of authors but the wonderful illustrations were always produced by Susan B Pearce. (This book was written by Margaret Gilmour)
Ameliareanne1_1 Ameliareanne2_1
Ameliareanne3_1 Ameliareanne4_1
1). In this story Ameliaranne finds a runaway elephant with a sore trunk and takes the injured animal home.
2). At the sight of a wild animal at the door her poor overworked mother cries "Mercy me, it's an ephelunt! We shall all be trampled to death!" and with that she snatches up an armful of children and rushes indoors for safety.
3). Mother has to sit down and fan herself but after gaining her composure she suggests the elephant's trunk could be bandaged with a dish-cloth.
4). With a bandaged trunk the gentle elephant allows the children to ride on its back. It is, of course, an animal that has escaped from a travelling circus and for their kindness Ameliaranne and her family receive free tickets for the next performance. Wonderful!
This little elephant pattern is easy to knit. Each one is just 12 stitches wide and can be knitted as a repeat pattern or as an individual motif.
You could make each elephant a different colour if you wish or, if you're not a knitter, then why not try using the graph for cross stitch. I'll be posting another pattern in a few days. Have fun!

Monday 22 September 2008

Nice weather for ducks


This summer's constant rain has caused large puddles in our road, a nuicance for car drivers but a great playground for the local duck population. You should have seen cars trying to steer carefully round them. On the whole the ducks won the day!
These ducklings look really cute on kids sweaters and the pattern is easy to knit. It repeats every 12 rows but you can spread the ducklings out by making the spaces between them wider or mayble knit just one duckling as a motif. The choice is yours.



Tuesday 9 September 2008

Life after binca

Reading Kim's Ragged Roses blog and her subsequent comments it would seems a lot of mums in blogland are very much in 'back to school' mode at the moment. I dropped in on Kitchen Pink this morning and admired the binca stitching done by three generations of her family. I was immediately transported back to my early infant days. Amazingly I still have the little binca 'mat' that I made when I was six (below). Lapses in concentration are obvious (I was no doubt gossipping as usual). Looking at my little mat I immediately recalled the smell of the well used infant plasticine that pervaded the classroom; horrible stuff, always marbled green and brown and totally uninspiring.

They say 'give me a child until he's seven and I'll give you the man' and, true enough, decades later I'm still stitching. Here are a few stitched pics I've made since my binca days.

This is entitled 'Three Birds' and is a design by the very talented needlewoman Elizabeth Bradley. Her kits are available on line.

Elizabeth Bradley's needlework books are an inspiration. I have three titles, 'Animals', 'Antique Flowers' and 'Decorative Victorian Needlework'.

Each book is superbly illustrated and contains a number of graphs in full colour which enable you to create your own stitched masterpieces. The sample pages below can be found in 'Decorative Victorian Needlework'.

I'm not certain if the books are still in print but they are all readily available from secondhand book sellers and of course Ebay.
Early American needlework was my inspiration for the sampler below. Apologies for the poor reproduction but I had to stand on a wobbly chair to photograph it. The sampler is in a heavy frame and hangs above my dining room fireplace where it complements my blue and white china on the shelf below.

I enjoy counted thread-work but have also done quite a bit of freestyle work over the years. I used vegetable dyes to colour the all threads used in the picture below.

I love antique needlework and have collected some nice examples over the years. The finely stitched picture below must have been a popular subject as I have seen it on two or three occasions since acquiring this one. It dates from the second half of the 19th century.

Mary Clements stitched this sampler in 1836 and I can't help but wonder what became of her.

Needlework talk and browsing through Elizabeth Bradley's books has put me in the mood to begin a new piece of stitching, sadly though I have other projects on the go at the moment so must resist the temptation. Such a pity!