Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Knitting vintage

Having completed the pattern for my two little knitted girls, Tilly and Lulu, I'm keen to start a new project and here is a clue as to what it could be.

I love homemade vintage knitted toys that were made during those austere wartime years of the mid 20th century. It was a time when knitting wool was hard to get and small items were created from odds and ends and 'pulled backed' garments. I'm hoping to design something that will have a similar appearance but of course it will have to be made from new yarn and today's shades tend to be much more bright and cheerful.

So I shall start by thinking about colour. My mum did a lot of knitting in the 1950s when times were hard and sold much of what she made.

I have the original cards of vintage buttons that she used and the shades seem just right for my new project.

I have some of her wool also but not enough to make a toy and so will have to add some of my own.

After making Tilly and Lulu in gorgeous 'modern day' shades this palette of colours seems very dull but I'm going to persevere as I think colour could be the clue to getting the vintage look I'm seeking. I'll let you know how I progress.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Meet Tilly

Meet Tilly. I've spent all week creating this little cutie. She's the big sister of Lulu who you've already met. Knitting patterns for both little girls can be found in my Etsy shop (see sidebar)

Tilly is proud to be a grown-up school girl but when she isn't doing lessons .....

she's playing with her little sister.

Both little girls like playing with dollies.

Tilly likes writing in her school books

and carries them to class in her little bag.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

How to make a twisted cord

Twisted cords are easy and fun to make and have numerous uses. If you aren't sure how to make one please read on.
You can make a twisted cord in any size. Multicoloured and chunky (knitting yarn), very fine (sewing thread), one shade (yarn), smooth and bright (embroidery floss), glitzy and festive (sparkly yarn).

You need to start by choosing the yarn or thread that is right for your project. If you want a thick cord then you'll need to twist several lengths together. I'm using just 2 shades of yarn for this demonstration (one length of each). The yarn must be cut a little over 4 times the length that is required. So if you need a 30 cm (12 in) cord you should cut the yarn 120 cm (48 in) long.
Fold the yarn in half to make it 60 cm (24 in) long and place the loop on a key or door handle to hold it firm. At the other end knot the 4 ends of yarn together and push a pencil through the loop.

With your left hand pull the yarn to keep it tight and with the other hand start winding the pencil in a clockwise direction. You'll quickly will see the yarn starting to twist.
There are no rules about how many twists are needed but you will quickly start to recognise the right amount once you have made a few cords.

Once you feel you've done enough twists with the pencil remove the yarn from the key with your left hand and hold it firmly. Make sure you keep the tension in the cord.

If you accidentally release the yarn it will twist on its own and this is the jumbled effect you will get. If this happens you can keep hold of the pencil end with your right hand and gently untangle the jumble with your left.

Keeping the tension in the cord move your left hand along the cord towards the pencil, releasing it a short length at a time. It will automatically begin to twist.

When the cord has stopped twisting remove the pencil and tie a knot in the open end of the cord to prevent it unwinding.

And here it brightly coloured cord ready for use.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Lulu and her tiny dolly

Well, here she is folks, the little doll I knitted to fit the Mary Jane shoes I designed a couple of weeks back. It's taken a while to create just the right little character and off course she wanted her very own dolly to carry.

Lulu is 30 cm (12 ins) tall and the pattern for her and her tiny dolly is now available from my Etsy shop (see sidebar).

I've started designing a big sister for Lulu who will also be wearing those cute little Mary Jane's.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Knitting teddies

Teddy bears, I love them!

Everybody should have a teddy bear to love.
The more bears the better.

Just look at those furry friends heading for the beach with buckets and spades and fishing nets. What fun! Molly Brett's illustrations have always been a favourite of mine.

If you love teds I thought you might like to knit one (fairisle style).

This is one I designed a few years ago and he's an all time favourite.

You can knit him by hand or on a knitting machine. My pattern repeats every 12 stitches but your bears can be spaced as you choose or maybe knit a singleton.

The graph is easy to follow. Each square on the grid represents one stitch.

Happy teddy knitting everyone!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Starting with shoes

Excuse me whilst I take a break. I've been full of ideas these past few days and knitting all sorts of experimental dolly bits and pieces.

Don't you just love these chubby, rosie cheeked kiddies in Lucie Attwell illustrations. When I was a child I remember their little faces gazing down at me from the pictures on my bedroom wall and their smiles always cheer me.

I've often wondered if I could knit a little doll with similar features. Just look at those plump little legs and Mary Jane shoes. If I knitted a doll I knew she must have Mary Jane's. So that is where I decided to start.

And here are my experimental shoes. The orange one on the left was my first attempt and it wasn't even close to what I was trying to achieve. Blue shoe number two came a bit closer. Yellow number three was almost there and last night I completed red number four and think it's just right. So now I'm knitting a dolly to fit the shoe. Typical of me to work backwards! If the dolly works out well I'll be putting a PDF pattern of her (wearing Mary Jane's of course) in my Etsy shop.......