Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Thank you

I just wanted to pop in and thank those of you who left such kind comments with my last post. They were all very much appreciated and filled our day with smiles and some much needed sunshine.

So today is a new day and what are we doing here at Flutterby Patch? We are Spring cleaning our Easter eggs ....... did you ever hear of anything so silly? My kids were given these paper mache eggs many years ago and every Easter they come out for a dust and spruce up.

Whilst visiting a few lovely blogs this morning I came across a post entitled 'Make Do and Mend'. This title had immediate appeal as it's something I've been brought up to do. I'm so glad I popped in as I found two fab tutorials, one for recovering an old brolly and the other for making fantastic fabric eggs from scrap box odds and ends. Do pop over to My Tate Gallery and take a look. Meanwhile I shall get busy making a few fabric eggs to enhance our Easter table here at Flutterby Patch.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Ups and downs

There was great excitement here today when Tilly discovered a colourful piece of knitted patchwork. No one knew what it was or where it had come from but there is a rumour going round that a new dolly might be on the way. We've also heard that that the new arrival might require some small dolly-size balls of yarn.

Needless to say the girls are getting very excited and spending much of their time winding pretty yarn into dolly-size balls which they hope will be useful to whoever it is that might appear during the coming weeks.

As you will know we are a cheerful lot here at Flutterby Patch on the whole but occasionally little things make us unhappy. Negative feedback in our Etsy shop is one of those things because we know we must have upset one of our customers and this makes us very sad.

We pride ourselves on our fast efficient service and so if you find your pattern does not pop into your email inbox within 24 hours we ask you to contact us straight away so that we can do something about it. It doesn't happen often but when it does there is usually a simple explanation. Our Dollytime Etsy shop guarantees everyone will receive the pattern that they order even if it means sending it by post. So PLEASE ......if you are dissatisfied for whatever reason let us know the problem before leaving negative feedback.

I'm pleased to tell you that the tears were eventually wiped away and happily the day ended with smiles. What could be nicer than snuggling into a cosy warm bed and listening to comforting bedtime stories?

Friday, 25 March 2011

Sunshine smiles

We've had a busy few days here in the Flutterby Patch garden. On Monday the watery grey clouds suddenly parted and out popped a golden sun that has smiled on us all week.

Needless to say hubby and I took the opportunity to clear barrow loads of sodden winter leaves from around the garden and then began the lengthy task of weeding the flower beds. It's so nice to see some bright colours once more. I can see this little selection of blooms from my sitting room window.

Now baby lambs are skipping in nearby fields it really feels as if Spring has finally arrived.

The two little sheep above don't look much like lambs I'm afraid but they are quick and easy to knit. You'll find my free pattern for them here.

Have a good weekend wherever you are.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Who really needs a brand new bicycle?

A small packet popped through my letterbox yesterday and in it I found a book I'd recently purchased entitled 'Milly Molly Mandy & Co'. Happily this now completes my Milly Molly Mandy collection.

If you've seen my recent posts you'll already know I'm a big fan of these charming stories that were written and illustrated by Joyce Lankester Brisley many decades ago. Although modern paperbacks are widely available all my books are hardbacks and date from the 1940s and 1950s. As you can see they aren't in pristine condition but as I love the feel and smell of vintage books that makes them even more appealing.

Just in case you are interested in collecting the MMM books yourself here are the titles with dates when they were first published. They have all been reprinted on a regular basis and are available from several online second-hand book sellers.

1). Milly Molly Mandy Stories (1928), 2). More of Milly Molly Mandy (1929). 3). Further Doings of Milly Molly Mandy (1932), 4). Milly Molly Mandy Again (1948), 5). Milly Molly Mandy & Co (1955), and finally 6). Milly Molly Mandy and Billy Blunt which was published much later in 1967. This last book is more difficult to find and therefore prices are way beyond my reach.

Whenever I feel the need to escape reality and spend a short while in a gentler less demanding world I know I can turn to any of the stories in these books. Yesterday I chose 'Milly Molly Mandy learns to ride'. The story begins when MMM sees a wealthy school friend riding a brand new bicycle and of course she longs for one too, but she knows a new bike is out of the question.

As so often happens, her friend Billy Blunt comes to the rescue and shows Milly Molly Mandy (and little friend Susan) two large old rusty bicycles in his dad's garden shed. Not deterred by the state of them the three friends take out the bikes and set about rubbing them with bunches of grass to clean them. After several hours scraping, rubbing and oiling the bicycles are in a fit state to ride. Finally Billy's dad adjusts the saddles and the friends are ready to test their machines.

Of course there is much rattling and creaking as they ride across the rough grass and bruises and scrapes are many but they all have the 'bestest' time and by the end of the day they have learnt to ride.

This little tale brought back happy memories of the old bike I owned as a child. It was a hand-me-down from a family friend and much too big for me to begin with, but I persevered and eventually learnt to ride it (but not before several tumbles into a nettle patch).

My two brothers were several years younger than me and as family funds were more plentiful when they reached bike riding age they inevitably received brand new ones. But as I'd loved my old bike it has never occurred to me to complain.

Milly Molly Mandy and friends come from the 'make do and mend' age when items you owned were treasured and repaired when broken. I wonder what the author of these gentle tales would think about our own throw-away society where 'shiny new' and 'state of the art' items are keenly sought and young owners of unfashionable hand-me-downs have to be prepared for ridicule and in some cases bullying by their peers.

In Britain the cost of living has risen sharply in the last few months and we are all unhappy about having to pay more for almost everything. It has become a time to prioritise and consider whether certain purchases are absolutely essential, but adjusting is proving difficult for many. Yesterday I watched a typical TV interview with a large group of mothers who were angrily complaining that they'd been forced to take on extra part time work so that their families could continue living the life they'd grown accustomed to. The parents and their kids apparently couldn't imagine going without their usual holiday this year and of course the latest fashion wear and accessories for the coming summer were an absolute 'must' . . . . . . In complete contrast to these angry mums there followed a news bulletin showing yet more pictures of the utter devastation wreaked by the tsunami in Japan. Lone souls, silent and dignified, could be seen wandering aimlessly through mile upon mile of unrecognisable debris trying in vain to locate the places where their homes once stood . . . . . . How dare we complain?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Knitting pattern give-away winners

It's pattern give-away day and three lucky winners will be asked to choose a Dollytime pattern. I received 40 lovely comments after Tuesday's post and I'd like to thank you all for taking part. It's so good to know that my little dollies are loved by knitters around the world.

I used an online 'random number generator' to create 3 lucky numbers and here is a photo of the result shown on my computer screen this morning. Shown on the left are the lucky numbers 29, 1 and 31.

Below are the names of the people who left a comment and their corresponding comment number.

1. Suzanne
2. Esther
3. Janine
4. Periwinkle
5. Wendy
6. Deborah
7. Xisse
8. Elenelle
9. DollZand ThingZ
10. Kim
11. Gemma
12. Jane P
13. Karen
14. Rosanna
15. Momma Lynne
16. Maria
17. Judy
18. Barb
19. Mary Ann
20. Sally
21. anonymous
22. anonymous
23. KittyMiao's Doll House
24. Sarah
25. Kathy
26. Leonora
27. Sherry
28. Vintage girl
29. Lora
30. Kyri
31. Gerda Hartman
32. Lesley
33. Davina Osborn
34. Anonymous
35. Sharon
36. Amalia
37. Window ino our life
38. From our hands
39. Nikkoli
40. Michele in Co

Congratulations to the lucky winners  . . . . .
29. Lora
1. Suzanne 
31. Gerda Hartman

I'm sorry you couldn't all win but a BIG THANK YOU for taking part.

I'm sure many of you will be spending time crafting this weekend; so whatever your choice of craft I hope you have a really fun time with your creations.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Knitting pattern give-away

There was total chaos at Flutterby Patch this morning. All I said was "Who'd like to pose for a photograph?" and there was a dolly stampede. After much pushing and jostling for position this was the best picture I could get.

Asking for "tall at the back and short at the front" didn't work at all. But never mind, I think this motley collection of woolly friends illustrates how many knitting patterns I have available and so it will be enough for the purpose of this post.

My idea materialised yesterday when I received a very nice email from a knitter who had used my Polly and Kate pattern to knit a dolly for her grand-daughter.

She's a fairly new knitter and wrote to say that she'd found the instructions very easy to follow and was absolutely delighted with the little character she'd created. Her dolly is now waiting to be popped into a basket as a surprise Easter gift for the lucky little grand-daughter. Isn't that a lovely idea.

It's so nice to receive emails like this as it gives me great pleasure knowing that a pattern I've spent many hours preparing has given a knitter so much satisfaction.

I know many knitters look at my dolls and presume they'll be difficult to make but nothing could be further from the truth. If you can cast on, cast off (bind off), knit and purl then you should have no problem knitting most of my patterns. Every row is numbered so that when you take a break you can remember where you stopped. I also include a great many small illustrations to assist with making up etc.

3 PATTERN GIVEAWAY - (emailed as PDF files for winners to download)
This week I've decided to do a 3 pattern give-away, in other words, 3 people will each receive an emailed pattern of their choice. To view the full range of patterns available pop over to my Dollytime Shop.

Lucy and Tilly are two of the patterns you'll find.

Simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Each comment will be numbered in the order received and on Friday I will use an online 'random number generator' to choose the three lucky numbers. I will contact each winner and ask them to choose a pattern from my shop. (NB. My multi pattern 'special deals' aren't included).

So come on knitters, leave a comment before Friday and you could have a new dolly pattern to knit this weekend.

Good luck everyone.

Friday, 4 March 2011

My first dollies - Dolly Day Friday

As it's Friday I'm joining Jenny at Little Jenny Wren with my post for her 'Dolly Day Friday'.

Whenever I see this picture I'm reminded of my first sweet dollies. Just look at those cheeky little faces with googly eyes. My Mum loved images like this and so, as soon as I was born she made me two googly eyed cuties named Mary-Lou and Belinda Blue-eyes.

Below is the two year old me washing my dolls' clothes. Sadly these photos that Mum took with her ancient camera are the only reminders I have of Mary Lou (on the lawn under the clothes line) and Belinda Blue-eyes (in my wheel-barrow).


Much to my distress these two little sweethearts were not completely play proof as they had celluloid mask faces. By the time I was four Mary-Lou and Belinda Blue-eyes no longer had their cute googly expressions as their brittle masks had all but disappeared. Needless to say I was heartbroken.

When I was young, mask face dolls were cheap and easy to make; you simply stitched the celluloid mask to the rag doll's head, but of course it soon cracked and broke away.

When I sorted through Mum's bits and pieces I discovered this googly mask that had never been used. It's a typical example and you can see how fragile it is. 

I also remember having one of these little celluloid 'Diddums' dolls which was handed down by an older cousin. After a while it sadly cracked and broke.

Googly eye dolls were first introduced in the early 1900s and grew in popularity over the next few decades.

In 1904 the artist Grace Drayton created the well known googly Campbell Kids. Now, 100 years on, this book entitled 'Campbell Kids - A Souper Century' has been published to chart the Kids progress through the decades. 

When Grace Drayton left Cambells she went on to create the ever popular Dolly Dingle images and several other cheeky looking characters.

These googly eyed characters were part of my mum's childhood, as was Betty Boop who was first introduced in the mid 1930s.

And so it's hardly surprising that googly eye dolls were favoured when Mum had her first child

I know there are many dolly lovers who aren't very fond of googly dolls but for obvious reasons I find them very appealing and luckily so does my daughter. When she was little her Granny took her into a shop and invited her to choose a dolly from a huge selection. What a dilemma that could have been for one so young.

However, with no prompting or persuasion, a favourite was quickly chosen. It was the little googly doll above that topped my daughter's list and of course Granny was thrilled with her grand-daughter's choice!!

Over the weekend I hope to continue knitting my latest dolly but it won't have googly eyes!

I'm often asked if I will knit dolls for other people and so far have declined as there never seem to be enough hours in a day. To be honest, I can't imagine anyone wanting to buy one of my little people but I've decided to make one or two to discover if there is a market for them.

I'm not planning to make anything fancy or unusual, just ordinary little dollies, similar to the ones you often see in my blog posts. Here is the first one, she's progresing well and should be available some time next week.

I hope you have an enjoyable weekend, wherever you are, and however you choose to spend your time.