Saturday, 30 April 2011

White on white

I was so entranced by the beautiful white and green floral displays at the recent Royal Wedding that I popped into the garden this morning and picked a few blooms for the house. Of course I couldn't resist showing you some lilac and apple blossom placed on delicate white lace over silk.

I especially loved the bride's bouquet which contained masses of sweetly scented lily of the valley. We have a small patch of this growing in a shady spot so I picked a few sprigs for the kitchen window sill.

The Victorians were passionate about lily of the valley and it was pictured on many of their greetings cards. The card below is from an old album and dates from the 1890s.

And here is a picture from a Victorian scrap book.

As this seems to have turned into a post about this beautiful bloom I'll leave you with one of Mary Cicely Barker flower fairies. Isn't she lovely?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Easter Greetings

Looking through my album of old postcards I found some Easter cards with postmarks dating from the early 1900s.

Edward VII was King when this Easter card was mailed
 on 19 April 1905

It seems a mother hen with baby chicks has always been a popular subject for Easter cards.

The card above showing a little girl finding eggs in the grass was mailed from Germany in 1903.

The pussy willow and kittens below date from 1909. I love pussy willow as it always reminds me of the classroom nature table at my junior school.

A Polish legend describes how pussy willow got its name. It tells how long ago some little kittens fell into a fast flowing river. Seeing their mother weeping on the riverbank the kindly willow trees along the water's edge swept their long branches down into the water. The drowning kittens held on tightly to the branches and were brought to safety. Since that time the willow has produced tiny fur-like buds on the tips of its branches every spring and we know it as pussy willow. . . . . . Isn't that the nicest story?

We don't have pussy willow in our garden but we do have cherry blossom which is often in bloom at Easter.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Finally the pretty card below dates from 1911 and surprisingly it is the only one in the album that depicts the true reason we celebrate Easter.

I wish you all a happy and peaceful Easter.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Pencil Dolls

There's been much activity in the playroom this week as Posy has been teaching some of the dolls to knit. Yesterday, when they were squabbling over the coloured pencils Posy told them to each choose a pencil so that they could knit it a warm jacket!

 Each doll chose a coloured pencil.

Then they chose some yarn and fetched their knitting needles.

Next they carefully cast on 12 stitches and the race was on to see who was first to knit 10 rows. There were several dropped stitches along the way but with a little help and a lot of perseverance . . . . . .

. . . . . everyone eventually managed to complete 
10 rows of knitting.

The knitting looked quite neat although some of the yarn had become badly tangled.

Once all the knitting had been cast off it was Tilly's job to stitch a warm woolly jacket round each pencil. To do this she wrapped the knitting round the pencil and over-sewed the cast on edge to the cast off edge; then she closed the top.

When all the pencils had been given a warm jacket Tilly lined them up for everyone to admire.

The pencils looked very snug in their new jackets.

But that wasn't the end of the story . . . . .

When all the dolls were safely tucked into their beds Posy began making some little heads for the pencils. This is how she did it.

How to make a head

Cast on 12 stitches and knit 10 rows in stocking stitch (alternate a knit row with a purl row). Don't cast off. Cut the yarn leaving a 15cm (6in) tail and using a tapestry needle take the 12 stitches from the needle onto the tail and gather the knitting. This will be the top of the head.

Fold the knitting in half and stitch the sides together. This seam will be at the back of the head.
Stuff the head and make it really plump and rounded. Gather the open end and stitch it firmly to the top of a pencil (see below).

Posy made four little heads.Then she stitched on woolly hair and a smiling face. Finally she made little arms from twisted cord

The following morning the dolls got a huge surprise when they found their little pencil people waiting for them.

Now there will be no mistaking which pencil belongs to which doll as the little pencil people look a lot like their owners wouldn't you say?

If you'd like to make a Pencil Doll you'll need small amounts of double knitting yarn (light worsted in the US and 8 ply in Australia). You'll also need a pair of 3.25mm needles (US size 3)
Body - cast on 12 stitches. Knit 10 rows  in plain garter stitch. Cast off. 
Head - cast on 12 stitches, Knit 10 rows in stocking stitch (alternate a knit row with a purl row). Don't cast off. Cut the yarn leaving a 15cm (6in) tail and using a tapestry needle take the 12 stitches from the needle onto the tail and gather the knitting. This will be the top of the head. Use the text above for instructions about making up.

This pattern for Pencil Dolls and several other free patterns can be found in 'Posy's Pattern Patch' in my blog sidebar.

Meanwhile if you'd like to make any of the dollies featured in this post you'll find patterns for them in my Etsy shop and my Dollytime (UK) shop.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Posy Pattern - finished at last

Little Posy seems to have taken longer than ever to design and knit but I've finished her at last. She's a bit taller than my other dollies - 41cm (16 inches) without her shoes.

The pattern has instructions for the doll, a patchwork and stripe sweater, hat, skirt, Mary Jane shoes, cosy slippers and tiny flowers.

You'll find the new Posy pattern in my Dollytime Etsy shop.

My daughter is coming to stay over Easter and will be arriving next weekend so I'll be putting away my knitting for a while. It's always nice to finish a pattern as writing up detailed instructions and adding lots of pictures seems to take for ever!

As well as knitting, Posy and I share a love of flowers so I hope we'll have lots of sunny weather in the coming weeks so that we can get outside for a bit of garden therapy.

Friday, 8 April 2011

A woolly mystery solved

The dolls love doing a post for Jenny's 'Dolly Day Friday' so here we go..........

This morning little Kate spotted a stray ball of wool, all by itself, on the playroom floor so she decided to pick it up and follow the woolly trail to see where it took her.

She hadn't gone very far when she spotted a new dolly that she hadn't seen before; she was sitting on the playroom floor busily knitting something red.

Of course she was very pleased when Kate returned her runaway ball of red wool.

The new doll said her name was Posy and she was knitting a red strap to put on her other shoe. The first shoe already had a strap.

Kate looked at Posy's shoes, the other shoe did indeed need a strap.

Posy finished knitting the strap and then carefully stitched it to her other shoe.

Now both red shoes looked the same and each strap was fastened with a shiny gold button.

Kate couldn't wait to tell the other dolls in the playroom all about Posy and wasted no time in taking Lulu to meet her.

Posy thanked Lulu and Kate for the many tiny balls of wool they had wound and left for her and she showed them how they now filled two baskets. Also in the baskets were several pairs of dolly-size knitting needles. Now I wonder what they could be for?

Away from the world of dolls we humans are enjoying some wonderful blue skies at last. It's amazing how two whole days of sunshine can bring many plants into bloom.

I'm guessing our weekend will be spent in the garden.

I hope you have a pleasant weekend wherever you are and whatever you choose to do.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Fairy fun

Some of you have been asking about the little fairy that Kate recently caught. I'm happy to tell you that he is living in the playroom amongst the dolls but they are making such a fuss of him that he's becoming thoroughly spoilt.

This Mabel Lucie Attwell plate hangs on the playroom wall and this morning Kate decided she would wash her fairy in a teacup bath just like the little girl in the picture.

She filled a tiny teacup with warm soapy water, fetched a sponge and towel and then rolled up her sleeves and prepared to bath her fairy.

But the little rascal was having none of it and hurriedly made his escape.

After a quick search we found him gazing longingly into the big box of scrumptious chocolates I received as a Mother's Day gift from my son and his wife.

Yes, I can assure you those chocs really are as yummy as they look.

My sweet daughter-in-law is very creative and instead of using gift wrap for the box she wrapped it beautifully in this gorgeous vintage scarf. I've always loved chinoiserie designs so was absolutely delighted.

The scarf is in perfect condition and probably dates from the 1950s but we aren't sure. Does anyone have a more definite idea of its age?

Meanwhile, if you are wondering whether Kate ever managed to bath her fairy I think the picture below should answer your question!!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Who owns this shoe?

You might remember in my previous post there was great excitement when Tilly found a piece of knitted patchwork. There's a rumour going round that there could soon be a new arrival here at Flutterby Patch and some dolly-size balls of yarn will be required and so the three girls set to work winding yarn into small balls.

In the picture above you can see how busy they have been and now a basket of pretty coloured yarn stands waiting for the new arrival. Meanwhile Tilly has left the knitted patchwork with the yarn just in case it's needed.

Today, little Violet, one of our Rainbow Rascals, found another mysterious knitted object and showed it to Lulu. What could it be?

Lulu decided it looked like a cosy warm shoe and so Violet tried it on.

What do you think?

Hmm! Just a bit too big for you Violet.

Santa Mouse decided it was just the sort of warm shoe he could use when delivering gifts at Christmas, but sadly it was too big for him also.

A new hat for Santa perhaps? No Santa! It looks very silly.

Then Lulu concluded it would make a cosy bed for her little dolly.

But the bed was too short and anyway Lulu's dolly already has a cosy bed.

And so, having run out of ideas Lulu decided to place the mysterious shoe on the basket of dolly-size balls of yarn, alongside the piece of knitted patchwork. Hopefully someone will claim it very soon.

If you'd like to knit any of the characters pictured above you will find patterns for them in my Dollytime Etsy shop. If you live in the UK and would like to pay in UK pounds sterling you will find the patterns in my UK Dollytime shop.

There are also a selection of FREE PATTERNS in my blog sidebar for you to try this weekend.

Have fun and enjoy your weekend whatever you are doing.