Friday 30 March 2012

Is there a mouse in the house?

We've had a wonderful week of blue skies and sunshine and as a result everyone (humans and dollies) has enjoyed happy times in the garden.

The playroom door has been left open and much fun has been had. However, the downside to all this freedom is that the younger dolls have tended to wander around the house and today I found this inquisitive little group looking at my computer screen. Something in my blog comments had attracted their attention. . . . .

. . . . . . 'Nannie Sheila' was wanting to know if I had a mouse that would fit into Baby Bunny's basket and 'Pearly Queen' had suggested that there are patterns for mice in my Etsy shop. Would these be a suitable size?

Before anyone had time to consider the possibility of a mouse instead of a bunny in a basket two of my cheeky mice (Pip and Darcy) scurried up to Baby Bunny who was having her morning nap.

With no word of warning Pip grabbed hold of poor Baby Bunny and heaved her out of the basket.

Very quickly a crowd of curious onlookers gathered round and the sight of Pip the mouse asleep in the basket created huge amusement.

Inevitably a game of 'let's all try the basket for size' followed next. The mice might have been a bit too large but the little Jolly Tot dolls fitted perfectly.

One thing was certain, everyone agreed that Baby Bunny's basket would be a very cosy place to take a nap.
Very quickly however the game of individuals trying the basket for size turned into 'let's see how many can squeeze into the basket' and from then on things got a bit out of hand.

Fortunately Posy came along and dealt with the culprits in double quick time. Armful by armful she scooped them up and took them into the garden.

Mice, bunnies and dollies were deposited in the old wheelbarrow and when it was full Posy spent the rest of the morning pushing the overloaded barrow round the garden. Needless to say a jolly good time was had by all, all that is except Posy!

Meanwhile, Kate gently placed Baby Bunny back in her crib but Bunny didn't like that idea at all and wanted to play with the others. Kate, of course, didn't mind because it meant she could wrap Bunny in her cosy shawl and cuddle her.


A very big thank you for all the nice comments you have left with recent posts. Baby Bunny seems to have appealed to a great many of you and I know several knitters who have made a variety of other animals to pop inside the basket crib. In answer to Nannie Sheila's question, my three mice (pictured below) are the same length as the basket but if knitted on needles that are one, two or even three sizes smaller then they would fit quite well. You could consider knitting the head on smaller needles and then stitching it onto a bunny's body. The heads are very quick to make so my advice would be to give it a go!

The Jolly Tot dolls (below) fit in the basket crib perfectly and there are 10 styles to choose from. They can of course be knitted in 'baby shades' if softer colours are preferred.

I have three easy to follow patterns for mice. Each mouse has the same head pattern so if you only want a head please choose only one mouse. Mice and Jolly Tot doll patterns can all be found in my Dollytime Etsy shop.

I hope to spend more time in the garden this weekend as the English weather can never be relied on to stay fine for long! Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope you have an enjoyable weekend.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Bunny fun

What a week we've had in the playroom! The mischievous bunny children have taken up residence in my wool basket and have spend every day creating havoc.

Our search for a mother bunny to look after these little ones continues. The 'Wanted - Mother Bunny' poster we put in the playroom window last week has unfortunately brought no Mother Bunnies to our door. To be honest, I'm not surprised as the five little rascals are such a spirited lot that many mothers would probably want to disown them.

Anyway, as today was fine and sunny we decided to pin the 'Wanted' notice to the old tree at the edge of the wood. Hopefully a passing bunny would take pity on the little scamps and offer them a good home. The dolls, of course, want the bunnies to 'stay forever' but I'm not sure that is a good idea as their unruly behaviour is beginning to influence some of the younger dollies.

Being such a lovely spring day the ever sensible Posy volunteered to take all five bunny children for a ride in the old pram and set off across the lawn. Of course they wriggled and squirmed but Posy kept on going.

Then all of a sudden, and with no warning, they began scrambling out of the pram. Posy's loud protestations had no effect and every bunny set off at top speed across the lawn in the direction of the wood. What had startled them? . . . . . . . . . . .

Maybe this had something to do with it! A lady bunny was looking at the 'Wanted' poster. Beside her was an empty wheelie-basket and she appeared to be very interested in what she was reading.

Suddenly two little girl bunnies ran towards her. She picked them up, gave them a big hug and then placed them firmly in the empty basket.

The third little girl quickly followed and was placed next to her sisters. But where were the boys?

Not surprisingly the boy's escape plan failed miserably and they were unceremoniously picked up and thrust into the basket alongside their sisters.

Meanwhile, Posy had returned to the playroom with the empty pram and the dolls examined it in disbelief. Was it really empty? Had the bunny children gone forever? They didn't have to wait long to find out . . . . . . . .

Through the playroom window they saw a wheelie-basket loaded with captured bunnies being dragged across the lawn by none other than their very own mother. She told us how one day last week her five rascals had scampered off into the wood looking for adventure. When they failed to return she feared she would never see them again. But here they all are, alive and well thanks to the care given to them by the dolls. She asked if she and her children could she stay for a while in the playroom.

This was the response she got! Need I say more!

So many of you said such nice things about my pattern for the 'Baby Bunny in a Basket' that I decided a Mother Bunny would have to come next. And so here she is.

A pattern for the Mother Bunny in this blog post can be found in my Dollytime Etsy shop.

 'Baby Bunny in a Basket Crib is available from my Etsy shop.

Friday 16 March 2012

What a tangled web we weave

Playroom games remain a mystery to me. Today I found this tangled heap of dollies and knitting yarn rolling around on the playroom floor. Was it a game of. . . . 'Who wants to play Gulliver's Travels?' (the bit where Gulliver is tied to the floor by the tiny Lilliputians) or maybe it was 'Let's pretend to be Harry Houdini'. Your guess is as good as mine!

Whatever it was, great fun was being had by all the participants. Eventually I decided the whole thing was getting a bit out of hand and I released the captives from their woolly web and told them to wind all the yarn into neat balls and put it back into my knitting basket.

Amazingly everyone obliged and even Baby Bunny made herself useful. Then, after a while, everything went very quiet  which is never a good sign so I went to investigate.

I was greeted by several innocent faces all trying to look very 'good'. Of course there was nothing to hide. Or was there? I asked them to step aside and show me the basket. 

Sure enough they had wound all the yarn into nice round balls and placed each one neatly inside. So what was going on? . . . . Suddenly, out popped Baby Bunny's head.

Then, as if by magic, out popped several more little bunny heads. The dolls giggled and waved their arms with delight.

 Who were these bunny children? Where had they come from? I was told they were all Baby Bunny's cousins who, with help from the dolls, had decided to create a woolly rabbit warren in my knitting basket.

Whilst Kate held onto Baby Bunny the new arrivals climbed out of the basket and stood in a line. There were two little boys, and three little girls and all had the sweetest faces. "Could they stay?" I was asked. What a dilemma. The playroom is already a place of constant chaos and the thought of five bouncing bunnies joining the throng does not seem a sensible idea.

However I'm too soft hearted to turn them away so I have said they have just two weeks to find a suitable Mother Bunny to care for them. . . . . . 

The dolls wasted no time in making this poster and placed it in the playroom window. . . . . Let's wait and see what happens.

Pattern for the bunny children

Baby Bunny's cousins are easy to make and would be sweet little Easter gifts for children. They are all made from my Baby Bunny pattern (pictured above) which I know many of you have. The pattern can be found in my Dollytime Etsy shop.

If you have my Baby Bunny pattern these are some changes you can make :
* The bunny colours used are black, dark grey, brown, beige and white. 
* To make a white nose simply use white yarn for the last 4 rows of the head. 
* The arms and body are striped or plain (your choice).
* The white bunny's dress uses Baby Bunny's dress pattern. Use peach, mauve and lemon. Stripe randomly.
* The floral dresses are strips of floral fabric measuring 30cm (12in) x 8cm (3in). Hem top and bottom and gather at the waist with narrow elastic.
* For boys' trousers cast on 28 stitches. Knit 2 rows and then knit 11 rows in stocking stitch starting with a purl row. Cast off. Stitch the back seam. Place the trousers on the bunny with the cast-off edge at the top. Make several stitches (one over the other) between the legs. Stitch the cast-of waistband to the body gathering slightly if necessary.
* Trouser straps. Cast on 20 stitches. Cast off. Stretch slightly to straighten and stitch to the bunny's body. Use contrasting yarn to make three or four small stitches at the bottom of each strap to create buttons.

Friday 9 March 2012

Keeping busy

This has to be the prettiest thing I've seen all week. A little white rabbit dressed in shades of violet and lavender (my favourite colours) holding scissors and bead-top pins to match her outfit. She certainly makes the perfect sewing companion.

The pictures were sent to me by Colette who lives in Belgium. She has only been knitting for a short while and decided to try and make my Rowena Rabbit sewing companion. Although fairly new to the craft I think you'll agree she has made the rabbit beautifully. What makes her success even more amazing is the fact that English is not her first language and so unfamilar words and instructions all had to be translated. Don't you just love the way the mirror reflects the rabbit from the back. She's lovely.

I'm full of admiration for knitters who don't speak English as their first language but are brave enough to buy my patterns and translate them in order to knit my little dolls and animals.

If you'd like to knit your own Rowena Rabbit sewing companion like the one shown made by Colette you will find the pattern in my Etsy shop. I aim to make all my patterns easy to follow and every row is numbered. I include plenty of step by step pictures alongside the instructions.

Have I been doing anything creative this week? I'm afraid not! Not unless you consider cleaning windows to be a creative activity. We have leaded windows in our house and each small glass pane has to be cleaned individually. After a long winter the dirt rests stubbornly in the corners and the best way to attack it is with an old toothbrush and plenty of soapy water. This is the view through the dining room window. As you can see, our Lakeland skies are still grey but the daffodils are in bloom and at last everything is beginning to look a bit greener. (Just in case you are wondering . . . these windows haven't yet been cleaned!)

As you might expect, there has been no cleaning of windows in the playroom. This morning I found Kate and Lucy playing a game of 'how many dolls can you squeeze into a box?' It looked to be a very uncomfortable activity for the those inside the box but no one appeared to mind. Empty boxes never remain empty for long. 

In another part of the playroom I noticed the crayon box was being emptied onto the floor as three dolls chose their favourite colours. They seemed completely oblivious to the fact that baby bunny was about to fall head first into the box. Never mind, it's all good fun I suppose.

I hope you have a fun weekend wherever you are.

Monday 5 March 2012

Bunny's lunch - free pattern

The arrival of the baby bunny in the playroom created much excitement but the dolls were very concerned when the little cutie refused to eat.

Kate offered bunny some cheese sandwiches but they didn't interest her. 

Then Lulu decided an apple might be just the thing, but bunny wasn't tempted.

Lucy was sure a ripe red tomato would make excellent bunny food, but it seems she was wrong.

Luckily our two new dolls, Fern and Flora, have lived in the wood and know exactly what baby bunnies like to eat.

They filled their little baskets with tiny carrots and juicy radishes and of course, when she saw them, baby bunny's appetite returned immediately.

The baby bunny and all the dolls in this blog post can made from my patterns which you'll find in my Dollytime Etsy shop. Meanwhile, if you have a little bunny who might enjoy a meal of radishes and carrots you will find a free pattern below. They are quick and easy to make and only take small amounts of yarn.

Radish and carrot pattern

Materials needed:
A pair of 2.75mm needles (US size 2)
DK (double knitting) yarn radish red, white, carrot orange and leaf green.
USA use worsted and Australia use 8 ply.
Small amount of stuffing

k2tog - knit two stitches together
p2tog - purl two stitches together
k3tog - knit 3 stitches together
st - stitch(es)
st-st - stocking stitch (stockinette stitch)
cast off (bind off)
All rows are numbered

approximately the size of a standard radish

Cast on 12 stitches in radish red
1 - 6. st-st starting with a knit row
Break off red and join white
7 - 8. st-st (white)
9. k2tog across row (6st)
10. p2tog (x3) (3st)
11. k2tog, k1 (2st)
Cut the yarn leaving a 5cm (2in) tail and using a tapestry needle take the two remaining stitch from the needle onto the tail. Pull to tighten. This tail will form the root of the radish so cut to the required length (approx 2cm). With right side facing out, stitch the seam from the bottom to the top cast-on edge. Stuff the radish to make it firm and rounded (about the size of a small marble). To gather the top, whip-stitch around the stitch loops on the top edge and pull to tighten. Fasten off

Cast on 10 stitches in green
Cast off
Pull to straighten and then weave each yarn tail down to the centre and cut it off. Fold the leaf in half to make a 'v' shape and stitch to the top of the radish.


Small excluding leaves and root approx. 5cm (2in)
Large excluding leaves and root approx. 7cm (2.5in )

Cast on 14 stitches in carrot colour (orange)
1. knit
2. purl
3. k3, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k3 (12st)
4 - 6. st-st
7. k2, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k2 (10st)
8 - 10. st-st
11. k1, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k1 (8st)
12. purl
13. k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1 (6st)
14. purl
15. k2tog (x3) (3st)
16. purl
17. k2tog, k1 (2st)
Cut the yarn leaving a 5cm (2in) tail and using a tapestry needle take the two remaining stitches from the needle onto the tail. Pull to tighten. This tail will form the root of the carrot so cut to the required length (approx 2cm). Stitch the seam from the bottom to the top cast-on edge. Stuff the carrot to make it firm but not too wide (use the end of a blunt pencil or point of scissors to push stuffing to the bottom). To gather the top, whip-stitch alternate loops on the top edge but before gathering you need to add the leaves (see below).

Cast on 14 stitches in carrot colour (orange)
1 - 4. st-st starting with knit row
5. k3, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k3 (12st)
6 - 8. st-st
9. k2, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k2 (10st)
10 - 12. st-st
13. k1, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k1 (8st)
14 - 16. st-st
17. k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1 (6st)
18 - 20 st-st.
21. k2tog (x3) (3st)
22. purl
23. k2tog, k1 (2st)
To make up follow the instruction for small carrot (above).

For small carrot cut 8 lengths of yarn approximately 10cm (4in) long
For large carrot cut 12 lengths of yarn approximately 10cm (4in) long.

Tie a knot in the centre to hold the yarn bundle together (see below).

Push the knot into the open top of the carrot and pull the gathering yarn so the top encloses the knot. Pull the gathers to hold the knot firmly in place and fasten off. Trim the leaves to the desired length (I like to make them all slightly different lengths).