Nan used to make all sorts of animals, people, & the most amazingly cute bobble-eyed frogs ! She often used Jean Greenhowe patterns and both my daughter & I loved them.
When my niece was born 5 &1/2 years ago I was ecstatic for 2 reasons.
For the first time I became a real Aunty & she was a girl !
I don't remember when or how I came to know of Fiona McDonald's book
Babes in the Wool but I knew that I would knit one of her dolls as a Christmas gift for my niece & so I did.
I knit another doll from the book, just for interest sake & thoroughly enjoyed the process, particularly making the doll size garments.
I put the big dolls aside after Montana and was thrilled when I found Fiona McDonald's next book Knitted Fairies which enabled the next Christmas prezzie.
So I did.
It's those little painted eyes, sculpted noses & painted lips which bring these fairies to life.
I also enjoyed designing a knitted skirt & jacket for her.
Her jacket is based on another patten from Fiona's book.
I further refined my doll pattern whilst making Rita & Lizzie, who came to live & hang out with Queenie.
I had been struggling making child safe wings with enough integrity to hold themselves up & then, out of the blue, my daughter told me she didn't like the fairies ears as they were too big & made them look like trolls!
I was shocked & saddened … to me, apart from the wings, the ears are what make a fairy.
. . . my fairies became dolls again.
I sent a photo to my now 5yr old niece for approval & she suggested to her daddy that Aunty Sal could make an 'Elsa'. I took that as a compliment.
With my pattern worked out, materials for eyes & lips that I was happy with & an assortment of New Zealand wools that I liked, I made the first 5 sisters.
I have found that their personality & story usually come to me as I'm knitting them, often their name as well.
This combination of details & the colour I've chosen for their body suit somehow determines their eye & lip colour.
Their hair is always fun & I usually choose the hair colour & 'style' based on whim.
These 5 girls all wear bespoke knitted skirts & I have designed & knit custom coats & cardis.*
Their clothes are removable.
I'm happy with their base pattern & I'm continually planning & making new dolls.
Although time consuming they are a pleasure to make, because all of a sudden, there they are, complete.
Beautiful, small, silent companions . . . . waiting to catch your eye & make you smile.
All the dolls who are currently available for purchase can be found here.
* I have used techniques I learnt in Wendy Barnard's Creativebug class Top Down Sweater knitting, including taking the dolls measurements, to calculate stitch counts & shaping! This was an enormously satisfying achievement.
I was amazed that it worked & that they fit so well.
I look at these tiny little garments & giggle as I still can't believe I managed to do them.
I have never designed & knit garments for humans !