I thought I had come up with a fantastic idea. Bored with knitting long i-cords for my niece’s Christmas present, a Knitted Babe, I remembered the French Knitting Dolly I had had as a child.
Brilliant! Make a dolly’s legs and arm (yes, I got bored after making just one arm) out of a dolly! Quick, easy, painless, and somehow poetically satisfying to boot.
It started off well. I found a shop that stocked knitting dollys, and when it arrived I found some great online instructions to remind myself how to use the dolly.
There was a fair bit of fiddling around to begin with, but I figured that once I had got the hang of the technique, I could churn out the remaining limbs in no time flat.
So I carried on, and on, and on. At one point it did occur to me that it would probably have been about twice as quick to knit these stitches as to ‘dolly’ them but, what the heck, I was bored with knitting the things, and a change seemed as good as a rest.
Except that it really wasn’t.
Eventually the end of the cord appeared out of the dolly’s bottom end. To be perfectly frank, I had by this stage developed a sneaking suspicion that there might be just the slightest difference in tension using this method, and that the resulting stitches might be just the teeniest bit looser than knitted stitches:
Hmm. Back to the needles, I think!
The knitted babe herself is not coming out in public until her hair is properly done, and as finger-curling individual strands of a linen-based yarn is somewhat time consuming, that will not be just yet.
But, when she does finally emerge, how fine will she be looking in this:
This ballerina tutu is the first item of clothing I’ve made for her, and it was such fun to do: quick, easy and very sweet indeed! I modified the pattern by knitting it in the round, making the straps into i-cords, and leaving the knicker-part of the tutu separate. Here they are: cute and yet slightly weird, all at the same time…
Ok, so she’s still freaking me out, and she still only has one of her four limbs, but the knitted babe is starting to look slightly cuter. She also has some pretty lace knickers which I think is a good thing for everyone concerned…
It took me ages to choose yarn for her hair; in the end I went for Rowan Damask. It has a beautiful shine to it, and I love all the subtle colour changes. It’s not attached yet – I want to try finger-curling it and giving her a 1930s-style bob. I’m thinking of knitting a sort of cap that I can attach the strands to, rather than fixing them directly to her head. I think it might be easier to adjust it and get it looking how I want that way.
Although the Knitted Babes book is clearly a work of pure genius, it seems to me that it is written primarily for non or new knitters.There are quite a few changes I’m making to the patterns that are probably just be extra techniques to learn if you are new to knitting. For example: making the legs and arms as i-cords, knitting the body in the round and making the decreases in the knicker lace pattern point towards the centre of the pattern.
Knitted freak more like! I mean, appropriate for a 3-year old? Seriously?
Her eyes started off a little large, which made her look like an alien who’d been through, well, let’s just say a rough time:
She finally got a face, and one arm and, frankly, I find her even more scary than before:
Still, Steve took pity on her; he’s a soft touch. And boy, did she like the attention:
Ugh, how nauseating! Step AWAY from the freak sir, you don’t know what she might do..
Yeah, right, think you can fool me with that Joan Collins turban and that butter-wouldn’t-melt look on your face? You’re still a FREAK!!!
Disclaimer: No knitted babes were harmed in the making of this post. Contrary to reports, the legs and arms of this knitted babe were not cruelly ripped out for the purposes of dramatic reconstruction. Princess Pea would like to apologise to any legless, one-armed knitted babes who may have been offended by this post. Steve is receiving counselling and is likely to recover fully from the vicious mauling he received at the hand of the knitted babe.
I came across this Knitted Babe on Rose Red’s blog recently. And as soon as I saw her, I knew I had to make one for myself my niece Ella. So, I ordered the book, Knitted Babes, by Claire Garland, and it arrived today. Here are some pictures from it:
How cute is that! I figure that if I start soon, I can have a really nice collection of accessories ready by Christmas, without feeling like it’s a last minute rush or too onerous a task. There are loads of themed outfits in the book: surfer girl and cowgirl to name just too. This is probably my favourite though:
Ballerina girl. When I was little my friend Nicola had a ballerina tutu that I was desperately jealous of. I would dress up in it whenever I went to play at her house, and go on about wanting a tutu of my own all the time.
That Christmas my grandparents sweetly gave me what they probably thought was the present of my dreams. They bought me a black leotard and footless tights, and paid for some ballet lessons. This was one of those moments that truly tests a child. I was suitably grateful for the gift, and went along to the lessons. But the bit they never knew? I had no interest at all in ballet. All I wanted was to be a fairy!
But I digress. Back to the knitted babe – here she is in her lacy underwear:
I can’t wait to start making her! But I’m going to finish my Grannie Smith cardigan first – I’m halfway through the second sleeve now, so the end is in sight….