New fairies in our home

February 27, 2009

Dancing Fairies silk mobile

Dancing Fairies silk mobile

Woo-hoo we made a dancing fairy silk mobile on Monday!

Poppy Fairy

Poppy Fairy

And the day before that we made a Poppy Fairy (that’s fairy – not emperor nor witch – we may have to give her a haircut).

(It is such a pleasure to create something with your child apart from joy.)

Coral Rose Angel Pony and Painted Pony

Coral Rose Angel Pony and Painted Pony

I have discussed this with other creative people – the peculiarity of some things (dolls in particular) making themselves so I know it’s not just me. Sometimes it’s like you’re channelling! Why is this? I think there are lots of reasons, apart from the sheer fundamentals of creation, including managing to not keep everything you make yourself but set them free in the world.

When I look at the two ponies above I forget that I made them! I think, how gorgeous are those ponies? Oh wait a minute, I made them! It’s really strange. It’s like I have a simultaneous affinity and love for them and an objective detachment. I’m struck by how they seem to have individual personalities (more on this thought another day).

And I am always thinking how amazing it is that I make knit toys. I mean me who years ago thought my friend Kirsten was very sweet for loving knit toys, especially vintage ones, but not really getting her deep attraction. (But being very respectful of it since she is a sculptress and fantastic stylist). And yet – what happen’? here I am (self-styled) Knit Toy Mistress.

Not sure if I have explained this thought very articulately since I have just woken from a nap but will post anyway and maybe edit later. I’m about to carry on with a twined cotton and feather yarn pony in pinks. Yesterday I knitted an adorable (see, objective viewpoint remember?!) stripey pig but he is yet to be made up and the other day I finished knitting a dynamite midnight blue and star-silver twinkly tinsel (!) yes, that’s right TINSEL mohair pony and have order some special nightsky blue roving to stuff him with.

Gorgeous greens

February 24, 2009

Frisk is again among the gorgeous on Etsy front page

Frisk is again among the gorgeous on Etsy front page

Will we keep Frisk the Boucle Pony at home? He is so handsome, has been featured TWICE on the Etsy front page and yet, where is his forever person? They are very late in finding him. I am sure he is meant to be for someone other than us. We shall be patient for him and his forever person. Maybe his first mission is to brighten lots of people’s days in Treasuries? Gosh, while I am loathe to push Wasabi Slugs down this page I love the fresh greeny olives of this Treasury from last week.

Fantasia

February 21, 2009

Wasabi Slugs

Wasabi Slugs

Yes, I think I shall launch a new section in my shop called “Fantasia” or maybe “Luxe”. I am all fired up after months of thinking about it to create some more unusual darlings – for example, sewing felt flowers onto some darlings or using colored stuffing which might puff out here and there through my stitches.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my natural creamy stuffing, it is so soft and gorgeous. But when I consider the possiblities of pink stuffing inside a pale, pale pink pig or blue stuffing peeping out from inside a blue glitter pony (which I am creating right now)  — or let’s just go completely mad: contrast wildly; orange stuffing with lilac yarn etc etc – well it just makes me kinda shivery.

beautiful plant dyed wool

beautiful plant dyed wool

Hello handmadepresents and your divine range of colored wools.

Twittering

February 21, 2009

LullabyLily bird now twittering!

LullabyLily bird now twittering!

I must stop going online too early in the morning when I am not fully awake. I do all manner of carefree things like opening up 3 online shops and then closing them once awake. So now, this morning I have surprised myself by unexpectedly joining Twitter. I laughed after joining at the personal irony of the continual “what are you doing now?” box: This is the one thing I cannot stand people asking me! It does seem so sweetly twittery on Twitter that I am likely going to gush foolishly into that wee space box. Am off now to see who I will follow (even while I don’t know what ‘following’ is but it sounds good to me). Here I am on Twitter.

Knit toy mojo no. 1

February 20, 2009

Painted Pony

Painted Pony

Dichotomy. And an excuse to use that lovely word. My first in a possible series of tips on making knit toys – or knit toy maker mojo – is all to do with dichotomy. In the knit toy we have an inherent division between two mutually exclusive, opposed parts. These two parts are:

+ the careful knitting (every stitch perfect)

+ the rough stuffing (knead, push, prod and sculpt with all your might)

Being a Libran, I experience the joys of indecision (will I publish this or not, will people think me silly, does that matter, will I publish or not, just do a preview etc etc ad infinitum … oh, if you’re reading I must have decided at last)  and, relative to this article, the inherent drive to balance everything out. So perhaps this is why I love the practical application of balancing opposing forces in the creation of knit toys; bringing together two disciplines in one lovely form.

When I made my first knit toy I was afraid to put too much stuffing in for fear of ‘ruining’ the knitting; busting stitches, creating so much tension that stuffing would poke out a nostril etc. That little donkey is still a little droopy. (But he still gets played with.) It was while being taught how to make a Waldorf doll head that I learned about treating your work real rough. By golly you really need to pull tight on that upholstery thread! What liberation! Using muscle in a gentle art, how rebellious.

Of course it’s the same with other things like baking as my muscly right-armed sponge-cake making ancestors would attest. It’s about getting in there, not being afraid, laughing at the devil of creativity whispering “but you’ll ruin it and all your lovely knitting will be for naught, careful! careful! what if you mess it up…” in your ear, trusting the process and feeling confident about what you’re doing. And deciding that even if it looks rubbish, you’ll treasure it anyway (or turn it into something else).

So when you have finished your beautiful knitted piece and have lovingly sewn it together, shove that stuffing (preferably pure wool, I get my roving from www.handmadepresents.co.uk) in by the handful. Forget about your knitted stitches being straight for the moment (sort that out later) and pay attention to the shape of your toy.

Guage how much stuffing you’ll need for the head, put the whole lot in at once and push and cramp it down firmly. Remember the neck holds the head up so puts lots in there too. Go for big loads of stuffing, not little bead sizes because you can’t sculpt so well with smaller bits. And for dolls or animals with tummies, do make the tummy very firm because this is where a child will hold them most often and if you’ve ever had your fingers in a baby-finger-vice you know how strong their grip can be so you must have lots of stuffing in there.

Instead of thinking you’re stuffing your knitting, think about sculpting your toy. I find that after paying so much attention to the stuffing, my knitting sometimes feels a bit pressurised at the sewing between the legs. So I darn there. Yes, I DARN there, it’s ALLOWED.

The stuffing and finishing process is your quality control. It is here you will see where your knit toy needs extra attention – better you see it than a child. When you treat the toy rough, you are not treating it any more roughly than a four or five year old might. So get in there with the rough stuff after your careful knitting. Bring harmony to dichotomy. Ah, balance, Libra is happy.

Pony club wrangle

February 12, 2009

Frisk makes it to the Etsy front page

Frisk makes it to the Etsy front page

Someone wrangled a beautiful collection of horses and ponies into a Treasury and on to the Etsy front page! Little Frisk the Boucle Pony is delighted! Gorgeous.