Sunday, 20 November 2011

A present for Louise

 This is for Louise of Raspberries in Winter. Louise is really the person who got me into blogging. I've loved reading Louise's various blogs over the last few years. Louise is a gifted photographer, a fellow crafts-person and a great procrasti-baker (Procrasti-baking, a term coined by my eldest daughter, is the art of baking to avoid studying). Louise just has a way of chronicling life in our part of the world that is sometimes quirky, beautifully illustrated with cool photos and always interesting. She also did good tutoring via proxy for a novice blogger. So thank you Louise for lots of things and congratulations on your recently celebrated Blogiversary.

So a present for Louise? I think today I might tease you a little before I reveal the finished item and its story. Obviously it's a knitted item because that's pretty much what I do. Lets see if you can guess what it is from the following work in progress clues...

Knitted fuzzy bits and pieces
Is it a bird?
Is it a plane? Only joking? Looks like penguin.
Alright the next one will give it away...
It's a cat!

Louise's dad is a notorious cat hater. (See Louise's post Cat Cat Kitty Cat from July this year). As a real one was out of the question (although Mel did offer to lend ours to her for a short term visit), I decided I finally had reason to knit a particularly cute cat pattern from my To be knitted list. So here is an unobjectionable cat that Louise's Dad can live with. No allergy problems, no sleeping on his favorite chair, no fur everywhere and no scratching the furniture. No need to feed it. Just cute and cuddly.

The pattern is from The English Woman's Weekly. I though this was cute from the first time I saw it but it is knitted from a specialty yarn. The pattern calls for Sirdar Snowflake Chunky which was really only available in Australia for a while about 10 years ago and so it took a while to find a suitable substitute. I've knitted this in Bella Baby Sooky. It was knitted on 4mm (UK 8) and 3mm (UK 11) needles.

The cat joined the exodus to the park and had its photo taken along with the Little Poppets. I also thought it was a great way to showcase the absolutely gorgeous display of gladioli in my front garden at the moment. Enjoy the cat and the flowers.

(P.S. If you want to see how the cat is settling in at Louise's see her post here).
Cat rides horse

These are species gladioli rather than the cut flower variety

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Little Poppets in the park

This post is a little different. Today I'm going to post about a photographic excursion I took with some of my knitted creations, the Little Poppets last Sunday afternoon. Now these girls have been clamouring to be blogged about for a while, hanging out underfoot, in the lounge room, on my ironing board and at one stage on my computer desk. (As I write this, they are imprisoned in a orange Kung Fu Panda shopping bag on the ironing board). 'Yes' I said, looking at them. 'You'll get your go. You just deserve to be photographed in a way more in keeping with your character. Something groovy and funky and frivolous'. However, inspiration refused to strike except to rule out photographing them sitting on the couch or in the garden.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I  read an article in the Fall 2011 Issue of Petite Purls by their resident photographer and co-editor, Brandy Fortune,  called How to Stage a Cute and Timeless Photoshoot. And the germ of an idea on how to most properly photograph the Little Poppets took root.

Then I had to wait for the weather gods to smile on me sufficiently at a time when I could actually do something about it. So last Sunday afternoon, we gathered up the models (a herd of stuffed cats also joined in, but they get their own post later), stuffed them ignominiously head first into a shopping bag, grabbed the 'good' camera and strolled off to the park (children's playground) around the corner. I really wanted to go to the big all-access playground next to the racecourse in our town as it has the most beautiful hand carved sitting ponies but I figured I'd get less weird looks carrying around a camera and a bag of stuffed toys in my own neighbourhood. I have found that the 'good' camera, a fully auto Pentax SLR tends to convince people that you actually know what you are doing anyway.
The little poppets on the slide
So here are the Little Poppets on the slide. The one on the left is an angel, complete with knitted wings which I knitted for Mel. The one on the right has stepped right out of the Swinging sixties in London and belongs to my eldest daughter. I knitted these about 6 or 7 years ago when the girls were in their early teens. In some ways, these dolls are a little bit of a failure. I was experimenting with hair so the brown doll has a million braids. The angel one has long blond hair using about six or seven different shades of yellow wool. It's not that I don't like their hair; it's just that I didn't know when to stop so their heads are so heavy they can't hold them up!

Next on the agenda was a pony ride.

No, you're supposed to face the other way!
Then a go on the swing and some climbing and hanging on the monkey bars.

These dolls are made from the Little Poppets pattern originally published in the English Women's Weekly. They are knitted in a mix of 8 ply (Double Knitting) acrylic yarns from the stash. I modified the eyes as I didn't like the originals (see here for more about how to do these embroidered doll eyes). These dolls are stuffed with a combination of stuffing (the heads and limbs and the upper part of the body) and pellets (the rest of the body) which allows them to sit on the edge of shelves, etc... However, the angel's pellets tend to congregate at the bottom of her body as so she looks a bit fat (or pregnant as one unkind person in the family commented when checking out the photos).

The Poppets and I (and the photographer's assistant - more about him in a future blog post - the one about the herd of cats) had fun hanging out in the park on a Sunday afternoon.
She IS looking a little fat here

I have had a really productive last couple of weeks finishing off about 6 projects, but most of them are gifts and so I have to hold off blogging about them until they've gone to their new homes. Just keep your eyes open for a smorgasbord of cute over the next few months.