About Me

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IMAGINATION IS THE EYE OF THE SOUL Joseph Joubert. I am a mother of four...I still remember the smile that refused to go away for weeks after our daughters birth. To have a little girl appear after three sons seemed such a miracle. I have always enjoyed My Doll World, sharing it with Lara when she was little. Today I design knitted outfits for miniature dolls and enjoy every minute of it. The fact that the outfits are removable is what makes it so special for me. Using ever finer threads has opened so many MINIATURE DESIGN opportunities.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Favourite Things

This photograph has always brought comment from so many who have seen it

 I am going to make a miniature version of this photograph in my dolls house

I remember the day so clearly, Rein was listening to Paul's homework and had fallen fast asleep while doing so.

He always denied the fact ...in those days we did not have digital cameras and I was an equally poor photographer, as grainy as the picture is,
I consider it the best I have ever taken...the concentration on our son's face and Rein blissfully unaware ....

Miniature Knitting Patterns 3 1/2" Pearl

Pearl is one of my most favourite little girl doll house dolls

The dolls were made by my friend Dianne Yunnie

I thought I would show you the little girls sitting and on my desk as I design for her....
As you can see I often knit the outfit a few times to get the detail as perfect as possible, for me a row here an extra stitch there makes all the difference.
Many people don't enjoy the "frilly look" but sometimes these designs just happen.

The next photograph shows how I sew sleeves onto my garments, there are many items in a home that can be used to insert into a sleeve.

Inserting the sleeve into the dress

Miniature Knitting Tips

The following three photographs show the difference between using smaller needles and finer thread.

 I used exactly the same pattern for both sizes. 
The difference beingt I used 1mm knitting needles and 70/2 Venne thread for the larger outfit.
For the smaller outfit I used .07mm knitting needles and Madeira Cotona No 80....

The end result was a 25% difference in size. 
The only subtle change I would make in the future would be to have 4 rows less on the sleeve length
for the Belly Button Babe.

This is what one has to take into account when changing needles and threads.

 I made one mistake in knitting the smaller outfit..... I added two extra rows which I then followed through on both the dress and petticoat instead of undoing the extra rows.

Venne 70/2  and Madeira Catona 80

Patterns 7 1/2" Riley

After having made a shawl for one of the little dolls a whole new series of patterns emerged.
I kept thinking I was all "Feather and Fanned" out ....when yet another design would appear on my neeldes.
As I draped and fiddled with the fabric produced by this wonderful design pictures appeared in my head.

Reine for Riley

This photograph shows a pram made by the Robertsons it is a 1:12th scale pram and works beautifully for Riley.

Her outfit is completely knitted by hand using Venne 70/2 mercerized cotton.

I need to make her shoes that actually fit, I find these bought shoes to be rather clumsey.

One has to be a serious Riley collecter to want to knit these little outfits. So many knitters are more than happy with the thicker yarns, but once you have made an outfit you begin to see the delicateness of the patterns.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Miniature Knitting Tips

Thread Holder

To help keep my working thread clean and to stop knots forming in the thread I do the following
I insert one of my thicker knitting needles into a pin cusion and put my reel of thread over it.

Works in the same principle as attaching your reel of thread to a sewing machine, winds off easily as you go.

I found a little silver bowl and made a pincushion to fit, I filled the pincushion with birdseed and then decorated it with the famous silk ribbon roses. Just shows you how long I have had the pincushion. 

Seeing the photograph, I think it is time I made a new one. 
I wonder how many sewing needles are buried in it.

I also found an old silver pepper pot in which now houses my talcum powder.
Looks so much prettier on my desk than a large container, after all one only needs a little powder at a time. All miniature knitters need a little baby talc for those sweaty hands!

Miniature Knitting Tips

Each person has their own working methods, I thought I would share my tricks of the trade I have developed over the years.

Knitting Needles

I highly recommend the Hiya Hiya brand of knitting needles, especially for people who find that their needles have tarnished once used.
My preference are their 24" circular needles, the actual metal needle section measures just over 5"
I buy my needles from Brownberry Yarns in the UK, I have found them most efficient


Hiya Hiya knitting needles are made from stainless steel and the points are not too sharp, I have not had to do anything to the points of the needles I have bought, I work with them ex factory.
Unfortunately their smallest needle is a  .07mm, which is the size I find myself using more and more.
I get my smaller size needles from Lacis these come in packs of 5  


It is very important to have a pair of needles a size smaller than the ones used for knitting the garment, ready for any unpicking...."frogging" as it is known..... from the sound "rip it, rip it" of a frog, more importantly for picking up a dropped stitch.
Should you drop a stitch immediately pinch the dropped stitch between the thumb and index finger of your left hand. 
This prevents the stitch running down your work.
Pick up the dropped stitch with the smaller size needle then using a crochet hook "knit" the stitch back up to the last row worked.

I find it virtually impossible to unpick rows using the same size needle that I am knitting the garment with, cotton threads do not have much stretch at all. Once a stitch is dropped it seems to shrink and poking your needle into it only makes matters worse in that your knitting becomes distorted. 

One also needs a double pointed knitting needle for the technique I call B & T, this is a way of gathering the stitches of the last row together instead of casting off the stitches individually.

B and T tightly technique - mainly used on bonnets.   

For this technique the last row is always knitted onto a double pointed needle. Break off thread leaving a tail of at least 30cm, longer if you plan to crochet a decorative edge around the bonnet
Move the stitches to the opposite end of the needle.
Thread your working yarn onto a sewing needle then weave the yarn through the stitches on the needle, you are actually starting from the opposit edge from where the thread is.
Pull together gently and firmly, then fasten off.  

Weaving the thread from the opposite end is so much better as the stitches "sit' into place  perfectly. Use this thread to sew up the row ends and crochet a decorative edge.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Teddies in My Life

This group of teddies has been part of my collection for ages now, I have so enjoyed them.

Now if you asked me who designed the teddies I cannot recollect they are for my pleasure not for future value.

The little willow bench was made by my friend Shelia Lechner's husband

Vera De Muis

When visiting The Netherlands I was always fascinated by Marjolein Bastin's art in a local magazine, I thought her style so special and natural. 

Her character "Vera de Muis" is special so one day I decided to make my own "Vera de Muis"

It still needs to be worked on by making the little mouse look younger somehow. 
My friend Manda Theart made Vera's little mouse friend.
Manda Theart has just published  her first book on the techniques she uses in making her Fimo characters.
Over the years watching manda grow in her craft has been very special.

The ISBN  978-957-41-7710-3

If you would like to Contact Manda for further details please free to ask

Patterns 4 1/2" Snowdrop


Snowdrop is such a delightful antique reproduction doll.
She measures only 4 1/2 "


This is one of my most favorite antique reproduction dolls...these two little darlings were made for me by my friend Jacquie Peate in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Teddies in My Life

Miss Sally and her Blooming Hats and Bags

It is the feathers that give this little hat that something special..
I saw a photograph of a 1920's hat, it almost jumped out of the page and said "Make Me"

We were working in fimo so it just seemed natural to try and make the hat in fimo.
Now to figure out what base can one use to work on. I tried large marble, and it worked well, then low and behold the hat fitted Miss Sally perfectly, I was thrilled.

I have tried to make another exactly like it...but no way ....funny  how that happens

I realized I could now make any flower I wanted. I could have artistic license with the flowers as hats can be anything they want to be after all.

I also have a thing about Silk ribbon roses..... wherever I look in our miniature world there is another silk ribbon rose.....

As you can see I later got totally carried away with making the flowers.

I smile when I think of the first silk ribbon rose I made, it was taught to me  by one of my best friends of 25 years.
Dianne Yunnie was teaching our doll club how to make them.

Teddies in My Life

The very first pattern I ever put to paper was this little teddy dressing gown. 

He is just less than four inches.

 It started off with a fridge magnet by Bear and Me, while cooking one evening I looked at it and said to myself...."How would I knit that"....So I did...Then my friend Shelia asked me for the pattern, "I said I have not got one, it is in my head"....."Well", she said "Write it down."

                         I made a wardrobe of clothes for Christopher                                                         
I but did not write the patterns down, a pity, wish I had....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Miniature Knitting Patterns 3" Sean

 My latest design for3" Sean                                                                     
He does need to be fitted with a straight arm though.

IRENE for 3" Sean

I am working on reducing the design at the moment using finer thread and needles...

This is the square version of the shawl worked the way Haapsalu Shawl's of Estonia are knitted.

The round version of the shawl I like to think is my own invention, I can now knit any pattern into a round shawl

Do enjoy

Patterns 7 1/2" Riley

Pearl for Riley
One of my most favorite little dolls is "Contempo Riley" by Doll Artist Helen Kish.
I made this outfit for her as I wanted a Raggedy Anne look alike to display her with all my gollies.

She is the perfect size to be able "to play" with all my 1:12th scale collection. So one can have such fun making up displays. She also reminds me of my surrogate grand daughter Grace.

Grace just loves the camera she was modeling all the rings that came with the seven dwarfs.
Did you notice the rug she is standing on I have to make a pattern for a petitpoint rug. I think the colours are perfect for my dolls house. Rein bought this rug in the middle east about 40 years ago.

This design is called Clair for Riley

Rita for Riley

Still on a learning curve with blogging so I have to upload Photographs before I start a post....we will get better
PS all the little fimo acessories are made by my friends Manda Theart and Ana Esteves.
Manda has just brought out her first book...that's another post

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Miniature Knitting Tips

I have been designing miniature garments for the last 10 years, a question that often crops up is how to change the size of a pattern so that it will fit a smaller doll.


   Enlarging and Reducing Miniature Knitting Patterns

I know many of us have reduced patterns by changing the thread and or needles we use.

The easiest way for a beginner to reduce a pattern and keeping the proportion of the original design is changing "both thread and needles" and not the stitch count...

If the smallest needles and finest thread is already used in the pattern the only way is to reduce the size of the pattern is to reduce the number of stitches.

Though experience and also looking at my designs knitted by other people who have not used the recommended thread and or needles for the design....I find often the garment begins to take on a shape all of its own...

When using the same thread as recommended and working the pattern exactly only changing going to a smaller size needle.....this is what happens.

The garment is shorter but the width stays the same, out of proportion.
A lace pattern in the garment (is made up holes which form the lace pattern) these holes become almost invisible (exaggeration on my part) and the lace produced is not very pretty.
The fabric produced tends to be stiff as well.

When using the same needles as recommended but thicker thread (say Venne
34/2 instead of Venne 70/2 Colcotton)
The garment becomes wider and a fraction longer...and the fabric produced is also stiff in comparison to the finer thread.

When you have to reduce a pattern, using the original thread and needles it is essential that the number of stitches are changed.
Take into account commercial patterns for humans....

If you are a beginner may I recommend the following?

If you have a pattern for a 3 inch doll knit the pattern as per instructions using the needles and thread as  recommended....before sewing the dress together fit it onto your 2 inch doll take it in where necessary,(pinning the darts or tucks formed) count the stitches on those sections and reduce the number of stitches accordingly.

You will find that is works out to a certain percentage over the whole garment......then working on percentages change the pattern. It is all a
matter of maths.  

When designing I always start on the larger size doll I am working with.

                                      The large doll was 41mm tall
                                      The medium doll was 35mm tall
                                      The smallest doll was 32mm tall

The little bodies were totally different, (even though the height only differed by 3mm)....and necessitated changing number of stitches for each doll.... as I was already using the finest thread and needles I was prepared to use. 

(If I go any smaller I think my eyes would say goodnight nurse.)

Happy knitting
Sharon Chrystal

Miniature Knitting Patterns Belly Button Baby

I have recently bought the mold for this precious little baby doll and you will see why...

I have called this design LISA MARIE for belly Button baby

 It so reminded me of the photograph that is on my bedside table, often people have commented that you do not see my eldest grandchild's face...it is the mood of the photograph that appeals to my emotions, I wonder what Oliver was thinking.    

I will be designing a lot more for this little doll I do hope you enjoy!

Miniature Knitting Patterns 3" Sean

This little sleeping doll Sean was gifted to me by my friend Diane Yunnie, it was the first time I consciously knitted for  a 1:12th scale little doll.

I have always designed with the little doll sitting on my desk as I work, being more experienced now and having a history of designs the process is so much easier...like everything it is practice, practice, practice.

Candy for Sean

This pattern is available in 

English    SKU KDH 000 201-E
Nederlands    SKU KDH 500 201-N

The design had to fit his little bent arm.....
Then to make it more than grand I simply had to add beads to the design....
This has really been one of my most popular patterns.

Days of Our Lives

I must have been three or four when I heard the poem

Someone came knocking at my wee small door 
Someone came knocking I'm sure, sure, sure. 
I listened, I opened, I looked from left to right .....

It was this childhood poem that excited and scared me. 
My sister used to recite the poem to me when we were going off to sleep, in a really scary voice..
She was nearly three years older than I was...and that's a lot older when you are only three.

Then I heard the stories of Tom Thumb and Thumberlina, wee small doors were no longer scary at all, I was in another world and what a wonderful wee world it has turned out to be.....