Monday, 1 March 2010

Making Dresses

This week I have been working on my dress collection. I felt I needed some glamour in my Sylvanian collection and I began to create some pretty frocks. The first dresses are knitted with 2mm needles and either 4ply sock yarn or lace weight, giving every knitter the opportunity to knit these designs. Here is my lacy dress, worn by Mother Rabbit.
The lace pattern is loosely based on a Shetland design, depicting the wavy effect left on the sands by a receding tide. The sleeves are knitted at the same time as the bodice, avoiding a seam and too many ends.
 When choosing a simpler design for the beginner miniature knitter I picked another 2mm/4ply combination and created this flared dress (modelled by Miss Rabbit and her long-tailed friend) which relies on the chosen yarn for its stripey or textured effect.
The dress on the right is knitted in a 4ply crepe. I couldn't resist adding borders of feather stitch on to the turquoise dress - I have a delightful book 'Dorset Feather Stitchery' by Olivia Pass, published at least thirty or forty years ago which I used to take out of the public library on a regular basis just to gaze at. Just recently, I bought myself a copy on Amazon so that I can now enjoy the clever use of a simple English traditional stitch.
I used a technique found on modern Shetland shawls when knitting-on the edging: to join the backs to the fronts as I worked, thus avoiding yet another seam.
Today was a lovely day, sunny and warm, and I broke off my knitting to go and work in the garden. I tidied the compost heap, starting a new heap adjacent to the winter's contributions, which I covered with a layer of soil and some flattened cardboard boxes to keep off the rain - the heap is quite wet enough already! As I was trimming off the front to enable the front wall to be added, I saw something red move in the rotting weeds. Red; I couldn't think of any wildlife that was red, so I gently moved the weeds aside and discovered a red frog. He (it wasn't big enough for a 'she') moved further into the vegetation so I couldn't really look properly without destroying the compost heap. Most of our frogs are green or shades of yellow.
When they eventually go into the adjacent garden pond to couple and lay their frogspawn I shall look out for a red frog. The male frogs are easier to see because they hang on to the females' backs and are therefore on the surface of the water; that is, unless they see you coming when they both will gently duck under water for a couple of minutes.
Usually the first frogspawn is produced in February here in our part of Dorset, but it is 1st March today and so far there are no frogs in the water. Tadpoles will be late this year. The toads usually follow about three weeks later.
My next task is to test knit another dress; this one is in fine yarn and No17 (1.5mm needles)