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Friday, 24 March 2017

Boat necking

Dear Diary,

Hans:  Mein Vati has been knitting away for me.  The latest line are boat neck jumpers.

Jesse:  If I'm correct, boat neck jumpers were popular about 50 years ago but fell out of fashion and I haven't seen any for a while (which means nothing, by the way).  I found this pattern and I decided it would make a great jumper for Hans, with some alterations.  All these jumpers are knitted with DK knitting wools.

Red Jumper

This is the first one knitted.  It originally calls for an opening on each side of the neck, each of which are fastened with a button.  I don't like to pull anything over a doll's head so I closed up the openings and put a full length opening down the back which closes with buttons.  I don't like seams so when I knitted the back up to the top of the sleeves, I just kept knitting down to the bottom ribbing.  I avoided the shoulder seam but I still have 2 seams at the sides and 2 under the arms to work.  I replaced the collar and cuff ribbing with an applied I-cord which suited it nicely.  I remembered that the first boat neck I knitted for myself from my own design was finished with I-cord.

Blue Jumper

The second jumper has some improvements over the first one. I reworked the opening in the back so that the button bands were less bulky. To begin the garment, I knitted all of the body below the sleeves, separating the front and back at the beginning of the sleeves.  This eliminated the side seams.    I then knitted the shoulders, front and back separately  When they were finished, I grafted the shoulder seam, eliminating it altogether. This was a new experience; I'm good at doing Kitchener but I'd never grafted garter stitch before.  It was actually simpler than Kitchener.  So, there were only 2 seams to sew, those under the sleeves.  

Brown & White Jumper

This third jumper came out the best so far.  I made the neck a bit smaller, more like the blue one. But, I think that I prefer to wider opening of the first jumper.  The garter stitch grafting came out excellent this time.  The YouTube video directions say to pull the stitches tightly which I knew doesn't work for Kitchener but I followed these directions on the blue jumper and the join was a bit tight.  This time I did them more loosely as I would for Kitchener and they look invisible.

Red with Silver 

This jumper is a vintage red with a grey strand throughout.  It is lovely.  I chose this photo because I liked the way the shadow played on his face rather than for the jumper.

The jumper shows better here.  I really like how my techniques have brought some quality to this jumper.  I shrunk the neck opening a bit more, put a I-cord around the openings and did an Estonian cast-on which is very flexible and great with ribbing.  I still need to get the join of the underside of the sleeves (the only joins in the garment) more professional looking.  As you probably have guessed, there is an opening with buttons the full length of the garment on the back.

Brown, Tan & Cream

These three colours are mutually complimentary and look great in a garter stitch pattern.

Blue/Green with Multi-Colour Speckles

I really like the colour of this jumper.  The blue/green is very vintage looking and the speckles set it off nicely.

This pattern has been very useful, giving a jump-start to Hans' wardrobe.  In addition, with the modification of technique that I've made, it's easy and quick to knit up.  My boy has no complaints and he's ready for the upcoming winter.

On now to another new knitting pattern.  I think we have enough boat neck jumpers for the rest of our lives.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Hitting the road in comfort and security

Dear Diary,

Jesse:  When I travel, the boys often come along with me. I like them to be safe and secure, but also  discretely carried around for photo ops.  Taking photos is a bit of a pipe dream as I almost never take any when traveling.  We just returned from a 5 day tiki tour around the lower South Island of New Zealand and never did I even take the boys out of their cases, no more take any photos.  Anyway, I can still dream about it and so I have a selection of carriers for them.

BJD carrier

I bought this off eBay from a manufacturer in China.  It is the 1/4 50 cm BJD size and it fits Adam or Angelo perfectly.  I like it because they are safe inside.  It also has a shoulder strap so it can be easily carried around.

Vintage plastic briefcase

I found this in an op shop a month ago. I hesitated to purchase it but now I'm pleased that I did.  Everyone except Armand can ride in it.  It is very sturdy and durable so it's perfect for traveling on the plane.  Everyone knows that a briefcase can it nicely under the seat in front or in the overhead compartment.  It would be difficult for a doll to be damaged while in this case.

Etsy fabric carrier

About 2 years ago I found this on Etsy, made by Twice Loved Dolls (her tag name is "Boy Doll Headquarters").  It was the last one the seller had and I don't know if she makes them any longer.  I immediately was taken by the fabric for obvious reasons!  It has multiple storage pockets and a shoulder strap. It is nicely made but not as discrete as the BJD case.  I use this often for Hans but Adam and Angelo fit nicely inside it.

Old musical instrument case

A year ago, while rummaging through a junk shop, I came across this discarded musical instrument case.  I don't know what instrument is used to house (I bet Henry's mum knows) but it is perfect for the boys.  It is still lined with black velvet. Like the plastic briefcase, this is exceptionally durable and provides safe travel.  In my shopping, I've come across a number of musical instrument cases but not one this long.

Vintage cosmetics travel case

This has been around for as long as Angelo has been; it's his original and current travel case.  It was a ladies' cosmetics case and is in superb condition.  I did remove the mirror as the silver backing had deteriorated.  This is perfect as Angelo can fit inside along with some changes of outfits.  This, like the briefcase and musical instrument case is very sturdy.  As it is smaller than either of those, this would be ideal if traveling on an airplane.

Old locking case

This is another find in the same junk shop where I found the musical instrument case.  I love cases with locks and keys so I was attracted to this immediately.  I had absolutely no use for it but I knew that Armand would fit into it - but only just.  It is made of some kind of stiff and strong cardboard material so it's sturdy but could be crushed.  This is the only case I've been able to find for Armand.  Angelo can also fit inside.  

I suppose I've gone a bit overboard but those who know me know that I love the accessories!  And, it's good to be prepared in case the travel bug bites.

Happy trails!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Commencing nini studio doll "chilly day": a rogues' gallery

Dear Diary,

Jesse:  I have just had an email from Jonny in which he tells  me that he has begun work on my boy doll.  We can all watch on Facebook the creative process Jonny will use to make "Chilly Day" boy a reality.  I've never had a doll specially made for me - it's quite a new experience.  It's a pleasure to share this with my followers.

I thought that now it would be fun to look at how Jonny has brought his other boy dolls to life, from sketch to doll.  This isn't a rogues' gallery in the strictest sense; none of these boys are shady characters!  I am just having some word fun to describe this list of 'mug shots'.


Jacques v

Sergei viii

A Memory of Gene xiii

New York Newsy xvi

Chilly Day xxi

What an adventure this is turning out to be!  Stay tuned and be sure to check Nini Dolls Facebook page for updates.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Invasion of the teutonic blondes

Dear Diary,

Jesse: Just after I purchased Hans, he went missing without a trace and I was nothing short of distraught.  It looked like Hans was forever lost in the post; what was I to do?  I started search eBay daily for a replacement but nothing appeared. Then, one day this Deutsches Kind (the same doll as Hans) appeared and I threw reason to the wind and hit the buy-it-now button. It is impossible to explain the reasoning I used to purchase this doll.  Somewhere in the dark, twisted corridors of my mind is a convoluted tangle of irrational thinking and wacky emotions, which are best left as a secret between my psychiatrist and myself...

Friedebald Kruse

He is a 50 cm tall "Deutsches Kind" by Kathe Kruse, date of manufacture unknown but I've been told it is probably the mid-1930s.  He is dressed in his original clothes and is in an excellent, unplayed-with condition.  The lady in Germany from whom I purchased him, told me that she'd had him in her collection for many years and that the only time he had been undressed was for the auction photos.

Very traditional embroidery on the Lederhose.

Such beautiful knitted cables on the socks.

Following Kathe Kruse's habit of naming this doll after her son whose likeness he bears, I call him Friedebald.  The story goes that when Friedebald was young, a famous artist sculpted his head and it was this sculpture which was used to make the mould for the doll head. His name is a compound word (aren't all German words like that?): Friede = peace + bald = soon because he was born just before the end of WWI.

Unplayed-with and in mint condition.

This photo clearly shows the differences in the two faces.  The mould for the head is exactly the same for both dolls.  The difference comes from the fact that each is painted by a different artist and reflect the artists' moods at the time of painting.

Friedebald and Hans

It goes without saying that he is quite a handsome lad!  He is a cabinet doll, admired by all but an understudy to replace Hans should something awful happen to him. I have absolutely no regret spending the astronomical sum of money for him.

I truly like this boy but my heart belongs to Hans.