Decades ago (quite literally – I think I was about ten at the time), I bought a beautiful book by Valerie Janitch called “The Kate Greenaway Doll Book”, and I was delighted a few years ago to have the perfect reason finally to make one, as a Christmas present for a little girl:
Now I am excited to be making another one. So far I’m doing everything pretty much the same, but once I’ve made a couple of cotton dresses like the one above, I hope to try one of the more complicated designs (there’s even a pattern for a ball gown in the book). In the meantime, though, this is where I’ve got to:
Something I am doing differently this time, though, is using Kunin felt rather than regular felt. It was recommended to me by a very experienced crafter, and I’m hoping that – as it’s made from recycled plastic bottles – it will be able to withstand really well the inevitable wear and tear that a toy gets. Certainly it feels strong (although the surface is still soft, as you’d want) and has been easy to work with. I was struggling at first to find somewhere to buy it in a flesh colour without getting it as part of a multi-pack, but followed a link from another blog to Simply Sequins, and stocked up on the shade Antique White, which has proved perfect. Next step: binding all those edges.
From Nella Last’s diary, Wednesday, 25 October, 1939: “I just could not knit, so I got out my rag-bag and made two dolls…When I laid them down on the settee I stood back and looked at them – and loved them! I wonder if it’s the fact that I work off so much steam on my dollies that seems to give them personality. They are always loved, and matron at the Hospital says no toy off the Christmas tree is appreciated like my rag babies.” (From “Nella Last’s War”, edited by Richard Broad and Suzie Fleming)