When I was a girl, I was very lucky to have parents who Made Things. I guess I took it somewhat for granted that I was growing up in a very creative family environment, it just seemed so "normal" for us to make things all the time. My Mum has been a huge influence in my life in this respect and even though we have very different personalities, I've certainly inherited her passion for all things Handmade.
My Mum used to do a lot of sewing throughout my childhood and I vividly remember her owning a supremely cranky and disobedient sewing machine called Jones. Oh my, that machine (now deceased) really did bring out the worst in her and one of the only times I can remember her using a seriously Bad Word was when Jones chewed up her sewing.
Sewing is something I absolutely love to do too, although crochet has rather taken over in recent years. But sewing was my first love (although colouring-in and paper crafts in general have always featured heavily in my life), and it's one of the things I was/am really really really excited about doing with my own children.
So have you heard of Clothkits???
If you have, you will know what a fabulous little company this is, and if it's new to you, well you are in for a treat. Clothkits have been around since the 70's, and I did indeed make my very own cloth kit doll with my Mum many moons ago, although sadly I've no idea what became of her. The original version of the rag doll is still available to buy, but rather brilliantly the talented Jane Foster has redesigned the dolls and clothes and the results are rather super.
The other wonderful thing about the Clothkit folk is that they do seem to have extremely good taste when it comes to styling and selecting products. The catalogue (some pages shown above) is beautiful to look at, and oh-my-goodness, the Haberdashery section is the stuff of my dreams. Brightly coloured buttons, ribbons and trims get me all in a fizz, there is rather a lot of yumminess to be had here. And did I mention the fabric?? Oh, and the gifts?? Lots of yearning I'm afraid.
So let me introduce you to Kiki doll. There she is look, sitting cosily with the Granny Stripe blanket, isn't she lovely? I bought her in Kit Form for Little Lady last Christmas, and we sat and stitched her together on New Years Day, almost a year ago now. I remember it as if it were yesterday, it was a wonderful, wonderful day!
I'm sure I took some pictures at the time Kiki was made but they seem to have mysteriously disappeared...anyhow, the doll comes printed out on a large piece of cloth, and one basically cuts out head/body x2, legs x4 and arms x4 then proceeds to sew the pieces together, stuff them and assemble them into doll form. I would say it was reasonably easy to do....Little Lady was 5 at the time and I allowed her to very carefully guide the fabric through the sewing machine while I operated the foot peddle at very slow speed. Some things were a bit tricky (stitching the stuffed arms into the body was a bit faffy) but all in all, it went swimingly.
Sorry about exposing you in your underwear Kiki, but I need to show the lovely people of Blogland how you look without your dress!! You can see how the arms and legs are stitched into the body, like I say it was a reasonably simple sewing project.
When Kiki was made, Little Lady was absolutely on cloud nine with the joy of it all. The whole process of creating something special for herself to own and treasure did seem to genuinely thrill her. She kept jumping about and saying she couldn't beliiiiiiiiiiiieeeve that she had actually used a sewing machine and made herself a toy! Precious, it really was.
For a while, Kiki went everywhere with Little Lady, they played, ate and slept together. But gradually other toys took over and Kiki was left to sit on the Shelf of Precious Things in her bedroom. She sat there for rather a long time, until recently that is. Yes, in recent weeks, Kiki has been Rediscovered, and Little Lady has taken her on as her long lost daughter. She has been pushed around in a little pushchair, fed biscuits, danced around the room, tucked up in bed at night.
We reminisced about the day Kiki was "born", and Little Lady said that as Kiki was almost going to be one years old, could we perhaps make her a Birthday Present?
She asked for some pyjamas and also for Kiki to have her very own blanket to snuggle under. Pyjamas, yes of course I'll order the kit and we'll make them together, and a blanket you say?? Oh yes, blanket-making is a Speciality of the House don't you know!!!
So last week I began making Kiki her very own baby ripple blankie. I'm using Stylecraft acrylic yarn (current blanket-making yarn of choice) :: Little Lady actually chose the colours and worked out the entire colour sequence for me too, she is quite a clever little cookie with these things it seems.
I finished it last night, adding a red border to Little Lady's exact specifications....want to see?
Such a sweet little blankie, I worked the colour stripes in single rows, as well as making the ripples smaller than usual (ie using the Neat Ripple pattern, instead of multiples of 14 I did multiples of 10, which means only 2 tr's in between the increase and decrease stitches instead of 4, if that makes any sense to you whatsoever).
I am especially chuffed with the finishing off, I've never edged a ripple before and it's made the world of difference I think. On a whim I added these little chain tassels in the corners too, although I did have to run this idea by my Quality Control Department for approval.
Ahhhh, here is Kiki taking a little rest under her blankie look. I think she likes it.
Even though Kiki is nearly a year old now, the whole experience of making her has very firmly lodged in my memory as one of those things I will Never Forget.
And it seems that maybe just maybe Little Lady might feel the same.
Cos a few days ago she handed me a little note to read. She had written it one night in her notebook before she went to sleep.....
My heart nearly imploded with love and gratitude.
Too sweet for words ♥