Monday, 20 April 2015

Socks For Supper - The Barter System

In my last post, I mentioned the children's storybook Socks For Supper by Jack Kent, first published in 1978.

This story was by far my favourite book as a child, and I still love it today. It's about a man and a woman who don't have much apart from a 'tumble-down house and a tiny turnip garden.' The neighbors have a cow and the couple would 'look at the cow and dream of milk and cheese'. One day they decide to trade something, and all they can find that 'isn't in pieces or tatters' is a pair of socks.

So it begins, the couple only have one pair of socks, so the wife knits more, and they continue to trade with the neighbours. It's a beautiful story, the illustrations are so sweet and it's all about being kind to one another. What's not to love?

I don't know if it's the knitting or the trading that makes this story so endearing to me. It's quite possibly that I can still hear my Dad reading the story to me when I read it to my children, lovely childhood memories.

I really like the concept of the barter system, and I think it probably works well amongst those of the handmade community. A good example is the Send a Little Love Swap I took part in February this year.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to throw off the chains of capitalism and take up my knitting needles in order to create my own Marxist utopian society, I somehow doubt the electricity company would be looking for hand knits. I just love the idea of helping someone by using your skills, and getting something handmade in return. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy like a pair of knitted socks.

I've not tried knitting socks before, but I'd be willing to give it a crack for a nice French Brie and perhaps a bottle of craft beer... Anyone??

Monday, 6 April 2015

Hello Dolly - My Tree Change Doll Project

I know, I said I'd wait until 2016 to give this project a go. However my sister found some dolls in serious need of a Tree Change / Make-Under, and they kept looking at me with their ghastly eyes, so I had to do it!

If you're not familiar with this whole idea, Tasmanian Mum and artist Sonia Singh has started something amazing called; Tree change dolls. Sonia has been 'rescuing' dolls (mainly Bratz) from op shops and giving them a 'make-under', making them look like actual normal people and dressing them in the most adorable outfits that her mum makes.

These are my efforts

While I had the paint out, I gave this one scars like Sophie's

Firstly, it's not as easy as it looks! It was very time consuming, and being the perfectionist I am, I am not 100% happy with the paint job (I am no artist!). However I am happy that they no longer look scary, and I hope that Sophie loves them when she is old enough to play with them.

This one has a birthmark due to irremovable fluro pen
Not sure of the make of this one, she was a mermaid

The feet / shoes are a major dilemma. Bratz dolls have removable shoes that clip on to the legs. The shoes they came with are hideous and had to go. The problem is, how to replace them? I tried using Fimo, which was my absolute favourite when I was a kid. However it didn't really work.

Photo Shoot!

There is a brilliant group on Facebook called Rescued Dolls where like-minded people discuss and share all the different problems and solutions, tips and patterns related to rescuing these dolls. It was here I found my feet solution. I am knitting little jumpers for a fellow rescuer, and in return, she is making my dollies some feet! Hooray!! If you are thinking about rescuing some dolls yourself, I highly recommend joining this lovely online community.

Clothing was my next dilemma. I tried a few different ideas for knitted clothes, but my brain just wasn't in the right gear. So I ended up purchasing the pattern that Sonia's mum Silvia created for the dolls.

My little jumpers!

The pattern is simple to follow and presented in a very cute manner. You can purchase and download it instantly from Etsy. Of course afterwards I discovered a multitude of free patterns on Raverly which I am sure would have worked just as well. Still, supporting handmade is what it's all about.

To put my own spin on these little jumpers, I knitted some little motif's into them. Below are the charts for the ones I have made so far. If you make your own, I'd love to see them.


Love Heart

Little Rabbit, Add a French Knot for a 'fluffy' tail

Currently my dolls have plenty of jumpers, but they are sharing one pair of pants. Am hoping to swap some jumpers with some talented sewers for pants. Reminds me of my favourite book as a kid; Socks For Supper. That's a whole post of it's own though!

Have you tried giving a doll a make-under? Or has something else made you stray from your Handmade Challenge List?