Paper Dolls anew

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When I first published this design a few years ago, I used a lovely British yarn that is sadly no longer available — Bowmont Braf 4ply. Many knitters prefer to make their sweaters in the same yarn as the pattern sample, and I often receive queries from folk enquiring about the yarn I used for my original Paper Dolls. I am always sad to tell them that it is no longer readily commercially available (almost as much for me as them — how I loved that Bowmont Braf . . . though I might have a secret stash of it somewhere . . .)*

So when, a few weeks ago, my friends at baa ram ewe got in touch to see if I’d be interested in using the new shades of Titus for a new Paper Dolls sample, I immediately said yes. Have you seen the palette? It is totally gorgeous.

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This sample is knit using White Rose for the main colour, with Parkin, Chevin, and Eccup for the contrasts. I decided that I wanted to work with three contrasts because I just couldn’t decide between these tasty shades, and they all seem to work so well together . . . though you could easily just use two.

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(ah, Bruce, always trying to get in the shot)

As well as changing the yarn recommendation, I’ve made a few alterations to the pattern. It is now nicely formatted as an eight-page booklet or ebook, which includes the (complementary) pattern for the Dollheid tam (so if you have previously purchased the Paper Dolls pattern on Ravelry, you’ll receive the Dollheid pattern as a free update). There are a few other improvements too, including clearer charts, a detailed sizing table, and a lovely hand-drawn schematic produced for me by Felix . . .

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. . . who also helped out with photography.

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I am very much enamoured of my beautiful new Paper Dolls, though sadly I shan’t get to wear it, as it will shortly be travelling to TNNA with baa ram ewe. If you see it there, please pet it for me.

The new Paper Dolls booklet is available now in a digital edition on Ravelry, or in print from my MagCloud store . . .

. . .and the print edition is also available to retailers for trade orders.

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*I purchased a few kilos a couple of years ago from Lee. If you are interested in the unique hand of Bowmont fleece, the lovely people at Devon Fine Fibres breed Bowmont Sheep and make beautiful things from the ultrafine wool they produce.

congrats

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It’s Dollheid prize time! Congratulations to ten randomly-selected commenters: Celia, Luisa, Arndis, Lillicroche, Yulian, Maaike, Lizzi, Pat (J) and two Marias (one German, one Canadian) to whom I’ve just emailed a copy of the pattern. And thanks for all your comments, everyone, which I enjoyed reading: I was thrilled to discover that dollheid translates into Dutch as ‘frolicky madness’, and particularly liked Kristi’s tale of her psychedelic dream knitting — a phenomenon strangely familiar to those of us who Dream in Wool.

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For those of you who are interested, here’s a little more about the design. The shaping is that of a traditional tam, but with a greater number of crown-points than is usual (eighteen dolls = eighteen points of decrease). I began with stitches to fit an average head circumference of 21 inches (those with very wee heads might knit the edging on a 2.5mm rather than a 3mm needle). The brim edging is worked in corrugated rib, and then stitches are increased rapidly to the finished diameter. Despite the relatively long areas of colourwork, I didn’t weave my strands at all — and found that the yarn stabilised quickly at the back of the work (warning: this will only work with a very even tension and a pure-wool yarn!). My finished dollheid is ten inches wide and eight inches deep – a roomy fit that would enable you to wear this tam in a slouchy fashion on the back of your head, as well as pulled down over your ear-tops (as I like it). Knitting towards the top of the crown, paired decreases are worked in the spaces between the dolls, and then in corresponding sets up through the crown pattern, until three stitches remain, which are finished as an i-cord stalk. Finally, I blocked the tam by pinning it out — rather than stretching it over a plate. This is simply because I find that putting a tam onto a plate over-stretches the ribbing, and I like my ribbing to stay as ribby as possible.

Well, dollheid is now “live” and if you are interested in the pattern, you can find it here or here. But I want to conclude this post with another congratulations — to Tom, who ran the Islay half marathon on Saturday in a speedy personal best.

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Look at him go! More about our weekend on Islay shortly.

dollheid – prize draw!

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Its amazing what a wee break from the daily commute can do to one’s all-round productivity. I’m happily working on several research projects at the moment, as I always do at this time of year, but I am also finding the spare time and energy to devote to designing. Can I just say how much I am enjoying it? Well, I really am. Here is the first of several forthcoming colourwork designs: Dollheid. Heid (pronounced heed) is a colloquial term for head in these parts, and the dolls are self-explanatory. Here is my heid in its dollheid:

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Despite the expression, let me assure you that I love this tam deeply. I knit two other prototypes in different yarn, trying out different shaping methods, before this one was finished. With this incarnation – size, shaping, yarn, colour – I am totally and completely happy. I love the dusky tones of the yarn, and also love the way the yarn behaves. There’s no need for me to tell you how I feel about Shetland, but it really is the best stuff for stranded colourwork, and the Jamiesons relaxes and blooms really beautifully after blocking.

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You will see that I have taken many of the design features of the paper dolls sweater — peeries, i-cord cast on, corrugated rib — and have incorporated them into the tam. All these things worked really well. Another thing I am pleased about is the way that the dolls have achieved a sort of geometric integrity quite apart from any representational qualities they may have. (Um, did I really just write that sentence? Lets try again:) What I mean is that one of the reasons they look so pleasing is that, when arranged in a circle around the crown of the tam, they suggest one abstract shape as well as eighteen dolls.

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(Norah Gaughan writes about this geometric arrangement gubbins far better than I can). Anyhow, after some enjoyable wrestling with illustrator (one can produce such deluxe charts if one works at it! I’m amazed!) I am happy to report the pattern is just about finished (hurrah!), and I will release it on Monday. But before I do, I wanted to say a small thanks to all of you — for your encouragement and support of my designs — and I thought I’d give away ten copies of the pattern to ten commenters on this post. So, if you are interested in a free copy of the dollheid pattern, just leave a comment here, and I’ll pick the winners at random on Monday morning, August 3rd (my time) before I put the pattern up for sale.

ETA: The pattern is available here or here

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