Paper Dolls anew


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.


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.

(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 . . .


. . . who also helped out with photography.


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.


*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.

dollheid – prize draw!


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:


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.


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.


(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

paper dolls


I’m glad the early mornings are becoming lighter, otherwise I (or rather, Tom) wouldn’t have been able to take these speedily snapped shots of my new sweater. Spring is definitely on its way . . .


Did I mention that, undoubted tweeness notwithstanding, I heart this sweater? I love the velvety braf yarn (particularly the semi-solid pale blue colourway I used for the corrugated rib). I love the ridiculous dancing doll figures (a modified version of a chart in the 1950 edition of my trusty Odham’s Encyclopedia of Knitting). I love the icord edging (O the wonder of producing that edge from those three knit stitches!). I love the light feel of the sweater (the yardage of bowmont braf is pretty amazing — even with the doubled-layers of the stranding and corrugated rib, this sweater weighs just 160 grams); I love the colourwork (wot fun it is) and, well, you probably know already that I love anything with a yoke. . .


In fact, the only shortcoming of this sweater (for me at least) is that there are a couple of places where my blue weaves show slightly through the cream fabric on the front. The legs of the dolls are 11 stitches apart — too far to carry the yarn — but if I knit the yoke again, I think I may manage to avoid this by alternating the spots where I place the weaves, rather than stacking them up (silly me). Still, I am really pleased with the general structure of the yoke, and with the effect of the colourwork overall.


The basic design of the yoke is a bit like the owl sweater, in that there are no decreases until 4 inches have been worked. But the back of the neck (which you can see here) is more structured and shaped than the owls, using a gazillion short rows, which I have hopefully calculated correctly. There is also some gentle waist shaping, but no bust darts. I am going to wear this lots this Spring! Now I just have to write up the pattern. . . .

Pattern: Paper Dolls (by me)
Yarn: Bowmont braf 4 ply in natural, indigo, and ‘ocean mist’
Needles: 3mm circ
Ravelled here

Oh, and here’s some obligatory throwing of shapes. . . .


EDIT! Pattern is now available here



twee, a. Now only in depreciatory use: affectedly dainty or quaint.
(Oxford English Dictionary)

I’ve just knitted something that is undoubtedly, incredibly twee. But I am really hoping it falls on twee’s acceptable side. Because however “affectedly quaint” it is, I love it! I have had a serious thing about patterns that feature repeating figures since I bought this fabric last year . . .


These Madeiran dancers look like paper dolls to me. And there’s just something about the flatness, and the repeating geometry of paper dolls that I find incredibly pleasing. And as with all dolls, there’s also something a little bit sinister about them too. They have a clone-like quality, as well as the suggestive potential of repetition, self-generation, usurpation . . . like those unruly brooms in the Sorcerers Apprentice. . . .

. . . Anyway, I was unable to resist incorporating a string of paper dolls into the new sweater I’ve now made for Spring. Given my current fondness for — nay, obsession with — Bowmont Braf and stranded colourwork, this sweater features both. It is also finished with corrugated rib (I love it!) and lots and lots of icord. Since I made those fiddlehead mittens I have developed something dangerously close to an addiction to icord — it produces such a neat edge! I just had to use it for every cast-on and bind-off.

The sweater is blocking now, but I couldn’t resist showing you a quick peek before I put it on and (no doubt) run about in it, throwing some foolish shapes:


This really is one of those instances where knitting makes me stupidly happy. Clearly I have also been bitten by the designing bug, as I thought I’d write this up into a pattern to fit anyone from 4 years old to full-grown woman, who doesn’t mind sporting something just a wee bit twee.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,882 other followers