Jean Greenhowe's Fabulous Fun-Knits (24 pages)
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Numerous knitters have asked Jean to create a mermaid and here she is. With her pretty pink bodice, matching tiara and golden ringlets, who could resist this delightful doll? Mirabelle measures 33cm [13in] from the tail fins to the top of her head, and the fins, tail, body and head are knitted in one piece. Knitted mermaids can be difficult to display due to the construction of the tails, but Jean designed a marvellous flexible tail, so that Mirabelle can sit on her knitted chair quite comfortably. As well as Mirabelle’s knitted ‘stone’ chair Jean has included patterns for the other accessories, Pebbles, Seaweed and pink Seashells, for extra play value and all are easy to make. The seaweed starts with a few rows of garter stitch but instead of casting off you slide the stitches off the needle – and then… You will be surprised! Last but not least, Jean made a tiny friend for Mirabelle, Kevin, the Baby Crab. He only measures a sweet 6.5cm [2½in] across the legs and body and is sure to become a much-loved character. Jean’s mermaid cave setting for photography was enormous and had to be made in two parts – the base and the background. It’s all constructed from paper and cardboard stuck together with wallpaper paste and glue!
Roly-Polys are balance toys that won’t ‘lie down’ and they have been manufactured for centuries in countries all over the world. The toy can represent a doll, a well-known character (such as Mickey Mouse) or an animal. However, the general construction is usually the same. The base is shaped like half a play ball which is weighted. When knocked over, the toys wobble several times, then stand up straight again. Jean’s knitted versions are much more amusing. Tilt them over to one side and they wobble as usual. But because they are ball-shaped, the Rolling Roly-Polys can be rolled along the floor, turning somersaults as they go. Then finally they end up with a wobble display. Guaranteed to entertain children and grown-ups alike, the toy is knitted in one piece and the weight is just a lump of Plasticine (or any other non-hardening modelling clay).
Each toy measures 7cm [2¾in] in height. Only bits of yarn and stuffing are required and about 10 grams [about 1/3rd of an ounce] of Plasticine.
Howdy Pardners from the Wild West! Introducing Cowboy Bill and Cowgirl Kate – the knitted versions. Jean designed Bill some years ago for one of our booklets, then she came up with another idea instead. We were therefore delighted when eventually she created Kate and don’t they make a charming pair? Both dolls measure 19cm [7½in] in height, (including the hats) and the boots, legs, body and head are all knitted in one piece in the appropriate colours. Bill’s legs and lower body are knitted in blue for his denim pants. Cowboys at work also wear chaps over their pants to prevent wear and tear on their clothing. Bill’s chaps represent ‘sheepskin’ at the front, with ‘leather’ for the back piece and they are as authentic as possible for such a small figure. Now you may think that Bill’s waistcoat will be complicated, requiring a back and two front pieces, with shaping for the armholes and the neck edges, but this is just one of Jean’s marvellous ‘illusions’. The waistcoat is knitted in one piece, which is sewn on to the body, then the arms are stitched in place and the illusion is complete! The neckerchief is another of Jean’s illusions. One piece would have been extremely bulky for such small dolls, so Jean made two pieces, the main piece and the knotted piece and the result is perfect. Kate has pretty frills on her panties and her curly pigtails are simply strips of garter stitch, which turn into pigtails with a bit of sewing. Only small oddments of yarn and 30 grams [1 ounce] of stuffing are required for each doll. Bill and Kate are irresistible characters and sure to be favourites with youngsters.
Dream of a desert island where multi-coloured balls of yarn grow on a palm tree, then make the dream come true with this delightful knitted treasure. Jean designed Castaway Knitting as a miniature ornament for all the knitters who enjoy her patterns. The island measures 17cm [6¾in] from the base to top of the tree and the island base is 13cm [5in] across the diameter. The sea and sand base, palm tree trunk and branches are all quick to knit on 4½mm [No 7, USA 7] needles, using two strands of yarn held together. The accessories – sun hat, beach towel and knitting bag are knitted on smaller needles and the needles in the knitting bag are made from two cocktail sticks and two beads. As to the tiny balls of yarn, they may look complicated, but it’s all done very easily with the help of a plastic drinking straw! The sandals and driftwood message complete the scene and are made from bits of cardboard and paper. This little gem would be a wonderful gift for anyone who knits but don’t forget to treat yourself as well!
Jean designed the Baby Ladybird first, but the little one looked a bit lost. So she made a larger version for the baby’s Mummy and both are extremely quick and easy to knit. Each ladybird is knitted in one piece, which is mainly shaped with a section of garter stitch hidden under the base. The back stripes are embroidered and Jean has marked the centre of the row where the stripes begin on the body sections.
Mummy measures 7cm [2¾in] from front to back, Baby measures 5.5cm [2¼in]. We photographed the Ladybirds on the Tortoises’ Garden and they sit there very comfortably. Why not knit the little scene as an eye-catching ornament on a hall table, sideboard, or a sunny window-sill? It is sure to be admired
Jean began the jolly Pumpkin Pies with one plain pumpkin – just a round ball with a face. And of course when she starts knitting, things begin to happen. First she gave the pumpkin ‘arms’ and a witch’s pointy hat. Then the hat got a wee ghost tassel and a tiny spider was suspended from one ‘hand’. Another pumpkin arrived off the needles, with a broom stick and a miniature pumpkin for the hat tassel. All this takes time when Jean is constantly focusing on ‘pumpkins’. So the next idea started with ‘pumpkin pies’, followed by ... ‘pumpkins in pies’! And that was that. She designed the pastry case and the baking tin in one piece to precisely fit the pumpkins. Was that the end? Absolutely not! Jean added a paper cut-out of a white ghost and a black bat then glued them to the bases inside the baking tins - a delightful surprise when the pumpkins are lifted out. Knit the Pumpkin Pies as year-on-year Halloween decorations and they may become family heirlooms! Each pumpkin measures 6cm [2½in] in height. The pastry case and baking tin piece measures 9.5cm [3¾in] across the diameter at the top edge. Both the ghost and bat outlines are included in the patterns for easy tracing off the page. The basic Pumpkin is just a straight piece of garter stitch, quick and easy to knit on 4mm [No 8, USA 6] needles. For photography, Jean knitted the tiny pumpkins from the hat tassel pattern. They only measure 2cm [¾ in] across, yet each one is a different character!
These cute Tiny Tortoises measure just 6cm [2⅜in] across the shells, including the shell edgings. Jean made two Tortoises in different bright colours, rather than realistic shades, which is much more fun in knitted versions. Only one piece is required for the shell and Jean has included a P row as a guide for sewing on the edging piece. This row also indicates the positions for the head and legs, making the whole construction really easy. Having made the tortoises Jean decided upon a little knitted Garden, with grass, bushes and flowers. The grass is a square of stocking-stitch mounted on a cardboard piece, with the knitted edges turned underneath. The ‘bushes’ are small strips of garter stitch and like magic, four running stitches turn them into bushy greenery. Two tortoises can fit on the garden, but isn’t the photograph of one in the garden and the other ‘visiting’ charming?