Friday, 22 March 2013

Sharon Welch's Knitted Toys: Roley Poley Kids

After about three months of work, I finally finished off my final Roley Poley kid. These guys were knitted using the pattern from Knitted Toys by Sharon Welch. I picked this book up in a charity shop (I'm about 90% certain it was one of the ones in Oban, I went through a phase where every time we went there I found another lovely little knitting pattern book there). It caught my eye mainly because the style of the patterns reminded me of the Jean Greenhowe toys that I'd loved when I was younger.

I found this book when I was going through my pattern books looking for some ideas for projects that would help with my stash-busting. I'd honestly forgotten I had it and when I found it I had to check online to see that these were made by someone different to the Jean Greenhowe ones because they are very similar in style. I used this book for my Father Christmas before Christmas, purely because I wanted to make something festive and I actually had the right colours to make him.

When he was completed I knew that I wanted to try another pattern from this book for my next project. There are so many different patterns to choose from, they're divided into different sections so he picked one of the first ones in the 'Dolly Mixtures' section - The Roley Poley family.

This pattern gives you the instructions for making Ma and Pa Roley Poley and their equally rotund offspring. There are seven children pictured as an example in the book, so I decided to follow those (in terms of hair styles and outfits) but you could easily do your own thing to mix and match however you liked (which would be particularly nice if there were several young family members so each could have their own Roley Poley kid).

I'm glad that I decided to follow the book's designs for hair styles, because it gave me the opportunity to try out different techniques that I've never attempted before. Plus these kids each stand about four inches high, so if something went horribly wrong, you wouldn't be wasting a huge quantity of wool on them.

The Roley Poley Kids: (back row) Polly, Roly Jr., Rosie, Paulie, Posey, (front row) Rory & Ruby
All of the kids follw the same pattern (the only difference being if you're doing a kid with a belt in which case there's just an extra colour change around the middle. The body is all in one piece, the feet are two pieces, plus two arms, two sleeves, hair and a hat; the jacket is an extra piece as is the dungaree front and straps or braces.

As you can see above, the pattern allows for lots of variation; the hair style for the boys is always the same, but all four of the girls are sporting different looks. You are also given two different hat patterns (one for boys and one for girls) but you could probably make changed to those by adding a little bobble or something. The sleeves come in long, short and puffed (Posey on the end is sporting the puffed sleeves whereas Ruby at the front has plain short ones, though they're hidden somewhat by her hair). It was good fun coming up with different colours for their outfits, though I started trying up on colour combination ideas partway through and on at least one occasion I turned to Twitter to pick for me!

The pattern is lovely and simple, everything is clearly broken down and explained for you. I did make a slight mistake on Polly (the first one I knitted) but that was purely my fault and not due to the pattern at all. I did too many increases so her head is a funny shape and her hat doesn't fit properly, but once I knew where I went wrong I was very careful not to do it again.

At one point (by about the third or fourth kid) I was able to churn out best part of a kid in a day. I wouldn't recommend this if you've got course work to be doing and essays to be writing though! I had originally planned to go straight onto the parents, but after doing seven of these little guys I decided I'd try something different (and only partly because I'd just got four brand new Jean Greenhowe knitting pattern books).

I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with all these kids in the meantime. I think they'll just hang out at our place for a little while, I've become quite attached to them (they used to hang out on the back of my chair but now there's too many of them for that). Besides, I can't give them away until I've finished their parents!

1 comment:

  1. I love your Roley Poley kids. Thay are so cute.
    Santa is really awesome too. Oh to be so talented. I find it amazing.


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