Monday, 6 May 2013

Grandma Humpty Dumpty

I was originally planning this post for later in the month, but my lack of Internet connection on Sunday and the fact that I'm hyped up on caffeine from the cold and flu capsules I'm taking have prompted me to write this post now (I'm writing this in the wee small hours of Monday morning and I just can't sleep).

Plus I'm really proud of this and I kind of want to show off, and as this is my blog, I'm going to let myself get away with that on this occasion.

Back at Christmas I was given some money which I put towards, among other things, four of Jean Greenhowe's pattern books. I remember these from when I was a very small child and actually still have a toy dog knitted from one of the books I now own (how her head turns is no longer a mystery to me).

Once I'd knitted something (Puss in Boots, I'll show him off in another post) for the person who gave me the money for the books I decided to challenge myself a bit. I got Mr Click to choose something that he thought his Mum would like from the Knitted Toys book. He chose Grandma Humpty Dumpty.

I wasn't very confident that I'd be able to pull her off. She's similar in design to the Roley Poley people I've been knitting, but she takes things to the extreme; she has a hat complete with cherries, gold-framed glasses, knitting needles as well as a ball of wool and a piece of knitting. The picture in the book looked cool but I was sure mind would end up as a poor imitation.

Instead I've been pleasantly surprised by how close to the original she is. By the time I started work on Grandma I was getting the hang of how Jean Greenhowe writes her patterns; that saved me from some of the silly mistakes I made with Puss. I was a lot more careful about reading the instructions (most of the time) and it definitely paid off.

I love the attention to detail on Jean's patterns. Rather than just having a hat, Grandma has a band running around it, tied in a bow at the back, as well as cherries and stalks fastened onto the side. I think the cherries are my favourite part of the whole thing. They're worked to the same design as the nose but obviously in red, the stalks took me a whole episode of Doctor Who to master and the little white light spots on the fruit just make it for me.

The one difficulty I ran into through not reading the instructions correctly was with the hat brim. I didn't make it long enough because I didn't do enough repeats. I didn't realise my mistake until I cast off and was faced with this ridiculously short piece of knitting so had to start over.

I struggled a bit with the hair too and I'm not entirely sure I did it correctly, but once it's sewn into the hat you can't see any mistakes.

The glasses were the last bit that I made. That was one of the most fiddly bits, especially considering I was in bed dying of a cold at the time. You had to cut a piece of plastic from a bottle, punch holes in it, fasten thread through the holes to make it the right shape m, then wrap the whole thing in metallic gift wrap string. The final product was my third attempt after errors in measurement and using too large a needle for the hole punching.

It took an age to wrap the thing up in the string. It wasn't the most flexible material and I felt like I needle at least one extra hand! It's supposed to be secured to the nose but I thought the stitch was too visible so I've just left it loose, that way Grandma can stick her glasses on her hat brim if she doesn't need them to see her knitting.

The knitting was really interesting to make. I read the pattern through to start with and understood the theory behind it but wasn't sure how it would work in practice. The knitting needles are made from drinking straws in a knitted sleeve. While I was making them I suddenly realised how they would turn out; the straws stiffen them and the only stuffing used is in the ball at the tend of the needle.

The knitting just completes the toy, after all, what's the point of having knitting needles if you're not going to knit? Again I love the attention to detail; the final row has you slipping all the stitches onto another needle so when you transfer them to Grandma the free thread is at the right end.

At some point I'm going to have to tackle Grandpa, who I think will actually be easier compared to Grandma, but now I've moved on to knitting a Postman Hedgehog at my husband's request. I've already got his legs, feet and most of his body done so I'm sure it won't be long before I'm showing him off here.


  1. She is adorable. Your talent amazes me.

    1. Thank you. Even I wasn't expecting her to come out looking quite so good as this, hehe.


Let me know what you think. :-)