Way back in April we learnt which primary school LO would be going to. We were in lockdown, even preschool reopening seemed a remote possibility, so the prospect of school was even more so! There were lots of little people in the same boat – missing their friends, stressed about being away from preschool and with none of the usual activities to prepare for school for them to do. So I offered to knit dolls’ school uniform for some of them, as a way of easing the transition. I had this pattern, passed on by a friend, which is part of a wider range of patterns that I’ve used in the past to create clothes for toys. I created Bobby Bear’s vest and shorts just before lockdown (wonder what happened to him, he was returned to preschool after his weekend with us, and then three days later they were shut?!) as well as some dolls’ clothes last year.
I anticipated the four outfits taking six weeks. It actually took four months(!!), as it was about a month per outfit, and each one consisted of a polo shirt, pinafore or trousers, shoes and socks and a jumper. I chose King Cole Dollymix DK in the end, as I needed a yarn that was available from somewhere that was still open for shipping yarn(!), it had a wide range of colours, and the balls were 25g in size, which meant I could buy the quantities I needed with not much over. I ended up buying the yarn in three batches, the first batch what I thought I’d need, then a couple of other batches as I ended up knitting for a fourth outfit and miscalculated one. In the end I needed 17 balls in eight colours, which equals 1241 metres.
I had thought I’d complete one outfit and get it posted to the respective doll, then do another, but it turned out to be simpler to make all the same pieces in a batch – so I did all the jumper fronts, then the backs, then the sleeves etc. That meant I got more efficient at knitting them as I went along. Three of them were medium size, the final one was small, but I kept that one for last to avoid confusing myself! They were quite fiddly as you knit each piece separately and sew together (the polo shirts have five pieces each), which gives a lot of ends to sew in.
Despite the fiddliness, I did enjoy knitting these. It was helpful at the height of lockdown, when my concentration span was in tatters, as each piece was small and relatively quick to knit, so I could see the progress I was making. The pieces fit well together. I did much of the sewing up during weekly Zoom knitting group meetings. Two of the recipients have received theirs (one was for LO, whose doll is pictured above) and love them, the other two are en route. It’s also raised some money for food banks, so I think the whole thing has been a success!
Have you done any knitting in response to the pandemic?