Despite the pride and satisfaction I felt with the creation of Violet Pickles and Ruby Buttons, it would be another year before I knitted my next doll. Caught up in some big projects, I pursued another aspect of my knitting passion: colour work. The intricate designs of fair isle and the vivid images of intarsia have always captivated my imagination, and my love of minute detail, even as a child.
My mother was a knitter. Her specialty was what we referred to at the time as "bulky knit sweaters", those heavyweight, zippered knitted jackets with images on the back and front. They were knit from Mary Maxim patterns with Mary Maxim extra bulky raw wool, and the images often reflected the wildlife of Canada, or the wearers' favourite pastimes, like hockey, fishing, hunting, square dancing.... I never actually wore one because, man, were they itchy! But I was captivated watching her create pictures from two knitting needles and a few balls of yarn. Still today (literally!) I like to incorporate this technique in the clothing for my custom dolls as well as the Blythe doll clothing.
But I digress! I was talking about my next doll! Like the Ivy Cottage project, this one was inspired by Christmas. I am one of those folks who isn't satisfied until I find the absolutely perfect gift for every person on my list. And since my daughter-in-law Heather had already received a couple of ponchos and several sweaters - and she lives in temperate Los Angeles - I decided to try something totally different. You see, Heather is a HUGE Mary Poppins fan and I became obsessed with making the perfect Mary Poppins poppet. That fascination that I had left simmering on the back burner had suddenly come to a full boil.
I was able to find a Mary Poppins doll pattern on Ravelry, by Lynne Price-Haskins that provided some inspiration. But it didn't fit the vision I had for Heather's doll. Back to the Lola pattern with some adjustments. The biggest challenge? I attempted to give Mary a "womanly" figure without any inkling of how to do it. Upon completing the body, I just prayed Heather would never take off the doll's clothes!
On to the clothing and accessories, the really fun part. I was able to adapt the clothes from the published Mary Poppins pattern to fit my doll and added a few details of my own. I obsessed over the minutiae in making her come alive, and I loved every minute of it! I proudly named her Practically Perfect Mary.