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- What's in a Name?
Long before I started Crickle Pickle Knits, or even had knit my first doll, I had a name selected for my endeavour. While I was still stuffing my relatives’ closets with knitted sweaters, ponchos and tote bags, I began to ponder a totally random question: “If I were to start up a knitting business, what would I call it?” At the time, I thought it highly unlikely, since knitting a sweater usually cost at least double what a store-bought version would be, so to make any money, I figured I would have to price it at an exorbitant (and unsellable) amount. So my entrepreneurial pondering, I thought, was strictly fantasy. And what I came up with was Crickle Pickle Knits. Those closest to me could easily guess why I would choose such an unusual name, especially once they saw the logo I created - when I finally did launch my little business/hobby. Her name was Cricket, a little Yorkie and Lhasa Apso cross, who shared our home for almost 15 years. We got her when she was too young to leave her mama, and she was needy from the start. But she was cute as a button, and she captured our hearts from the moment we set eyes on her. I had many pet names for her: Baby Girl, Sweet Pea, Pooh Bear, Cricklet, but most often I called her Crickle Pickle. She wasn't perfect. She was needy and nervous and more than a little neurotic. But she was also loving and loyal and joyful and adorable and mischievous and uncannily clever. We never did manage to train her, she trained us. She loved spaghetti and rice and potatoes best - especially spaghetti. And in her younger years, she loved shoes: expensive, leather shoes that she managed to devour entirely, just leaving behind the soles. She adored my husband Ben, as he was working at home when she was just a wee pup, and I was at work most of the day. But she always slept on the bed curled up at my feet. When I launched Crickle Pickle Knits, she was still very much with us. As I sat knitting in my craft room, she would curl up and sleep at my feet under my desk. A creature of habit, she had a very specific route to get there, always to the left of my desk chair, which, of course, was the most awkward path! It often ended up with her entangled in yarn, which in turn changed the loving moniker “Crickle Pickle”, to the rather abrupt “CRICKET!”, accompanied by a stream of expletives. Oh how I wish she could be sleeping under my desk as I type this. Unfortunately in May 2021, with her health failing, we had to say goodbye to our dear friend. But we think of her every day, and we feel blessed to have had her for almost 15 years. And I am pleased that my tiny knitting business bears her name and her face, in loving tribute.
- For the love of yarn!
The completion of Practically Perfect Mary, and the warm reception it received from daughter-in-law Heather, kicked off a year of joyous doll creation. The website Ravelry became my BFF, and we spent many hours together daily, happily exploring the talents of the many doll-makers who have come before me. A few designers became my favourites, particularly: Lorraine Pistorio of Rainebo Designs and MagdaLaine, two very talented designers who made my job so much easier. But it wasn’t just Ravelry that kept me glued to my computer screen. Living in a rural community at the time, with no local yarn store, I discovered the wonders of on-line yarn shopping. I could sit for HOURS at a time, just browsing through the sites, checking out the myriad of colours and comparing prices and shipping costs, trying to find the best deals. There were many successful purchases and a few dismal, and rather expensive failures, especially when it came to selecting various colours for skin tones. I wanted to offer a real variety of skin colours to reflect the fabulous diversity of our population. I collected a number of different beiges, tans and browns that worked very well. But finding fair skin tones proved to be a real challenge, as many doll makers will attest. The yarn I used for Mary Poppins, Louise Harding Cassia, worked beautifully, but alas, it was discontinued. Most peach and pink tones are too garish or cartoonish to provide any semblance of reality. A few online purchases illustrated the downfall of virtual yarn shopping. As I was working solely with acrylic yarns at the time, I settled on a few favourites. For the smaller dolls that use DK, I discovered Stylecraft Special DK in the colour Toy (1844) and Amigo DK Col. 46 from Hobbii Yarn. For the larger dolls I use Hobbii’s Tivoli XL, formerly Amigo XL, Col. 48, a heavier weight yarn in the same colour as the DK. I would love to hear from other knitters with other suggestions! My first couple of dolls were basically experiments, trying out the different patterns and yarns that I had selected. As I find knitting very therapeutic, my own form of meditation, I enjoyed crafting the torsos and limbs, and stuffing them to give them shape. But it was the heads that I was eagerly anticipating throughout each project. Crafting the head, moulding the face into shape, embroidering the facial features and weaving in the hair - that is what makes the process so magical for me. What was formerly a ball of yarn and some fluffy fibrefill takes on a personality and becomes an actual character that cries out for a name.
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.
- Stuffed Animals | Crickle Pickle Knits
Stuffed Animals 35% OFF Bonnie Bunny Regular Price C$175.00 Sale Price C$113.75 30% OFF Minnie Bunny Regular Price C$125.00 Sale Price C$87.50 35% OFF Kat Cat Regular Price C$165.00 Sale Price C$107.25 35% OFF Lambie Regular Price C$175.00 Sale Price C$113.75
- Other Knitting | Crickle Pickle Knits
Other Knitted Items 30% OFF Mirai Shawl Regular Price C$110.00 Sale Price C$77.00 40% OFF Embers Shoulder Wrap Regular Price C$150.00 Sale Price C$90.00
- Blythe Fashions | Crickle Pickle Knits
Blythe Fashions New Arrival Love All Around Sweater Price C$38.00 New Arrival Cuddle Bunny Hat and Vest - Pink Price C$39.00 New Arrival Pink-Perfect Sweater Dress Price C$42.00 New Arrival Heather Harem Pants Price C$32.00 New Arrival Sweet Heart Sweater Price C$38.00 New Arrival Lavender Love Dress Price C$54.00 New Arrival Trellis Dress - Yellow Price C$54.00 20% OFF All That Glitters Regular Price C$26.00 Sale Price C$20.80 20 % OFF Snowman Sweater Regular Price C$54.00 Sale Price C$43.20 20 % OFF Elfin Dress Regular Price C$54.00 Sale Price C$43.20 15% OFF Snowman Tassel Hat Regular Price C$24.00 Sale Price C$20.40 15% OFF Rudolph the Reindeer hat Regular Price C$24.00 Sale Price C$20.40 20 % OFF Navy Pinwale Jacket Regular Price C$38.00 Sale Price C$30.40 20 % OFF Harlequin Harem Set Regular Price C$28.00 Sale Price C$22.40 20 % OFF Fruit Punch Two-piece Pinafore Set Regular Price C$75.00 Sale Price C$60.00 20 % OFF Peachy Frills Dress Regular Price C$68.00 Sale Price C$54.40 20 % OFF Dreamy Dots Sweater Dress Regular Price C$54.00 Sale Price C$43.20 20% OFF Double Duty Sweater Regular Price C$54.00 Sale Price C$43.20 20 % OFF Awesome Autumn Three-piece Set Regular Price C$88.00 Sale Price C$70.40 20 % OFF Ladybug Jumpsuit Set Regular Price C$75.00 Sale Price C$60.00 20 % OFF Skyline Dress Regular Price C$55.00 Sale Price C$44.00 20 % OFF (Once in a) Blue Moon Set Regular Price C$75.00 Sale Price C$60.00 25 % OFF Little Red Riding Hood Set Regular Price C$125.00 Sale Price C$93.75