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For the Love of the Small Project: Knitting Miniatures

Aug 31, 2009

A note from Kathleen: I think I can safely say that we all love a small project once in a while—something we can get done in a short time with a small amount of yarn. What comes to mind is a hat or a one-skein scarf, a dishcloth or a coffee cozy. But PieceWork magazine has taken the small project and given it that quintessential PieceWork spin: knitted miniature accessories for dollhouses and knitted heirloom pinballs in the tradition of 1800s Quaker schoolgirls.

Here's PieceWork editor Jeane Hutchins to tell you more about these special projects, coming up in the September/October 2009 issue of PieceWork magazine.

Knitting in Miniature

Just seeing the word "miniatures" makes me smile. Suddenly, I'm transported back in time; memories of my dollhouse and its minute furnishings are so vivid. I wasn't lucky enough, however, to have an exquisite handknitted-lace tablecloth for its dining room table—darn!

So when we started to work on PieceWork's September/October 2009 Miniatures issue, I knew an elegant dollhouse-size knitted-lace tablecloth would have to be part of the mix. I love the result; if I still had my dollhouse, this tablecloth would definitely be front and center.

Using one strand of seven-strand silk thread and size 6-0 needles, Mary Frances Wogec created the tablecloth, which is 5½ inches in diameter (top tablecloth in photo at left).

To provide perspective on its diminutive size, we placed one skein of the silk thread on one of the dollhouse chairs in the photograph at left.

 Also, to provide perspective, Mary Frances duplicated the tablecloth in size 100 crochet cotton; it's 6¼ inches in diameter (bottom tablecloth in photo above left).

Check out the in-process photo of the tablecloth (above right). Mary Frances, avid lace knitter that she is, discovered that fine-gauge soldered jump rings and rubber nuts for pierced earrings, both sold at bead stores, work perfectly as stitch markers and point protectors, respectively, in lace knitting. Ingenuity at work!

 The Knitted Pinball

Another small-scale project is the knitted pinball. I absolutely love the story behind these tiny (2 inches in diameter) accessories: A Quaker boarding school in England has several eighteenth- and nineteenth-century examples in its collection; schoolgirls often knitted them as "tokens of love" for their classmates. I don't know if I could bring myself to actually keep my straight-pins in this little work of art!

The pinball, like the tablecloth, is knitted with one strand of silk thread on size 6-0 needles. These will make absolutely lovely gifts for family and friends.

I just can't help smiling every time I look at the miniatures in this issue. I hope they make you smile, too!

Editor, PieceWork

P.S. If you are intrigued by miniatures, the 2010 PieceWork contest—Heart-Shaped Ornaments—will be perfect, and you could win $500 in cash or $200 in product from our sponsors!  The ornaments, for any occasion, cannot be larger than 4 inches. We would love to be inundated with knitted ornaments. Be sure to check our website on October 16 or see the ad in the November/December issue for all the details.  

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AlexandraG wrote
on Aug 31, 2009 2:27 PM

I am really getting tired of the direction Knitting Daily is going, it is more about your other magazines than about knitting.  I signed on for anything to do with Knitting. Not about Crochet or Spinning or PieceWork.  Thank you for listening to me.


Beffie wrote
on Aug 31, 2009 11:19 AM

For the Love of Small Projects you have to see the rare size needles here:    Become a fan on FaceBook and receive updates.  With short needles and a small amount of yarn, knitting becomes very portable.

on Aug 31, 2009 8:03 AM

I was an Interior Design major in college. We had to build a miniature house & then do a diorama of one or 2 rooms.  I built a Victorian house. I did the living room & dining room, since they were combined.  I made all of the tiny furniture. I cut a humpback sofa on the band saw & carved tiny claw feet for it. I also made a dining room table & turned the spindle on the lathe. On that table, I put a tablecloth that I crocheted out of sewing thread. I thought I would go blind.  lol. I also made bentwood chairs out of reeds from a basket that I took apart. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun.  I know this is a knit site, but had to share that with you. I still have it today & I graduated from college in 1986.