Sunday, 3 February 2013

Displaying Miniature Knitting

So far in my posts, I have shown you some of the stand-alone pieces that I have knitted. It's not always easy knowing what to do with them once they're finished. I like to be able to see the things I've made but, as they are made from silk and cotton, I need to protect them from dust and moths. Not to mention the attentions of my two cats who like to interfere with anything originating on two needles...preferably while it is still ON those needles! How many times have they swiped my tiny ball of yarn and scampered off with it, leaving a mess of unravelled work behind them?! Anyone who knits and has furry feline friends will have come across that one - and trust me when I say it's never the just-started or straightforward work that they take. Oh no. Frankie & Jess have exacting standards when it comes to entertainment; Knitted lace and Fair Isle work are particular favourites of theirs.

Neither do I want to fix my work permanently using glue. Grip wax is also a no-no as you can never satisfactorily remove the stuff once applied, even if items can be repositioned. But as I often take my work out and about to exhibitions held, or talks given, by the Dolls House & Miniatures Club of which I am the Secretary, I needed a way of both fixing and protecting my work.

This toy shop was a dolls house fair purchase some years ago. I made all the toys myself, some from patterns designed to be knitted up as miniatures, but most using full-size patterns that I scaled down (see my previous post). As you can see, they are behind glass so they stay clean and moth-free. The glass is removable so there is nothing permanent about the arrangement if I wake up one day and decide to change things around a little (I do that a lot). But all the toys are fixed in place using a method which I devised myself.

I buy one of those packs of jewellery findings which contain the blank posts and butterfly backs sold in craft shops for making earrings. I take one of the posts and insert it into the leg (or other appropriate place!) of my toy/critter. I then use grip-wax to fix the round disc attached to the earring post to the shelf in my shop (the posts come with small discs or larger ones attached; the small ones will be adequate in most cases). My work never comes into direct contact with the grip-wax, it can be repositioned endlessly or removed completely, leaving my work undamaged. This method holds everything firmly in place, even on car journeys.

Pleased as I was with this solution, it doesn't work for everything. Flat pieces such as items of clothing need a different approach.

These are three themed displays that I made using those cheap brown cardboard trunks you can buy at dolls house fairs. I lined each trunk with dolls house wallpaper and covered the outside with pieces of leather. The joins are covered with braid. The purpose of these trunks was to display a collection of things which I had made. Again, I needed to fix my things in place without damaging them.

 The solution here was simple: double-sided sticky tape. I find that it is not actually as sticky as you might think, so it holds things in place but - crucially - it will peel away from miniature knitting leaving no residue or staining. It tends to be either white or transparent so is discreet, and you can use pieces as big or small as you like. It can also be removed from hard surfaces by rubbing it with your finger until it goes "gummy" and comes off. Incidentally, I have a miniature teddy bear shop where all my bears are held in place with double-sided tape and they can be removed and repositioned without having their bottoms waxed smooth in the process (something we're both happy about).

This tree is around 12 inches tall and each decoration measures less than an inch .

This Christmas Tree is decorated with tiny toys knitted from Jean Greenhowe's full-size patterns. I put it on my mantelpiece every Christmas. Neither earring posts nor sticky tape was appropriate for this project so I used invisible sewing thread to attach each toy to its branch. It works pretty well and is completely reversible, leaving both surfaces undamaged.

You may have noticed that I tend to group similar items together so that they have maximum impact. It's just a preference of mine. I don't tend to build traditional room boxes; the scenes I build are chosen solely because they will display my work effectively. Below are some more "grouped" displays of my knitting.

The panelling in this scene is made from lolly sticks, stained using black wax boot-polish.

The knitted tea-cosy is another of my own original designs.

These two scenes were built inside glass-fronted shadow-boxes which used to be sold by IKEA. They're just a basic kitchen scene and potting shed scene, right? Well, yes; but what if I was to tell you that all the fruit and vegetables you can see, as well as all the cacti, are knitted using my own designs?

Truth is, I got a little tired of knitting all the sort of stuff people expect. Baby clothes, hats & scarves, blankets, that kind of thing. Sure, it sells, but I wanted to keep things interesting. These two scenes are displayed every year at the Dolls House Club's summer show and most people who see them don't even realise that they're looking at knitting. I kind of like that.

Until next time...
Kathryn x

No comments:

Post a Comment