Chickids in Australia have a wonderful new Knitting Doll on their website* made by ToysLink - China. Unfortunately, there is no information to be found on this company but I would say it is relatively new to the toy world.
*(Added April 24 - I am sorry to say that they are now out of stock but I am told there will be more arriving soon!) **(Added April 29 - I am now very glad to say that new stock has just arrived!)
The dolls are colourful with each one having a slight difference to the other. Besides the main colour, we have flowers, facial features and hair, that all vary slightly. Unusual in this time to have so many variations in painting a knitting doll. Surprisingly, the cost of the doll is extremely reasonable.
Colours to be found are red, orange, blue, green, purple and pink.
I am hopeful of finding the pink and purple dolls to add to the set.
They come in their own plastic pouch with wooden needle and instructions, and six different coloured wools to start knitting with.
I confess, I have fallen in love with Dave .......... and his spool knitters! Don't get me wrong! ... Dave is happily married to his soul-mate JoAnna ....... and I to my soul-mate Chris. Dave and JoAnna together create beautiful fiber art tools - tatting shuttles, crochet hooks, lace bobbins, thread winders, needle cases, niddy noddies, etc., as well as incredibly beautiful jewelery and baskets.
Dave's incredible woodwork and artistry is exquisite when it comes to the spool knitter he creates.
Giving the spool a theme and adding to it with its own matching tool, the care and attention to detail to make sure that all features compliment each other overall making a very pleasing result is Dave's special touch. And it is so easy to see why they are so much in demand.
When I asked Dave if I could do a post about him and JoAnna (JoAnna's profile to be brought to you in Part Two - on my Crazyhaberdasher blog) , I was thrilled when they accepted. Dave gave me a personal account of how he came to this very creative time in his life.............
"......I joined the Navy at the age of 17 during the Viet Nam War and became interested in the culture of a sailor's shipboard life and the history that went along with it, including the artform of scrimshaw. The term "scrimshaw" is said to be derived from ole English slang "scrimshanker" which means a "waster of time" or in the case of a sailor on long voyages "one having a lot of time on his hands to waste". Sailors did NOT just do ink etchings of palm trees and hula dancers on whales teeth! They actually spent many hours making useful and intricate items to take home to their wives and lovers that included yarn swifts, needle cases, crochet hooks or knitting needles...... so you might say that sailors have been involved in making sewing notions and fiber tools for a long time."
"Since my Navy years in the late 1960's, I have mostly piddled around with scratch and ink scrimshaw on bone and deer/elk antler. When I retired from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2002, JoAnna and I moved to the Oregon Coast, rented a beach cottage and became beachcombers and artists. I also started doing scrimshaw art on the various ancient fossil mammoth and walrus ivory that was legal to buy and sell, and import and export. We joined the Yaquina Bay Artist Association and helped staff the artists cooperative gallery located in Nye beach and we also started doing the various art/craft show venues during the tourist season."
"It was during an art show that a lady asked me if I could make her an ivory tatting shuttle? She left me with one of her plastic clover shuttles as a model. She was so thrilled with her ivory shuttle she told me that I should start offering them to collectors via Ebay auctions, which I did. I expanded that to include wooden shuttles with ivory and mother-of-pearl inlay and carvings. As my customer base and contacts grew, I began receiving requests to make other types of fiber art tools such as lace bobbins, crochet hooks, needle cases, threadwinders, lucets, etc. The list kept growing and spool knitters was also added in the last year or so."
"After a couple of years on the rainy Pacific coast, in 2004 we moved to the dry side of the Cascade Mountains in central Oregon and had our retirement home built near the base of the Grizzly Mountain and took on the business name of Grizzly Mountain Arts. We still travel back to the coast to do art shows in May and November."
"I do not do mass production of any one thing. I simply make what I feel like making and put it up for auction. I have been invited to many fiber art siminars/conventions to sell items as a tool vendor but I do not carry any inventory of fiber tool items to sell. I simply make an item and sell it as fast as I make it. I rotate the types of items I make .... doing shuttles for a while, then hooks for a while and then bobbins, spool knitters, etc. The number of items I make for auction is slowly dropping as I agree to take on more and more custom made items by order. I do not do custom made items that sell for less than US$50.00. If I did, I would be flooded with requests for US$5 bobbins and thread winders. I have to be very selective about what commission work I take on so that it does not dominate my creative time and take away time from the other mix of art media JoAnna and I do."
"In addition to the fiber art tools I make, JoAnna and I work together in making ancient ivory jewelery, ceramic jewelery and stitching pine needle baskets, which are decorated with either ivory, ceramics or wood burn etchings (pyrography)."
Dave and JoAnna
"As you can see, the spool knitters are a small part of what I do. I have found them very interesting to make and their size does offer me a little more surface area to work on with burn etching and inlay work or carvings. They are similar to duck calls which I also turn on my mini lathe and like the duck calls, they can be decorated up in a number of ways. When I first started looking at the spool knitters, I thought to myself at that time "these look just like the bottom portion of a duck call, only with knitting pins inset around the hole where the reed call inserts". So basically, to make a spool knitter, I turn a fancy duck call and add the knitting pins."..................
Above - Dave's wood burn etchings. Included among the woods and materials Dave uses for his spool knitters are - cedar, maple, olive wood, walnut, and tagua nut.