Tuesday, 4 October 2011

More About Helen Palenski and her Miniature Knitting

A mini topsy turvy doll
The other side of the doll
When I was a little girl I had a topsy turvy doll. Do you remember them? It looked like one doll wearing a long skirt but when you turned it upside down, another doll was revealed. Now I have one in miniature, thanks to Helen's creative knitting. It's one of my favourite miniatures!
   In 2007, Helen was awarded IGMA (International Guild of Miniature Artisans) status, a great honour. I asked her about that.
W: How did your IGMA award come about?
H: I had to submit five pieces of miniature knitting to the Guild for judging. I did a fairisle jumper, a kimono jacket, a black long-sleeved jumper in 1970s style, a Noddy figure and a Big Ears. The fairisle sweater is now on display in the Kansas Dollhouse Museum.
W: That has opened up opportunities for you to exhibit at miniatures shows around the world, hasn't it?
H: Yes, I travel a lot and do several overseas shows each year. The next one is the Philadelphia Miniaturia in the United States. I'll also be going to the Tom Bishop show in Chicago, one in St Louis and one in Dallas. New for next year is a miniatures show at Rheda in Germany.
W: Have you had a stand at any English shows?
H: I have done the Kensington Dolls House Festival in the past but won't be next year. The times don't work out unfortunately.
W: How do you know how much stock to take to shows?
H:  Luckily all my pieces are so small that I can take a lot of stock when I travel to shows. But I still often sell out of some things. My friend, Elaine Bailey, comes with me and I can be knitting while she deals with customers. Sometimes I'll have people waiting for me to finish a particular piece, or I'll tell them to come back the next day and it will be ready for them. Then at night, back in the hotel room, I'll keep knitting!
W: What is an unusual piece of knitting you've been asked to do?
H: I had to design and knit for a garden scene, in 1:48 scale, flower, bumblebee and ladybird people!
  Many thanks, Helen, for telling us about your miniature knitting. I've also seen some of Helen's dolls houses and other miniature projects. They are as detailed and beautifully finished as her knitting.

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