At MI-KNIT-URE all of Helen’s miniatures are hand knitted in fine silk using sizes 18, 20 and 22 needles for 1/12th and 1/24th scale. She makes curtains which can be teamed up with matching bedspreads; also, antimacassars, throws, shawls, baby clothes, cushions, blankets – just about everything for any room in the house, right down to hot water bottle covers and tea cosies.
In fact, the very first thing Helen tried her hand at was a tea cosy. She used to accompany her mother to Miniatura and Kensington, helping out behind her stall. Her mother would always encourage Helen to have a go. One day after finishing a tapestry for her own doll’s house and feeling at a loss, she gave it a go – and has never looked back since. From those small beginnings of a tea cosy, she extended her range and first exhibited in 2012.
“Many of the patterns I use I adapt from Shetland Lace. I mainly use white or Ecru silks. White is a natural white not a nylon bright white, which is more in keeping with Victorian style etc. I do use coloured silks for the other items, especially shawls and throws. It’s nice to have a change although it is a problem with the light in the winter months. I love starting a new project and find satisfaction in making something beautiful. It’s lovely to switch off from the worries and rush of everyday life and become engrossed in my work.”
She says that she can do her knitting at any time of day and virtually anywhere. She added: “After all, there isn’t a lot of equipment needed! But the most important thing is having a good light.”
Helen only attends the Miniatura shows at the moment due to other commitments. But undertakes commissions over the internet, phone or by direct order at the Miniatura shows.“I always liked sewing, knitting and embroidery when I was young but never envisaged doing miniatures. So, my advice to others would be ‘have a go!’ You never know where it will lead!”
One of the things that Helen enjoys most is meeting the customers. “It’s like meeting up with old friends again and being introduced to new ones. Everyone is so friendly, and I welcome their queries and suggestions which spark off new ideas for me to create.”