Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wee Wee Wee

I have always had an affinity for the small–possibly because I happen to fit neatly in that box myself, with plenty of room to spare.

Years of unfulfilled longing meant that when I saw this at a local thrift shop


I decided it was coming home with me.

It's a home-built townhouse, front-opening. Age and provenance unknown. The style is decidedly of the first quarter of the twentieth century; but the windows that still retain their glazing are fitted with sheets of clear plastic. This could be a later replacement for celluloid/acetate, or it could mean a house constructed in the 1950s or later using an old set of blueprints.

However old it is, I love it. The exterior is agreeably battered and faded, with most of the pretty details intact.
I love the way the builder used just two colors and simple materials (wooden beads, bits of stock moulding) to achieve a richness of effect.


Inside, six rooms and an elevator. The elevator is operated via a crank in the base. It took some cleaning and oiling, but the car now travels up and down smoothly on the string while I hum "The Girl from Ipanema."


I've enjoyed imagining why the exterior was finished with so much care, but the interior was left completely unfinished. It might have been that a deadline (Christmas? birthday?) forced the doting amateur carpenter to deliver it half-made with a promise that interior decoration would follow. It might have been that the little owner was expected to do her own decorating, but never got around to it. It might have been that the miniature occupants got into such a dreadful fight over wallpapers for the front hall that they divorced and abandoned the property.

There's also a scenario involving alien abduction, but let's move along.

Whatever the reason, I'm happy the rooms are a perfect blank. In their current state, they have a melancholy I admire.


Also, were there even a scrap of 1930s linoleum, I'd feel honor-bound to preserve it. Since nothing period survives, I shall fill it up to my heart's content following my own fancy.

Of course that means needlework. A very small heap of very, very small needlework.

The scale of the house is not the 1:12 (inch-equals-a-foot) standard for modern "collector" houses meant for adults. It's 1:16, the old "play" standard for miniatures meant for children. Period furniture in 1:16 isn't impossible to find–the two metal chairs in the photographs are from Tootsietoy, a now-defunct maker once based here in Chicago–but it's uncommon, expensive, and often startlingly ugly. As much as possible, I want to make my own stuff.

I've already been knitting small, partly out of guilt. Remember Ethel? Ethel was supposed to be the doll who ended up in this, but proved unequal to the burden of all those layers. She was replaced by another model from the same agency. It happens all the time–even sample-sized gals aren't all built the same.

Ethel didn't complain, but I began to feel bad that she has ended up lying naked in a drawer for a year. She at least needs some frilly underclothes, lace-edged. I could buy doll's clothes. I could buy lace. But it's more fun to make them.

Enter the 00000.

This 00000 (also called five-aught, or 1mm) knitting needle was part of a bundle of antique double-pointed needles given to me as a gorgeous gift by a marvelously generous knitter I met while teaching at Sealed With a Kiss in Guthrie, Oklahoma. To give you some idea of the scale:

As I'm fortunate enough to have this blog read in many countries abroad, I put in as many small coins as I could find in the change box. I'm sorry that the selection was limited to places I've been. (Asia, Australia, South and Central America–I'm ready when you are.)

Now, standard needles go down to a completely hilarious 00000000 (that's eight-aught)–so I don't pretend I'm breaking any kind of record in working with a pair of five-aughts. Nutjobs like Betsy Hershberg (have you seen her new book, by the way? disgustingly good) would think nothing of this.

This is the finest work I've done yet, though. And it's fun. Like picking at a scab is fun.

Here's the edging for the bottom of Ethel's chemise, on the blocking board. The thread is DMC 80 Crochet Cotton, which is not much thicker than sewing thread.


If you're curious about the itttybittyknitty experience, some quick beginner's notes:
  • Yes, it takes a while to find a comfortable grip. In fact, banish the word "grip" from your mind. Any attempt to "grip" one of these needles will result in a crumpled piece of wire. On the other hand, it seems to be normal and desirable that as you knit, the needles will take on gentle curves that fit your hands just so. I find this endearing. They're not just needles, they're obedient pets.
  • I have seen (but do not own) knitting holders from the 19th century that protected fine needles inside stiff metal (sometimes silver) tubes. Having now tried to transport a pair of five-aughts in a standard knitting bag on the subway, I understand why.
  • A magnifying glass is a great help if you are over sixteen. (I am.) Good lighting is vital, unless you enjoy gnashing your teeth until they shatter like cheap wineglasses. I have never been so grateful for my Ott Lite, which has both a huge magnifier and a clamp that holds my chart where I can see it.
  • My antique five-aughts have blunt ends. I'm looking to play with some modern five-aughts and see if they have pointed ends. Pointy ends are a boon when you're trying to work a double-decrease. Fooling about with blunt-ended fine needles has kicked up my appreciation of 19th-century knitters another couple notches. I've seen photos of those women operating these things with gloved hands, which I think helps to explain the widespread Victorian notion of female hysteria.
Finally, if you take your five-aughts out in public, exercise caution. I brought this to the coffee shop the other day.


It's a lace insertion for Ethel's chemise, yet another variation of the double-leaf motif that's been kicking around since the early 19th century.

I do a lot of knitting at this coffee shop. All the baristas know me. I've even taught a few of them the rudiments of knit and purl.

I was limping along, determined to make headway even without my magnifying glass and in dim light. I barely noticed the manager inching closer, pretending to wipe down empty tables but keeping one worried eye on me. When she was about two feet away she stopped and sighed with evident relief.

"Something wrong?" I asked, looking up.

"That is wicked small yarn," she said.

"You ain't kidding."

"Well," she said, "from over at the counter you can't see it. Or the needles."


"Uh huh. So you were sitting there...and moving your hands...and looking at them...and sometimes you were stopping to count...but it looked like you weren't holding anything."

"Oh, dear."

"I was sort of worried that maybe you were, I don't know–having some kind of knitting-related seizure?"

I reassured her that I wasn't.

But we all know it's only a matter of time.


Heather said...

I don't think I have used that thin of needles, I did find multiple sets of 2mm needles, so I suppose I must have used them knitting lace. Did make a lovely trip around the world quilt for a friend at a 1:12 inch scale. I think that the pieces I used would have been equivalent to a full size quilt pieces with 6 inch blocks. Keep having fun with this project.

Unknown said...

Hahaha!! So proud of you..... Thinking of the perfect housewarming gift as I write this. I am inspired once again. Scary, right?

Love & Kisses,
Your favorite "nutjob," Betsy

Epenthetical said...

I have a set of 1.5 mm needles, which I've used for socks (I have small feet, and when patterns are written for 66 stitches and up, sometimes 2 mm doesn't cut it). I haven't given 1 mm a go yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up with a set at some point. The thought of making lace trim with tiny needles is an intriguing an idea.

Marcia said...

Someone once told me that his grandfather had to knit as a child/teenager to help out the family during the depression. He hated knitting, and quit as soon as he could. Many years later, when he was very old and had Alzheimer's, he could often be seen sitting there with nothing in his hands, but making knitting motions. Maybe that's where you're headed? :) Knitting apparently never lets you go!

Anonymous said...

If you want some help in how to manufacture the furnishings of your dollhouse I find the following book to be a great help.

Family Dollhouse
by Sara Bonnett Stein

You might not want to use her patterns, they are more rustic than I can see you using but her ideas on how to make the furnishings are very helpful. The book is out of print but can be found for around $5 on the web. Have fun with your dollhouse.


Anonymous said...

I am smitten by your new dollhouse. You lucky person! What a find. Color me green.

Dita said...

You made me laugh.

I have only ever knitted with a size 0 US before, although I have always wanted to go smaller. Have fun!

KayakChickee said...

My 93 year old aunt passed away a week or so ago. She was in possession of some DPNs that belonged to my great-grandmother and will now be passed on to me. I believe there are some 0000 in the bunch. We'll see. I can't wait to have that kind of history in my hands.

Katie said...

The historical cottage lace knitters used to knit using broken bicycle spokes....
Course lots of them ended up with sight problems as well from prolonged knitting with fine yarn in dim light.

Suzyn said...

As inspiration for your interior design, may I share Titania's Boudoir:

marni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marni said...

i am a subway knitter, being a new yorker, and i would have gone crazy a long time ago were it not for these.
highly recommended!

steven a. said...

divine post dear friend.

Doris said...

As Frank Zappa once said, "Good Googly Moogly! (sp?)" I love the doll house and marvel at your patience and tenacity.

Linda in TX said...

oh god. I have been guffawing my way through your post. Images of Ethel - images of your being taken off to the nut house - your side comments - all hysterically funny and clever. I have loved reading this one!!!!

Vanessa said...

I feel like all my attempts at knitting (both successful and not) can be termed as "knitting related seizure."

The Bunny said...

Have you seen The Bloggess' haunted doll house. Clever and beautiful and you may find some inspiration.

I love yours. You are right, that faded, dignified beauty is really cool and going to be so fun to fill!

JK_in_KC said...

When you visit Kansas City next month, you may want to stop by the fabulous Toy and Miniature Museum for further inspiration.

Bonnie said...

Slightly random with my apologies: I was looking at fabric on the Internet, and I kept thinking, "You know what would be awesome? FRANKLIN designing fabric would be awesome. Dolores! Harry! Knitting Sheep!"

I'm just saying.

Unknown said...

"Wicked" funny post!!

Anonymous said...

Do you have a photo of the doll that replaced Ethel in the same dress? I really thought it looked like too many voluminous layers on her but seeing it on someone else might change my opinion.

Just thinking about knitting with such tiny needles makes me want to weep. I have recently developed the occasional need for reading glass...even sock yarn can give me pause.

Pretty Knitty said...

Some kindof knitting related seizure!?! lol! Love the house, and can't wait to see more teeny-tiny needlework! Beautiful!

Cosmo DK said...

Depending on the length of your needles, a metal cigar case/tube might help. I got some DPs at a garage sale that came in a metal cigar tube.

There are also plastic ones that seem a lot like a test tube.

The metal ones would be much more macho, of course.

Bri said...

The <a href=">Dollar Store crafts</a> website has some cute miniature tutorials.

Ruby said...

No matter how serious you start out you always leave your readers with a laugh or two. And this time as well. I enjoy reading about your escapades, mostly because you are daring to do these things that I don't think about.

Great words, great work, and when you are in Texas again, I will watch for those invisible needles and yarn/thread.


Sara said...

My 000000's are dpn's. When using them for flat knitting, I put an earring back on one of the ends so that they aren't so pointy into my other hand/leg/whatever. I love your house and have always dreamed of one of my own. Maybe I'll get lucky someday...

hokgardner said...

I love the dollhouse. I have one waiting for me in my parents' basement that my grandfather built for me from scratch.

My grandmother, on the other side, even did petit-pointe rugs oriental rugs for it. I think it may be time to send for it.

Pat from Tacoma said...

Did you get that "knitted related seizure" in prison? ;))

Kayten said...

Be forewarned that the pointier tiny needles succeed in puncturing the tips of your fingers, which is only useful if you have to monitor your blood sugar regularly. Otherwise, it's just incredibly painful. I used to knit and crochet doll house accessories for my daughter out of sewing thread.
Now you need a miniature punch needle. I have this one: It's so-o-o-ooo much fun.

...e... said...

my go-to needles are 00s. i have many, many sets of these, all eventually curved as you indicate. i keep them (all the sets) in a single knitzi, which is a lovely wooden needle holder with threaded end caps that you can google (they're also on ravelry.) i thought i was really splurging to buy it, but after i put several sets in one, i realized it was priceless! (i once managed to tip it, open, off the back porch and into he bushes of the folk school; people were bringing retrieved 00s to me in the dining hall all week! :)

Roxie said...

Are you SURE you want pointy five aughts? Are your tetnus shots current? Do you recognize the symptoms of blood poisoning?

Remember, the best thing to get blood stains out of cotton is to spit on your handkerchief and blot until the stain is gone. There's an enzyme in spit that breaks down the blood proteins. - Or so I've heard.

terri said...

Have you seen all the miniatures in the Sept/Oct 2009 isue of PieceWork magazine? (A friend of mine designed and knit the tiny tablecloth.)

Angie said...

(1) Schoolhouse Press has some Hiya Hiya circs in many-zeroes.
(2) Blackthorn carbon fiber DPs come in below-zeroes and won't bend. Very scary.

Undine said...

I adore that thing, I think partly because it reminds me of M.R. James' "The Haunted Dolls' House."

Gorgeous lace, too. I admire your bravery, that's all I can say. I'll have to try a project like that when the day comes that I want to drive myself 100% around the bend. (Size 3 needles are enough to make me go "Eek!")

Blonde said...

That doll house is absolutely gorgeous!!! You'll have a lot of fun decorating it!
Your post reminded me that when I was about 8 or 9, I used fine metal skewers to knit my Barbie doll an elastic thread bathing suit. I had completely forgotten about that... LOL
I should take a look at the kind of skewers they have nowadays, the old ones worked a treat!

Anonymous said...

Five aught?? Eight aught???? Two words, Franklin: Holy C***.

Mel said...

You're not fooling anyone. If you're over 16, it ain't by much.

Lady_of_Lorien said...

What a beautiful doll house! And thanks for the great article, the dooming knitting seizure made my day :-)

Anonymous said...

I used to tat doll house things: cushions, coverlets, curtains. I used sewing thread. Was always surprised when people bought them. As for the coffee shop knitting - wonderfully funny that she was concerned about you. Reminds me of the day my boss thought I'd come to work topless. He couldn't see my flesh-colored tank from a distance and was disappointed. He thought it was going to be an interesting day. Love your blog!

Carolyn said...

Oh, it is a thing of beauty! I can't wait to see it decorated. I'm sure you will enjoy many hours of miniature knitting. You are an inspiration...I don't know that I am brave enough. Those lucky Barristas!

Sharon P said...

Thank you! I love your posts because I love to laugh! :D "knitting related seizure!" lol

Colleen said...

I remember reading some 19th C quip about peasant women "knocking their loops off the needles", while the ladies knit more genteelly, When I started experimenting with fine 18th C knitting, on dull tipped modern 5-0 dpns, in laceweight (I've gotten 15-18sts/in) m I find that it was 1) easier with a sheath ( ) which I tie to my belt (I fastened a loop to the little grove), and I lay the dull right needle between the first and second sts, and swoop it sideways, right, and into the stitch, almost backwards. No poking, and it's fast, and less splitty. Since double decs were not typically done in the 18th c (little lace, mostly socks, mittens, caps....) pointiness wasn't important.

I also find that for a dropped stitch, I need to insert the needle into the stitch below the dropped one, pull it out and redo it. I can't catch the actual st that fell off the needle, it's aster to just go below from the beginning. said...

The house is beautiful and I don't blame you for the need to own it.

I have another question....relating to the pineapple bag. Which I thinki is fabulous....can you reccomend an alternative yarn????? thanks cg

Lori said...

Looking at the color scheme I have to think "Go Bucks" Are you sure this didn't originally live in Ohio?

You have far more patience than I. I thought I was nuts the year I decided to knit wee stockings on 00s for the Christmas tree. Looks beautiful.

Anita said...

You can come and stay with me when you come to Australia. There's a woollen mills in town.

kathy b said...


What a find. WITH and elevator..sooo cool. You will give it the love it deserves.....
COffee shop incident very funny.....

Happy for your find

Chris Laning said...

Wonderful house!

If I have to use US needle sizes, I long ago switched to describing needles as "4-0", "5-0" etc. because my eyes cross when I try to count how many zeros there are. Three's about my limit.

More often I'll describe them as 1.5mm, 1.0mm and so forth. That's how I think of them, and I usually have to count on my fingers to figure out how many aughts correspond.

I seem to be a loose knitter, so I use my "aught sizes" a lot. Currently doing a little bag on 1.25mm (=4-0).

I always tell people who are not used to such fine sizes to start bigger and work their way down gradually. Your eyes have to be trained to see the stitches as much as your fingers have to be trained to make stitches.

Ironwoodtree said...

I have some of my great grandmother's needles that are about that small. Too small for me to use even though I always make socks on size 0. I also have and use her wooden needle holders. They're probably over 100 years old but they're still great.

Jen Anderson said...

Dude, you are SO hardcore.

=Tamar said...

My dollhouse that Dad built now lives with my niece and her daughters. I thought I had it good to have a real staircase. An elevator! Wow!

I knitted a bag in the round in stranded colorwork on 5-0 needles; I found that somewhere between totally blunt and needle-sharp was about right. People could see the solid fabric but they sometimes thought I was doing embroidery. I recommend the use of needle-end-caps - one cap goes over each end and there's a ribbon or string to tie them together. Or get one of the wooden-thing-with-a-slot-and-end-cap thingies to cover the work in progress.

Judith said...

I'm having a knitting related seizure just laughing at this! You made my day. ;)

Christopher said...

Awesome! I can use Franklin as my back up when I tell my partner why I need to make a doll house that there are other guys that make them too!

Barbara-Kay said...

Recently, when choosing new living room furniture I was reminded that my childhood dollhouse had "oriental rugs" that were upholstery samples. My grandfather worked for Chittenden and Eastman in Burlington, Iowa, and it was he who got me the (expired) samples. What great memories!

Laura said...

Back in the day, when I still had decent eyesight (and before I discovered knitting), I did some crocheting with hooks and thread at least that fine, and made several doilies. I should send you the one I still have -- actually, I found it caught in the back of a drawer of my deceased grandmother's nightstand a few months ago, and was stunned that I was once able to do that. It would make a perfect tablecloth for your new house! May I send it to you, please?

Patti Anne said...

Yours is a soul that has been here before. Your love & respect for the past, the history, the people, places & things astounds me.

FiberQat said...

I do believe you have found your calling. I can see you working your pieces on tiny needles and coming up with intricate curtains, delicate doilies, and stunning bed linens.
Have you considered trying to make your own handspun to knit up at that size?

Sweet Camden Lass said...

My not-sure-how-many-zeros are pointy at the ends. Will have to show you the lace shawl I made. It's from Dollshouse Needlecrafts, which is all 1/12th scale, but I think you'd love regardless. I've stalled with the fringing. I'm going to remove what's there and call it done.

Still annoyed at having lost the set of combinations I knitted at that scale. Suspect they will show up and really confuse some future inhabitant of my flat....

Alwen said...

When we were in the Netherlands, we went to the Toy Museum in Deventer - they have an entire floor of Dutch dollhouses. Oh, man.

HiyaHiya has 5-0 and 6-0 circs, I'm just sayin'.

Chris Laning said...

My experience is that, when working with teeny tiny needles and non-stretching thread (such as cotton or silk), the decreases that work the best are the ones that only involve manipulating one stitch at a time. So instead of SKP I will do the classic slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over. For K2tog, knit 1, put knitted stitch back on left needle, pass the next stitch over the knitted stitch. There are similar workarounds for double decreases too.

shelly hancock said...

I think you're half 'round the bend for knitting that stuff. I have perhaps a sister of Ethel's. She may have spent time with my Great Grandmother's sister-in-law. Her outfit isn't fancy, but I thought you might like pictures.

chellebelle said...

Love the house. Very, very sweet. Things like this make me try to image who made it, and for whom. Knitting seizure... I know mine's coming too. (so funny!)

Brenda said...

I know you're a knitter but I'd be crocheting that tiny stuff. Just saying.

Robin said...

I'm impressed that you can knit with such tiny implements (like doing microsurgery), my arthritic hands applaud you. I'm also impressed by the elevator- we have a home built doll house-a rather large one with an open back and a roof that opens also but only a staircase.
For transport- how about a metal pencil case like kids use in school.
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

You must have heard of Althea Crome, the woman who knitted Coraline's wardrobe (and far more miniature garments to boot)? Take a look at

Incredible stuff.
-- stashdragon

Kate (KnitsInClass) said...

Completely in love with your townhouse.

Anonymous said...

dude. that little house has GOT to be haunted. a little spooky IMHO.

I regularly knit socks on 0 dpns, but that's as teeny as i go.


Reed said...

Have fun with your new townhouse. My family recently restored the dollhouse my grandfather made for my mother around 1930 so she could play with it again in her old age.

Please be careful, though. With anything painted before 1978 there is a strong probability that the paint contains lead. I recommend you go to the local hardware store and get a cheap lead-testing kit just to be sure.

In the meanwhile, given the dodgy condition of your townhouse's paint, try and avoid making or breathing in paint dust and be sure to wear disposable gloves and/or wash your hands well after handling.

You'll probably want to wet-sand the paint (with a HEPA vacuum for clean-up) and then paint over with a new non-toxic finish. Until then, be sure to keep the kiddies away.

It's a very cool project . Have fun.

Erin said...

When I was 8 years old, I found the dollhouse my dad was making me for Christmas. As punishment, I was given the unfinished dollhouse and no effort was made furnish or decorate it. So it sat empty for years, a reminder of my naughtiness.

I think there is a poem or short story somewhere in this reminder. Please post pics of your dollhouse as you finish it. I will imagine it is what mine would have looked like.

Unknown said...

Love the dollhouse! Especially the elevator!

Evalyn said...

it may be only a matter of time, but how lucky you are to have someone looking out for you! A carring barista is almost the same as a second mother.

Melissa said...

Lovely find!

My friend Norman Kennedy tells a story of going to an exhibition hall in Aberdeen to see a Shetland woman spinning - from across the room he thought she was pretending to spin. It was only when he drew quite close that he could see the cobweb yarn she was spinning, 3 - 5 strands thick.

Denise said...

Franklin, I love you. You are SO talented! I've not yet knitted with needles quite that small, but I own a set of 000000 needles, and I hope to give them a go. Currently, my favorite needles are 0000 which I purchased about 15 years ago. They are silky smooth steel; sharp enough to pierce earlobes. You can get DMC cordonnet smaller than size 80. I sell size 100 in my store. In my stash I have some 150, which was discontinued many years ago.

Leslie said...

Foster Grant makes reading glasses with built-in LED lights. They're wonderfully helpful when working on six-aughts. They'd probably work for those fives too.

PenCraft said...

I ordered 1 mm Stainless Steel Pony Needles from Morris and Sons in Sydney, AU. Nice pointy tips. You might check their online store

mamagotcha said...

I wanted to make sure you'd heard about Glessner House and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death created by a Chicago grandmother, Frances Glessner. It's one of the earliest forms of forensic studies.

Janice from Southeastern WI said...

Hysterical! In my needle collection I have similar needles that are waiting for me to start a project just like yours. Love your blog!

Suzanne Wilsey said...

Love the doll house. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. My British grandpapa gave me one 50+ years ago, and when I learned to knit at age 8, I wanted my doll house dolls to be able to knit, too. So I took some of my mother's sewing thread and some of her multi colored glass-headed pins and sewing cotton and made knitting projects for each of the female dolls. There's something so rewarding about producing what, in my family, we now call "wee-doe"s.

Eileen said...

I just might have to get out my Victorian needles again. (Reading your blog does this kind of thing to me.) There's a ball of crochet cotton mocking me from the top of my desk (don't know the weight--tiny--thrift shop). It's about the same as my buttonhole twist...30s lace trim, I think. That's practical. For me, I mean...

Kelly H said...

The dollhouse reminds me of the one Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) is in in the movie "Hook"! Love it!

Anonymous said...

I often wonder that as I totally lose my already loose grip and am counting repeatedly to that yet to be announced number (waiting for some young family member to say "101" to my stalled 98,99,100,1, 2,...)
will others in the room realize I AM knitting?
You always remind me of strange things, Thanks

Anonymous, too said...

You know, or should, that you have two handy sources of inspiration for finishing that doll house.

One is the Colleen Moore Fairy Castle at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. (For those who don't know, Ms. Moore was perhaps the Meryl Streep or Julia Roberts of the silent era. She loved dollhouses, and had the Fairy Castle built to illustrate as many childrens' stories as she could).

The other is The Art Institute of Chicago's Thorne Miniature Rooms. (Commissioned to illustrate various historical interior design trends, they are simply stunning!)

Marcia in Austin said...

Perhaps a tiny mattress and sleeping bag on the floor to accommodate the occupants while the house is being renovated?

Gecika said...

I don't envy those needles. Here I was proud of myself for getting down to US 4 for a sweater.

Jami said...

The teeny tiny fiber manipulation tools of my grandmother, a farm wife, came to me protected in the kind of tubes used to package large-animal vaccines. Good luck finding the right armor for yours!

Anonymous said...

fascinating! wouldn't you love to know where it's been all your life?

nice to know that i'm not the only alleged grownup who wants to play with a dollhouse.

however, mine will be built from/furnished with "junk" -- leftover yarn, boxes, bottle caps, etc. and, yes, there will be some wicked-small rugs knitted or crocheted for it.

Andrea said...

Let me know if you need a 000000 (6-0)... I have a set of DPNs.
When I went looking for such a thing a ways back, I remarked to the proprietor of the bead shop where I found them that I was getting divorced. He proceeded to explain to me how I could use the needles as an undetectable murder weapon and avoid the divorce.
Needless to say, I went through with Divorce From Hell.
I have always wondered if he was joking or serious...

lincannon said...

I think you will love amking it perfect. What a great find

The Shopping Sherpa said...

A friend of mine alerted me to your post on Twitter. And it just so happens I have a stash of early to mid 20th century 1/16th dolls house furniture I was about to clear out to sell. Would you be interested in first dibs at all?


rosesmama said...

That is the most beautiful doll house I have ever seen. I covet it. My question - if it wasn't used, as the interior suggests, why is the exterior so worn looking? Keep your doors locked, or I might take up burglary.

Emily said...

Windows??? Please?

Anonymous said...


the caps are typed in the hope you read this.....I cannot begin to say how much your story has touched can a parent be both so kind as so cruel at the same heart aches for you

Angela said...

What a find! I was admiring a window display of model houses and doll houses in a vintage store window here in A'ville just yesterday. I'm sure you scored a much better deal than these were...I didn't even go in for fear of my Visa card leaping from my wallet screaming, "Swipe me, swipe me NOW!"

CeltChick said...

This post makes me remember why I should not read The Panopticon at work. Heads came up out of cubicles all around me....I'm ok, just a "knitting-related seizure"!!

Anonymous said...

Franklin - Check out a British knitting magazine called Yarn Forward. They recently (last 2-3 years)presented a multi-part set of instructions to knit a dollhouse including a stove, toilet, etc.. They could easily be sized down on your tiny needles. Have Fun! Ginny in St. Louis

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mr. Habit. Some days your blog makes life worth living!

Anonymous said...

Keep looking! some years ago I found a small, handmade, metal tube at a flee market. It contained knitting needles down to 8-aught; not a full set in all sizes but such fun.. that small I prefer the rounded tips.

Anonymous said...

I bow down to you.

Aline said...

I loved this post and thank you for reminding me that I still want that doll house I asked my Dad to make. I think there should be needlepoint pillows in mine!

MimiD said...

Love the "knitting related seizure" comment - I think most projects of which any remotely ambitious knitter conceives are likely induced by what the muggles would consider a seizure. For your multi-ought needles, I can't offer any help for travel (unless the 2 plastic caps connected by elastic will stay on??) but for storage, you might also watch for antique wooden cylinder holders. Of course the looks of metal may be more to your taste, but I rather prefer not to have the metal needles scrape against more mtetal (my own personal problem, ymmv). The needles make less noise when shaken in the wood too :) Last, if you decide you need other colors to dress Ms Ethel or her friends but don't want to dye them, Lizbeth Thread (a cordonnet imported by Handy Hands mostly for tatters) comes in size 80 among others, and is now in a rainbow of solids and coordinating variegates. There are also indie dyers of cotton threads up to size 80 cotton and 100 silk(several are on Etsy). DMC as you heard goes up to 150 in vintage, and there's a Japanese thread I have in my stash claiming to be size 200. But at these sizes, it's all white. Best of luck with your project!

Laurie said...

What's next? The knitters in old Peru used to make dolls and doll clothes using cactus needles. You truly do amaze me!

SallyT said...

My family found your post pretty funny. They are waiting for my knitting related seizure!

Brilliant Franklin.

Janknitz said...

I always wanted a dollhouse! My parents were too cheap (no nicer way to say it, they were!) and would not spend money on such a "toy".

When I was about 10 or 11, past the time they deemed me too old for a dollhouse, I decided to make my own out of sturdy courregated cardboard boxes. My dad reluctantly helped me with a few things that were just too difficult, like making straight cuts of the cardboard with a knife. He even cut some (hideous green shag) carpeting squares for me. I made the furnishings out of whatever I could. The "couch" was a square vitamin bottle laid on it's side with a cardboard back glued on to it. Chairs were plastic disposable cups cut open and padded with Kleenex.

The house was 3 stories high, and I couldn't make decent stairs, so a plastic disposable cup became the "elevator" operated by a pulley I rigged up on the top of the third floor.

This was a pathetic doll house, but I still loved it-- and had many hours of happy times making things for it and imagining the goings on. I kept it until it was time to leave home for college, much to my parents' chagrin. They could not understand why someone my age would want to play with dolls.

Thanks for stirring up an old memory.

June said...

I was waiting and waiting and waiting for LiEr to post her finished (homemade) dollhouse, complete with spiral staircase and hand-crank elevator, before I left a comment. But now she has, and now I can link to it! I think you would really appreciate the details.

Anonymous said...

Coinwise, and travelwise, don't forget Africa!

Gayle said...

That is a wonderful house, Franklin! What a find! Miniaturists live for the day we might spot one of these old gals in a thrift shop! I restore and build doll houses and have rescued a few orphaned old things over the years. A 3 story Brownstone was donated to the public library where I work and I begged/cried/hissy fitted to bring it home. I won the battle, restored it, and it is in a huge plexi case in the Children's Room of the Main library. I haven't done much knitting for it yet. I do have a hand knit granny square afghan and several beautiful tiny doilies from a Canadian artisan in some of my personal mini houses.

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Veronica said...

LMAO invisible knitting!

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On the Victorian blueberry fetish... Here in Newfoundland, exotic fruit was really costly in the eighten and beginning twenty thousands. Everything was introduced in by delivers and many of the outports were not connected to anything by street.


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