Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nicky Epstein, Nicky Epstein

Bennie and I have the occasional bonding fiber moment when we pick up either Nicky Epstein’s Knit for Barbie Doll or Crochet for Barbie Doll. We will reverently turn each semi-glossy page to gaze upon the sweetest fiber jewels ~ handmade clothing for Barbie. Bennie will create her wish list as I take note of the required yarn and mentally scan the stash for substitutions. As much as I feel Barbie should, by all means, be well attired, I’m not going to run out to the Knittingsmith to purchase Paternayan Persian wool or Richesse Et Soie cashmere/silk or, get a load of this, Rainbow Gallery Angora. I’ve got plenty of single-spun odds and ends to work with. Thus far, I’ve made some mighty fine stuff. One day I was accosted by one of the Playground mothers . . .

“I hear you knit little clothes for Barbie,” she says, a little belligerently.

“Well . . . yeah. Sometimes.”

“Sure! Just what I need! Thanks a lot!”

“Sorry.”

“You ought-a be!”

So be warned. Once this seemingly innocent little hobby is taken up one could gain enemies. The ability to knit items for a daughter’s Barbie creates a Martha Stewart-induced stress on other mothers to perform. On the other hand, they’re great birthday gifts in a pinch and will be well received. (So what if you have to pull the red-eye to get it done in time for an early afternoon party. It’s not like it hasn’t been done before. Remember xmas?)

But in angora? I think not.

I’ve seen little girls play with Barbies. They simply shouldn’t be allowed to. In the hands of sweet little girls Barbie is mauled and dressed in clothes that don’t match. She is outfitted with chunky sneakers in an evening gown meant for the High Society Ball. She is bedecked with five layers of little shirts, no pants and flashy high heels. Barbie might even end up wearing jeans with a skirt, no shirt, a hat and boots. And then there’s the Barbie that’s been given up on ~ the nude Barbie. Clearly, this is when a little girl has run of ideas for other possible clothing combinations. At this point, she moves on to the next reasonably dressed Barbie and proceeds to strip her of clothes, turning everything inside out and plopping it in the Barbie travel box instead of utilizing the hangers in the rotating Barbie Wardrobe Closet (requires two C batteries).

It is at these weird moments, when the dust has settled and the visiting girls have gone home, I will sit with Bennie and go through all the Barbie stuff and try to put it all back together again. I’ll spend time dressing each Barbie in the matching items and maybe even one of my knitted/crocheted pieces (if it’s appropriate). To date I’ve made sweaters (natch), a poncho, a summer dress, hat and scarf sets and a fluffy hat and coat set. Today I just finished an anorak from the knit book. Knitting for Barbie is like an hors d’oeuvre ~ it’s a little something to tide one over until dining on larger, finer fare; like an adult-sized Fair Isles sweater. Sad thing for me is that sometimes I’ll down too many of the yummy hors d’oeuvres knitting up cute little Barbie clothes before dinner. Barbie is also the proud owner of many of my gauge and pattern swatches generally used as throws, dog beds and horse blankets.

All in all, Barbie does mighty well in my house. Thank you, Nicky Epstein. I might not be making friends on the Playground, but Babs is stylin’!

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Babs is beginning to look like Cyndi Lauper?

If it makes you feel any better, I made a lot of clothing for my own Barbies, but none of it was knit. I hand-sewed.

Someday, Bennie will realize your value and be stunned by it all. Until then, poke her with your knitting needles until she cries Auntie.