Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sewing, my passion re-kindled

I started sewing at the tender age of 11 on my Mum's old Jones sewing machine, I think even back then I must have had a little glint of entrepreneurial skills. I can remember making slash neck tops (it was the 80's!) ironing, folding, bagging and labelling them and taking them into school and selling them for £2 !
I went on to make all sorts of clothing, I hasten to add I was very "way out and quirky" back then so a lot of it didn't require much dressmaking skills. This came later on in my 20's when I did dressmaking at evening class. I also did a a course at a factory using their huge industrial over- locker, now that was an experience!
I made all my maternity outfits, the childen's clothes and lots of homey stuff and did alterations but it slowed down (and eventually came to a stand still) when I started my business www.knotjustjigs.co.uk selling traditional toys and rag dolls.
I spent most of my time learning how to update my website, PR, marketing and selling at events, I had no time for sewing.
My passion was re-kindled a couple of years ago when I started making fabric party bags and reached it peak again early this year when a fellow business mum asked if I could make bunting!

I started a textile course in January 2010 and you haven't been able to stop me since!
I am well and truly hooked again, making such pretties as personalised bunting, fabric party bags, padded hearts, cushions and aprons. I plan to extend the range at the beginning of next year but at the moment these are going sew well (see what I did there) that I can just about keep up with demand.
We take custom orders, if there is something you would like, or a current design you would like in a different fabric/shape please get in touch!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Football Rattles

With the World cup well on its way we have been inundated with orders for football rattles or football clackers as they are also known.
We were lucky enough to have one of our football rattles in the Sunday people magazine in their World Cup feature as a must have!

These simple but effective wooden rattles are a noisy instrument, recalling those used from the early 20th century.
We have 2 types both priced competitively at £1.99 per rattle and also available in multi buys of 5 and as a filled party bag, great for football themed partys!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Wooden Push A Long Toys

Just had another delivery of these cheeky chaps, our push a long wooden dinosaurs are one of our great sellers at events and craft fairs. Children love them, as soon as they are able to toddle they can hold onto one and it will encourage them to stop upright! It also encourages a child to push and follow the dinosaur so it makes walking more fun (and quicker!)

Our youngest son had one from being about 14 months old and only really stopped playing with it last summer when he got too tall for it (he was 5 in October!). It came on walks with us and was pushed around our garden and played with no end. At £5.99 we think its a great value for money toy with lots of fun and adventure potential.

Monday, 3 May 2010


All you have to do is mention this lovely blog in your blog (with a link back) to be in with a chance to win some lovely lovely things. Good Luck !

Thursday, 22 April 2010

We have been nominated for another blog award!

Our lovely little blog has been nominated for another blog award this month! We are very pleased to say the least, we would be very grateful if you could vote for us by clicking on the "Dorset Cereals Little Blog Awards logo to the left of the page or by clicking here and casting your vote. Thanks for your continued support of Knot Just Jigs.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Me

I have been tagged by Helen Lindop of Business Plus Baby, so I thought I had better quickly do a post on seven things you didn’t know about me before I forget. Helen also sent me the Kreative Blogger award, which I am really chuffed about!

Thank-you Helen!

1, My name comes from a combination of my Mum and Dads names put together! My Mum was called Ann and my Dads name is Anthony (Tony for short) so I became Toniann. So glad their names weren't Fred and Ethel! not that I have anything against Fred's and Ethel's but can you imagine being called Frethel! lol

2, I am a qualified Counsellor, I went back to college at the ripe old age of 30 to study for 4 years. I then went onto running the counselling service at Nottingham's Women's Aid until I lost my beautiful Mum when I then decided I sadly couldn't carry on.

3, I have a phobia of fur! Its called doraphobia, Cats and rabbits are my worst nightmare but I am also terrified of mice, rats and hamsters!

4, I have never broken a bone!

5, On boxing day of 1998 I was in a terrible car accident due to a milk tanker spilling its load on the carriageway. This lead to me having very bad panic attacks and damage to 2 of my vertebrae.

6, I am double jointed, I can put my foot under my armpit and I can also still do the crab (not bad for a nearly 43 year old!)

7, There is a 17 year age gap between my eldest son and my youngest!

I now have to pass this award on to seven other bloggers. If they want, they can also take up the challenge, which is:

1.Copy the award to your blog
2.Insert a link to the person who nominated me
3.Tell you seven things about myself that I haven’t told you before
4.Nominate seven other bloggers for the award
5.Link to their blogs
6.Tell the nominees about their award

So here are my seven nominees (I hope you’ve not been tagged already!):
1, Dawn at Funky Dory Party Bags
2, Lyndsay from Pretty Beautiful
3, Vanessa at Just Original
4, Sara at From The Hands Of Kitty Eden
5, Fiona at Samigails
6, Kateepie from A stitch In Time
7, Elaine from Littlesheep Learning

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Ladybirds Galore!

It seems whichever way I turn today I come across ladybirds!
I woke up to a very large order of these ladybird yoyo's

I then log in to one of my favourite parenting sites mumszone to find someone asking about ladybird party bags and party bag fillers.
I hear lots of commotion from the garden where I find my 5 year old son running around in extreme excitement that his first ladybird house guest has come to live in his ladybird house he had for his birthday.

Today has started off lovely and sunny and all this ladybird talk has put me in mind of springtime.
I have compiled a list of out top 10 ladybird themed items just in case your in the "ladybird" mood!
1, Ladybird Yoyo 50p each or 10 for £4.50
2, Ladybird inspired fabric party bag £1.50 each
3, Ladybird personalised party bags £2.50 each
4, Castanets £1.50 each or 5 for £6.50
5, Ladybird clackers £1.99 each or 5 for £8.50
6, Button spinners 5 for £2.50
7, Toothbrush timer £2.50 each or 5 for £11.00
8, Large yoyo £1 each or 5 for £4.70
9, Flower press £5.00 each
10 Skipping rope £5.00 each

To finish off Cameron drew a picture of "his" ladybird, his spelling and writing was lovely I just didn't have the heart to tell him he had his colours the wrong way around ;)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

French Knitting, Knitting Nancy Dolls

Whether you call them Knitting Nancys, Bizzy Lizzys, knitting mushrooms, knitting spools, corkers, peg knitters, knitting nobbys (or knitting noddys) or knitting knobbys, these knitting devices all owe their existence to the medieval lucet. The lucet is a two pronged fork with a hole in the handle.
I remember doing the traditional craft of french knitting as a little girl, I didn't have one of the lovely painted knitting dolls that you get today but a wooden cotton bobbin with 4 nails in the top! I am not old by any means but the bobbin belonged to my grandmother and she passed it down to me.

The Knitting doll is one of our best sellers and we get lots of orders in large quantities from schools, Brownies packs and also craft groups so hopefully this long lost tradition will make a huge come back! Its a lovely craft to do with children that have short concentration spans as its fairly easy to do and you get a result very quickly.
We are always being asked for instructions on how to knit with the Knitting doll so we have put together a quick and easy to follow set of instructions.


Yarn is fed down through the hole and left to hang. Sometimes a weight is clipped to the knitted braid, which is actually a tube, to help pull it down. The yarn/wool is then wrapped in a four point figure eight around the loops of wire.

The knitting is then accomplished by holding the spool between the index finger and thumb while the yarn is held against the palm by the other three fingers. The incoming yarn is guided so that it lies above the yarn loops already wrapped around the nails or prongs. The spool is given a quarter turn, a needle is used to carry the loop up and over the nail or prong, and the knitted yarn trailing down the hole is given a tug.

Repeat the process of carrying a loop over a nail 400 times and you'll have a foot of braid. After making yards of braid, it can be used to make trivets, appliques, dolls, and so on.

There are lots of things you can do with your completed lengths of braid, as a child I used mine as scarfs for my Sindy doll or made it into mats but I have come across a lovely blog by Anjie Davision which gives you some modern ideas of other things you can create with your modern Knitting doll.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Mothering Sunday, 14th March 2010

In England the early Christians celebrated the Mother's festival.
They celebrated this festival in order to honour Mother Mary, who is the mother of Jesus Christ.
They decided to celebrate this festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent, Lent being the 40-day period, which leads up to Easter.
What is interesting is that later a religious order stretched this celebration to include all Mothers hence the occasion was known as "Mothering Sunday"
Gradually this festival gained so much importance that people working out of their homes were expected to return to the "Mother" church.
The "Mother" church is believed to have the spiritual power that not only gave all those people life but also protected them from any harm or so called danger. And this unique festival turned out to be an occasion for family reunions.
On this day people started attending church services in honor of the Virgin Mary. And later this practice became a tradition.
This festival gained so much significance that it was treated as the day when apprentices, servants and children specifically those working as domestic helps or as trainees, were given the day off so that they could visit their mother and family.
These people, realizing the warmth of the occasion used to come back home with several gifts, flowers and unique Mothering Day cakes to celebrate their reunion. This day became an occasion when people could spend one special day with their mothers. Even today the Mother's Day celebrations means the time for the children to express their love and concern towards their mums, and they do so by giving presents, flowers and other home made cards and crafts to their mothers.

I am a mum of 4 and my most favourite thing on mothers day would be a lie in (fat chance) breakfast in bed, a hug, an I love you and a lovely handmade card! what more could a mummy ask for!

I just wanted to add, my beautiful Mum is no longer with us so on Sunday I will remember what a remarkable woman she was and I will do as I do every year, buy daffodils and put them with the card I bought 5 years ago, have a cup of tea in the garden and remember her with fond memories. For all those Mothers that can not be with us x

Monday, 22 February 2010

Fairtrade Fortnight, The Big Swop!

Today sees the start of Fairtrade fortnight,
For this year's Fairtrade Fortnight you are asked to join us in The Big Swap. For two whole weeks we are asking you to swap your usual stuff for Fairtrade stuff. Your usual bananas for Fairtrade bananas, your usual cotton socks for Fairtrade cotton socks, and your usual cuppa for a Fairtrade cuppa.

You can find out more about the big swop at The Fairtrade Big Swop Website this is the home of all things swap, a hub for all your swapping needs. It tells you how to get involved, what you can swap and most importantly, how to register them. Because we need lots of swaps made. One million and one in fact. Every swap will be proof that the people of the UK want producers in the developing world to get a fairer deal.

Knot Just Jigs will be supporting the Fairtrade fortnight by offering free postage on ANY orders that contain one of our fair trade products, a free BIG SWOP sticker and if your order is over £20 you will also receive a FREE re-usable cotton bag

You will find a huge range of lovely fair trade skipping ropes, jigsaws, play buildings, bookends, name plaques and wooden letters. Just add any one of these products to your order and save up to £3.95 on postage! (please quote Big Swop in code box)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Wooden Dummy Chain and Clip on Toys, New in!

We are really pleased to have a new lovely range of wooden dummy chains and wooden clip in toys starting at a bargain price of only £4.99 !Made by Heimess these products are hand crafted using non-toxic materials and more importantly they are made from saliva resistant materials as we know what little ones are like for putting things in their mouth! The dummy chains are great way to stop baby dropping their comforter and either getting it dirty or even worse losing it! The clip on both products is strong enough to prevent it being pulled off but still safe enough not to snag clothes.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Our Blog Gets A Mention !

I am always in awe of all the lovely blogs that are out there (I know because I spend far too much time reading them!) so it was really great to hear that our blog had its first mention in the very first Business Mums Blog Carnival! (24/01/2010). Helen Lindop runs the site www.businessplusbaby.com and was the first to host the monthly Business Mum's Blog Carnival. As a business woman its always of great interest to read advice and tips from other enterprising mums and to read their blogs about them, their families and their businesses. Helen's site puts together advice and resources to help mums take that step to becoming a mumpreneur.

Each month, a different business mum blogger will be hosting the blog carnival, listing the best business mum blog posts of that month. If you’re a business mum with a blog, you can submit your own favourite post of that month to the carnival. Don't be shy fellow blogger's, enter your favourite blog post you never know you might get a mention!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Competition Winners Announced!

Firstly can we say a great big Thank-you to everyone that helped Knot Just Jigs celebrate 3 years of on-line trading by entering our big blog give-away, your support has been overwhelming. All the tweets, blog comments and facebook comments were lovely.
And now the winners !

1, The birdhouse was won by Kirsty Snare

2, Box of wooden cakes won by Sarita Ainsworth

3, Tipsi, traditional family game was won by Jo Bryan

Friday, 22 January 2010

Big Blog Give-Away!

Happy 3rd Birthday to us!

Knot Just Jigs are celebrating 3 years of trading with a fantastic 3 prize give away!
Prize 1, A box of wooden cakes.
Prize 2, Tipsi, A traditional family games.
Prize 3, A pretty wooden birdhouse

How to enter:
For a chance (or 5) to win one of these fabulous prizes all you have to do is give us a mention and/or become a follower/fan! simple.

Each one of the below = One entry into the draw

Follow the Knot Just Jigs Blog and let us know by leaving a comment.
(if you already follow us - thank-you! ...just leave a comment)

Become a fan of Knot Just Jigs on Face book and let us know in a comment
(if you are already a fan-thank-you! ... just leave a comment)

Become a follower of Knot Just Jigs on Twitter and tweet the following "Blog Give-away ! 3 fantastic prizes from @knotjustjigs Traditional Toys and Rag Dolls http://www.knotjustjigs.blogspot.com/

Two Entries =

For 2 extra entries blog about our give-away on your own blog, then pop back and leave a comment to let us know you have done this!


Give-away starts Saturday 23rd January and finishes at
mid-night Friday 29th January. Winners will be drawn at random and notified on
Saturday 30th January followed by a blog post all about our winners! Winners
have 7 days after contact to claim their prize. Winners will receive their
prizes within 14 days of competition closing. The prize cannot be swapped or
substituted for a cash alternative. Prizes can be dispatched to a UK/EU address

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Noah's Ark

In the early years Noah's arks were considered to be among the most popular wooden toys in 19th century all over Europe and America. Due to their biblical name and reference children were not allowed to play with them with the exception of on a Sunday.
The production of Noah's Arks can be dated back as far as the 17th century until present day but their popularity peaked during the 19th century. Most Arks found from this period were either made in Germany or made in America by German immigrants.
The animals made for the ark were creative, notional figures and largely produced by a cottage industry. Within the cottage industry there would be a family producing one animal type and another family a different species and more often than not the families had never even seen the animal that they were producing in real life, nor did this matter as they were creating a toy not teaching biology. It was common to see animals painted in blues and greens as their imagination was reflected in their creation. It was also common place to have one family doing the carving and another to finish with the painting.
The rarest of the animals are the small creatures such as snakes and insects and also pairs that have strike a different pose to the other.

The manufacturer of the ark was largely in small factories from wood or often wood that was made to look like straw and these were named "prisoner arks" as though they were made from the bedding straw of prisoners, which some often were. Early on the roofs were removable so that the animals could be stored within the body of the ark but it was found that they kept coming off and getting lost so later on hinges were added and usually a dove was also added to the roof.
The original manufacturer was virtually impossible to trace as they were almost all produced by a cottage industry. The compliment of how many animal should accompany the ark is also difficult to determine, it is thought that it should be 8 as that is the number of Noah's family members but that is not always the case. In around the 1800's lithograph was becoming well developed and was widely use to decorate the arks to save on some of the costs of hand painting.
As a traditional toy website Knot Just Jigs are delighted to be able to offer wooden Noah's Arks in 2 sizes which are both hand painted and fair trade.