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  • Writer's pictureClaire Fairall

Choosing colours for Christmas Nutcracker dolls(Thanks Nan!)

I love choosing new shade combinations, although it does take me a while, I spend ages on Pinterest researching trends, and finding inspirational images. Just because a colour is “on trend” does not mean I’ll want to work with it, I need to love the shades too.

For this years Christmas I was inspired by 1950’s vintage shades, they remind me of my Nan’s treasured Christmas tree decorations. She steadfastly refused to buy new ones, and the original colours became more muted as the decade’s passed by. My Mum recalls the bright tones of them in her youth, but I only ever knew them as slightly faded but well loved “heirlooms”

After all spending so much time online looking at virtual colour combinations, I always enjoy reaching for my yarn pegs.

I love these tactile colour samples, I clear a space on my work bench, tip them out and start sorting. - I find it very relaxing pushing them around the desk into groups and trying out shade combinations.

I finally decided on pomegranate pink instead of red. For festive green I’m using a warm teal, and pairing it with a crisp spearmint green shade, and I found a beautiful mustard colour to use for a pop of Christmas gold. I’ve also added a blush of Pale rose which Ill use for the fairy.

I didn’t have quite enough of each of the shades I’d chosen so I was soon back at my PC and placing a yarn order. I still get excited when a pink delivery bag arrives from my favourite online yarn store. I usually buy from, as I sell my patterns on their site as well as on Ravelry.

First, I knitted a Nutcracker doll, when I wrote this pattern last year, I made the dolls in bright traditional colours, they looked good but I’m even happier with this new colour way. It’s not until l start to make up a new project that I’m totally sure about the colours I’ve chosen, part way through the sewing up and before I‘d added the mustard yellow embroidery I was starting to have my doubts….

It’s surprising how much difference a few yellow stitches make, not to mention eyebrows and a rather fetching moustache! By the time I’d added his hair and beard I was feeling happy and confident again with this colour combo.

Next, I knitted a Christmas fairy, I love the simple lacework on her wings and skirt, it’s an easy pattern! She was quick to sew up, but I did faff around with her hair for a while.

I tried giving her a “up do” with a messy bun, I was quite pleased with her, but I thought she looked a little like a fairy godmother! So, I went back to my original version and gave her shoulder length hair, which I unravelled to soften it. I also moved her skirt higher up her body, now I’m very happy with how she looks.

Whilst I'm knitting these, and when I'm hanging them on my tree this year, I'll be thinking about my Nan.....and smiling .....

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