Tuesday, February 14, 2017

For St. Valentine's Day


Born on St Valentine's day; Valentina is adapted from the Minnow's pattern.  Longer arms and legs, and DK weight yarn instead of size10 crochet cotton.

I used Knit Picks CotLin (70%cotton/30%linen)  which I had purchased for a knit doll a couple of years ago.  I didn't like the way it slid off my knitting needles, but it was just fine to crochet with.

Valentina has an internal armature much like the floss-wrapped dolls of Salley Mavor.  I used 6mm pipe cleaner, and loosely wrapped them with fingering weight yarn.  The larger body cavity and head are stuffed with wool batting.  This worked great, as I wrapped the legs with black yarn, and the arms with white...no stuffing showing through the stitches :-)

Now for some clothes!

Now she has a cropped tank top :-)

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Little Smokies

Even on a cold, grey, winter day, there is loveliness to be found in nature. 

We took a walk through one of our state parks, sometimes called the Little Smokies (although in no way related to the Appalachian's).  Food for the soul.

Miranda enjoying the view!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A School of Minnows

2/2/2017 Please Note!  I found an error in the instructions this morning, and have corrected this.  If you downloaded the pattern yesterday, please redownload it.

After several months of pursuing other dollmaking mediums, I've returned to my favorite:  crochet :-)

These little minnows are only 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 inches tall, constructed with one piece bodies and a move-able head.  They are crocheted with size 10 crochet cotton and a size 6 steel hook; the hair is embroidery floss, and the eyes and facial features are embroidered.

I am happy to share Minnow's pattern with you.  There are a lot of construction pictures, especially regarding embroidering the face.  The pattern includes instructions for making her camisole and pantaloons.  These garments are crocheted with size 20 crochet cotton and a size 8 or 9 steel hook; there are suggestions on how to make other garments from these two simple patterns.

Minnow Micro Ami and Wardrobe

I also have a very simple, tiny knit cardigan you can make for your Minnow, knit with fingering weight yarn and size 0 needles:

Minnow Knit Cardigan

The many faces of Minnow! 

 ...and some of the different outfits that can be made from the pattern, with a little imagination :-)

 Have a lovely day, and enjoy the crochet!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Winter Day

The new year has come and gone, and Winter has shrugged her grey and icy blanket over all.  If you look carefully, you can see the Christmas lights and some of our ornaments reflected in the window.

After dark, the tree glows in reflection...

The tree is down now for another year; the stockings removed from the mantle, and the days becoming almost imperceptibly longer.  Good days to read a book from the library, or start a new project.

Allegra is my hint of spring in the bleak midwinter.  May we all find something to cheer us :-)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas 2016

We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 16, 2016

First Fall

I could stay in this cocoon
And hibernate the winter through;
Never rise till after noon
Snug against the warmth of you.

We had our first snowfall of the year on Wednesday; then the temperature plummeted to single digit territory.  It was a beautiful fall of snow...as long as you didn't have to drive in it!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

...but most days are like this!

Some days, a very few days, are blue days.  But thanks to friends, and shared enthusiasms, most days are filled with joy.

Georgia and Pearl finally are fully dressed!  Georgia's outfit of pinafore and gathered dress is from one of Hillary Lang's Make-Along patterns, and so is Pearl's dress.  Pearl's sweater is a sized down version of a sweater I made for a Lalaylala doll.  I used size 0 (2mm) needles instead of size 2 (2.75mm) and Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn.

Both of my girls are sized down to 60% of the original pattern.  The clothing patterns are sized down to 70%; then use the cutting lines as the sewing lines, and add the seam allowance when  cutting out the fabric.  Both dolls and dresses are hand stitched, so I can sit in my favorite chair and create these dear dolls :-)

The sweater pattern can be found here:  Miranda's Knit Cardigan.  Remember, use the smaller kniting needles to fit this smaller cloth doll.

Here is hoping that the spirit of the season chases all your blues away.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

White Friday 2016

The Friday after Thanksgiving.  White Friday.  On this day I try make something special for someone; today it was apple gingerbread bars for a dear friend and her oldest daughter :-)  My friend had moved several states away earlier this spring, and this is the first we have seen each other since.  It was great!  The South agrees with her, and our friendship is as deep and true as ever.

After our visit, I began working on these delightful dolls by Hillary Lang.  The pattern is the Make-Along Doll, a very simple and sweet cloth doll with a years worth of wardrobe.  At this point Hillary is at nine patterns and counting up to 12.

The pattern makes a doll 16 inches tall, but this was a bit bigger than I wanted.  It is easy to reduce a pattern, so these dolls, reduced to 60% of the original size, are between 10 and 11 inches tall.  Also, I chose to hand stitch the dolls, instead of machine stitch them.

You notice they are different sizes and proportions.  No change was made to the pattern; this is the result of placing the patterns on the fabric either along the straight grain (parallel to the selvage edge) or on the cross grain (perpendicular to the selvage edge).

Believe it or not, woven fabric has a stretch to it.  If you take your fabric and pull it parallel to the selvage, you will find very little if any stretch.  Pull it perpendicular, and there will be a noticeable stretch to the fabric.   Cloth dolls are stuffed very firmly, and will distort the doll in the direction of maximum stretch.

So, if you want a slender bodied doll, place your doll body pattern pieces perpendicular to the selvage edge.  If you want a shorter and plumper look, place the pieces parallel to the selvage.  There is no right or wrong way, just whatever way you like best!

As you can see, there is a good inch difference in the height of the doll, and the shorter girl has a rounder face and plumper body.  Both are adorable; which do you like best?

I love making patterns from other dollmakers; there is always something new to learn.  Hillary uses a ladder stitch to attach the limbs to the body.  I've used ladder stitching to close openings, but never to attach arms and legs.  I really like the way it looks.  And, she has a unique way of making hair that is worth a try.

So,  I hope your White Friday was a good one.   A gift of handmade is a gift of your time, a piece of yourself, and a very precious offering.