Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Order out of Chaos

When it looks like a craft store has exploded in your work room, its time to bring some Order out of Chaos! I still need to get Aragorn hung on the wall, instead of leaning on it, and the pile of boxes in the lower left are my next project. Stay tuned.

Look!  I can even see most of the floor :-)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dolls from dowels and beads

This post is especially fun to write, as I get to share with you a dollmaking collaboration between Joyce and myself.

Several months ago we both became enchanted with making dolls from clothespins.  Simple wooden dolls have been made for centuries, either whittled from wood, like Hitty, or made from what was easily available, perhaps a wooden spoon or a clothespeg.   Working with our talent for crochet, and our admittedly limited ability with power tools,  it seemed that a marriage of crochet, beads, and dowels was in order.

And so, the soft-bodied Peggies were born!

Joyce has created a pattern that uses a pillow shaped crochet body with jointed arms and legs from 1/4 inch dowel rods, and the head and neck from a wooden bead and another dowel.  The parts are cut, drilled, sanded, and painted. Tools necessary are a pin vise for drilling tiny holes (this is a hand held drill and NOT a power tool) and a small miter box used for dollmaking.  You can find them here, or at your local hobby shop:

Small miter box for dollmaking

Pin vise for drilling small holes

 Assembly is as easy as threading a needle with carpet or craft thread and jointing the pieces to the body.  You can crochet your outfit directly on the doll, or make them remove-able.  Here is Joyce's pattern for the doll body:

Pillow Bodied Peg Doll

Another variation on this theme is to use a Hitty inspired crochet body, which is what I have done.  Here is my pattern for the Hitty bodied peg doll:

Hitty Bodied Peg Doll

If you wish to make remove-able clothing, you can do a Google search for crochet clothespin dolls and find some free, and inexpensive, patterns that will fit these dolls.  Etsy has several sellers that carry these old patterns.  Here is a link to one free pattern, using size 10 crochet cotton.  In the interest of complete disclosure, I have not tried this, but Joyce has!

Free clothespin angel pattern

I have a couple of patterns for the Hitty bodied doll, worked in size 8 perle cotton and a size 8 steel hook.  Worked with a slightly larger hook they will fit the Pillow bodied doll as well:

Undies and wigs for soft-bodied peg dolls  this pattern includes the three wigs you see here as well as the undies.  You can make an entire wardrobe with these patterns.

Nightgown for Peggy Jane

And finally, look at the adorable ways that Joyce painted her Pillow Peggies!

Let your imagination run wild with these delightful and easy dolls!  Enjoy!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Good things in tiny packages

I love tiny dolls.  They work up quick, they require small amounts of yarn to make,  they make great travel companions, and they are adorable :-)

This little sprite is Annie, from Laura Teggs Little Weebee pattern, which is freely available on Ravelry.  I used the bunny version of this pattern, but made Annie in a solid skin color.  She is 4.5 inches tall when crocheted with sportweight yarn and a size C (2.5mm) hook.  I used Knit Picks Brava Sport in Brindle for the skin color, and Wool of the Andes Sport in Fedora for her hair.

I couldn't resist making some simple outfits in knit and crochet for her, which I would like to share with you:

Mini Weebee Knit and Crochet Wardrobe

Laura also has many patterns for clothing for this little doll, both free and paid.  I highly recommend her wardrobe essentials patterns.  I purchased the Wardrobe Essentials Part Two, there is also a Part One and a Christmas Carolers pattern pack. 

Check out all of Laura's patterns here.

This is Little Weebee Maddie, just in time for Saint Valentine. 


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Wonderful Weebee

This is Bethany, made from Laura Tegg's freely available Weebee doll pattern.  Laura has several clothing patterns that are free for this adorable doll, and some paid patterns. 

This is a knit outfit that I designed for my Weebee's.  My dolls are small; they are worked with sportweight yarn and a size C (2.5mm) crochet hook, so they turn out about 7.5 inches tall.  My knitting gauge for this outfit is 6sts/inch in stockinette.  Here is the pattern, with some gauge recommendations if your doll is larger than mine:

Knit Outfit for Weebee

I have NOT tested the pattern on any doll other than my own, so if you make this for your doll, definitely try to check the fit as you go.  This is not as easy with knit as crochet, so you may find yourself making more than one garment to get the fit right.

I would suggest starting with the dress and/or the cap.  These are pretty simple outfits, so adding a few stitches would not be difficult, to get the fit you want.

This dress and cat hat are both from Laura's free patterns; the sweater is from my knit pattern.

And this adorable hoodie and the overalls are also from Laura's free patterns. 

Have a great day, and enjoy the crochet!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Mermaid Musings

Several weeks ago, I was asked by Kelly DeSandro to pattern test her new Jane doll, which is available on Etsy.  This is a revised version of her wonderful Jane doll, which I had purchased and have made several of.

This new version is an amazing refinement to the original doll.  She has a remarkable head jointing technique, and a more shapely body.  The resulting doll is simply beautiful. 

Kelly's instructions are meticulous and well photographed.  An amazing doll awaits you with this pattern!

Enjoy the crochet!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Delightful Big-Head crochet dolls

My latest crochet obsession is a pattern which is freely available from Ravelry.  It is Laura Tegg's Weebee doll.  Not only is the doll pattern free, but Laura has several clothing patterns for free as well, in addition to some paid patterns.

My dolls were made with Knit Picks Brava Sport and a size C (2.5mm) crochet hook.  They are about 7.5 inches tall, with adorably large heads. 

I like to make my dolls with move-able heads, so below you will find a picture tutorial for how to do this.

Almost any crochet doll pattern can be adapted to make a move-able head. 

 In this case, this is Laura Tegg's Weebee doll pattern with a move-able head. Simply work the body pattern as instructed to the point just before you increase to make the head. Instead, make a neck stub seven or eight rows long, tapering the last two rows as shown above.

 Make the head separately beginning at the neck end with an opening that fits snug over the neck stub (same number of stitches as the neck stub before you taper it). Join in a ring so you have an opening at the bottom (as shown in the middle image at the top), then work the head increases as written, closing the opening at the top of the head (as shown in the upper right image).

 Stuff the head firmly, but make a hollow up the center that you can insert the neck stub into; the fit should be very snug. Joint the head to the neck with four strands of craft or carpet thread and a dollmaking needle, as illustrated in the middle row of images.

 Tie off the carpet thread at the top of the head with a secure double knot. The wig cap or hat will cover this.

 Finally, take the yarn tail from the beginning of the head and join to the first stitch of the head at the neck opening and pull tight. Bury the yarn end in the head.

 Olive and Owen and I wish you all a happy new year; filled with the blessings of crochet and kindness!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas!

May your holidays be filled with joy and family; kindness and compassion.  
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Adventures of Columbine Duskywing

On the trail of Giant Rainbow Snails is Columbine Duskywing, fearless freelance Malacologist for Hanover College, along the banks of the Ohio river.

Columbine is the daughter of Professor Horace S. Duskywing, head of the department of Invertebrate Studies at Hanover, an eminent Lepidopterist, and in 1869 elected chairman of the Society of Kentucky Lepidopterists.

Columbine's mother is the Lady Acadia Hairstreak, a woman of wealth and a notorious social butterfly of the lower Ohio river.  A longstanding question among the society of the Ohio river is how the dusty Professor Duskywing ever managed to beguile the lovely  Lady Acadia to be his bride.  Maybe Columbine being a seven month child had something to do with it...

Not having strong maternal instincts,  Lady Acadia left most of the childrearing to her husband;  a gentle academic with a vague fondness for this unexpected daughter.  He provided few rules of behavior, a shocking oversight in Victorian society.  He expected obedience, respect, and curiosity; he gave affection, and unlimited use of the university libraries.

From an early age, Columbine could be found sitting, crosslegged as often as not, on the dusty floor of the library, nose buried in some book of natural history or exploration.  Marco Polo! Amerigo VespucciJames Cook! Charles Darwin! Great stories of discovery, but no women.

Dust motes shimmered in the pale light of the one window in the library, but Columbine did not see them dancing.  No women.  Couldn't women discover a continent, or a new species, or sail around the world?  There was Ida Laura Pfeiffer, the Austrian woman who had traveled (twice!) around the world, documenting plants, minerals, and mollusks as she traveled, but no other woman on these library shelves.

What might she discover, Columbine mused.  The Giant Rat of Sumatra, Kraken of the Arctic ocean, Blue Mountains Panthers in the Australian Blue mountains?  Maybe the famed Rainbow Snails of Yellowwood Forest...

Quite unexpectedly, Columbine's mother realized that at 18, Columbine was quite a lovely girl, in spite of her shockingly unconventional behavior.  The only interest that Lady Acadia ever bestowed on her offspring was to plan her coming out season and ball, much to Columbine's dismay.  Columbine simply could not bear to be squeezed into a corset, and paraded to polite society like a prize broodmare.  Ugh!

So quietly, on a clear but moonless night, Columbine packed a small rucksack with her precious books on invertebrate zoology, journal, magnifiers, a spare shirt and a bar of soap, and some jewelry she would never wear.  Dressed as a laborer, she climbed out her bedroom window with the false dawn, and headed North.  Looking for Rainbow Snails and Adventure!

Looks like she found them!

Check out the links throughout the post :-)

Saturday, November 11, 2017


My dear friend and kindred spirit, Joyce, coined this word.

Frankensteining: verb; to create a doll from elements of several other doll patterns.

Which is what I've been doing lately, and like the good doctor for which this verb is cognated (probably also not a word), I am well pleased with my final version.

This doll is a combination of the freely available Eva doll (available on Ravelry), the purchased Jane doll (available on Etsy), and my own Simply Ami doll, (available here on this blog), plus a bit of body tweaking.

The point is, if you have been making dolls for a while, you probably have a nice collection of patterns, and certain attributes of each doll that you particularly like.  Don't be shy about combining the bits you like to make a doll uniquely your own.  But keep in mind that this is not pattern design, and that credit to the original designers should be given.

So thank you, Jessica Doering, for the Eva doll that provided the size; Kelly DeSandro for the Jane doll that provided the shoulders, head, and dainty feet; Simply Amis, for the swing legs, and my own tinkering for the body shape and wig.