Friday, December 31, 2010

A look back at 2010

2010 is drawing to a close.  I hope it has brought more happiness than sorrow to all of you.  There have been some bumps along the way, but for me and my family, 2010 ends with comfort and joy.

I made a lot of dolls, and had the opportunity to share my creations with you.  I did a little gardening (until it got too hot!), and had the opportunity to talk to a real American hero: an astronaut!  Larry and I did a lot of biking, and as always enjoyed each other's company more than doing anything else.

May 2011 bring hope and joy to all of you.  If we're all a little kinder to one another, it is sure to be a better year than the year before.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Keep your hands warm!

We keep our house pretty cool in the winter, around 66F during the day.  My hands get cold, and its tough to hold a crochet hook when your hands are freezing :-)  So today I whipped up a pair of fingerless mitts to try to keep warm.  They work pretty good, so if you'd like to make a pair for yourself, the pattern is here:

Fingerless Mitts

This is a very simple pattern, and can be adapted to any size hand.  Adjust the number of cuff rows you make to fit, snug, around your wrist.  When working the palm, make it as long as you like.  I wanted my fingers well exposed so I can crochet.

These were made with Lionbrand WoolEase worsted weight yarn and a size G crochet hook.  Less than one skein made one pair.

Stay warm, and enjoy the crochet!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Images of Christmas, 2010

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Comfort and Joy; The Spirits of Christmas

May glad tidings of Comfort and Joy be yours this Christmas season,
And may the Spirit of Christmas remain in your heart all the year long!

Comfort (on the left) and Joy are all dressed up in their Holiday dresses, and ready for Santa to fill their stockings :-)

Their dresses have 'mock' smocking on the bodice, a crochet technique that uses Front Post Triple Crochet stitches to create a smocked look.  I love the look of smocking, and wanted to try to replicate it in crochet.  The post stitches can be a little fiddly if you've never tried them, so you might want to practice the stitch pattern with a larger yarn to get the hang of it.  The pattern for the dress is here:

Mock Smocking Dress Pattern

The stocking hat is crocheted in sportweight yarn (I used Lustersheen), and pattern is here:

Pocket Spirit Christmas Hat

The Pocket Stockings are also crocheted in sportweight yarn.  They would make fun Christmas ornaments for a small tree, or the perfect stocking for your little dolls:

Pocket Stockings

Merry Christmas, my friends!  Have a happy Holy Day season, and a blessed New Year :-)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Easy last minute Christmas gifts

If you find yourself needing a simple, handmade gift and you are running out of time, this wonderful afghan from Lionbrand Yarn, or these scrappy scarves, might be just the ticket.

The afghan is made from Wool Ease Thick and Quick and a 'P' hook.  I loved the colors, it worked up quick, and the yarn was a joy to crochet with.  There was in fact enough yarn left over to make the two scarves here.

My most favorite thing to make for gifts is scarves from yarns in my stash.  I like to use bulky weight yarns and mix up the textures and fibers.  For these scarves, with an 'N' hook and bulky weight yarn, just chain 100, then work six to nine rows of half-double-crochet.  This will give you a scarf from four to five feet long and 4.5 to 6 inches wide.   Use different colors, or similar colors with different yarns, or use up whatever you have on hand.  What better than a warm and loving hug around the neck for your friends and family?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hobbit Children

I first read The Lord of the Rings during a summer semester at college.   Since then I've probably re-read the trilogy 20 times, not including reading The SilmarillionThe Hobbit, Lost Tales, and JRR Tolkien's letters.  It is my favorite book of literature; a story of courage, friendship, and ordinary people achieving the extraordinary. 

So when my latest Pocket Spirit got a curly hair style from some mohair boucle yarn I have, she told me in no uncertain terms that she was a Hobbit, and by jove, she was indeed :-)

So here meet Violet Willowdown and Rose Fernbrake, two dear Hobbit children.  I used the camisole pattern for the bodice of their dresses, and made their skirts from some lovely fabric that was a gift to me from Stepheny at Katie What Can You Do.  Stepheny has a delightful blog, and is a very dear person of great insight.

And this is Ivy Heathertoes, wearing another sweet combination of crochet and fabric.  The pattern for the bodice and dress is here:

Link Bodice and Dress

The fabric for Ivy's dress was another gift, this from the very talented dollmaker Kate Erbach.  If you'd like to see some of her amazing dolls, you can find them here at My Sister Kate

Violet, Ivy, and Rose say 'Have a lovely day!'

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving, 2010

The good thing about growing older is realizing how much you have to be thankful for.

I hope all of you take time to pause for a moment and count the blessings in your life.  There is grief and joy in every life; may we have the strength to endure the grief, and the gratitude to acknowledge the joy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Victorian Pocket Spirits

The works-in-progress from a couple weeks ago are now clad in their Victorian finery.  The pattern for all of these delightful little dresses is an Annie Potter Presents leaflet entitled "Victorian Darlings."   To fit the Pocket Spirits I used size 20 crochet cotton or size 8 perle cotton and a size 7 crochet hook for the dresses.  The sweet little boots were crocheted just as the pattern called for, with size 10 crochet cotton.  This pattern book is out of print, but if you do a Google search, you may come up with some used copies that are available.

Abby and Meghan


Catherine and Bearable


Felicia in her nightgown

I did work out a couple of patterns specifically for the Pocket Spirits.  The nightgown above is one of them; you can download the pattern here:

Felicia in camisole and pantaloons

And also a pattern for a Victorian camisole and pantaloons.  I'm sure these patterns look familiar to you, but the instructions are now specifically for the Pocket Spirit size dolls.  

These dresses also fit the 16cm BJD dolls, such as Lati Yellow and Fairyland Puki Fee.  For the long sleeved dresses you might want to crochet the sleeves a bit longer than the pattern calls for.  

Rebekah says "Have a lovely day!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Images of late fall

Bicycling in our old home town of Columbus, Indiana over the weekend.  It was mild and breezy, with that touch of melancholy that comes with late fall. 

Winter may be with us soon...but the sun was shining on this day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Simple and inexpensive doll bed YOU can make

Just in time for Christmas :-)  Here is a picture tutorial for making a very simple and inexpensive doll bed for your favorite girl.  The bed requires no woodworking skills (I certainly don't have any), and uses inexpensive wood turnings available at any craft store.  I purchased most of my pieces from Michaels.  Here is the link to the picture tutorial to make this bed:

Simple and inexpensive doll bed from wood turnings

Some additional pictures of the bed in process.  Enjoy!

Trying out the pieces before gluing

The pieces selected

The bed stained, glued, and varnished

A cozy bed for Pocket Spirit Catherine.  You can also make a nifty dress form with wood turnings as well :-)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dolls for the Christmas Bazaar

Every year, High Street United Methodist Church in Muncie, Indiana, has a Christmas bazaar in November.  This year, the bazaar is November 6 from 8:00am to Noon.  The church is located at 219 South High Street.

For the last few years I've donated several dolls that were made during the year to this bazaar.  Above are a few of the dolls donated this year.  There are lots of other neat items, and some delicious baked goods...I know this because my Mother donates her marvelous goodies to this bazaar.  Her brownies are impossible to beat :-)

I sang in the choir during my teenage years in this church.  When I was in college, I learned to my horror that during a brutal blizzard, a gas main exploded and nearly destroyed the church.  The entire inside was gutted, all the stained glass blown out, the doors blown off, and it took three hours to get the fire under control.  Amazingly, no one was injured, in spite of the fact that a young man lived at the church as a caretaker.

A year later Christmas midnight services were held in the barren, unheated shell of the church.  Work was under way to rebuild, but this midnight service was conducted by candlelight, the only illumination.  We sang all the beautiful Christmas hymns in the cold, still structure, and truly the magic of Christmas touched us all.

The following year, Larry and I were married in this church; the second marriage service conducted in the newly restored building.  We've been together ever since.

Many very good memories remain to me of this structure and congregation.  Many extended family members belong to this congregation; the picture below was painted by my Great Uncle Orla and is a lovely and loving representation of High Street United Methodist Church.

High Street United Methodist Church, painted by Orla Harris

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More WIP's!

No, it isn't as perverse as it sounds; WIP's are Work-In-Progress :-)

Paton's Astra sportweight/dk yarn is the perfect yarn for making the little Pocket Spirits, and I had to have skeins in all of their many flesh toned colors.  And then, of course, I needed to make a doll out of each of the colors, and give them all different hair styles.  This yarn is a pleasure to work with, it is soft without splitting, and works up nice and tight so no fiberfill shows through the stitches.  Find Paton's Astra here:

Paton's Astra at Mary Maxim

They are all sporting hair using Nashua Hand Knits, Creative Focus Kid Mohair yarn.  This is a wonderfully 'hairy' mohair yarn, and you can find it here:

Nashua Creative Focus Mohair yarn at

Now to get them dressed :-)
Paton's Astra in Aran, Apricot, Medium Tan, Dark Tan, and Soft Tan

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A new look, and a new doll

After over a year, I felt it was time for a new look.  Something a little brighter, and that would make finding the patterns available on this blog a bit easier.  What do you think?  What I like is the way the sidebar items are grouped together.

Please meet Nightshade, my little Goth Pocket Spirit.  The dress was very easy, and a fun way to easily incorporate a piece of favorite fabric in a crochet outfit.  Just crochet a top; cut a piece of fabric 10 inches by 2 or 3 inches (depending on how long you want it).  Zig zag stitch around all four fabric edges to keep it from fraying.  Turn up and press 1/4 inch for the hem and the two short sides; stitch two rows of gathering stitches (either by hand or with a long machine stitch), along the top edge, 1/8 and 1/4 inches from the top edge.

Pull the gathering stitches up to match the lower edge of the top and stitch the skirt to the top.  Make sure the gathering stitches do not show below the bottom edge of the top.  I stitched with short running stitches.  I then hemmed the bottom with contrasting color featherstitching, and stitched up the back seam of the skirt to about 1/2 inch from the top.  The back is closed with four tiny buttons into crochet button loops.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

More Christmas Crochet, 2010

For my nieces for Christmas; Pocket Spirits with their own pockets!  The pattern for the granny square bags is available free from the Lily Sugar & Cream website:

Lily Sugar&Cream

They have some wonderful free patterns, including a great crochet doll, named Lily (of course!).

The ballerina outfits are from the Annie Potter Presents leaflet "Tu Tu Angelic."  I used my own design for the body suit, but the ballerina embellishment came from Annie :-)

Skye, Cherry and Willow

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pocket Spirits for Christmas

These three little Pocket Spirits are a work in progress for my nieces for Christmas.  Meet Willow, Skye, and Cherry :-)

Since my nieces all take dance lessons, these little spirits are going to get some sweet ballerina costumes from an Annie's Attic publication called Tu Tu Angelic.  The body suit used with these patterns did not fit well on the Pocket Spirits, so I designed one that did.  The pattern for the body suit is here:

Pocket Spirit Bodysuit

This pattern can be used as a swim suit just as it is, or attach a skirt to it; add sleeves and wear it under a jumper or overalls.  It is a snug fit, so you'll want to try it on as you crochet to make sure it fits.

I plan to use the embellishments from the Annie Potter Presents publication with the new bodysuit.  We'll see how well it works!

Willow says 'Hi!'

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


For the beauty of the Earth,
For the splendor of the Skies,
For the Love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies.
Lord of All, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Yesterday as I left the house for my morning walk, the temperature was 49F and the sky was blue and brilliantly clear.  I could see the setting moon and it took my breath away.  The words to this old hymn popped into my mind, and stayed with me through the entire walk. 

I hope you all enjoy the day!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Finished Granny Square Sweater :-)

All the blocks are sewn together, and the sweater is done!  Actually it is more like a jacket.  A bit on the heavy side, but this morning at 54F it was the perfect outer layer.

After stitching up the first sleeve it was apparent that the sleeves would be too long, so I removed the last row of squares from the bottom of the sleeves.  Much better :-)

And don't forget to block!

The pattern came from the Jan/Feb '08 issue of Crochet Today.  Now, to get back to dollmaking :-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It has been a while :-) My latest WIP is this gorgeous granny square sweater from the January/February 2008 issue of Crochet Today. I love the simplicity of this design, and just had to give it a try, but I must admit that 68 squares of the same design did try my patience. But they are now DONE!

Next step, stitch them all together :-)

I had help in the form of another little Pocket Spirit. Here she is overseeing the square production.
When the sweater is done, I'll be back to Christmas crochet for the nieces!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Needlefelt Treasure

Mrs. Harrison, we're ready to learn,
Mrs. Harrison, we'll try not to squirm!
We're hungry for knowledge;
We may go to college :-)
Mrs. Harrison, don't be too stern!

You can meet the very nicest people on the internet; just like I have! I was the lucky winner of Mrs. Harrison, the School Marm Blackbird, from a drawing on the blog MarthaandJane ( This is a delightfully whimsical blog that I encourage you all to visit. Mrs. Harrison is a beautifully needlefelted work of art by April Ross, and a teacher of young fairyfolk and their friends.

She reminded me very much of my own second grade teacher, Mrs. Harrison; an angular, upright, grey haired lady that taught us well. She was brisk and birdlike, neither kindly nor cruel. This Mrs. Harrison is a bit more indulgent, but just as sharp eyed :-)
Mrs. Harrison

Thank-you so much, April and Helen!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Christmas Crochet, 2010

This is the time of year I start thinking about Christmas; crocheting for Christmas, that is. If I start in July, I have plenty of runway ahead of me and don't feel rushed and panic'd as Thanksgiving rolls away and the Big Day looms :-) Since I love to crochet, making crochet items for Christmas is no hardship.

I'd love to see Christmas become a simpler and happier holiday. I think handmade can go a long way toward this end. Also, make doing something for others less fortunate a part of your Christmas traditions, and ease up a bit on all of the store bought items. We place so many expectations on ourselves at Christmas that is it sometimes impossible to live up to them all, and we wonder where the joy has gone.

Okay, enough lecturing; I'm getting off the soapbox and ready to tell you about the cute crew in the picture above. They are irresistible amigurumi from Ana Paula Rimoli, found in the May/June 2010 issue of Crochet Today. The book bags are a free pattern from the Creative Me blog site; here is a link:

The only changes I made to the book bag were to use half double crochet instead of double crochet. I made three more increase rows, and five additional body rows for the bag. It turned out great! These are for my three nephews, ages 7, 5, and 3. Making stuff for kids is the most fun of all.
The Pocket Spirits fell in love with Oskar! They couldn't resist a photo op with him :-)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Roses and Fairies

Thorns don't hurt fairy feet,
Fairies are too light and sweet.
A quick glimpse; don't look away!
A fairy child is here to play.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Great Greenway Tour!

Yesterday, Larry and I and my Dad (the photographer of this pic) rode 22 miles of the Great Greenway Tour, a Rail-Trail annual ride out of Muncie, Indiana. And, just like last year, we got DRENCHED!

I think they are going to ban Larry and I from coming to the ride. For two consecutive years, the ride, held in July, has been deluged with rain and unseasonably cold. This, in what has been the hottest July that I can remember. Larry and I are thinking of hiring ourselves out as rain-gods :-)

It is hard to tell from the above picture, but we are standing in the rain at the end of the ride, and soaked through and through.

The Cardinal Greenway is a beautiful ride, through lots of gently rolling farm and pasture land, wildflowers, wetlands, stands of trees. And being on a rail line, the grades are gentle. The folks who have built and maintained this Greenway have done a spectacular job, with beautiful bridges and trailheads like tiny parks. It is a wonderful ride; I just want to do it sometime when it is dry :-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Crochet Lace for Dresses

I love crochet lace, and have many, many pattern books devoted to the subject. Crochet lace can make the loveliest little fairy dress, and so I decided to put together a tutorial to show you how to go from a simple length of crochet lace to a fairy dress :-)
Choose a pattern that would make a sweet dress, like the one above. Seven inches is about one-and-a-half times the waist measurement of the little Pocket Spirits.
Figure out how many stitches it takes to go around the waist, or where you want the dress to fit. These little dresses are short waisted, but you could make a dress with the skirt at the natural waist, or a dropped waist dress. Anyway, crochet a chain that will fit around the waist, not too tight or loose. For these dresses, made of size 8 perle cotton and a size 8 steel hook, 40 stitches was about right. Note: The chain is only used to give you an idea of how many sc stitches you need to work across the top of the lace to fit it to the doll.

Work 40 sc evenly along the top of the lace. If you end up with a few more stitches, or it seems too loose, work another row of sc and decrease a few stitches to get a nice fit.
The next row will be the armhole dividing row, and once you've got the armholes made, try the fit on your doll and see how you both like it :-)
At this point, you can embellish the dress as you like, long or short sleeves, picot edgings around the neckline, whatever!

A picture tutorial with more pictures and directions is available here:

Enjoy the crochet!