Monday, December 16, 2013

Rose is ready for Christmas!

I have always thought that union suits, those red one-piece undergarments worn in the 1800's, were pretty cute on dolls.  Probably a pain to wear in real life, but dolls live uncomplicated lives and enjoy looking cute :-)

So I knitted up a red union suit for Rose to wear for Christmas, and topped it off with a Santa cap.  Here is the pattern:

Travel doll union suit and Santa cap

We also had a lot of fun knitting up some other Christmas treats.  The stockings are made from a free pattern available on Jean Greenhowe's site; scroll down a bit, they are toward the bottom of the page:

Jean Greenhowe Christmas Stockings

The teddy's and rabbit are from a free pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits:

Teddy and Rabbit

And the blanket was a free pattern from Jennifer Jackson on Ravelry (you need to register, but it is free!)

Doll Blanket

All of these are quick and easy to knit, and the dolls and young (or old) girls in your life will love them :-)

One last item is the Christmas tree!  This one was crocheted a few years back from a free pattern available on the Michaels web site:

Michaels crochet Christmas tree


Rose and I wish you a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holydays!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Happy Holy Days!

We had our first snow of the season Thursday night and Friday, and it left a sparkling six inches of snow, which is blindingly bright this morning.  Yesterday seemed the perfect day to get out the Christmas decorations and put up the tree (or trees, this year!).   I also got outside and took a few pictures of the lovely, virgin snow.

Whatever your spiritual persuason, I hope you  enjoy the spirit of goodwill that this season celebrates.  Without that, there isn't much point to the celebration.  Maybe fewer gifts, more hugs, donations to your local food pantry, or shoveling the neighbor's walkway of snow.  Be easy on yourself, and meet each day with Joy.

My very best wishes for all of you this Holy Day season :-)

Beth

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Just in time for White Friday!

Just in time for White Friday; the Friday after Thanksgiving where we all stay home and make something special for someone we love :-)  For Ivy, my latest Travel Doll from Fiona's Travel Doll pattern, a new dress with a knit seed stitch bodice and hem.

Travel Doll Seed Stitch Dress

If you are at a loss for what to make someone for Christmas, there are many, many sites with free knit and crochet patterns.  Starting with Ravelry, all you need to do is register (free!) and you have access to literally thousands of free patterns for dolls, toys, wearables, you name it.   Many low cost patterns as well.

Lionbrand yarns is another great site for free patterns.

1500 Free Amigurumi Patterns is actually now 2000 free patterns, and a great site.

Crochet Pattern Central  and Knitting Pattern Central are also great sources for free patterns.

So make yourself a cup of your favorite hot beverage, put a Christmas CD in the player, get out some yarn and the tools of your choice (needle or hook), and enjoy the day!




Monday, November 18, 2013

Rose's Jumper....or more adventures in knitting in the round

I made Rose a white camisole, and as I looked at it, I thought it would make a sweet blouse, if only it had sleeves.  But, I hate setting in sleeves; and thought that knitting in the round (ugh!) would be too hard.  As I pondered, weak and weary, I decided to give knitting in the round another try.

So, with the camisole finished, I picked up the necessary stitches around the armhole with a crochet hook and placed them on three double point needles, and knitted away.  And low and behold, the sleeves turned out pretty good :-)

The blouse begged for a sweet jumper, and the jumper begged for some embellishement when it was finished.  So, a simple knit jumper (with a touch of crochet around the upper edge and shoulder straps), with simple lazy daisy flowers.  To be clear, only the sleeves of the blouse are knitted in the round; the rest of the knitting is done flat and seamed.   Maybe a future outfit will be knit entirely in the round.  And, for those who prefer this, both blouse and jumper would be easy enough to convert to double points.

Travel Doll Blouse and Jumper

Rose is from Fiona McDonald's free Travel Doll pattern, available on Ravelry.  You'll find a link to the doll pattern on the left sidebar of this blog, along with some outfits to make for her and her traveling companions.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Jasmyn's Chinese jacket and skirt

I love paper doll books.  They are a wonderful source of inspiration for costume design for any era or culture.  Dover Publications has hundreds of titles for paper dolls, from Ancient Egypt to Steampunk to Contemporary Thrift Store :-)

For Jasmyn's Asian inspired outfit, I used the paper doll book shown above to find a style we both liked.  The jacket is simple to knit, with a very little bit of crochet for the collar and trim.  The skirt is also very simple.  Here is the pattern:

Travel Doll Chinese Jacket and Skirt

This outfit is for Fiona McDonald's free Travel Doll pattern.   The doll is tremendous fun; come join us!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jasmyn

I go through periods where I can't seem to stop making dolls...obviously this is one of those periods :-)  Jasmyn is another doll from Fiona's wonderful free Travel Doll pattern, available on Ravelry.  She will have an Asian themed outfit, I hope, if I can pull it off in knit. 

This doll is the perfect, perfect doll to make for gifting at Christmas.  She is quick to knit, classy, has a lovely long and lanky silhouette; a great canvas for doll creation.

I'm pretty sure there will be more dolls and outfits coming.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Move-able head for knit dolls


I love making dolls with move-able heads.  It is a technique I learned from the cloth doll making community, and have applied to crochet dolls.  It is a technique that works well with crochet; crochet creates a sturdy fabric that is perfect for three dimensional objects like dolls. 

Will this work with knitted dolls?  The answer is yes, if you stabilize the neck.  I used Fiona McDonald's travel doll to work out the details, and have a picture tutorial of the process on my photo share site, ipernity.  Here is a link to the tutorial:

Knit doll head joint tutorial

And for completeness sake, here is the link for the tutorial for crochet dolls:

Crochet doll head joint tutorial

You may need to alter your pattern to create the doll head and torso separately.  Give it a try!  You're sure to be pleased with the result :-)


Saturday, November 2, 2013

New knits for Fiona McDonald's Travel Doll

In case you couldn't tell, I'm having a great time knitting up outfits for this perfectly sized knit doll.  She now has a pair of slim pants, short skirt, and cardigan sweater.  All very simple to knit.

You can see in the bottom right picture that Columbine's trousseau is growing :-)

Knit Cardigan Sweater

Knit Pants and Skirt

Keep warm, and knit up a storm!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Travel Doll Undies; don't leave home without them :-)

Columbine now has some undies!  Very simple underwear, knitted primarily in rectangles.  Two camisole options let you crochet the neckline and shoulder straps, or knit as one piece and form the armhole openings like a two row buttonhole.

My doll is 4.5 inches wide at the hips and 12 inches tall, so you may want to adjust the pattern to fit you doll.  Once you've made undies that fit, you can go on to make just about anything else:  dresses, nightgowns, pants, skirts, tops.

Travel Doll Undies

Edit 10/31/2013

I just finished this drop stitch nightgown for Columbine; here is the pattern:

Drop Stitch Nightgown

The shawl she is wearing is from a free Lionbrand pattern, which is available here:

Garter Stitch Shawl  You need an account with Lionbrand, but it is free and well worth it.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Knit Travel Doll by Fiona McDonald

I would have thought that knitting a sweater would have over-dosed me on knitting for a while, but not so!  I've been wanting to make Fiona McDonald's travel doll, a doll pattern freely available on Ravelry, ever since she posted it over a year ago.  I wish I hadn't waited so long :-)

This is Columbine; she is 12 inches tall knitted in light worsted yarn (Bernat Super Value) and size 3 needles (3.25mm).  She is knit flat then seamed up the back.  I love the use of light needlesculpting and painted eyes, a specialty of Fiona's doll patterns.

The doll made up quickly; it took three days of lazy knitting to make her and wig her.

Next up, some undies and clothing for Columbine :-)

If you are interested in making this doll, here is the link to her on Ravelry.  You need an account there, but it is free.

Fiona McDonald's Travel Doll


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Knit sweater!


With the help of the book pictured, which I borrowed from our library, I actually started and finished a knit sweater!  Almost exactly two years from the time I completed my first knit project, which was the Jean Greenhowe knit doll pictured here with the sweater.

This was a simple, drop shoulder sweater knit from chunky yarn (Lionbrand Woolease Chunky) on size 10.5 needles.   It has a simple ribbed bottom edge, cuffs, and crew neck.

 And it even fits :-)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lavender White complete

Lavender White, with her best friend :-)  She posing with the sweet allysum since my lavender are not blooming at present. 

I have plans for more winged Forget-Me-Knots, but I'm going to try my hand at knitting a sweater...for myself!  Hopefully it won't take me forever :-)

In the mean time, enjoy the crochet!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lavender White

Lavender White, inspired by the fragrent lavender growing around the house that entices the cabbage white butterflies.

Next step, fairy finery :-)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nightshade

Nightshade is my first Forget-Me-Knot with wings!  The whole idea of making butterflies was to create wings for these tiny dolls.  Nightshade has Mourning Cloak wings (appropriate, don't you think?).  They are crocheted right into her back.  For the next doll, I think I will crochet them inboard a bit closer; the clothing will fit better.

Her dress is from a lace pattern from the Leasure Arts leaflet 20 Beautiful Edgings (they are!).  I wanted one with popcorn stitches that would look like Nightshade berries when crocheted in red.  I don't enjoy crocheting with black, but the lace wasn't too hard to work up.  Putting a white sheet of paper in your lap helps to see the black stitches.

Her hair is Lionbrand Fun Fur, crocheted with a size 1 steel hook.  This is a much smaller than recommended hook for this yarn, but it made a great cap.

Nightshade among her namesake berries.  Very poisonous...Do Not Eat!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Butterflies are Free; at least, mine are :-)


Butterflies flew into my brain a couple of weeks ago, when I was thinking about adding wings to my Forget-Me-Knot kids.  I've always loved the illustrations of Cicely Mary Barker; her Flower Fairies drawings from the 1920's are delightful, and they all have very realistic butterfly and moth wings. Sooooo...

Here is my attempt at creating some realistic butterflies in crochet:

Crochet Butterflies

The patterns are done in one color, so it will be up to you to decide how to crochet your butterfly.  I used two books to come up with mine:   Butterflies of Indiana,  by Jeffery E. Belth; and Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America,  by Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman.  These are both excellent field guides full of pictures.  The Indiana book is also excellent from the wealth of information regarding habitat, ecology, conservation, and everything you ever wanted to know about the life of butterflies. 

I used acrylic paint to add some details to the wings, like dots of color and wing tips.  Dual Duty button and craft thread was used to make the antennae.  The butterflies were made with worsted, sport, and size 10 crochet cotton, with a slightly smaller than normal hook for the yarn or thread.

I've become captivated and plan to try a butterfly garden next year.  Maybe you will too :-)


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Field of Flags


This weekend Larry and I went to an installation of flags honoring veterans, both living and dead, at the Muncie Minetrista center. 

My Dad was instrumental in the creation of this installation.  We were there to honor all of our family members that have served, but especially Larry's father, who was a member of the 101st Airborne during WWII. 

It was a beautiful day; a good day to remember all of those who have put themselves in harms way to defend our freedoms.

Remember them in your thoughts and prayers, and enjoy the freedom of this day.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The tail end of summer


A couple of weeks ago, I took my camera along when I rode with Larry to work.  I usually ride with him, about a 13 mile round trip.   I snapped pictures of the ride, which winds through disparate areas of the 13th largest city in the U.S.  If you are interested, you can see the entire trip at this link:

Ride to work.

I also shot some pictures of the city park we live next to.  It is the oldest public park in Indy, and one of the main reasons we settled in this neighborhood.


There are a lot of artifacts from years ago, like this stairway to heaven :-)

If you would like to stroll through the park, follow this link:

In Garfield Park

The kids are back in school, and the days are slowly getting shorter.  Time to pull out the hooks, needles, and yarn and work on Christmas future.  Hope your days are lovely.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

More coral reefer madness


More coral reefer madness!  Using different texture yarns, and different increase algorithms for the hyperbolic corals is compelling, to see how the resulting coral will turn out.  Plus, a little free form crochet for coral reef denizens that aren't hyperbolic :-)

The little fish are from a free pattern (NOT one of mine) available here:

http://www.buddyrumi.com/blog/2012/7/14/little-fish-free-pattern.html

I modified the basic pattern, shown on the right, to make a little clownfish, shown on the left. 

The basic hyperbolic shapes for this reef are shown below, plus a couple of free form sponges.

I'm starting to run out of space!  It would be nice to turn this into a wallhanging. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crochet a Coral Reef

Pearl and Urchin need a place to live, and a beautiful coral reef is just the place.  This is something that you can make for your own resident mermaids, with stash yarn and simple stitches.  Along the way, you may discover how beautiful and fragile coral reef ecosystems are.

Here are some pattern guidelines for making your own coral reef:

Crochet coral reef

The idea for crocheting a coral reef has been around for several years; a driving force for this is the Institute For Figuring.  Their website has a wealth of information on coral reefs, the threats they face, and the project to create coral reefs from crochet.  Here are some additional websites with pictures, information, and patterns:

NOAA photo library  pictures of actual coral reefs
The Gainsville Florida reef information, links, and patterns
Crocheted corals on Pinterest pictures of crochet corals from many sources

This is the kind of project you can make as small or large as you like, or 'grow' it over time.  Mine is rather small and mounted on a wooden plaque, but I think that it will grow :-)

Welcome to our undersea home!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Mermaids Tail

Urchin is a mermaid of the coral reef.  Here is a pattern to turn your Forget-Me-Knot into a siren of the seas :-)

Mermaids tail

She needs a coral reef to live in, and so my next project will be to crochet her one.  If you've never heard of the idea of crocheting a coral reef, just do a Google search on 'crochet coral reef.'  You will be blown away by the color and forms and amazing realism of a crocheted coral reef :-)

Enjoy the day, and enjoy the crochet!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Mushroom Manor

Fern's wish has come true!  She and Merlin now have a cozy little Mushroom Manor to call home :-)  A little place to curl up in at night, and stay dry when the rains come.  I have a picture tutorial for making the Mushroom Manor on Flickr.  All you need is some worsted yarn from your stash, and some cardboard and oatmeal containers that would probably end up in the landfill.  Other embellishments to the scene are from this blog under 'Crochet an outdoor setting.'

Fern is also pleased to finally have some clothes!  I made her a dress from some pretty crochet lace, for which there is a tutorial to do this.

We've been happily crocheting these sweet summer days.  Hope you are making some joy in your life as well :-)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Merlin the Hedgehog


Fern found a friend, and named him Merlin :-)  He is a wee hedgehog, and here is the pattern:

Merlin the Hedgehog

Merlin is about 1 3/4 inches long, made from fingering weight and laceweight yarns.  The perfect size companion for the Forget-Me-Knots.  Larger versions can be made using sport or worsted weight yarns.

Enjoy the crochet!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fern Forget-Me-Knot

Current work in progress is Fern Forget-Me-Knot.  She is a wee Elfin maid, making herself at home among the Hostas.

Her wig is full styling.  The wig cap was crocheted with laceweight kid mohair yarn and a size 2 steel hook.  I worked in the front loops for the entire cap, then hooked strands of yarn into the unworked loops all over the cap.  Yarn was hooked into each stitch on the last row, then in every other stitch all around the cap.  It took a little time, but it is easy to do and perfect if you're listening to good music or watching a movie. 

Fern tells me she would like to live in a mushroom...hmmm....gotta think about this one for a bit :-)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Forget-Me-Knot goodness

Art imitates art!  The Forget-Me-Knot kids are also great subject matter for some simple embroidery.  Here, Emma and Elizabeth (the latest Forget-Me-Knot) become the inspiration for a bit of needlework.  Stem Stitch, French knots, lazy daisyies, and a bit of colored pencil.

Elizabeth is wearing a very simple knit dress and undies, for which the pattern is here:

Simple Knit Sundress

She put on a sweater this morning to see how the Fairy garden was growing...

As you can see, it is growing very well indeed :-)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Unhappy with Flickr?


Those of you who are Flickr members are aware by now of the draconian changes made to this photo-sharing site.  This post isn't meant to be a rant against Flickr; there is plenty of that on Flickr's own site.  Suffice it to say that I find the new Flickr a visual disaster, and achingly, achingly slow to load.

But there are other choices in photo sharing sites, and the one I looked in to is called Ipernity.  They offer a free account or a paid account, similar to what Flickr members were used to.  I created a free account, customized a home page and loaded a few pictures, just to give it a test run.  To see what it looks like:

My Ipernity home page

I like it.  It is clean and simple with a user interface very similar to the old Flickr, and with a respect for our photos: treating them as worthy of individual attention, instead of cramming them en mass in our face.  From an aesthetic standpoint, I prefer to view against white instead of black...of course, this might also have something to do with failing eyesight :-)

Choice is good.  I think I am going to choose Ipernity over Flickr for future photo sharing.  I hope some of you will come and play in this new playground.

My girls will be looking forward to seeing you there!

UPDATE, June 1, 2013:  Have finished transferring over 3400 pictures from Flickr to Ipernity.  Over the next several weeks I will slowly delete the photos from Flickr (I hope!).  I will leave the tutorials with a single picture and a link to the new tutorial home on Ipernity.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Beauty

...Beauty is its own excuse for beingRalph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May, 2013

The view from and around the porch.  On these lovely May days, a pleasant place to indulge in a cuppa coffee.  I hope your day brings you joy :-)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fairy Gardens

Be it sluggish or spectacular, spring never fails to arrive.  When it finally does, create a fairy garden for your small dolls.  Not only is it just downright fun, but then you get to have a garden in miniature to admire...it is easy on the knees and requires no weeding!

The little garden above, Angela's garden, was planted in a 12" diameter basket with a plastic liner that I had left over from last year.  Make sure whatever you use to plant in has drainage holes in the bottom.  You want to find low  and slow growing plants; here I used Elfin thyme (what a delightful name!), Irish moss, speedwell (a creeping form of Veronica) and a polka-dot plant.  They were all available at my local nursery; look for the area that has ground covers. 

The twig bench, watering can, and shepherd's hook came from Winter Greenhouse (http://miniature-gardening.com/).  They also have a large selection of plants suitable for miniature gardening.

Plant yourself a sweet little garden; your dolls will love you for it :-)