Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What Eva has inspired

The Eva doll pattern, freely available on Ravelry, continues to inspire my dollmaking.  So does Suzanne Woolcott's Gorjuss Girls :-)

So here is a little Fox pattern, that makes a perfect companion for my foxy Eva girl, Isobel:



Foxy Friend 

And for your crochet dolls, how about a remove-able wig?  Once you've made the basic pattern, you can vary it to a short bob, long curls, even braids if you want.

You can make the hair strands longer or shorter.  If you want braids, make them thinner (use sl sts instead of hdc sts).  A whole wardrobe of remove-able wigs can be made for your doll :-)

And again, once you understand the basic pattern, the wig can be sized for any doll, or use any yarn.  How nice to have lovely, long hair that won't get tangled!

Remove-able Wig

Have a lovely day, and enjoy the crochet!




Monday, September 25, 2017

A lovely new doll pattern

Suzanne, Zoe, Audrey, Autumn, Evangeline, Bess

All of these dolls were crocheted from the basic Eva pattern, which is freely available on Ravelry, by Jessica Doering, aka Neogurumi.  The pattern is very well written and easy to follow.  And, there are no seams with this doll!  Legs and arms are crocheted in as the body is worked, making the doll very easy to complete.

Jessica has clothing patterns for Eva; some are free and others inexpensive.  She also has patterns for other dolls, so check out her store on Ravelry:

Neogurumi Patterns

Isn't this an adorable body?!

Eva is a great doll platform; you can create several different hairstyles once you've tried the hairstyle that comes with the pattern.  You can also crochet on her undies, if you like :-)

My dolls ended up being about 7 1/2 inches tall, crocheted with wool worsted yarn (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and Berocco Vintage) and a size D, or 3mm,  crochet hook.  I did choose to make the dolls head move-able.  You can find this technique in most all of my doll patterns.  Check out this post:

Magdelena's Secret

Basically, you make a head with a hole at the neck end, and the body with a firmly stuffed neck stub.  The stub is jointed into the hole in the neck.  You can do this with any doll pattern, and the results are a lot of fun :-)

I hope you enjoy making this adorable doll!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hurricane Irma; open our hearts again

***Update 9/20/2017***

Hurricane Maria pounding her way across the Caribbean.  Nasa GOES image

Mother Nature has been showing her darker side to us the past few weeks.  It is hard to talk about dolls when so many are threatened by natural disaster.  Not only three Catagory 5 hurricanes in the Caribbean, but two deadly earthquakes in Mexico.  

Please keep those in harms way, wherever they may be, in your hearts and prayers.  And if possible, donate to those on the frontline of helping.


 

Irma after raking Cuba; gaining strength to hit Florida.  Satellite image by NASA

We probably all know someone battered by Hurricane Irma; I have relatives and dear friends looking to put the pieces of their lives back together.

The fact that it could have been so much worse in Florida does not change the devastation that has been left there, and the islands of the Caribbean were literally ripped apart.  So, if you can, help as you can the people of the Caribbean and Florida rebuild their lives.

American Red Cross

The Humane Society of the United States

Thank you.




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Alphabet Girls: Kitty, Ursula, and Ann

Kitty, Ursula, and Ann!

Three more Alphabet girls, and some tips on sewing and stuffing your doll :-)

Using the best quality fabrics for your doll's body will make a big difference in how well you can stuff the doll.  For a doll that will be played with, sew it up with a sewing machine on a small stitch length.  Take extra care in the corners, and sew slowly.

When finished sewing, do NOT clip the outward curves of the head.  Instead, trim the seam allowance to 1/8 inch.  Clipping will cause little 'points' to form when you turn the doll right side out and start to stuff.

DO clip inside curves, as at the neck and inner curve of the leg. 

The best tip I ever learned when stuffing the doll is to dampen the doll slightly before stuffing.  This causes the material to stretch a bit, and also will let you work the wrinkles and creases out of the seams.  Use a bottle mister and spray the doll, but not to soaking.  The damp fabric will 'grab' the stuffing, making it easer to keep it in place.  You will find that neck creases disappear if you dampen the doll before you stuff it.

I like to use wool roving for stuffing.  Yes, it is more expensive than polyfill, but I love the weight it gives to a doll, the way you can smoothly feed it into the doll body, the warmth it gives a doll, and the fact that, for dark skinned dolls, you can find brown wool roving!

Well, that is all I can think of for now.  I'm feeling the call of crochet, so will give the alphabet girls a bit of a rest for now.

Keep the folks in Southeast Texas, the Caribbean, and Florida in your hearts and prayers.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: How we can help

 image attribution NASA/NOAA GOES satellite

 Images from the devastating rains of Hurricane Harvey bring the story of human and animal suffering into our homes.  What can we do to help?

An article in our daily paper lists several organizations that are bringing relief and comfort to the Southeast coast of Texas:

Indy Star How you can help

And here are some direct links:

The Salvation Army

The American Red Cross

Austin Pets Alive!

If you can, please consider helping.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Alphabet Girls: really simple clothing

Violet, Charlotte, and Hannah

V is for Violet, very Victorian
C is for Charlotte, who crochets charmingly, and
H is for Hannah, happy for hours :-)

Violet is wearing a bit of crochet lace as a collar, and a simple gathered skirt.  Charlotte is sporting pants and a crochet poncho, and Hannah wears a very simple pillowcase dress.

All seams are 1/4 ".   My dolls are about 10" tall, so you may need to adjust the size of the pattern for your own doll.  But, as you can see, these are just squares and rectangles, and the fit is loose and forgiving.


The skirt and the pants are a simple rectangle, as shown by the upper left and upper middle images. 

To make the pants, cut two rectangles 5 1/2" wide by 5 3/4 " long.   Mark the casing line at the waist 3/4 " from the top, and the hem for the pants 1/2 " from the bottom. 

Find the midpoint between the legs and mark the crotch cutting line 3" from the bottom of the pants, shown in the upper right image.  Don't cut this line yet; sew the crotch seam as in the lower middle image, then sew the side seams.  When sewing the crotch seam, as you get close to the turning point, change your stitch length to a very short one and take it slow around the corner.

Carefully cut along the crotch cutting line, and clip the corners of the crotch seam close to the seam.  This will let you turn the pants right side out and smooth the wrinkles out of the seam.  Lightly ironing this also helps.

Press down the casing line at the waist and press up the hemline at the bottom of each leg.  Sew the casing by machine 1/2" from the folded edge, leaving an opening at one of the side seams to insert the elastic. 

Use 1/4" or 3/8" elastic and wrap it around the doll's waist, with about 1/2" overlap.  Insert the elastic into the casing with a safety pin and work it around the waist.  Sew the overlapped ends of the elastic so it lays flat in the casing, then handstitch the casing opening closed.

Hand sew the hem with matching or contrasting floss.  Done!

The skirt is even simpler.  Cut your fabric 12" by 4 1/4", sew up the center back seam, press under the casing at the waist and the hemline, then sew up the casing as in the pants, insert the elastic, then hem the skirt.


The pillowcase style dress has to be the simplest dress in the world to make. 

Cut two pieces of fabric 6" by 6".  Sew the side seams up to 2 1/4 " from the top, then press the seam open, pressing open the unstitched 2 1/4 inches to make finished armhole openings.  Press the casing at the neckline down 3/4 " and stitch the casing in place 1/2" from the folded edge.  Do this on both the front and the back of the dress.

Insert ribbon into the casing with a large tapestry needle and run it all around the neck edge.  You can use one piece of ribbon, like I did, or use two pieces and make bows on both shoulders.

Turn up the hem and handstitch in place with embroidery floss, and you're done!

You can use the pillowcase dress pattern to make a very simple top to go with the pants and skirt, or make rompers out of it by lengthening the pattern a bit and making a crotch seam as for the pants.



Charlotte's poncho was very simple to make, using fingering weight yarn and a size 2 steel crochet hook:

Chain 48, join to form a ring.  In the ring work (3dc, ch1)eight times, (3dc, ch2, 3dc, ch1) once (front point made), (3dc, ch1) eight times, (3dc, ch2, 3dc, ch1) once (back point made).  Join to the first dc. 

Slip stitch in the first two dc, then work (3dc, ch1) in each ch1 space, and (3dc, ch2, 3dc, ch1) in each ch2 space.  this will create a point at the front and the back of the poncho.  Work until it is as long as you want; I think I worked 10 rows.

Sneak Peak!  Ann, Kitty, and Ursula :-)



Monday, August 21, 2017

Alphabet Girls: Making Faces

Charlotte, who crochets charmingly :-)

The first thing one notices about a doll is its face.  And faces tend to intimidate dollmakers, but they shouldn't.  When you make your doll's face, it comes alive and has the power to tell you stories.

A face can be as simple and as charming as two dots for eyes, and nothing more.  Illustrations by Joan Walsh Anglund have this look of innocence, and a lot of dollmakers use only this to create very endearing dolls.

But you can be a bit more daring, and create a more expressive face, and that is what this post will show you how to do, step by step.

So lets get started!

 Drawing the face

The right tools make a big difference in the ease of what you do.  I use a Pilot Frixion erase-able marker to mark the features on my dolls.  The beauty of this pen is that, if you don't like what you've marked, a warm iron will take the marks completely away, and you can start again!

Feature placement for your doll is important.  I prefer my doll's features to be in the lower half of the face.  This gives a more child-like appearance to the doll.  So first (image at the top left) use two glass head pins to locate the eyes, then use an orange glass head pin to mark the mouth.  Move the pins around until you get a symmetry of features that is pleasing to YOU.

Then, make a small dot at each of the pin points.  Carefully trace an even circle around the two eye points, then draw in the eyeliner and eyelashes.  Next, add eyebrows, and finally,  the nose and the mouth.

The mouth.  This is always the hardest part for me, but I've found the sweetest and simplest mouth is a single line for the lip parting, then two shorter lines above and below this for the lips.  And finally, in the last image (bottom right) your face is drawn!

 Embroidering the face, part I

I like to embroider the faces on my dolls, mainly because I have much more control with a needle and thread than a brush and paint :-)  And their are SO MANY floss colors to choose from!  For Daisy, I used DMC 926 for the eyes, DMC 817 and 350 for the lips, nose, and eyebrows, and black and white for the eye detail.  All of the stitching was done with two strands of floss.

 What to do about the knots??  Look carefully at the middle and right hand images on the top row.  The middle image shows the needle coming out of the eye, with a tiny knot up next to the hairline, but in the next image, the knot is gone!  What you do is tug the knot gently into the body of the doll, through the cloth.  To finish off the embroidery, run the needle out of the doll in the felt area of the hair, then take the needle back into the same spot, and out again in another location in the felt.  This will anchor the thread, with no knots showing :-)

Satin stitching the eyes does not have to be hard, but you do need to go slow and take care.  The best way to do this is to first outline the eye with an outline stitch, as in the bottom left image, then begin satin stitching across the eye, beginning in the middle and working to the bottom, then working from the middle to the top.  Now you have a nicely worked satin stitch eye.

Embroidering the face, part II

Add detail to the eyes with black for the pupil, eyeliner, and eyelashes.  Work the pupil stitches over the satin stitched iris, as in the upper left and upper middle images, then use a stem stitch to make the eyeliner and straight stitches for the eyelashes.

Add two tiny stitches in white for the eye light, as in the lower middle and lower right images.  Now she has lovely eyes :-)

Embroidering the face, part III

And finally, embroider the eyebrows, nose, and mouth.  I used the same color for the eyebrows as her hair, which was DMC 817.  Use the darker of the two lip shades for the lip parting line in the middle, again DMC 817, then the lighter shade for the lines that are the upper and lower lip, DMC 350.  I also used the lighter shade to make the points for the nose.

To blush her cheeks, use crayola crayon!  The color I like best is Wild Strawberry ( in my box of 64 colors), but any appropriate shade of pink or peach will do.  Rub the color into the cheek, then use a soft knit cloth (a clean pair of old undies will do) to rub the color into the cheeks and soften it a bit.

And now you've created a lovely face for your cloth doll. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Alphabet Girls, a dollmaking challenge

Molly, Sophie, and Belle; the first Alphabet Girls :-)

A is for Ann, amiable and artistic,
 B is for Belle, beautiful and bright,
C is for Charlotte, who crochets charmingly,
D is for Daisy, in denim a delight.

E is for Emma, earnest and engaging,
F is for Flora, fond of her flowers,
G is for Ginny, a gardening Goddess,
H is for Hannah, happy for hours.

I is for Ivy, incredibly intelligent,
J is for Jane, just and joyful,
K is for Kitty, kind and kinetic,
L is for Lucy, loving and loyal.

M is for Molly, merry and mischievous,
N is for Nettie, knitting so neatly,
O is for Olive, obstinate and ornery!
P is for Poppy, personable and pretty.

Q is for Quinn, quiet and quirky,
R is for Ruth, reliable and resourceful,
S is for Sophie, sassy and sweet,
T is for Tansy, trusting and truthful.

U is for Ursula, utterly uninhibited,
V is for Violet, very Victorian,
W is for Wren, winsome and wise,
X is for Xanthe, an X-Ray technician!

Y is for Yvette, who loves yoga and yarn,
...and...
Z is for Zinnia, zany and Zen :-)

So, can I make 26 dolls from the Rita pattern on Mimin Dolls blog?  All different, with names and characters from the Alphabet poem above? 

I have plenty of fabric, plenty of time, and right now, plenty of enthusiasm.  Four dolls are already made:  Molly, Sophie, and Belle, above, and Daisy, below, who  was just finished up this afternoon.

Daisy!

It only takes a day to make a doll; they are quite simple, and so much fun to dive into the fabric stash and pick the materials.  
And when they are all done?  What to do with 26 sassy, joyful, quirky, amiable dolls?  Gift them, donate them, love them :-)

Along the way I'd like to share some tips and techniques that will make your cloth dollmaking experience a joy:  how make faces, how to stuff bodies, how to keep from chewing up your fabric in the sewing machine, and anything else I can think of.

Maybe challenge yourself to make some alphabet dolls, with your own favorite pattern, and using your favorite names.  Enjoy!





Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Simple Fabric Dolls


The internet is an amazing source of ideas and inspiration for dollmakers, not to mention a great place to find free patterns!  The three dolls above were all made from patterns made freely available by their creators.

I got turned on to fabric dolls (again) by a friend from the Hitty's Knittys Yahoo group, and went searching for dolls with sewn on felt hair.  One great place to look is Pinterest, where I found the links to these three dolls.

Josephine, the doll with blue hair, from the blog While She Naps.

Pepper, with the brown braids, from the blog Paisley Roots

Lily with the red jacket, from the blog Make It, Love It.

 In the beginning...

I love picking out the fabrics and trims for each doll I make, spreading it out over the kitchen table and trying to keep my cat from 'helping.'
Putting it together, in a rather messy workroom!

Then we move everything back to my workroom, where the sewing machine and ironing table live.  I found it easier when making these dolls, to: 

1.  leave openings for the arms and legs when sewing the body, 
2.  stuff the limbs, then,
3.  ladder stitch the arms to the body, 
4.  stuff the body, 
5.  then ladder stitch the legs to the body.
This was much easier than trying to fit the limbs inside the body, then stitch the body and turn it all right side out.

Also, I reduced the pattern sizes for these dolls.  One of the nice things about patterns online is that you can easily alter the size of the doll when you print the pieces out.  Josephine and Pepper were both reduced to 50%, and Lily to 75%.

The face is the soul of the doll

Once the face is added to the doll, they come alive!  They tell us their story, whether they are shy or outgoing, adventurous or bookworms, or both!
These dolls were very easy to make, and made up fast.  After they were done, I found one more free pattern, which I liked best of all!

Molly!

Molly is about 10 inches tall, from the Rita pattern on Mimin Dolls blog.  There are no instructions for the doll, just the pattern, but these dolls are so simple that they are pretty self explanitory.  I increased this pattern to 115% when I printed it out.  
Maybe you will give one of these dolls a try, and delight the child in your life, or yourself :-)


Monday, July 31, 2017

Great Greenway Tour 2017

 All images are courtesy of my brother and my husband :-)
Saturday most of our family participated in the Great Greenway Tour, along the Cardinal Greenway in Delaware county, Indiana.  The greenway is a wonderful Rail-Trail that stretches almost 80 miles, from Marion to Richmond, and all but 15 miles along the railbed.

It was a pure joy to ride in the country, enjoying the rolling and fertile farms.  The day was perfect, cool and dry with a beautiful blue sky.  My brother and sister-in-law, our nephews, my Dad, Larry, and I did 13 miles, then came home to enjoy carryout pizza!

our youngest nephew leads the way!

 Sister-in-laws selfie!

 Farm along the trail

A great way to spend the day!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Make it with size 20!

 These were designed for 4 1/2 inch crochet mini Hitty, but should fit any similarly sized doll


If you like a somewhat more delicate look to your tiny crochet, consider using size 20 crochet cotton, or DMC perle size 8.  I work these threads with a size 9 hook, and it really is not much more difficult than size 10 thread with a size 7 hook.  It just takes a little getting used to.

The advantage of size 20 is more detail in your crochet, and also better drape in the garments.  What I want to share today is a pattern for some basic garment elements, but not a complete dress.  Why?  Two reasons:  you can use your own creativity in making a garment, as long as you have the basic fit of the bodice.   Secondly, the dress is not my original idea, but one I fell in love with on Pinterest.

The bloomers and camisole are my own, and include full instructions.

Size 20 basic instructions

Enjoy the crochet!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Cardboard Construction

About once a year I get bitten by the cardboard box bug...hate to throw them away!  It is inspiring to look around and see how many different things can be made with cardboard boxes.

With the advent of multi-colored duck tape, the construction ends up being tidier, easier, and pretty good looking.  Of course, you don't want to sit on your construction...or leave it in the rain... or throw it at your annoying sibling.  But if you play carefully, you can have a dizzying array of doll houses for pennies, and a bit of your time.


This two room cottage for Mini Hitty was made with boxes we get our vitamins in.  Since they come monthly, I have an impressive stash of boxes; probably enough to make a village!


In addition to the boxes, I used scrap book papers and colored duck tape, both from Michaels.  Modge Podge for glue, and a couple of old paint brushes to apply the glue with.

I papered the ceilings first, then the walls and finally the floors.  I also papered the outside, then taped the first floor to the second floor with white duck tape.  

I used the duck tape to cover all the raw edges of the cardboard.  If the tape was too wide, I laid it on my cutting mat and sliced it with my boxcutter the width I wanted it.

To support a craft stick fence on the balcony, I used lengths of basswood glued to the edge of the balcony, for the fence to then be glued to.



One of the box flaps was left attached to the upstairs, to form the front of the roof.  I used a bit of cereal box cardboard to make a rafter to support the top of the roof:


 you can see it here on the roof of the barn; and this is what the finished roof looks like:


The living room furniture is made of a cardboard frame, then covered with a crocheted slipcover.   Instructions for making the chair and sofa are here:


The coffee table is a wood plaque with four small wood spools for legs.  I glued a piece of lace to the top of the table, then glued ric-rac around the edge (this was the hardest part of the entire construction!  the ric-rac would not stay put!)


The bed is made from four clothespegs glued to a cardboard frame the size of the mattress.  To make the mattress frame stronger, cut two pieces of cardboard and glue them together, then glue on the clothespegs at the four corners of the bed.  One side of the peg is sawed off, so the frame fits onto the stub of the sawed off peg.  The bed is dressed with stash lace for skirting, and Warm&Natural cotton batting for the mattress and pillow.  The coverlet is knit.


I added a peg rack made from a craft stick, with tiny wood spools as the pegs, covered with colored mini buttons.  Mini Hitty can hang her clothing here.

The LLama's needed a home of their own, so with one box and some red duck tape they now have a barn:


Two box flaps were cut down to half size and used for the barn doors.  Another box flap was left in place and trimmed to look like the gable front of the barn roof.  I used a separate piece of cardboard to make the back side of the barn and roof; cut the top to the same shape as the front gable of the roof, then glue this piece of cardboard to the back of the barn box.

Instead of scoring the cardboard for the roof, I used the edge of my work table to crease it, then glued it to a cereal cardboard rafter.

Try to keep things simple and let the boxes do most of the work :-)


Enjoy!




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Llama Love

Dolls need pets, and the mini Hitty's wanted Llamas!  I found this wonderful pattern, Lorenzo the Llama, on Ravelry.  The pattern is $5.50, and worth every penny.  The pattern is well written and diagramed, and worked seamlessly from the legs to the head.  It is quite a bit of crochet engineering, and I wondered how many times the designer had to rip out and try again to get the perfect shaping that resulted.

My Llamas were crocheted with Knit Picks City Tweed DK in Snowshoe and Obsidian, with a size C crochet hook.   The yarn names seemed to me perfect names for the Llamas :-)


Such a perfectly shaped neck and head!





The blankets for both are simply the first five or six rounds of doily patterns that I have a gazillion of.  Just choose one that has an interesting beginning, and use several different colors to crochet the rounds.  These use Knit Picks Palette fingering weight yarn and a size 3 steel crochet hook.

The main thing in making this pattern is to keep scrupulous count of your stitches.  If you do, you will end up with a very adorable companion for yourself and your small dolls :-)

Enjoy the crochet!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mini Knits

Four more Mini Hitty's have leapt off my hook; these girls have the rainbow hair I wouldn't dare wear myself :-)

I've made two of them some knitted clothing:  a sundress and capelet for Ivy (of the green hair), and a tube knitted dress and cat cap for Jade, with the black hair. 

Mini Hitty Knit Sundress, Capelet, Sweater dress and Cat Cap

The sundress could be easily adapted to bloomers.  Make the skirt less full, and once you've knitted past the crotch of the doll, divide the work evenly for the legs and work them the length you want.

Enjoy!


Monday, May 29, 2017

Here Kitty, Kitty!


We love kitties at our house, so I went looking on the internet for a simple and sweet (and free!) kitty pattern.  This one, by Drawn and Hooked, hooked me immediately!

To scale to tiny dolls, 4 to 6 inches tall, I used fingering weight yarn and a size 2 steel hook.  With this yarn and hook the kitties are 2 1/4 inches long.  Her pattern is called Neko Atsume, and it will take you less than two hours to make one. 


Clearly it was impossible to stop at just one kitty! 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mini's

Tiny little dolls continue to tumble off my hook :-)  Mini Hitty Pattern   and Crochet Hitty Pattern.

This one for my sister for her birthday.  The outfit is from Crochet Crafts by Helga; I love the headscarf, and the crochet popcorn roses on her dress.  I found the perfect little gift box at Michaels, and a bar of goat milk soap for sweetness sake.

I also created some free patterns you can make for your mini Hitty; bloomers, panties, a camisole dress, and two hats (the blue dress bottom right is another pattern by Helga).

Mini Hitty Bloomers, Panties, Cami, and Chapeau's

Hope your May Day's are lovely ones :-)