Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yarn Skin Tones

Above, from the left, Red Heart Classic in Lt. Peach, Red Heart Super Saver in Aran, Buff, and Warm Brown, and Red Heart Classic in Mid Brown.

I'm always on the lookout for good yarn colors to use for my crochet dolls. I have used a lot of yarns over the years, and I do have some decided favorites. In worsted weight yarns for many years my favorite has been Red Heart Classic and Red Heart Super Saver. These are resilient, non-stretchy, inexpensive yarns that make a very strong and sturdy three dimensional fabric.

I would love to use natural fibers for my doll bodies, but when I do the stitches seem thin and the stuffing shows easily between the stitches. I've tried cotton, 100% wool, and wool blends, but none of them satisfy me like the acrylic Red Heart yarns. I've also tried the new 'soft' acrylic yarns, but again, I felt the stitches were thin and too much stuffing showed through.

Vanna's Choice yarn by Lionbrand is another good choice for doll bodies. It is slightly softer in feel than the Red Heart Yarns, and works up slightly smaller, but the stitches are firm and close up nicely. Beige and Honey are great body colors.

The toughest color to find is a pleasing light peach tone. Most are either too pink or too bright. The Red Hear yarn above is a little on the bright side, but it does make up to a cute doll . If you have any suggestions for good peach tones, please share them :-)


While waiting for some clear acrylic eyes to arrive from CR's Crafts, so I can paint my own eyes, I used the Aran body to create Cathay Rose, a little Asian girl. She is a Mini Free Spirit; her outfit is a modification of the nightgown pattern for her tunic, and the underwear pattern for her pants. I used a lovely Tencel/Wool blend yarn for her hair that is very shiny and very black.

Maybe you could think of other Nationalities to create for Mini Free Spirit :-)

31 comments:

  1. Wow, again! She is beautiful. And I am interested in your experience of skin tone yarn. I'm on the wrong side of the Atlantic to easily find the yarns you mention, as well as just starting out on this fascinating hobby. My favourite skin tone yarn is nearly finished and I cannot remember where it came from or what it was called as the band has long since vanished. I foresee craft shopping in the near future - hooray.

    As to nationalities, my little girl is a highland dancer and already has a knitted doll in a kilt (from the Jean Greenhowe collection). I am sure she would appreciate a crocheted version too. I had better get to work.

    Many thanks for your blog post again,
    Kirsteen

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  2. Beth you rock! There is no other word for it! Another gorgeous doll!!! You are so very helpful to all the people hoping to make one of these fab dolls. Someday I hope to try but until then I will just treasure my doll from you and her kitty!!!

    Xoxoxxx Ree

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  3. Hi Kirsteen!

    Where are you located? Sounds like it might be the UK? You probably have all kinds of marvelous yarn choices there.

    I love the knitted dolls of Jean Greenhowe, even though I don't knit a stitch :-) Her use of color is a wonder, and her dolls are very inspiring. Hope to be seeing your dolls soon.

    Beth

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  4. Hi Ree!

    Thank-you so much for your kind words :-)

    Beth

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  5. Wow--what an adorable doll! Your work is wonderful. I usually enjoy it at Flickr but came here today.

    The problem with yarn is that flesh tones are not popular for apparel so those colors are not easy to find since they simply are not made any more like they once were.

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  6. Is that Luvzdollz? I'm sure you are right about the yarn colors, and I hate it when the neutrals turn to grey tones...not at all good for doll bodies :-)

    Usually there is an off white and a warm tan, but I would be a happy camper with 10 or more skin tones to choose from. And while we are dreaming, how about four different polyfill colors. Putnam used to carry colored polyfill, but their web site is out-to-lunch these days.

    So, stitch tight and use white :-)

    Beth

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  7. I just found your website. I love it!!!! Your dolls are beautiful, and I plan to make some. Would it be possible to die white yarn for a lovely light peach skin tone? What about an Alaskian native doll, an Native American doll?? Just thoughts.

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  8. love your outfit!she's so sweet.i love making your dolls. i'm making your free spirit doll now and was just wondering if maybe you have any new outfit designs for them. i love the size of them.~Anne~

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  9. I like the idea of Alaskan and American Indian dolls :-)

    Anne, I have not created any more outfits, but I bet you could come up with a new look by using some of the existing patterns with a tweak here or there. I like to look at collectible vinyl dolls and see what they are wearing to get some inspiration.

    I'm delighted you have enjoyed making these dolls :-) I hope all of you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

    Beth

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  10. Another beautiful doll.
    I'm in the uk and we don't have red heart over here, i wish we did. Worsted is not even that easy to get here we all use DK, so that makes finding it in skin tones even harder. We have quite alot of nice drapey wool mix yarns, but like you say, they don't always make a good doll.

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  11. Hi Beth, i was looking at some of the outfits and think i could switch some things around and add or change some things to make different outfits. thanks for thee suggestion. i have a couple of questions. i'm making the eyelids and i was wondering how to make the eyelashes ? they are so sweet! Also i was wondering how do you make the stripes going down the camisoles and the leggings on the steam punk outfit. i love the look of the stripes. they're so cool!! thanks for all the info. i'm going to be crocheting these dolls forever! this is my favorite blog. ~Anne~

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  12. Hi Natalie...thank-you! Would it work to use two strands of dk yarn held together? Would that be close to worsted weight? With an E hook and worsted I think my gauge is about 5 stitches to the inch. Again, this is very tight and makes a dense crochet fabric.

    Anne, thank-you for your kind words. I wasn't all that happy with the way I did the Steam Punk striped bloomers...here is a better suggestion. You could make the bloomers from a solid color, then either crochet surface slip stitches for the stripes, or embroider chain stitches in your contrasting color. I used a front-post-double-crochet stitch to create a raised stitch, then slip stitched around it with the contrasting color...more work than necessary :-)

    Eyelashes...what I did was crochet my eyelid with the worsted weight yarn; five chains stitches. Then, with the size 12 perle and the size 9 steel hook, I worked five sc in one loop of each ch across the eyelid. If you can't lay your hands on the perle thread, you could try size 10 cotton and a size 8 hook, and I'd work four sc instead of five.

    A Happy Thanksgiving to both of you!

    Beth

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  13. Hi I just found your site your dolls and animals are adorable!

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  14. Hi Beth, i made the eyelashes, they look great.Just the hair left to do and an outfit. thanks for all your help.you are so great! As soon as i finish the doll(it may take a few days as i have a three year old who thinks he needs to help me crochet)i'll add a photo to your flickr photo group.Happy thanksgiving to you, hope you have a great day with family and friends(i live in Canada,we had our thanksgiving in October,what a great day it was!)~Anne~

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  15. Happy Thanksgiving, Anne and Mama Suz and everyone who has been so warm and friendly here :-)

    Anne, I'm delighted to hear the doll is coming along well for you, and really looking forward to seeing her! I don't have a three year old, but three cats that also try to help when I'm crocheting :-)

    Have a blessed day, eveyone!

    Beth

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  16. I alwasy thought 2 DK held together would be too thick, i just tried it with my 3.5 hook, and i get the teenest bit over 5 stitches to an inch. I can get so many more flesh colours in DK. After I finish my xmas crafts, i will try one. Thank you :) When i pick up my DK, would you like me to send you a ball so you can see the thickness we have in uk as our main wool?

    Natalie

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  17. Natalie, it sounds like two strands held together just might work :-) Thank-you for such a kind offer, but we can get DK weight here as well...I think it is just slightly thinner than sportweight; a 'light' 3 weight yarn. With the small hook it should make a nice, firm, crochet fabric.

    Woopee!

    Beth

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  18. We have sport weight here, but it is slightly thinner than our DK, we tend to call it 4 ply or baby DK.
    I can't wait to give this ago. Must wait till i finished xmas!!! MUST!

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  19. Hi Beth: I'm making your free Spirit doll,actually4 or 5 one is for my granddaughter for Christmas ,some for charity and one for myself.I made a dress,my own pattern in sport yarn,I don't do thread that well,fingers arn't as nimble as they used to be,sometimes getting older sucks,now back to the dress.I was thing about posting the pattern on crochetville,but only if it's all right with you,oh yeh I put boobs on her also.Won't post till I get the OK from you...Diane Gladys

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  20. Hi Diane,

    I'd be delighted if you posted the pattern on Crochetville! All I would ask is that you credit the doll pattern to me, but I think it would be wonderful to have others sharing clothing patterns that they might create for this doll.

    I hope you will also post a picture of her in the flickr photostream:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/freespiritamidolls/

    Have a great day!

    Beth

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  21. Hi the pic is in your photostream haven't got the pattern posted yet ,will try and put it up tomorrow I just love this doll ,have to try the mini one also,got to dream up some more outfits for the other Free Spirit dolls that are in the making
    Diane Gladys

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  22. Diane, I love your doll! I'm so glad you've enjoyed making her. The mini is fun and faster :-)

    Beth

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  23. You're coming up with new patterns so fast I don't think I can catch up!

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  24. Hi it's me again ,still working on the dolls I'm making 6 dolls all in different colours,but I am going to try your doggys next but I have a question ,I don't know how to make a loop stitch can you help me out thanks love your patterns ...Diane Gladys

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  25. Hi Diane! A picture (or two) is worth a thousand words. Here are some tutorials on the web for doing the loops stitch:

    http://www.crochetme.com/loop-stitch-tutorial

    http://www.nexstitch.com/v_loop_stitch.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL8CvVXqyKc

    Hopefully one of these will be helpful to you. Seeing the stitch worked is a lot better than trying to describe it.

    Good luck! Can't wait to see your six wonderful dolls :-)

    Beth

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  26. Hello,

    I just discovered your wonderful patterns. They are absolutely the most adorable, irrisistable cuteys I have EVER seen. What a talent you have and so generous to share them. I have a little granddaughter that will just go crazy for the kitties and puppies let alone the dolls. I can really think about getting lost in crochet for a long while and work on these! Thank you, thank you for sharing! Diane in Michigan

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  27. Diane,

    Sounds like you are all set for a long session of crocheting :-) I'm delighted that you are enjoying what you find here, and thank-you so much for the kind words.

    Beth

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  28. I like crocheting my own dolls also ,I use Peach sherbert,flesh color is very hard to find. .I like my dolls to look as real as I can ,I don't care much for the orgamie dolls,with the bigger than normal head. I do love to make my own dolls but if I can'y I use yardsale finds or thrift shop dolls ,and crochet the outfits. Good doll patterns are hard to find. Patterns that are like a real person,I try to make mine look as real as I can.
    I'm from Pa,Usa in the mountains of the northeast.Hi To everyone. Maybe I can learn something here.

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  29. Thank you so much for this post! I bought the book over Christmas because I've discovered a love of amigurumi. I have a 16 month old goddaughter who is half Dutch and half Chinese and I want to make one that looks like her but had no idea which type of yarn to use. Your picture here is so darn adorable. I really appreciate the inspiration!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your good words!

      Beth

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  30. Hi, I use Julia from Steinbach wolle the most. There is not really much to choose from here in Iceland. This is good yarn but I wish there were more color choises. You can see how it looks here:
    http://www.ravelry.com/projects/arnyhekla/teacup-spirit-doll-2
    And here:
    http://www.ravelry.com/projects/arnyhekla/mini-free-spirit-doll-2

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