Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Crochet Doll by Isabelle Kessedjian

This book by Isabelle Kessedjian is one that has been on my wish list for several months; last Thursday it finally arrived!  I love the simplicity and sweetness of this crochet doll :-)

The book is full of marvelous pictures and patterns for this delightful doll; she reminds me so much of the illustrations of Joan Walsh Anglund:

Illustrations of Joan Walsh Anglund, from the book  
The Golden Treasury of Poetry

I started and finished my first doll on Friday, then made her several wardrobe items over the weekend and into Monday.  

A back-to-school ensemble:

And a rainy day ensemble:

The sweet bunny pattern is from Fuzzy Mittens Wee Wuzzies pattern

If you wish to make this sweet girl for yourself (or some lucky child you know) here is some information that you may find helpful:

1.  The book is written using UK crochet terminology.  A 'double crochet' in this book refers to a 'single crochet' in US crochet terminology.  Isabelle provides a stitch glossary in the book, so read this before proceeding with any of the patterns.  The stitches are all very simple.

2.  The yarns used in the book are of French manufacture.  I googled the names to determine the weight/yardage of the yarns used, so that locally available substitutes could be found.  Here are the results:

    -For the doll, Bergere de France Ideal yarn is 1.75oz/137yds.  A DK/Sport weight yarn with several possible substitutions.  Patons Astra and Knit Picks Brava Sport are two.  I used Red Heart 3ply Sport since it was in my stash.  A doll made from Astra will be a bit smaller, but there are several lovely flesh tones available.

   -For many clothing articles, Bergere de France Coton 50 is 1.75oz/153yds.  Size 3 cotton thread and Lustersheen were very good substitutes for this.

   -Bergere de France Barisienne 1.75oz/153 yds, but this looks more like a wool/acrylic yarn than a cotton yarn, so fingering weight or light DK would work.

   -Bergere de France Lima 1.75oz/120 yds, light Worsted weight

   -Bergere de France Ecotan 1.75oz/130 yds, DK/Sport weight

   -Bergere de France Caline 1.75oz/196yds, Fingering weight

   -Bergere de France Toison 1.75oz/77yds, Chunky weight

3.  I crocheted the head all in one piece, changing to the hair color yarn and then working the 'scalp' backward.  If you want more hair color coverage at the back of the head, just work several straight stitches in your hair color at the back, like this:





4.  I took three rows out of the torso, and seven rows out of the arms.  I didn't want the arms quite as long as called for, but I think for my next doll I will shorten them by five rows instead.

5.  My doll has a move-able head, which is very easy to do with this pattern as the head is crocheted seperate from the body.  To make the head moveable, simply work the torso as written to the last row, then work one more decrease row to 12 stitches.  Work five or six more rows evenly on 12 stitches, and stuff this neck stub firmly.  Crochet is much firmer than knit, so you won't need to re-inforce the neck.  Finish the neck stub by decreasing around.  When working the head, begin with chain 13, work a single crochet in the second ch from the hook and each chain across (12 sc total), join, work two sc in each sc and then proceed with the pattern as written from round three.  This creates an opening at the bottom of the head for the neck stub to be inserted into.


 Joint the head to the neck as above with four strands of craft or buttonhole thread and a dollmaking needle.  There is a picture tutorial for this technique on  the blog under Tutorials.  Now you have a move-able head!



As with any doll and clothing, check the fit of your work to your doll, and change hooks or tension as needed.

I purchased my copy of the book from Amazon; you may also be able to check it out at your local library.  


 Enjoy the crochet!
  

70 comments:

  1. What a lovely crochet project. I've had my eye on this book for sometime and your notes are extremely helpful.

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    1. You'll enjoy making her Janet!

      Beth

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  2. Very amazing work !! I love your doll !! Isabelle make very great job !! Have a good evening !!

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    1. Thank you, Anik; she was a lot of fun to make :-)

      Beth

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  3. Lovely work Beth, had the book for some time now, so have the doll with several outifts, I love just looking through at the pictures though....

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    1. Me too, Amber; I love the pictures! The beautiful way the dolls are posed is scrumptions eye candy :-)

      Beth

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  4. Oooh! It's in English now? I have it in French but, being a novice crochet-er and, though British, having taught myself from an American book, the double translation required proved beyond me. It is a lovely book, though and I might squeeze out the cash for a second copy. Thanks for showing it!
    Jenni

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    1. Lovely it is, Jenann, and well worth having in your native language :-)

      Beth

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  5. Hi Beth, your doll looks lovely! Your pictures inspired me to purchase the book on Kindle. I have two questions about your alterations. 1) When you say you crocheted the head and scalp in one piece, at what round did you change to the scalp (hair) color? and 2) For places where it calls for the No. 3 cotton thread, could one substitute lace or sock-weight yarn? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Else,

      I worked the head to round 17, then changed to the hair color. But, I also worked the very first 'round' as a chain 13, then single crochet in the second chain and each subsequent chain, for 12 single crochet. Then, joined this round to create the opening at the bottom of the head and worked two sc in each stitch, for 24 stitches, then proceeded with the pattern as written to round 17.

      I think the sock weight yarn would work fine, but I would check your fit with it before proceeding too far along, as everyone crochets a bit different.

      Hope this helps,

      Beth

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  6. This doll is so cute, as are all your dolls! You put in that extra touch, the granny square bag, the basket with the bunny :-), the red dress, I just love all the outfits!

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    1. Thank you so much, Anita :-)

      Warmly,

      Beth

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  7. Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by, Isabelle!!

      Warmly,

      Beth

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  8. I got this book when it first came out. My copy had a lot of mistakes in it. I contacted Amazon and never heard from them. I made on doll but had a lot of problems making her. I think I need to try it again now that I have read your notes. Thank you for the review.
    Sandra

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    1. Hi Sandra,

      I've made several of the patterns from the book, and had the most trouble with the Little Red Riding Hood outfit. The construction of the dress is different, and there is a mistake in the stitch count when increasing for the skirt. Also, I find that most of the outfits would be a bit long if stitched according to the instructions, but I also know that row gauge for me is almost impossible to meet.

      Hopefully if you try again, you'll have a happier experience making this doll. She really is cute and simple and worth the effort :-)

      Warmly,

      Beth

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    2. Thank you Beth. I will try another doll. It was the Red Riding Hood one that I did. I was very frustrated!! I had emailed the author of the book, but she never answered me. I have learned so much form you and I thank you!

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    3. Thanks so much for your good words, Sandra. If you have trouble with the doll, just drop a note and we'll work it out :-)

      Beth

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    4. I just ordered the book. She is an adorable doll and I'm looking forward to knitting (yep) outfits for her.

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    5. Ruth, so am I! I want to crochet a new wardrobe, and KNIT a new wardrobe for her. She is such a lovely doll; simple to crochet and yet, with an armature and a move-able head, quite pose-able. Looking forward to seeing your doll :-)

      Beth

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  9. Thank you for this review. I bought the book when it was released as it is adorable, but was really disappointed with the lack of gauge and instructions on how to assemble the doll and make the hair. I our the book away, but I may bring it out of hibernation to try again. Is it okay if I email you if I get stuck? I asked the author when I purchased, but never received a response.

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    1. Certainly you may email me if you have any questions with the doll construction, and I will try to answer :-)

      Warmly,

      Beth

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  10. Ok third time is a charm :) I was wanting to say how amazing this blog is. And if possible would you mind showing a pic of the yarn sizes most of my stash has no labels. Thanks and if its not a bother what size of hooks did you use to get that size. I am new at this so all the info you got is more then welcome.

    Thanks again

    Jolene

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    1. Hi Jolene,

      Not sure a picture of the yarn sizes will help much. What you really want when making a crochet doll is to crochet tightly, so the stuffing does not show through the stitches. So, unless your yarn is very thin, like size 10 crochet thread thin, you should be able to produce a sweet doll with what you have on hand.

      Use small hooks: size B or C for sportweight, size D for worsted weight. Crochet a swatch with your smaller hooks and your yarn and see how dense it is, or make a small ball and stuff it and see if the stuffing shows through. This way you will get a feel for the best yarn/hook combination for doll or plush toy making.

      Hope this helps,

      Warmly,

      Beth

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  11. Just wondered how tall your doll was and what size hook you used. Are there instructions for different hairstyles on the book please. Love you doll

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    1. Hi Ros; my doll ended up about 10 1/2 inches tall. I must say, the hair instructions are pretty sketchy in the book, but if you like you can use the hair tutorials here on this blog for the doll.

      Beth

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  12. Hello! I am trying to follow the doll pattern from this book but I am confused by the instructions for the torso detailed in the image here: http://imgur.com/l5QR5uy

    The way I understand it, the two sets of 4ch in the first round of the torso that separate the legs will leave a hole between the legs at the bottom of the torso. There doesn't seem to be any mention of how to close this hole. Am I just supposed to sew it up? Or have I misunderstood something? Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

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    1. What I did is this: after crocheting the first leg, I finished it off leaving a long tail. When joining the second leg, and after completeing the torso, I sewed up the opening left by the chain 4's with the long tail from the first leg. Isabelle doesn't say to do this, but this is what I did, and it worked out just fine. I like the way the chain 4 seperating the legs makes the doll look.

      Admitedly, some of her instructions are a bit sketchy. Hope you stay with it; the doll is worth the effort :-)

      Beth

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  13. I LOVE your doll...
    I am having lots of troyble with the outfits... But after reading your post I will try again!
    Thanks for this wonderful blog!

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    1. Good luck! And thank you for your good words :-)

      Warmly,

      Beth

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  14. Hi, your doll is beautiful! Please could you tell me how you made the ears as I can't see this in the book? Thank you.

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    1. Hi Sara,

      Actually, I added the ears myself. They are just single crochet stitches on either side of the head, positioned so the top of the ear is just below the line of the eye. I used three sts for each ear, and left long tails at the beginning and end to shape them a bit. Give it a try!

      Warmly,

      Beth

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  15. Hello thank you for taking the time to post this and give great tips! I was wondering if you've made the underpants yet? I just can't get the pattern to make sense for me, I get confused around row 9-16. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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    1. Hi Ann,

      The undies are one of my favorites from the book :-) Remember, if you are a U.S. crocheter, her double crochet is our single crochet. For rows 9 through 16, what you do for each row is skip the first st, then crochet in the remaining stitches. This way, you start with 12 sts on row 9 and by the time you get to row 16 you will have four stitches...these decreases form the crotch of the undies. For rows 17 through 23 you reverse the process and go from 4 sts to 12...the undies end up looking like real undies.

      I hope this helps, and you enjoy making your doll and wardrobe!

      Warmly,

      Beth

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    2. Can you please tell me what you do on row 8 of the underpants? I don't understand the book's instruction at this point.

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    3. If you look at the undies, after you work the first seven rows, they are shaped like regular underwear. So, you slip stitch in the first three sts (you will NOT work these stitches on the next row), then ch1 and work a single crochet (if you are a US stitcher) in each of the next 12 sts, then turn the work. What this does is leaves three stitches at the beginning of the row and the end of the row unworked, so you have begun the shaping of the undies from the waist to the crotch.

      Hope this helps to explain.

      Beth

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    4. Thanks so much for your reply! It all makes sense now. Your pictures are lovely, by the way :)

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    5. Thank you! Glad it helped :-)

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  16. Thank you thank you it worked! Christmas is saved, my daughters doll will have underpants;) thank you so much for taking the time to explain in to me!

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    1. Yay! Good to go with undies for Christmas :-)

      Merrily,

      Beth

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  17. My goodness - what a wonderful blog and thank you so much for sharing so much of your experience, expertise and time with the rest of us. I am in the process of crocheting the doll. I live in Ireland where use Double Knit weight yarn (similar to a worsted in the US). the first head I made was ENORMOUS! I have dropped to a smaller hook to try again and am much happier. But I am not sure now if I should also redo the body.

    Like other people have noted, it is a shame there are no dimensions given in the book. It would be great if there were some photos of the construction phase and many of the instructions are not complete. You have to wing much of it!

    But I am going to follow your blog from now on and continue to gain encouragement and inspiration. Thank you again and I wish you and yours a Happy Christmas. Best wishes, Carol

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    1. Thank you for your lovely words, Carol. I am sure you will succeed with Isabelle's doll; the doll is worth a bit of frustration and is quite dear when finished :-)

      Merry Christmas to you!

      Beth

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    2. I used your method for the hair, where you cover the back of the head with long stitches of wool before adding a top layer of wool to be stitched on later and am really delighted with the results. Excellent advice and as I said previously - inspirational. Thank you again. I am now on my third doll!!

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    3. Yay Carol! I know I find them quite addicting to make :-)

      Have a Happy New Year in Ireland!

      Warmly,

      Beth

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  18. Beth, I am confused with round 1 starting the torso. At end of 2nd leg, I ch 4 and connected to Leg 1. Following instructions I ended up with a gap between the legs. Frogged it twice. What am I doing wrong? Thx

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  19. Sorry, went back and read through the comments and saw where you addressed the torso issue. Thanks!

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    1. Good! Glad you found the information you needed :-)

      Merry Christmas!

      Beth

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  20. Hi Beth!
    So glad you made this sweet doll a project of yours--now many more of us will be able to make her. I was so tempted to buy the book, but the lack of measurements put me off. It's just impossible to guess accurately from the photos how small or large she might turn out. But 10 1/2 inches is a nice size for her, and her accessories will work for other dolls I've made too. Thanks for clearing this up for me! :-D

    RuthW

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  21. Hi Beth
    Thanks for writing such a good review of this book, I've been wanting to make this doll and her accessories for ages and was given the book for Christmas (twice, hihi) and just had to start straight away, I found your blog very helpful and after reading it made the head in one piece too :*)
    I have a question though, how did you sew the feet, I just don't get it, mine look really odd
    Thanks for your help
    Joanna

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    1. Hi Joanna,

      I'm glad this post was a help :-)

      For the feet, I bent the leg up where I wanted to the foot to be and then with yarn took stitches where the crease in front was, between the foot and the leg. If you are familiar with the ladder stitch, this is what I used. The stitches don't go all the way through the leg, just along the crease in the front where I bent the leg up to make a foot. Or if you like, you could just leave it and it looks like she's on her tippy-toes :-)

      Beth

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    2. Thanks Beth
      I was stitching through the leg!!!!!! Now my dolly has little feet :*) :*)

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  22. I love the pictures in this book!! I just started making the doll and I'm already stuck with the head. I finished round 7-19 and I'm stuck!!! What do I do next?? The scalp? The scalp says... With yarn B, work as for the head from 1-8th round. Work 1 sl st in the next dc. Cut yarn and fasten off. I don't understand what this means! Can someone help me please :)

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    1. The way that Isabelle does the head is to work it in two parts. The first part is worked with your flesh colored yarn and worked up to the top of the forehead. Then you finish this off by slip stitching in the next st and cut the yarn. The second part of the head is the scalp, which is worked in the hair color. When you finish the scalp, you stuff the bottom part of the head, then stitch the scalp to to top of the head.

      I thought this was a bit more work than necessary, so what I did was stitched the head in flesh colored yarn up to the point where Isabelle wants you to finish off and cut the yarn. Instead, I just changed to the hair color and worked the scalp 'backward' so to speak. Stuff the head and close it up with the hair color yarn.

      I hope this helps a bit.

      Beth

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  23. Oooh ok now I get it! Thank you for explaining that to me. Can I ask what row you put the eyes in? I love the pictures but the instructions in the book are a little hard to understand. Thank you again :)

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    1. I like my doll's eyes at the center point or slightly lower on the head; it gives a more childlike look. I think I put the eyes between rows 9 and 10, seven or eight stitches apart.

      Beth

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  24. Hi Beth! How did you do the nose and ears? I can't find instructions in the book for them.. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Martha,

      The nose is just a couple of straight stitches with your body yarn, taken between the eyes and a row or two down. The ears I added myself. Just work three or four single crochet on each side of the head; located in the lower half of the head.

      Beth

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  25. Hi Beth, so thankful to run across your help here. I am having trouble with the doll being stiff enough to dress.i figure if I can't dress her easily then, how can the child I am making it for? Any suggestions?
    Thanks so much!
    Kristi

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    1. Hi Kristi,

      If you are making the doll for a child, you might want to leave out the armature, and stuff the doll not quite as firmly. The doll should then be flexible enought to fit into the clothing. If necessary, you might leave a back opening for things like T-shirts, and sew buttons on the side. This would make them easier off and on.

      Beth

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    2. Thank you Beth! I am starting again on attempt two using your post for help. I finished the head last night and adore the results. I was hoping to be able to share a picture of it with you but, don't know how :(

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    3. Hi Kristi! Glad to hear you are going to give the doll another chance :-) She really is adorable.

      Are you on Flickr? There is a group there called 'Hooked On Doll' where you can share your pictures of knit and crochet dolls. You could post a picture there :-)

      Warmly,

      Beth

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  26. The pattern in the book does not provide a hole in the bottom of the head. I am not making my head movable so how would you attach the head without the hole with the top of the neck being so narrow how do you do this?

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    1. Christi, if you are making the doll without a move-able head then I would simply follow the directions in the book. Use a ladder stitch, and go around the head two or three times to sew it on; this should make it pretty stable.

      Warmly,

      Beth

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    2. There is such a wide opening when you are finished with the head .......no decreasing to make the bottom of the head close to the same with as the top of the neck........how do you attach the head with such a wide difference between the circumference of the bottom of the head and the top of the neck?

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    3. Also how do you get the feet to have the "bent" look since the pattern is not written to give this effect?

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    4. For the feet, you just bend up the bottom of the leg a bit and stitch in place to make a foot. As for the move-able head, in the post above, item #5, explains how the hole in the bottom of the head is made. It actually is about the same diameter as the neck stub, so the stub fits into the head opening.

      Beth

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