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!
  

39 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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  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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