Thursday, April 18, 2019

Priceless Gifts


In my life, I've been given three priceless gifts: 

The first, from my parents, was my life and a childhood of love.

The second, from my husband, has been a lifetime marriage of love and loyalty.

The third, from my Grandmothers, is a heritage of women who use their hands to make beautiful and useful things. 

A heritage of quilters, knitters, crocheters, and seamstress's;  those who take scraps and make beautiful quilts.  Who take string and make sweaters and scarves to warm the cold, and dolls and toys to bring joy to children of all ages.  Who take thread, and make art.

Be thankful for the gifts you have been given, and show that gratitude by passing along the gifts you have to a new generation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Cloth Doll Re-boot


The Hitty's Knitty group I belong to had a sew-along the month of February, making tiny cloth dolls.  I had forgotten how addictive and fun these tiny dolls are!  There are several patterns available to make tiny cloth dolls; most of the members used Ann Wood's Tiny Rag Doll.  She is a wonderful little five inch doll with a growing wardrobe.  Check out the link to Ann's pattern.  I've made this doll (many times!), here are a few of them:


Other tiny cloth dolls include Sue Sizemore's cloth Hitty.  I have the pattern, but have yet to make this sweet doll.  Edith Flack Ackley made several patterns for doll house dolls in the 1930's.  Pattern replications are available on Etsy, or you can do a Google search and possibly find one for free.

Another way to make a tiny cloth doll is to reduce a simple rag doll pattern to the size you want.  I did this with my Prairie Flowers cloth doll and copy machine!  If your doll pattern makes a 10 inch doll, and you want a 5 inch doll, reduce the pattern by 50%.  Play around with the percent reduction to find just what you want.

To sew such a tiny doll, either by machine or hand, it is easiest to make sewing templates.  Using double sided tape, tape your reduced pattern to cereal box cardboard (a great way to re-use!) and cut out the pattern ON THE SEWING LINE.  Place the pattern on your doubled fabric, and use a heat disappearing pen to mark the sewing line all around the pattern (I like Frixon erasable markers by Pilot).  Since these dolls are so tiny, don't cut out the fabric, simple put it in your machine and sew around the line you've drawn, then cut out leaving a 1/8 inch seam allowance.  With this seam allowance, you won't have to clip curves either!


I made a couple of different cloth doll patterns by modifying a tiny Edith Flack Ackley pattern.  For one, I left the bottom of the torso open and made the head round (by tracing around a bottle cap), and for both of them I made separate arms to attach after the body is stuffed.


Something to keep in mind:  woven fabric (like broadcloth, muslin, calico) does have a bit of stretch in one direction. Pull your fabric along the grain in each direction to see which direction has the most stretch (don't confuse this with the BIAS stretch).  Depending on how you lay your doll out, she will be taller and thinner (stretch running the length of the torso) or shorter and plumper (stretch running the width of the torso).  Look at the two doll bodies below:


The very same pattern was used for both.  The doll on the left was placed with the stretch grain running side to side, and the one on the right the stretch grain runs the length of the body.  There is almost one inch difference in the height of the dolls!

Simple dresses can be made by cutting a waistband to fit around the doll; cut a skirt to gather to the waband, then sew a button and buttonhole loop to the back.  She doesn't even need straps to hold up this simple dress.

I made some knit and crochet patterns for these tiny dolls, that should fit Ann Wood's Tiny Rag Doll, and slender bodied Hitty dolls as well:


Tiny Crochet for Tiny Cloth Dolls


Tiny Knits for Tiny Cloth Dolls

Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Feel Better Friend #4

My fourth Feel Better Friend, for a tiny Club Foot warrior.  Children with club feet (ankles that turn inward, outward, or downward) wear a set of boots and braces for as much as five years after birth, after several casting and manipulations shortly after birth to orient the feet into the proper position.  So the sweet girl receive this doll has several years of braces ahead of her.

I was lucky to find that one of the knit sweaters in the Arne & Carlos book fit this doll almost perfectly, changing to DK weight yarn and size 3 and 4 needles.  All I had to do was shorten the sleeves slightly.

She is on her way to her new home, and I am on my way to making some tiny cloth dolls!


Sunday, January 27, 2019

Feel Better Friends Kent and Hunter


My second and third Feel Better Friends: Kent, who is a tiny Heart Warrior, and Hunter, a courageous little girl with congenital diaphragmatic hernia.  Kent has arrived at his new home, and Hunter will begin her travels Monday.

This doll pattern is simple and sweet, and I'm about ready to work on number four!  Follow the hyperlink to Feel Better Friends website.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Henry, my first official Feel Better Friend


Henry is my first official Feel Better Friend, for a little boy who is battling brain cancer.  He is indeed a tiny Superhero!  I have a pattern for his Superhero cape, and also a mini-pattern on how to make a doll's head that has no wobble!

Tiny Superhero Cape

No Wobbly Heads

No wobbly heads basically uses the jointed head technique I've been using for years, but instead of jointing the head, you ladder stitch it to the neck stub.  For small children this is probably preferable, as they will be less likely to pull the head off!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Feel Better Friends

My test doll for the Feel Better Friends Volunteer-in-training

I have joined a group called Feel Better Friends.  Their mission, in their own words: "Feel Better Friends are handmade dolls stuffed with love and well wishes, crafted by volunteers and donated to children battling cancer and other illnesses."  

A perfect fit for someone who enjoys making dolls and seeing them in the hands of children.   To join, you must create a test doll from the Feel Better Friends pattern available on Ravelry and submit it to the Facebook group Feel Better Friends Volunteer-in-training for approval.  Once approved, you become a member of the Feel Better Friends Dollmakers.

For my test doll, I created a new type of wig cap, working in a semicircle in rows instead of a circular cap worked in spiral rounds.  I also created a T-shirt, blue jeans and shoes to fit my doll.  The doll is 12 1/2 inches tall worked in Vanna's Choice worsted yarn and an E hook.  I am happy to share the patterns with you!



Semi-Circular Wig cap for Feel Better Friends doll


T-shirt, Jeans, shoes for Feel Better Friends doll

I'm about to start on my first doll for a child, a young boy of two battling brain cancer.  It is my believe that  a doll is a tangible expression of love and hope.  May they bring comfort where it is needed most.