Friday, February 21, 2020

I said a prayer for God today

image credit:  Mikhail Levit  |

I said a prayer for God today
To comfort in His grief;
As we destroy this beloved Earth
Must cause His heart to weep.

As heedless children we behave
And destroy our only home.
The oceans rise, the land is parched,
And the forests burn and burn.

I said a prayer for God today
It seemed the thing to do;
When Earth is dead and gone away
Will God be lonely too?

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Dollmaking techniques

Another Puddin' doll, by Sandy Nordwall Eggers on Ravelry.  Her outfit is the Spring Boho dress on Sandy's Ravelry site.  Her hair is also one of Sandy's pattern; Cute Hairstyles.

I love this adorable doll, but I also enjoy a little tweaking.  For example, legs that let the doll sit, and a move-able head.  I want to share with you the techniques I use to do this:

Move-able Head

Refer to the above image along with these instructions:

Puddin's pattern is particularly easy to adapt to a move-able head, and it also results in a very nice round head and no wobbles in the neck.
To make the head separate, begin at the bottom of the head and chain 12; join to form a ring, being careful not to twist the chain. Sc in each ch. This will be round 25 of Puddin's head and torso , just finish the head exactly as written, adding eyes and embroidering features as Sandy illustrates. Yes, you CAN stuff the head through this small opening! Hemostats help, but small pliers, or just your fingers will work.

Stuff the head smooth and round, then take your finger and create a cavity opening into the middle of the head. The neck stub will fit up into this.

Crochet the body exactly as written to round 25, then work five more rounds of 12sc. Decrease to eight sc in the sixth round, then stuff this stub firmly and close the top with four sc decrease stitches. This stub will fit into the cavity you made in the head.

Joint the head to the body using two 30 inch strands of strong craft thread (I use Dual Duty button and craft thread). Thread into a dollmaking needle, double and tie a knot in the end. Thread the needle from the top of the head out of the opening in the bottom of the head, making sure you do not catch any of the crochet stitches. Run the needle through the neck stub from shoulder to shoulder, then back into the head and out the top. Tie off the thread with a tight double knot and bury the ends. Now you have a doll with a head that will move and never wobble

Swing Legs

Refer to the above image with these instructions:

These are what I call 'swing legs,' which is an easy adaptation to let your doll sit.

Make the legs as per Sandy's pattern, but after you finish the last row, on both legs, sc in the next five sc. This will put you at the right side of the leg (as you are looking at the leg with the foot facing you). After both legs are finished and stuffed, pinch the top of the second leg together and crochet it closed with six sc, then (making sure the feet are pointing in the same direction!), pinch the top of the first leg you made and sc it closed with six more sc. Your legs are now connected in a line with 12 sc.

To continue with the torso, turn the doll so you are looking at the back side of the doll and single crochet in the front loops of each sc from one end of the back to the other. Turn the doll so you are now looking at the front, and continue to sc in the remaining loops. You will have 24 sc all around the doll, and this will be round 13 of Puddin's torso. Continue with the pattern as written.

Have a great day, and enjoy the crochet!

Update 2/14/2020:  I've created a .PDF file of the above tutorial that you can download:

Swing Legs and Move-able Heads

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Puddin' Dolls by Sandy Nordwall Eggers

January has been a long, grey, difficult month.  I've kept my sanity by almost obsessively making dolls from Sandy Nordwall Eggers' patterns.  You can find them on Ravelry here:

Patterns by Sandy Nordwall Eggers'

All of the above dolls were made (or slightly adapted) from Sandy's Puddin' Doll pattern.  The pattern for the doll, and a very simple summer top and pants, are freely available.  Sandy has a wonderful collection of outfits for this 8 inch doll, that are inexpensive, simple to make, and wonderful in their results.  The sitting version is my it just like other patterns of mine that have swing legs.  You can find them on the left sidebar of the blog.

Sandy has many other patterns as well.  This beautiful collection of No Face Indian Dolls are perfect in every detail, and remarkably easy to make:

From left to right are Cherokee, Navajo, Pottawatomie, Lakota, and Seminole.  She also has Chippewa,  Apache, and Iroquois.

In addition to these, she has a slightly larger free doll, Marci, with another extensive and inexpensive wardrobe.  Marci is about 10 inches tall.

There are animal dolls, and earwarmers, and scarves, and bags.  All beautiful, and all simple to make.  Treat yourself to a look at Sandy's Ravelry store!

Enjoy the crochet!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Sweet Advent

I hope all of you have an Advent season filled with joy.  May everything you do be done with love.  We are celebrating a birthday!  Try not to over-extend yourself...if it is not fun for you, don't do it!  Our expectations of Christmas can be difficult to achieve, so simply try to enjoy the moment, the delight of children, and your own love for those around you.

Blessings of the season to all of you...warmly,  Beth

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Public Service Announcement

If you have bookmarked some of my early tutorials that were picture tutorials on Flickr, they will disappear FOREVER on November 4.  The one tutorial that has probably been the most popular is the Waldorf Wig Making tutorial.  You may wish to download the images to your computer to save them.  I may, in the future, create PDF versions of these tutorials, as I have all the images on Dropbox, but don't really feel like doing it right now.

We'll see.  If there are several people who want/need a particular tutorial, I will create one.

Edit 10/12/2019:  Thanks to Dawn Smith, the wigmaking tutorial for Waldorf (or any) dolls has been turned into a .pdf file.  Now when you open it, it should allow you to download this file, instead of taking you to Flickr.  Yay, Dawn!  and thank you!!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

You CAN take it with you...dollmaking, that is.

A magic box!  All the needful things to make button and spool dolls.

Painted head beads, some tea dyed beads, spools, scads of buttons (someone went to Michaels....), stringing material.  Just need to remember to take some scissors.

And Christmas is just around the corner...honestly!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Happy Halloween!

Sweet Hemlock and Caspar the cat wish you a Happy Halloween.

The cat is from the Tiny Window Cat pattern on Ravelry, the rest came out of my head :-)  The pumpkins are just wood beads with a dowel stuck in them to look like a stem, then painted as pumpkins.

The stand was made in the post before, with a little preserved moss glued to it.

And Hemlock is a Spool and Button doll in a witchy outfit.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Fun hacks for your button and spool dolls

A couple of fun hacks for your button and spool dolls.  The first is a simple stand, since these girls are a bit wobbly on their feet.  You need some 20-22 gauge wire and a wood disk or plaque.  These were purchased from Michaels.  In a pinch you could use cardboard.  If using cardboard, cut a couple pieces and glue them together for added sturdiness, then when done you could cover it with felt.

This plaque is about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.  Take a pair of pliers and make a spiral at one end of the wire, about 3/4 of an inch in diameter, then cut the wire leaving a long straight piece 2 inches long.  Bend this straight piece up perpendicular to the spiral.  Put a puddle of glue in the middle of your wood plaque, then put the spiral base in the puddle and let it dry.

When dry, you can decorate the plaque with more buttons, little toys, ribbon, flowers, whatever!

Hack number two...did you know you can tea dye wood?  The bead on the right was dunked in VERY strong black tea for about an hour (along with the wood spools to make the doll), and this is the color it turned, as compared to the natural wood.  I love this, as I don't really like painting or staining these tiny parts.

And so my brigade of button and spool dolls continues to grow!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Spool and button doll fun

One idea seems to lead to another, and suddenly I'm making spool dolls again!  Ages ago, I bought a kit from Magic Cabin Dolls (the kit no longer available, sadly) for making a very cute doll from wood spools and beads.  I made one, then it got modified slightly, and before I knew it there was a small army of spool dolls all over the house.  That was at least two decades ago.

Fast forward to today and Pinterest and the addition of buttons and suddenly, I want to make these dolls again.  I found one simple set of free directions at this link:

Cotton Reel Creations

which is very like the Magic Cabin Spool doll.  Simple and a bit rustic and quite adorable.

I also worked up my own pattern that incorporates buttons, and different hair:

Spoolie and Button Dolls

Here is a quick peak at what these dolls look like:

Ingredients and beginning stringing

All strung up!

Lots of options!

I like all the dolls I make to be dress-able, so the pattern includes a crochet bodice that you can either continue crocheting a skirt to, or add a fabric skirt to it.  If you'd rather, you can gather a fabric skirt to the doll and attach it permanently and put the crochet bodice over this.

You can make these dolls any size, depending on the spools and beads you use.  Mine are about 3 3/4 inches tall.  You can use buttons, or not, the same with the pony beads.  I like the beads and buttons as they add a bit of bling to the doll, but if you prefer a more rustic look you can stay with just the wood beads and spools.

Our Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers probably made simple dolls like these for their girls, from used cotton thread reels and buttons from worn out shirts.  I love the idea of walking in these women's footsteps.