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 :-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good Thing Come in Small Packages

Of all types of dolls, small dolls are my favorites. The kind that fit snuggly in your hand; that you can put in your pocket or carry in their own little bag. Shortly after Free Spirit was born, I was thinking about making a mini version. Meet Jenny and Carina, the first Mini Free Spirits. She stands a little over seven inches tall, and is crocheted from worsted weight yarn.

I used Fibre Crafts 'Cindy' doll as the body model; there have been some really cute crochet patterns published for this doll, a couple of them are shown above. There are still a couple in print (unfortunately, the ones above are not). So, if you are fortunate enough to have collected some of these patterns, great! If not, I have several patterns for clothing for this new doll.

As I was making this doll, I got a bit carried away with accessories. The little bed is made from a broken picture frame, wooden spools, and some twigs from the back yard. The bench and chair are from a very old pattern for clothespin furniture, that has managed to stay with me through several moves. I did have to search frantically for it after our last move :-) The coverlet and afghan are block patterns from the book "200 Crochet Blocks" worked in sportweight yarn.

The patterns for the doll and clothing are located here and on the left sidebar:

Doll pattern: 



Dress and Sunsuit: 

Mohair Sweater: 

Below is Carina, in the dark braids, and Jenny, with the curly red hair. Carina is wearing a dress from the pattern that comes with the Cindy doll; made without any alterations :-) The Mini Free Spirit Doll pattern includes instructions for both hair styles below, plus several others that are very easy.

She works up faster than Free Spirit, and is just a lot of fun to make. I hope you enjoy her!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When every surface is covered....

I've been housecleaning. And as we all know, housecleaning if done right, can kill you. I take this very seriously. I don't want my epitaph to read "She was a fine housecleaner."

However, when nearly every flat surface in your home has a doll (or two or three) on it, action must be taken. Sadly, our walls are pretty full too. So, what do you do when you have more dolls that must be adequately displayed than there are places to display them? What I did was to remove most of the china from my china cabinet and turn it over to the Free Spirits :-)

What do you do? I'd love to know how you display dolls, and what you do with overcrowding conditions. Many of my dolls go to charity, or become gifts. How about you? Please share your ideas on how to display our lovely handwork.

As you can see, Gabrielle is right at home with the Blue Willow and her puppies :-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kitties for Adoption

Free to a good home! The Free Spirit girls are now awash in kitties, as well as puppies. The pattern for the above kitties is available here:

Kitty Pattern

And also along the left side of the blog page along with the puppy patterns. The kitty body was interesting to work out. I was aiming for that prim look that cats and kittens all have, as they ponder what mayhem they can get into next (the trash can? the toilet paper role? Mom's yarn??) I hope you enjoy making these as much as Gabrielle, below, is enjoying her new pets.

By making some minor adjustments, other breeds can be created. A Scottish Fold would be easy by simply folding down the ear tips. A Devon or Cornish Rex by making the ears bigger (take a look at some pictures of these Cats...Wild!), and if you have the patience, a long haired kitty could be created by hooking strands of yarn around the body and head. Or, use a Mohair yarn and brush it. Lots of possibilities :-)

Well, its Time to do some serious housecleaning. If I survive, I hope to work out a 'mini' Free Spirit doll, still using worsted yarn and an E hook. Until then, enjoy the crochet!