Friday, November 27, 2020

The Friday After: toys to crochet for girls and boys


The Friday after Thanksgiving is always a tremendous shopping day.  Having never liked crowds, and perfering to hand make gifts, I've never been a 'black Friday' participant.  In fact, I got to calling it white Friday, as a day to stay home and make something.

Today, black and white take on meanings and nuances that probably have always been with us, so I am going to change it up and refer to today as The Friday After...a day to stay home and make.  So, here are a few patterns from the past that make up quickly and will give you the satisfaction of giving a gift of your hands and heart.  And best of all, the patterns are FREE!

Lets start with Whoever Welcomes a Child the pattern for the doll shown above.  She comes with a set of clothing, and is a mere 3 1/2 inches tall if made with size 10 crochet cotton.  You can size her up, just remeber to use a size smaller thread for her clothing.

One of my favorite patterns is Simply Ami's, which you can crochet in two sizes with light worsted yarn.  There are several clothing patterns for this doll which you can find on the left side menu of this blog.

If you have boys on your list, here are some cute puppie patterns that make up withy worsted yarn:




German Shepard

Border Collie

and I will sneak in some Kitties as well.

Of course, girls will like them too!

And maybe your intended child would like a wee mouse in their Christmas Stocking!

And last but not least, Three Owls to Crochet:  A Snowy Owl, and Northern Saw-Whet owl, and a Collard Scopes Owl.

All of these patterns, and many, many, more are listed along the left sidebar of this blog.  I hope you enjoy your time making these, and may we work to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe this holiday season.

Enjoy the day, and enjoy the crochet!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Sweet Ella, Ivy, and Ann


The last couple of months I have been making dolls by two dollmakers:  Carla Vigliucci and LuluCompotine.  Their dolls are similar, and both have extensive, and different, wardrobes.  Both designers use constructions techniques that create beautiful doll bodies.   You can find their patterns here:

Carla Vigliucci on Ravelry

LuluCompotine on Etsy

Since I enjoy 'Frankensteining,' I have taken the techniques I like the most from both of these designers to make Ella, Ivy, and Ann, the three dolls above.  In their bare feet, they are 9 1/4 inches tall.  I used Knit Picks Curio 3 crochet cotton for the dolls and most of their clothing, with mohair and wool yarn for their hair.

These simple dresses are from LuluCompotine, with shoes from Carla Vigliucci.  The sweater is my own design.

The girls wanted nightgowns, so I knit them some.  Thank you to Dawn Smith for the inspiration  to use to the 'long tail cast on,' which creates a much neater neckline, and for the cap sleeve version of the nightgown (Anne in blue is wearing this).  If you are unfamiliar with the long tail cast-on, check out Google and watch some video's.  Once you get the hang of it, it will be your go-to cast-on.

Pattern for the knit nightgowns can be found here...caveat, they have not been pattern tested, so their may be some goofs (almost guaranteed!)

Knit nightgowns 

As always, enjoy the day and enjoy the crochet!

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Make America Kind Again.

A lot confronts us.  Lets remember to be kind.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Doll designs by Carla Vigliucci


For the last few weeks I have been making dolls from the patterns of Carla Vigliucci, which can be found on Ravelry, and Etsy.  Each of her patterns include a doll, anywhere from 7 to 11 inches tall, and at least one if not more simple outfits for her to wear, and a beautiful hair design.

Carla has some unique dollmaking techniques, and I always love learning something new.  How to make a sturdy one piece head/torso, how to eliminate that tiny gap under the arms when crocheting arms into the body, how to make a TERRIFIC pair of shoes.  These are just a few techniques.  And if you are like me and do NOT like sewing parts, these are the patterns for you.

The dolls all have very similar builds, so most of the clothing is interchange-able, or will work with just minor tweaking.  I used size 3 crochet cotton (primarily Aunt Lydia's Fashion 3  and Knit PIcks Curio 3), and a B hook (2.25mm) to make the doll, and a B or C hook for the clothing.

Two other tips to 'up' your dollmaking game.  The Yarn Under Single Crochet: this blog post by Earl Grey Crochet explains this better than any I have found on the internet.  Your crochet fabric will be tighter, and little if no fiberfill will show through.  

The other is the Invisible Single Crochet decrease.  This blog post by Planet June explains the invisible decrease, and it really is!

Here are some of the lovely outfits I made for Elinor, above, who is a combination of Carla's Ema patten, for the body, and Alys pattern, for her hair.

As always, enjoy the day, and enjoy the crochet!

Friday, September 18, 2020

A bad year just got worse.

Your wisdom and integrity have blessed our country for decades.  Rest in peace, Justice Ginsburg.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

What should outrage you?

So, which of these infringes on your Constitutional rights? Being required to wear a mask, or the Federal Government sending troops against its own citizens?

Outraged?  Yes!  Over mask mandates?  No!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Flowers or weeds?

Flowers, or weeds?  My weed garden stitchery!

For at least a couple of years I've had it in my head to create a simple embroidery of the flowering weeds that we see every our yard, along the bike path and against fence rows.  Even in the hotest and driest of summers, these 'weeds' flower with abandon and create impomptue bouquets in the most unlikely places:  through the cracks in the sidewalk or against a railroad trestle.

Most folks do their best to get rid of them, but since they do so very well in all seasons, I think perhaps we chose the wrong flowers to cultivate.  What about a weed garden?  You wouldn't have to do any work at all!  They pop up, and keep on coming, despite our best efforts to the contrary.

So, with a few line images borrowed from the internet (a Google search for weeds and line art), a lightbox to trace the images onto paper and then fabric, some simple embroidery stitches, and finally, a picture!  Chicory, bindweed, dandelions, and thistle.  They are great for pollinators, too.

However, I got bitten by a bug sprite, and now they have taken up residence with my stitchery:

Chicory, Bindweed, Dandelion, and Thistle Twins

These are my weed sprites!  They are from the wonderful Bug Sprite pattern by FantasySpriteStudio on Etsy.  The dolls have a wire armature, the easiest one I've ever seen to do.  My sprites were crocheted with size 10 crochet cotton and armatured with size 20 cotton wrapped wire.   They are about 5 1/2 inches tall.  The pattern calls for fingering or sock weight yarn and 12 to 18 gauge aluminum wire, which makes a sprite about 6 1/4 inches tall.  They are adorable, quick, addictive, posable, and just plain fun to make.

Here are the Thistle Twins, hanging out together!

I highly recommend this pattern, and all of the patterns from FantasySpriteStudio.  Treat yourself to some fun!

Have a great day, and enjoy the crochet!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Sweet Small Dolls by Sleepy Sheep

Great skin colors in size 3 crochet cotton.  From right to left:  Aunt Lydia's Coffee; Nazli Gelen Garden 3  Medium Brown; Aunt Lydia's Copper; Thread Art #16; Thread Art #02. 

All of these dolls were made from the pattern Joy by SleepySheepPatterns.  Using a size 2.25mm hook (size B) she is about six inches tall before wigging.

With such a small and skinny doll, clothing makes up pretty fast, especially if you use size 3 cotton for the clothing as well.  The pattern comes with a cute dress that can be made either long or short sleeve.  I had great fun creating a 'capsule' wardrobe for this doll; inspired by my friend Dawn Smith and the Tiny Rag Doll Nation on Ravelry making capsule wardrobes for their dolls.

This is Jasmyn, wearing a tee-shirt dress and short sleeved knit sweater; red pants and a white tee-shirt; blue tee-shirt and yellow pleated skirt; and blue tee-shirt and pocket shorts.  A cloche and a sunhat cap her ensembles.

And this is Joy, wearing undies, lacy cap sleeve dress with long sleeve knit sweater, pink tee-shirt and blue jeans.  This hair style is the one that comes with the doll, along with the hair band with the rose.   I made the doll's feet without shoes, so I could change them with her outfits.  The pattern for the capsule wardrobe, that includes all of these outfits, is freely available here:

Joy's Wardrobe

There are a lot of other adorable patterns on SleepySheepPatterns Etsy site.  You should check them out!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

D-Day Rememberance

76 years ago today we launched the attack that ultimately ended the Nazi terror of World War II. 

How in God's name did we ever let that flag fly in this country?

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Saturday, May 30, 2020

I can't breathe!

"I can't breathe."  From Michael O'Neill McGrath, OSFS

No Lives will matter until Black Lives matter.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Priceless Gift

For my birthday, my dear friend Mary Parks created this beautiful painting of redbuds and dogwoods in Brown County.  It is on wrapped canvas, and arrived today.  I cannot tell you how overwhelmed I am with the beauty of this work, and the talent of my friend.

Here are some details:

One of my favorite Brother Cadfael quotes...look carefully in the blooms of the dogwood and redbud to see it!

The Artists signature in the green understory of the trees.

I will use this as a backdrop for some of my dolls, and when not in use for that, it will hang on my wall so I can see it and be  thankful for beauty and friendship.

Mary is on Facebook, and does commission work.  Look her up and see what kind of magic she can create for you!

Mary Parks Designs

Thank you, Mary!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day

Peonies for Memorial Day.  Red for the blood shed for our freedoms.  Gold for the hearts of the warriors who protect them.  Honor them in thought, word, and especially deed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Life in the time of Pandemic

How has your life changed with the Pandemic?  For retired introverts such as myself and my husband, not a lot.  We shop differently, we see fewer people (if that is possible).  We are not camping, but we are doing the quiet things we have always enjoyed.  We are fortunate.

Others, I know, are not.  Those wondering how to make the rent or mortgage or next meal.  Those required to become teachers who never were and now are.  Those who are trying to save lives in the face of overwhelming difficulties.  I see my community coming together to help all of these people in any way they can, and I pray the same is for you and your community.

Maybe now is a good time for children to learn some different lessons.  How to fry eggs.  How to do laundry.  How to knit or crochet or sew.  How to bake.  All of these endeavors require some discipline, some math, some ability to follow instructions.  All good life lesssons, even if they are not coming out of a book.

And hopefully, you can find some quiet time for yourself.  If you don't know how to knit, try to teach yourself.  There are lots of YouTube videos to help.  Maybe you don't know how to recipes abound; try one!

My latest dollmaking passion comes from the patterns of Cottonflake, on Etsy.  I love the classic simplicity of her dolls; all you need to know is single crochet.  Mine are made with size 3 crochet cotton, and the results are magic.

These four dolls are all from patterns available in her shop.  The beautiful background was created my my friend Mary Parks.  You can find her artwork at Mary Parks Designs on Facebook.

Stay safe as you can in these perilous times.  All things, good and bad, come to an end eventually.  We may even learn and grow from this experience; turn the bad into a blessing.

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!