Friday, February 21, 2014

American Girl Coat

I finally finished my Crochetville's Games of Ancient Greece Project. This is the "Coat with Class" from Edie Eckman's hard to find out of print leaflet Crocheted Wardrobe for 18" dolls. (American School of Needlework 1278 published in 1999.) I added the muff from a much easier out of print leaflet from Fibre Craft's Springfield Collection Sunday Best (FCM479 published in 1997).

I'm glad the challenge arrived when it did because it pushed me to take on a challenge I might have put off in favor of easier projects that I could complete quicker and thus guarantee more outfits for my donation project. It is fun and I think important to take on these new challenges to keep growing and to keep my interest alive.

This project did require some adaptations along the road. I used the hat to test the gauge and it turned out to get the style pictured, I had to add rows. The yarn I was using wasn't the issue. This led to some panic before I started the project. That is one of the challenges of using patterns that have out of date yarns. You aren't sure if the yarn you are using is equivalent to the yarn used in the project. In this case, it was the pattern not the yarn that was my challenge.

It is actually also one of my frustrations with the current way many people have of publishing patterns that I pay for with obscure yarn choices for dolls. (When patterns are free I never complain.) Even when current, the yarns are hard to find. For those of us who come to the pattern later when the yarns are gone and nobody remembers them it is very hard to find the matching equivalents. I understand the creativity that is inspired by using quality beautiful yarns. However, these aren’t art projects. These are projects that people want to recreate. It is incredibly frustrating to find the yarns are impossible to find or even no longer being made just shortly after the publication of the books or patterns. That being said, I am grateful when they list the name of the yarn used even when obscure. It at least gives me a chance of finding a yarn option that is similar to the one pictured. I often buy a pattern and want the look that the writer created. Sometimes I'm OK with changing the color and look if I can use the yarn I have on hand. However, knowing what yarn was used is a great first step to getting close to that. Often times one type of worsted/sports weight yarn will give you a very different look than another. While I may or may not use the suggested brand, I do like knowing what was used. I am always grateful when pattern writers include suggestions for adaptations that lead you to finding matches. I find specific weights versus terms like sport weight can be very helpful. Sport weight varies so knowing a number and even some descriptions of the style of yarn can be so helpful in narrowing down the type of substitute I’ll need if I can’t find the brand used. I just want to send out a big thank you to those who do design patterns with easy to find yarns and threads. I am very grateful.

I chose to go a different route with the arms of the coat. I actually did crochet a separate arm to see if attaching it would be a new technique to try with my doll's clothes. However, after assembling the arm and looking to attach it, I wasn't happy with the fit. I went back to my more traditional route. The fact that it reduced my sewing was only an added bonus.

The muff pattern was fun. It works up quickly and it looks adorable. I added a strap so the doll can dangle the muff if not wearing it. I remember seeing that on a child's muff once and it looked like a practical addition.

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