Thursday, January 28, 2016

15 Inch Baby Doll Dress

I promised myself I wasn't going to start any baby doll clothes until I was sure I had enough 18 Inch clothes for the year. Last year I started some baby doll clothes to get me out of a crochet block I was having and made lots of baby doll clothes, but not as many 18 inch clothes as I hoped to make.

I kept my pledge, this was actually supposed to be a ballet dress for the 18 inch doll made from a free pattern found here. Based on my notes from last year when I repeated a mistake almost like last years. I knew I needed to use worsted weight yarn for either doll. I also knew I needed to increase the hook size. I increased it to an H and it fit the baby doll nicely. It was a little tight last year when I made it with a G.

For the 18 Inch doll I'm trying the waist with an H and the rest of the outfit with an I hook.

I love this outfit for both dolls. It requires no sewing, buttons or hooks. It is rare I can find a pattern that will work for both with minimal adjustments. I just hadn't planned on making anything for the baby dolls just yet. I've already started reworking the outfit for the 18 inch doll and should be able to post that next week.

I also had the added benefit of using up more of my friend's yarn on this outfit and the ballet outfit I hope to finish soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

American Girl Happy Birthday Dr. Suess

We always used to have big celebrations when I was teaching on or around Dr. Suess' birthday which is March 2. The Cat in the Hat was always the symbol for the day. I had seen adult and kid sized hat patterns, even a Barbie pattern, but until last year I'd never seen one for the 18 inch doll.

I found this free hat pattern for a Cat in the Hat pattern to fit an 18 inch doll here and decided this year I'd include an outfit to celebrate the date. I also figured I'd publish it early so anyone else interested in making one would know where to find the pattern. I love seeing the beautiful outfits people make, but I also love knowing where I can find the patterns to make them, too.

The rest of the outfit is from one of my favorite patterns, the Abby, Annie, and Allie pattern I make each year from Maggie's Crochet. I end up making several outfits from this pattern every year for the donation You can purchase the pattern here.

Every year I say I'm going to attack the stash of yarn in my spare room. This year I've been targeting it. Instead of buying the Lion Brand Hometown Yarn required for the hat pattern I crocheted with two strands of Caron Pounders. I'm sure the Homespun would be wonderful, but it is a bit more pricey than I wanted to pay for a doll hat. I also kept to my goal of using up yarn I had on hand rather than ordering more yarn. I'm experimenting more with trying to use yarn on hand where I can. I still have certain projects that I want to make this year where I'll need to order yarn. I also am running low on certain core colors. Light pink is starting to be an issue. So, I'll be buying yarn. My hope is to use up some of the yarn I have on hand to justify buying more.

Also, I promised myself I'm going to start documenting hook sizes and changes I make so I remember what I did in future years. This may not help anyone else as my gauge has been all over the place, but the notes I made last year have been very helpful for this year. So, other than changing the yarn I used the listed hook for the hat. The rest of the clothing I was able to make using the suggested hook, which has been unheard of for me this year. However, when I attempted the pants with a larger hook they were way to baggy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Little Miss Firecracker

I like to make at least one Patriotic outfit to cover the various Patriotic holidays. DH bought me a new pattern for Christmas, Little Miss Firecracker that can be purchased here.

I've been having a challenging time with gauge so I expected to use a larger hook. I had no issue with the dress. However, I did add more rows to the vest to get it to be a little longer. Again it could just be me, but I wanted it to cover the back of the dress where all the buttons show. The vest trim is very creative and I have plans to use the vest for other patterns. It makes a nice cover for an outfit.

The only holiday I have left to make is Halloween. I have a couple of options, but I'm working on a Dr. Seuss themed outfit at the moment. I found a free hat pattern a while back that I've wanted to make in honor of Dr. Suess' birthday March 2. When I was teaching we always had Cat and the Hat themed decorations for the day and various reading themed events.

I am thinking it would be nice if each doll had outfits for each holiday. We'll have to see if I get there. I have been fortunate in the years I've completed one holiday set along with the regular outfits. I still have to get those baby dolls done, too.

Monday, January 25, 2016

American Girl Easter

I'm slowly working my way through the holiday donation outfits for the 18 inch dolls. I haven't even started on the baby dolls yet.

This Easter outfit is Maggie's Crochet Ready For Spring pattern and it can be purchased here. When it was originally published on Annie's Attic I had the hardest time getting it. It was sold out and back ordered before I even had a chance to get my order in for it. At that point I wasn't much for digital copies. However, I did eventually get my copy.

I tried making this a couple of times and until I finished Cinderella's outfit this year I never realized why I was unable to finish this outfit. My mistake was in confusing the many types of shells. This pattern also uses multiple shells. In fact I still had to pull it out once when I realized I'd mixed up the 5 stitch shell with the 3 stitch shell making for a much smaller skirt.

There is no brand color cited for the trim. The yarn for the dress, trim, and headband was TLC and I don't even know if it is still available for purchase. I couldn't find it the last time I tried to make the outfit. I originally tried acrylic variegated in a shade close to the picture, but I didn't like the way it looked. I had some pastel kitchen cotton and I used that and thought the look was better. I also used the cotton to make the headband and I liked the way it turned out.

For the basket I used two strains of my friend's acrylic that I've been trying to finish off. It's a little larger than I needed but it worked.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Tisket A Tasket Doll Blanket

As I mentioned in a previous post I decided to get the 18 inch doll donation blankets out of the way while I was dealing with a head cold. I had enough energy to focus on counting, although I still had to go back and pull out when I lost count, but it was better than the challenge of trying to focus on making items fit. Blankets once wide enough, usually aren't a problem with dolls if you follow the pattern.

This is another Michelle Crean pattern and it came from Crochet 2016 Day-to-Day Calendar that I received for Christmas this year. There were several doll patterns this year, but this by far made putting the calendar on my Christmas wish list worth it. I now have two great doll blanket patterns in my pattern list.

I love the Easy Peasy pattern I wrote about a few days ago. However, after making two last year, I got a little burned out. I started this one first finished a skein and started on the Easy Peasy afghan and kept alternating until the Easy Peasy afghan was finished. Then it was just a matter of finishing off this one. Alternating the types of stitches I was doing made it much more fun to complete. I'm actually thinking about knocking off the doll afghans in my down time that always hits me when I can't make doll clothes. These were fun, easy, relaxing projects. They might be the distraction I need and something to put aside for another donation.

I did change the materials and hook size on this pattern too. I used 4 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver and and I hook for the project and I measured the length against the doll to get the size blanket I wanted for the doll.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

American Girl Valentine's Outfit

I discovered Tara Cousin's Heart Tee and Skirt Outfit last year and decided it would be my Valentine's holiday outfit. You can purchase the outfit pattern here.

I've made peace this year with the idea that I have to play with gauge. I had to use an I hook to make the outfit fit and use up my friend's yarn on this outfit. With anything smaller the sweater was just too tight. I pulled out my first attempt prior to starting the blankets after using the suggested hook and decided to try the I hook after finishing up the doll blankets.

After finishing this project I've decided to tackle an Easter dress I've never completed. I've already pulled it out once when I realized I'd confused two of the shells. One shell has three stitches the other five. It makes a much smaller skirt when you only use three stitches. However, I'm back on track again and working to see how if I can make it work this year.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Easy Peasy Doll Afghan

I love finding a pattern that you can make, enjoy, and repeat. Last year I found Michelle Crean's Easy Peasy Doll blanket pattern in the 2015 Crochet Calendar and made two for last year's donation. This year it was one of the first patterns I pulled out of my doll pattern binder to repeat.

I had nasty head cold and decided blankets required little more than counting to make sure the pattern would turn into the intended object. Doll clothes require trying on and making sure the items fit. So I opted for blankets. I actually started two blankets at about the same time, finishing this one first.

I changed the pattern using an I hook and Red Heart Super Saver. I tried the suggested yarn last year and with my tension the blankets were too small and I ended up using I Love this Yarn and Red Heart Super Saver for the 18 Inch doll blankets I made. It took me just barely 3 skeins to finish it off all in one color. If I'd used a contrasting color I probably could have used two skeins of the variegated and one of the contrasting color.

Monday, January 18, 2016

American Girl St. Patrick's Day

I love doing holiday outfits for my donation project. I've had this one on my list of projects to make for years and just never gotten there. This year seemed to be the year to attempt it.

Darski's free pattern can be found here.

This was a fun project and it again allowed me to use up some of the yarn I inherited from a friend who passed away. The pants have a very interesting construction method. I had to pull the hat out as I misread the directions and it wasn't forming at all as the picture showed.

One of the things I've been most excited about this year's projects is I'm taking the time to pull stuff out and redo them. Many times in the past I'd have abandoned a project and moved on to something I could finish faster and felt more productive. This time I slowed down a bit and figured it out. I'm still not a fan of the reverse SC.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

American Girl Rainy Day

This has been one of the darkest rainy winters I can remember. A friend from Crochetville designed a group of patterns called Weatherby available for free here. With this weather the raincoat seemed like the perfect project to make after I finished Cinderella. When I started reading the directions for the raincoat, I discovered she'd designed a dress that would fit under the raincoat so I made that as well.

This is a fun pattern. The coat is made in one piece and then sewed together. I've never made anything this way and it was a fun design that worked up quite quickly. A swap partner sent me a bag of buttons a few years ago and I've recently rediscovered the many goodies it holds. I found some adorable duck feet buttons to finish off the coat.

The dress allowed me to continue my quest to use up my friend's yarn. I love the neck of this dress. It is an interesting design and I like the way it looks. I haven't worked one this way before, but I like the design and how it works up.

Monday, January 4, 2016

American Girl Cinderella

My DH will often ask me for a list of digital or book crochet patterns I want for Christmas and then he picks from the list and I get some wonderful items for Christmas, birthdays, etc. I never know which ones he'll pick, but this year one of the ones that made it on to the list was Sweet Silver Creations' Cinderella found here.

This is a great pattern and I was looking to add more princess outfits to my donation pattern options. The pattern works up quickly, the only challenge I had was making sure I counted the stitches in my shells correctly. A shell with too few stitches really screws up the next row and I had to pull out and redo a few times when I got distracted.

Finishing this despite the challenges has made me reconsider an Easter dress I abandoned a few years ago. I think my challenge with the Easter dress, as with this dress was misplaced shell stitches. If I am more careful counting each row I might be able to complete that one this year as well.

It is hard to tell with this picture, but the dress comes with a crocheted necklaces and headband. I think I may use those patterns for some other outfits as well.

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