Monday, February 29, 2016

American Girl V-Stitch Skirt and T-shirt.

While I've bought yarn for specific projects, I am still committed to reducing my stash yarn this year. I found this free crochet pattern on ABC Knitting here for the skirt. I do find it funny that ABC Knitting has a good supply of free crocheted doll patterns, but I'm not one to complain. The yarn is Knit Picks fingering yarn that's been in my stash for a bit.

The shirt pattern was the t-shirt pattern from the farmer outfit. You can purchase the pattern here. This was a chance to use a very old skein of baby yarn I'd picked up at a senior center sale several years ago.

I like the skirt and would make it again. The texture and drape makes it a nice choice. It has the look of a thread skirt without having to actually use thread.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

American Girl Sailor Dress

I remember seeing pictures of these types of outfits in my Grandmother's picture albums. The white sailor outfits, different for boys and girls, were worn during the summer months. I can't imagine what it was like to keep them clean.

I picked up a thread pattern a couple of years ago, but completing even one thread outfit a year is a challenge for me. I know some love crochet thread, but it is always an adventure for me. Yarn is my medium. I was thrilled to find a pattern that had the same theme, but used yarn instead of thread. It arrived as part of my Valentine's presents. You can purchase the pattern here.

The hat pattern was the first item I made and it helped me establish what yarn and hook to use. The sport yarn proved to be too light and I switched to worsted and then moved up to an I hook. The hat was one of the cuter ones I've made recently. I love the way the designer used fp stitches to create the creases in the dress. I also love the shoe pattern.

I have been using small balls of yarn to make some additional shoes to add to my donation. I often find making shoes challenging. This pattern was quite easy and I didn't find the toes sticking through the ends of the shoes, which is a problem I sometimes have with crocheted shoes.

I'm on a mission to use up yarn when I can instead of leaving behind little balls so I added a purse to the outfit which is not included in the pattern. However it is a from a free Red Heart Summertime Thrills Pattern found here. I've gotten pieces for two outfits now from this pattern without actually finishing the Summertime Thrills outfit itself. I'm still waiting on some yarn I need to finish the skirt.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

American Girl Farmer

I love patterns that dig into stash yarn I haven't used in a long time. This pattern was another of my Valentine's presents from my DH. You can purchase the pattern here.

The shirt for this outfit is made using Lustersheen. The last time I actually purchased Lustersheen was during my Barbie clothes making days. The girls I made those outfits for are now respectively in Middle School and High School, so while I've slowly found other uses for it, I haven't been replenishing the supply as it has been reduced. I was quite pleasantly surprised not only to find another use for it, but to have the exact color required by the pattern. That so rarely happens for me.

The only major problem I had with this pattern was one of the issues that made Barbie clothes so painful, sewing the snaps. I had to remove one of the sides of the bottom snap because while working around the thin, almost thread like fiber of the Lustersheen I'd caused it to bunch up the outfit when snapped. All was fixed when I removed and replaced. It did remind me why I prefer working with regular yarn.

The pants were fun and much nicer to work on than the scratchy ones I made a few years ago. They require worsted weight yarn I had on hand so again a great stash busting project, I'll be coming back to for more outfits.

I required a G hook for the Lustersheen, a K for the pants and the hat. I make those notes to remind myself when I come back to the outfit.

The flower button came from the supply sent to me by a swap partner on Crochetville. It used to be a great tradition on Crochetville that sadly has fallen by the wayside. However, I have some great memories and the button supply has been a great bonus this year as I'm working on adding some extras to my projects.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

American Girl Yoke Skirt and T-Shirt

Today's post is an example of why just storing links is not enough you need to download and store the patterns safely or have printed copies before the links disappear. Even with recovery links, they only last a little while when they disappear.

The Yoke skirt pattern was one of the early patterns I downloaded from ABC knitting's crochet patterns for the 18 Inch dolls. At least for the moment you can still find the pattern here. It's been sitting in my 18" doll binder for years but sadly I'd never made it.

This year I was playing with gauge trying to figure out how to master the t-shirt from the free Red Heart Summertime Frills pattern found here when I decided to make a sample with yarn I wasn't as concerned about destroying. I played with it a few times and liked the look. Having finished the shirt, I realized it wasn't the right color for the Red Heart outfit, so I needed something for the bottom. I had some Navy yarn I wanted to finish off and remembered the Yoke skirt pattern. Thus again out of my practice was born another outfit.

The Yoke skirt actually brought me back to my own Jr. High School days. I've not seen a wrap skirt for the 18" dolls at least in crochet. They were all the rage during my Jr. High school days although ours were cloth and had cloth ties instead of buttons. I had almost forgotten the fashion until I started working on the outfit and trying to figure out how the skirt was supposed to be joined. As I looked more closely at the pattern I came to realize it wasn't going to be joined in the traditional sense, but was more like the wrapped skirts of my youth.

Monday, February 22, 2016

American Girl Dorothy of Oz

I found Ruby Red Sprinfield Doll shoes on sale a few months ago while out shopping and decided I had to find a pattern to match them. I realize the traditional Dorothy pattern is a gingham check, but this pattern was a simple alternative. I have a thread pattern from Treasure Heirlooms that I hope to complete someday that does create that look. However, thread outfits are not in the cards this year.

DH was kind enough to purchase the pattern for the outfit here as a Valentine's present. The pattern also comes with a pattern for shoes and a finger puppet and basket. I already had shoes, which is why I went looking for the pattern, so I chose not to make them. I made the dog and basket from The Wizard of Oz Crochet that I had purchased a while back. I was not as happy with Toto as I'd hoped, but it was a better alternative than the puppet.

This is a great jumper pattern and I can see making it in multiple colors for different projects other than Dorothy. It was an excellent choice to add to my pattern collection.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Valentine's Brought Crochet

Along with beautiful flowers and a very nice dinner, DH picked up several patterns that I've wanted for Valentine's Day.

I'm always looking to add to my doll patterns for my donation project so I got a few of those.

Dorothy of Oz I've already finished this one and it should be ready to post next week. This seems to be her only 18 inch doll pattern. I'm hoping she makes more.

Sleeping Beauty This continues my fairy tale princess collection. I now have her Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty. I've finished Cinderella and hope to get to the other two soon. I'm not sure if I'll pursue any of the other princesses in her collection. They seem a bit beyond my talents. We'll see how I feel after I finish the last two.

Sailor Dress I found a sailor dress a while back made from thread. I am so grateful to find one that uses yarn. I understand the wonders thread can do for detail and design for outfits, however, I am not a fan of working with it. I finish maybe one or two thread outfits a year and then do nothing for months. Having a yarn option is huge for me.

Farmer I had a pattern for overalls that I made a few years ago that were adorable but they required a heavier weight itchy yarn and my hands itched for days. Just thinking about it now makes my hands itch. This calls for traditional worsted yarn. I'm happy already thinking about the alternative.

The last pattern was for a set of ami's from the Game of Thrones. I've never seen the show but the patterns are adorable. The patterns are here.

This should keep me busy for a while.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

15 Inch Baby Doll Nightgown

I have yet to actually attempt an outfit for the poor doll this year. Each one has been a result of a failed attempt of one of the 18 inch doll projects repurposed for a baby doll outfit. As I mentioned in a previous post I struggled mightly with Darski's nurse's outfit. I don't know why, but I just had trouble getting it to work. This was one attempt that had gone to far to pull out and start over. Since the nurse's outfit buttons in the front, I turned it, used pink trim around the neck and ties for closing in the back. I then did a chain/sc trim for the bottom of the outfit. It is nice to know when I get started working on the 15 inch doll clothes she won't be starting with an empty bag.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

American Girl Princess

I am always grateful to those who design and donate their patterns for free use. It means I can stretch my donation dollars even farther. I downloaded this free pattern last year and it looked far more complicated than it was to make so I didn't make it for last year's donation. This year I've been targeting projects that I can make with yarn on hand and this one seemed possible. You can find the pattern here.

The pattern designer focused on the beads when she named her outfit, however, I loved the medieval princess look. I actually didn't include the beads. One I didn't have pearl beads on hand. Second, I'm not a huge fan of sewing beads into my crochet. Lastly, if the doll is going to be displayed those beads have a good chance of survival. If the doll is going to be played with and changed frequently the odds are less likely the beads don't end up on the floor of her new home. I went without.

What surprised me was how easy it was to make the underskirt and then crochet the over skirt after the fact. It was one of the reasons I hadn't approached the project in the previous year. It looked complicated to me. However, it was easy once I got started.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

American Girl Nurse

This donation project is dedicated to my Aunt, a most remarkable and generous hearted woman, whom I miss very much.
My Aunt, who passed away a few years ago taught me to crochet and the little basics I understand of knitting. She became a nurse when they still wore the caps and the uniform. This was my attempt to honor her memory. It was fun to realize the memories others have of that period in nursing. I volunteer with a retired nurse and she was giving me hints about the style of uniforms and how they differed by schools as I told her about the outfit I was attempting to make. She was thrilled when she found out the pattern had the cape.

I decided to tackle this project while I was waiting on the yarn to make the Red Cross historical nurse. I attempted Darski's nurse pattern (Ode to Florence and the Ode to Florence Cape) one more time although I still didn't do it justice. I didn't get the dress quite the way I wanted it, but I'm happy with the cape and the nurse's cap. You can find the free pattern here.

I'm waiting on the yarn to make the Red Cross historical nurse. I know the historical outfits are often popular so I thought I'd try making it. At the moment I'm working another doll pattern, Dorothy of Oz, that I got as a Valentine's present. It is a simplified single color pattern rather than the blue checks, but it's cute. I found the shoes on clearance after Christmas and thought it would be fun to try an outfit. I'm thinking of trying the Toto that came in an ami kit rather than the one that came with the doll pattern. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Donate to the Red Cross and Get Red Heart Red Cross 18 Inch Doll Nurse Pattern

Red Cross and Red Heart have teamed up to offer a beautiful Red Cross nurses outfit that fits the popular 18 inch dolls. If you go to the Red Heart link here and make a $10 donation Red Heart will send you the PDF's for both the knit and crochet patterns to make a historical Red Cross nurse. If you want to see the picture before making a decision, you can get a glimpse of the pattern there, too. I don't post pictures I don't own. The yarn is on order so I haven't made my outfit yet, so I can't share that picture either.

I wasn't sure how it worked and was a little confused when I clicked on the Red Cross link on the Red Heart site. It gave me all the information about donating, but nothing about the pattern. However, donating $10 to the Red Cross didn't seem like a bad choice so I made my donation. In under two weeks an email landed in my SPAM box with both the knitted and crocheted pattern. You don't have to choose. They send you both. Also, keep an eye out in your SPAM box. It may not recognize the pattern as a legit email.

This pattern is only available until March 31. However, they stated they plan on having another pattern available in 3 months. Nothing as to what type of pattern, but I'll be on the look out to see if it is another doll pattern.

Friday, February 12, 2016

American Girl Dress

I saw a free pattern for an American Girl Wrap Sweater Dress here. I love the blend of a variegated top and a solid colored bottom. I downloaded the pattern, but struggled with the skirt. Not terribly surprising, I had another pattern similar to this I've never gotten to work. I always end up with a ballooning skirt instead of the beautiful webbed skirt you can see in the pictures provided by the designer.

I tried the pattern twice during the Super Bowl game and then once on Monday. When I realized it wasn't working for me, I decided it was time to move forward and add a dc skirt instead. I love the color contrasts in this dress. The picture sadly doesn't do them justice. I may try something like this with a few other variegated colors.

I'm working on a dress with an underskirt pattern at the moment. I ordered the yarn I need for the Redheart Redcross Nurse pattern and I'm hoping to get to work on that when it arrives.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

15 inch Baby Doll Dress with Pinafore

As I mentioned in the Chef post, I started out making the Chef's shirt with some pink baby yarn from my stash. It fit, but it was tight. Then I made the apron with the left over baby yarn from the chef's hat and it was too small. That's when I decided it was time to rethink my approach. After reading the pattern I realized the shirt was supposed to be made from worsted weight yarn. For my purposes the apron also needed to be made from worsted weight yarn. The next step was what to do with what I'd made. I tried the shirt on the baby doll and it fit. From there it was all about rethinking the outfit.

I loved the feel of the yarn and it seemed like it would make a nice soft baby doll outfit. I added a skirt and finished off the pink skein making a hat. After seeing the hat on the doll's head I realized the apron would make a cute pinafore. All my problems solved. Another skein emptied from my stash.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

American Girl Chef

This has to be one of my favorite outfits of the year. It is one the outfits in Darski's free pattern Howdy Neighbor and you can find the pattern at Crochetville here.

I searched through my friend's stash and had a trip back into time as she had a skein of white baby yarn purchased from Rich's to make the Chef's hat. Rich's has been out of business for years. However, it was a shopping staple of my Mom's for years when I was a kid. I spent many hours in their yarn aisle while my Mom picked up yarn for her latest knitting project. Finding that skein brought back pleasant memories.

After making a mistake reading the yarn requirements where I used up some pink and white baby yarn I had on hand for the shirt and apron that turned into a baby doll outfit I'll post later, I stuck with worsted weight yarn for the rest of the outfit.

I chose light pink because other than the light sport yarn I didn't have any darker pink worsted weight yarn. I'm on a bit of a yarn diet. Not a fast because I will buy yarn for a specific project. For instance, I got the pattern for the special Red Heart Red Cross nurse outfit and I don't have the yarn to make it. I'll pick up the yarn for that project. However, I'm resisting the urge to build up colors to have them on hand until I reduce the yarns I have on hand. I need to get the yarn under control before it becomes a hoard. It needs to be contained.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

American Girl Grey Lady

My husband bought me this pattern as one of my Valentine's gifts two years ago. You can purchase the pattern here.

I love this pattern. It always makes me think of an old fashioned governess outfit. The texture of the top of the dress is delightful. I think I might actually wear a sweater if it was that soft. I was able to use Bernat and Red Heart yarn I had on hand, so it contributed greatly to my stash busting project.

I used the suggested g hook on the skirt, the h hook actually made the skirt portion of the dress too large. In order to make the upper portion of the dress fit I used an H hook and it fit comfortably getting the dress on and off. It wasn't too loose as the skirt had been when made with the larger hook. Using the H hook I was able to use snaps as suggested since the top had the room. Previously when I made this I had to change to buttons because the top was too tight.

The one addition I made this year was embroidering a design on the purse. It seemed kind of plain and I wanted to add something simple. It is not a talent of mine, but I thought it came out OK.

I have several more outfits to post this week. I'm currently working on a dress with an underskirt. I've never tried anything quiet like this before. It reminds me a little bit of trying to put clothes on an ami working in front and back loops. I'm hoping it all works out and I can post about it next week.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

American Girl Ballet

This has become one of my favorite free patterns as it works for both the 18 inch doll and the 15 inch baby doll and you find it here.

I've altered the pattern to use an I hook and worsted weight yarn. I was also able to use up more of my friend's yarn on this project. I am making progress there, but I have a long way to go to finish it all off. There will be lots of doll projects to come.

For those of you who are curious, I make no suggestions regarding hook sizes or gauge. My gauge has been all over the place, but I have found the notes I make from one year to the next give me a starting point. It isn't always accurate for the next year, but it prevents me from starting all over.

I've started on another grey project. I've been trying to target my projects to match the yarn on hand. I've made this pattern before, but sure enough gauge again was an issue. I'll write more about that when I post.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

American Girl Dovetailed

I have made many outfits over the years from free patterns designed by Darski. Most of them are available on Crochetville, but I can't find the link to this pattern there. If I get a link to the pattern I will add it to this post.

I've had this pattern in my binder for some time, but this year seemed to be the year to attempt it. It was much easier than I expected and I think I will return to it again.

The hook size was accurate for me. I didn't need to change it, which has been unusual with my gauge issues this year.

This project helped me with my destashing project as well. I finished up a ball of yarn left over from the Pilgrim outfit. I also was able to use a button from the bag of buttons I received from a swap partner a while back for the hat. It's nice to be able to shop in your own stash to be able to finish your projects.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

American Girl Pumpkin Costume

I am so grateful for the people who design and offer their patterns for free. This allows me to stretch my donation dollars so much farther.

As I mentioned before I like making holiday costumes for my doll donation project. This outfit was published as two patterns. The dress can be found here. The hat can be found here.

If you are comfortable working in back and front posts this is a fun pattern to work up for the 18-inch dolls. I made my dress slightly longer than the pattern called for as it was rather short in my estimation. I also played a bit with the top of the hat.

Monday, February 1, 2016

American Girl Prairie Girl

My friends and I were huge fans of the Little House books long before there was a TV series. My teachers used our interest to engage us in exploring western exploration. I saw this pattern and it reminded me of how much fun we had exploring that time period. It reminded me of the calico patterns our Mom's sewed up for us. You can't really get calico in crochet, but this was my attempt. I used the colors I had.

I put the pattern on my Christmas wish list and was quite happy to find it under the Christmas tree. You can purchase it here.

Just a few small criticism of this pattern. First there is no brand of yarn listed for this pattern while there is a specific color pattern that I'd like to use. I have a pretty good idea what the yarn is, however, I get frustrated when I see a pattern I like and I'm left guessing how to achieve the same color. Secondly there was no gauge or suggested hook size. As someone who is struggling with gauge right now I depend on knowing where people started to have some ability to guess how I'm going to adapt. I prefer it when people provide a gauge, but at a minimum, when I pay for a pattern I expect at least a hook suggestion. That's just a basic level of professionalism when you are charging people for your work.

On the plus size there was a mistake on the pattern and I emailed the designer because while I thought I could figure it out the directions were not clear. I got a response back clarifying the directions and I appreciated the response. I will add her comments to the printed pattern to have for the next time I work through it. I will look to see if she makes other doll patterns. I liked this pattern and I would consider others if she publishes them.

I did change one major portion of the pattern. I avoid sewing when ever possible. So, instead of making the skirt as suggested and sewing on, I crocheted the first row of the skirt to the bodice and continued the pattern from there. I didn't have a problem with the outcome.

Just a note to myself, I used an H hook for the skirt waist moving to an I for the skirt and an I for the bodice. It made for a fuller skirt and it made the bodice wide enough to fit the body of the doll.

I used up the Red Heart Super Saver left over from the second blanket I made. I believe I have one skein of the Super Saver that the original pattern was made from in the pattern picture. With the potential for snow a week ago when I started this outfit it seemed best to start with what I had. I'm thinking about trying to find a second skein to make the outfit for the other donation doll.

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