Tuesday, March 15, 2016

American Girls Frozen's Anna

As you may have noticed my donation doll projects have had a decided fairy tale theme to them lately. During a recent Crochetville Wishlist a very kind FGM sent me a pattern for Frozen's Anna to make. I was thrilled as I'd listed the pattern hoping to be able to make Anna and Elsa. My DH had picked up Elsa for me as part of a set of Tara Cousin patterns. You can purchase Elsa here. Anna's pattern is available for purchase here.

The designer suggests using a J hook for the outfit. I found the J was required for the cape, but not the dress. I used a g for the dress to make gauge and the J to make the cape fit.

This is the first time I successfully attempted foundation stitches and I am quite excited. In the past I've tried sc and I couldn't make it work. This time however, the foundation stitches required were for dc and I found a picture tutorial that finally showed me where the stitches were inserted that made sense to me. I find that with most things finding I'm missing just one piece that makes the process clear. Once I have that the rest I've read falls into place with a click. After working the foundation stitches for this piece I was able to work more complicated sc stitches for another piece. Sometimes it just takes getting the first one finished.

The gown requires no buttons which is always a plus with me. The only button required is for the cape closure. I could find no directions for adding the red stripes shown in the pattern picture. I chained red yarn and weaved it through to look like the picture.

Another thing I had to tackle were crochet pleats. This was a nightmare and thankfully I found another online tutorial that gave me a crocheted method and a post crocheted fold method. The crocheted method was never clear to me and I never did complete pleats for the dress. Knowing what I learned as I was making the cloak, I think I could complete that for next year.

However, as I was working on the cloak I realized as I reached the required number of stitches without performing the pleated stitches I was able to get the cloak to "self-pleat" through folding it. I could have sewed a few stitches to hold it, but it was doing well enough alone, I decided not to risk losing the flow of the cape by sewing the ends down.

Monday, March 14, 2016

American Girl Sleeping Beauty

There does indeed seem to be a fairy tale theme as of late and I'm quite enjoying the ride. The creativity seems to be staying this year and I'm going to make the most of it.

Sleeping Beauty is the latest of the Princess outfits and another one of SweetSilverCreations patterns that can be purchased here.

Like Cinderella and Snow White this pattern works up fairly easily and quickly. Having made two of them previously, I'm starting to understand the format of the patterns, which makes putting them together even easier.

I didn't put this on my Christmas list because I wanted to make sure the directions were clear in the Cinderella pattern before attempting the Snow White or the Sleeping Beauty pattern. People often can make beautiful outfits, however, how the person writes directions for those outfits can determine my success or failure. Looking at the princess gowns on the site, Cinderella seemed to be the most basic in construction and I determined if I couldn't finish that outfit, attempting the rest would be an effort in frustration. However, Cinderella impressed me and I moved on to Snow White. Snow White was more challenging, but other than setting the sleeves I found it workable. This pattern was actually the easiest of the three as I'd overcome my challenges with the skirts I'd experienced in making Cinderella's dress. The additional features I'd feared were actually quite manageable. I won't reveal her secrets, but I had thought from looking at the picture and the trouble I had with Snow's sleeves I'd find it more intimidating. The author did a great job helping me through all of the challenges and I'm really thrilled with the finished product.

This pattern did not come with shoes, but those who read this blog may be aware, I've become slightly obsessed with the shoe pattern from another SweetSilverCreations Sailor Dress that can also be purchased here. No, I have no connections to the owner of the site. I just ran across the patterns while making a list for DH before Christmas and fell in love with her designs. After success with Cinderella I went back and put more on a list for Valentine's. Yes, the Easter bunny also has a list, so no free patterns in return for a positive review. I am a true fan as my husband can support from the patterns he keeps supplying me for the holidays. I try to list links either free or paid so if you are interested in the pattern you can find it. I don't have associations with the pattern designers to promote their work.

I will say what does draw me is easy to follow directions. I rewritten a number of patterns over the years because I just can't understand what the writer intended. Another plus for doll clothes, especially, accessible yarns. I know people love to experiment with new and exciting yarns. However, it is incredibly frustrating to purchase a pattern only to find the yarn the person used is not available and the colors are specific to the outfit not readily available in another yarn of a similar weight. It isn't as much of an issue when it is a solid color in a weight easily located and the person gives some help with listing gauge and hook size to try to make a substitute. While weight can vary between brands, knowing the gauge helps determine an appropriate substitute if the original yarn is no longer available.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

American Girl Mermaid

I'm not sure what started the trend, but Mermaid's seem to be the "in" thing in crochet. I see crochet Mermaid blanket patterns everywhere. I recently came across a pattern on Ravelry that I then oddly located on Amazon. I rarely think of Amazon for e-patterns, but they are starting to emerge on Kindle. You can purchase the Ravelry pattern here. For those interested in the Kindle pattern it is free to Kindle Unlimited customers and can be purchased by following the link 18 Inch Doll Crochet Mermaid Costume Pattern

This was my first Kindle pattern and there were strengths and weaknesses over a traditional e-pattern that I print out. On the plus size I LOVED being able to enlarge the pictures on my Kindle. This helped me twice. Once when trying to figure out where to start the fins on the bottom of the mermaid tail. Secondly, it helped me to work through the top, which was oddly the more confusing of the two patterns. From the picture, I thought the tail would be harder, I was wrong. Other than figuring out where to put the fin, the tail was easy.

That being said, there are several reasons why I'm going to continue to purchase my e-patterns and print them. First I make notes all the time when I'm working on patterns. This is not easy to do on my Kindle patterns. Second, I often flip through sheets and having multiple sheets open at a time spread out to make sense of how something goes together. Often times splits occur in printing patterns that don't take into account the practical matters of working on the pattern. They are a function of publishing, not crocheting. Understandable, but I can manipulate paper easier than my Kindle pages. I plan on purchasing an e-copy of this pattern for that very reason. While I think I'll be making a different top next time, the bottom worked up very easily, using yarn I had on hand, so this would be a great pattern to use again next year. It would just be easier with a paper copy.

I was able to use the hook suggested to make gauge. I think I'll go with a lighter pink next time for the top.

Monday, March 7, 2016

American Girl Snow White

I have always been a fan of fairy tales, the original harsher versions and the more sanitized Disney versions. I've noticed lately there seems to be more interest in the classic tales in various genres of books, movies, and TV offerings. I've also seen more toys, especially dolls devoted to the topic. Until recently, I hadn't come across much in the way of crochet patterns for the 18" dolls. Joan Hinds published several sewing books on the topic that I purchased for my Mom, but not being a sewer myself, they were only pretty to look at, not terribly helpful to use.

Recently though, I came across a series of patterns on Etsy from SweetSilverCreations and my DH was kind enough to get me started on my Princess collection as part of my Valentine's gifts. I made Cinderella last month and you can read about that here. Today we have Snow White. The pattern can be purchased here.

Having made two of the patterns in this series I can say I like the way she's designed the dresses. This one is similar, but different from the Cinderella dress. When I first looked at this dress I was very curious to see how she would create the point in the bodice of the gown and it is a creative and very easy look to achieve. For the 3 I've worked on so far, she's used Red Heart yarn so the colors are easily acquired, affordable, and less likely to go out of availability before I pick up these patterns for next year's donation. This is a big factor for me when I'm working on donation projects. While I treat myself to a couple of specialty yarn doll projects each year, for the most part I stick to projects that allow me to use the less expensive brand name yarns.

The only real challenge this project presented were the sleeves. I couldn't work the sleeves the way described and had to sew them together, use a gathering stitch and sew them to the sleeve opening. For a more accomplished sewer the original instructions would likely not create an issue. However, as I've mentioned many times, sewing is not one of my major accomplishments. I created 5 sleeves before getting these two to set. It was a battle royal. I am only glad I didn't destroy the bodice in the process and have to start again. Generally, I try to avoid having to set a sleeve when possible. Even when the directions state otherwise I'll start the sleeve in the armhole and crochet it in. However, to create the effect, it was necessary for these sleeves to be set.

The shoes are not part of this set. However, I had a small ball of yellow left and I hate having little balls of yarn sitting around, so I used the shoe pattern from the American Girl Sailor Dress to make her a pair of shoes. Now Snow White has shoes and I have no annoying ball of yarn.

I'm hoping to have Sleeping Beauty finished this week and I have it on good authority that the Easter Bunny may be dropping off some more of SweetSilverCreations princess patterns. Well I've hinted at least.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

American Girl Summertime Frills for Dolls

Red Heart has been much more active in creating free patterns for the 18 Inch dolls. It doesn't hurt that many of them push people to buy more Red Heart yarn, but I'm OK with that. The yarn is easy to locate, often on sale, and it is less likely to disappear than many of the yarns listed on e-patterns I purchase.

This was one of the more recent patterns I downloaded and you can find the free pattern here. I've made the shirt twice now and I've found for me the Red Heart SS worked better than the Red Heart Soft Baby Steps in getting the shirt to fit. I found even adjusting my hook the shirt was tight when I used the suggested soft. I was OK with that. I had the required color on hand in SS so it was no loss. I'll find a use for the Red Heart Soft yarn later. The skirt is cute, but I will work on the pattern to make it fit a bit better next time. It had a different method for crocheting with elastic than I've used in the past and I wanted to experiment with it. I wasn't as pleased with the outcome as I have been with my previous method. However, it works.

This was also my first time using the Boutique Sashay Mini. I need more practice with it. The stitch side of the yarn needs to face downward working into the open end to have it work best. We live and learn. However, for a first attempt I'm OK with it.

This skirt style is a popular one with some of my younger relatives, I'm curious to see their reaction to the donation outfit.

At the moment I've started in on Snow White's dress. I seem to have developed a princess trend.

Search This Blog

Blog Archive