Monday, December 31, 2018

American Girl Little Flamenco Dress

Happy New Year's Eve everyone. Hope all of you have a fun and happy night to ring in the New Year.

I finally located some Red Heart Fruity striped yarn so I could complete this outfit. While not a traditional Flamenco dress I do love the colors and the style of this dress. As an added bonus this is a quick and easy dress to make. You can find the free pattern here.

Winter is often my best time for filling up my donation bags and it fills good to be completing some outfits for the donation.

Now for my pattern notes. I used a G hook for the top of the dress and a H hook for the bottom of the dress. I also added some rows to the bottom of the dress to make it a little longer. Red Heart Fruity Stripes is the yarn that I prefer for this pattern as it gets the color blend I prefer. I use snaps instead of buttons to close the back of the dress. I find them easier for little hands to open and close.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

American Girl Skirt and Top

I mentioned in a previous post that I try to pack away finished doll projects as soon as I drop off the donations to Aztec wishes. It helps to have them put away when distractions come up in the spring and summer months and I know I can look in the bags and see I am can no longer see the bottom of the bag. I thought I'd start with an easy project I finished last year.

I pulled out a dress pattern that I love because it works up quickly and I thought I'd have a dress to add to the pile quickly. As you may have noticed from the post title this is not a dress. The dress is made with Red Heart striped yarn fruity stripe colored yarn. I have no idea what the original designer used as it isn't mentioned but I found this was the closest cheapest way to match it. However, I forgot to write down what color I used and I had a couple of unlabeled striped yarns left over from projects and I thought the one that became this top just might be the one. It clearly was not, as I quickly discovered. However, I hate to waste the effort so I made it into a top following the basic pattern for the top of the dress.

Having finished the top I needed a bottom. I turned to a simple free skirt pattern found here. A note for my records I added rows to the top of the skirt before I did the increases to make the waste longer. I also added rows to the skirt to make it extend below the knee. I find it so useful to be able to refer back to what I did previously because from year to year I may remember making the outfit, I can't always remember the changes I made. I will sometimes record them on the pattern, but I am not always consistent about that either.

Now that I have the fruity striped yarn, I've begun making that dress, too. As I said I really want to cover the bottom of that bag while the winds of winter blow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Edwardian 18 Inch Crochet Outfit

I fell in love with this outfit a while back and it has been on my list of outfits to try for a while. My hands had been tight after working on a series of amis so I decided it was time to get to work on the 2019 doll project. You can find Elseth's free pattern here.

This was a fun choice for my first pattern of the year. I loved the color and the textures. I find the end of the old year and the beginning of the New Year are some of my most productive times to finish doll donations so I'm hoping this is a good sign.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!

Thank you to all who supported the doll donation project this year. Thanks to you many girls will be playing with dolls this morning who are well dressed and accessorized. This is only possible because you cared and gave what you could. Thank you and God Bless you on this holiday.

The mission isn't over. The 2019 doll and toy project has already begun. I've already finished a couple of outfits and dolls have been ordered.

Monday, December 24, 2018

American Girl Craft Sale Finds

Merry Christmas Eve to all. This is the day my family gathers together to celebrate Christmas. From the first year we were married I got DH's family to join us in the holiday fun and good wishes. I feel very blessed this year that do to the generosity of friends local and online and family that this was one of the largest donations we've ever been blessed to make to Aztec wishes. Hopefully we will be able to make more children happen next year as well.

Earlier this month at a Church Christmas sale I found a booth with hand sewn American Girl clothes. This is not unusual and while I enjoying looking at the clothes I tend to spend my donation dollars on new patterns, yarn, and other items I need to create the doll and toys I donate. I rarely buy stuff from vendors to donate.

This booth was unique in several ways. The prices were unusually low. When I inquired I discovered the grandmother had created the project to teach her granddaughters how to sew and they wanted to sell some items to make some Christmas money. As I looked the outfits over I realized while they were simple they were well made. If I'd had a doll on hand to try them on I'd probably have bought more clothes. However, for the very reasonable prices they were asking I was more than willing to risk buying a few and bringing them home. As I mentioned my plan to donate the clothes with my regular donations in 2019 for Aztec wishes the grandmother was thrilled as she mentioned she was a retired employee of the school. I will be checking back next year to see if the girls are back with their clothes.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Farm Cilo Bag

I made a farm bag for a summer birthday present and decided to add the cilo for Christmas along with some additional farm animals for Christmas this year. You can find the free bag pattern along with the farmer and the included animals here.

I sewed snaps on to the cover of the cilo to make it easier to store the toys. The directions don't indicate that the cover should be attached. In the past I've sewn half the cover on so it wouldn't get lost. I decided to experiment with the snaps and I liked the way it worked.

The farmer is included with the free pattern but I found the wife pattern in a pattern called Wash Days in Annie's Crochet Newsletter July-August 1992. The cilo pattern includes a pattern for an additional cow and pig. Since my time was limited and I'd made a cow for the original farm bag I chose not to make another cow. When I wanted to add a few animals I turned to planet June for her pig and her collie to act as farm dog.. You can purchase the pig pattern here. The collie dog is available here.

I try to include books with toys to encourage kids to read.

My time was limited on this project, but I hope to add more farm animals.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Pocket Dinosaur

I've collected old crochet magazines for years, especially the Annie's series. This little dinosaur is from the Annie's Pattern Club Oct-Nov 1989 edition. After I finished both baby blankets I wanted a simple dino ami as my hands needed a break and I wasn't ready to tackle something more complicated. This pattern was simple and worked up quickly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ankylosaurus Amigurumi

I had hoped to create more dinosaurs to go with the baby package but life sometimes gets in the way of our plan. I love Planet June's patterns and originally had thought I'd get through more of her patterns. Hopefully I'll have the chance to add to his set in the future.

You can purchase the pattern here.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Dinosaur Lovey

I love sending the little lovey blankets along with baby gifts. I found the Triceratops pattern to purchase here.

The pattern directions were very clear, especially as to where to attach pieces, etc. I've gotten used to adapting and rewriting patterns were I need to over the years, but I do think it is important to acknowledge when someone writes directions that are clear to me. I say this because I find directions don't speak to all of us. I find some doll dress patterns that are easy for me are challenging for others and others I just can't wrap my brain around are written exactly the way others think when they crochet. This pattern had great pictures to illustrate where the pieces went and I found that quite useful.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Dinosaur Baby Blanket

This was a much more difficult project than it should have been. I remember now why I prefer blankets that are made as one and not ones that need to be sewn together, but I really couldn't resist the idea of making a dino blanket to match a dino themed nursery. The challenge for me as always was getting the squares all to be the same size. With the added challenge of charted color changes this seemed to be more of an issue than I'd anticipated and I made several squares more than once until I got them to be the size needed.

I would have preferred a lighter weight yarn, but the original yarn was not available any longer and the bright colors were more challenging to find than I'd anticipated. All and all I'm pleased with this project. It went out last week and I hope it is one of those blankets that gets dragged around for years.

For those of you interested in the pattern you can purchase it here.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Santa Christmas Ornament

My family always had a tradition of unbreakable Christmas ornaments for the little ones to be able to decorate and enjoy the Christmas tree. I've kept the tradition up by trying to make and pass them on to others. I found this free Santa ornament pattern here for those who are interested.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Finger Puppets

The Thanksgiving box went out with Thanksgiving finger puppets and some fun Thanksgiving books. The finger puppets are quick to crochet and they make fun little toys to distract a little one on during the long cooking time on Thanksgiving day. For those of you interested in the free patterns you can find the female Pilgrim here, the male Pilgrim here,and the turkey here.

Monday, November 5, 2018

American Girl Cinderella

Before my cold set in I did manage to finish one of the Princess gowns for the donation. These dresses are always popular and thankfully not as time consuming or challenging as they look. They consume a bit more yarn than most doll outfits which almost proved challenging as I thought I had more of the main color than I did. Thankfully, I found some hidden stash and it all worked out fine.

For those of you interested in the pattern it can be purchased here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

American Girl Pumpkin

As I mentioned in my Ghost posting I like to make holiday outfits for the donation project when I can get to them. This year I also made the Pumpkin costume. For those of you interested this costume is made from two free patterns. You can find the pumpkin body here and the hat here.

I would like to take a moment and thank this designer and all those who donate their designs for the rest of us to use freely. It makes my donations go further. I regularly buy and request as gifts patterns to help with my donation. I recognize people's right and need to make money with their talents to support their own families. However, it is important to let people know that their donation of patterns is part of a larger donation that gets to people in need.

This is a fun quick pattern to make up to give a doll a Halloween costume. Pumpkins were a theme with me this year and this one just seemed a part of it all.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

American Girl Ghost Costume

I try every year to get holiday outfits made for the donation, but don't always succeed. This year I did get some Halloween costumes made for the dolls. The first is a simple costume I remember from my own childhood when there wasn't always a great deal of money for costumes. What I remember as being challenging is my mother didn't buy white sheets. She complained they were too hard to keep clean so we rarely had the option for white ghosts or other costumes that required sheets.

The costume is available for purchase here, but it appears to be more expensive than when I received it as a gift several years back. For an experienced crocheter or someone who sews I suspect creating your own ghost costume for the 18" doll is not going to be all that challenging.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Halloween Pumpkin Puppy

It's amazing how quickly you get behind when you find yourself with other projects and you just can't get back to something simple like posting finished projects. This was the second crocheted item that went into the Halloween box along with the Halloween books and the Mouse and the Pumpkin. Thankfully my shipping system is better than the posting system. I've already received a thank you note for the box.

You can purchase the pattern for this project here. I loved the pumpkin and the dog. If I make this again I won't attempt to make it into a Jack O' Lantern. The pattern for the face was not as successful.

I've been fighting a cold all month and I'm not sure I'm going to get to crochet the Thanksgiving items this year. We will have to see as I do have some cute ideas.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mouse and Pumpkin

As I'm working on my doll donations, and the dino baby blanket, I also have to keep an eye on the calendar as the beginning of the next round of holiday boxes will need to go out in the not to distant future as well. I finished the first Halloween item, the Mouse and Pumpkin pattern that was again a gift from DH. You can purchase the pattern here.

I liked this set because it added a little fun play to the idea of safe decorations for little hands. The mice have made a home in the pumpkin and the child can place a mouse in the hole or play with them around the pumpkin, but there is more than just a pumpkin that won't break should little hands pick it up and drop it or want to hug it.

This pattern was well illustrated and the directions were clear, which was great since I was trying some new things with adding the mouse tunnel. Once you see the directions it does make sense, but it wsan't something I guessed. I will say when she says cut the yarn, cut the yarn, don't do what I did the first time and think you can avoid sewing in ends with slip stitches, the hole ends up being much to small. While I dislike sewing in ends, it is even more frustrating when your realize your efforts to save yourself work made more.

I've started the 3rd dino block and I'm working on another Halloween ami project. I've got to get started on another doll donation project as well. Summer sped by so fast and the deadline is creeping up faster than I can possibly believe on all the projects.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mary Maxim American Girl Summertime Capri Set

This was the second outfit from the Mary Maxim Summertime 18 Inch Doll kit. There is a shrug and a purse I finished for this set, but somewhere on the way to the shoot for this blog, she seems to have lost them. Thankfully, I found them sitting on the couch and they've been bundled up in the package to go with the donation, but I didn't have time for a reshoot, so you'll have to imagine the rest. If you are interested in the kit you can find it at Mary Maxim here. To make it clear this was a birthday gift from DH and I have no association with Mary Maxim other than I am a customer. I am hopeful they make more 18 inch kits as having bought both their kits and Herschnerrs I tend to like the yarn and pattern directions in Mary Maxim's kits better than those I've bought from Herschnerrs. I will say Herschnerr's has had some adorable designs I've liked and bought, but I've not loved the yarn and I have several uncompleted kits because I found myself rewriting the directions as I went and it was frustrating when I had other patterns I could turn to and complete more quickly.

With that I turn to the second pattern from this kit and say honestly I was not as pleased with the second set as I was with the first. Other than the shoes I really liked the overall design of the first pattern. With the second, I LOVED the capris and will be using that pattern with worsted weight yarn so I don't have to increase the hook size to make the pants fit. The pants were adorable and I can see me making them with different tops. I didn't like the top. It was overally complicated to make for something I really didn't like when it was done. The shrug was a nice finish for the outfit. The purse was an easy to make accessory that I'd make again. The kerchief would have been better if there was an explanation about how it went together.

As with the previous outfit I opted out of the sandals. I found they didn't work well for me and instead made the shoes from another pattern I'd purchased here.

I am hopeful Mary Maxim will continue to make these kits as I do like their yarn and the price point is fair if you can get a deal on shipping. I would like to see some themed outfits in the way they've branched out with the 5" dolls.

Monday, September 10, 2018

American Girl Mickey Mouse Inspired Outfit

I'm always looking for something new and fun to try for my donation projects. It keeps the project engaging for me and I like to think it makes it fun for the kids to get something different, too. This was a gift from DH and you can purchase the pattern here.

The pattern worked up quickly and the directions were clear and easy to follow. I added button holders (chains stitches on the seems the buttons can be held by) rather than using the stitches in the white shirt as button holes. If you are an adult dressing the doll you likely aren't going to have trouble doing this or rip the shirt with repeated efforts to dress and undress the doll. However, when possible I try to think about little hands taking off the clothes and I either use snaps these days or use chains to hold the buttons as I find trying to get the buttons through my stitches can be challenging even with adult hands.

I had fun with the jacket pattern as I'd never done anything quite like that before. I also rather liked the pants pattern and think it could be useful for other projects. I thought the same about the boots. The hat was just adorable.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dinosaur Afghan Block Number 2

I mentioned last week that I started the Dinosaur blanket pattern that was bought for me as a gift from e-pattern central here. I'm not sure how my project list got to be so long but I can't think of anything that I don't want to do and I keep finding more things that interest me so clearly I'm back to finish what gets done by deadline motto and move forward.

My plan for this gift is to finish the blanket, a dino lovey, and as many dino amis as I can finish before the project has to leave the house. Of course I also have Halloween and Thanksgiving ami's and toys to make, with Christmas right around the corner. Then in between I have to keep getting the doll clothes and this year I've added toy food to that donation list as well. Some how it always seems to get finished.

As for this project, I'm pleased to have finished the second square. As I mentioned in the previous post neither squares or charts are my favorite projects, but I really am happy with this project. I want this to be something special. Only 4 more blocks to go.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Baby Doll Nightgown for 16 inch doll

I can't emphasize the gift of a simple project for filling the doll donation bags. This one I worked up while waiting to do something else. It was a great project because it didn't require a great deal of concentration, but I still had another item to add to the donation in a short period of time.

This is the free American Girl Nightgown pattern found here. I had to play a little with hook size do tot he rather round body of the doll, but I was pleased with the outcome.

It was a great way to use up yarn on hand. This was made from left over Caron Pounder Yarn.

Once again I do want to thank the people who donate their patterns for the rest of us to use for free. Your donation makes my donations go further. With these two free patterns by the same designer I've already gotten 4 donation outfits completed this year.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Mary Maxim American Girl Summertime Dress

Mary Maxim's Summer Time Doll Kit for the 18 inch dolls was one of my birthday presents this year. While I love Mary Maxim's yarn and their doll kits, I do find their shipping to be a bit pricey. So, I catch their free shipping when I can and gift giving times are a great time to ask for a gift from them.

As I was making this outfit I realized how much I do like their yarn for light weight projects and after a search was pleased to find you can get it at JoAnn's online. Since they have more frequent yarn sales and shipping offers I do think there may be more Mary Maxim yarn in my doll project futures.

This first pattern worked up very quickly. I did upsize to an H hook. I had no issue with the dress, hat, or poncho. I was not happy with the sandals. I just couldn't get them to fit. So instead of worrying about the sandals I went back to my fall back shoe pattern from a Sun Dress Pattern I purchased here.

This kit comes with 2 outfits so I hope to finish the second one soon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Dinosaur Afghan Block Number 1

While we were at the birthday party I made all those fun toys for I discovered there is another little one, a boy this time due in the fall to a different branch of the family. The baby's room is being decorated in dinosaurs. I have lots of dinosaur ami patterns having nephews who loved the creatures in their younger days, but what to do about a baby afghan?

Well I'm not normally crazy about sewing squares together and charts are also not a favorite of mine, but I found a dinosaur afghan pattern on e-pattern central here. If you have time have patience I suggest waiting for it to go on sale. It isn't included in all their sales, but about 3 weeks after I was gifted the pattern it was included in one of their sales at a drastically reduced price. I however, wasn't willing to wait as I know how long it can take me to order the yarn and add in the time to work on charts, I wanted maximum lead time.

Just a note for those of you who like to use the yarn listed, the yarn used for this pattern, Red Heart Kids is no longer available. I looked at Caron Simply Soft, but I couldn't get the colors to match the way I wanted too. You may feel differently. I settled on Bernat Super Value as my substitute yarn. I find yarn bobbins to be very useful on charted projects as I easily tangle my yarn. I know other people have solutions they prefer. My suggestion is do what works best for you.

I've been working on the blocks while trying to get doll donations done and block 2 is finished. I have to get the bobbins set up for block 3.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Baby Doll Dress for 16 Inch Doll

While I enjoy playing with new patterns and learning new stitches I always appreciate simple easy to make patterns that can fill my donation bags for the dolls. I love it even better when I can take a pattern for one doll and adapt it to another. This baby doll dress is adapted from the free 18 inch free Flamenco Dress pattern found here.

The main changes I made to accommodate the body of the doll were an H hook for the top of the doll and an I hook for the skirt. It just made for a better fit. Using the I hook I needed to reduce the number of rows for the skirt section of the pattern.

I went through several versions of the 15" doll before moving on to the 16" doll as each version became unavailable. I like having model dolls to try the clothes on to make sure they will fit the new donation dolls so I try to keep up with dolls I can find for the next donation year. My current favorite doll is JC Toys La Baby 16-inch Washable Soft Body Purple Play Doll that I found when the last of the 15 inch dolls were no longer available. The features on this doll are a bit nicer and I'm finding with a little work many of the 15" patterns do adapt to the 16" doll.

This is Walmart's Mainstay Acrylic Yarn. I had never seen it before and there was only one skein. It just seemed like a fun silly color for a baby doll dress and I enjoyed both the softness of the yarn and the color as it worked up.

Monday, August 13, 2018

American Girl Little Bluebell Nightgown

As I mentioned last week I discovered a free 18 inch doll designer and I'm finding the patterns work for both the 18 inch doll and the 16 inch baby doll. I love when I find patterns that will work for both. You can find the pattern here.

This pattern works up quickly and I used Bernat Super Value Yarn. In order to make gauge I needed an H hook.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

American Girl Flamenco Dress

This is not a traditional Flamenco dress but I respect the titles people give their patterns. I missed out on the chance to buy a crochet Flamenco pattern when a designer closed her pattern shop a few years ago. This is a bright and easy free pattern found here. This pattern does not come with shoes I used the pattern from the Sun Dress I wrote about yesterday to finish this outfit. You can find the pattern here.

Pattern notes:

There was no yarn specified on this pattern, but I used Red Heart Super Saver Fruity Stripe for my doll dress and I liked the look. In order to make gauge I used an H hook.

This pattern works up really quickly if you need a doll dress. I tried it on the 16 inch baby doll and I think this pattern will work for the baby doll, too. I will change the colors to more baby friendly colors.

I want to thank the designer for offering up her patterns for free. I've completed two so far and have another one printed to make.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

American Girl Sun Dress

Sweet Silver Creations has always been one of my favorite 18 inch doll designers. Over the years I've collected most of her 18 inch doll patterns. They've generally appear on my Christmas and birthday lists. I'm hoping some new ones will be coming out soon. This is my first attempt at making this one. You can find the pattern here.

I loved the dress and the shoes. I wasn't as happy with the hat.

Pattern notes:

I used worsted weight instead of sport weight yarn. The H hook worked with the worsted weight to make the outfit fit.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Crochet Tea Set

I started this tea set back in April and finally decided I needed to finish it off so it didn't become one of those unfinished projects at donation time. I was determined to add a tea set to the donation this year and I found this one worked out well for me. As I mentioned before this comes from one of my favorite out of print Amigurumi books Amigurumi Two!: Crocheted Toys for Me and You and Baby Too that I keep hoping will come back into print.

Once I had some time to focus, the set finished quickly. It is one of the easier patterns I've located.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mouse and Her Cookie

As I mentioned in a previous post I've gotten behind in posting. I'd meant to post this right after the Pig and her Pancake, but then I got busy with summer things and Mouse never got posted. The Pig and the Mouse along with their books were also a huge hit at the birthday party. Although the cookie was a huge disappointment when it was bitten into only to discover it wasn't a "real" cookie.

Giving If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give...) with the mouse and cookie makes a great gift set. This pattern has disappeared and been found several times. If it is something you want I suggest downloading and storing a copy as it seems to pop up and disappear as the owner changes blogs. You can find it here.

Pattern notes for myself:

I used size 10 thread to crochet the nose this time as I've run out of plastic pink noses. The place I used to order the noses from is no longer in business. It is time to locate a new source, but this worked for this project. I crochet an inner lining in pink for the ears and crochet it to the back of the ear rather than using felt.

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