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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Knit 18 Inch Doll Donations

I've been busy this summer and sadly fallen behind on my posting. Thankfully, the donation work continues and others continue the work too. These knit dresses were sent by my mom at the beginning of the month for the donation.

People often ask me if I mind getting stuff early. Absolutely not. It lets me know ahead of time what I have for the donation and it avoids complications we can all face in our lives where we think we'll have time to send stuff out and then it just doesn't happen.

I don't have the pattern information for these donations. However I suspect the coat at least is found in Fun Fashions: Contemporary Outfits to Knit for 18” Dolls

Monday, July 30, 2018

Down on the Farm

I've made this pattern for years from an out of print copy Annie's Attic pattern I picked up at a used crochet pattern site. However, I was thrilled this year to discover Annie's Attic has released the pattern as a digital pattern on their website here.

I like having the farm be a carrying bag because it makes it convenient to store, put in a diaper bag, or leave at a house the child visits frequently as a toy that can be played with there that doesn't take up too much room.

This was part of a birthday package we delivered a few weekends ago and the animals and bag were a big hit. People seemed amazed at how many animals fit in the bag as the child kept pulling animals out of the bag.

This project works up pretty quickly. The ami directions are clear and the animals easily assembled. As a companion project I'm thinking about working on Bizzy Crochet's free Barnyard bag pattern found here as a Christmas present. It would add a farmer and more animals. I also have an additional pattern for a farmer's wife that would fill out the set. I'm still looking for a sheep dog pattern to fill out this set.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Pig and her Pancake

Laura Numeroff's If You Give series have been huge hits in various branches of my family for many years. I was looking to make something for a summer birthday coming up and I turned first to If You Give a Pig a Pancake which I'd had success with completing an ami from previously.

The pattern is a free one but from a blogger who has since deleted her blog. It reappeared at one point but has since been deleted again. It is available here but there is no way of knowing how long it will stay available, so if you think at some point you might wish to make the pattern my suggestion is download it and print or save it as it could disappear permanently at any time.

When possible I love giving toys inspired by books as I think it creates even more interest for children in reading. This one is a quick and easy project.

Now for my notes to myself. I used a g hook instead of the e for the body of the pig. I didn't find it necessary to use the smaller hook. I also used some peach yarn similar to Caron Simply soft for the pig. I know it isn't Caron but it has that feel. I ended up using a c hook to get the sweater to fit and I used Knit Picks cotton yarn. It was just too big when I attempted to use worsted weight yarn. The pancake worked up well with worsted weight yarn and a g hook.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Holiday Itty Bitties

My Mom sent me holiday Itty Bitties for my birthday. I love the putting out the little costumed dolls for the holidays. I found myself two dolls short, so I'll need to buy two more dolls to fill out the Christmas costumes she made, but just putting these together when I opened the box put a smile on my face. I have the July 4th ones out now that she made me a while back and I look forward to more of these dolls to display through the seasons.

I love the cape on the one on the end. It has a very old world look to it. For those of you who are interested these are kit kits available from Mary Maxim, which is why I end up having Mom make them as I am no knitter. I was pleased to see they did issue a Crochet Christmas kit recently though so it isn't impossible for me to take on the task.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

American Girl Dovetailed

Edited to add pattern link. Darski kindly hunted down the link for me on Crochetville. You can find the free pattern here.

I made this pattern 2 years ago for the donation. It is a one of Darski's free patterns from Crochetville, but sadly I believe the link has been lost. If at any time I find it I will of course add it. I pulled this pattern out because to my eye it looks complicated, but it always a confidence builder for me.

Notes for myself, don't forget to have elastic on hand. Easy to use once you have it, but a delay when you have to go find it. I used snaps this year. I seem to have a thing about buttons this year. I've been using more snaps. Other than that I followed the directions pretty much as written.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

American Girl Swim Suit

Every year I promise myself next year for the donation I'll make this with worsted weight instead of cotton. I almost had to write this again this year. I started it in cotton, but I was finding the leg openings weren't a good fit and decided to frog it and start again with worsted weight yarn. I love this color blue for the suit.

I've been making this pattern for the donation for several years now. I pulled it out as part of my efforts to work on patterns I knew I could complete to build up my confidence and to get some outfits put away for the donation. You can purchase the pattern here.

There are many free and paid bathing suit patterns on the market for the 18" dolls. I return to this pattern for a couple of reasons. First the bathing suit works up quickly and easily. While I do have to watch my gauge to make sure the outfit isn't too tight, the pattern isn't difficult to follow.

The other reason I return to this pattern frequently is the accessories. While I don't love making the ducky floaty and I comment on it every time I write about it, I always find it cute when it's finished. With the blanket, beach pail, and beach ball it makes a complete set for a child receiving the donation. For my own sake, I try to make the bathing suit during the summer months as it brings back happy summer memories of times spent at the beach as a child. It never quite feels like summer until I've been to the beach.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

American Girl Princess

As I mentioned in a previous post I've been looking for some outfits that are quick to make to fill my donation bags for my Christmas Toy donation. I'd had success with this free pattern found here previously so it seemed like a good choice to get another outfit completed.

I love the way this pattern creates an under and over skirt. When I first approached this pattern a few years ago I thought it might be more challenging. It actually is a pretty straight forward pattern and I love that it requires minimal sewing. I switched out buttons for snaps. For some projects I just find the easier for little hands. For the same reason I didn't use pearls. I don't particularly enjoy crocheting with beads, but they also aren't practical for little hands that tug and pull dresses to put them on and off. I look for durability when I make outfits to donate.

Monday, June 11, 2018

American Girl Ballet

I've had a busy year crocheting, but it is time to get back to my Christmas donation project. I decided to start up again with some projects that tend to have a higher success rate for me to get some put away before I tackle some of the more challenging projects.

This is one of my favorite projects to make every year because it works up quickly and it has a minimal amount of sewing, which I love. You can find the free pattern here.

I feel very blessed that a friend gifted me a doll to use as a model for my projects. Over the years she's been a huge supporter of this Christmas donation project and this year is no different. On top of being grateful for her donations to the kids, I'd just like to thank her for allowing me to have one of her dolls. The doll is beautiful and I am enjoying being able to use her to take my doll pictures with before packing off the clothes in the donation bags.

Project notes for myself:

This required an I hook with the exception of the shoes this year for the outfit to fit. The shoes were too large with an I and I had to reduce to a g hook to get them to fit. I like the solid color light pink with white trim rather than splitting the colors between top and bottom as I've done in previous years following the pattern.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Graduation Afghan

Two Christmas present making journeys ago I created mostly scrap afghans for all of one of my niece's four children. They were fun to make. At Thanksgiving I was working on sewing the ends in for the oldest girl's afghan when another family member noticed the afghan and wondered if she too could have one. After having just finished four large afghans I was a bit burned out and I knew even delaying until this Christmas wouldn't happen. It was a good choice as with weddings and babies it would never have gotten completed in time for Christmas. However delaying until graduation made it possible to complete it as promised.

This is a granny ripple pattern. The one I used for this is Rustic Retreat and it comes from Herrrschner's Worsted 8 Throws Volume 3. Mine is made with a variety of acrylic worsted weight yarns some I had on hand and the crazier colors I bought to liven up the afghan as with the first one it is designed to be bright. This one will be clearly identifiable in a college laundry room.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Barbie Graduation

One of the reasons I got started crocheting many years ago was to make doll clothes for a family member who is graduating from high school this year. Barbie clothes in particular where hard to find in the stores and I struggled with making clothes for her Barbies and then moved on to her 18" dolls which I frankly found easier to work on as at that point thread was not my friend.

The color washed out a bit in the picture but it is navy blue and the yellow represents the honors achievements from her high school. She's graduating from an Agricultural (Aggie) High School as a Vet Tech and will be going on to college for Pre-Vet. I found Barbie Veterinarian Doll and pulled out an out of print Annie's Fashion Doll Club Graduation Gown pattern FC40-03 to make the gown to go over it.

In the past thread has been a really tough challenge, but this spring I have had more success with thread than yarn. I started with a ami graduation owl and just couldn't make the poor thing come together. Barbie was my back up plan. While I was concerned the bent arm might be an issue getting the gown over it, the arm was wide enough there was no problem. The dog was attached to the Vet outfit with a plastic elastic like material, I used that to attach the dog to the gown. I followed the directions for the hat and tassel, merely using multiple colors for the tassel.

Now for my adaptations. The pattern called for a paper diploma. I figured this would rip long before I ever delivered the doll so I chose to crochet one in white thread and tie it with a bow of yellow chained thread. I also created a loop of yellow chains to attach the diploma to Barbie's hand so it would stay on. The honors sash was created by increasing dc to the width wanted and then decreasing back down to a point when the length had been achieved. DH found the parachute cord at Walmart and the tassels for the honors cord at Michaels. Unfortunately, he had to get multiple cards to get two matching colored tassels. Since I wanted the gown to be removable so the Vet outfit could be shown off I didn't sew the doll into the outfit as suggested but used snaps. I also didn't need to make the slip because I bought a dressed Barbie. The gown is see through so if you make it you will want to use the slip, make an outfit, or what I did, buy a clothed doll for the project.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Crochet Toy Sugar Bowl

I've been continuing on my donation tea set project. I finished up the sugar bowl from Amigurumi Two!: Crocheted Toys for Me and You and Baby Too but I made some adjustments. I find hollow toys tend to collapse which is why I stuffed and closed the tea pot.

However, I didn't want to close off the sugar bowl. Instead I crocheted a white circle and sewed it into the sugar bowl to hold in the stuffing and to create the illusion of sugar in the bowl. I've done this when making play toy drink cups for younger family members when they went through their toy food phases. It is an effective strategy for giving some strength to the item and providing a little extra imaginative fun with an inserted color for milk or juice. I like the way this worked out. I have the tea cups, saucers, cookie plates, and cookies still to make.

This set will be a fun addition to my annual toy donation.

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