Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you. I hope all of you enjoy a special day with family and friends.

A special thanks to all of you who supported the doll donation this year. It is a great undertaking each year made lighter by the support of an amazing community. I like to think our work has made this day special for lots of kids who woke up with well dressed dolls this morning.

Now work begins again for the next drive. I already have the dolls for next year and the bags are set up to put the clothes and other items in as they are made. It will be a pleasure to watch it grow.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Christmas Baby Bib

I first made this bib a couple of years ago for this baby's older sister. In my rush to get the package out the door, I never got a picture of the bib. I was determined not to make that mistake twice and made sure I got shots of all the hand made items before I packed the box to ship this time. I still managed to miss a couple of items I had wanted pictures of but nothing is perfect.

For those of you who are interested this pattern is available to purchase at Maggie's Crochet here. It works up easily in sports cotton yarn.

I used holiday buttons as decorations which led me to making it in brown with Turkey buttons for Thanksgiving for the first child. This year I didn't have time as I was pushing getting the baby gifts done for October. However, it is nice to know if you have a baby due at other times of the year changing the colors and decorations makes it a pretty bib for any time of the year.

This was another stash busting goal for me. I have all these orphan yarns left over from projects where I bought extra yarn not knowing how much I'd need to make a project. One of my goals this year is to use up some of that yarn. This used up a good bit of the white left over from the original baby bib I made 2 years ago.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Santa Hot Mat

I love holiday dishcloths and hot pads so when I saw this on e-pattern central I knew I was going to buy it and try to make it at some point. You can purchase the pattern here.

Just a few notes for myself. I need to try this with a much smaller hook size. Next time I'm going to make the back square first as this will make it easier to judge just how big a square will be made without having to deal with color changes. We learn from experience but the I hook was much too large for this project for me. Secondly, I couldn't find a pale pink color in Lily. I went to Knit Picks to get their Dishie yarn so I don't make myself crazy trying to remember what color of Lily's Sugar 'n Cream I found I didn't. Lastly I had to go down significantly in hook size to make the facial features work. I also sewed them on prior to making the back and joining so my sewing didn't show. Others may feel differently, but I prefer to hide my sewing when ever possible. The pattern suggests sewing the details on after joining. I didn't do this for the original and I wouldn't do it again in the future.

I really like the look of the hot pad, I just need him to be smaller in my next attempt.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Reindeer Christmas Ornament

I had a second Christmas package to send out and it too needed a Christmas ornament. Do to the time crunch I was looking for something that would work up quickly.

I'm a bit of a pattern collector and this was one of those patterns Michaels used to have hanging up in the yarn aisles. It is dated in 2012. I looked on their website but these patterns don't seem to be available online any longer. It was a Loops & Threads pattern if that helps you find it.

This was another great stash busting project. This is all left over yarn from previous projects.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Humpty Dumpty

Twas the weekend before Thanksgiving and all through the house the hooks were a flying the Shelties were grabbing at stuffing pusing it into their mouths.

Humpty was finished the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

I love making gifts for kids that tie to children's books. Mother Goose was a favorite of mine as a child. We knew so many of the poems. Humpty continues to be a favorite of mine and I've loved the new kids stories with Humpty as a detective. I think adding toys is a great way for kids to make a connection between favorite books and fun.

Years ago for another family member I made another Humpty found here. I do think he was cute and probably one of the best faces I've ever done. My issue is that he wasn't a traditional amigurumi he was a flat more pillow like structure. You made both sides as a panel and sewed them together. It was also quite a bit larger than most of the toys I make.

I went looking through my patterns for something different for this project and I found it in an old Annie's Crochet Newsletter July-August 1992. You can purchase the pattern at e-pattern central here. If it isn't on sale when you go there and you have time to wait I suggest doing so as they periodically have amazing sales.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Sunny Days Baby Doll Dress

I'm not sure how I missed Darski posting this free pattern at Crochetvile. You can find the pattern here. I've recently started going through the pattern list there to download and print patterns that I seem to have missed or misplaced. When I reorganized my pattern stash some went missing. On the upside it is now easier to find patterns I need and to put them away when I'm done using them. There was just that period when...

I finished this donation outfit up the week before Thanksgiving as I was rushing around trying to balance finishing Christmas gifts and make sure I finished off donation items, too.

The pattern works up quickly, another benefit when you are crunched for time. I used buttons as my decorative flowers. Darski is much more creative with making flowers to decorate her outfits.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Doll Diaper Bag Items

A funny thing happened after Veteran's Day but before Thanksgiving this year I decided to do inventory. I had stopped in September working on the doll donation project to complete the Big Sister project and then when I was done with that I dived right back into making 18 inch doll clothes and working on Christmas presents. Something kept nagging at me and I decided to go look at the big bags I keep all the donations in to do an inventory of what I had completed, what had been donated, etc. I discovered something that I needed to fix and thankfully not too long after Veteran's Day I fixed the problem. I'd only partially completed the baby doll diaper bag items. I had the wipes made for both bags and one bag had a changing pad. However I was short several other items I include every year.

The doll diaper pattern is a free one I've used for years. You can still get it through the Wayback machine here but as always I suggest downloading it and putting it somewhere safe as it can disappear anytime. What I love about this pattern is depending on hook size you can use it for a variety of dolls. I started using it for the 12" dolls when I first started this project. Now with a K hook it is still working for the 16" dolls. I sew snaps rather than using buttons. If you do this I suggest not skipping stitches as these form what will be the button holes for the project. You have more room to attach the snaps if you don't leave a hole. These were actually a nice relaxing quick project to do between other items I've been working on for Christmas gifts. It's amazing how fast they come together. For me the longest part is sewing on the snaps.

I like to make 2 diapers for each doll as it allows the child to have the doll wear one and then "change" the doll into a "clean" diaper should the child wish engage in this type of play. Before I crocheted my nieces went through the plastic reusable "disposable" type doll diapers years ago. The problem was they didn't last long as the plastic usually ripped and the children were left frustrated. It was often not easy to purchase replacements. These are more resistant to abuse and thus more likely to last. For those of you who crochet, if they do break it is easy enough to make more they are quick to whip up and don't use much yarn.

I normally crochet the baby bottles from the pattern that comes with the changing pad. However I have been inspired to reach out and try new things this year and I've had this free pattern from The Blue Crab Stitches at Midnight for years that I've never tried. So this was the year. I also love to be able to offer my readers free patterns to try when possible so this was the year to try it out. You can find the pattern here. My bottles are faceless.

The bib is another free pattern found here. As with many baby doll patterns this one needed to be adapted to fit the larger baby doll. I started with a chain 16 and did 20 rows before changing to the shaping row for the neck. It is the beauty of these patterns with a basic pattern you can make it fit most dolls. This pattern also comes with a pattern for a spoon and a baby food jar. I've made these in the past and hope to make them again in the future, but this wasn't the year to complete them for this donation. I'm glad to say I've finished what I consider to be the basics for the doll diaper bags before they needed to be donated.

Lastly, the changing pad is part of a paid pattern set for a diaper bag that can be purchased here. I have been using this set for years. The last couple of years I've been blessed that a friend from Crochetville made the bags so I haven't had to as bags are not really in my skill set. However, I love making the wipes and the other parts of the set to include. It makes for a nice play set for the baby dolls.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

American Girl Having a Heat Wave

As I mentioned in previous posts I'm trying to shake myself up and try some patterns I haven't used much before. I have a bathing suit pattern I make almost yearly. However this year I came across Having a Heat wave a free pattern in the Weatherby set I've written about previously found here.

I'm a huge fan of Darski's designs because she always adds extras like the wrap that can go around the waist or be more of a poncho depending on how one wants to dress the doll. I like including a variety of seasonal outfits in the donation and it was fun to try a new pattern for something I make yearly.

This pattern works up quickly and I found it to be a great stash buster. I was able to use up left over black yarn I had from the Down on the Farm Baby afghan and left over pink yarn from the Ariel princess dress for the wrap. It was a great way to keep with my theme of please use up some of this huge stash of yarn.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Snow Family

I posted a while back about finishing the first member of the family the little snow sister. I didn't get the chance to post updates as I completed the family so I thought I post one update of the whole family. This family is made from an out of print pattern Annie Potter presents leaflet The Snowbuddies from Snowville. I've not currently seen it released as an e-pattern but I hope some day it becomes available as it has 3 sets of snowmen including this one, a Vicotrian Christmas Caroling set, and a snowmen nativity.

The first one finished was big sister who I wrote about previously. I had intended to write about them as I finished them, but this time of the year gets busy and I finished these up the week before Thanksgiving when I was rushing to finish my Christmas presents and donations. So after posting big sister I ended up waiting to get the pictures done until everyone was completed.

Mom was the next one I took on and completed. I thought I had a brilliant idea with Mom's hat. I had purple yarn from previous afghans that I really wanted to use up and it looked promising. However, promising is not a sure thing. Thus Mom's hat is two-toned and not intentionally. However, I did finish off yarn I'd used for an afghan for a child while she was in high school who is now in college so it was nice to see the stash left overs gone and the two tone looks Ok.

One reason for choosing this pattern over several snow family patterns was the baby. The family this is going to has a big sister and a new baby this year. Having the baby snowman seemed a wonderful way to make it personal. However I wanted this set to be something that could be played with not just a decoration. The pattern calls for sewing the baby to the Mother snowmen. I didn't see this being a long term solution. So I adapted the baby doll carrier I make for the donation to a smaller snowbaby size and made it so Mom or Dad could carry the snowbaby. It can also be set down and the baby can be removed to play with at any time. My thought is next year to add a sister to the snow family. After all I can't imagine the littlest one will want to be the "baby" forever. We will see what time allows.

Papa Snowman was the last of the set to be completed and thankfully, other than baby, the one with the fewest and simplest accessories. Where the pattern suggested gluing I sewed everything on to make it more secure to endure play time. I found the button for Papa's vest from a collection of extra buttons I've acquired over the years that come as spare buttons. Mind you I'll never be able to remember which outfit they belong to, but they do make excellent buttons for items like this because they are a little different from the buttons I buy in the store. I've decided to take those odd buttons and start storing them with my doll buttons. They could prove useful.

Just a note to myself, I made Papa's scarf in long rows rather than short. My hands were getting tight from doing close ami stitches and I found the longer rows easier to make. I don't think it created any issues when it came time to wrap it around Papa's neck.

One last shot of the happy couple together.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

American Girl Mrs. Claus

My DH picked up this pattern for me a few years ago and I'm FINALLY getting around to making it for the donation. Sadly Lori Baker has closed her Etsy shop and I can't find her presence online any longer. She was one of my favorite designers. She was always on my Christmas and birthday lists of pattern requests. Her outfits were creative and generally easy for me to make which is one of my priorities when looking for donation patterns. Challenges are interesting, but time is crucial in trying to complete the most outfits I can before the drop off time. I can only be grateful for the patterns I was able to get before she disappeared.

Monday, December 9, 2019

American Girl Dovetailed

This has long been one of my favorite of Darski's 18 inch doll patterns. It has a historical look to it, but it is also quite easy to make. I love the contrast of grey, pink, and white. I wouldn't have thought to put these colors together myself, but they do look quite nice and I've used them in other outfits since I first made this outfit several years ago. I love when other people do the hard work of discovering great color matches for me.

For those of you interested in this free pattern you can find it here.

I added shoes this year using a paid pattern from a Sweet Creations pattern, School Uniform purchased here. My suggestion is if you find a shoe pattern that comes with a free or a pattern you purchase for the 18 inch dolls that works for you, keep using it for other outfits that don't come with a shoe pattern or for outfits where the shoes don't fit if you want to have crocheted shoes for your doll.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Aztec Wishes 2019 Donations Have Been Delivered!

I just want to send out a THANK YOU to all my friends at Crochetville for their amazing generosity that makes this such a great donation drive every year. It is always so much fun to be the person that gets to deliver the stuff but honestly all of you do so much to make it happen.

I do love donating to this program because the high school kids do learn valuable skills helping to organize the drive and yes the children get to play with the toys that are donated. It just expands the number of people who benefit from the hard work you do. Thanks to all of you.

One of those bags was filled with doll blankets donated by people from Crochetville and that doesn't include the 4 blankets I used for the dolls I donated. It is such a blessing and an honor to see all the beautiful work that is done.

Friday, December 6, 2019

American Girl Rain Coat

This is another pattern from the free pattern set Weatherby found here. This outfit works up quickly and I like adding it because I don't often make outdoor wear for the dolls. I like to vary the types of outfits I include in the donation and having an easy to make coat makes it an ideal choice.

At some point I need to find a boot pattern to go with this pattern.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Koala Christmas Ornaments

I love making unbreakable ornaments for people with kids or those who have kids that visit because its nice to have ornaments little ones can help hang or you don't worry too much about them touching.

I inherited my Mom's Christmas ornaments when she moved and I have a box labeled unbreakable ornaments from our childhood that were boxed separate for this purpose. When we were little these were the ornaments we were allowed to hang at the bottom of the tree. Safe for us to put on and safe for us to touch during the excitement of the holiday. Some were hand made, others purchased.

As we got older and grandchildren appeared the unbreakable still was an important feature of holiday celebrations. I can say in my own home I've been grateful that these distractions have kept other ornaments safe from little hands.

That being said as I've learned over the years unbreakable doesn't always mean unbreakable. My plastic childhood ornaments that seem to have been made of steel have been broken as I've dropped them in my adult years. However, they have been less likely to shatter than the beautiful glass ornaments from my grandmother's time that I've inherited.

So how does this all relate to the Koalas you may ask? I've tried to pass on this tradition to other family and friends with little ones who want/need their own "unbreakable" ornaments for little hands by making crocheted ornaments for their trees.

This year I opened my holiday binder to the Christmas section in search of an ornament I wouldn't mind making 2 of to send out in my Christmas package. I struggle when I need to make duplicates in short periods of time. I can duplicate doll outfits yearly, but not one after the other. So I needed a pattern that was quick, simple, and interested me enough to make 2 in a close time frame.

I've learned over the years that while it may seem a good idea to make different items for different ones sometimes it can create problems if one item is deemed to be the "better" item. So I decided why not try to make the same item slightly different for the ornaments. Thus I bring you this years Koala ornaments.

This is a free pattern found here. Now the original pattern uses sport weight yarn and I primarily work in worsted weight yarn. The patterns author kindly provided a link to someone who built on the pattern to make it the same size but using heavier weight by adjusting the rows. You can find that here. You will need both patterns if you decide to use the second pattern for the worsted weight option as the second pattern refers to directions only found in the first pattern. The pattern sets include directions for a panda bear and a brown bear too.

This is a fun project and a great way to add a little holiday cheer.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Santa Baby

I made a two holiday outfits that I mailed out with the Big Sister project and I mentioned I was working on a Christmas outfit. This was another project on my to do list after DH purchased this pattern for me a while back. The Big Sister project motivated me to start thinking about holiday outfits and as I was digging through my patterns I came across the Santa Baby pattern. You can purchase the pattern here.

I loved this pattern because despite the fact it is a 15" doll pattern it required very little adjustment to get it to fit the 16" doll. I played a little bit with the back on joining and that made the color change a bit cleaner on the back. I also used a crochet pom pom that I've used for years from an 18" doll hat pattern that has been out of print for a while. I also added white trim to the bottom of the pants. I just couldn't resist.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Snow Girl

As part of the package I'm sending for Christmas this year I'm working on a snow family. I finished her before Veteran's Day. I'm working from an old Annie Potter presents leaflet The Snowbuddies from Snowville. I've not seen this pattern reissued as an e-pattern but I will post a link should I see it become available. I finished Mom and will post her and baby when they are done. The Dad is next up on agenda to finish. I'm hoping to get a family portrait before they need to ship out.

I changed the colors on the sister to pink as that is a preferred color.

This was the perfect choice for the family it is going to as they have a new baby this year. I've seen several snowmen families but this is the only pattern set I have with a baby snowman. I'm thinking if its a hit, I'll add a second girl snowman next year as I can't imagine little sister is going to want to be the "baby" for ever.

Monday, December 2, 2019

American Girl Ariel's Dinner With Eric

I've mentioned many times how much I love Sweet Silver Creations princess dresses. Shortly after finishing Cinderella's dress I began working on Ariel's dress. You can purchase this pattern here. The shoes are another Sweet Silver Creations pattern School Uniform available here.

As I mentioned with the Cinderella dress these princess patterns do use up a considerable amount of yarn. When my husband asks me why I keep needing to buy yarn when I have so much this is one of the reasons why. While I have a considerable amount of yarn, I end up using up the princess colors pretty quickly. I am working on a strategy to target some of the orphan yarns that have been neglected in favor of the yarns I finish off on these projects again and again.

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