Friday, May 14, 2021

Skipper Pretty Dress Ensemble

I'm really enjoying working with these patterns from the out of print Annie's Fashion Doll Sister and Me 87D21. After trying on this dress and the short set I'm also thinking with a smaller hook I am going to be able to give Stacie some additional clothes for the donation as well.

The Bates Bamboo steelite 1.5mm hook was the right choice for this project. I used Aunt Lydia's Size 10, Wood Violet and Red Heart Crochet, Thread Size 10, White.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Skipper Short Set

Skipper is the last of the Barbie dolls I plan on donating this year. I pruchased the Space Discovery doll sets for both Skipper and Stacie.

I pulled out Annie's Fashion Doll Sister and Me, 87D21, which I purchased but never used a decade ago when I was making Barbie clothes. At the time I'd started a collection of the digest sized fashion doll books but stuggling with my thread hooks made making many of the outfits unlikely. With new hooks comes the chance for new adventures.

I decided to start with a simple pattern in the set to see how close the sizing was for the new Skipper doll. I was wrong in my previous post about Stacie. I have a picture of the old Skipper down the bottom and these dolls are pretty much the same "size" although as I learned in the bottom picture they don't quite wear the same size clothing.

Skipper's shorts and shirt are made with size 10 thread and a Tulip Etimo Rose Steel Crochet Hook-Size 4/1.25mm. I mention the specific hook because at the moment I'm working with a series of ergonomic handled thread hooks to get a variety of sizes and it may just be the way I handle them but I don't get the same guage with all my hooks. I've been making notes on my patterns and here on my blog so I can go back and recreate items when needed.

This is the last item of furniture I found at Dollar Tree for the doll donation. I'm hopeful they will come out with more before the November deadline. Accessories always make playing with dolls more fun. I've been pleased to add the furniture, shoes, bags, and other little items from Dollar Tree for the Barbie part of the donation. I hope they continue their fashion doll offerings.

I haven't seen my orginal Skipper model in some time. I pulled her out to compare her to the current Skipper. I found the shirt was looser and I was barely able to snap the shorts closed. This is the closest fit of the three dolls to date. Her outfit fit much better than Ken or Barbie's did on their older versions. I don't know a great deal about the history of Barbie and thus Skipper. I did find it funny that the old and the new both have colored striped hair. The old had pink and the younger while now having dark hair has purple stripes in her hair.

From a dressing point of view I do like the straight arms of the old Skipper better than the bent of the modern, but that is just based on fewer ways to catch the thread/yarn as I take thc clothes on and off as I'm fitting them to the model doll.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Barbie Barbeque

One of the advantages of working on this holiday donation project is I can do seasonal projects to add to the donation. It puts me in the mood for the changing seasons and it will give the child receiving the toys outfits for the dolls that fit that changing time period too. It also allows them to have their dolls travel to a warmer climates during a cold winter day or send them skiing as my sister and I did year round.

I found this July Fourth Picnic pattern in the August 2005 Crochet World. However, while looking for another pattern I also came across the pattern at Annie's free pattern site here.

The original pants pattern had 26 chains for Barbie's waist and this made the pants small. I experimented with hooks and went up to fine weight yarn and finally decided to chain around Barbie's waist and work the pattern from there. If I do this again I'd go a couple of chains smaller but with the snap to close the back it works. Decreasing by a couple of chains would make the pants fit better.

The pattern crochets the bodice to the pants. Since my pants were now larger than the original pattern I chose to make the shirt separate from the pants. This worked for a couple of reasons. First it allowed me to experiment with the size of the shirt without pulling stitches out of the top of the pants and potentially damaging them. Second by making separates it allows the child who will receive the doll to be able to mix and match outfits more easily. The pants can be used with any number of outfits and the shirt will actually fit nicely under some of the jackets I'm hoping to finish.


I used a 1.25mm hook for the hat but I'd try a slightly smaller hook. The bottom was tight in the beginning but stretched over time especially as I added weight to the top.

I crocheted the thumb to the mitt on row 5 rather than sew it on after I made the mitts. It worked out fine and I think it is less likely to get caught or pulled during play. These mitts do not have actual thumb holes so Barbie's hand fits inside the mitt thumb included. The pattern only calls for one mitt but Barbie seems sensible and doesn't want to burn the unprotected hand so having two seemed wise.

The apron pattern is designed to be striped. I tried the stripes but I didn't like the look and opted for a single red color for the apron which was made with a .75mm hook.

This grill was part of the summer furniture I found for the donation at Dollar Tree. I've since picked up an extra set of the lounger and chair to continue using for display of new outfits once the donation heads off. I'm still looking for a grill as those seem to have sold out fast.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021


I'm continuing my quest for ocean/sea creatures to add to my summer birthday project. I found the shrimp pattern in 75 Seashells, Fish, Coral and Colorful Marine Life to Knit and Crochet and it worked up quickly.

I found the picture funny as it almost looks like he's holding up an arm yelling "No pictures, no pictures!!"

I found a used copy of this book but I'm holding on to my library edition until it arrives. Thankfully, it isn't a high volume requested item so I shouldn't have trouble renewing until my copy arrives.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Island Play Set

I've been writing about this project for a while now. I started it at the beginning of my ocean/sea birthday project. It has been finished but for the paracord for some time. I even had the paracord threaded through but was contimplating the best way to use the paracord locks. I finally decided it was time to push through and finish this project so I could focus on finishing the Ocean Tower that I hope will accompany the play set.

The Island Play Set is a free pattern and you can find it here.

I found paracord at Hobby Lobby. I looked around at different types of cord locks and decided on an oval cord lock that I found at Paracord Planet. I ordered a few as I can't imagine this will be the last set I make.

This play set is a double thick mat. This means does allow it to lay down flat, it holds up the island, and you get to hide all the ends from changing colors and sewing on the island. The downside to this additional bulk is it is harder to close. However, while not being the ultimate bag it still provides storage for the ocean/sea creatures.

The original pattern does come with a selection of creatures for the play set. As I've written about I've been using this as an opportunity to explore a range of books and patterns to create my own selection of amis for the project. As I was putting the creatures back after their photo shoot I noticed the dolphin had avoided the picture taking but he will be headed off with the birthday box. He's already back in the bag.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Ken Swim Trunks

I had a feeling from my experience with Barbie that Sweet Orchard Farm Ken Doll and my Ken from a decade ago were not going to be the same size. My shock was how much smaller the new Ken was compared to the old. I have no formal measurements for you. I don't consider myself to be any kind of Barbie expert. However, I started with the swim trunks because I figured they'd be a simple pattern to play with while adjusting for changes in size since the pattern was printed in Crochet World in June of 2009.

Like many patterns this calls for size 10 crochet thread and a size 7 hook. I can't use the traditional steel hooks which I still have one of that size so I have to work around the current available sizes. The charts I've found online translate a size 7 hook to a 1.65mm steel hook. I have a 1.6mm size 6 and a 1.75mm hook.

I actually opted to start with a 1.5mm hook. Something just said this was going to be going smaller. At 1.25mm, yes I did make the waist a few times, the waist fit the old Ken nicely. I had to get to the .6mm hook before I could get the trunk waist to fit this modern Ken.

Now some of the disparity is my issues with guage. I always have to change hook sizes when making doll clothing so I've come to expect it. However, it was interesting to have the two dolls together to test my theory. One could wear the trunks at 1.25mm the other required me to use a .6mm hook to keep them from falling off and becoming indecent.

While I have been buying some old Annie's magazines for their doll patterns recently and I do have some old Crochet World magazines I've picked up over the years, this pattern set Summertime Blues which includes a Barbie swimsuit and beach accessories is found on Dolls, Doll Clothes and Accessories, an Annie's CD Rom, it is also on the Crochet World Collection 2001-2010 DVD computer disk.

This disks are no longer available so why mention them? It is actually a reminder to myself to keep checking through resources I own for patterns. There is nothing wrong with buying new and vintage patterns but there really is no need to buy duplicates. The Doll CD has all 3 Annie's fashion doll books on it. I had books 2 and 3 before getting the CD. Recently I started looking for book 1 forgetting it was on the CD and I can easily print the patterns off the CD. I also found a few of the Fashion Doll Club patterns I've not yet purchased on the CD and taken them off my wishlist. I can focus on picking up the patterns I don't have copies of rather than buying duplicates. I'd downloaded some of these before but with my adversion to thread, I'd chosen not to print them when I first bought the collections. Now I'm exploring them again and finding some resources I'd forgotten. I sometimes focus on the patterns in the binders over resources that I should be looking at outside the sorted patterns.

A note about the lounger, I want to thank DIY Barbie Blog for her post on Dollar Tree Fashion Doll Furniture. I was able to pick up a couple of loungers, a double seat with table, and a grill to add to the yearly donation thanks to her heads up. I've been reading her blog for years but hadn't really thought about acting on her tips until I added Barbie and family to the donation this year. I'll be reading to see what other items she finds that would work for the doll donation this year.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Mermaid in a Shell Playset

This is another Laura Sutcliffe playset. You can purchase the pattern here.

This pattern is designed so you can make your mermaid as a doll dressing up as a mermaid or as a mermaid. I opted for the mermaid as there are fewer pieces to lose later. I have been making more of my ami sets with sport cotton but my hands needed a break so I wanted with worsted weight and a g hook. The designer suggests DK weight but I didn't have any suitable colors in my stash so I went with worsted 4. If I make this again I would think about the sport cotton and a smaller hook size. I like the finished set but I think it would be cuter if smaller and the shell would be sturdier in cotton.

One of the reasons I don't make many "dolls" is I really don't enjoy making hair. This was a fun wig that is sewn on and it is a great altenative to trying to "root" hair.

If you choose to go with the doll that dresses up as a mermaid there is an additional dress pattern for the doll to wear.

This set works up quickly and was a nice additional playset to add to my ocean theme birthday box.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Bee with Blanket

This is my final bee project, for now at least. I promised I'd make a second bee. You can find that free pattern here. The blanket is part of the Beehive playset I posted about earlier. I wanted to include it in this final post with the bee so I waited to make it until I started the bee. You can purchase the Beehive playset here.

The bee is made with Omega Sinfonia sport cotton and a B hook. The flower is made with worsted weight acrylic and a G hook.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Sperm Whale

You might have been expecting another bee post and I am almost done with the last bee item but the legs are small and tight to make so I'm splitting making them between other projects with larger hooks and yarn.

I also borrowed 75 Seashells, Fish, Coral and Colorful Marine Life to Knit and Crochet and wanted to try out the patterns before seeing if I could find a second hand copy of this out of print book. I'm always doubtful about buying combined knit/crochet books. I am not a knitter and when I find these books I always seem to want the knitted projects and am not really engaged by the crocheted projects. In this case there were actually crochet patterns that weren't in my other ocean/sea themed books that made hunting down this book in the second hand market worth my time.

For those of you looking for ocean/sea themed patterns I can only speak to the crochet directions. There are no hook or yarn size suggestions given. The challenge this presents is knowing how big/small the item will be as the picture for the sperm whale was misleading. I had thought the whale would be larger based on the picture and went with a smaller hook size. It became apparant as I started on the head that even with the standard hook size for this yarn that this would be a smaller ami. I quickly switched to a g hook and this was the final result.

While the directions didn't suggest doing so I was able to crochet and create the flipper and tails directly on to the ami as I went only sewing the ends in as I finished them. Since I don't love sewing the pieces together this was a plus for me.

I've been pleased with the range of characters I've been able to create so far and I do have more patterns to work from so I think this could be a fun and yes even educational set for this summer birthday box.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Beehive Pincushion

Before I found Laura Sutcliffe's Beehive Play set I had been looking for bee themed patterns specifically trying to find a hive. When I showed the honey maker the pin cushion pattern she liked that one better than some of the other hive patterns I'd found. It just goes to show you don't need to make an item for its intended purpose for it to be useful. This is a free pattern from Maggie's crochet found here.

You do need to watch the holes on this pattern while stuffing as if you don't crochet this tight you will create gaps and the stuffing will show. I used the suggested g hook for this project. I think I'd try a smaller hook the next time around and perhaps add rows if I found it was too small too keep the stitches tight. It's crochet if you are going to use this as a pin cushion crochet naturally creates holes. However, you don't want the stuffing coming out. You could also consider lining it with something to avoid that as well.

You may recognize the bee on the top of the hive it is the same bee from the Beehive play set I posted about yesterday. I liked the bee better than the one from this pattern so I just made an extra while making the bees for that set and added one to the flower from this set.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Beehive Playset

When I went looking for ideas to make bee and honey themed items for this project I was thrilled to discover one of my favorite play set designers Laura Sutcliffe had a Beehive set. You can purchase it here. I've collected quite a few of her play set patterns and if you follow this blog you will have noticed she figures quite prominetly into holiday and birthday boxes. Her patterns are fun to make and always add a little extra fun play to a gift.

While this play set comes with a bee, for this project I already had my bee design. I finished the first one back in March using a free pattern from another favorite designer Aradiya Toys you can findt the free pattern here. The bee was a huge hit and there was a request for a second.

This set also comes with a flower blanket for the bee. I'm working on that now and will post it when I finish the last bee.

If I make this set again I might use Sugar and Creme cotton or use two strands together to give the hive a little more sturdieness since you can't stuff it and it isn't well suited to adding plastic canvas or another type of interior support to make it stand out on its own. Other than that I think it is adorable and honestly if a child was playing with it I don't think they'd care. Since this is designed to be displayed I'd consider stuffing it if I didn't think they'd want the bottom to open.


I used the suggested g hook for this project with the exception of the bees. The bees were made with sport cotton and a c hook.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Beehive Hot Pad

I mentioned back in March that I was working on some bee themed projects for a honey maker. This is a free pot holder pattern from Lion Brand you can find here. I've been focused more on hot pads than pot holders because I think having something to put hot items on is more practical than using these to actually pick up pots.

I used Lily Sugar 'N Cream Country Yellow, Lily Sugar 'N Cream Yarn, White, and Lily Sugar 'N Cream Warm Brown to make this hot pad. I was happy to use this as a stash project. It is a continuing goal to use up what I have on hand where ever possible before buying more.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Lots to Love 14 Inch Doll Dress, Hat, and Booties

The Easter Bunny bought me some additional patterns including a couple for the Lots to Love 14" Doll from Petitedolls. You can purchase this pattern here.

This was the perfect chance to use up some of the Herrschner's worsted weight yarn a kind member of the Ravelry Charity Knitting group sent me for my donation project. The pattern calls for DK yarn and I've found the Herrschner's worsted 4 is much closer to DK than most worsted 4 yarns so it is a great substitute.

I've been making different sized doll patterns from this designer and for the first time I didn't end up writing the US terms on top of the UK crochet terms while working on the pattern. I was quite proud of myself. Part of the reason was the pattern was simpler than some of the others I've worked on and thus I was less likely to make a dc when I really needed a US sc. I also think I'm getting better at reading the UK terms and mentally making the translations as I work.

With the Herrschner's yarn I was able to use the suggested G hook to get all three pieces to fit as written. I used a snap to close the back of the dress rather than a tie. The booties are a good fit for the doll if I need another shoe pattern for the doll.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Clown Fish

From the fall to Christmas last year several retailers were offering BOGO type deals on books that often included crochet books. I was able to pick up many titles on my wish list including several Kerry Lord titles. The Clown Fish comes from her How to Crochet Animals: Ocean book.

This pattern worked up quite quickly. I used Hobby Lobby Sport weight yarn and a D hook. Even with the change in size the fish is still one of the larger items in the set I'm making. If I did this set again I'd go with the cotton sport weight I've been using with the hot pads and likely have a better sized fish. However, I'm happy with this little guy for this project.

One thing to note and I've read it as a critism of the book is the other doesn't specifiy hook size for the project. She suggests you use a hook appropriate to the yarn you choose. The yarn she discusses is a UK yarn and thus you are going to be choosing your own yarn for this project anyways. If you have experience with amis you have a general idea what size hook you want to get the size ami you want with the pattern you are using. I did misjudge the picture and thought the fish would be smaller and hoped by using a lighter yarn and a smaller hook mine would be even smaller. Thus my suggestion for smaller yarn the next time out.

All the pieces have arrived to finish off the island play set so I'm hoping to have that completed this weekend. I have the inner and outer layers of the ocean play tower complete so I can start making the many decorative elements that have to be added to the outer towere before they can be put together. I feel like this project is coming along.

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