Friday, December 9, 2016

Aztec Wishes Donation 2016

For the first time ever I went with DH to drop off the Aztec Wishes donation at the local tech high school this morning. The coordinator of the toy drive had mentioned she'd like to meet in person, so DH and I scheduled a drop off time. I have no idea where the time has gone this holiday season. I was on track until Thanksgiving and then time seems to have just disappeared. We normally drop off right after Thanksgiving, but this year one thing or another kept coming up and we were literally up against the drop off deadline this morning and we scooted in with drop offs from our Crochetville friends Tampa Doll and Darski.

DH and I were debating if this was equal or larger than last year's donation. With different box sizes it really is hard to compare. However, I will say thanks to Darski and Tampa Doll and all those who answered my wish list requests, it is a sizeable donation to help kids have dolls to play with this Christmas season.

We had 4 18" dolls, 1 8" Baby Doll, 1 12" Baby Doll, and 1 15" Baby doll. All the dolls have clothing, most have blankets, and two of the baby dolls have carriers. We had so many 18" doll clothes they bought more 18" dolls to accommodate our offerings. I normally just send 2, but AC Moore oddly let me use a 55% coupon on a Springfield doll, which I haven't been able to do for years, so a 3rd doll suddenly became doable.

I still have 2 more of my projects to post as it's been a crazy year and Blogging has not been as consistent as I'd like. I will get to posting them though because having a written record helps me remember what I've done and gives me some clues about what to try and what to avoid the next time I pursue the project. I some how seem not to have posted Darski and Tampa Doll's contributions although I did post them on Crochetville. I'm going to include them here again to have a complete record of what has been done to keep this project going.

Tampa Doll sent the Clown doll dressed and the other two outfits as her donation this year. Her work is always so detailed. I especially loved the Dorothy dress done in thread. As someone who always struggles with my thread work, her work always amazes me.

These are Darski's donations which included an 8" baby doll and so many beautiful 18" doll outfits that it is just beyond words to describe.

As always Donna was thrilled with our donations. There was only one student there when we arrived, but on seeing all the boxes he quickly recruited other students in the program to help him bring all the donations back to the room where they are being sorted for distribution.

Friday, September 16, 2016

American Girl Granny Square Dress

I originally started out to make Red Heart's free pattern My Doll's Easter Frock found here. I ordered the yarn, began the squares and thought I'd made a good start. It didn't work out quite as I'd hoped and I had to play with the squares to get them all to fit together. I also ended up creating a top that would work with the skirt as the one from the pattern wasn't working for me. Having made all the squares I wasn't going to abandon the project, but it wasn't quite as easy as I'd hoped.

I was pleased to have rescued this outfit. I hate wasting time and yarn on projects that don't work. This one is came out to be a cute spring dress rather than the Easter outfit I had hoped to create.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

American Girl Star Wars Inspired Rey Costume

I love finding current pop culture items to add to my donations, especially when they aren't too complicated to create. This was a wonderful gift from DH and you can purchase it here.

I never got to the theater to see the movie, but I was able to borrow it from the library before I began working on the pattern, so I had some idea who the character was while I was working on the outfit.

This outfit works up quickly. I'd make the wrist warmers a bit tighter next time.

Monday, September 12, 2016

American Girl Day at the Beach

It seems funny to be posting this after Labor Day, but I really did work it up in the heat of the summer, I just never got to posting it, until DH finally took some pictures for me.

I love the idea that this is a set and not just the bathing suit. I makes it fun and a little bit of a challenge each year as I struggle to get Mr. Ducky float to cooperate inc finally coming together. You can purchase the pattern here. I keep hoping she'll design some new patterns, but I haven't seen any new doll stuff in some time from her.

Oddly enough for the first time in years I had to buy cotton to make the bathing suit. I'd forgot my suggestion to make it in worsted and realized I needed enough cotton to complete the outfit. For years I've had big balls of cotton to use, but the only colors I had left didn't seem like they'd work for a bathing set.

I will say this is one of the biggest doll donations I've done in years. I'm not sure how it happened, but my big Christmas bag is overflowing with 18" doll clothes. I've had to remove the dolls from the bag to make room for all the clothes I've made. It could be the bulk of the princess dresses that is causing the issue. They are more full than most of the outfits I've made in the past.

Monday, August 15, 2016

American Girl Crochet Ghost

I love finding new Halloween patterns for the dolls. This one was a birthday present from DH and you can purchase it here.

The only thing I'd change next time is I'd sew the eyes on a bit lower. Other than that I was quite pleased with the outfit. It was quick and easy to make and it makes a fun holiday outfit.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

American Girl Moss Stitch Shirt and Woven Stitch Skirt

I love textured stitches and when I can incorporate them in the doll's outfits it is always fun. This pattern was a birthday present from my DH and can be purchased here. After making so many princess outfits the dolls need some regular outfits as well. There will be a wide selection in this year's donation.

I plan on using the top pattern again to match a skirt I'd made previously and didn't have a top to match.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

American Girl Belle

It's amazing how much better a project works out when you have the supplies. Before starting the next time I made sure I checked my stash and pulled out two skeins of matching blue for the project.

I am not as crazy about the square neckline of this project as I've been about some of the other projects. However, the rest of the project was wonderful. I loved the skirt and the shoes in particular. Shoes have never been a strength of mine, but her pattern seems to work for me and I've used it with other outfits that lack shoes when I've been motivated to add them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

American Girl Belle First Attempt

One of my goals every year is to downsize my yarn room by using up the yarn I have on hand to make as many of the donation doll clothes as I can. Some require unique or specific yarn I have to buy, but I'm always surprised at how many outfits I can make just using my stash on hand. The key is to make sure you do have the stash on hand before starting the project.

That was the story behind this dress. I thought I had multiple skeins of this blue when I started and while not the suggested color for the Belle pattern, found here, I liked it. The pattern was easy to follow and I thought I was starting to get my groove back when I went to search for the second ball of yarn. Much to my surprise what I thought was a matching skein turned out to be a slightly different shade of blue.

At that point I decided it still made a cute outfit and decided instead of abandoning it to finish it off and restart the Belle outfit again, this time making sure I had the two skeins I needed.

Monday, August 8, 2016

American Girl: The Frog Princess

Yes, I finally have some outfits to post again. I had some trouble crocheting for a bit and then once I started it took me a bit to get back into the groove.

First up we have another one of the Princess outfits my DH put in my Christmas bundle. You can purchase the pattern here.

This was my first attempt back and not my best. The skirt worked out fine, but I struggled with the top and the head piece. The directions and my hook just didn't seem to work together to create what the designer intended. I've found the directions were a bit clearer in her other princess patterns. I think next time I'd rework the head piece and the top a bit more.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Little Spring Dress for 12" Baby Doll

As I mentioned in the previous post this pattern was gifted to me by a Crochetville Fairy Godmother during one of our Wishlists. The pattern is available for purchase here.

I've yet to get it to fit the doll I intended it for when I put the outfit on the wishlist. This time I decided I'd have more control with a lighter yarn so I went with Caron Simply Soft for the variegated color. It soon became clear that the outfit was better suited to the smaller Melissa & Doug 12" Baby doll. That worked out fine since I tend to end up with far fewer outfits that will fit the smaller baby doll by donation time. One less pattern for the 15" doll hardly seems a problem.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

American Girl Little Spring Dress

I know I said I hit a snag on making American Girl clothes and I did. This was actually destined to be an outfit for the 15" inch baby doll. I received the pattern as a gift from a Crochetville Fairy Godmother. The pattern is available for purchase here.

When I started the dress it was too tight for the 15" baby doll's stomach. This is not an uncommon occurrence when I make outfits for the doll. Its tummy is a bit larger than many other dolls in the size range. I added some stitches to give it space and before I knew it the outfit was too large. Before frogging it, I decided to try it on the 18" doll to see if there was any saving it because I liked the look and the colors. I thought it made for a cute summer dress for the 18" doll and so we have another outfit to add to the donation pile.

As an added benefit, more of my friend's seemingly endless supply of off white yarn was used for this project. She really has been a huge part of this year's donation.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sunshine Sundress for 12 Inch Baby Doll

This project helped me reach a couple of my goals for this year increasing the number of outfits for the 12" Baby Doll and to use up yarn on hand. I had ordered more Red Heart soft yarn than I needed for another project, so using up a partial skein for this outfit seemed like a good choice. If you don't recognize the pattern, this is the same sundress pattern that I used for the 15" doll dress I made in pink. You can find that pattern here. The Red Heart soft was a lighter yarn and I used a smaller hook. In order to finish off the skein I made a small basket to go with the outfit.

I'm on my way to having a decent number of outfits for the smallest of the donation dolls this year. Being willing to experiment with using the larger doll patterns with lighter yarns and smaller hooks seems to have helped with the job.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Green Variegated Dress for 15 Inch Baby Doll

This dress was a bit of an experiment and a hybrid of two patterns I was exploring. I discovered a free baby doll dress here that I tried several times to complete unsuccessfully. There were parts that appealed so I decided I'd combine it with the 14" Baby doll dress I'd previously had success with found here. I changed the hat using front and back post stitches to make it a little different. It was actually fun to make something for the doll in non-traditional baby colors.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Baby Doll Basket for 12 Inch Baby Doll

One of the first set of projects I finished when I hit my 18 Inch doll block were the baskets. They can be tough on the hands as they are worked with the heavier Homespun yarn which while perfect for these baskets is a bit more challenging at times to use than traditional worsted yarn.

I use the pattern from Dressing Up Dolly, Leisure Arts 2725 and instead of using 2 pieces of yarn for the thickness, I use one and it works fine for the smaller doll. I found a pattern in my stash for another doll basket/carrier that was for a Cabbage Patch doll. I'm not sure where it is from, I'll have to research. I may try that one for next year as it goes a bit higher and would give more support to the doll. We'll have to see if it goes together as easily as this one.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

15 Inch Baby Doll Sundress with Hat

This is one of the patterns I've been using the longest and is one of the easier patterns on my regular pattern list. It has slipped off the web and can only be accessed through the Wayback machine here. Sometimes people will reload their patterns in other domains, but I've yet to locate this one. I will add it to my list of doll pattern if I do. My suggestion would be to download it now if you want it. The Wayback machine can be unreliable for keeping links.

This pattern is very flexible in sizing and while originally designed for a 14" Fisher Price doll I had no trouble adapting it to my bigger 15" doll. I also love that doesn't require buttons or snaps. I'm always happy when I can avoid sewing. It slips on and off easily for little hands, which is also a plus.

This is where I used up most of the yarn I mentioned in the Watermelon dress post. I made this dress first and thought I'd had enough left over for the 12" doll pattern. It's always hard to know when you are working with a yarn you aren't familiar with on a project you are adapting. For my own notes to make this fit this doll I required a K hook and joined after the first row to avoid needing any buttons. I chained 21 for the straps.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Watermelon 12" Baby Doll Dress

One of the things I've enjoyed this year is trying to adapt patterns, yarns and hooks to get one pattern to fit both baby doll sizes. This is an adaptation of a free 14" baby doll pattern found here. The yarn was a lighter weight kind of coarser yarn I inherited when a friend passed away. I had used up most of the yarn on another project but thought I'd have enough to finish the outfit for Melissa & Doug 12 Inch Baby Doll. I underestimated the amount of yarn I needed, but got to thinking about color combos I'd seen for a child's dress and decided to experiment with some Red Heart Lime colored yarn. It worked, creating my Watermelon Outfit.

This encourages me because in years gone by, I've stuck to experimenting with outfits for the 15" doll, but been far more hesitant to play with stuff for the smaller doll, meaning that she always goes off with a smaller bag of clothing for the donation. This will be the largest donation that goes off with her to date.

It has also been great to use up more of the donated yarn in my friend's memory. I need the room and it makes me feel good to know her legacy is one that will make little ones happy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Doll Basket for 15" Doll

As it happens every year at some point I start having problems with the 18 inch doll cloths. Thankfully this year I had a bag overflowing with doll clothes before that wall approached. As soon as two projects didn't work I decided to switch to baby doll projects and see what I could finish before I needed to take my yearly crochet break.

This project comes from Dressing Up Dolly, Leisure Arts 2725 and the blanket is from the 2016 Crochet Calendar. I used the required hook and two pieces of Homespun yarn to make the basket. This year I made the pillow and blanket from Homespun as well.

Monday, April 25, 2016

American Girl's Frozen's Elsa

Sadly, I got behind in my posting again. I finished this well before Easter, not too long after the Anna outfit. However, with the craziness of lots of things going on getting pictures taken never happened and then when they did, I never got them posted.

I made this outfit for the first time last year. This year, I've become more accepting of needing a larger hook to deal with tighter stitches. I'm still not crazy about the way the shoulder's fit, but short of redesigning the top, I'm stuck with that.

I got Tara Cousin's Elsa pattern as part of a package, but you can find the single outfit here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

American Girls Frozen's Anna

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 14, 2016

American Girl Sleeping Beauty

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

American Girl Mermaid

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 7, 2016

American Girl Snow White

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

American Girl Summertime Frills for Dolls

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 29, 2016

American Girl V-Stitch Skirt and T-shirt.

While I've bought yarn for specific projects, I am still committed to reducing my stash yarn this year. I found this free crochet pattern on ABC Knitting here for the skirt. I do find it funny that ABC Knitting has a good supply of free crocheted doll patterns, but I'm not one to complain. The yarn is Knit Picks fingering yarn that's been in my stash for a bit.

The shirt pattern was the t-shirt pattern from the farmer outfit. You can purchase the pattern here. This was a chance to use a very old skein of baby yarn I'd picked up at a senior center sale several years ago.

I like the skirt and would make it again. The texture and drape makes it a nice choice. It has the look of a thread skirt without having to actually use thread.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

American Girl Sailor Dress

I remember seeing pictures of these types of outfits in my Grandmother's picture albums. The white sailor outfits, different for boys and girls, were worn during the summer months. I can't imagine what it was like to keep them clean.

I picked up a thread pattern a couple of years ago, but completing even one thread outfit a year is a challenge for me. I know some love crochet thread, but it is always an adventure for me. Yarn is my medium. I was thrilled to find a pattern that had the same theme, but used yarn instead of thread. It arrived as part of my Valentine's presents. You can purchase the pattern here.

The hat pattern was the first item I made and it helped me establish what yarn and hook to use. The sport yarn proved to be too light and I switched to worsted and then moved up to an I hook. The hat was one of the cuter ones I've made recently. I love the way the designer used fp stitches to create the creases in the dress. I also love the shoe pattern.

I have been using small balls of yarn to make some additional shoes to add to my donation. I often find making shoes challenging. This pattern was quite easy and I didn't find the toes sticking through the ends of the shoes, which is a problem I sometimes have with crocheted shoes.

I'm on a mission to use up yarn when I can instead of leaving behind little balls so I added a purse to the outfit which is not included in the pattern. However it is a from a free Red Heart Summertime Thrills Pattern found here. I've gotten pieces for two outfits now from this pattern without actually finishing the Summertime Thrills outfit itself. I'm still waiting on some yarn I need to finish the skirt.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

American Girl Farmer

I love patterns that dig into stash yarn I haven't used in a long time. This pattern was another of my Valentine's presents from my DH. You can purchase the pattern here.

The shirt for this outfit is made using Lustersheen. The last time I actually purchased Lustersheen was during my Barbie clothes making days. The girls I made those outfits for are now respectively in Middle School and High School, so while I've slowly found other uses for it, I haven't been replenishing the supply as it has been reduced. I was quite pleasantly surprised not only to find another use for it, but to have the exact color required by the pattern. That so rarely happens for me.

The only major problem I had with this pattern was one of the issues that made Barbie clothes so painful, sewing the snaps. I had to remove one of the sides of the bottom snap because while working around the thin, almost thread like fiber of the Lustersheen I'd caused it to bunch up the outfit when snapped. All was fixed when I removed and replaced. It did remind me why I prefer working with regular yarn.

The pants were fun and much nicer to work on than the scratchy ones I made a few years ago. They require worsted weight yarn I had on hand so again a great stash busting project, I'll be coming back to for more outfits.

I required a G hook for the Lustersheen, a K for the pants and the hat. I make those notes to remind myself when I come back to the outfit.

The flower button came from the supply sent to me by a swap partner on Crochetville. It used to be a great tradition on Crochetville that sadly has fallen by the wayside. However, I have some great memories and the button supply has been a great bonus this year as I'm working on adding some extras to my projects.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

American Girl Yoke Skirt and T-Shirt

Today's post is an example of why just storing links is not enough you need to download and store the patterns safely or have printed copies before the links disappear. Even with recovery links, they only last a little while when they disappear.

The Yoke skirt pattern was one of the early patterns I downloaded from ABC knitting's crochet patterns for the 18 Inch dolls. At least for the moment you can still find the pattern here. It's been sitting in my 18" doll binder for years but sadly I'd never made it.

This year I was playing with gauge trying to figure out how to master the t-shirt from the free Red Heart Summertime Frills pattern found here when I decided to make a sample with yarn I wasn't as concerned about destroying. I played with it a few times and liked the look. Having finished the shirt, I realized it wasn't the right color for the Red Heart outfit, so I needed something for the bottom. I had some Navy yarn I wanted to finish off and remembered the Yoke skirt pattern. Thus again out of my practice was born another outfit.

The Yoke skirt actually brought me back to my own Jr. High School days. I've not seen a wrap skirt for the 18" dolls at least in crochet. They were all the rage during my Jr. High school days although ours were cloth and had cloth ties instead of buttons. I had almost forgotten the fashion until I started working on the outfit and trying to figure out how the skirt was supposed to be joined. As I looked more closely at the pattern I came to realize it wasn't going to be joined in the traditional sense, but was more like the wrapped skirts of my youth.

Monday, February 22, 2016

American Girl Dorothy of Oz

I found Ruby Red Sprinfield Doll shoes on sale a few months ago while out shopping and decided I had to find a pattern to match them. I realize the traditional Dorothy pattern is a gingham check, but this pattern was a simple alternative. I have a thread pattern from Treasure Heirlooms that I hope to complete someday that does create that look. However, thread outfits are not in the cards this year.

DH was kind enough to purchase the pattern for the outfit here as a Valentine's present. The pattern also comes with a pattern for shoes and a finger puppet and basket. I already had shoes, which is why I went looking for the pattern, so I chose not to make them. I made the dog and basket from The Wizard of Oz Crochet that I had purchased a while back. I was not as happy with Toto as I'd hoped, but it was a better alternative than the puppet.

This is a great jumper pattern and I can see making it in multiple colors for different projects other than Dorothy. It was an excellent choice to add to my pattern collection.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Valentine's Brought Crochet

Along with beautiful flowers and a very nice dinner, DH picked up several patterns that I've wanted for Valentine's Day.

I'm always looking to add to my doll patterns for my donation project so I got a few of those.

Dorothy of Oz I've already finished this one and it should be ready to post next week. This seems to be her only 18 inch doll pattern. I'm hoping she makes more.

Sleeping Beauty This continues my fairy tale princess collection. I now have her Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty. I've finished Cinderella and hope to get to the other two soon. I'm not sure if I'll pursue any of the other princesses in her collection. They seem a bit beyond my talents. We'll see how I feel after I finish the last two.

Sailor Dress I found a sailor dress a while back made from thread. I am so grateful to find one that uses yarn. I understand the wonders thread can do for detail and design for outfits, however, I am not a fan of working with it. I finish maybe one or two thread outfits a year and then do nothing for months. Having a yarn option is huge for me.

Farmer I had a pattern for overalls that I made a few years ago that were adorable but they required a heavier weight itchy yarn and my hands itched for days. Just thinking about it now makes my hands itch. This calls for traditional worsted yarn. I'm happy already thinking about the alternative.

The last pattern was for a set of ami's from the Game of Thrones. I've never seen the show but the patterns are adorable. The patterns are here.

This should keep me busy for a while.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

15 Inch Baby Doll Nightgown

I have yet to actually attempt an outfit for the poor doll this year. Each one has been a result of a failed attempt of one of the 18 inch doll projects repurposed for a baby doll outfit. As I mentioned in a previous post I struggled mightly with Darski's nurse's outfit. I don't know why, but I just had trouble getting it to work. This was one attempt that had gone to far to pull out and start over. Since the nurse's outfit buttons in the front, I turned it, used pink trim around the neck and ties for closing in the back. I then did a chain/sc trim for the bottom of the outfit. It is nice to know when I get started working on the 15 inch doll clothes she won't be starting with an empty bag.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

American Girl Princess

I am always grateful to those who design and donate their patterns for free use. It means I can stretch my donation dollars even farther. I downloaded this free pattern last year and it looked far more complicated than it was to make so I didn't make it for last year's donation. This year I've been targeting projects that I can make with yarn on hand and this one seemed possible. You can find the pattern here.

The pattern designer focused on the beads when she named her outfit, however, I loved the medieval princess look. I actually didn't include the beads. One I didn't have pearl beads on hand. Second, I'm not a huge fan of sewing beads into my crochet. Lastly, if the doll is going to be displayed those beads have a good chance of survival. If the doll is going to be played with and changed frequently the odds are less likely the beads don't end up on the floor of her new home. I went without.

What surprised me was how easy it was to make the underskirt and then crochet the over skirt after the fact. It was one of the reasons I hadn't approached the project in the previous year. It looked complicated to me. However, it was easy once I got started.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

American Girl Nurse

This donation project is dedicated to my Aunt, a most remarkable and generous hearted woman, whom I miss very much.
My Aunt, who passed away a few years ago taught me to crochet and the little basics I understand of knitting. She became a nurse when they still wore the caps and the uniform. This was my attempt to honor her memory. It was fun to realize the memories others have of that period in nursing. I volunteer with a retired nurse and she was giving me hints about the style of uniforms and how they differed by schools as I told her about the outfit I was attempting to make. She was thrilled when she found out the pattern had the cape.

I decided to tackle this project while I was waiting on the yarn to make the Red Cross historical nurse. I attempted Darski's nurse pattern (Ode to Florence and the Ode to Florence Cape) one more time although I still didn't do it justice. I didn't get the dress quite the way I wanted it, but I'm happy with the cape and the nurse's cap. You can find the free pattern here.

I'm waiting on the yarn to make the Red Cross historical nurse. I know the historical outfits are often popular so I thought I'd try making it. At the moment I'm working another doll pattern, Dorothy of Oz, that I got as a Valentine's present. It is a simplified single color pattern rather than the blue checks, but it's cute. I found the shoes on clearance after Christmas and thought it would be fun to try an outfit. I'm thinking of trying the Toto that came in an ami kit rather than the one that came with the doll pattern. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Donate to the Red Cross and Get Red Heart Red Cross 18 Inch Doll Nurse Pattern

Red Cross and Red Heart have teamed up to offer a beautiful Red Cross nurses outfit that fits the popular 18 inch dolls. If you go to the Red Heart link here and make a $10 donation Red Heart will send you the PDF's for both the knit and crochet patterns to make a historical Red Cross nurse. If you want to see the picture before making a decision, you can get a glimpse of the pattern there, too. I don't post pictures I don't own. The yarn is on order so I haven't made my outfit yet, so I can't share that picture either.

I wasn't sure how it worked and was a little confused when I clicked on the Red Cross link on the Red Heart site. It gave me all the information about donating, but nothing about the pattern. However, donating $10 to the Red Cross didn't seem like a bad choice so I made my donation. In under two weeks an email landed in my SPAM box with both the knitted and crocheted pattern. You don't have to choose. They send you both. Also, keep an eye out in your SPAM box. It may not recognize the pattern as a legit email.

This pattern is only available until March 31. However, they stated they plan on having another pattern available in 3 months. Nothing as to what type of pattern, but I'll be on the look out to see if it is another doll pattern.

Friday, February 12, 2016

American Girl Dress

I saw a free pattern for an American Girl Wrap Sweater Dress here. I love the blend of a variegated top and a solid colored bottom. I downloaded the pattern, but struggled with the skirt. Not terribly surprising, I had another pattern similar to this I've never gotten to work. I always end up with a ballooning skirt instead of the beautiful webbed skirt you can see in the pictures provided by the designer.

I tried the pattern twice during the Super Bowl game and then once on Monday. When I realized it wasn't working for me, I decided it was time to move forward and add a dc skirt instead. I love the color contrasts in this dress. The picture sadly doesn't do them justice. I may try something like this with a few other variegated colors.

I'm working on a dress with an underskirt pattern at the moment. I ordered the yarn I need for the Redheart Redcross Nurse pattern and I'm hoping to get to work on that when it arrives.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

15 inch Baby Doll Dress with Pinafore

As I mentioned in the Chef post, I started out making the Chef's shirt with some pink baby yarn from my stash. It fit, but it was tight. Then I made the apron with the left over baby yarn from the chef's hat and it was too small. That's when I decided it was time to rethink my approach. After reading the pattern I realized the shirt was supposed to be made from worsted weight yarn. For my purposes the apron also needed to be made from worsted weight yarn. The next step was what to do with what I'd made. I tried the shirt on the baby doll and it fit. From there it was all about rethinking the outfit.

I loved the feel of the yarn and it seemed like it would make a nice soft baby doll outfit. I added a skirt and finished off the pink skein making a hat. After seeing the hat on the doll's head I realized the apron would make a cute pinafore. All my problems solved. Another skein emptied from my stash.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

American Girl Chef

This has to be one of my favorite outfits of the year. It is one the outfits in Darski's free pattern Howdy Neighbor and you can find the pattern at Crochetville here.

I searched through my friend's stash and had a trip back into time as she had a skein of white baby yarn purchased from Rich's to make the Chef's hat. Rich's has been out of business for years. However, it was a shopping staple of my Mom's for years when I was a kid. I spent many hours in their yarn aisle while my Mom picked up yarn for her latest knitting project. Finding that skein brought back pleasant memories.

After making a mistake reading the yarn requirements where I used up some pink and white baby yarn I had on hand for the shirt and apron that turned into a baby doll outfit I'll post later, I stuck with worsted weight yarn for the rest of the outfit.

I chose light pink because other than the light sport yarn I didn't have any darker pink worsted weight yarn. I'm on a bit of a yarn diet. Not a fast because I will buy yarn for a specific project. For instance, I got the pattern for the special Red Heart Red Cross nurse outfit and I don't have the yarn to make it. I'll pick up the yarn for that project. However, I'm resisting the urge to build up colors to have them on hand until I reduce the yarns I have on hand. I need to get the yarn under control before it becomes a hoard. It needs to be contained.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

American Girl Grey Lady

My husband bought me this pattern as one of my Valentine's gifts two years ago. You can purchase the pattern here.

I love this pattern. It always makes me think of an old fashioned governess outfit. The texture of the top of the dress is delightful. I think I might actually wear a sweater if it was that soft. I was able to use Bernat and Red Heart yarn I had on hand, so it contributed greatly to my stash busting project.

I used the suggested g hook on the skirt, the h hook actually made the skirt portion of the dress too large. In order to make the upper portion of the dress fit I used an H hook and it fit comfortably getting the dress on and off. It wasn't too loose as the skirt had been when made with the larger hook. Using the H hook I was able to use snaps as suggested since the top had the room. Previously when I made this I had to change to buttons because the top was too tight.

The one addition I made this year was embroidering a design on the purse. It seemed kind of plain and I wanted to add something simple. It is not a talent of mine, but I thought it came out OK.

I have several more outfits to post this week. I'm currently working on a dress with an underskirt. I've never tried anything quiet like this before. It reminds me a little bit of trying to put clothes on an ami working in front and back loops. I'm hoping it all works out and I can post about it next week.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

American Girl Ballet

This has become one of my favorite free patterns as it works for both the 18 inch doll and the 15 inch baby doll and you find it here.

I've altered the pattern to use an I hook and worsted weight yarn. I was also able to use up more of my friend's yarn on this project. I am making progress there, but I have a long way to go to finish it all off. There will be lots of doll projects to come.

For those of you who are curious, I make no suggestions regarding hook sizes or gauge. My gauge has been all over the place, but I have found the notes I make from one year to the next give me a starting point. It isn't always accurate for the next year, but it prevents me from starting all over.

I've started on another grey project. I've been trying to target my projects to match the yarn on hand. I've made this pattern before, but sure enough gauge again was an issue. I'll write more about that when I post.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

American Girl Dovetailed

I have made many outfits over the years from free patterns designed by Darski. Most of them are available on Crochetville, but I can't find the link to this pattern there. If I get a link to the pattern I will add it to this post.

I've had this pattern in my binder for some time, but this year seemed to be the year to attempt it. It was much easier than I expected and I think I will return to it again.

The hook size was accurate for me. I didn't need to change it, which has been unusual with my gauge issues this year.

This project helped me with my destashing project as well. I finished up a ball of yarn left over from the Pilgrim outfit. I also was able to use a button from the bag of buttons I received from a swap partner a while back for the hat. It's nice to be able to shop in your own stash to be able to finish your projects.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

American Girl Pumpkin Costume

I am so grateful for the people who design and offer their patterns for free. This allows me to stretch my donation dollars so much farther.

As I mentioned before I like making holiday costumes for my doll donation project. This outfit was published as two patterns. The dress can be found here. The hat can be found here.

If you are comfortable working in back and front posts this is a fun pattern to work up for the 18-inch dolls. I made my dress slightly longer than the pattern called for as it was rather short in my estimation. I also played a bit with the top of the hat.

Monday, February 1, 2016

American Girl Prairie Girl

My friends and I were huge fans of the Little House books long before there was a TV series. My teachers used our interest to engage us in exploring western exploration. I saw this pattern and it reminded me of how much fun we had exploring that time period. It reminded me of the calico patterns our Mom's sewed up for us. You can't really get calico in crochet, but this was my attempt. I used the colors I had.

I put the pattern on my Christmas wish list and was quite happy to find it under the Christmas tree. You can purchase it here.

Just a few small criticism of this pattern. First there is no brand of yarn listed for this pattern while there is a specific color pattern that I'd like to use. I have a pretty good idea what the yarn is, however, I get frustrated when I see a pattern I like and I'm left guessing how to achieve the same color. Secondly there was no gauge or suggested hook size. As someone who is struggling with gauge right now I depend on knowing where people started to have some ability to guess how I'm going to adapt. I prefer it when people provide a gauge, but at a minimum, when I pay for a pattern I expect at least a hook suggestion. That's just a basic level of professionalism when you are charging people for your work.

On the plus size there was a mistake on the pattern and I emailed the designer because while I thought I could figure it out the directions were not clear. I got a response back clarifying the directions and I appreciated the response. I will add her comments to the printed pattern to have for the next time I work through it. I will look to see if she makes other doll patterns. I liked this pattern and I would consider others if she publishes them.

I did change one major portion of the pattern. I avoid sewing when ever possible. So, instead of making the skirt as suggested and sewing on, I crocheted the first row of the skirt to the bodice and continued the pattern from there. I didn't have a problem with the outcome.

Just a note to myself, I used an H hook for the skirt waist moving to an I for the skirt and an I for the bodice. It made for a fuller skirt and it made the bodice wide enough to fit the body of the doll.

I used up the Red Heart Super Saver left over from the second blanket I made. I believe I have one skein of the Super Saver that the original pattern was made from in the pattern picture. With the potential for snow a week ago when I started this outfit it seemed best to start with what I had. I'm thinking about trying to find a second skein to make the outfit for the other donation doll.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

15 Inch Baby Doll Dress

I promised myself I wasn't going to start any baby doll clothes until I was sure I had enough 18 Inch clothes for the year. Last year I started some baby doll clothes to get me out of a crochet block I was having and made lots of baby doll clothes, but not as many 18 inch clothes as I hoped to make.

I kept my pledge, this was actually supposed to be a ballet dress for the 18 inch doll made from a free pattern found here. Based on my notes from last year when I repeated a mistake almost like last years. I knew I needed to use worsted weight yarn for either doll. I also knew I needed to increase the hook size. I increased it to an H and it fit the baby doll nicely. It was a little tight last year when I made it with a G.

For the 18 Inch doll I'm trying the waist with an H and the rest of the outfit with an I hook.

I love this outfit for both dolls. It requires no sewing, buttons or hooks. It is rare I can find a pattern that will work for both with minimal adjustments. I just hadn't planned on making anything for the baby dolls just yet. I've already started reworking the outfit for the 18 inch doll and should be able to post that next week.

I also had the added benefit of using up more of my friend's yarn on this outfit and the ballet outfit I hope to finish soon.

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