Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Tiniest Crochet Project

Some years ago I purchased a book titled Creative Crocheted Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay. I didn't crochet at the time, although I did make cloth dolls, albeit much larger dolls than the doll projects in the book. What inspired me (and the reason I bought the book) are the techniques for such things as hair, wings, masks, etc. Buried in the middle of the book is a whole chapter on crocheting clothes for a pocket doll. There's even a pattern for a tiny stuffed armchair for the pocket doll to sit in.

By the time I got my crochet skills to the point where I could manipulate a 2mm crochet hook and size 10 thread (yes, I know there are smaller hooks and threads out there, but I can't see well enough to use them) I got the book out again and studied the patterns in earnest. I wouldn't have to make a pocket doll to wear them. I have RealPukis.
If you're unfamiliar with FairyLand dolls, the photo above should give you some idea of comparative sizes. (Never fear, I haven't sold off the rest of my FairyLand dolls. These are merely representative of each size I own). They range in size from the 60cm (23.5in) FeePle 60 boy to the 9.7cm (3.75in) RealPuki. Here is another photo of the largest with the smallest:
I'm surprised I even felt like doing another crochet project after making all those beach hats and bags for last week's doll meet-up, but I had the book out anyway and crochet thread in a lot of colors to work with, so I guess it was inevitable. The first thing I discovered is that the patterns in the book are slightly too big for RealPuki. Maybe if I were to go down in hook and thread size they would fit as written. For that to happen I'll need to buy some crochet hooks with ergonomic handles and then schedule myself for cataract surgery. Last year my eye doctor said it wasn't necessary yet. We'll see what she says this year.
Here is Papilio in a top from the book. The only change I made was to make it as a vest so I wouldn't have to put it on over his head. If he wasn't wearing bulky pants underneath it, the top would be much too loose, although the shoulders might actually sit where they're supposed to. The sides were exactly the same length before I sewed the front to the back, so I'm not sure what happened there. I'll need to make some adjustments before I crochet another one.
I had better luck with dresses, probably because I took one look at the photo of the finished dress in the book and realized it would never fit. Instead I made a skirt and gave it a bib front with ties to fasten in back. Kaka wears the one in lilac (above). Pupu wears the blue (below).
Soso wears what started out as short pants. They look a lot longer now that they're finished. I gave them a bib front to avoid making a separate top. Both pairs of pants were constructed on the fly, i.e., I'd crochet a couple of rows, see how they fit the doll, then do a few rows more, etc. As a first effort they're not too bad, but obviously there's a lot of room for improvement.
And here's the whole RealPuki gang. I'm lucky that they're so easy to please. (At least I think they're pleased...)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Vermont (and Montreal) Doll Lovers, June 17, 2017

What an exciting meet-up we had yesterday! Not one, not two, but three members of a Montreal BJD group paid us a visit. With resin! Bring on the photos!

I'm starting with the group photo we took at the end. It's incomplete, as Bittersweet Blue had to leave early, but it's still an impressive group. Although we started arranging them by size, our efforts were frustrated by the fact that some dolls had chairs instead of stands. Then two of Lyrajean's cats decided to sit in a pair of shoes and one of Modern Wizard's tinies fell asleep on an air mattress. You'll need to enlarge the photo to see all the tinies. See if you can find the itty bitty cat skeleton. (Click on photo to enlarge.)
Here are Modern Wizard's dolls: Elfdoll tinies Kai, Olivia sleeping, Dodo and Winky. I think the cat skeleton is hiding in the sand.
Lyrajean's dolls included Volks SDGr Jun, Date and Chiyo, tinies YoSD Kira, Custom House Ai Uriel and Sariel, as well as her cats Hujoo Freya (in leopard suit), Spiritdoll Bastets and Calico Critters:
And this big girl (Spiritdoll Camellia) with tiny Xagadoll Sylvia at the bottom of the photo:
From Montreal comes Sevore's Wind, a 45cm Myou Doll:
Also from Montreal comes this group. From left to right (apologies for cutting Unoa Lusis in two--she gets her own photo below) Assaliah's Unoa Lusis, YoSD Ayumi and Unoa L-Bi; Sevore's Iplehouse hybrid Raffine head on nYID boy body; and Urban Hermit's Impldoll Joshua, Immortality of Soul Anima head on Ringdoll Grown body, with tiny Impldoll Simon and Mattel Harley Ken:
Here is the Lusis who got cut in half in the previous photo:

Vermont's Bittersweet Blue brought a tan MiniFee Chloe and bathing beauties Dollzone Linlan (on the right) and (does anyone know who the girl on the left is?):
My crew rocked the beach theme (if I do say so myself). Here they are as a group. Back row, left to right: Iplehouse FID Lawrence with Raccoon girls Gene, Monica and Lucy. Front: Dollmore Judith Suntan Maxima Zinna and FairyLand tan LittleFee Ante.
Here are a few more shots:
That's it until next month. Theme to be announced.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Last Two Beach Outfits

The beach themed doll meet-up is next Saturday. Lucky for me, I sewed the last two outfits this week. I know what you're thinking: Great! Now you can sit back and relax all week. Well, actually, no. I still have accessories to crochet (hats and tote bags) and sew (cover-ups), so it will be a crazy week as usual.

I had planned to crochet a bikini for LittleFee Ante but got bogged down in the instructions for the panty. Had I persisted, I would probably still be working on it now. Instead, I gave in to the need for something sure and speedy and put together three pieces from Gracefaerie's #38 Hugs and Kisses.
I'm sure this pattern is a breeze to sew in the larger sizes, but making the top for LittleFee proved a challenge. The garment construction is unlike anything I've made before. Most patterns for a lined bodice have you join the main fabric and lining at the armhole or sleeve edges. That way when you turn it you have a clean, perfect seam. Sewing up the sides usually comes last. This pattern does the opposite. All you do for the sleeve edge at the beginning is stay stitch, clip, turn under and press. No basting to hold it in place, no pins, nothing. You put the sleeve main fabric and lining together at the end. Now, my glove size is Small, so you know I'm not going in there with big, fat fumble-fingers. Even so, I could barely get one finger into the sleeve opening as I tried to re-position the hem edges that perversely had turned themselves out. The things I said as I struggled with it cannot be printed in a family-oriented blog. It was that bad. It all came together in the end, thank goodness. Will I sew from this pattern again? Doubtful. Is it cute? Yeah!
I don't know about the hat. There are patterns for three different clothing sizes in the envelope, but the hat is one-size-fits-all. That makes it big for a LittleFee, in my opinion. It didn't help that I put fairly wide lace all around. With smaller lace or without lace altogether the proportions might look better. The pattern called for woven, fusible interfacing, which I didn't have. I did have buckram, however, which is typically used for hats. So instead of fusing interfacing to the front and back fabric pieces, I used one thickness of buckram, which I held in place with basting stitches until I sewed front and back together. It's probably a little stiffer than the hat should be, but it worked so I'm not complaining.
The last beach outfit belongs to FID Lawrence. From the beginning I had planned for him to wear a pair of black briefs and call it a swimsuit. Then I figured what the heck, let's make him something. I purchased a pattern from Designs by Jude called In the Game for 19-inch Peter Pevensie (Tonner Dolls). The designer made the sample garment in black, which photographs like a big ink blot, so I didn't photograph the pattern envelope. The pattern makes sports pants in two lengths, a tee shirt and a hoodie. I have a bunch of 4-inch zippers, none of them in a color that matches any of my knit fabrics, so I didn't make the hoodie. I made Lawrence short pants and a sleeveless tee.
I love this tee pattern. Instead of going on over the doll's head, it has snaps in the back. Love, love, LOVE! To understand this statement, you need to know that I removed Lawrence's head in order to take off the tight white tee shirt he was wearing. As soon as I did that, the small S-hook that joins the head to the elastic fell down inside the body. In a larger doll this would have spelled disaster. Luckily with FID size, I was able to shake out the S-hook and easily grab the elastic with my hemostats. I replaced the silly little S-hook with a larger one and we were back in business. By the way, the tee shirt pattern does not have darts. What you see in the above photo is a bit of fabric caught in his chest joint. The things you notice only after you take the photos!
I'm surprised by how much I like this wig on Lawrence. It's the wig I had on Claude, whose face must be larger because on him this wig looked like it had less hair. I didn't expect the color to work with Lawrence's real skin, dark eyebrows and beard, but the effect is nowhere near as jarring as I thought it would be. Looks like a surfer dude. Actually, I wanted him to be a beach volleyball dude, but the only doll-size balls I have are a soccer ball and a basketball. He chose the soccer ball.
He also chose Gene, who isn't quite as tall as she appears in this photo. She is wearing high heels while Lawrence is barefoot. I'd love to have all the girls barefoot for the meet-up, if only changing feet weren't such a hassle. I always seem to lose an S-hook along the way. Plus it means having to change back to heel feet when I get home. I don't know. I'll think about it.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

More Beachwear and Some Revisions

Shall we start with the old or the new? I know: let's mix the two.

I'm still working on swimsuits and other beachy stuff for June's doll meet-up. Here we have Raccoon Lucy in a blue bikini I showed a while back--it was actually the first bikini I crocheted--paired with a new short cover-up. It's just a square piece of fabric, folded diagonally and tied sarong-style. Beside her is Raccoon Gene in my latest bikini, a pink one this time. She has a cover-up, too, but I don't like it so she'll get a re-do. Seriously, it's so bad I won't even show it.

I remade Suntan Zinna's swimsuit, or at least the top part of it. Along the way I ditched the belt and added straps instead of the ties that previously fastened behind her neck. I like it better this way. She borrowed some oversize sunglasses from Model Delf Avalanche and I made her a reflector so she can work on her tan. I love posing this girl. She's so flexible. She's my beach diva.

Next we come to the Opulent gown (Designs by Jude) which I sewed for my Raccoon girls. The silk flowers I used for trim didn't work for me, even after I repositioned them. I removed them in favor of a row of beads that match the beading on the underskirt. Then I put the gown away and forgot it until someone asked about it this week and I realized I hadn't taken photos. With my slim-body Raccoon girls currently modeling beachwear, I tried the dress on the remaining Raccoon girls only to find that it didn't suit their pear-shaped body type. It was too tight for FID Grace. (This is the pattern I plan to adapt for her Outlander wedding dress. Obviously the bodice will need to be enlarged. I want to work on this dress so much I can taste it, but I have to finish all the beach stuff first.) Finally Model Delf Annette tried the gown on and liked it well enough to wear it after I moved the snaps to accommodate her slimmer torso. It's still a bit long but it should hang better once I put her on a stand with a thick enough base. She is not using a stand in the photos.

Finally I spent a large part of the past two days trying to crochet a swimsuit for LittleFee Ante. "Trying" is the key word, as I keep taking it apart. I'm finding it difficult to use the patterns in the My Crochet Doll book, probably because the crochet terminology is British rather than American. I get just so far in following a pattern until I encounter a term that I don't understand. I should root around online to see if I come up with an explanation. In the meantime, I'll set it aside and make Ante a cotton play set that she can wear to the beach instead. I have a yellow gingham print and some sweet yellow lace that should set off her tan nicely. Pictures next week.