Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sophia Delphine and her fantasy petticoat

I am still captivated by Sarah Elizabeth Kellner's China Doll pattern, and the wonderful possibilities she presents.  My latest doll is Sophia Delphine, a young lady of 1855.  She is wearing a petticoat with a strapless crochet sweetheart bodice and a lace net skirt, embellished with a bit of Irish crochet.

China Doll Strapless Petticoat

I'm not sure poor Sophia will ever get anything more to wear than her petticoat; it is so pretty I hate to cover it up!

I have another doll in the works, Lillian Hopewell, a young black woman of the 1890's.  Right now she is just a head and shoulder plate:

Lillian has a story to tell; it will be exciting to hear what it is :-)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Anna Celeste; ready for the dance, and sweet dreams.

I spent the week working on Anna's dress for the ball :-)  It reminded me of the scene from the Disney's Cinderella, where the mice and song birds all work to make Cinderella's ball gown.  A little from here, a little from there, and hey, presto!  a lovely dress.

I have a pattern for the bodice, which is a simple adaptation of the camisole pattern.  I was caught up the making process and did not write down specific instructions for the skirt and bodice trims, but there are suggestions in the bodice pattern.  Use some of your lace patterns and create a lovely gown of your very own :-)

Evening Gown Bodice

You may notice that Anna has a different hairstyle for the ball.  With this doll it is so easy to make more than one wig for her to wear :-)  This one has a center part created with double crochet and slip stitches, and numerous long curles caught up at the back of her head, with a couple along the neckline.  White roses decorate her hair.

After the ball, Anna will be very tired, so she will slip into her nightgown and snuggle into bed, dreaming of the wonderful time she had at the dance:

Victorian Nightgown

Sweet dreams, Anna Celeste :-)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Anna Celeste, China Doll #2

Anna Celeste is the second doll I've made from Sarah Elizabeth Kellner's China Doll pattern, which is available on Ravelry.  The original pattern makes a doll about 14-15 inches tall when worked with sport/dk yarn and 3mm needles.  I wanted a doll slightly smaller, so I knit her with 2.75mm needles,  took out an increase row in the torso, shortened her arms a legs proportionately, and also made her head in the round in one color, so I could add a wig.  Anna Celeste turned out 11 3/4 inches tall, with a 5 1/2 inch waist and hips/bust 7 inches.

This pattern is great!  The resulting doll is an amazing reproduction of the antique china dolls, and becomes a wonderful canvas to create period costumes.  Anna Celeste is wearing a 1850's inspired walking suit, with blouse, belted skirt, and Zouave jacket.  All are separates and removable.

1850's blouse

1850's belted skirt

1850's Zouave jacket

In addition to the walking costume, she also has a simple side-to-side camisole and pantaloons:

1850's Camisole & Pantaloons

This camisole top would be the perfect beginning for an 1850's style evening dress, simply attach a full skirt (like the belted skirt) to the camisole, and add some frothy sleeve and bodice treatment :-)

I would like to make Anna Celeste a trousseau, placed in a keepsake box.  Maybe she is about to go to Europe, and if so, she will need some traveling companions too.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Josephine, an old fashioned girl

Knitting and crochet are amazing; one is only limited by their imagination as to what can be created in these mediums.  How about a China Doll? 

Josephine is a knit China Doll, created from the pattern by Sarah Elizabeth Kellner, available on Ravelry.  This lovely knit China Doll is constructed very much like the antique originals, with swing legs, torso and arms of a contrasting color, and a knitted shoulder plate with head that attaches seperately to the torso.  It is a masterpiece of knit engineering, and produces a sweetly old-fashioned doll that can be your starting point for your own collection of knit China dolls :-)

With DK/Sportweight yarn and 3mm needles, my Josephine stands just at 14.5 inches tall.  Her camisole and pantaloons with the lovely knit lace are part of the pattern, and fit like a dream.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What I saw today...

Everyday miracles; around the house, on my ride, preparing a meal.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Earth Day 2015

Make every day Earth Day :-)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Where I knit

This morning was the perfect morning to take my coffee and knitting outside.  We have a wonderful south-facing porch, and in the last week I've mangaged to fill most of my containers with flowers.  To top it off, we have a Korean Spice Vibernum next to the porch on the west side were the prevailing breezes blow, and it smells heavenly :-)

We often have a bold little visitor, who likes to bury his peanuts in my flowers, much to my displeasure.  Even though I chase him with a squirt bottle when I see him, he still comes back.

I just finished making a wee fairy for my sister's birthday:

Right now she (the fairy, not my sister!) is living in my fairy garden, but soon, very soon, she will have one of her own.

Next knitting project is Chrystal, a Mary Jane's Tearoom pattern.  I've loved these dolls for a long time, and this pattern is worked in the round.  So far, one leg is finished.

I hope you fill your day with what you love to do!

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Swatching is one of those things, like sweeping behind the couch, that we know we should do, but don't.  However, if you want to create a design in knit or crochet, it really helps to know such things as:  how many stitches around the waistline of my doll?  the neckline?  around the arms?

So, swatching to the rescue!  I wanted to create some knit designs with finer yarn and needles.  I chose a yarn: Knit Picks Palette, an affordable wool fingering weight yarn, and three different needle sizes:  2.0mm, 2.50mm, and 3.0mm.  Above are the three swatches I worked, 20 sts wide by 24 rows long.  With 2.0mm needles my working gauge was 10 sts= 1 inch in stockinette.  With 2.50mm needles, the gauge was 9 sts = 1 inch in stockinette, and with the 3.0mm needles, 8 sts= 1 inch in stockinette.  This was knitting comfortably for me, as I would knit for clothing.  If I were making a doll, I would knit much tighter.

Having determined gauge for this yarn and these three needles, designing an outfit becomes much easier.  I know my doll has a waistline/chest measurement  of 4 3/4 inches, so this would be 48 sts with 2.00mm needles and fingering weight yarn; 43 sts with 2.5mm needles, and 38 sts with 3.0mm needles.  Dolls don't need the 'ease' that we build into human clothing, so these values will be close to what will work when you design an outfit. 

I wanted to make Kismet a camisole (it turned into a tunic) from a lace pattern from the book 150 Knitted Trims, by Lesley Stanfield.  I wanted this to be close fitting, so I knitted a piece of lace that was five inches long in the dimension that would fit around her waist, using the 2.5mm needles.

This lace was worked from side to side.  To turn it into a tunic, I bound off at the end of five pattern repeats, but did not cut the yarn.  Turning the lace so I worked back across the rows, I placed a pin every one inch across.  This would be the top of the tunic.  I picked up nine stitches between each pin, giving me 45 sts across the top, which is very close to my 43 sts around Kismet's waist.

Since this lace is worked on a background of garter stitches, I knit across the top nine stitches, bound off five stitches, knitted 17 stitches, bound of five stiches, then knitted the last nine stitches. This creates the places where the armholes are (the bound off stitches).  The next row is knit, casting on 12 sts when you come to the bound off stitches.  So, the armholes are 17 sts around, or about two inches in circumference.  A couple more rows of knitting, with some decreases to fit the neckline, and the lace is now a tunic!

I added a ruffle to the bottom, along with a picot bindoff which is also in the Stanfield book.  And here is the finished product!

Details:  from the Stanfield book,  I used lace #123 Garter Stitch Diamonds for the tunic panel, and #8 Picot Bindoff for the bottom ruffle edge.

Kismet is very happy with her tunic :-)

I posted those instructions to show that any bit of knitted lace can be made into doll clothing.  Here are some specific instructions for knitted tops made from lace from the Stanfield book, for both 8.5 inch and 7 inch Simply Amis.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Rememberances

A year ago yesterday, my Mother died.  I was going to say, "we lost my Mother," but on reflection, we did not lose her.  She is present in my life every day.  I think of her with love and gratitude; have silent dialogues with her; show her what I am currently making, and know that she is present, just unseen.

Mother is with us for the rest of our lives.