Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tiny Lace Knitted Dress

One of the challenges in knitting doll clothes is finding the right yarn and getting the gauge in a pattern.  Because of this I decided I needed to start making charted patterns that would enable me to get the size needed in any yarn.  After knitting several doll patterns, I now realize that it is not really too difficult to draft my own pattern after making a swatch to get the gauge in a particular yarn. 
The picture above shows the skirt of my latest attempt.  Fort he edge I used a couple rows of garter stitch, then headed into my lace pattern with the main colour yarn.  If you want a full skirt it is best to block the skirt before knitting the bodice in order to get the best scallops etc.  You could used waste yarn for thie step, but I am finding that I can just leave the piece on the needle.  The skirt of the first dress I made came out a little too straight, so I tried another one after recalculating and getting a little more serious about my math.
The next dress had a better skirt, and I also tried knitting a couple little sleeves first, then adding them when I made the straps for the arm holes.  This technique worked very well.  This doll is a Bru reproduction I made, and is about 3" tall.  The yarn I used was Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace.  The scle of this yarnis great for small dolls, so I plan to use it as a staple weight, hence my scaling will be useful for other pattern I develop.  I have written out this pattern but want to test it again.  Writing patterns is a slow process for a newbie designer.

Betsy is starting to get dressed.....

I'm still on a knitting streak, so here is my latest.  Betsy McCall was originally made as a small doll of about 8".  Then in the 90's I think Robert Tonner recreated her in a 14" version.  She is a beautifully made vinyl doll, but is now only available through the secondary market such as private sales or eBay.  I had one of the small Betsy's when I was a child, and she was by far my favourite doll.  I don't know what happened to my original Betsy, but I have collected a couple of each size now.  This one came in her original little onsie, so she needs clothes.  The pattern was a top down sweater from an Etsy vendor, St. Raphael's Women's cooperative.  The pattern is easy to follow although not written in the easiest to use style.  The lace pattern is easy once you understand how to do yarn overs when you are also switching from knit to pearl.
Anyway, this basic sweater is very cute, could be easily adapted to other lace or fair isle patterns, and a quick project.  This was knit with softee baby yarn, a sports weight acrylic.
Sorry the Etsy store with the pattern is closed for Christmas, so I'll post a link when it opens again.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

This Poor Girl Needs Clothes!

"Elspeth" is a reproduction of a doll by German dollmaker Gebruder Heubach.  She is one of my favourite dolls, with such a sweet little face.  She is about 7.5 inches tall and has an all porcelain body.  I am knitting her an outfit in blue lace weight yarn to match her hair bows.
 I costumed another one of these dolls for my mum's 80th birthday, and put her in a box. That's a picture of me on the left when I was a baby!

This doll is a reproduction of a small all porcelain Bru.  She is 7 inches tall and has an all porcelain body.  The dress is an adaptation of a pattern from the book by Rose Marie Ionker.  The dress techniques in this book make costuming little dolls much more manageable. The dress is batiste, and I did the embroidery by hand. This doll was fairly common and there are variations and different heads on this body, which is common with small dolls. The Bru head would probably not have been common, whereas heads by Kestner were usually on  this doll.