knitting for Disney Animator dolls (cropped photo)

I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent (what’s new?) and been buying more dolls (second hand on ebay) . . . all because I saw the most adorable knitting pattern that I just had to buy!

The pattern is by a Canadian lady, and can be found here:  CSKraft4Dolls, if you’re interested/curious.  I believe she also sells on Ravlery, but I prefer to buy on etsy.

Anyway . . .  Disney Animator dolls are 16” tall, and very tubby, younger looking versions of the well-known Disney characters.  This headless pair being Belle and Rapunzel.

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I promised I wouldn’t spook you out with dolls on this blog . . . so I cropped off their heads, to show just the knitting.  If you’d like to see the dolls themselves, then just hop across to Claire’s Collections, which is my new blog, dedicated entirely to my doll collection.   I personally think they’re adorable, but I realise I’ll probably be outnumbered.  That’s fine . . . the world would be a less interesting place if we all liked the same things, wouldn’t it?

You’ll notice, from photo, that the two outfits don’t appear to be the same size/fit.  They’re not.  I started out knitting the outfit on the right, using a 3.75mm needle and DK yarn as recommended . . . maybe my tension was too tight? but the shorts ended up way too snug, and the top turned out too short (for my liking).  So, I moved to a 4mm needle for the second attempt, and added a few stitches to the shorts, and a few rows to the tunic. 

Great thing about the pattern, apart from being nice & easy to follow, is there are also instructions to make a dress . . . and more instructions to make the dress with a knitted yoke and a fabric skirt.  I will definitely be attempting both of those!

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just loving knitting!

I’m rather a late bloomer in the field of knitting!  As I’ve told you before, I learned the basics as a child, having a mum and a gran who were both prolific knitters.  It wasn’t something I took to though, as I always felt a bit cack-handed trying to coordinate two needles and got discouraged when my knitting slid off the needle, not having a clue how to go about picking up stitches.  Anyway, after teaching myself to crochet, I decided if I could learn crochet from scratch, then I could certainly re-learn how to knit and follow a pattern.

You’ve seen my first attempts which have all been an interesting learning curve.  And I come to show you 2 more recent knitted projects, of which I am quite proud, because I think I’m slowly getting the hang of it!

I showed you a sneak peek the other day of something very bright for Baby Viking.  Today I can reveal all . . . not that Baby Viking has received grandma’s knitting gifts yet, but Mummy Viking has seen photos, so I feel it’s safe to share.  This is the “Cheri” pattern, designed by Martin Storey for Rowan, and is a free download.  This is the cover photo on pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And my version, knitted, without the crocheted cherries, in a variagated Marriner DK and “Citron” Stylecraft Special DK.

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I’m calling this the “Candy Crush” cardigan, because of the bright colours, and because of the perfect buttons I bought to finish it off.

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Speaking of buttons . . . I ordered in quite a few, in lovely bright colours, and don’t they look like sweeties?

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After the bright rainbow and yellow version, I cast on to make a second “Cheri” cardie for Baby Viking . . . this time in “Aspen” Stylecraft Special DK for the stocking stitch and another variagated Marriner for the garter stitch bands.

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I’m not quite so happy with the way this one turned out.  It doesn’t have quite as much pizzazz as the “Candy Crush” version.

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So note to self:  it’s not just about learning to knit and follow a pattern.  It’s also about choosing colours.

another “Cheri” cardie–sneak peek only!

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I come to show only a sneak peek photo to you today, but I can tell you, I am having the most joyous happy dance – yay!    After the success of the “Cheri” pattern (by Martin Storey for Rowan) only a few days ago, I cast on to knit up a second version.  I chose a variagated Marriner Mermaid DK in pink and other vibrant colours, plus Stylecraft Special DK in “Citron” for the garter stitched bands.  I knitted in size 1-2 years, so it’s turned out really dinky.   It only used up 55g of the Marriner and 20g of Stylecraft.   And, aside from my colour combo, which I think is sunglasses worthy and rather “candy crush” . . . my sewing of bits together went wonderfully.   Here’s the front of right sleeve and part of the button band.

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And this is back view of right sleeve.  I can now proudly say “By Jove, I’ve got it!”  I totally understand what I did wrong with my first two knit projects (stripey sweater and pink cardie).  And, while I can’t say I loved the sewing together, it wasn’t too gruelling.  Probably because the last 2 projects have been tiny toddler size . . . I’ll no doubt be complaining about sewing together when I tackle an adult sized garment.  However, that won’t be this week!  I’ve already cast on in some more bright colours . . . to make a third “Cheri” cardigan.

Only problem with my new found love of knitting . . . I have a crocheted monster which has been sitting around since Christmas, awaiting spikes, teeth and sewing together.  Have a couple of other crochet projects on my “to do” list . . . and my sewing machine is gathering dust, because all I want to do it knit & purl.

“Cheri” by Martin Storey, for Rowan

After the relative success of my dusky pink cardigan, I decided I needed to get more practice learning to assemble knitted garment pieces before I took the plunge to tackle another adult sized cardie/sweater.  So, with that in mind, I rummaged through my computer files, where I save any free patterns that take my fancy.  And this is the one I chose to knit.

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The model “CHERI” designed by Martin Storey for Rowan yarns.  I immediately knew I wasn’t going to bother crocheting the cherries.  My crochet skills don’t need practice, and I honestly thought the dangling cherries were just a bit “too much”.   What attracted me to this pattern was the short sleeves, short bodice and very much a bolero style.  The idea being, to have a pattern which would knit up quickly, to give me the chance to try my hand at assembly. 

And here’s my very plain version of this pattern.

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I think you’ll agree there is definite improvement in my assembly skills.  I chose pattern size 2-3 years (Daisy measuring 92cm tall, so not quite a size 3 years).  I used leftovers of my dusky pink and knitted on 3.75mm and 4.5mm needles to get the correct gauge. 

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And had a good rummage in my button box, where I found some very discreet pale pink plastic buttons. 

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I am so pleased with how it turned out.  My confidence is soaring . . . but not quite ready to attempt the XL men’s sweater for the Husband just yet. 

What I have done though . . . is cast on to follow this pattern a second time.  My second version is going to be in a size 1-2 years, and for Baby Viking.  She is 5 months old now and sooooooooo cute lol.  Anyway, I thought this pattern style would be perfect and a 1-2 year size should be good for this autumn or next spring.  Here’s a sneak peek of yarns I’m working with.  I’m using Stylecraft Special DK in “citron” for the garter stitching, and a very zany Marriner Mermaid DK for the rest.

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That’s the 2 sleeves already made.  Now to put on my sunglasses and have more fun watching this Marriner Mermaid yarn change colour.  Viking parents have said I can go as bright as I like, so I’ve taken that literally!

the “things were going so well” cardigan

I come to share photos of my second ever finished knitted garment – yay!

It’s far from perfect, believe me, and when you scroll down, you’ll see some very ugly seams.   I had such fun knitting this  though and my confidence had come along in leaps & bounds as I knitted up all my pieces.  I even quite enjoyed learning to knit buttons bands, and making my first ever button holes.  The not such fun part began when I came to the sewing everything together.  And that’s when the “things were going so well” cardie almost ended up in the bin.  Even the husband took one look at it and commented on what a mess I’d made of sewing on the sleeves.  Seeing my glum face, he tried to back track with a “it’s a shame because your knitting is nice and regular”.  Oh well.   I won’t learn if I don’t try, and believe me, I do try.

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Anyway, here it is.  I used a cheap acrylic yarn bought years ago in a “discount” shop.  Pattern was a free download and is called RUE designed by Martin Storey for Rowan.

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It looks okay(ish) lying flat, although in first photo you can see sleeves aren’t lying quite right. That’s not an optical illusion, it’s my sewing that leaves much to be desired and plenty of room for improvement.

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And because I feel it’s important not just to show things from the best angle . . . this is the messy/ugly part (on both shoulders)

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Anyway, the big question is, of course: does it fit?  Well it does, and it doesn’t.

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It looks more or less like the photo on the pattern (true colour being in first 3 photos). Sleeves are the correct length.  Buttons are all placed at even intervals.  And I can button it up or leave it open.

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It feels a bit too snug around the arms for my liking though.   In fact, the sleeves were so snug at first, they felt like a second skin, but have loosened up a bit after wearing.  I don’t think the snugness is  anything to do with my knitting, simply the style of the sleeves.   I suppose one of the other things I need to learn is how to choose a pattern and avoid slim sleeves in future!

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When I first tried it on, in its finished state, all I could see were the messy shoulders.  I felt very frustrated that a knitting project which has taken me months to complete was let down in the final stages because of messy assembly.  However, since it was finished, I decided I might as well wear it indoors or under a coat, when walking the dog or chatting to my hens.  And, as long as I don’t catch sight of myself in a mirror, I can forget about what it looks like and simply be pleased that I managed to knit my first ever cardigan!

I had had great plans of moving on to an even more challenging project after this.  The husband picked out a men’s Stylecraft pattern and DK yarn that took his fancy, so “the plan”, once I finished the cardie, was to start work on that!  However, the husband agrees I still need a little more practice with my seams, and since I won’t get much practice if I keep on knitting adult sized items . . . my next project is going to be a small cardigan for one of my dolls.

what Claire received for Christmas #2

This is the last batch of photos, to show how spoiled I was this Christmas . . . this time by family. 

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From Lindashee and Mr Lindashee:  Season 7 of my all-time favourite TV series “Call the Midwife”.  It was Lindashee who bought me the first season, a few years ago, and she’s been buying all the new seasons as they come out, for me.  Story (for those who don’t know it) begins in the late 1950s, in London, with each season dedicated to a new year (season 7 takes place in 1963), following the lives of a group of midwives/district nurses.  First class acting, lots of medical goings-ons, and all with the backdrop of London in the late 50s early 60s.  Lindashee also sent me something to keep my hands busy while enjoying some good British drama . . . so many fun ideas of mythical creatures in this book, including a Loch Ness monster which will probably be the first project I tackle.

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From the Viking family, a new baby doll.  She’s a little girl doll, full vinyl, closed eyes and open mouth so she can suck her thumb.  She measures 52cm at the moment.  I’ll be pulling her to pieces sometime this year, making her a cloth body . . . and playing with my new baby doll, who I have called Phoebe.

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From Eldest Son – some yarny supplies.  The pattern is a free pattern by Rowan.  And in the bag: enough King Cole Aran to knit myself this lovely turtle neck sweater. 

Continuing a new family tradition, begun only last year . . . part of Christmas Eve saw us sitting out in the kitchen, while Eldest Son stuck a needle in me over and over again lol.  And I have my second tattoo!

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Another cat head in the same style as the first one.

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So, that was lots of lovely gifts from our three children . . . I bet you’re wondering what I received from the Husband? 

Well, the really BIG present wasn’t actually a surprise.  It was something I saw on ebay way back in October.  The Husband gave me the green light.  The very large box was then hidden away in the cupboard when it arrived and I wasn’t allowed to look until Christmas.

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It’s a very large doll.  Actually from the Masterpiece Gallery, by a German doll maker called Monika Levenig.  This is a “Chantal” doll.  She’s approx 90cm tall (can wear age 3 years clothes) and is a limited edition.  My “Chantal” is n° 11/350 of the European Edition series.

I’ve renamed her Daisy.  She’ll be keeping me company in my sewing room, where I hope to get busy and make some clothes for her.  I think she’s lovely, but everyone else seems to think she’s a bit spooky.  Not to worry.  Anyway . . . the Husband also got busy before xmas and made me a bead necklace

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AND . . . .

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A wooden stand for Daisy.   It’s a recyling job but completely custom-made for Daisy.  She can stand on her own but, with 3 cats charging around the house, it’ll be safer to use the stand. 

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knitting, crochet & xstitch

After working away for several weeks  on secret xmas present making, I am pleased to say, I finished everything on my list – yay.  Not only that.  Those presents were wrapped, posted, and parcels have been received .  So a big sigh of relief there, that my handicrafts arrived safely.  Now to wait impatiently, until Christmas, for recipients to open gifts. I have since added a few more things to my “to do” list.  Suddenly coming up with several more ideas for family closer to home.  However, without postal delays to worry about, I can work at a more gentle pace for these last gifts.

In the meantime, following surgeon’s instructions to rest with both feet up, I’ve been crocheting, xstitching, and even managed some knitting. 

Crochet has been working on something very small.  If I taught myself to crochet a while back, it was partly because I was inspired by all the wonderful crafting by MojiMoji Designs and some of the free patterns Janine makes available on line. I therefore followed one of her free seasonal patterns, and crocheted up a couple of tiny Christmas trees.

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Here are the first two I made, in their natural state.  I’m busy crocheting up a few more, and will then do as Janine suggests, and decorate them with pretty beads. 

Cross stitch time has also been spent working on something small. 

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This little set of robins was a free kit in a recent issue of Cross Stitch Crazy.  Each one didn’t take too long to make, and I loved the very quick finish idea, of simply sticking onto the printed tag cards which were supplied in the kit. 

And I also managed to make some progress with knitting. 

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Here are all my bits so far: 2 sleeves (which insist on curling up whenever I try to lay them flat), one back and now a left front!  I’ve already cast on the right front but I’m not giving myself any deadlines for a finish. What I’m not looking forward to:  knitting the bands of ribbing, getting button holes lined up correctly and at regular intervals for buttons, and sewing all my bits together.  It will have to be done though!  I’ve already got yarn and pattern in for my next knitting project – a sweater for the husband.  And I won’t be starting that until I have a finished cardigan.