Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Knit Stitch a Week: Vandyke stitch

Vandyke Stitch

Teaching myself one new knit stitch a week from the Complete Guide to Needlework book, c. 1979, and other sources. This stitch is from the Complete Guide to Needlework.

These are my blocked samples - it was very curly before blocking! It was also tricky as heck to figure out how to yo for the first stitch before a slipped stitch, and a bit less tricky to yo as the last stitch. I just kinda winged it each time, never fully remembering what I'd done, so that part might not be right, but it looks ok to me! :)

It's a pretty, fairly simple pattern that would look nice on a scarf or shawl.

Using size 6 needles, I cast on 20 stitches:
left: Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama in Lime Juice
right: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, Oyster Heather

Multiple of 10 stitches.
Row 1: *yo, sl1, K1, psso, K8*
Row 2 and alt rows: purl
Row 3: *K1, yo, sl1, K1, psso, K5, K2 tog, yo*
Row 5: *K2, yo, sl1, K1, psso, K3, K2 tog, yo, K1*
Row 7: *K5, yo, sl1, K1, psso, K3*
Row 9: *K3, k2 tog, yo, K1, yo, sl1, K1, psso, K2*
Row 11: *K2, K2 tog, yo, K3, yo, sl1, K1, psso, K1*

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stitching Saturday: Makin' dolls process

Felt Wee Folk by Salley MavorThere's a great giveaway on Feeling Stitchy for Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures - and I spent about a month prepping for it! I don't usually spend such a long time making items for a review - in truth, my time is so limited that I can usually only squeeze out 1 project per book.

This book, however, has a very special magic to it - I don't know what to call it but that special something that makes you want to craft and craft. I first learned about Salley Mavor when reviewing her previous book, and she was kind enough to do an interview on her process then.

What fascinated me about Salley's method was the length of time her projects take - literally years to complete! So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised at how time-consuming these fabulous little doll projects were... I kept my review for Feeling Stitchy as brief as I could, but here's a little more background on my process.

I started my project by purchasing unfinished wooden beads for the heads, and painting them a nice range of flesh tones. The hardest part of this step for me was brush control - I stink at it. But I actually liked the organic, messy quality of the faces I painted.

I chose the largest wooden beads I could find at the craft store - at 1 in. they were larger than Salley's largest doll heads in the book. Even then, the surface area to paint on was TINY, as you can see from my giganti-hand:

starting out - painting wooden beads in flesh tones painting whites of the eyes
little faces: check! little faces: rosy cheeks and lips

My next step was bending and wrapping the pipe cleaner bodies with embroidery floss - sheesh - this part took forever. Do I have any obsessive floss winders in the house? The ones who wind, unwind, and rewind their floss on the little plastic bobbins until it lies perfectly flat? YOU FEEL MY PAIN. ;)

I had to just let go and accept lumpiness, club-footedness, and general imperfection in my projects:

putting together

Of course I'm not showing you the imperfect ones, just my as-perfect-as-I-could-get-it ones. :)

teeny man with hair and hood completed

Next up was cutting the clothing and embroidering it, which I probably loved most. I did a lot of thread couching, really enjoying the look of crewel wool, metallic flosses, and golden seed beads.

I also have to reiterate that you try to use wool felt - I bought 2 nice wool blend bundles from BenzieDesign - the MmmCrafts Curated stack and a nice Heathered Collection. It made such a huge difference in terms of cutting finely detailed edges - until you've tried it, you'll never understand how different it is from the cheap synthetic felt at the craft store!

So, here's a few of the dolls I made - the Robin Hood girl in green was one of my first. Her clothes were made with acrylic felt, which was just "ok" in terms of quality. I love her hair and hat. The Harvest Woman next to her was also made with acrylic felt - I'm proudest of her curly loopy bangs and double buns.

Robin hood girl harvest woman

Next up is purple Beret girl, with a painted acorn cap. Her top is in acrylic felt and her skirt is made of the wool blend felt. I really love the sassy beret girl in green - her black hair was made from pearl cotton and her green dress from wool blend felt.

beret girl sassy beret girl

But I have to say my personal favorite is this flower fairy girl I made for my niece:

flower girl

At this point I had shifted to using the entire acorn as a head, which explains the slight vertical ridges on her face. But it seems like a nicer, more organic shape than the perfectly rounded wooden beads.

Here's a close-up view of the acorn head:
acorn head fedora man

His outfit was completely unembellished but I loved it just the same - I think it's the wool fedora that makes it. :)

I made a pink-haired flower girl, over on the right, but I'm not a fan of her lumpy arms:
little dolls

I also enjoyed making the simpler projects for kids with my 10 year old niece - they were quick and easy, like this acorn fairy:
little acorn fairy

This was the first iteration of blonde flower girl and fedora guy, as a simple project for kids:
more tiny dolls

SO, I think I have fully summarized what a blast I had making these dolls. Super time-consuming and very detailed work, but strangely addictive and enjoyable fun!

You have until Friday, 5 PM if you'd like to enter the giveaway on Feeling Stitchy - I definitely recommend this magical book!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Knit Stitch a Week: Fern Stitch

Fern Stitch

Teaching myself one new knit stitch a week from the Complete Guide to Needlework book, c. 1979, and other sources. This stitch is from the Complete Guide to Needlework.

So far, this is the most complicated knitting pattern I've *successfully* attempted. :) It looks a bit like the Baby Fern, but as you can surmise, it's more than a bit larger.

These are unblocked samples, and a bit curly on the edges -
I'll snap a pic of the blocked versions, and show that off soon.
Blocked samples below - as you can see, it makes quite a difference in terms of size and shape:

Fern stitch, blocked

I used size 6 needles -
green: Louise Harding Grace Silk & Wool, color 26 - 58 stitches
pink: cotton blend (?) yarn from my stash - 29 stitches

Multiple of 29 stitches.
Row 1: *K1, sl1, K2 tog, psso, K9, yo, K1, yo, P2, yo, K1, yo, K9, sl1, K2 tog, psso*
Row 2 and alt rows: *P13, K2, P14*
Row 3: *K1, sl1, K2 tog, psso, K8, (yo, K1) twice, P2, (K1, yo) twice, K8, sl1, K2 tog, psso*
Row 5: *K1, sl1, K2 tog, psso, K7, yo, K1, yo, K2, P2, K2, yo, K1, yo, K7, sl1, K2 tog, psso*
Row 7: *K1, sl1, K2 tog, psso, K6, yo, K1, yo, K3, P2, K3, yo, K1, yo, K6, sl1, K2 tog, psso*
Row 9: *K1, sl1, K2 tog, psso, K5, yo, K1, yo, K4, P2, K4, yo, K1, yo, K5, sl1, K2 tog, psso*

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Stitching Saturday: book review sneak peek

gathering acorns...
painted acorns
sewing outfits
sewing detail

A little sneak peek at the book review I'll be posting on Feeling Stitchy next week... excited! :)