Saturday, May 30, 2009

Doll Talk

You think with all this talk about quilting and knitting that I wasn't doing any doll sewing. Oh contraire mon frere! Actually, I 've been quite busy. After rocking eBay with a couple outfits,( one sold for over $65.00), I picked up 3 commissions, 2 from the internet and one live person! The interesting part is that none of them are related to the stuff I've had on EBay lately. Instead, they represent alot of my past work.

The one I am currtenly working on is for Kitty Collier. The commission is actually for 2 outfits. The first is a copy of one I sold on ebay before. The customer knows my work and when I told her I still had fabric to make another she was delighted. The second outfit is something completely new. I purchased the pattern a while ago with hopes of making one for eBay but that never happened. When my customer saw the design of this she fell in love with that design as well.

I have finished the first outfit already, it didn't take all that long to make. The second is a whole 'nother story. The pattern I am using is horrible. I doubt is it's creator ever sewed one up as the size is way off. It's so big that it fits a 22" doll when it is supposed to fit an 18" doll. I realized this after I had cut out the bodice and start to sew it together. I had only gotten the front half done when I realized the size discrepancy. So I tried in on my American Model by Tonner and the fit was not half bad. Finishing the outfit as it is will give me a change it fine tune the design. I will then go back and resize it in the correct size for my customers doll.

Fine tuning a pattern takes a great deal of time and not one of my favorite things to do but it is a very necessary. Proper fit can either make or break an outfit. Many doll costumers will often do a mock up from either paper towels or muslin. I like to use something more in line with the actual fabric I will be using. Different fabrics will fit and hang differently from each other. I think this give a more accurate fit. When your working in small scale the little things matter a lot.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Knitting away

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I recently finished making my first pair of knitted socks. They were plan, just in stockinette using a self patterning yarn in blue and purple. They came out very well and fit beautifully. I learned a lot about sock construction and I would like to learn more. To that end I started another pair. These are being knitted on a pair of 40" circular needles and the method I am using is toe up and two at a time.

This method is very different from the top down socks I just finished. They were knit with 5 double point needles. These are knit with just 2 needles connected together by a cable. The cable is long enough that I can knit both socks at one time. The advantages to that are 2 fold. One is that the socks come out the exact same way. Which is important for these socks in particular as they are made with self striping yarn. Secondly it is some what quicker to knit them together as opposed to starting and finishing one then starting again and finishing another.

The socks are almost done, I am finishing knitting the heel. While I do like knitting 2 socks at a time and I like the way the toes look, I'm not thrilled with how the heels are made in this manner. But there are many ways to knit socks and I have just started to discover and learn them and I have 3 different pairs of socks lined up to work on next and have the yarn all ready for 2.

I ordered some yarn from Knit Picks on line. They have a nice selection of yarns at really good prices. In fact the yarns they sell are cheaper than Joann's, Michael's or AC Moore. They have a better selection of sock yarn too. I bought yarn for 4 projects all together. I got some wool fingering and cotton sport weight for socks, some lace weight for a scarf and some wool fingering yarn for a doll sweater.

The patterns I chose for the socks are very different from what I have done so far. One pattern feature a style of toe and heel called short row that I have not done before but may be easier to do than the toe and heel on the last 2 pair I knit. The second pattern features incorporates a lace patten into the body of the sock. They certainly have a feminine look to them. While both patterns call for the socks to be knit on double point needle I think I will try them on my circular needles instead.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Two Projects Done

I just finished up two projects that I had been working on for sometime. The first one and the largest of the 2 was a quilt. The fabric is by Moda and the collection is called "Chocolate". It's beautiful muted reds and blues and browns. My sister-in -law, Michelle, quilted it for me and did a wonderful job. It will find a home on one of the twin beds in a bedroom formally occupied by 2 of my sons. ( One has moved out and the other soon will be.)

Finishing a quilt is a big deal for me. I had the fabric for it for over a year while I finished other quilts and projects. Then it took a couple of weeks to cut and sew it together. Then it was over 4 months before it could be quilted. Tonight I will finsh sewing on the binding.

My next one is already in the works. It's called "Road to Dixe". Most of the fabric for it is from the Collection of the Cause collection by Moda. The main border fabric looks amazing with my couch so this one will go on the wall rack in my living room when done.

This new quilt will be a first for me. It is the first quilt made at a quilt class as I have never taken on before. I am really looking forward to it and hope to learn a lot.

The other project I finsihed were my socks! LOL I finally finshed my first pair of knitted socks. Boy are they comfortable. They fit great and look funky. They are made of wool and nylon so they are warm but too warm like my store bought slipper socks so I can wear them all day.

As usual I learned much about knitting socks with this project. They are easy to knit and they don't take very much yarn to make or much time for that matter. These were made using 5 double pointed needles and knitted from the cuff down, one at a time. I have already ordered more yarn to make 3 more pairs. The next pair I will try the toe up method on a pair of circular needles and make both at the same time. This method lets you try on the sock as you knit it so you can shape it to your foot more easily than when you knit from the toe down. Also, because you knit both socks at the same time they are exactly the same. I think it may be quicker too.