Well, I finally did it. After several months of combing eBay and the This Is Blytheforum, I finally broke down and bought myself a Blythe doll. I decided early on that I wanted a redhead without bangs. At first I was just going to get a Petite, but there aren't nearly as many clothes patterns for the petites, and I want the eye color changing anyway. The finalists were: Birdie Blue, Powwow Poncho, French Trench, and, the one I ended up with, the new Ashton Drake Galleries reproduction of one of the original dolls. The warnings are that you can never have just one, and if I do get another it will be French Trench. The ADG hair is more appealing, though, and she's a little bit cheaper since she doesn't ship from Asia.
I already made her a dress and a coat, and I'm almost done with a sweater. The dress is from the ever-so-generous Oriettacat's pattern library. Look for the simple dress pattern. I think I may have printed it out at the wrong scale because it was really hard to get it on, and it looks more like a minidress.
The coat is also from Oriettacat, but in another library. Look for the duffel coat pattern. This one didn't have directions, and it was harder to put together. I'm still not sure I did it right. It's made of felt and fastened with an earring. I think I'm going to add some other decoration to it. We'll see.
I'm still working on how best to photograph her. :/
This little scrap of ultrasuede was calling to me, so I made it into a keychain. Super easy: fold it in half and stitch around in a rectangle. Slide onto the keyring with the rest of the crew. It's nice to touch, and helps when I'm fishing around in my bag.
Nothing like crocheting a cupcake to cheer you up on a seemingly endless coast-to-coast flight. For easy passage through security, as well as for their additional cheering properties, I highly recommend these plastic hooks. I used random yarns my sister gave me for Christmas.
The other is a pincushion. It's bigger than the craftster one. So far I've made the little guy, and the bottom part of the big one. I'm not sure what yarn I want to use for the icing on the bigger one yet. The cute squiggly yarn i used for the icing on the little one is really hard to crochet with. I couldn't find the stitches At All, so I just randomly single crocheted around and about until it looked like the right size and shape. Actually, I like it better than my previous attempt following the pattern with the pink yarn. I think there are too many stitches in the frosting pattern, making it all flare out, instead of cup around the bottom, if that makes any sense. I bet that's one reason why crochet is less trendy than knitting; you can't using the fancier yarns. Oh well.
For both patterns you need to do double crochets around the post. I'd never done that before, so I watched the movies on stitchguide a few times. They're not hard stitches, and they're how you make the nice corner turn and the ribbing. I'd always wondered how people made corners.
I love the way digital cameras have allowed people to post tutorials for so many great things. Generally some really nice person is the one who posted it, so I can even ask questions. And then seeing all the variations people come up with is such inspiration. Here are a few I've been eyeing:
There's the ubiquitous Jordy Bag from craftster, of course. I'm tired of my current purse, so I'm attempting a new one. This (or one of the modifications. Type "Jordy bag" into the craftster search bar to be overwhelmed.) is the fall-back when I finally admit that I can't figure out how to make a purse from the Japanese craft books I bought in San Francisco last week.
I just bought the cosmetic bag tutorial from Halfbaked Ideas. I was lucky enough to surf in on the last day of a sale, so it was only $3! It's totally worth the non-sale $6, though. Super cute, and Karen was really helpful when I had a question about it. I've got the cloth ready to go, but I haven't gotten a 12 inch zipper yet.
My sister got me a giant box of thrifted yarn for Christmas. Ooooh. One of the yarns is Red Heart Mohcora, which is rather old by the looks of the label. It's 72% mohair, 13% wool, and 15% nylon, in a nice dark gray. Since it's way too scratchy to make anything wearable, I decided to try felting it. The label advertises "washable colors," so I didn't have high hopes at first. The instructions for washing on the inside of the label were really for handwashing, though, with all sorts of cautions about using cool water and avoiding agitation. And sure enough, it felts great. A 5.5 inch square in garter stitch on 8 needles (cast on 20) shrunk to a 4 inch square after about 20 minutes of effort on my part. Since I'm fresh out of quarters, I did it the old fashioned way alternating hot and cold water with plenty of soap and agitation. One new thing I tried and liked was using a bamboo sushi mat to help agitate. I rolled the piece up in the mat and rolled the bundle back and forth, dunking it in the soapy water occasionally. It worked like a charm. It did stretch it a fair bit, though, but rotating the felt frequently seemed to prevent serious mis-shaping. Now, what to make from it? Hmmm.
Speaking of my collection of gel pens, I also made this pouch for them. I couldn't find black Aida, so I dyed some white Aida with Rit. I came up with the pattern myself. Cross stitch really lends itself to geometric patterns and bright colors. I like the effect. I'm missing some crucial thing about installing zippers, though, because the bag bits at the ends of the zipper are fraying and look really bad. The other thing I don't like is that I didn't line it, so the pens sometimes catch on the exposed threads.
Rummaging for something else today but came across a long-lost book that I made to go with a set of gel pens. The pages are 8.5x11 inches from a ream of black paper. Stab binding is cool green embroidery floss. I made up the binding pattern. It's like a little puzzle to go through the holes such that every stitch is gone over only once and you end up where you started so you can tie it off. I'm sure there are tutorials on the web somewhere if you don't like crafty brain teasers.
Our contribution to a New Year's Eve potluck: gingerbread house poppers. Mark thought it would be funny to make gingerbread houses you could eat whole. Like you were a monster or something. We used the gingerbread cake recipe from December 2004 Martha Stewart, plus bought cream cheese frosting. Make the gingerbread, let it cool, and chill it in the fridge. Chilling it makes it easer to cut up. The cake should be about an inch thick. Use a bread knife to cut the cake into 1 inch cubes. Cut some cubes on a diagonal for the roofs. Use a generous dallop of icing to glue the roof to a cube. Pipe on the doors and windows with a tiny tip. Once you have a little village, sift powdered sugar over the roofs. Devour accompanied by monster growls and screaming noises.
We experimented with candy doors and windows, but they either didn't taste good with gingerbread (sour gummy ribbons) or they were the wrong scale (Necco wafers). Sidenote: if you want to use Necco wafers for anything like this, they're really easy to cut to size. Just use a serrated knife to score, and snap right along the score.