Saturday, December 20, 2014

A sweater for Max

Since I introduced you to our toy poodle, I figured I'd share a sweater that I knit for him before he arrived. But before I do that, I realize that some people think sweaters on dogs are cruel and just for the owner's amusement. Not so. When you have a 6-1/2-pound dog whose hair needs to be kept somewhat short so that it doesn't mat, a sweater is a necessity in the winter. It would be cruel not to bundle him up for walks.

Of course, some dog sweaters are ridiculously cute - like this one. I combined two patterns to make this dog sweater, and they're both free on Ravelry. The main sweater is the Hoodie Dog Coat pattern. I made it in the small size and it's a little bit loose on him. Then I added the heart and bone design from The Boyfriend Dog Sweater. I added it in duplicate stitch afterward instead of knitting it in as I went.

Here's a better view of the back of it (and the heart and bone design).

This is the view from the bottom of the sweater. It has "sleeves" to keep his front legs warm, too.

I have a few more dog sweaters to share whenever I can get pictures of him in them. (They're cuter when he's wearing them!)

Friday, December 19, 2014

A bed for our new toy poodle

We recently adopted a full-grown toy poodle from my sister. His name is Max, and he weighs in at 6-1/2 pounds. He's a little doll baby, let me tell you!

Before his arrival, I was trying to decide on a dog bed for him. Since it will be in our main living space, I wanted it to be cute. I browsed through some ideas on Pinterest and came across a picture of two puppies sleeping in small bunkbeds. I don't think that's very realistic (or safe), but it did give me an idea. I had a set of doll bunkbeds we had purchased for my daughter's dolls. They were very nice, but a little bigger than we had space for in her room. I checked, and the top bunk was the perfect size for a cute dog bed.

I just removed the slats from the bottom and inserted my own "mattress" - two old bed pillows placed inside a homemade fleece-blanket-pillowcase. There was a small gap between the bed frame and the mattress, so I just used some more fleece and made a cute pillow (like a real pillow you would lay your head on). There was even more of the fleece leftover, so I made it into a blanket for him to mess up to his heart's content.

This is a picture of him a few hours after we brought him home. No one had to tell him what it was or who it was for - he just knew.

Does he sleep in this all night? Well, no. He was used to being with at least one other dog all night, so it didn't work to keep him by himself at night. He wanted companionship. So he sleeps in my son's room at night. But he does nap on this bed a lot during the day.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The last of my doll sewing for Christmas is done!

Kit and Samantha are modeling the doll dresses I finished for a friend of mine who is giving gift sets to several girls for Christmas.

I made it through ten of these dresses, but I seriously doubt I'll be making any more of them.

I really appreciate it when people take the time to write up and share patterns for free. Really, I do. I know how much work goes into it. But I thought I should caution anyone who has thought of using this particular pattern about a few things:

  1. The dresses are difficult to get on and off the dolls. I was afraid I was going to end up pulling the arms off the dolls in the process of getting them on and off. Granted, my Kit and Samantha aren't brand-new dolls, but I'm a lot more careful with them than most girls I know.
  2. The actual sewing is a pain in the neck, especially when you're adding the ribbon at the waist. It would have been a lot easier (and make a lot more sense) to run a gathering stitch through the front bodice instead of just trying to gather it via the pinning method. There's a lot of fabric to gather into a tiny space. And since it's all sewn together at that point, it makes it quite interesting to sew it without sewing the front and back together where they're not supposed to be.
Since I was making ten of them, I went the easy route and used lace trim on the bottom hem and pre-made ribbon at the waist.

Then I knit them coats and hats. I was pretty happy with how these turned out. It's a great use for that fun fur!

For the coats, I used this pattern, available on Ravelry for a small fee. The pink hat was made according to the same pattern, but it isn't the best fit in the world. As a result, I used a different pattern for the rest of the hats: Newsboy Cap for American Girl/Boy Dolls by Debonair Designs. It's free, and I really like it.

Now I'm all caught up with the projects I promised other people for Christmas. I'll try to show you a few more of the projects I've been working on in the next few days.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sewing some Christmas gifts

I'm working on sewing some Christmas gifts for friends. This dress is going to a good friend's granddaughter who has a Kaya doll and wants another dress so she can actually change clothes. (Kaya's wardrobe isn't very extensive, but kids DO like to change these dolls' clothes every now and then.)

I used Simplicity #4786 for the dress portion and used a dark suede-like fabric. If you ever sew this pattern for an American Girl doll, you'll want to widen the bottom of the sleeves a bit. It's a very tight squeeze to get this around her open hands. It can be done, but I'll be changing it the next time I make it.

This dress is very simple. I jazzed it up a bit with the beaded turquoise trim. I have no idea if it's authentic for Kaya's particular tribe, but this little girl isn't going to care, as long as it looks like something an American Indian would wear. I always think of turquoise and silver in relation to American Indians.

This trim is a bit interesting to work with. I hand-stitched it between each and every bead, but it was worth the trouble. I like how it turned out.

And this is what the rest of my work table looks like. I have ten more dresses to sew for another friend - all for 18" dolls. They should go pretty quickly.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Knitting: Twin Leaf Baby Blanket, Day Two

On the second day of knitting this blanket, I finished 14 of the 38 repeats. This is such a beautiful pattern and quite fun to knit, too. I may end up making at least one more of these.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Knitting: Twin Leaf Blanket

Every now and then I get the urge to knit a blanket. I have all the blankets I need at my house (most people I know do), so I knit a baby blanket for charity.

When I came across the Twin Leaf Baby Blanket pattern, it was too beautiful not to knit. So I started it yesterday and made this much progress over the course of about half the day:

Yes, I know this is larger than my margins, but it's much easier to see the stitch detail at this size, so I'm keeping it large. :)

It's knit with sportweight yarn on size 4 needles, so it's not going to be super-fast to knit. But that's okay. With something this beautiful, I enjoy watching it take shape as I knit. I'm more of a process knitter anyway - I enjoy the process of knitting even more than the finished product (usually).

It's a beautiful pattern, and it's free - when you sign up for a newsletter. If you're interested, you can find out more at its Ravelry page here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Knitting: Brambles Beret

I finished the sweater I was designing, but I need to sew the buttons on before I can model it for the blog. So I thought I'd show you a beret I knit for charity in the meantime.

This is a free pattern called Brambles Beret by Amanda Muscha. It's very pretty! It may look difficult, but it really isn't.

I knit this in the small size without any extra repeats, and it’s a perfect fit for my 9-year-old daughter. If I were to make it for myself (or another small adult who wears their hair up), I’d try it with an extra repeat (as suggested on the pattern page when using acrylics).