Knitting Patterns by Lyndell

Design-Your-Own Dress Recipe - free download now
Gumnut Hat in HandSpun for Blythe Dolls - free download now

Who? What? eh?

This is the blog of a constant crafter - a 'showcase' for some of the things I make, some hints for crafting & recylcing - lots of photos and some words. I hope it will inspire.
Please Note: all photos are Copyright.

My Blythe Dolls have their own blog where they are showing lots of photos from our holiday in France - it is here.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bugs

 

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If you do not like insects or spiders - if you are in anyway arachnophobic, entomophobic, insectophobic ... then click away and do not look here because I am going to post photos of creatures with more than 4 legs 

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Because yesterday was a day for interesting encounters with wild-life. 


First I was doing a little gardening - I have a very little garden in the inner-city and I'm proud of any form of nature that takes up residence.

The rosemary bush needed pruning as it would like to be a rosemary tree and I disturbed a wonderfully camouflaged praying mantis.  

I only saw her / him because she / he moved ...  can you see it?  Hint - is upside down.


Perhaps if I rotate a photo ...


Not large by mantis standards, about 1.5 - 2" long - very green - white "racing stripes" down the sides of a plump abdomen (making it look very like the rosemary leaves)  a bit of bright orange on those deadly front claws and yellow / orange eyes.  
I don't know which species the praying mantis is  - trying to work out the species of insects makes me too too confused.  Sorry.

Then - late in the evening I was busy knitting mini Snowmen ornaments when that 6th sense made me look behind me ... at the window sill where I had put the completed Snowmen ...

 The funny way the knitted snowmen look like they are trying to sneak away - meant I had to get the camera and take photos.   

This Huntsman spider has been living in our house & garden for about 4 months now - we get them in the house every spring / summer but this one is quite distinctively and prettily marked.  I think it is a male (has a thin body / abdomen) - not sure and those pretty markings make me want to think of it as feminine.  He has almost doubled in size since we first saw him (and I've found a couple of empty exoskeletons) so he must be finding plenty to eat round our place.  They are marvelous natural pest control!

Here is another photo with better lighting - you can really see the beautiful markings.


Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas Time

Well, I did have grand plans to knit lots of cute red & white, fair-isle (jacquard) patterned Blythe-sized clothes this year and have them in my Etsy shop BytheStar in time for Christmas Shoppers.
Sigh - I have managed to knit one, 1, singular, extremely limited edition, OOAK, hat.


It is quite cute and can be worn flopping over or standing up ...

My little model here has not yet been properly introduced.  But, you see Bunny isn't really mine and I'm trying very hard not to bond with her too much.

One of my ongoing, long-term projects is for my Granddaughter - the plan is that when my GD is old enough to look after a "good" dolly properly I will give her a Blythe doll and a collection of outfits.  There will be 2 outfits for every year of my GD's life - a Spring/Summer outfit and an Autumn/Winter one - to reflect the fashion of the time.

I did have an ADG Blythe doll set aside but was a little dissatisfied with that option and thought a doll that was released the same year as my Granddaughter was born would be better.  Then this lovely "Welcome Winter" came available and ... WW was the first doll Takara released in 2008.  Perfect.

Only trouble is that she is so sweet I don't have the heart to put her back in the box!

Bunny and Audrey have become great friends - two little girls together!   After the photo-shoot for the hat, they decided the Christmas tree needed more decorations.
  

I think I'll have to get a larger tree next year!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Snowmen - in Australia?

Audrey :  Our mummy has been busy knitting - let's see what she has been making ...
... hmmm, looks like a lot of white peanuts and coloured worms!

Imogen :  I think this is the prototype - they are tiny little snowmen.
 Audrey : Looks cute, but what is a snowman?



Every year I knit little Chrissy decorations as small Christmas gifts for family & friends - last year I made lots of Santas (see this post)   this year it is to be Snowmen.


Both Santas and Snowmen are MochiMochi Land patterns.   






As I've started quite late this year I am glad that the snowmen are rather faster to make than the Santas were :-)

And I love the way they sometimes turn out a bit different - this one has quite a 'personality'.





Do you know the collective noun for a collection of Snowmen? 
Some say a "dusting of snowmen"
Others say a "melt of snowmen"
I live in Australia - so I'll go with the melt!

A Melt of Snowmen!
And here is a little bit of Snowmen Spam.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Tatting tittle tattle

I going to be teaching a small class the basics of Tatting ... (tomorrow, Sat 24 Nov at Morris & Sons in Sydney).

So have just spent a few hours doing some prep ...
spare thread, examples of tatting, examples of different shuttles, and shuttles all set up to begin the learning process.

 Having been really frustrated by the insufficient diagrams in most "How to Tat" manuals, I've put together my own teaching notes with lots of photos of each stage ...


 Rather embarrassing seeing how old and wrinkled my hands are!   

But - those are working hands, they make things!

Things like this - a brooch made from bits of tatting.

I frequently start something in tatting - but get bored with the design or make a mistake or decide that I don't like the way it is turning out ...

Rather than waste all that work I put several of those bits of lace together, sometimes I put a "gem" on top, a brooch back gets stitched behind and ...
I have a pretty brooch  :-)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Making Blythe Doll Earrings from Pins - A Tutorial

Having boasted that I'd worked out a way to make earrings for Blythe from pearl-head dress-making pins, I was asked "How?"  so ... here is a tutorial.

Not all Blythe dolls have the piercings to wear earrings - in my dolly family only Audrey (a Simply Chocolate) has the requisite 'piercings'.


In this photo, the gold things on the left are the Takara stock stud earrings Audrey came with (she also has some optional op-art dangles that go on those studs).    
The pearls are what I made - from pins.

If you look at Takara's earrings closely you'll see that the posts are slightly flattened.  The idea seems to be to insert the earrings with the wider part going horizontally to doll's head (up-down)  then once inserted, if you turn the earrings, about a quarter turn, they lock in place.
This basic shape is what I try to replicate with the pins.



 
You need some pins, some jewelry-making pliers to bend the pins and something to cut the pins.


The wire cutters on the RH here are great for cutting,  and the little long-nose jewelry pliers on the LH are great.  The round nose pliers, here in the middle, are handy but the flat surface on the long-nose is required for the final 'squishing' process.










Cut the pin - about 1/2 an inch (that's 14mm) from the 'head'.  Be careful - work inside a box or something and wear glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying pin wire!

And bend the wire back on itself



This is the hard part and not all pins will bend nicely.  Those lovely black pins in the photos above were too stiff and strong - they resisted bending and finally the wire snapped.  These cheap 'pearl heads' were the most successful.




Try to avoid this cross-over thing happening as you are bending the pin.




 Use the flat part of the pliers to flatten the curve.  You need the wire to be a really tight U ... narrow enough to fit into the doll's ear piercing but not so narrow that it falls out.



Check the fit - remembering to insert with the width of that U-shape held horizontally.




The final tweaking for a perfect fit is fiddly, the teeny-est tiny-est squish with the pliers to make it perfect - just a bit too far and the earring is loose and will fall out! 

Audrey has decided that these red earrings are just perfect for Christmas!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Animal BackPacks & a fur-sewing tutorial

In a previous post I mentioned that I was being some animal back-packs ...
using an old Butterick pattern that I've used several times before. 

Here they are - all finished.  A mauve bunny for my granddaughter, the brown puppy for my grandson and the bunny with his eyes placed rather too high and startled looking ... well that one is mine! 


Bunny backpack for granddaughter

Puppy backpack for my grandson
 Here is a bunny in situ on my mannequin - they slump when there is nothing in their tummies.  They are working back-packs - the zip to access the 'bag' is behind their heads.

And now I thought I'd do a little tutorial on working with fake fur.  Faux Fur 101

Take care with your cutting out - work with the 'nap', the lay the fur lies (down the length of the fur fabric).  Lay out the pattern pieces so that the fur will brush down the body, limbs and ears of a toy.   Often the fur lies going away from the nose of a toy - but I decided to make these animals with the fur on their faces going the other way.  This is cheap fake fur and the backing is a very loose 'weave' that I thought would look rather ugly if it showed around their noses.  Always think about the direction of the fur when laying out the pattern pieces.

All that is very important but for this tute I thought I would concentrate on another aspect of working with fur.  Because sewn furry things (toys, collars, whatever ...) always look better if the seams are not made too obvious by being either 'bald' or having the fur caught in the seam. 

Firstly - be careful when cutting out fur fabric to cut the backing fabric but not the fur.  Slide the blade of your scissors along the fabric, lifting the furriness. 

If you look closely at this photo - the lower, horizontal edge looks furry (the fabric was cut but not the fur) whereas the vertical edge looks blunt because the furriness was cut along with the fabric.



When you sew the fur pieces together the seams often look like this ...



However, if you take the time (and it is fiddly work) to pluck the fur out of the seams, you can get that seam to look like this - practically invisible!
 

 I like to use something blunt so I don't cut the fur or hurt my fingers!  Be careful not to pull out the threads of the backing fabric, especially if it is a loose weave like this.

 Two things that will help with this fiddly job - use a longer stitch length than usual, but not so long that your work gathers.


 And - when pinning the pieces together, sometimes you can persuade most of the furriness to lie inwards like this.  You might need to use more pins than normal to help the fur to stay there.










I hope these hints are helpful.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Halloween - with Blythe Dolls

Group Photo - everyone is dressed up and ready for Halloween -



even the little ones ...











Bunny, Audrey and Violetta are going to go Trick-or-Treat-ing




Violetta:  Audrey, where are you going with the suitcases?






Audrey:  I'm going on the trick-or-treat ... the cases are for all the chocolates and lollies that people are going to give me.


Here, you had best take this bag.

Lillian:  Oh dear, Audrey that does look a little bit greedy you know.




Sunday, 21 October 2012

A batch of Finishing

I've been "clearing the decks" and scrambling to finish some knitting projects so I'll have time for the next commission (another cardigan for the current production of "Mousetrap" - there is a change of cast coming up).

So - quite fresh off the needles are this vintage style vest for a very good friend. 



I've dubbed this Zep's Zig Zags :-)

I adapted this from a vintage pattern - circa 1930s or 40s.
The original pattern is called "Forbes" from "Patons Knitting Book No. 338" it was a jumper for a man, in a 3ply yarn (that's Light Fingering) which is far too much work for a commission - even for a very good friend!    I adapted up to 5ply which still took absolutely ages - the yarn I used is Bendigo Woollen Mills 5ply "Classic" in "Mayfair".
The vertical lines and horizontal zig zags are on the back too.

The original pattern also had the Zig Zags just above the hip basque - we thought that was a little TOO fussy.

and a close up of the front













I've also been knitting up samples for Sydney's main craft store Morris & Sons.


One Ball Samples - to show what the yarn looks and feels like when knitted and how much knitted fabric you get from one ball of it.

These are all Morris & Sons' "home brand" of 100% baby alpaca called Maya - in 3 weights / thicknesses.  It is a lovely soft Alpaca yarn.


The brick colour is Maya 14ply / Super Bulky - colour 3420 “warm spices” dyelot 215446, the needles 7mm - sample is 29sts wide.

The green is Maya 8ply / DK - colour 3823 “grass” dyelot 215879, needles 4mm / US 6 - sample is 45 sts wide.

Then - unfinished (and it'll take forever to knit through that 1 x 50gr ball) pumpkin colour is Maya Laceweight / 2ply - colour 3218 “sunset” dyelot 215472, needles 2.75mm US 2 - sample is 73sts wide

Isn't it interesting how much more knitting you get from a really thin yarn!   Probably why those vintage knitting patterns are nearly always for thin yarn is that it is so much more economical - all except it terms of the time spent doing the knitting!

This self-striping Mohair sample is Schoppel Wolle “Mohair Lady” colour
376 1874ombre - I used 5mm US 8 needles and the sample is 45sts wide. 

 
Love the fire-like colours of this self-striping yarn - it is a nice whiskery mohair too.

And, because no post on the blog can be completely without photographs of Blythe dolls these days!   Here are Lillian and Imogen modelling new knitted Ombre Skirts.
Imogen :  Do you think they'll notice our tiaras?
 These are in Noro "Sekku" a Laceweight yarn with lots & lots of variegation.  Not sure that I'd like this yarn knitted into a human sized garment but it is perfect for Blythe Doll clothing (Imogen's lace blouse is also from the same ball of this yarn!)  
Mummy planted all these purple flowers just for me.

Lillian's skirt is purple & pink - perfect with her new purple top and lace-top sockings (from Cool Cat)




Imogen :  "My new skirt looks better without the shirt tucked in - this makes my hips look enormous!"

Me:  "Possibly, but I do want to show everyone the whole of the skirt."

Imogen :  "hmmm OK but I'm going to pout!"