Posts Tagged ‘design’

Universal Hat: in-between sizes

uh-oh, hat's too big!

My Universal BJD Hat pattern aspires to make it possible for every doll to have a basic toque (or beanie, or watch cap, or whatever it’s called in your neck of the woods), based on wig size.  But some dolls don’t wear a standard wig size and in this post I’ll walk you through the arithmetic of customizing the hat beyond what’s in the pattern to fit unusually-sized heads – or unusual wigs!


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Universal BJD Toque Pattern


Just what you’ve been waiting for: a simple sock yarn hat for ball-jointed dolls written in the same increments wigs are commonly sized by!   Written for every wig size from 3-4″ PukiPuki and similar teeny-tiny dolls, right up to the melon-headed 9-10″ large BJDs, the Universal Ball-Jointed Doll Toque is an easy beginner project or a great jumping-off point for advanced colourwork and funky stitch patterns – or just something quick to knit for a homecoming hat, swap gift, wig cap, etc.  The pattern features two different styles of brim, rolled or ribbed, and has been tested in all of the commonest wig sizes.


The pattern is available as a free download through Ravelry, or you can get the PDF directly from my blog, here.  You may also want to check out my tutorial for micro-adjusting the sizes to accommodate in-between heads or unusual wigs.


Happy knitting!  And remember, in the immortal words of REM: everybody hats sometimes; sometimes every brim is long, but now it’s time to knit along…

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It’s the season for thinking of bunnies and cuteness, and my contribution is now up for sale in my Ravelry store!

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That’s right, I have finally released the Ur-Bun Hoodie pattern for Slim Mini, Standard Mini, and Large BJDs!  It’s my favourite style of boxy, loose knitwear – the sort that looks terrible on me but wonderful on my dolls – and like all my patterns it’s written to be pretty beginner friendly.  It does involve cables and require reading charts, but both are simple enough to be a great introduction for the adventurous beginner.  It’s also a fun base for anyone who, like me, loves to mod designs for a unique twist!  Adjusting the length is an easy way to get a very different look from the same pattern, as I found when I worked my final sample in the largest size.  I’m so pleased with how this coat came together, and I hope you will be too!
Photos taken by the wonderful Vessellated; the model is Insoulated‘s beautiful MiniFée Shiwoo Elf, Dieudonnée.  Thanks, guys!

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Everybody hats, sometimes…


I’ve got four out of seven prototypes for my every-size hat pattern tested out!  This is the 9-10″ size, modelled by the beautiful Vasilisa.  Now I am scratching my head and poring over numbers, because I’ll admit that for each of the four finished hats I have had to try them on time and again trying to figure out a good length (the circumference was pretty easy to figure out before knitting) and while I have local folks lined up to try the fit of the remaining sizes, I don’t think I’m on close enough terms with anybody to borrow a doll or head over to their house for an evening of hard knitting, frogging, and re-knitting to try and get things right.  So I have to figure out the proportions somehow, and I think that somehow will involve arithmetic.  Well, Mr. Salamander is working this weekend and I have the house to myself.  Sounds like a good time for a little Saturday math, right?  And then probably some spinning for a reward!

Speaking of which, here’s the first plied yarn I’ve made that I feel truly deserves the name!  I am planning to knit up a little collar/neckwarmer with it.  There’s really not very much – around 45 yards, gulp!


I’m also working on trying to spin a thicker single that could eventually become a small wrap/shawl, but it’s not going so well.  The ability to get a reasonably even single eludes me at a heavier weight and my efforts so far have been a little disappointing.  I’m not giving up, though!  I will learn even if it kills me!  Or, more likely, makes my fingers bleed!  Or even more likely, makes my arms slightly tired!  Yup, that’s dedication!

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Voting is over, the winners have been announced (no, I was not among them, not even close), and I’m finally at liberty to post what I’ve been crafting this month, that’s been taking all my energy!  I’m really proud of all the things I made, even though they obviously didn’t please the crowd as much as they pleased me (I was tied for about 34th place out of 37 or 38 different scores, with I think 54 entrants who completed all three challenges…yeah…congrats to everyone who made top 25 anyway!).  I foresee them making plenty of further appearances in my doll photography.

The Wicked Sweet Triathlon had three events.  The first, Risqué Business, was to make an outfit for a doll out of nothing but 2 pairs of women’s underwear.  I think this was the challenge in which my (lack of) photography skills hurt me the most – there were some entries where the garments looked less interestingly designed (okay, I’m biased) and less well-executed (and that’s a little more objective position) than mine that still got quite a few more votes, presumably in part because the photos were better.  I have improved a lot, even compared to looking back at my photography from Japan (2008-9), but under pressure I still have trouble.  But then that’s part of why I started this blog, to learn and grow.

My outfit was made from a couple of pairs of drapey hipster undies (hipster cut, not hipster type person) with light, nearly see-through material that I thought would drape really well on Suzuha.  Turns out even very light material gets a bit stiff on 1/6 scale bodies…but I think you can still get the flowy sort of style I was trying for.  The outfit was inspired by Mori Girl fashion, although the colours are very bright for a Mori outfit, which should strictly speaking be made up of neutrals, faded pastels, and low-saturation darker tones.  But I was working with what I had…unfortunately, Mori Girl Panties are not the sort of thing one can pick up on the cheap at Zellers, heh.


Originally, I was going to crochet a sun hat to go with this outfit, but it wasn’t working and it wasn’t working and I was running out of time…but crocheting flowers worked just dandy, hence the sakura-inspired headdress.



Every part of the outfit features some sort of braid.  This was sadly the best picture I had of the trousers…see what I mean by my photography being a major handicap?


The dress is designed to be worn with her wings, although I didn’t end up bringing them out for the photoshoot.  I am very into this kind of “racerback” style of dress right now – I have been wearing the one I own all summer!  Braided fabric is really interesting.  For this outfit I also learned how to do a four-strand braid, which was pretty interesting.


Then came part 2: Shadowcasters!  The challenge was to make a doll-scale light source and photograph it both in action generally and then with your doll casting a shadow using your light source’s light.  I wanted to make one of those shadow lamps that kids have, with aquariums and stuff on them…somehow a carousel seemed like the right thing for Rada.  I basically built a lantern out of vellum paper and cardstock to go around a dollar store emergency puck light, decorated it with some glitter glue, and dropped it on top of a couple of tea tins posing as a bedside table.  On the whole, I think it turned out awesome…but that’s just when I look at the photos, and not when I think about how much time I spent fighting with the damn lid, which is completely unsecured and loved to pop off just as I was about to snap a picture.  ARGH.

I had a tonne of fun setting up this photo shoot!  I got to bring out all of Rada’s toys (and there are getting to be a lot of them…!) and I set up the corner shelf which formerly supported our Christmas tree to look a little like a child’s bedroom.  I imagined that Rada was home sick with the ‘flu, and Vasya had bought Yukata!Bunny to make her feel better.  Rada, feeling a little less tired today, is introducing Yukata!Bunny to her other toys, but she’s still got the chills, which is why she’s wrapped up in a snuggly blanket (knit from SophiaRowan’s handspun that I won back in the days of the ResinCast podcast).


Later (and for the shadowcasting shot), she’s staying up past bedtime drawing by the light of her merry-go-round.



In these photos, you might also notice how upright Rada is able to get and stay…just want to give a shout out to the lovely Linzabeth, who recently sueded and wired my bratty baby (that’s her in the “wiring the legs” photo!  I feel famous!).  Rada now stands like a fucking rock and can hold some awesome poses…the only thing I didn’t anticipate is that since she’s been wired she’s a lot harder to dress, since I can’t bonelessly fold her arms in on themselves as I used to.  Who knew?  So happy with Linzabeth’s services, though, and she’s so sweet that she even fixed the chip in Rada’s eye makeup and fixed/improved my terrible blushing job (not that anyone but me will ever see it, regardless).

The third and final event of the triathlon was my favourite, both in terms of my own entry and in terms of what everyone came up with.  The challenge of The Doppelgänger was to create a “double” of your doll and photograph them together.  Any material.  Any craft.  If you are a member of DoA I highly recommend wandering over to the Anniversary subforum to have a look at the entries; they are amazing.

I actually set out to make an amigurumi doppelganger.  I was going to needle-felt ball joints along the lines of the plushies Tally makes, but I didn’t have time to consult her on how her joints work and as I started stuffing the limbs I realised that I’d been using too big a crochet hook for the yarn meaning that the fabric was gappy and showed the stuffing.  I’m also just not very good at stuffing things evenly, and what with the needle-felted balls and then the unevenly applied stuffing everything looked horribly lumpy and misshapen.  So I said “the heck with this!” tossed it in the bottom of my craft basket, and started on a totally new tack: needle felting the whole thing!  I made the joints with jewelry findings as I was finding that thread was just too flexible and let the limbs fall out of their joints a little.



I need you to know that I broke all two of my felting needles right at the end of the project, at a time when there was absolutely no way I could get to the store and pick up more before the deadline to submit photos.  You can imagine me sitting there with the 1.25cm broken-off point of one needle trying my hardest to get the doppelgänger’s hair attached to his head with pretty mediocre results…in the end, I got out to take photos and his hair started flying away and I had to stick it on with the sticky-tack I’d brought out to help Posy stand up!  But hair notwithstanding, I’m super proud of how he turned out.  My concept was that he’s a skinwalker type creature, hence the red-white outside that’s meant to be reminiscent of raw meat or anatomical drawings of musculature.  Here’s the photo I submitted for the contest, with text.  He actually does stand on his own if you get him balanced just right, but there was a tiny breeze the day I was taking pictures so I had to improvise with the landscape.


And if you want to see a larger version you can click through on the original photo here.

So that’s what I’ve been up to all August.  I had a lot of fun, but it’s been great to get back to my regular knitting projects as well.  My test knit of Ur-Bun is hopping along, and I’m hoping to be able to release the pattern sometime this month or next.  Also, isn’t it time for a Rhodion update?  My water lilies are now 8 repeats long (out of a total of 26 repeats of the main pattern, 13 for each side, and then the border).  Nearly a quarter of the way through!  And I’ve amazingly managed to complete two of those repeats THIS WEEKEND!


Doesn’t look like that much, does it? 8 repeats? This little crumpled thing?

But it’s going to be unbelievable when it’s done!

Phew.  Well that was an update and a half!  No more secret projects for a while; they’re too challenging to catch up on!

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I just started swatching and calculating for the larger sizes of Ur-Bun, hoping to release the full pattern in the fall.  I’m starting by test-knitting the slim mini size, calculating standard mini and large sizes from measurements.  I had calculated gauge in the new yarn/needle combination I’m using, taken all the pertinent measurements, and calculated the raglan increases…then I went to slot the measurements into my Pages file alongside the MiniGem pattern and realised two things:

1. despite using different yarn and needles, my gauge was exactly the same.  Yay!  I’m a consistently-tensioned knitter!  But also what the heck?!?  How does that even work?

2. something was obviously off with my calculations, since I’d come out with instructions to cast on exactly 2 stitches more than I had done for the MiniGem size.  Yes, something was seriously wrong, wrong enough to warrant a high-pitched “WHAT?!?” that apparently upset G, who thought maybe my computer had caught fire or some other non-knitting-related mishap.  Nope, I just couldn’t believe my numbers.

So I had to test it out.  Yes, Ur-Bun for MiniGem can be worn by MiniFee.  Obviously my numbers do in fact need tweaking, as it’s very tight, but, well, I wasn’t totally crazy!


Doesn’t Edik look smashing in pink, though?

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I just released my second pattern this month!  It’s another free download through Ravelry, available here.  If you are having trouble with picking up stitches, do view the photo tutorial I made, and please don’t be shy about commenting if it’s still confusing.  No new photos yet, but I’m working on the standard Mini sample, so look for another photo shoot soon!

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Tumblr is totally inspiring me!  When I saw this dress, I wanted to knit something similar for Suzuha, and today I had a chance to photograph it!  I’ll be releasing the pattern (sized for MiniGem/Barbie, Slim Mini, and Standard Mini) later this week.  Like my Box-Opening-Day Dress, it’s a simple, customisable pattern…with pizazz!

The tee is my own design as well; locally dyed laceweight that I bought for a shawl and have been hanging on to the leftovers ever since.  Didn’t keep very good notes on the top, though it’s a pretty simple top-down raglan.  Next time, maybe.

The bench is a garage sale find that my sister gave me!  It needs a bit of love – I think I will get some clay to build up the legs a little so it fits Suzuha better, and I will probably sew a better cushion for it – but it’s so cute!


More under the cut.


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You may be wondering what I’ve been doing since my last post.  The answer?

Knitting & sewing together pansies.


I made this epic tea cozy for my mother-in-law, a sweet lady who loves loves loves pansies.  It’s based on Loani Prior’s Rosie Posie Tea Cozy.  When I saw it in Wild Tea Cozies, I immediately thought of H, but it was my husband’s idea to do pansies instead of roses.  Of course, it turned out this was easier said than done…!  I searched Ravelry for pansy patterns, and the only one I found that looked “right” to me, I realised after printing it out that it was for knitting loom and not for knitting!  Now, I’m not afraid of trying new things, but in general I am more likely to try a new thing with a craft I know than to try a new craft altogether, so my response was to reverse engineer a knitted pansy from the explanation, photos, and to a limited extent the instructions on this other pattern.  I mean, I don’t even own a knitting loom…and I was on a deadline…



The pansies turned out really well, and I plan to make the pattern available shortly – it just needs to have photos added and get .pdf-ed.  (EDIT: pattern is now available as a free download from Ravelry!)  They were quite satisfying to knit, but let me tell you, they were labour intensive!  I think in the end I sewed on only seven pansies, but including my first prototype and the pansy half of which got lost under a couch cushion and discovered around New Year’s, I knit a dozen of the darn things.  Five petals each, plus piecing together and “embroidery.”  The result was great, though, and the colours are perfect for her gorgeous kitchen!

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