Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Things I Love - A well designed doll pattern

If you are like me, you appreciate good design in whatever form it takes. Being a doll maker, good doll designs make me happy. I've made my share of poorly designed patterns and welcome the change when a good one comes along. All the parts fit, directions are clear and concise, illustrations are well drawn, photos are good quality. There are many excellent designers out there...Judi Ward, Deanna Hogan, Jane Coughlin to name a few. And now, although she has been around for quite awhile, Colleen Babcock. A delightful person with full-blown chops behind her in the design arena.

Recently Colleen put out a challenge mystery doll pattern that participants got to buy at a greatly reduced price and the opportunity to join in the Yahoo group to follow along on the construction and have the help and guidance of Colleen. How could I resist? Although I own a couple of Colleen's patterns, I've never made one of them. You know, gotta get the pattern and then it languishes in a folder for days, months, years on end. My mojo had taken a hike lately and this was just the jumpstart I needed to get her back in the saddle again.

This is my doll created from Colleen's wonderful pattern. A doll perfect for use as a mannikin for making endless assortments of clothing for. The body is beautifully proportioned with the use of darts for shaping. Gotta love that! If you design with darts, you know what you are doing. Colleen does. A full wire armature for stability, exquisitely detailed face, and the costuming, to die for. The premise behind this doll was truly an original concept. The points of the skirt overlay are meant to have numbers applied to them and be able to fold up and attach to beads, thereby allowing the participant to reveal each Advent day as the calendar progresses. Brilliant!

I took a few shortcuts when making my doll...because I could. Years of doll making have given me many tools and techniques to use in getting to the end faster. I added beaded edging all around the overlay and gave her a silk shawl for the cold. I love the addition of the fan. What a great accessory!

This doll did for me what I needed her to do. She brought back my mojo. I've already started another doll from one of my own patterns and have another of Colleen's planned. Thanks Colleen.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dear Craft Book Publishers

I am distressed. I love craft books. Really. The problem that arises is that at least 50 percent of them that have patterns included call for the patterns to be enlarged anywhere from 150-400 percent. What's up with that?! The patterns that are at 100 percent of usage are great, I can trace them off and use them right away. But the others, oh no, first I have to trace it off, then either scan it or take it to a copy shop to enlarge it.

This poses a problem not only for me, but for millions of other crafters I'd venture. Unable to use the pattern right away because I have to go through all this extra riggamarole, I will  lose interest in making the pattern at all. Then I have to drive somewhere to get it enlarged. At the price of gas these days who wants that extra expense. And the cost to enlarge it at a copy shop. More expense. So, wasted money for the craft book, and one pissed-off crafter.

Now, if you are listening you book publishers, make your craft books with ring binding, allowing me to open the book flat to make it easier to follow instructions. Include an envelope at the back with FULL SIZE patterns. We who craft will love you. Right now, not so much.

For the publishers of Anna Maria Horner's books...big sloppy kisses. Full size patterns, ring bound. Need I say more. I know there are other books out there like hers, I own a few of them also. If there is extra expense in producing these kind of books, believe me, I'll pay the extra when buying it just to save me all the expenses on the back end of using a craft book that is not ring bound or that has patterns that need to be enlarged.

I'll step down from the soapbox now.

Friday, September 28, 2012

My Uncle Carl

My Uncle Carl died this morning in his sleep. Peaceful, without pain. He was a veteran, a college man, a farmer. With hands of steel, large, enveloping, loving hands. To calm a newborn calf, to pat the heads of wayward nieces and nephews. Always ready with a story about the comings and goings of life in Crivitz, Wisconsin. I loved him very much. Rest well Unca Cayo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Things I Love - Beth Webber crochet designs

IMG_1858 by mysisterkate
IMG_1858, a photo by mysisterkate on Flickr.
This is a Bleuette doll I made from Beth Webber's crochet pattern. Beth is, as some of you know, the crochet sensei of the doll world. This is an especially wonderful doll because of the jointed arms and legs and movable head. Strung with elastic beading cord. Her dress was made for me by my BFF, Ellen Haytas. You can find Beth's patterns on her blog.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Today I'm listening to the scamper of little feet. No, not grandchildren...

This little fellow, above my head, in the ceiling, in the basement. I'm sure he has found the smallest spot available to get into the house. I have traps set in the ceiling to catch these critters but they are like rabbits. Multiplying.

I'm waiting for the mechanic to call me with the cost of fixing my stupid car. Yesterday, the car would not give up my key. Locked in place. So I abandoned it in the garage, key and all. Off this morning to the mechanic. Just when I thought I was going to get ahead a little and take a weekend off, this reared it's ugly head, snatching cash. (BIG sigh here.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Continuing efforts

I  have been slowly working on patterns I've had for ages. It's time they get made. Although just having them is comforting to me for some reason. This pattern by revoluzza is one I've had for awhile now. I first saw a picture of the fox on the web somewhere and hoped she would come out with a pattern. She did! Good things come to those who wait.

I used fabrics from Michael Miller's Red and Aqua line. They were perfect for her. She'll probably go into my future grandma box. One can never be prepared enough for future grandchildren. I want to cover all the bases. This little fox girl went to the little girl next door. They are new neighbors so I couldn't go empty handed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Things I Love - First Love

No, not THAT first love. I'm talking about my love of modern fabric designs. Although I have sewn and crafted most of my life, and collected fabric, I was totally unaware of the road being taken by new modern fabric designers and the fabric companies who contracted with them. I had always bought most of my fabric from local fabric stores, a few quilt shops; but mostly the big box fabric stores like JoAnn's and Hancock Fabrics.

While I was perusing eleanor peace bailey's store a few years ago I happened upon the fabric of Heather Bailey, who just happens to be eleanor's daughter-in-law. Well, I can tell you I was overwhelmed, flummoxed, discombobulated even. All these beautiful fabrics in bold, graphic prints, fresh color and exciting ways to use them. I was instantly smitten. When I work with Heather's fabrics it's almost like smelling spring. I love her use of color, the clear, the soft, the vibrant. For me, her work is like no other. I am an unabashed fan of the first order. I will have to credit the fabulous Heather with giving me what I always wanted, new, fresh, exciting, fun fabric to soothe my savage sewing beast. From there I continued to search out new designers to see what they had to offer, Tina Givens, Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler, Tula Pink....the list goes on and on.

These are the charming pigs I made using Heather Bailey fabrics and her wonderful pattern. I also can't say enough about the pattern. A well-written, clearly illustrated pattern is a boon to any sewist. Trust me, I've made my share of badly written patterns and this one is leaps and bounds above them. All pieces go together perfectly, and the result, well you can plainly see. It worked.

So thank you Heather for bringing me into the modern fabric world. No kicking or screaming here, I went willingly. You will ALWAYS be my favorite fabric designer.