Sparrow has finally celebrated her 5th birthday and has received her gifts. She loves the doll and has made sure it goes everywhere with her since she opened it up. I used the Little Yarn Dolls pattern from Mary Jane's TEAROOM. I really enjoyed this pattern a lot. Dolls and toys can be very complicated to knit depending on how thorough the instructions are. I've knit quite a few toys for my kids over the years and this particular pattern is the most beginner-friendly doll pattern I have ever used. I did not follow the instructions exactly when it came to yarn choices. I typically use all my little odds and ends and leftover yarny bits ( #stashbusting ) when making toys and this time was no exception. I let Sparrow pick out 95% of the yarns for this doll from my stash, and I color-matched a few things so it ended up with a cohesive look.
Substituting yarn for doll patterns is fairly straight-forward. The key is that you try to achieve a tight gauge so you can stuff your toys without the stuffing showing through. So if you have a big pile of lace weight and sock yarn, you are either going to have to knit on very tiny needles for a tight gauge, or you can hold 2 more more strands together whilst knitting on bigger needles to approximate a thicker yarn weight. That is usually what I do. I knit some elements of this doll with a single strand of worsted weight yarn, and some elements were 2 strands of yarn (1 strand each of fingering and lace weight yarns). This will give a more variegated/marled effect.
Finally, I did not stuff this doll with fluffy polyester fiber toy stuffing. I did not have any of that on hand. What I did end up using was shredded fabric scraps from making masks. The doll came out with a really lovely heftiness and solidness to her that you just can not achieve with fluffy batting. Sparrow likes the dolls weight, it makes her feel more like "a real baby."
I would highly recommend this pattern if you are looking to make a doll for a little child and want well-written instructions.
The blanket is also all finished. This was knit up with yarn that I had purchased at the 2019 Maine Fiber Frolic (cancelled for 2020 due to pandemic) at the Spunky Eclectic booth. At the time I was not sure what I was going to do with all that fiber but the bright colors just made me so happy. I eventually spun it at the annual Tour de Fleece. If you don't know what the Tour de Fleece is, let me inform you really quick, I got the following information from a Spin-Off Magazine's article from last year:
The Tour de Fleece is an online spin-along for everyone who loves to spin yarn and play with fiber! It’s an opportunity to challenge yourself while connecting with other spinners and having fun too. This July, the Tour de Fleece will enter into its fourteenth year of fiber madness. I started the first Tour in 2006 by spinning yarn along with the Tour de France. The concept was simple: they spin, we spin.... A lot has transpired in fourteen years. In 2006 we started out with just 16 spinners, though we had a lot of fun. In 2007, we grew to 138 spinners and had even more fun. 2008 was HUGE, with over 400 spinners. Currently, we’re beyond 10,000 participants. It just keeps growing and evolving. What’s new this year is that there is a special team just for kids. There are even prizes to win!
Head over to the article for lots of links for more information if you are interested in joining this year.
The Tour de Fleece has just announced that they are doing two spin-alongs this year so that more people can participate in one or both events. I know I am already starting to prepare fiber for both Tours. Last year was my first year participating and it was so much fun to just challenge myself to see how much I could spin over 10 days. I took my spinning wheel all over the place so that I could sit and spin every chance I got, too. I'm lucky that I do happen to have a fairly portable wheel so I was able to do that. Sorry for the tangent, look for future posts about preparing for the Tour de Fleece as the year progresses.
Sparrow's birthday was a lot of fun. My last baby has turned 5 , and I'm really looking forward to seeing how she changes and grows over the next year.