Dressing dolls and other lovies

My now-5-year-old granddaughter, a totally knitworthy child, loves to dress her dolls and stuffed animals in hand knits. She calls the lot of them her “lovies” and delights in changing their clothes.

I knit most of these, including Pixiepurls’  February Doll Sweater, for my granddaughter’s June birthday. COVID-19 kept us many states apart, but we FaceTimed while she unwrapped her present.  This Ravelry-available freebie is knit in Brooklyn Tweed Arbor, a DK weight.  My Ravatar insisted on modeling it.

With some of the leftovers, I also knit the doll boots from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Doll Clothes.The pattern is part of Schoolhouse Press Pattern #26.

One cool thing about knitting for my granddaughter’s lovies is that she isn’t particular about what size clothes she wants. I’ve told her that if she decides she’d like me to make clothes that would fit a certain size lovie, I’ll happily knit to size. But she prefers assorted sizes and always finds something or someone who fits whatever I knit. That definitely takes the pressure off a knitter. Gauge doesn’t matter a bit!

This next sweater is Samantha, knit in Cascade 220 Superwash Effects, a worsted weight. This 1996 Terry Foust pattern is hard to locate.  Actually, it wasn’t hard for me to locate because I pulled the pages out of the magazine many years ago and kept it in a binder with other doll clothes patterns. It was published in the Holiday,1996 issue of Cast-On.

Once again, here’s my Ravatar modeling Samantha. I told her she looked quite coordinated and not garish at all. She told me to mind my own business and that she likes garish, thank you.

My Ravatar couldn’t squeeze into this next sundress and hat combo, not that she didn’t try. The dress is Elizabeth Baird’s freebie, Sun Dress for Bean Bag Toy Animal. I knit it in some sockweight oddments I had left over.

This is such a cute little sundress. A well thought out pattern. One thing? Cast on very loosely because 2 of the teeny sections divided in the first row become the neckline.

I just winged it on the roll edge hat. To make the flowers I cast on 13 stitches on a double pointed needle. I left a long tail when I cut the working yarn. I slid the stitches forward on the needle and threaded the working yarn through the stitches, from the first stitch cast on to the last one. Next, pull tight. Secure the ends. I added a bead onto one of the yarn tails and left it poking through the center of the flower.

Here’s my freebie Sunrise Side Bear looking quite jaunty in her ensemble.

Lambie looks quite nice in the sundress as well, but the hat. Well, the hat rests on her shoulders and sits like a bucket on her head. But Lambie always starts weeping if doll clothes are being modeled and she can’t get a piece of the action. So, here’s Lambie modeling another Dolly Milo. Such a sweet vest! I’ve knit this many times and have definitely gotten my money’s worth out of Georgie Nicolson’s pattern. This version is knit in Plymouth Yarns DK Merino Superwash.

My granddaughter really really got a kick out of the backpack I knit for her lovies. She promptly announced that now they’d be able to go camping. This freebie is Doll’s Day at School, by Rebecca Venton. It’s knit in worsted weight.

My slumping Ravatar’s day at school must have been grueling since she isn’t dressed like she went camping. She’s also wearing a pair of matching legwarmers included in Venton’s Day at School pattern.

With a teeny bit of yarn and a few hours of time a knitter can help unleash a child’s creative play. It feels like such a solid way to connect to a far-away grandchild. Or a nearby grandchild!

Sunrise Side Bear

I live on what Michiganders (don’t laugh, that’s what we are) call the “Sunrise Side.” That’s the northeastern section of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Almost all the sections of the Sunrise Side are less affluent, more rural, just a wee bit less scenic (being honest now) than the western side of the northern lower peninsula. We have our share of big homes, beautiful homes, interesting shops, and jaw-dropping natural views. But we also have a lot of children taking backpacks of food home for the weekend. And my town has more vacant storefronts than occupied ones.

After I worked out the pattern for this little guy, Sunrise Side Bear seemed the best name for it. The pattern is free on Ravelry.

My pair of fraternal twin bears is knit in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted. In this beefy worsted, knit at a tight gauge on size 5 needles, they turn out to be about 9 inches tall and 6 inches across the arms.

Sunrise Side Bear is knit flat. Totally flat. In one piece. His face, head, tummy, and butt are formed by short rows. In case you’ve not yet learned how to work short rows, all the instructions are included.

These little guys just keep leaping off my needles. Even with sewing up and stuffing I complete one in about 4 hours.

Here’s another one I recently knit for newborn Sophia. Again I used Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride.

I like to gift them wearing duds of some sort. For a newborn, a scarf seemed like a bad idea. Instead, I knit Georgie Nicholson’s Dolly Milo. Dolly Milo, knit in DK weight, is actually designed as a vest. But Sunny wears hers as a dress. 

Sophia also received her own Milo vest. Hers is knit identically to the doll’s version, but I chose a different cable panel.

I knit the vests in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK. The set made for quite a sweet newborn gift.

I recently knit a fingering weight hat out of some very special light fingering weight yarn: Fiber-Isle’s Buff. It’s 25% cashmere goat, 25% rayon, 25% bamboo and 25% “other animal.”  According to Fiber Isle, Buff is “made once a month from fibers left over from our blends. Never the same but always nice.” They spin bison yarns, so maybe some of the other is bison? Anyway, I had a smidge left after completing my hat (47 yards, actually) and thought I’d have enough for a tiny wee Sunrise Side Bear. “Close but no cigar…”

Running out of yarn created a patchwork bear. And once my bear already had a green front leg and a green front foot, it seemed to need some clothes to blend in the mish-mash.

I am inordinately fond of this little guy.

Read more about the Sunrise Side Bear’s construction here.

Stay safe, everyone. Knit on!

Lovey duds

You probably already know what a lovey is. Maybe you and yours call them stuffies. Or stuffed buddies. Or dolls, bears, bunnies…but those aren’t the same because what’s needed is a term that sweeps all into into one overarching category. And just “toys” obviously doesn’t do it. My lamb, with her ceramic face and hooves, doesn’t really qualify as a lovey because she lacks all cuddly characteristics.

So the table is now properly set. I knew that my granddaughter enjoyed dressing her loveys in hand knits. After unwrapping her present, she explained to her mom that her “loveys have been asking for new clothes.”

Lambie is looking smart in her sweater, hat and purse combo. The sweater is a Ravelry freebie, Little Kina by Muriela Agator. I’ve knit it a number of times, in various yarn weights and I’ve always been pleased with the results. This time I used Stonehedge Fibers’ Shepherd’s Wool Worsted. I just winged it on the beanie and purse.

Lambie insists on modeling even the clothes that aren’t properly sized for her. I believe she’s concerned that unless she tucks herself into all the lovey garments she possibly can her modeling days will be over. This Ravelry freebie is Francois Stewart’s Beary Good Dress.

I knit mine in Malabrigo Worsted. The pattern is intended to fit a 10 to 12 inch bear or doll. I downsized it by using a smaller needle (US 5) and adjusted the pattern a bit. I made two “Quaker” rolls (3 rounds purl, 3 rounds knit, 3 rounds purl) at the start. After a few rows, I k6, k2 together around the round. About 2 inches from the cast-on, I k5, k2 together around the round, k1 round, k4 k2 together around the round, k1 round. That left 50 stitches, I separated for the front and back and decreased at the edge(s) by knitting 2 together, to assure that I could k2 at the beginning and end of the ribbing rows. I worked the same edge decreases on the back, to begin and end with k2. That left a nice neat edge at the armholes.

My first attempt at Beary Good Dress was less successful, but still cute.

Lambie insists it fits her. But of course all evidence is to the contrary. I thought I had enough pink yarn to make the entire top ribbing in pink. Not so. Since I was already into the multi-colored world, and because the armholes were looking a bit ragged, I decided to do some applied I-Cord around the armholes. I still think that was an OK idea. But I executed it badly. Using the white yarn would have worked better. One thing about loveys? They are very forgiving if you dress them in garments that aren’t especially fashion-forward.

Lambie’s next dress is actually Dolly Milo, a pint-sized vest by Georgie Nicolson. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn and supplies 4 sizes, for a 5, 7, 9, or 11 inch chest. I knit the 9 inch, in Plymouth Yarn’s DK Merino Superwash. This pattern, along with its child-size Milo, is a quick, fun knit with no assembly required. Off the needles and onto the lovey (or child).

I had to wrestle this next one away from Lambie’s clutches. My Ravatar is modeling Samantha, a sweater by Terry Foust. It’s a pattern that was included in the Holiday, 1996 edition of Cast-on, a magazine then put out by the Knitters Guild of America. I cut it out of the magazine 25 years ago (gasp) and set it aside to knit someday. Someday arrived when Evelyn became interested in dressing her loveys.

The pattern’s meant for an 18 inch doll (American Girl doll size). It includes a beret. My Ravatar is a pumpkin head. The beret would fit better on an 18 inch doll with her properly proportioned head. My Ravatar wanted to keep the sweater and argued she’s been chilly lately and that a sweater would help.

Here’s most of the clothes, to give you a sense of their relative sizes.

This next photo is definitely my favorite. Here’s how some loveys spent the night after Evelyn opened her package. Grandmother proclaims again: This child is knitworthy!