Thursday, August 17, 2017

How Gregor Became "Harry Potter"

Back in 2009, I purchased a 1970 dark haired Gregor waif from Jackie Kraemer at the first Rochester Sasha Festival. He was one of the smaller boys, and had a number of scuffs, scrapes, and dents on his body, a few ink "bruises", a nasty case of pinkeye, and a rather bad hair-do. Still, he had great face paint, and a sweet, if solemn expression. I picked him up, and as dolls will sometimes do, he "spoke" to me. Well, what could I do? I adopted him on the spot and brought him home.

Once we were home, I set to work with a BufPuff, Dawn dishwashing liquid, shampoo, and Oxy-10 to see about fixing the worst of the damage. He was a good sport about the whole process, and stood quietly and patiently while I worked on him. Eventually, I was able to remove most of the ink spots and the pinkeye staining with Oxy-10, and popped out some of the dents with a dip in very hot water. His hair, I discovered, had been cut rather short, especially on the back of his head, but I reasoned that sooner or later, I would get around to re-rooting the worst spots. After a few months, he was dressed and put into the doll room with the other Sashas and Gregors. He looked quite a bit better, but I kept thinking that something was missing. (Beside a stocking cap to flatten his hair, I mean!)

As I was surfing eBay one fine day, I ran across a seller that offered round doll glasses for sale, with gold or black wire rims. Hmm...I thought, maybe that's what the new boy needs. I ordered a pair of the black rimmed glasses, and when they came I tried them on him. They weren't perfect...I knew they'd need to be twiddled some for a better fit. Still, his eyes seemed to light up and he lost that "unfocused" look that had been bothering me. That's when he confided that his name was " know, like Harry Potter." Well, that explained a lot! I mean, you'd probably be a little rough looking, too, if you'd been fighting Lord Voldemort!

Harry quickly became one of the favorites of the doll room, and a frequent visitor to the annual Sasha Festival. I began adding things to his wardrobe, some inspired by the costumes from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, some made specifically to go with Festival themes, and others just things that I thought were cute and looked kind of wizard-y, like the Halloween vest that he's wearing below.

After a while, Harry had a decent Muggle wardrobe, but he still wanted a Hogwarts school uniform and accessories. It wasn't until August of 2015 that I really started to get serious about working on it. My doll club decided to have a year long wardrobe challenge, where we would work on a wardrobe for one specific doll. I knew that mine would be for Harry, so after the August meeting, I set to work.

Stay tuned for more on how Harry's wardrobe took shape!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A V-Neck Sweater to Fit Sasha Baby or Toddler

It's been quite some time since I posted anything on my blog. I've had good intentions for keeping it current, but life seems to get in the way, more often than not. At any rate, I'm going to try to update it more often...we'll see how that works out!

Several years ago, I wrote a pattern for a knitted V-neck sweater to fit Tonner's Effanbee Toni doll. Recently, I was working on a wardrobe for Sasha Baby Matti, one of the Helper doll and wardrobe sets for the 2017 Sasha Festival. I was looking for a pattern for a V-neck sweater to fit him, and I decided to try the Toni sweater on to see how much adjustment the pattern would need. To my great surprise, it fit Matti perfectly, just as it was written! The sweater I knit for him is pictured below. Fair warning, it is knit on small needles, with fingering wool, so it is a little fiddly. 

V-Neck Raglan Sweater
For Sasha Baby or Toddler
© 2007 By Charla McGuire Neal

Fingering or sock weight yarn
Size 0 and Size 1 needles
Stitch markers
Three stitch holders

Gauge: With Size 1 needles, 9sts =1”, 12 Rows = 1”

With size 1 needles, cast on 38 sts.

Row 1: Knit into the front and back of the first st, (inc 1 made,) k 1, inc 1, place marker, inc 1, k 6, inc 1, place marker, inc 1, k 14, inc 1, place marker, inc 1, k 6, inc 1, place marker, inc 1, k1, inc 1. At the end of this row, you should have 5 sts in the first and last (front) sections, 10 sts in the second and fourth (sleeve) sections, and 18 in the center (back) section.

Row 2 and every even numbered row: Purl across, slipping markers. (Wrong side)

Row 3 and all knit rows: Inc 1 in first st. K across front section to last st before marker, inc 1 in last st before marker, slip marker, inc 1 in next st, knit across sleeve to last st before marker, inc 1, sl marker, inc 1, k across back, inc 1, sl marker, inc 1, k across sleeve, inc 1 sl marker, inc 1, k across front, inc 1 in last st.

Continue in this manner, increasing first and last st plus before and after each marker on right side rows, and purling across, slipping markers on wrong side rows, until there are 30 sts in each sleeve section. The sleeve should measure about 3” wide at this point.

Next row: Knit across front to marker. Do not increase. Place front sts, along with marker, onto a holder. K across sleeve to marker. Remove marker and place back sts on holder, Join loose end of yarn and k across second sleeve to marker. Remove marker and place remaining front sts on a holder. Working both sleeves at once, using separate ends of the yarn to work each sleeve, k in stockinette st until sleeve measures about 3 3/4” long, measuring from neck edge down center of sleeve. Switch to size 0 needles and work 5 rows in k1, p1 ribbing. Bind off in ribbing.

Row 1: Switch back to size 1 needles. Place the already knitted sts (the ones with the marker still on the holder,) onto your right needle, removing the marker. Place the remaining front sts from the holder onto the left needle first, then the back sts. Join yarn at the underarm of the already knitted sts, and knit across the back and remaining front sts.

Row 2: P across
Work even in stockinette st for about 1 3/4” from underarm, (about 3 1/4” from center back neck) or to desired length. Switch to size 0 needles and work 5 rows in k1,p1 ribbing. Bind off in ribbing. Steam block sweater and sew sleeve seams.

Button Band:
(Note: Work in k1, p1 ribbing throughout.)
Using size 0 needles, cast on 6 sts. Work 5 rows.
Buttonhole row: K1, p1, k1, bind off 1 st, p1, k1, p1.
Next row: K1, p1, k1, YO, k1, p1.
Continue knitting the border, making a buttonhole every 7 rows until 4 buttonholes are made. Sew border on as you knit it. Buttonholes should be on right front for a girl, or the left front for a boy, and top buttonhole should fall just where the front begins to curve back for the V-neck. Continue to knit border and sew on, going around neck and down other side of front. Bind off at bottom edge. Steam press button band seam. Sew small buttons to front band, opposite buttonholes. Note: Some people make button holes on both sides of the band, so that with minor alterations, it could be used for either sex. Just sew the buttons on over the button holes on the side you are not using.

As always, this pattern is posted for your personal enjoyment. You may share the link wherever you'd like, but please don't post the pattern anywhere without my express written permission. Thanks!

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Crocheted Dress Bodice for Sasha

As promised, here is the pattern for a crocheted dress bodice with a fabric skirt, sized to fit Sasha dolls. Sasha ranges in size from around 16 inches to 17 inches. The pattern may, or may not fit other similar sized dolls. It will not fit the 18" American Girls, who are not only taller, but much bigger around than Sasha dolls. Crochet is fairly stretchy and forgiving, but not that stretchy and forgiving! I will probably be working on an American Girl size later this year, for my granddaughter's McKenna. When and if I do, I'll post the directions for the AG size here.

The dresses pictured above are two of the finished dresses that were made as table favors for the Sasha Festival. As always, this pattern is posted for your personal enjoyment. You may share the link wherever you'd like, but please don't post the pattern anywhere without my express written permission. Thanks!

Crocheted Dress Yoke
 Charla McGuire Neal
© 2013

To fit a 16” to 17” Sasha doll

Size 8 Hook  (1.5 mm)
#10 Crochet Cotton
About 30 inches of ¼ inch ribbon
Fabric to match crochet cotton (7 ½ inches by 28 inches)
3 very small buttons (about ¼ inch)

Chain 55

Row 1:  Dc in 3rd ch from hook and in next 5 ch sts for back yoke, *(2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc in next ch,) [corner shell made,] dc in next 13 chs for sleeve, repeat from * in next ch st for 2nd corner shell, dc in next 11 sts for yoke front, repeat from * in next ch st for 3rd corner shell,  dc in next 13 chs for second sleeve, repeat from * in next ch st for last corner shell, dc in last 6 chs for back yoke, ch 4, turn.

Row 2: Note: you will be working a double crochet in every other dc, with a ch 1 between them. (Fillet st)
Sk 1 dc, (ch 4 counts as first dc plus ch 1,) dc in 3rd dc, *(ch 1 skip next dc, dc in next dc.) Repeat from * working to corner. When you reach the corner ch 2 space, you you should have a dc in 1st dc of corner you worked in row 1.  You will ch 1, sk 2nd dc of row 1 corner, then work corner shell in ch 2 space. Continue from *, as above, working to end, ch 3, turn.

Row 3: Work dc in each dc and ch 1 sp across back, work corner shell in corner ch 2 space, work in fillet st across sleeve, work corner shell in corner, work dc in each dc and ch 1 sp across front, work in fillet st across sleeve, corner shell in corner, work dc in each dc and ch1 sp across back, ch 3, turn.

Row 4 - 5: Continue as above, working dc st in every dc st for backs and front, fillet st in sleeve sections, corner shell in ch 2 of each corner shell.

Row 6: Work across back sts plus 1 dc in ch2 space of corner shell, ch 8, sk all sleeve sts, work 1 dc in ch 2 sp of front corner, work all dc sts across front, 1 dc in ch 2 sp of 2nd front corner, ch 8, sk all sleeve sts, 1 dc in ch 2 sp of back corner, and every dc across back, ch 3, turn.

Row 7 & 8: Dc in each st all around, including under arm ch sts, ch 3, turn. At end of Row 8, ch 4, turn.

Row 9: Sk 1st dc, trc in 2nd st, *(ch 1, sk next dc, trc in 4th dc,) repeat from * across row, ending with trc in top of turning ch, ch 1, turn. (You should have 43 trebles, including the ch 4 turning at the beginning of the row.)

Row 10: Sc in each trc, and each ch 1 space across row, ch 3, turn.

Row 11: 1dc in bottom of turning ch, sc over top of next trc, work 5dc shell over top of following trc, sc over top of next trc, and so on, continuing across row. Finish with 2 dc in top of turning ch, ch 1, DO NOT TURN…instead:

Work in sc, up side of left back to neck, ch 1 turn, and work back down as follows: Make 1 sc, ch 2, sk 2 sc, (ch 2 buttonhole made,) 8 sc, ch 2 buttonhole, 8 sc, ch 2 buttonhole, sc to end of row, ch 1, turn. Work sc in every st up back, (including 2 scs in the ch 2 buttonhole spaces,) to top. Ch 1 at corner, sc around neck, ch 1 at right neck edge, sc down back to bottom edge, ch 1, turn and work back up to neck edge. Break off and work in the ends.

Note: You will be crocheting up and over the top of the sleeve, back across the underarm to the beginning, then working shells over the top of the sleeve to opposite side, where you will break off.

 Row 1: With right side facing you, attach thread to back corner of right sleeve, where the fillet crochets meet the underarm dc’s.  (This would be the side of the row where you worked dc’s to underarm, then did the 8 ch’s.) Sc in the side of the dc where the thread was attached, hdc in the side of the next row, ch 1, and work fillet st in each fillet st across sleeve. At bottom of row, hdc in side of dc row, sc in corner where sleeve meets underarm sc’s, then sc in each sc of underarm, join.

Row 2:  (Note: You will only work the upper sleeve fillet sts in this row, not the underarm sc sts.)

Ch 1, sc in top of sc, work 3 dc shell in top of hdc, sc in top of next dc, 3 dc shell in next dc, across row, end with sc in corner sc, between sleeve top and underarm, break off thread and work ends in.

Repeat with Left sleeve, attaching thread at front corner instead of back corner, and proceeding as before.

Finishing: Press bodice.

Serge sides and bottom of skirt. Fold about ¼ in. of skirt to wrong side, then gather top edge and pull up to fit bottom of bodice. I serged my skirt top for neatness and to hold the gathering in place, but you can finish it any way you prefer. Stitch skirt to bodice by machine or hand stitch with matching thread, aligning top of gathers just below the row of treble crochet beading for the ribbon. Sew back seam, press, and finish back edge of skirt. Fold up ¾ inch on bottom of skirt, press, and hem.

Sew three buttons to right back of bodice, matching position of buttonholes. Run ribbon through beading and tie in a bow at back.

Please remember, I am not a professional pattern designer, nor am I a professional typist. I am the only one who has tested this pattern so far. If you find a mistake or a typo, please feel free to contact me, and do let me know how the pattern worked out for you.

For those in the UK, please bear in mind that there is a difference in terminology between the US and the UK. As I recall, our single crochet is your double crochet, our double crochet is your treble crochet, and our treble crochet is your double treble crochet. Our half double crochet is, of course, your half treble.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How I Spent Spring (and Part of Summer,) 2013

I always enjoy the annual Sasha Festival, and having missed last year's Festival in England, I was really looking forward to the 2013 Festival. As usual, I had a wonderful time, both visiting with old friends who attend nearly every year, and meeting the first time attendees, many of whom are already on-line acquaintances. The Festival, which celebrates Sasha Morganthaler and the dolls she created, is a small, family friendly event, held at a different location each year, entirely organized and staffed by volunteers. It is difficult to describe the feeling of friendship and camaraderie that is the hallmark of the Sasha Festival. I can only say that there is a reason why the same people keep returning year after year! The 2014 Festival will be held in Phoenix, AZ.

I usually volunteer as a table hostess during the Festival. Often, part of that duty is to provide a small table favor for your guests. I'd seen some cute dresses with a crocheted bodice and fabric skirt on someone's doll at a previous Festival and thought I'd try something similar for my table this year. I didn't have a pattern, but I've been crocheting since I was seven years old, and was fairly sure I could create my own version.

I spent the end of May fiddling around with crocheting and making notes on the various trial versions of the bodice. A good part of June was divided between working on CFA projects, and crocheting and sewing the actual table favor dresses. Here are a few pictures of the finished products, taken on my table at the Festival. I needed eight for that night, but have made several more since I've been back home. I'm working on writing the pattern up, and will publish it here when I have it ready, so if you are a Sasha collector and/or crocheter, stay tuned!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Back to School Swap for Sasha

I recently signed up to participate in a Back to School Swap for Sasha, which was hosted by Lorraine Tyler, whom I had just met in person at the 2013 Sasha Festival. Good fortune smiled on me, and Lorraine turned out to be my swap partner! Her swap to me arrived this past week. She sent me a darling plaid school uniform, with a white blouse and red school tie. Along with the outfit, she included a wonderful school satchel, filled with a set of colored pencils, an amazingly tiny pencil case with a working zipper, a Sasha sized Beatrice Potter book, and a miniature paint set. When it arrived, my lovely Alexandra immediately laid claim to it and has been wearing it ever since. We both love it! Alexandra may love it just a bit too much!

Alexandra's First Day of School

Alexandra has her new school things neatly laid out on the table, ready for the first day of school.

She can't wait to get them all packed into her satchel and head off to catch the bus!

"Zoe," she asks, "Is my satchel on straight? What time will the bus arrive to pick us up?"

"What? What do you mean, school doesn't start until tomorrow? I'm ready to go now!"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Summer Play Set for Amelia Thimble

I've been working on some rather small crochet projects recently, for a very tiny ball jointed doll called Amelia Thimble. In case you aren't familiar with her, at a mere four inches tall, Amelia lives in a sewing box, has a button studded bed, a dog named Rags, and a new friend called Izzy. Created by Joe Petrollese, Amelia is available from the Wilde Imagination website.

I wanted to share the pattern for one of Amelia's little crocheted outfits with you. I warn you, crocheting in a decent scale for a doll this tiny requires fine thread, small steel hooks, and may cause some serious eye strain! Still, if you have the patience for it, it can be a little addictive! The basic set can be varied to make different outfits. Shorten the pantalets to make bloomers. Use a different stitch pattern for the top, or lengthen it for a dress. Have fun, and by all means, let me know what you've made!

Crocheted Summer Play Set

For Amelia Thimble

by Charla McGuire Neal

Copyright 2012

Size 30 Crochet Thread (I used DMC Cebelia)

Size 11 Steel crochet hook (1.1 mm)


For waistband, cut a piece of 1/8" elastic to just fit around Amelia's waist. Butt the ends together, or overlap just slightly, and stitch by hand, OR, if you can find one of the clear or pastel colored latex ponytail holders in the right size, they would be ideal. (Blaxx, Goody, and Vidal Sassoon all make them.) I've tried using them, but the size I've found either have to be knotted to fit, which is less than ideal, (the knot leaves a bump, and the extra bit of band folded against the main band is awkward to crochet over.) Doubling the band works, kind of. The band will go around Amelia's waist, but is a *very* snug fit, and makes the pantalets difficult to get over her feet and knees. That's why I've pretty much gone back to the 1/8" elastic for the ones I've been making.

Note: Every row of pantalets is worked in the same direction, from the outside, without turning when you start a new row.

Row 1: Work 26 sc over the elastic ring, join to first sc with a sl st, ch 1, do not turn.

Row 2: Sc in every sc around, join, ch 2 (26 sc, not counting beginning ch st)

Row 3: Dc in every sc around, join, ch 2.

Row 4 & 5: Same as above, but at end of row, ch 5.

Row 6: Skip 1st 13 sts, join ch to next st with sl st, ch 2. Working one leg at a time, DC in same st as ch 2, then in each of remaining 12 dc. Work one dc in each of the 5 ch sts dividing legs, join and ch 2

Row 7 & 8: Dc in each dc, join, ch 1

Row 9: Sc in next 2 sc, sk 1 st, sc in next st, repeat to end of row, join, ch 2

Row 10: Sc in next sc, (*ch 2, sc in next st,) Repeat from * to end of row.

Break off, and work in ends of thread. Join thread at back of bloomers, and work second leg same as the first.

Sleeveless A Line Top

Bodice: Ch 29

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook & each ch across, 28 sc, ch 1, turn.

Row 2: Sc in 1st 4 sts, ch 4, sk 6 sc, sc in next 8 sc, ch 4, sk 6 sc, sc in last 4 sc.

Row 3: Sc in each sc and each 4 ch sts across. (24 sc)

Row 4: Sc in each sc across, ch 2, turn.


Row 5: Skip first sc, dc in 2nd sc, ch 1, dc in same sc, (V stitch made,) sk 1 st, Work V st in next st. Continue across row, skipping one stitch and working a V stitch in the next, working 1 dc in the last st, ch 2, turn.

Row 6-8: Work 1 V stitch in the center of each v st across, working 1 dc in top of turning ch, ch 2, turn.

Row 9: Repeat last row, ch 1, turn.

Row 10: Sc in every dc and ch st across row, ch 1 at end of row, then turn and sc up the side of the back. When you reach the sc rows of the bodice, ch 1, (buttonhole made,) sc in the end next 2 sc rows, ch 1, (buttonhole made,) sc in top row, break off.

Reattach thread at the neck edge of opposite back side, ch 1, sc along side to bottom of skirt, working over the end threads. At the bottom of the row, ch 1 and join with a sl st to the skirt bottom.

Work in loose ends of the thread. Sew two 2.5 mm pearl beads to right side of the back, across from buttonholes.

This pattern is posted for your own enjoyment. You may share the link freely with your friends, but please do not post the pattern anywhere else without my express written permission. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time Flies...

...especially when you are on vacation! I seem to not only be getting older, but correspondingly slower. I have the house all to myself this week, but just don't seem to be getting that much done. Of course, it could partially be because of the frequent breaks I've been taking for morning coffee, checking on the elk, checking email, reading the paper, lunch, knitting break, scanning old family photos into the computer, snack break, phone calls, checking Ravelry, getting distracted by Yard Crashers and/or Paula Deen, dinner, checking email again, looking up and importing recipes into The Recipe Manager, (my recipe program,) checking Ravelry again, running to town for cleaning supplies that I forgot to get when I was there over the weekend, soaking in the hot tub, and watching reruns of Bones. (Oh, and blogging, of course.) Still, I've only gotten about half of my to-do list checked off, and my vacation time is already three quarters over. Well, what's to be done, but soldier on. With frequent mental health breaks, of course. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!