Sunday, August 20, 2017

Harry's Hogwarts Wardrobe Takes Shape

After my Doll Club's meeting in August of 2015, I began to do some research on all things Harry Potter. After some consideration, I decided that my Harry looked fairly young, and was most likely entering his first year at Hogwarts, so I concentrated on items that were mentioned in the first book, or shown in the first movie. First, I sat down and sorted through things I already had, searching for anything I thought would work for Harry's muggle wardrobe. I already had several muggle things that he had claimed for his own, including a pair of navy shorts and a navy shirt with green frogs, a blue hoodie, the Halloween outfit with black pants, white turtleneck, and Magic Frog vest, plus a vest, made by Lorraine, of fabric from New Zealand that I'd purchased at her sales booth during the 2014 Festival in Phoenix, a "cactus" vest that I made him for the 2015 Ft. Worth Festival, the jeans from the 2015 Festival, plus some socks, underwear, shoes, and a pair of Wellies for trudging around the castle grounds. I had a small bag of feathers that I use when I make doll hats, and in it, I found a red one, a black one, and a couple of white ones that I thought were the right size for quills. I found a denim back pack for him in my accessory box, and a pair of tan cords and a navy pullover that I thought would work well for the outfit that Harry wears in the movie scene where Oliver Wood teaches him about Quidditch.

After assembling what he had, I sat down and looked over the list of basic school items I'd written up when I was doing a Back to School swap with Lorraine and Henry, and decided that Henry might enjoy going to school at Hogwarts. Among the items on that list were his Hogwarts letter, his ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express, school books, a Hogwarts school uniform, school robes, a wand, quills, ink, and a back pack. To that list, I added a plain pointed wizard's cap, a cauldron, potion ingredients, a set of brass scales, a winter cloak, a school scarf, pajamas and a robe, slippers to keep his feet warm on those cold stone castle floors, and a school trunk to keep everything in. I also added some optional items, namely an invisibility cloak, Hedwig and her cage, Quidditch robes, a Quidditch set, and a Nimbus 2000 broomstick, to be added when and if I found them. Once I had my plan, I found that I was quite eager to begin!

I began with printing out Harry's school letter, envelope, and his ticket to the Hogwarts Express, (below.) I found these by doing a Google search for images, saving the ones I liked best, then scaling them smaller and printing them out on parchment paper for an authentic look. I carved his wand from the end of a bamboo skewer that I had cut to the proper length and sanded smooth. The handle was made by putting a tiny daub of hot glue on the end of the wand, and shaping it with a toothpick while it was still hot. Then a thin string of hot glue was put around the bottom of the handle to define it. That was also done with the aid of a toothpick. I found this easier to accomplish by putting dots of hot glue on a paper plate as I needed them, then replacing them as they began to get too cool to manipulate. Once I was happy with the shape of the wand, I painted it. I used a brown base coat, then dry brushed on some black accents, and finished it off with a coat of sealer. It is shown on the top of Harry's trunk, with the Hogwarts letters, just below. You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them, by the way.

The grade one spell books are available as printables for 18" dolls in several places on the web. I got mine from the Wren*Feathers blog: 
Jenny also has patterns for a few other Hogwarts tutorials on her website. They may look a bit difficult at first glance, but the instructions are very clear, and they are actually quite fun to put together.

Around the end of September or early in October, the Christmas ornaments started to appear on the store shelves. I had seen a number of owls, but most were either too big, or too small. One day I was shopping in Michael's, and spotted a white owl, shown along with some other woodland type of ornaments. While it was not a dead ringer for Hedwig, as the feathers were accented with a pale brown instead of black, it looked to be the perfect scale, so I purchased one for Harry. (Frankly, the slight difference in coloring has never seemed to bother either of us much.) Some time after that, I found a bird-cage type of candle holder in the Family Dollar store. I whipped the tape measure out of my purse to make sure it wasn't too small. It turned out to be just right, and voila, Hedwig had a cage! She now sits cozily perched in the round metal spot meant to hold a tea light.

After Christmas, I got out my yarn and needles and began working on Harry's school sweater, using the same "Wizard in Training" pattern I'd used for the one I sent Henry. It was written by Sandy Wessel, and can be found on Ravelry under the name "Harry Potter School Sweater." I was out of sport weight yarn in the colors I needed, so I refigured the pattern gauge and used fingering weight yarn instead. There is also a great looking school sweater pattern in the "Knitting Patterns for Sasha, Gregor, and Baby" pattern book by Patricia Evans and Jane Woodbridge, if you have that book. If not, any basic sweater pattern with a V-neck would probably work, or even a v-neck vest pattern with sleeves added to it from another pattern. I used Brown Sheep Nature Spun yarn in Charcoal, Scarlet, and Sungold colors, but you could use any brand of yarn you like, as long as it's in the Gryffindor colors of gray, scarlet, and gold. 

Harry's house scarf was knitted in the round of the same yarn as the sweater. I believe I cast on 22 stitches in fingering weight yarn, using size 1 needles, knitted 9 rows of each color, and alternated 13 blocks of scarlet with 12 blocks of gold, casting off and finishing the ends with fringe. If you didn't want to knit in the round, you could just work in stockinette stitch rows on 11 or 12 stitches, instead.

I made Harry's shirt from a personal pattern that I had designed a while back, and have made frequently in both long and short sleeve styles. (Harry's navy frog shirt is made from the same pattern.) There are a number of similar patterns available, including a dress shirt pattern with sleeve and collar variations from the "Sixty Sewing Patterns to Fit Sasha and Gregor From Marcy Street Doll Company" pattern book, by Ann Louise Chandler. (It is now out of print, but sometimes the booklet, or the original Marcy Street patterns come up for bid on eBay.) Another of my favorites is pattern #131 - Shirt with Yoke and Sleeve Variations from Denise Ortakales of "The Doll Carriage", (which also come up for bid on eBay every now and then,) and the last of my favorites is the shirt from Evalyn Styles' Brownie Jumper and Blouse, from the Winter 2003 issue of Friends of Sasha newsletter. (The 2003 four issue set *may* still be available from Dorisanne Osborn.) There are other shirt patterns available as well. Judi Arrington sells lovely patterns with a very nice fit on her website:

Harry's pants are made of lightweight gray wool gabardine, from a pants pattern that was published in Friends of Sasha. Mine has a front opening mock fly, but that detail really doesn't matter, as the sweater covers the front of the pants anyway. When I made the swap outfit for Henry, I made the tie of a lightweight satin fabric, and sewed on the contrasting ribbon stripes. However, for Harry's uniform tie, I simply cut a piece of scarlet grosgrain ribbon for the tie and cut it to a point at the ends, stabilizing the edges with FrayChek. I intend to paint stripes on it using a gold paint pen, when I get around to doing that.

I had been looking for a trunk for some time, when I finally found one at Hobby Lobby that I thought was large enough to hold Harry's wardrobe, but not so large that it looked ridiculous. One of the last things I put in his trunk before he and I set off for the August 2016 Club meeting, where our wardrobe challenges were to be revealed, was his plain pointed wizard hat, which all the students are shown wearing in the scene of the Sorcerer's Stone movie where Professor Dumbledore awards the House Cup. I just cut a cone shape of black wool felt, seamed it up the back, turned it right side out and plunked it onto his head! Below is a photo of Harry's trunk, wardrobe, and accessories, as of August, 2016.

I have continued to work on both Harry and his wardrobe, and have several things that are not pictured above. I found some hair that was a good match for his color and started re-rooting the back of his head this past winter. It's coming along well, especially since I now have a rooting tool of sorts. I'll try to get a photo of his current set very soon and update it here on the blog. There are still a number of items on my list that I haven't yet made or found, but the journey is where much of the fun lies. I look forward to playing in Harry's magical world for a good while longer!

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!

Thanks for stopping by!