Thursday, November 19, 2009

Knitting Pattern: Pullip Legwarmers

A pretty simple pattern for doll legwarmers.  Obviously these will fit almost any doll.  Super easy, super quick, super cute - I made these when I was chit-chatting with my mother-in-law and didn't have my Pullip.
Pullip Legwarmers
You will need:
  • Size 1 US needles, douple-pointed with point protectors, one circular, or straight
  • Small amount of crochet thread, laceweight yarn, or other very thin yarn - under 50 yards
  • About 15" of 1/8" wide satin ribbon
  • Scissors & ruler
  • Darning needle (#22 tapestry)
You will need to know:
  • Cast on, bind off, knit, purl, stockinette stitch, and 1x1 rib
Gauge: 11 sts/per inch in stockinette stitch on size 1-US needles.  To ensure accurate sizing, be sure to check your gauge.

CO 20 sts.  Work 4 rows in 1x1 rib.
Work in stockinette stitch for the length of your doll's leg, from knee to heel.  Yes - all the way; you'll add a little more ribbing so they are "slouchy."
Work 4 more rows in 1x1 rib.  BO loosely, leaving a long tail to seam.  Weave in loose ends.  Block lightly if desired.

Seam up the back of the legs preferably using mattress stitch if possible.

Using the ribbon, thread through in the last round of ribbing or the first round of stockinette (whatever stitches stick out more).  Thread the ribbon through the tapestry needle and start at the front (opposite your seam).  Leaving a couple inches of ribbon sticking out, do a running stitch through those stitches: under the knit stitches and in front of the purl stitches (try to stay consistent on the same row).  Go all the way around the back and come out the front.  Cut the ribbon at an angle and tie in a bow (if you aren't lazy like me, you can try this with matching sewing thread and make it extra-secure).  Repeat for the other leg.
If you don't have ribbon, try doing stripes every 2 rows.  If you only use 2 colors, you won't have to weave in the ends if you carry them up the sides very neatly.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Knitting Pattern: Off-the-shoulder Sweater for Pullip

Here is a very simple pattern for an off-the-shoulder sweater, based on Knitty's Tempting by Jenna Adorno (one of my favorite sweaters of all time).  I made the sleeves longer and did it in stockinette stitch rather than her ribbed style, and removed the ribbon (it's about time I started adding some conservative pieces to Lenore's wardrobe).  If you want to add a ribbon, simply weave it through the bottom of the top edge of ribbing (1/8" ribbon works best).  Eyelets are not necessary.

You will need to know how to knit in the round; knowing how to knit both on DPN's and two circulars will make this easier (sleeves on the DPN's and the body and yoke on two circulars).  Because of the small size, this probably isn't a good project to learn; but other than the tiny-size factor, it's a piece o' cake.  A couple of really good tutorials are linked in the "You will need to know" section.

The sleeves and body are each knit seamlessly in one piece, then the stitches are all transferred to the same needle and the ribbed yoke is finished.  There is subtle waist shaping, but nothing form-fitting to the degree of the Strapless Top.  Bonus: there is NO sewing other than tiny underarm seams.  That means no evil snaps to have to sew on!!!

Off-the-shoulder Sweater
You will need:
  • One ball of fingering weight yarn, preferably sock yarn; I used Knitpicks Essential (now Knitpicks Stroll) in a brown ombre that has been discontinued.  You will not need the entire (probably not even a fourth) ball.  Stroll is a great yarn because it is very evenly spun, has a fantastic hand, and isn't too fuzzy.
  • Two circular knitting needles and six double-pointed needles, all in size 1 US.  (You can get away with just having four DPN's if you have two stitch markers large enough to hold about three inches of stitches each)
  • Scissors & ruler
  • Small darning needle (with fingering weight, you could probably use a size 22 tapestry needle, available in the embroidery section of most craft stores)
You will need to know:
Sweater Instructions
CO 36 sts.  Divide evenly on two circular needles - 18 sts each.
Join, being careful not to twist.  Work 2 rounds in 1x1 ribbing.
Begin working in stockinette stitch.  You will shape the waist.
Round 1 (after ribbing) and all odd rows: knit.
Round 2: ssk, k to end of first needle, ssk, k to end of second needle.
Round 4: k to last 2 sts, k2tog, k to last 2 sts on second needle, k2tog.
Round 6: repeat round 2.

K all sts for .5".

Begin increasing for bust:
Round 1: m1, k to end of first needle, m1, k to end of second needle.
Round 2 and all even rounds: k all sts.
Round 3: k to end of first needle, m1, k to end of second needle, m1.
Round 5: repeat round 1.
You now have 30 sts again.  K until piece measures 1.5", then break yarn and put on DPN's or holder (if you choose a holder, put all the front stitches on one holder and the back stitches on another).

CO 12 stitches.
  • I find the best tension results if I work the first 3 rounds or so on two circulars, but then switch to DPN's.  If you feel like you knit best on two circulars, by all means; I just find all the sliding for six stitch gets annoying.
Distribute the stitches evenly on the needles: six on the front circular and six on the back, or four on each of a set of three DPN's.  Join, being careful not to twist.  Work 2 rows in 1x1 ribbing.
Begin stockinette stitch: knit every round.  Work for 2.5", or length desired (measured from underarm to where you want the bottom of the sleeve to be; suggested measurements: long sleeve, 2.5"; mid-forearm, 1.75"; elbow, 1"; short-sleeve, 5").

First sleeve: break yarn and put on two spare DPNs or two holders (half the stitches on one holder and half the stitches on the other).
Work a second stitch the exact same way as the first, except do NOT break yarn.

Slip the stitches from the holders onto the two circulars: one sleeve, then the body, then the last sleeve with the unbroken yarn between the two needles.  To make the underarms easier, try to work the ends so that the cut end on one sleeve touches the body, and the body cut end is touching the second sleeve (that way you can use the tails to seam the underarms).  Work the yoke as follows:
First needle: Slip 4 stitches pwise, slip 2 onto waste yarn, slip 2 of body stitches on waste yarn, slip all body stitches except last 2, slip those onto waste yarn, slip first 2 sleeve stitches onto waste yarn, slip 4.
Second needle: repeat as for first needle.

Note: avoid gaps at the underarms by taking two stitches together on either side of the gap.  This means you will k1, p1, k1, p2tog, rib across front of body 'til the gap, k2tog, p1, k1, p1.  Repeat for the back.
Work 4 rounds of 1x1 ribbing and BO off loosely (i.e. with a size 2 needle).

Join the four stitches at the underarm securely.  Try a three-needle bind off by picking up the stitches left on the waste yarn and being very careful; to get the yarn at the end of the 4 stitches, I had to knit two stitches.  Or you could wing it with a crochet hook.  If you have holes at the joins, stitch them closed with another piece of yarn (or the leftover), or more preferably, invisible thread or embroidery floss.  I only had a hole in the front of one side.

Steam-block or pin & spritz.  Here is a good tutorial for lots of different kinds of blocking.  Honestly, I usually just use pin & spritz or wet blocking (soak garment, squeeze in a towel, pin on a blocking board, put under a ceiling fan overnight).  Blocking helps even out your stitches, which is fantastic for people like me with slightly uneven tension.  It isn't necessary, and frankly I don't do it every time because of the waiting factor, but it will make your garments look better.

A few WIP pics:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Knitting Pattern: Pullip Hoodie

At long last, I give you a pattern for a functional Pullip hoodie.  Since I don’t own a Blythe doll (yet), I’m not sure how this will fit her (my suggestion would be to scale the needles up* a size; bonus points if you can use half sizes).  You will need to know how to do a provisional cast on and graft stitches; the upside is that you will not have to sew the hood together with a bulky seam!  If you plan on keeping the hood down for pictures, I would either recommend making a second “non-functional” hoodie (i.e. one with a proportional-sized hood) and one like this; if you have one of each then you can have some interesting pictures!

Although I do say that you need circular and double-pointed needles, there is no circular knitting and almost no sewing.  Second, where I normally slip every first stitch of every row (with the exception of rows beginning with decreases), I’m not so sure that’s helpful here since you will be picking up stitches all the way around the front edge, and this particular can make that more difficult.  Your edge stitches don’t have to look neat anyway since you will be hiding them!  Finally, I did not include gauge (I almost never do; I knit normally, not loosely or tightly) because any gauge differences are going to be minute.  If you knit especially loosely or tightly, you might consider changing your needle size up or down, but that may cause a drastic change in size; unless you can get your hands on half sizes (Knitpicks has them; I shamelessly promote that site because they are AWESOME) then you might want to use a stretchy yarn like sock yarn and just block the crap out of the finished piece.

*Edit as of 10/4/11: It  has come to my attention that Blythe dolls are larger than Pullips.  This has been edited accordingly.

Pullip Hoodie (with functional hood)
Revised January 13, 2010

You will need:
  • Circular needles (recommended length: 24”) – sizes 1 US, 2 US, and 3 US
  • Double-pointed needles (set of 3): size 1 US
  • Crochet hook, size F-5 US (if you do a provisional crochet cast on)
  • Scissors & a ruler
  • Blunt-tipped tapestry needle (I used one just larger than a #22; make sure yours isn’t too big or grafting and seaming will be a pain)
  • Smooth (cotton) waste yarn for provisional cast on
  • Snaps, hooks and eyes, or the closure or your choice
  • Sock or sport weight yarn; used for example: Knitpicks Palette Fingering Weight (100% Peruvian highland wool, 231 yd/50g ball) in 2200 Fairy Tale
    • A note about yarn: Pullip clothes are forgiving since, well, their owners will not be using them the same way a human does.  Although I used a bit thicker cotton yarn here, your choices are almost limitless, as long as the yarn is thinner than sportweight.  Sock yarn would be perfect; it’s going to end up a little smaller, but that is what blocking is for.  Stretch sock yarn hoodies a little when you block them, and the stitches will open up nicely and drape well.  This is a perfect end for that last odd ball of sock yarn you had leftover from the 2 ½ balls you used to knit dad’s socks for Christmas.
You will need to know:

Provisionally cast on 50 stitches.  This will be picked out later and you will knit the other way from the live stitches.
Using size 3 needles, knit for 3.25” straight in stockinette stitch.

Begin neck decreases (you will go from 50 sts to 25 sts):
Row 1: k2tog, (k6, k2tog) 6 times.  43 sts.
Row 2 and all even rows: P all sts.
Row 3: k1, (k5, k2tog) 6 times.  37 sts.
Row 5: k1, (k4, k2tog) 6 times.  31 sts.
Row 7: k1, (k3, k2tog) 6 times.  25 sts.
Change to smaller needles.
P 1 row, k 1 row, p 1 row.

Begin raglan increases (I've done the math for you so you don’t really need a marker; just be sure to concentrate and not lose count!):
(mkm) for this section means: m1, k1, m1
Row 1: k3, mkm, k4, mkm, k7, mkm, k4, mkm, k3.
Row 2 and all even rows: P all sts.
Row 3: k4, mkm, k6, mkm, k9, mkm, k6, mkm, k4.
Row 5: k5, mkm, k8, mkm, k11, mkm, k8, mkm, k5.
Row 7: k6, mkm, k10, mkm, k13, mkm, k10, mkm, k6.
Row 9: k7, mkm, k12, mkm, k15, mkm, k12, mkm, k6.
Setup for sleeves & body (slip all sts pwise):
Slip 9 sts onto smaller circular needle (if you are already knitting on the circular needle, just slip them to the other end).
Slip 14 sts onto size 1 DPN.
Slip 18 sts onto circular needle.
Slip 14 sts onto another size 1 DPN.
Slip 9 sts onto holder.
Work sleeves (stitches on DPNs) with the other end of the ball for the length desired; finished long-sleeves should be about 2.75” long.  I ended with 1x1 ribbing for 2 rows, but you could switch to your trim color and do 2 rows in garter st for consistency.  BO.

K all remaining sts onto one needle of your choice (I kept them on the circular).  When you come to the gaps, k2tog with each stitch on either side on the gap to close them.  K for length desired for body.  Change to trim color after a p row, k2 rows, BO.  Do NOT cut yarn; you will use it to transition to the edging (without having to weave in 2 extra ends).  Hang on to the last stitch (I put it on a safety pin).  You will now finish the hood.

Change back to larger needle.  Remove provisional cast-on yarn and pick up 50 live stitches.
Row 1: k all sts.
Row 2 and all even rows: p all sts.
Row 3: k 21, ssk, k4, k2tog, k to end.
Row 5: k 21, ssk, k2, k2tog, k to end.
Row 7: k 21, ssk, k2tog, k to end.
Purl one last row.
Setup for kitchener stitch (grafting): pull your needle cord through the middle of the stitches, so that you have half the stitches on one tip and the other half on the other tip.  Hold the pieces wrong sides together; graft the stitches together.  Adjust the tension of your stitches so they look like a regular knitted row and fasten off.

Pick up that last stitch you left from the bound-off row.  Using your medium needle now, pick up and knit stitches all the way around the front edge, from bound off edge around the front of the hood to the bound off edge on the other side.  Be sure to pick up your stitches with the RIGHT side facing.  I picked up one stitch every two rows for the sections knitted on the smaller needles and one stitch every row for the section knitted with the larger needles.  K 2 rows and BO all sts.

Sew sleeve seams.  Weave in all ends.  Block, using the wet method or the pin-and-spritz method, especially if you used cotton yarn.  Sew on your closure.  You’re done!

Embellishment ideas: I chose pink and green so that I could sew on black seed bead “seeds” and have a watermelon hoodie.  Other ideas?  Use a furry yarn for the trim for a snuggly anorak; sew bunny or kitty ears to the hood (or devil horns and a tail, if your dolly is so inclined); use a self-striping sock yarn or other patterned yarn for minimal effort.  A cropped hoodie (shorten the body length) or cap-sleeved hoodie would be fun too (only knit a couple of rows for the sleeves and then bind off).  Or go the other direction and make a knee-length hoodie for a glamorous look (or a boxer-style robe).  The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Knitting Pattern: Pullip Bolero

 I can't take credit for designing this.  It's based on
The nice thing about knitting for a doll is that you can make garments you wouldn't otherwise - I would never wear a bolero, or green, but my doll looks great in both.  You will also notice that she is wearing a white version of the strapless top with ribbons sewn on for straps.

Note: it may be easier to put the sweater on if you remove her hands first (if possible).  Another option is to wrap them in a little bit of plastic wrap.

Pullip Ribbed Lace Bolero
You will need:
  • Size 000 needles
  • Size 0 needles
  • Size 20 cotton crochet thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Scissors & ruler
You will need to know:
  • 1x1 ribbing
  • Cast on & bind off
  • Lace pattern stitch (below)
  • K2tog
Lace Pattern - Lace Mesh st (multiple of 2 sts + 4 rows)
Row 1: K1, *yo, k2tog, rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 2: P all sts.
Row 3: K2, *yo, k2tog, rep from * to end.
Row 4: P all sts.

CO 42 sts with size 000 needles.  Work 6 rows in 2x2 rib (k2, p2 rib).
Using 000 needles, work 1 row of Lace Mesh st.

Change to size 0 needles.  Work rows 2-4 of Lace Mesh st, then rep pattern for about 1.25".  End after an odd row (I ended after a row 1).

Change to size 000 needles.  P 1 row.
Work 6 rows in 2x2 rib.  BO all sts.

Sew the ribbing together at the sides, then reinforce by sewing down again and even knotting.  A shoddy job will take its toll the first time you put the bolero on the doll!  (I found out the hard way.)  Do not sew the lace together.  The holes left by the seams are the armholes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Beef stew, third generation recipe!

My grandma used to make the most amazing beef stew when we were little.  I know it's corny, but she used to call it "Stew-goo."  So that's how I remember it.

It's a pretty simple recipe, and because it was such a dear part of my childhood, I want to share it with you.

 (Please pardon my messy stove!)
Grandma's Beef Stew
You will need:
1-2 pounds beef stew meat, tenderized or plain (you could also use pork)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4" cubes
1 large can of diced, stewed, or crushed tomatoes (your choice)
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/8" coins
3 ribs celery, sliced into 1/8" coins
1 regular-sized can no-salt-added corn (or use frozen)
Kosher salt
Onion salt or chopped onion
Pasta (pick bite-sized pieces)
Beef or chicken stock or broth

In a large pot, boil about 1" of water.  Pour in the stew meat.  Boil gently for about 10 minutes, or until all of the red is gone.  I know this violates everything you know about tender meat, but trust me - the flavor is worth it, and the pieces of meat are so small that their being tough won't matter that much.

Once the meat looks to be fairly done, add the potatoes and canned tomatoes (do not drain).  Add pasta if desired.  Boil gently until the potatoes are almost fork-tender.  Add broth or stock if there is not enough liquid to cover the potatoes.

Add carrots and celery (and okra and onion or onion salt, if desired).  Simmer about 5 minutes or until the carrots soften just a little bit.  Drain the corn and add to the stew.  Salt with about three pinches of kosher salt.  Cook until everything is heated through (do NOT overcook okra, it will ruin everything!).  Serve with crackers and spicy vinegar.

Spicy Vinegar for Beef Stew
My grandma always used small hot peppers grown in her garden or by her friends, but you can get small super-hot peppers (arbol chilies are what I use) pretty much anywhere.  Look for small, narrow chilies.

Cut the stems and throw out any bad, brown, slimy, or otherwise weird-looking peppers.  Drop into a half-empty bottle of white wine vinegar.  For the first use, you will need to turn the vinegar regularly while you are cooking the stew.  From then on out, just keep in the fridge.  You can even top off the vinegar a time or two without changing out the chilies. 

Pour into your stew to get a little bit of spice and a lot of flavor.  Enjoy!