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Crochet Dolls – TADAH!

This reveal has to be one of the most fun projects I have EVER undertaken, certainly the most enjoyable crochet project I have ever had the pleasure to immerse myself in – even more than a blanket!

Anyone who crochets will know how deeply satisfying the process of blanket-making is, especially during the Winter months.  Long, dark nights curled up on the sofa watching TV, all the while plodding steadfastly through the labour of love that is a crocheted blanket. Whilst always ecstatic to finally finish such an epic task, there’s invariably a sense of “What do I do now?”.

Summer is different. Less time spent indoors, more holidays, car journeys, time in the garden, means a large, cumbersome WIP is out of the question. A small, portable piece is what’s needed, something you can pop in your handbag and get on with anytime, anywhere.

When I came across the book “Crochet Your Own Dolls And Accessories” published by Annie’s Attic, I let out a silent squeal of delight. Here was such a project and, not only that, it could double up as being both my Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post for October and the perfect Christmas present for a little girl!

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I don’t know about you, but my idea of crochet dolls has always been, well….

aargh!

Link omitted so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings:)

With images like this deeply ingrained in my subconscious, I was surprised and thrilled to find a thoroughly modern version which any twenty-first century youngster would find hard to resist falling in love with.

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This huge sack of double knitting yarn arrived from Minerva Crafts way back in July with a tight, three-month deadline of October in mind.

Oh, I forget to tell you – my plan was to make every single thing in the entire book!

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With such a lot to do, I got cracking immediately, starting on page one with “Bella Ann”.

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The bodies of all four dolls are constructed the same way – in one piece from the feet up to the head, then attaching the separately crocheted arms at the end.

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The hair is created using a darning needle and 135 strands of yarn, each one individually knotted onto a single stitch on the head!

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The facial features are basic – two French knots for the eyes and a dab of blusher for the cheeks.

Simple, but effective, just enough to resemble a face.

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“Bella Ann” is an outdoorsy type who loves to get dressed up in a macintosh with matching hat.

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She even has wellies and her own umbrella!

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So here’s my “Bella Ann” – TADAH!

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Next up was “Ginger Blue”, a college girl wearing trendy tights and a denim mini-skirt.

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Remember I said you could chuck them in your handbag and crochet almost anywhere? This is Ginger’s skirt in process whilst sat in the car in a field for five hours while The Boys played in a football tournament on the way to Cornwall…..

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My favourite part of the whole process was definitely making the hair. Each doll had a different method which were all very imaginative and extremely effective.

Ginger’s seemed to be based on an Afro and was worked in five curly layers plus a crown.

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The finished layers were sewn horizontally upwards from the base of the head.

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The whole was topped off with a cute little flower headband.

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The cardigan pattern called for tiny buttons to be used for the flower heads, but I embroidered a series of chain stitches instead to form a Lazy Daisy.

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Two tiny blue shirt buttons reclaimed from the Child’s Play Tent are a brightly coloured addition.

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Being a college girl, the obligatory accompanying rucksack even has tiny crocheted textbooks that fit inside!

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Mary-Jane shoes are adorned with more reclaimed shirt buttons, this time in Cherry Red.

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And now for the “Ginger Blue” – TADAH!

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And so, on to “Dani Rae”, a sun-worshipper who loves nothing more than a day at the seaside and whose outfit of choice is a one-piece swimsuit.

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Dani Rae’s hair was the most fun to make and was crocheted in wig format before being stitched on to the head in its entirety.  I love the way the hair curls out at the ends – such great design detail.

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Just look at those flip-flops and flippers!

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Of course, every girl needs a sun hat to prevent sun stroke and, if it has a flower on it, so much the better.

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A ‘rubber’ ring is the essential remaining accessory for fun in the waves.

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Here is “Dani Rae” in all her finery ready for her “TADAH!” moment.

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Finally, we move on to “Nurse Deb”, a midwife of the highest distinction, dressed in theatre scrubs.

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She wears the typical clogs/’Crocs’ that appear to be the footwear favoured by so many hospital staff nowadays.

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Nurse Deb’s hair was made in the same way as Bella Ann – each of 135 strands knotted on individually to single stitches on the head in rows…..

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……and then trimmed into a neat graduated bob shape to ring the changes.

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A stethoscope was made from thin wire and seed beads, adding pearls for the eartips and a button for the chestpiece.  Quite fiddly to put together, but it looks ace!

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She cradles a newborn baby in her arms…..

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…..and a medical chart in her other hand.

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The instructions were to sew both of these permanently in place but, as half the fun is undressing the doll and putting baby in a crib, this would have been impossible, so I used hook and loop fastener instead to make them removable.

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This is “Nurse Deb” posing for her “TADAH”!

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Would you like to see them all together?

T A D A H ! ! !

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Well, that’s it, all done and dusted and I have to admit that I’m a little bit sad.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the process and seeing all the elements emerge successfully from the unfamiliar-to-me instructions. I can only imagine the fun that this little girl is going to have when she opens these on Christmas morning, and all the adventures the dolls are going to be involved in coming from the imagination of a child.

If you know a little girl who would love these dolls, or you just want the fun of making them yourself, head on over to Minerva Crafts where you can buy the book and all the yarn needed to make all four dolls.