My current work in progress:

Aspen, designed by Michele Wang, knit from Elsa Wool Woolen Spun Worsted Weight Cormo

Paging Doctor Molly

She’s all ready for the O/R!

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Actually, the doctor scrubs are not for Molly — they are on their way to someone who is in the middle of an extended hospital stay. She has an AG doll (Julie) who will don the scrubs to cheer her up!

My other project this week:

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This is a Samantha doll — not mine. She came to be with her hair hacked off for me to restore. The girl who gave her a haircut is an adult and having a birthday soon and her mom is giving her back her Samantha. The doll was in nice shape — I just had to give her new hair and clean a few marks off her. I think she looks very happy in her bright new dress!

Q&A

Some questions from recent blog comments . . .

Lee asked: What are you working on to and from work now?

The answer is nothing — I read a book, and have done so for years. The train is usually too crowded and uncomfortable for me to knit.

Barbara asked how/when I learned to sew and knit. I learned to knit before I learned to read — my mother would cast on some stitches for me and I figured out how to knit from pictures in a “How-to” book. As few sewing., I’m not exactly sure how I learned, but I learned how to use my mom’s sewing machine when I was pretty young. I made my first dress at around age 9.

And I did take Home Ec where we were taught to sew . . . except I already know how and was pretty much making my own clothes at that point. This was in 7th grade so I guess I was 12 or 13 then.

Gina in the SF Bay Area asked what group I am in for Camp Loopy. I am a brontosaurus!

And P.S. to Anita — thanks for the offer — I’ll email you and let you know the types of things I am always looking for in case it’s something you happen to have in your inventory!

And Loki says a sleepy hello!

Loki052117 240x180 Paging Doctor Molly

Slow Fashion

On my last blog post, in response to my showing sewing projects, Gail commented: You must have a terrific machine because it can’t be easy on the ol’ needle sewing through faux shearling.

I do have a terrific machine — a top-of-the-line Viking, but I make all my doll clothes by hand. As in, I sew them by hand with a handsewing needle and thread. The only thing I use my sewing machine for in the doll clothes process is to overcast the raw edges of the pieces after I cut them out. After that, all sewing is done by hand, by my hand. So my dolls are wearing couture clothing.

And no, it was not easy shoving the ol’ needle through the faux shearling. 😉 Not so much because there was any resistance — the faux shearling was surprisingly easy to pierce — but because the fluff got in the way and made it very difficult for me to see what I was doing.

I spend many a happy hour scouring etsy for fabric and trim finds and I am particularly happy when I can find vintage or re-purposed materials that I can use to make doll clothes.

So my dolls are part of the Slow Fashion movement: they wear clothing made by hand from recycled materials. I try to follow their example and purchase clothing from ethical and socially responsible sources.

Monica commented: I’ve so enjoyed seeing all your beautiful period doll clothes. Are you thinking of publishing any of them?

Thank you very much! My doll clothes are all made from other peoples’ patterns (or at least based heavily on them) so I cannot claim them as my own.

So far this week, I have just one doll outfit to share:

ShortiePajamas051717 144x240 Slow Fashion

Molly is all ready for a sleep-over!

I did finish the knitting on my Aspen coat and that did cut into my sewing time. I still need to sew the coat together and make the lining, and I will do that sooner rather than later, perhaps over Memorial weekend. (P.S. to Brigitte — that is a pocket in the Aspen photo on my last post. I too love how the cable pattern continues despite the break for the pocket!)

I want it complete in time to focus on the next knitting event: Camp Loopy 2017!

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Loki is resting up so he will have the energy to provide supervision.

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Knitting Again

After a long hiatus, I picked up Aspen and am close to finishing it!

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I am knitting the front bands, and I have just a few more rows to go. Once that is done I will need to set in the sleeves and sew up the side seams, then construct and insert the fabric lining I am planning.

We have had a cold snap this weekend so knitting the 500+ stitches of the bands and collars with the body of the coat draped over me has not been unpleasant!

Since I’ve been knitting this week, I’ve not done too much sewing. But here is what I completed in the past couple of weeks.

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Elizabeth is modeling a set of “combinations” — an all-in-one Victorian undergarment. I actually made two of these. Here is the back view:

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I think they are just so stinkin’ cute! I’m planning on making a Victorian dress and apron that a little servant girl would wear, so the combinations are perfect underwear for that outfit.

Next up:

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A pair of overalls and gingham checked blouse, modeled by Maddie.

Then Maddie traveled back in time to the 18th century:

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This is her “Outlander” outfit and I love this. This is by far the nicest doll outfit I have sewn. It fits beautifully and I just love everything about the design.

Then back to the 20th century:

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Elizabeth is wearing her new shearling jacket.

I do have more doll clothes in progress but sewing is taking a back seat until Aspen is done.

Loki says:

Loki051417 240x184 Knitting Again

“Happy Mother’s Day!”

Minky Mouse 2.0

Today I made Minky Mouse 2.0.

I found on Etsy a set of 5 vintage mink collars and ordered them for the princely sum of $19.95 for all five of them. This one has a fabric backing.

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I decided to use this collar first — I would not have to sew fabric on the bottom of the mouse, just cut off mouse-size pieces. I am making 2 mice: one for Loki and one for my colleague’s kitties.

There was a hook and eye closure on the ends, so that had to go.

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Those came off easily. I just needed to cut the threads holding them in place with a seam ripper. Then I cut off each end of the collar so I had a 4 or 5″ piece for each mouse.

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You can see that there is some fiberfill stuffing in the collar. I pulled some of that out to make room for the catnip.

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I save old pantyhose and cut off the toes to use as pouches for catnip stuffing. I like putting the catnip in a little bag, so if the kitty manages to rip a mouse open, the catnip has a better chance of staying contained and not going all over the place.

I have leather strips cut for the tails.

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I sew the end of the tail to the open end of the mouse using a leather needle and waxed thread.

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“Isn’t it ready yet?”

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Then I sew up the open end of the mouse. You don’t have to be particularly neat because the fur covers up the stitches.

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The important thing is making sure you have the opening securely sewn shut. And then finally . . .

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Minky Mice! The mouse tummies are the lining fabric of the collar that I didn’t have to remove:

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And Loki is a happy boy!

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Minky Mouse

I have another sewing project I recently completed, this one a bit different!

Back story: One of my colleagues purchased at a craft show a few years ago a mink catnip mouse for her kitties. Her boy kitty Jake loved Minky Mouse — it was his all-time favorite toy. He carried it around and loved on it to the point that the fur was wearing off in spots.

Then disaster struck: Jake lost Minky Mouse. His humans searched up and down and back and forth and to and fro to no avail. It recently occurred to me that I could possibly make a replacement.

I searched Etsy for supplies, and found scraps of mink available for sale at a very reasonable price. (Note that I am a bleeding heart animal lover and would never own or wear a mink coat. I am fine with buying scraps of mink that come from vintage coats, stoles, etc. for the sake of deserving kitties.)

I also purchased wool felt, leather needles, waxed thread for sewing on leather, and leather strips to use as mouse tails. Using the needles made specifically for sewing on leather and waxed thread, I was surprised at how easy it was to sew leather to felt. I stuffed with catnip and attached a leather tail.

So Minky Mouse Version 1.0 was created.

MinkyMouse050317 240x147 Minky Mouse

The first Minky Mouse was delivered to Kitty Jake and his sister Sammy. Shortly thereafter I received video of both kitties happily playing with Minky.

I immediately made a second one, for Loki.

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I think he likes it.

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Don’t you love a happy ending?