It is good to be back at blogging again. After 18 months of consistent posting I found myself, traveling, preparing for the Jewish New Year, babysitting, and engaged in obsessive preparation for the fall Holiday craft season.Despite all of the activity, I found myself with a large collection of new inventory. In the past my creativity and production were partnered with interesting and informative articles. However, for the last few weeks I was unable to put down my hooks to write and share with my Lilcreates audience.
On Tuesday I delivered my latest specialty doll from my ANNA line to my synagogue for their Comedy Night Silent Auction. I laid her out and wrapped her in a large transparent gift bag secured with white and silver ribbons. This doll was truly a labor of love. I had made a few ethnic dolls, but since this little lady was going to the synagogue, I decided to accessorize her with fittings for a girl who was experiencing her Bat Mitzvah. The dolls in my ANNA line are made with acrylic yarns and stand about 17 inches tall. They all have names beginning with "A." These creations were inspired by my mother ,Anna. With each new addition, I keep her in my heart and mind. My niece named Adina, is a mother with a daughter of her own. Who ever wins the bid on this doll will rename her make her her own. For now this creation will always be with me as Adina. Her design and creation were a journey. When we arrived at our destination, it was hard to let her go.
My ANNA dolls follow the same basic pattern that I wrote about in an earlier post.
I have made a few changes that make her neater and eliminate a few steps. I plan on editing the pattern to include these revisions.
*Instead of adding a crocheted pair of panties, I crocheted the entire body in the same contrast color for the dress, The top part of the legs was crocheted in this same color.
*To fashion the dress, I crocheted the last few rows of the body in the facial tone to create a neckline. For the arms, I crocheted the first 6 rows with the flesh, facial tone.for the hands. Then I switched to the dress color for the remainder of the arm. When both arms were attached to the body, the bodice part of the dress was precise, and I did not need an additional layer. As with the previous dolls, I began the skirt by crocheting a line of single crochet right from the doll's waistline. While the rest of the doll is done in single crochet, I use a double crochet with strategic increases to make the skirt.
To create and complete my doll on time, I had to crochet the basic body, head, arms, and legs before, we left for our vacation on Cape Cod. The tasks that remained were the crocheted face, the dress skirt, the accessories, and the doll's mane of hair. I find the crocheted eyes to be one of the most challenging parts of every dolls. It usually takes me several tries to get the eyes to be the correct size, spacing on the face, and focus with an appealing expression. This detail took me most of one evening.
After I finished the skirt, I set out to make the yamulke (hat) and tallit (prayer shawl). I did not have a specific pattern, but I worked with the doll to get the dimensions correct. The yamulke was crocheted from a magic circle as I used single crochet and made increases and added rows until the crown was the right size for the doll's head. Then I crocheted a couple of rows with the same number of stitches so that the curve of the yamulke would sit on head. I used the same hairclips that many adults use to keep their caps in place. The main color for the yamulke was white, and I used stripes of the dress blue with some silver threads to spruce it up.
The prayer shawl was basically a rectangle that draped the figure. At the end I added another pearl heart button that I had used on the dress bodice and sleeves. I overlapped the bottom pieces so that the prayer shawl did not fall off the doll.
The mane of hair is the signature feature of my ANNA Dolls.I usually use Lion Brand Homespun for the hair. Its soft and crinkly texture makes my dolls unique. Despite the fact that we were on vacation, my husband was willing to scout out a Joanne's or Michael's store to get the supplies I needed. Alas, a realistic shade of brown in Homespun was not available. We scanned the shelves and found 3 possible choices. I ultimately decided on 2 skeins of Unforgettable. Designing and executing the head of hair is a painstaking and time consuming job. Each strand is cut and secured individually to the doll's head. I usually start by making a running stitch around the area for hair. I have to decide where to place the hair on the forehead and how the hair will fall on the sides. When I am finished I easily remove these loose threads. With each succeeding doll, I have learned some tips to make the hair more realistic and to cut down waste. I generally start with strands that are 12 inches long for the first row on the back of the neck. When the strand is folded in half to knot onto the doll's head, it generally falls to the middle of the back. However, as I go up the head, I add about half an inch to the strands so that they will lie at about the same length at the bottom.With this technique, I had less wastage than when I used to make all of the strands 14 inches. When the hair was done, I only had to clip some ends a bit to get a pleasing look.
My Adina doll was almost complete, but I needed one small detail to complete her. I wanted a small Star of David necklace that would be just the right accessory to complete her look. We searched craft and jewelry stores on the Cape. We scanned the internet. We found a few of these pendants, but they wee way to expensive for a doll. Finally Goody Beads proved to be my salvation. The 3/16 inch charms were $1.00, but were on sale for 40 cents. I ordered 30 as I did not want to go through this process again with future custom orders. The beads were $12, and the express mailing was $13. The package arrived on the morning I was to take my doll to the synagogue. I loved this tiny accent, and the pursuit was worth the effort.
The story is not over. The silent auction will take place on Saturday. Everyone who has seen this special doll has admired her. However, the retail price is $75 with a minimum bid of $45. Hopefully, some thoughtful mother, grandparent, friend will want to buy this wonderful gift for a special young lady in their lives.
I took the opportunity to advertise my ANNA dolls as a custom order and left a descriptive letter with business cards so that any future patrons could order dolls with specific hair color, costume, or special interest. In September, I completed a special order for mom with an adopted Chinese daughter who was an avid ice skater. I will keep all of you posted. Please think positive thoughts.