|Knitting and crochet look good--when you do it right. Sonali says~|
See, I tied it all back to the fact that this is a doll blog. Mad skills.
Knitting and crocheting are pretty useful skills to have, even when you don't have a doll. And pretty neat too. It's turning yarn into clothes, and yarn into clothes is a pretty kicking rad situation. I've been crocheting for years and knitting for a few less years. And by a few less I mean that I learned crochet at seven and knitting at twelve and a half, so. It feels nice to make things of yarn and needles and hooks. At the same time, I see some things in the doll community that are perfectly good waste of yarn and time, and no one is telling these people no. Well, now I am. Cause some things are just a big old free spun worsted weight ball of NO.
Here are, in my opinion, some of the bad things done with a set of needles, hooks, yarn, and spacers that make your doll yarnwork look utterly terrible and a big old ball of handspun amateurity.1 There's going to be examples of things done right, and examples that should crash and burn into a twisted, melted knot of WalDeMart2 Red Heart Super Saver nightmares and be posted on What Not to Crochet or What Not To Knit.
|Kanani showing how it's done right.|
Don't Want You Cause Your Scale's Too Big
The first error in yarnwork is probably the most widespread one I see in everything from eBay Auctions to Etsy selling to pattern offering, and the easiest one to actually fix if you've a damn to: the scale is way, way too big for the doll. The crafter breaks out a F, G, or H hook or some size 8 needles and some worsted weight yarn and starts just pulling that stuff together, and then you get hot mess like this.
|Something is scary about this, and it's not the ghost.|
The stitch scale, or gauge, is way, way too big for the doll. If this was scaled up to a human size, she would be wearing way too many stitches to the inches. And this pisses me off like no one's business when I see it. It's not just dolls--people do this in actual people clothes too. Oh, it's easy to break out a pair of size seventeen knitting needles and some bulky yarn and do a couple back and forth rows of garter stitch and call yourself making a scarf, but you can rise above that and you should. The time saved in working in too large a scale is lost in the look of an ugly, amateurish completed project. Basically, the bigger the gauge you're working in, the more bulk it's going to add to the final look and makes your doll (or you) look swollen and lumpy. You can go too big way too easy, but you can't go too small. Well, you can if you're knitting with sewing thread and needles the size of pins, but that's your time--and you might be going for the authentic knitted sweaters that were made for the movie Coraline.
|Small stitches take longer, but they look better!|
|Looking good, girl.|
Hells bells, look at the scale AG actually shows. AG has done so many sweaters over the years it's ridiculous. Some good, some bad. (Sparkly Snowflake Outfit, Aisle Eergh.) But for the most part, they don't do oversized crap made in two hours in Red Heart Super Saver. Tons of the historicals have knit and crotchet items, because knitting has been done for years and years and centuries, and there's tons of sweaters and knit stuff done for modern characters. None of them are in huge scales that swamp the doll. They look neat, and in scale, and precise and professional. It will take longer to work a piece up in smaller needles, but it will look better.
The Completely Wrong Yarn for the Job
So I got you to put down the G hook and the size 10 needles. Now to the yarn you should use--no, no, put that Red Heart yarn down. Put it down right now and listen to me. We are not making amigurumi. Maybe later, but not right now we are making doll clothes and we do not make those in bulk weight yarn.
You can work in any type of yarn you want, but get the right weight for the job. It is my semi professional opinion that, with the exception of a few styles or designs, there is no need to go over about baby weight yarn for clothing. Sock yarn is probably best--thin, fine, and in scale. It's twisted small, and when worked on the right size tools, looks perfectly in scale for an AG sweater or socks. Again--it will take more stitches than the larger yarn, but it will look so much better.
But it's not perfect for everything. Take into account what you're making and work with that size. Are you making a knit dress? A crochet scarf? A comfy sweater or a doll sized afghan? Then scale your yarn properly.
|Reasons to use crochet yarn. (This will be in a review later!)|
Honestly, if you use the right yarn and the right size needles/hooks, you've done about 50-75% of the work needed for a good looking item.
No One Is Actually Wearing That in Public
|No. They're not.|
|The 70s were a dark time in craft history. But authentic to Julie, if you're going for that.|
Confession time: When I was younger, I had a lot of books that had patterns to make clothing for 13 inch craft dolls and 11 1/2" porcelain look dolls. They were elaborate ruffled twists of worsted weight yarn and F hooks, I picked them up at WalDeMart with huge bulk yarn, and I sat around and made dozens of these dresses in that mix of single crochet bodices and double crochet skirts. I made fluffy dresses, I made ballet sets. I even made some hideous Native woo shit because I wasn't yet taught properly that Natives are a modern people. (Go, toxic racist shit!) I was praised for my skills, and I made more and more of these things, and even figured out how to make my own patterns. They all, in retrospect, screamed that I was just starting out on this yarnwork thing. But the internet wasn't widespread and I had just learned to read patterns, so they were good for me to start in with.
|This book is in my possession somewhere.|
|We are going to need to have a talk, milady.|
For example, this Colonial style outfit is done in a decent scale of yarn, with decent size. It's very very skilled work. It's also very hideous and completely jarring for a historical look. Colonial women would not have worn full knit dresses any more than they would have worn lamé leggings.
Think before you make. Would you wear a fully knit Federal period dress or a hand knit sweat suit complete with matching sneakers? No? Then don't put it on the doll. 5
The Colors, Duke, The Colors!
To carry forward from the wrong type of clothing, let's go on about the wrong colors. This is especially a crime when working in the larger bulks. Yarn that might work up nice (relatively) in a human scale come out really badly on a smaller scale, simply because the color doesn't variate enough. See, more reasons to put the acrylics down. Rather than nice swirling colors, you get blocks of colors that look like patchwork gone wrong.
|You didn't need to see for the next five minutes, anyways.|
Don't just grab the nearest yarn and start knitting crazy for the hell of it.
Actually, The Sweater's Wearing Her
That Looks Like It Feels Itchy
Don't use fun fur to trim a sweater. That's all I have to say on that. DON'T. In fact, just don't use fun fur on your AG clothes. It's ugly and tacky and sticky and itchy and annoying. There are ways to make things stand out and fun fur is not one of them. This goes double for eyelash yarn.
Honestly, What Were You Trying to Accomplish Here?
|No, what were you doing?|
The GeneriSweater: GeneriDress's Yarn Made Cousin
|Uh, all right.|
This is just a few things, but it's a lot. The main thing is that if you rush a job without the skill to rush it, the job will look rushed--and bulky, and ugly, and out of place. If you work in tacky scale and tacky tools, the end result is tacky. Hopefully these tips will stop your dolls from walking around in the doll equivalent of the Grandma Made It Yarnwork, and more in stuff that looks like there was time and an effort. If you're going to craft, try to take the time to craft right.
Now I need to figure out how to knit up Edith's Meet Sweater.
|Make the effort, and the results will be beautiful.|
1 That's a joke son![/Foghorn]
2 The Store That Shall Not Be Shopped.
3 In the "Fun Stories From Neth" Category, while I was working on these at my old job, a coworker saw one small sock and me working on the other and was like "Neth, are you, um..." That's right, they looked like baby socks. I was like "NO THEY ARE DOLL SOCKS STOP THAT RIGHT NOW D=<"
4 I can't work in loop needles for things like socks and doll sized items. DPNs are my best friend. I just move the hold points as I go around.
5 And if you would wear that kind of outfit then I really can't help you.