Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Doll

There is a new doll in my life, and my Kishes have been packed away. She is a Little Darling by Diana Effner. I have named her Emma Jane, because you pick a name with these dolls. Technically, she is a Claire, with freckles, painted by Geri Uribe. All of these dolls are hand painted. She's very sweet. Not quite as realistic in proportion as the Kishes, and a little younger than I usually like, but I'm drawn to her, so she is the one right now! I have three more on order, but there is a terribly long waiting list for these dolls. I expect two around October and the third around Christmas.

Anyway, here she is with some different wigs on.

Right now I have stepped away from the knitting obsession to do some embroidery. It feels really good to come back to it. I've been knitting non-stop for a few or three months.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Just remembered I can't wash my fabric today! A minor set back, but still an irritation. See, we had to buy a new washer, and my partner insisted on an expensive energy efficient model. This means I have to use special low foam detergent, and I just ordered it last week. And I chose the cheapest. Slowest delivery method. Oh woe is me!

Gettin' Going

Barbara, I think I fixed the setting that lets anyone comment.

Well, accomplishments! I finished the mock up of my very first doll sweater design! Yay! Unfortunately, you cannot see it. I tweaked the design the whole time I worked on it, and, well, it just doesn't look that great. You can see the next one.

Which comes to the pattern! I bought knitting charting software! It's called Intwined. I really like it. I am charting my sweater so I can work from a nice pattern on the next one, instead of the pencil and graph paper I started out with. And all the eraser and pencil marks all over it.

And then the yarn! I used my tuition refund (because I dropped all my classes) to finally buy some wool dyes! My next sweater will be with yarn I've dyed!

So far I've only written instructions for the undergarment. It's a very complicated garment, but still, it's just one pattern and it's the underwear. I'm going to use a variation for the dress for the sweater pattern. The sweater will come with a dress with variations. I want to show three color ways and variations. Hopefully with a lot of embroidery. It will also include shoes and a headband.

I can't continue exactly right now with the dress pattern because I need some more dyed fabric. Which means I need to cut up my bolt of fabric and get it ready for dyeing. Next week I'll dye my yarn. Maybe by July 1st I can open my shop. I will have only one pattern available, at least six colors of dyed fabric, and maybe five colors of dyed yarn. I will need to buy more yarn before then, but I will wait to see if I can by successful dyeing yarn before I get more. I will be preparing "mini skeins" of 200 yards/40 grams. The sweater uses 175 yards/30 grams. There is quite a bit left over in comparison to what I'm making, so I think 200 is a good size.

This is all very exciting! So I will get busy cutting fabric and then work on my sweater chart!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The creative juices are flowing!

I have felt so inspired to create lately, and I'm afraid I have totally let Facebook go. I just can't seem to justify taking time away from my work to look back at all the posts I've missed, but I do want to document my feelings and efforts right now. So here I am!

I am designing my first sweater right now! I'm very excite about it! It certainly needs some tweaking, but I'm working on it. It's just so fun to have a base to at least work from and to make changes to. It's a cabled dream, cables everywhere! I tried one that didn't work at all and I'm just continuing to see what final size I need. I want to know how much yarn it take to make a sweater, so that I dye the right amount for each ball. I wound off 200 yards to start of, and it looks like it isn't going to be enough. When I use up what I have, I'll wind off another 100. I don't want to waste yarn but at the same time, I want there to be plenty to make a sweater.

Anyway, I chose three color palettes tonight! I'll get my first yarn dyes next week, and once I figure out how much yarn to use, I can start dyeing! Soooo excited!

I've got a good start on a design for the dress to go with it, too. It's still in development in my head, lol.

Great day at the knit store today, and later today is a one shop yarn crawl! I love my knitting friends!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


So, I'm designing my first sweater, and it's very exciting! I've started over many many times, but it gets better every time!

Math. No math.

Well, I've done it. I have dropped all my classes and I'm returning the books. I've felt so full of creative energy lately and I don't want to give up my time to classes and studying. I've wanted to work on my sweater design and the new dress pattern. I'm tipping my toe into crochet designing. I need time, time for working and time for not working.

So, yeah. No more math classes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cart Before the Horse

I wish I had funds to support this artist team. I love love love their work. But I will pass along their kickstart page:


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

(sigh) Math!

First of all, I mustn't let school be an excuse to not work on my patterns. I've decided to take two classes, College Algebra and Trigonometry. I'm taking them in person, not online, so that I can experience where other students have problems. And I'm going to stay after my classes to do my homework in public, in case anyone might ask me for help. I couldn't time the classes well, so I'll have to go to two different campuses and go to school four days a week. At first, I added that Algebra class in an eight AM spot. Like that could ever happen. Now my classes are at about 12:15-2:15. I am so excited about these classes!

And I have been working today. Finished a little section of my pattern and I'm hoping to finish another part before Charles comes home from San Antonio. I am following my own instructions to see if they work. Well. At least for me. I don't know if they will work for someone else, but I have a volunteer to test the pattern.

That's it. More work and more wine!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

New Career

I have decided on a new career. I'm going to take the math classes and then do tutoring. I'm taking Trig in the summer, since I remember none of it. It was a last minute thing. It starts the day after Labor Day. I get to register for the fall on Friday. I'm going to take Algebra and Pre-Calculus. Yes this will all be super easy, but it will jog my memory and give me confidence in my knowledge of the subjects. This is all very exciting! It will, however, directly interfere with my meetup knitting group, but I was going to cut back there anyway, because of the money. I feel like I have to buy food when I go there.

Anyway, that's my manic rambling for today.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I really want to be studying something.

I thought I might study to become an Enrolled Agent with the IRS, and then working part of the year at H&R Block on taxes. But Charles brings up a good point: only stupid people can't do their taxes on Turbo Tax. I don't believe that. It's just what he says. And I don't really like tax.

I thought about taking Spanish, which would be really helpful where I live. But I took half of a Spanish class a while back, and it took ALL my time. I wouldn't be able to work at my business and study Spanish at the same time. Plus it's hard.

Today I'm thinking about math again. I want to retake my math classes. I think it's fun. I want to go way back, to pre-Calculus. Really deeply learn graphing. Then take all four Calculus courses at ACC, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, and Discrete Math. Ultimately I would like to take the Actuary exams. Not necessarily for a job. Just for fun. I love studying this stuff. Maybe someday I would want a job, if I could get one. But for now, I would just like to take pre-Calculus.

So that's where I am today. I want to take math and it's frivolous and won't really lead anyway. It's just fun. And maybe I could tutor after I finish. I could do that part-time, even. I might like that.

Now I'm going to drink wine and make lace.

Edit: Just coming back to say that I think lace making is very mathematical. It makes me think about math.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I sold something today! A piece of fabric! I don't even have my etsy shop set up yet!

I've decided to do a tone on tone embroidery design on the fire red dress. I can't see a tasteful way to use these bugle beads. I guess that's OK. I bought them a very long time ago.

I'm lacing today and listening to my itunes on shuffle. It's really nice!

I reserve the right to come back to this post several times today as I think of things to add.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Care for the mental invalid...

I've been doing too much lately and I've been paying by taking too much of my rescue medication, which causes weight gain and diabetes. It's nasty stuff, but it works. I've been trying to leave the house too much, and I need to cut back to get my sanity on track again. I'm only going to go out twice on a regular basis. I'll go to the knitting shop on Thursday nights and either Friday morning or Sunday afternoon. My meetup group will cut back to once a month. Part of my choice has to do with money. Charles has decided to go to school more slowly, so we will not have financial aid and will have to be more careful with money. When I go to my meetup, I always spend at least twelve dollars. There are many advantages to going to school more slowly, like stability. That's important to me. We will be here at least two more years. I really like where we live.

I've been working on lace and drinking wine all day. I need to finish up with the wine and have lunch, then do something with sewing. I think I will put together a dress with lace. If I sell two dresses with lace, I will have enough money for a new set of bobbins! And I just happen to have two pieces of lace! Now I know I was just complaining about money. I am not always logical.

Anyway, off and away! I'm pulling out a piece of fire red and many little bags of dark red bugles!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Oh ye dogs I cannot stop the lace!!!


A new friend told me that my emails sound like blog posts, which makes me think maybe I should start blogging again. I used to use LiveJournal all the time. I figure you can just skip over my posts if you find them uninteresting. If I do start blogging regularly, it will mostly concern my struggle to be creative and productive while living with debilitating mental illness.

For the rest of the day, I will focus on finishing a pair of doll socks. They make me so happy because they are perfect human replicas! I have totally fallen for knitting, to the neglect of my lacemaking. I thought the lace was taking too much time away from my dressmaking. The dressmaking was the thing that was going to make my income, but I only really earned $300 plus a doll set for all of last year. That is hardly worth my stress. I think I may try to return to lace. It is so satisfying to make something so beautiful.

I did a very little work on my pattern today. I use purple air soluble marker to show how to cut out the pattern pieces to preserve fabric. I've found that a half yard is enough for both the undergarment and the pinafore of the first design. I don't think there is enough for two undergarments, though.

So now I'm curious about the lace, lol. Maybe I'll do that the rest of the day. There. Blogging just changed my life, lol.

Monday, May 6, 2013

We don't need no stinkin deadlines

It struck me just now that I have no deadlines. I can take as long as I need to take on my pattern project. I anticipate it taking a long time. I want to have three versions of the pattern on the cover, some with heavy embroidery, and it will take a while to do all that work. And that's just fine. It just means it will take longer to make money at it.

New Directions

I always feel like I need pictures in order to post on my blog, so here are some pictures:

I think the dressed doll looks a little funny. She was the last one I got because I couldn't decide if I liked her or not. I'm still not sure about her.

I have a new business plan that might actually bring in money. I'm going to start making patterns of my doll clothes to sell, and I will also sell fabric that I have dyed. Well, I will offer to sell. I don't know if they will actually sell or not. I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I've written out instructions for the undergarment and I want to follow them while making one to make sure it works. Although I do have a pattern tester ready. I also want to redesign the shoes and do instructions for them. Hat, too? Maybe. Let's not try to do too much at once.

About the pattern testing. I'm planning to provide all the supplies. Should I pay her and keep the dress, or should I not pay and let her keep the dress because the supplies have value. Or should I pay her and let her keep the dress. I just don't know. Do I even need a tester? Does Magalie Dawson have pattern testers? Maybe I should ask.

I have other plans, too, but I'm keeping them secret for a little while because it is such an amazing idea!!

The photos show my latest outfit, the sweater is made from a Becky Colvin pattern. The third shows all my 14" girls in underwear! Yay! The fourth photo shows my crazy small knitted socks. Two at a time magic loop doll socks. Go me.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Project Progress

I've been knitting socks with my new thread and it's working out really well. Except the thread is only 10 meters, not enough to finish one sock. I'm stuck now waiting for another shipment. After payday, I'm going to try to buy a whole box of this stuff. It is DMC Coton a Broder size 16. I'm using a 5-0 32" circular needle to knit two socks at once. For the most part, it works GREAT. I just had trouble keeping the stitches tight on the decrease section. Hopefully a better experience next time.

I recently rearranged my sewing room. I removed a table I used to sculpt on. I'm not really sculpting anymore, although there is this one project... Anyway, one less table gave me room to put a chair and chest of drawers in front of the very sunny window, and I love to sit there and knit in the glorious sun. I'm going to get a footstool from Ikea next week, which will make the stitching area perfect! The footstool even has storage!

I finished embroidery on the periwinkle dress--little white bullion daisies with yellow French knots and green lazy daisies. It's very effective. I got some yarn in the color of the yellow centers and I'm making a shrug from a Beck Colvin Sew-Cool design. Little periwinkle shoes and a headband to come with additional daisy embroidery. I think it will be adorable and will hopefully meet with my collector's approval. And if not, I can sell it and make a little money!

I'm making just mental progress on my yarn dyeing project. I've decided on a less expensive swift/skein winder combo. I need to be able to wind off a measured amount into a skein for dyeing, and I see no other way to do it than with a swift/skein winder. Then I will need a canning pot and jars to do the steaming/simmering. I'm looking forward to the challenge of color mixing!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Return, Perhaps?

Here are a bunch of pictures of my last design, then I'll talk about stuff. I think of this one as my masterpiece. The last one is the fancy underwear I made to support the weight of this dress, which was pretty heavy with embroidery and beading.

I've been thinking about the reality of maintaining so many crafts. I've been much more involved in knitting. I want to design my own dolls sweaters and dye my own yarn. The yarn dyeing is a long term thing, because it will cost so much to get started. Right now I want a totally frivolous Crazy Monkey combination hand powered swift and skein winder with a counter! That's like $700. I don't see that happening, lol.

But I thought I could sacrifice lace to get in more knitting and more sewing. It turns out I can't. I still love it, and I just bought a new pillow for the next project. Once I realized how I felt about selling the pillow, (in short, NO), I knew it wasn't gone for me. I may only spend 10 hours a week on it, instead of the 30 I was trying for, but that's still lace finished. I have two pieces ready to sew into outfits still that I haven't used yet.

I've had various money making schemes brewing in my head. One is to put together kits for my outfits, with hand dyed fabric and yarn and original patterns. Hopefully by the end of the year I can try it out. I wonder if I want to give out my patterns, though. Plus, many of my ideas are inspired from other artists, so I wouldn't be able to sell those. I don't know. I just know that I want control over my yarn colors just like I have with my fabric. I want the freedom to create my own knitted things. I want total control over the look of my work.

So today. I'm working on the third and final outfit for my doll exchange--three outfits for an expensive doll. Then I'll be able to actually sells things again. I think the lack of profit motive may have made me slower. I'm hoping I can move faster after this. I'm waiting on a new thread for knitting socks and a new color to knit the sweater. Plus I need to make shoes and a headband.

In the meantime, my big project is to make underwear for all nine of my dolls! I'm doing the six big ones first. I'm either going to gather ruffles or make lace today. It's a gorgeous, cool but not cold, day.

All this blog was inspired by Ravelry, that yarn black hole of time absorption. They let you link to your blog, and I thought how cool is that! So here we are! A blog post!

Hugs and kisses,