Sunday, January 6, 2008

Off and Running

My Tulsa sister sent me a photo of the fiber she was willing to share with me for this project.  She asked me how much of it I wanted.  Well, duh...ALL of it.  I mean, is there a knitter on earth who would turn down fiber?  Okay, actually, I asked her to edit out the fiber that looked turquoise unless her camera did not capture the true color.  I also asked her to edit out the very pale fibers, unless they had a green-yellow tint.  The package was shipped Thursday priority mail (gotta love my sister!) and should arrive tomorrow.

I found an 11.5 inch fashion doll at Target.  Her name is Nikki (according to the box) and she was dressed in a bikini.   Must have been a Mattel remainder from the summer.  Anyway, she was screaming for more seasonally appropriate clothes due to the cooler temperatures we are having in South Carolina, so I got to knitting right away.

I consulted the Web to see if there might be any knitting patterns for Barbie dolls.  Wow!  Were there ever a lot of choices!  But I decided that I'd like to try my own designs, so I limited myself to noting the needle size, fiber weight, and stitch counts that other knitters had used.  I didn't really want to knit gauge swatches so I made the assumption that I'd at least be in the ballpark if I started out with established numbers for the yarn I had on hand.

My first attempt was a sweater in the mauve tones of the color chart Sharon posted.

It was not a huge success.  The numbers I used for the body of the sweater were from a 1960's era pattern.  Clearly, today's fashion dolls have bigger hips and smaller busts, because the sweater doesn't close in the back across Nikki's hips.  Either that, or she's menopausal.  Anyway, since the sweater opens all the way down the back, it may morph into a jacket if I can figure out how to edge the opening.  Maybe then, it could even be a reversible sweater?  For you knitters out there, I used some leftover Welcomme-Pernelle superfingering fiber from a sweater I made for myself in 1978 or thereabout.  I'm not keeping detailed patterns but I'll do so if there's any interest.

Next project was a self-fringing scarf, on the theory that I couldn't go wrong with such a simple project.  Plus, I wanted to see if I could knit with the tapestry yarn I had pulled from my needlepoint stash.

I met with some success.   I separated the three-stranded tapestry yarn into separate fibers and knit each one individually.  Each row of the scarf required one strand of fiber, with a length allowed at either end for the fringe.  It was knit on size 0 needles (USA) in garter stitch. When the scarf was completed, I used one strand at either end to wrap the fringe.  Also, I bound the scarf off tightly because I wanted it to curl a bit.  That way, it would hold onto the doll better (the clothes are going to a three year old, and I didn't want to raise frustration levels because the scarf kept falling off).  For you knitters, I would not recommend tapestry yarn for knitting.  It doesn't have a lot of give or spring to it, so if you are tight knitter, don't go here.

The final project to date was a skirt, and if I must say so myself, the biggest success.

I used the two circular needle method that sock knitters use, instead of double-pointed needles, in order to get a seamless tube.  I decreased one stitch each side every 4 or 5 rows in order to get the skirt to taper.  The waistband is a simple (*K2 tog, YO*) to create small holes through which a sash can be threaded.  The sash is just three strands of the yarn plaited.  The yarn is a sock weight fiber, and I used size 2 (USA) Addi turbo needles to complete the project. 

Cheers to all of you fellow TIF-fers.  I'll try to catch up on everyone else's posts in the coming days.


loretta said...

I think the sweater is really cute. Is that a 3-needle bindoff that made the pretty ridge along the shoulders?

No more nekkid Nikki!

Bernadette said...

It's not a three-needle bind-off. It's a standard bind-off, beginning with a knit row. The seam is a zig-zag stitch using only the two closest outer loops of the bound-off stitches. I am not sure it would be sturdy enough for an adult sweater, but it worked nicely for a Barbie-sized garment.