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Sunday, November 27, 2011


Although doll collecting as a hobby began around the seventeenth century, it did not become popular in this country until the 1930’s. While little information is available regarding early crocheted dolls, we can be sure that future doll collectors will be fascinated by the examples of what people have already collected. Designers have developed many doll designs in the past 40 to 50 years using the unique qualities of crochet to mold and shape bodies, facial features and even hair.

If you wish to make a crocheted doll, there are a few techniques which can be used to help you make your doll more beautiful and long lasting. When making dolls, soft toys or other stuffed items, it is especially important to choose the hook size and yarn or thread carefully. If the hook size is too large and the doll is crocheted loosely, holes will appear in the finished doll and the stuffing can show or protrude. It is important that you make a gauge to determine the size of hook you will need to use. To determine your gauge, work a 4 x 4-inch swatch, using the size of hook and yarn or thread recommended. Place the swatch flat, without stretching. With a ruler, measure the number of stitches and rows per inch. This gives you an exact gauge. Since we all crochet differently, our gauges may not be the same. Remember that the hook size called for in a pattern is simply a recommended size to use as a guideline. If your gauge swatch has more stitches or rows per inch than the pattern gauge you will need to go to a larger hook size. If you have fewer stitches per inch, you will need to go to a smaller hook size. You can depend on your item to work up to the finished size stated in your simple easy crochet pattern if your gauge is accurate.

Except for small quick-and-easy projects (or something where the finished size doesn’t matter), a few minutes spent making a gauge swatch can save hours of ripping out and frustration.

Sometimes you will come across simple easy crochet patterns that don’t list the gauge. When this happens, just measure the item when you have finished it and note the gauge and hook size you used on the pattern for the next time.

It is almost inevitable that some stuffing will show through the stitches, especially if the pattern involves a large amount of increasing and decreasing. The most attractive crocheted dolls are made with white or light-colored yarn or thread, through which stuffing is not quite as noticeable.

When making tube-like doll parts such as arms and legs, you may find it helpful to stuff as you crochet. Stuff every inch for tiny dolls, and every three inches for larger dolls crocheted with worsted-weight yarn. Some designers use a manicure stick, pencil, or other similar object to guide stuffing into small areas. When stuffing larger areas, a smooth look can be achieved by stuffing with small puffs of polyester stuffing. Be careful to stuff evenly, and as a rule, stuff lightly rather than firmly. Smooth the outside of the doll body as you stuff.

Crocheted dolls often attract dust. To keep your doll clean, shake her lightly and give her a frequent dusting with a clean feather duster that is used only for crocheted items. Dolls crocheted with yarn can be hand-washed carefully.

With a little care, your crocheted dolls can give you and your heirs many years of enjoyment.

Make a memory…

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