FO: Dolls and Diversity

While I was in Chicago I got the chance to finally meet up with an online friend in person. I’ve known my girlfriend Pem since back in my old blogging days. She worked for a brand I loved and we just clicked so we’ve always emailed and kept in touch via social media. She has two children and one day I saw a picture of her daughter holding a doll that looked nothing like her and I said to myself that I needed to make Leia a doll that mirrored what she saw in herself.
Little Leia
I made what is now affectionately known as Little Leia. This is the same doll pattern from the Susan B. Anderson Mary, Millie and Morgan doll I made previously for Maddie. I ordered the Knit Picks Brava Sport in the color almond to get a skin color close to Leia’s and when I did her hair I decided to cut it in a choppy little bob to mimick her own haircut.
Little Leia
For the record, growing up all the dolls in our home were black. These are my sister’s Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls (my sister’s name is Anne so clearly she had to have an Ann doll).
Durham
I didn’t even know Raggedy Ann and Andy were white until I saw a cartoon version of them and I thought, well that’s odd because our Ann and Andy are brown at home. That’s also how I felt about non-black Santa Clauses LOL. My mother believed that the dolls you play with should look like you and they should. I’ve taken that to heart and love making dolls when I can for friends. Seeing yourself in everyday things makes you feel more like you belong, like you’re the norm. And sadly in 2017 we still don’t have as much diversity in our products and mainstream culture as we should.
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So here’s Leia with the death grip on her doll. She was so excited. And here’s the great thing about when I gave her the doll, she looked at it and said, ‘that’s me!’ with such excitement and joy it made my heart want to explode. She pointed everything out to me and said, ‘that’s my hair, those are my eyes, that’s my button nose…’ She knew that doll was meant for her and Pem told me that when we left and they went to a museum later she told everyone that was her little Leia and fell asleep clutching her doll.

I can’t make a doll for everyone but I’m happy that I can make some of the little girls in my life dolls that show them how beautiful and special they really are in this world. Diversity matters. Representation in the world matters. And sometimes all it takes is seeing the joy in giving a little girl a doll to realize it.

FO: Lucia for Safia

I’ve got not one but two good finished object posts for you this week! And since I didn’t write on Friday because I was in Chicago I thought I’d start off the week with the sweater I finished for her while I was in Chicago.
Safia's sweater
This is my three color Lucia Hoodie for Safia.
Safia's sweater
This silly girl gave me every single pose in the book when I asked her to pose for photographs. I will admit it was fun photographing someone other than myself who was willing to pose.
Safia's sweater
The original version of the sweater was done in one solid color but because I am me I knew I couldn’t do that. Plus I knew I’d be just short of the yardage I needed for the entire sweater if I did it just in the solid purple. I bought this Lion Brand Heartland yarn in purple and pink on a black Friday sale with Safia in mind last year but just hadn’t figured out exactly what I wanted to make her. Her favorite color is purple and I wanted to make her something that would be good all year round in Chicago so I settled on the Lucia hoodie. My only modifications were to shorten the sleeves and add more buttons. The pattern called for the sleeves to be 18 inches long when you attach them at the underarm but I know her arms are only 16 1/2 so I stopped at that length and it’s a perfect fit.
Safia's sweater
I also knew a single button wasn’t going to do against cold Chicago wind, so I added five so she could keep out the chill and button it all the way up. Mind you it was in the sixties while we were in Chicago and I had to wear my Royally Striped cardigan because I was cold! I brought it with me to wear in the car because my husband always wants it way colder than I do but it came in handy while we were running around outside. We drove to Chicago so by the time we arrived on Thursday I had finished all of the body and just had to do the final garter button band – that took forever. And I added in just a few rows of teal to give an extra pop of color. Plus that’s the color on the inside of the pockets so it was fun to add another color to this project.
Safia's sweater
In the end, I love the final results. It’s a great trio of colors that really pop against her skin. If you like bottom up sweaters and don’t mind a lot of garter stitch this might be the project for you!

Stitching Status: Lots of Pieces

Happy Friday! I’m currently working on a couple of things right now that are taking up a lot of my time and brain power. I realize that once August hits, I typically spend a lot of time preparing for school to start: emailing possible speakers, reworking my syllabus, updating PowerPoints and even rereading my text book. And since that’s mainly my weekend and evening work I have to get in as much fun as I can before that all starts. So we’re thinking of popping up to Chicago to visit my cousin. And if I go to Chicago that means I have to bring her something I knit, I feel like it’s an unspoken rule.
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I decided on the Lucia Hoodie from the Madder Anthology 2: Simple Pleasures. This will be the 7th time I’ve made a project from this book. SEVEN. I really do love this book of patterns. So far I’ve made Lila Top DownΒ (and I photographed it while I was in Chicago), Lila Winter (for Safia), Lillian (once for Safia and once for myself), Liv and Louise Top Down. Now of course I don’t just stick with a simple solid color palette like in the pictures. I’m going bold and fun.
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You work this pattern from the bottom up and create pockets. So for the bottom garter I’m using a hot pink, the pockets and a little garter ridge I’m inserting are in teal and then the main body of the sweater is in Safia’s favorite shade of purple. All of these are with the Lion Brand Heartland yarn that works up into a nice soft garment (I used the teal for my Lila Top Down and the tweed version for my Mountain High ) and it will be easy for her to care for and not have to worry about air drying. Plus since it’s always kind of chilly in Chicago she can wear this piece all year round and I think she’ll appreciate that I’m making her a hoodie to hold up again that wind. I love the cute little pockets and I’m about 10 inches into the 14 1/2 inches for the body already. I’ll be taking a break from the body to work on the sleeves this weekend and I intend on doing them two at a time on a long needle so they’re both the same. In addition to seeing Safia, I have a long time internet friend whose daughter I’m making a doll for to give to her in person.
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I ordered the almond colorway of the Knit Picks Bravo Sport that I used for Maddie’s dollΒ to match her skin tone and I’m adding in black hair and cutting it into a cute bob cut like her daughter. I just love making something that can resemble a little girl. Working on these small projects is so fun but adding in the hair is the most tedious task out of the entire project. You have to do lots of strands and you want to make sure it’s secure so it holds up to washes but it’s totally worth all the work. I’ve got super colorful yarn with peach, purple and turquoise to make a dress and tie in all the colors on the body. I love creating stuff like this.
podcast graphic
And finally I’m working on a Yards of Happiness podcast. Thanks for the feedback in comments and via Instagram! I’m going to play around with the equipment I have and see if I can pull together a video podcast because if we’re talking about knitting and yarn I think you want to actually SEE what I’m talking about. Plus it may give me a chance to show what I’m working on while I’m in progress. I don’t know where all I will make it available or how often I’ll do it but I’m going to give it a shot and see how it goes because, why not?

So that’s everything that’s got me busy, what are you working on?