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).
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.
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: Double the Dogs

I’ve been on a bit of a toy kick lately. Once I start something and gain momentum I like to keep riding that train (perhaps why I just keep on knitting sweaters…). Since I made Wasabi the Whale I decided to make my friend’s son Jacob a stuffed dog toy. We are hoping to visit them and he likes pictures of my dogs but isn’t 100% comfortable around dogs so I thought why not give him his own? And then once I made one I said, well I can’t leave out his little sister…
Seeing double dogs
So we’ve now had a family of four dogs in our house. Jellybean has been utterly fascinated by them. I don’t know if she wants to snuggle them or thinks they’re a toy for her to play with, so I’ve been keeping them away from her.
Seeing double dogs
Jacob’s favorite color is purple so I pulled out this really dark purple from my stash of Caron Simply Soft and decided to whip up the first dog. I didn’t stuff his head as much as I think I could have so after I washed him he’s become much more of a floppy dog. Which is super cute. His ears fall down more like Cher’s do, which I love. And I added in a little green bow tie because I felt like he was just too naked. And once I did that, Cher wanted to snuggle him. Perhaps she thought I was making her a boo?
Seeing double dogs
For his little sister Leah (you’ll remember her from this post) I dug into my stash and pulled out this super bright hot fuchsia yarn from Deborah Norville that I’ve had forever. I used one skein to make a hat and I loved the vividness of the color and how soft it was but never found something to use it with until now. I also haven’t seen this colorway ever again – why does this always happen to me? It was perfect for this project and her dog has stiffer ears because the yarn is a bit heavier. And I added a scarf to hers as an accessory. I matched their accessories to the eyes of the other dog as a fun little detail.
The entire time I was making both of these I felt like they looked so much like Jellybean since she is a chihuahua (Cher is half pug) and the dolls were even matching up in terms of size too!
Pup in progress
And since my girlfriend Rachel knows how to knit she asked me when I made the second doll to show her the progress as it was made. So I actually have a kind of step-by-step as I went along. I’m hoping these become beloved toys that they play with and love on for years to come. And I have a feeling I’ll be making a few more toys before the year is up!
Seeing double dogs
So have any of you made toys before? What are your favorite patterns?

FO: Wasabi the Whale and the Sea of Chevrons

Remember the baby blanket I was talking about last week for the baby we thought would get here this week? He arrived Friday night. Clearly he was too excited to join us out here in the real world and Matzah Ball (as he was known in utero) is now Eli! I like to think as I was finishing his blanket on Friday night he was so excited about it he decided to be born but clearly I had nothing to do with it…or did I? So before he was born my girlfriend sent this picture of his room.
Matzah' room
I actually had a bedroom floor to ceiling in that shade of green and it was my absolute favorite. So clearly since she was going with a favorite color palette of mine I was happy to knit him something. So I went with a trusted pattern and did the Chevron Baby Blanket (a free pattern from Purl Soho) but decided to make the green the accent color on the ends and have two row wide stripes in alternating grey and navy blue.
Matzah Ball's blanket
The end results I love, it’s a great blanket knit in Knit Picks Mighty Stitch Bulky on size 13 needles so it went super fast. But she also told me she was ordering navy blue curtains with whales on them for the window and the next day I was scrolling through Instagram and saw this post from @NoKnitSherlock of Wasabi the Whale.
I had to make a whale for the baby, right? It was fate!
Matzah Ball's blanket and whale
Of course I had to make one! I whipped this up in a couple of hours on Saturday after walking in a 5k for Pancreatic Research. I was tired, it was hot and I figured I could knock this pattern out that afternoon while I rested. I started around 3pm and by 7:30 I was sewing on the last fin. I think since I used child safe doll eyes I already had he looks a bit more like a manatee than a whale but either way he’s still a cutie.
Matzah Ball's blanket and whale
And he looks like he’s swimming in a sea of chevrons! I’ve said I want to make more knit toys for the little kids in my life but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. This might be the motivation I need to pull out my fun colors in my yarn stash and make a few toys for the kids I love so much. Oh and in case you were wondering, I knit Wasabi out of the Caron Simply Soft that I knit Eli’s matching hat with last week. And in these photos he has already had a run through the washing machine and dryer and looks marvelous. He should hold up to years of hugs and kisses.