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.

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FO: A Rye Tie for a Wood Pencil

I made another Rye tie last week. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many men I know want a hand knit tie once they’ve seen one.
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This time though I made this tie for my friend Brian as a way to barter for one of his handmade wood pens for my husband.
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Well in this case it was actually a black and white ebony wood mechanical pencil! Isn’t it beautiful? You may remember when Brian gifted me one of his first wood pens he had ever made. I keep it with a special journal I have at home because I don’t want it to get lost in my purse or someone walk away with it at work. Kendell already had a gorgeous pen (which he immediately took to work before I could even photograph it) but asked Brian if he could make a pencil to go with it and he could! Since Brian had already seen my knit ties he asked if I’d be willing to make him one as a trade for a pencil. Done!
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And this time around I listened to what previous tie owners told me, that the tie needs a bar on the back to slip their ends through. I picked up a few stitches on the backside and was able to make a neat bar that you can’t notice from the front. I still had a full skein of Cascade Venezia Worsted in my stash that I like to use for these (this is the third tie I’ve made using this yarn) and Brian picked out this gorgeous deep green shade. This is a wool and silk blend that gives the tie a really great drape to it. I can’t wait to see him all dressed up with it, he’s a pretty dapper guy.

Reminder, this is a free tie pattern and I highly recommend you add it to your library. It’s a quick knit that you can make for any guy friend around the holidays. And if you’re interested in one of Brian’s handmade pens, check out his website.

FO: A Lovely Teazel Rainbow

I have a thing for rainbows. You’ve seen my Rainbow Madigan and my Louise Cardigan with the rainbow ribbing. Rainbows bring me so much joy. So you knew when I found this rainbow yarn I was going to wait until I figured out exactly what project it would be perfect to pair with. It took me a bit of time…and then I remembered how much I loved my original Teazel cardigan and decided this would be the perfect project to make again. I was right.
Rainbow Teazel
I love all my projects but I’ve realized if it’s green or a rainbow I’m head over heels in love with it. I. Love. This. Sweater. My Rainbow Teazel Cardigan.
Rainbow Teazel
I don’t know if you can tell how giddy I am in these pics but I am. As soon as it was dry I wore it to work the next day. The yarn is Cascade Casablanca which has been discontinued (why do all the yarns I love get discontinued?!) and is a mix of wool, silk and goat mohair. I worked this cardigan up on size 10 needles so it’s not a heavy fabric and I was able to wear this to work in my freezing office and feel comfortable all day. I even wore it outside while it was muggy and wasn’t sweating and hot.
Rainbow Teazel
In order to keep my rainbow in the same order I had to sometimes cut down a ball of yarn to the last color I was working with but I ended up using almost every piece of yarn I cut from the skeins in the body of this sweater. Since it’s a top down sweater I knew once I went back to knit the arms they wouldn’t have small stripes but I don’t mind the wider stripes going down the arms. And in the pattern the only modification I made was to make the arm decreases every 4 rows instead of 8 because it called for 19 inches of sleeves and I’ve only got about 16 inches of arm. Plus I prefer a bracelet length sleeve for my sweaters.
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One of my favorite details is the neckband. I love how the rainbow plays out so you get all the colors around the neck. It’s such a beautiful and happy little sweater. And with the mix of silk and wool it has this great drape that I didn’t get on my heavier cotton version.
Rainbow Teazel
This one can really give you a good twirl. I’m counting this as part of the Summer of Basics Makealong but I’m laughing because whenever I look at the feed everyone’s basics are neutrals (grey, black, tan…) and I’ll pop into the feed with ALL the colors. LOL But it wouldn’t be me or a piece that really fit into my wardrobe if I didn’t make what makes me happy and color makes me deliriously happy. Besides, this sweater already coordinates with at least 4 pairs of pants and 5 skirts in my closet. Folks in my office will see this one a lot and I already got a ton of compliments on it when I wore it.

I’m really loving how Bristol Ivy puts her patterns together. They’re cleverly constructed with interesting details to keep you interested in the knit. I have a couple more of her patterns in my queue to work on next. But I don’t know if I’ll make a knit that’s quite as happy as this one. It just makes me smile. And isn’t that what a good knit is all about?