Part VI: It’s Finished
Testing has been completed. I’ve dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s. And the pattern for my latest creation has been published. Nikki and Maggie are so very pleased to model these lovely sweaters.
Nikki is wearing the shell stitch cardigan with long sleeves. It can also be made with short sleeves. She chose a tee, jeans and boots to complete her cute back-to-school outfit. Maggie is wearing the short-sleeved bolero length sweater with her new polka dot dress. This cute dress with the scallop detail will soon be available in pattern form. It has to wait until I finish my sister’s Christmas presents. You can access my stores at the right. I hope you like this sweater as much as Maggie, Nikki and I do.
Lana, Maggie, Nikki, Daisy and Pansy
Part V: Testing Is Almost Completed
The pattern testers have been busy, and three of the four have completed the sweaters. I received pictures from Linda Campbell today. Her sweaters are so cute I just had to share a couple of her pictures with you, and Linda kindly gave permission for me to do so. The new pattern has the option of a cropped sweater or a cardigan each with either short sleeves or long sleeves. Linda made the cardigan with long sleeves and the cropped sweater with short sleeves and tells me she is going to get more thread and make the sweaters with the other sleeve options. Here is what she has done so far.
The front of Linda’s cropped sweater with short sleeves.
I will be publishing this crochet pattern just as soon as I hear from the final tester. I contacted her earlier this week, and she reported that she was almost finished with the body of the cardigan and will be working on the sleeves shortly.
Each of the testers have several years experience with crochet, and one of them authored crochet patterns herself. I am so pleased to have them on my team and thank them for their service. I am looking forward to showing you, with their permission of course, what the other three testers have done. And my girls (dolls) are anxious to share the pattern with you.
Lana, Nikki, Daisy, Pansy and Maggie
Part IV: Pattern Has Been Sent To The Testers
I’m a very lucky designer. I’ve had four ladies volunteer to test the pattern without my even asking. All I did was tell about my year of waiting for my sister to test my first pattern. It too was a doll sweater. One that I could crochet in an evening. Very simple. I finally told her to bring it back to me with her comments on any problems she had seen. I told her that I had planned on publishing it that past Spring which was a couple of months after I gave it to her. I suppose I shouldn’t have told her that because it made her feel bad about taking so long, but I needed to light a fire under her. My other inquiries into how she was coming along (Hint! Hint!) didn’t do a thing. She brought it back with apologies but is very VERY relieved that someone else is testing my new pattern. I’m thinking she didn’t much care for testing patterns although she did get a cute sweater for her doll. That is if she ever finishes it. She is the queen of procrastinators. LOL
I’m so excited about this new pattern because it has options! Don’t you just love patterns with options? There is a short-sleeved version and a long-sleeved version. There is a cropped sweater/shrug and a cardigan-length sweater. And there are options for the closure. Shouldn’t be much longer to the release of this latest creation. Stay tuned. You’ll hear it here first.
In the meantime, I’ve purchased an American Girl doll to model this newest creation. After all, she has to earn her keep. She will make her modeling debut when the pattern is published. Her name is Maggie named after my late mother-in-law, and she is very excited about her future with Lana’s Lark Designs.
Lana, Nikki, Daisy, Pansy and Maggie
Part III: Crocheting the Sweater the Second Time Through It has been two months since I’ve given an update on how the pattern writing is going. Seems like I have been ripping out more crochet stitches than I have actually stitched in the first place. Yes, I know that isn’t possible, but it sure feels like it. The first time through gave me a rough draft of the pattern. The second time through, however, is for carefully checking my written instructions and changing them as needed. I corrected a lot (emphasis on “a lot”) of instructions. I even changed my mind on how the collar was to be done. But I have completed the instructions for the body of the sweater and for the edging and collar. It looks great. I am now starting to check the instructions for the sleeves. And in addition to the two sweater lengths included in the pattern, I’ve decided to include two sleeve options – long sleeve and short sleeve. I have already written instructions for the short sleeves but am starting from scratch on the long sleeves. I am shooting for release of this pattern in time for the Fall season, but I’ve got to get it completed and sent to the testers in time for them to do their thing. Then they will send their suggestions and/or corrections back to me, and I incorporate their input and put on the finishing touches which includes a cover. A lot left to do yet, but it’s coming along. Happy Sewing, Lana, Nikki, Daisy and Pansy
My girls, Nikki and Daisy, made a very important decision today. Nikki finally confessed to me that she didn’t like the way the leggings looked on her. And Daisy being my little Tomboy confessed that she truly wanted them. So now the new outfit belongs to Daisy. What do you think?
Part II: Crocheting the Sweater the First Time Through
So the crochet stitch pattern, the crochet hook size, and the thread have been chosen. I first went through my stash of crochet hooks to find the one size D that I own. When my sister tested my first sweater pattern, she had to buy a size D. She went to Hancock’s and Joanne’s with no luck and was about to give up when I found it online at Walmart. So she went to Walmart and bought it there. Now why didn’t the needlecraft stores have it? But I digress. Now to dig out all the Perle Cotton thread in that pretty wine color. I hope I have enough.
Can I use my first pattern as a starting point? Well, let’s give it a try. Here is how it went.
Eight rows into the sweater I realize I’ve dropped a couple of stitches. But where? And how far back will I have to rip? Arrrrrgh! Four rows back! Why didn’t I catch this sooner? And Nikki is wanting to know when her sweater is going to be done. Every 5 minutes she is asking if it is done yet. I’m working on it Nikki. Be a good little doll and go play with Daisy and Pansy.
So now that more than half the sweater is ripped back to just before I made my first mistake, and I re-crochet the next four rows. Then row nine and I think this is where I want to change things up a bit. Started with the new crochet stitch pattern, and things are looking really good until……Oh, man, I don’t have enough stitches for my pattern! But I counted!! What went wrong? Double Arrrrrrgh! I needed one more stitch. Well, this is just a first run so that I will know where to make adjustments I tell myself. And so I cheat a little on the pattern so I can continue – only I will know.
After writing a note on my pattern of the change I need to make, I finish the sweater and barely have enough thread. Whew! Now to make something for Nikki to wear with the sweater. How about some leggings and a tank top? Do I have a pattern? No. So to the internet I go. After a google search, I have both of those patterns and a tutorial for making the cutest ruffled skirt.
I need knit fabric for the outfit. Surely I have some somewhere. Searching. Searching. Oh, hey! Why not use those old t-shirts I stashed away for making t-shirt yarn? Here’s a deep forest green. That’ll work! Cutting. Sewing. Searching for the Velcro. Cutting. Sewing. Done!
Hey, Nikki, come try on your new outfit. What do you think?
Nikki, stop jumping on the bed!
The second time through on this sweater is coming soon. Maybe I’ll get the count right this time.
Lana, Daisy, Pansy and Nikki
Part I: Auditioning Crochet Stitch Patterns Don’t you just love those sketches in the crochet books that represent a crochet stitch pattern? That question was asked with more than a hint of sarcasm. Could you tell? LOL I guess I could invest in a crochet encyclopedia that had pictures of actual pieces of crochet work in each pattern. But even that would not be very helpful because the choice of thread and size of crochet hook can make a huge difference in how the piece looks. I have been crocheting small swatches of different stitch patterns today in order to get a better idea of how each might work in a sweater for 18” dolls such as American Girl. Here are the swatches I’ve crocheted so far: The first two were done with baby yarn and the last one is crochet thread. All were done with the same size hook. The last two are actually the same pattern. Perfect example of how different a crocheted piece can look when done in different threads or yarns. Different size hooks can make them look different as well. Which one did I choose? The last one! I wanted something lacy that looked difficult to do but, in fact, is easy. I can’t wait to see how it works out.