Ball dolls: Beaver

February 25, 2007 at 11:07 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts | 12 Comments

Meet Buck! He gave me a little trouble, but in the end I won. I had teeth like that before orthodontia.

Ball dolls - Beaver

The piece de resistance, I think, is his corduroy tail. Irresistable.

Ball dolls - Beaver tail

My friend Kathy and I spent a snowy but very enjoyable afternoon on the West Suburban Shop Hop. It’s a kind of scavenger hunt in 9 area quilt shops trying to locate a little embroidered symbol at each stop and getting our passports stamped along the way. Kathy’s a pretty new crafter and hadn’t ever been in a fabric shop except Jo-Ann before. It was fun watching her reaction to all the beautiful fabrics and patterns available at the shops.

I showed the whale to some of the shop staff and owners, and they were all very enthusiastic about the design. They all encouraged me to write up and print the whale pattern (and the others) and many offered to sell it in their shops. Wow! I was flattered by their reaction. I’d better get to work on those write-ups soon.


Ball dolls: Another whale

February 23, 2007 at 1:50 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts | 5 Comments

The gestation period for real baleen whales can be over a year (!), but I couldn’t wait that long to make another of these. They’re way too much fun!

ball dolls - waylon whale

I lucked out with the stripes matching up again. Those two pieces are cut on the bias this time, so the outcome is much more spherical, which makes me happy.

ball dolls - waylon whale, flukes

I think I’ll name him Waylon.

Don’t worry, I’m not stuck on whales now; I’ll be posting new ball doll designs soon. Thank y’all soooo much for the many nice things you’ve said about the menagerie thus far.  I am considering selling patterns or even the little dolls themselves. I’ll decide what and how a little later. For now, I’ll just keep sewing!

Ball-een Whale

February 21, 2007 at 5:22 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts | 14 Comments

“Baleen” is another term for whalebone, a structure kind of like a strainer, which some whales use to scoop up food from the sea.

Meet the latest ball doll: Mario the Whale. Since Madeline gave me the idea for the whale, I named it after her cute little son! (Hi, Madeline! Hi, Mario!)

ball dolls - whale front

Do you SEE how the pinstripes matched up on his tum? I admit that I’d cut them with the hopes that they’d be close, but I didn’t for a minute entertain the thought that I might be able to pull it off. That’s the great thing about low expectations: it’s always a pleasant surprise when things do go your way.

It took a long time and a lot of figuring and rooting through my craft supplies before I came up with his “spout.” But once I had a plan, I think it only took about 3 minutes to actually make it out of teeny, tiny rickrack. The base is wrapped in perle cotton thread to make it stand up.

ball dolls - whale from above

Stay tuned for more ball dolls!

Heart yo-yo

February 21, 2007 at 9:16 am | Posted in Sewing/Crafts | 2 Comments

Penny Sanford posted some lovely photos of heart yo-yos on her blog a couple of weeks back. I’d tried making hearts from regular, old round yo-yos, with so-so results. Nothin’ sadder than so-so yo-yos!

heart yoyo

Penny also very generously shared a pattern and hints for making these little cuties. While the directions are very clear and detailed, and the result is admittedly quite a looker, I really struggled with the process! This isn’t a reflection on the pattern; she couldn’t have been more specific and helpful. Perhaps it was because I chose to “whip it up” right at bedtime, but I felt like I was all thumbs, and got pretty frustrated before I finished. In particular, having to sew in two different directions was a real challenge for me. Kinda like trying to brush your teeth with the other hand – felt really odd! I think I’ll try another one sometime and see if I wasn’t just being a silly goose and missing something in her instructions. More than likely, I was just getting tired and cranky.

Okay, I’m off now to make something easier (for me, anyway!) more ball dolls :o)

(Wow, since I took the photo above, the fog’s really rolled in here in Chicagoland. Looks kinda spooky outside).

Birdie ball

February 19, 2007 at 12:59 pm | Posted in plush, Sewing/Crafts | 12 Comments

Here’s the latest ball doll: a birdie ball. I loved the little lamb so much, I just had to make a little spherical friend for him.

ball dolls - bird ball

Bird’s eye view! I crack myself up.

ball dolls - bird ball 03

ball dolls - bird ball 02

I’d have made more this weekend, but I did this instead (sorry so blurry; inadvertently left the camera in close-up mode):

folded fabric 2

folded fabric 1

folded fabric 3

…and, now that I can FIND my fabrics, more ball dolls are forthcoming soon. Since I’ve done land and air animals, it would only be fair to do a marine creature next. I’ve already designed a fish…but an turtle might be cute, too…

Baa, baa, ball!

February 16, 2007 at 10:29 pm | Posted in plush, Sewing/Crafts | 12 Comments

I’ve been having a tough time deciding what kind of doll to make for Carol’s Made for China project. Then I thought of a darling little lamb ball I’d seen on a crafty blog last year. The catch is, I can’t for the life of me remember WHICH blog* it was; I guess I didn’t bookmark it. Does anyone know who might have made that little waffle-fabric lamb? The blogger was so sweet and encouraged me to try one for myself.

*The lamb is here at three pink trees! Thanks for solving the mystery, Brooke!

Anyway, I couldn’t find her site, so today I created this little fella, based on her lamb ball.

ball dolls - lamb  01

I gave him a face of my own, plus ears and a tail, but no legs.

ball dolls - lamb  04

Augh, I love him. Now I want to make a series of ball dolls: kitty, monkey, panda, bird…?

Update: I’ve already sketched out the designs for a bluebird, monkey, panda, kitty, penguin, and fish! I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

Made for China: Linus Blanket

February 14, 2007 at 10:30 am | Posted in charity, Quilting, Sewing/Crafts | 3 Comments

Carol’s Made for China project hopes to collect 300+ handmade items for children in China’s orphanages. I signed up to make wee security blankets, the first of which (in pre-quilted flannel) are pictured below.

linus blankets

None of the project’s crafts take much time or material, but they can make a difference in the lives of some little people who could use some sunshine in their lives. You can find more information, including how to contribute, on Carol’s blog, kidding around.

Wardrobe refashion: Sweater into Hat

February 13, 2007 at 10:58 am | Posted in Sewing/Crafts | 3 Comments

Hi there! I’ve been absent for longer than I thought! No real reason, no big news to report, either.

Ryan has a snow day today! Yay. He’s making us waffles right now. Double yay! We’re expecting upwards of a foot of snow here in Chicagoland today. We’ve shoveled/snowblown once already today and expect to be out there again a time or two today. It’s not bad at all: just a hazard of living in this area.

I washed my winter hat recently and it had a blowout in the dryer. Oops. It’s hard for me to find hats for my big old pumpkin head, so I thought I would try making one. I’d picked up a couple of sweaters for 50 cents each at the resale shop, one of which was a lambswool cowlneck. I love seeing items made of recycled sweaters and wanted to try it out for myself.

Thrifted Sweater

I thought I’d cut up the body and use that to make a hat, but….hey……I pulled the cowl over my head and realized that it fit beautifully. (I wasn’t kidding. My head’s really that big!) I cut off the back and sleeves of the sweater, leaving the cowl attached to a big square of the sweater in the front. I sewed darts into the corners, then sewed the cowl to the raw edges. I used French seams for everything so there wouldn’t be raw sweater edges to leave purple fuzzies in my hair. Oh, and I used a stretch stitch on my machine so the seam around my head would give instead of break when I pulled the hat on and off.


I zoomed out a little so you can see our snow. I’m off to enjoy the waffles and my husband’s unexpected company!

hat and snow

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