Session 4: It starts with a flat oval
By the end of today, you will actually have something recognizable that you can stuff! I have a confession: I am a rogue "bottom up" crocheter. The vast majority of dolls you see are started at the top of the head, but my brain just doesn't work that way!
- Work in a spiral. Unless otherwise marked, do not not join. Do not turn.
- use the invisible increase and decrease wherever 2sc or sc2tog/hdc2tog are used.
- sc x 'Y' = sc in the next Y stitches. (i.e. sc x 3 means to single crochet in the next 3 stitches.
- use a "C" or "D" hook.
- Mark the first stitch of each numbered row to keep track of rows.
I have so many colors - which one do I use?
If your doll will be wearing:
Leggings/Boots - Start the feet with legging color.
Shorts/Capris - Start the feet with skin color.
The Sole of the foot starts with a flat oval - 3 sc on each long side and 5 sc in the first and last space for a total of 16sc.
1. Flat Oval: (Be sure to mark the first stitch of each round with either a stitch marker or a contrasting string)
- Chain 6 (foundation chain). Sc in the back loop of 2nd chain from the hook (place a stitch marker in this first stitch. Sc in the back loop of each remaining chain in your foundation chain (5sc)
- Cross the tail from your starting knot OVER your working yarn (this locks it in and moves it to the back of your work). Leave the tail hanging and add 4 more sc in the same stitch. You should have 9 sc at this point.
- Rotate your work 90 degrees so that you can continue working down the far side of your chain, working one sc in each of the 4 remaining unused loops of the foundation chain.
NOTE: Take a look - the last sc you made should be in the same space as the first sc that we marked. There are two stitches already and we need 5 sc total in the last space.
- Add three more sc to the last space to finish off your flat oval . (16sc)
There is actually a very standard way to increase the size of flat ovals, Buuuuut "standard" isn't really my style. The increase I've written for round 2 will give us the number of stitches we need for the legs and hips.
2. [ sc x 3, 2sc in next]. repeat from [...] around. When you get to the hanging tail from your foundation chain, bring it up and hold it against your work, crocheting over the tail until you reach the end of the round so you don't have to weave it in later (20sc). Leave your yarn tail here, don't snip it yet.
3. This round only, sc in the back loops for every stitch around (20sc)
4. Using both loops now, again sc around. (20sc)
5. Sc around (20sc).
The next round starts the shaping of the top of the foot by placing 4 invisible decreases at the toe... read carefully, there are single crochet decreases AND half double crochet decreases.
6. Sc in the next 4 stitches. Sc2tog. hdc2tog. hdc2tog, sc2tog. Sc in the next 8 stitches (16sc)
7. Sc in the next 4 stitches. Sc2tog. Sc2tog. Sc in next 8 stitches. (14sc)
You made a foot!
Even more exciting, I have a trick for you to avoid having to move that stitch marker every round. With the toe facing you, look at the right side of your work. You should see a line running around the bottom of your foot where we switched to back loops only.
I use this line as a landmark for counting my rows (mostly because stitch markers drive me crazy!) When I refer to the number of rows to make your legs, you only have to count from this row up - lets call the row of 'V's just above that line # 1.
The other exciting thing is that you can now switch on the Voice, Games of Thrones or even the Young and the Restless and just stitch around and around the leg. If you think you will skip stitches you can count and make sure that you always have 14 stitches, but as long as you put a sc in every stitch just build up that cylinder.
- Stuff your foot firmly as soon as you have a few rounds of the leg worked up. If you go too far before stuffing it will be difficult to get stuffing into the toes!
-How firm? This will be your preference. I like the legs to be as firm as I can get them without stretching stitches in order for the dolls to support their own weight.
-Important. You need to be consistent with both legs. If one leg has more stuffing than the other, the legs will be different lengths. If you have the same number of rows but your legs are not the same length, you need to adjust how you stuffed them.
- Polyfil has its limitations. It can turn to little rocks and give your doll a lumpy appearance if you just shove it in without some prep. Fluff it up and spread it out with your fingers before pushing it in with a dowel or your fingers.
-continue crocheting up your leg - keeping the stuffing a few rows away from your working round to avoid getting fluff stuck in your stitches.
But don't I have to change colors?
The graphic below shows how many rows YOU will complete before changing colors based on what style of pants/shorts your doll will be wearing:
The following color change directions will work for when the toes are facing you
-The first leg we are making is the doll's left leg. I will start my color change when I have completed 15 rounds of skin color above my landmarking line.
- Count up the left side of the leg (with the toes pointed towards you) to be sure there is the correct number of rounds at the front.
- You can choose where to place your color change but be consistent with your second leg and avoid it being visible from the front (toe side).
- After counting up the left side of the leg, I start my color change a stitch or two before getting to the back of the leg.
-I am making a doll wearing blue capris, so I will start my color change when I have 15 rounds of skin color above the landmark line on the left side.
You may have a favourite color change method. I like this one because it is very simple and doesn't leave an obvious "jog" or "stair step" effect.
Planet June's "Jogless Color Change"
1. slip stitch with color 1. (skin color)
2. insert hook into next stitch and pull up a loop (2 loops on hook).
3. drop color 1 and let it fall behind the work.
4. yarn over with color 2 and pull through both loops on the hook. Tighten loop by pulling on the tail of both color 1 and color 2.
5. hold tails of both colors along the back of work.
6. Insert hook in next stitch and under both tails. Slip stitch color 2.
7. sc in next stitch over both tails. Drop both tails and continue to sc with color 2.
And again, we don't have to weave in any ends. When you have completed a full round with color 2 (you passed your color change) simply knot your two tails together and cut them with about an inch or two left and tuck them inside. Voila! Your ends are neatly hidden inside your doll!
Jogless Color Change -Video walk through of Planet June's method.
Your leg is finished when you have 32 rows above your landmark line on the left hand side of the leg with the toes facing you. Do not slip or fasten off, but single crochet to the back of the leg and then just loosen your loop so it doesn't get pulled out. Cut your tail approximately 10 inches from your work as we will join the legs together using the tail of the left leg.
Repeat pattern for the second leg BUT DO NOT cut your yarn when you have 32 rows . Session 5 will continue on from the right leg without cutting your yarn.