When browsing for something completely different, I stumbled upon a picture of really adorable knitted dolls. I wanted to find a tutorial how to make them, but it turned out the picture came from a wallpaper and no tutorial existed. So I decided to figure out the how-to myself and I did.
What you need:
- pair of knitting needles
- crotchet hook (to save your work if you drop a stitch)
- sewing needle with a big ear
- embroidery thread (for the hair)
- sharp scissors
- utility knife
- fork (to create pom poms)
- wood beads
- wine corks
- black and pink acrylic markers
- glue that works for wood and other materials (I used Uhu Creativ glue for wood)
- (optional) felt
- (optional) buttons
- (optional) a heart punch or a Sizzix machine + heart-shaped cutting dies
I forgot to put the hammer and the red embroidery thread in the photograph, but it’s an illustration anyway. 🙂
1. THE KNITTING PART
First, you knit the dress and the hat. My knitting terminology was completely lacking, so I hope this makes sense in English!
The number of stitches and rows will depend on what wool and knitting needles you use; I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and a pair of 3 1/2 mm knitting needles.
After endless trial-and-error I decided for the following.
- cast on 20 stitches
- row 1 – knit
- row 2 – purl
- continue until you have 18 rows
- bind off
The hat. I didn’t use knitting 2 stitches together at this stage, but it’s a much better way than shown on the picture):
- cast on 20 stitches
- row 1 – purl
- row 2 – knit
- row 3 – purl
- row 4 – knit
- row 5 – knit 2tog
- row 5 – purl
- row 6 – knit 2tog
- bind off
For the pompon we wrap the wool around something – I used a fork, as you can see.
Use a longer piece of wool to wrap it around your loops (the fork is great for this as you can be sure its in the centre) and do a weak knot.
Take your loops from the work and do a really tight knot.
Now cut the loops (sharp scissors recommended).
The result is not perfect, so use the scissors to cut the bits that are too long to get a ball shape.
And here it is! 🙂
2. THE ASSEMBLY PART
You cut a piece of the wine cork with the utility knife.
Then you use a nail and hammer to attach the wood bead to the wine cork. Don’t go all the way; leave a short part of the nail visible.
Sew the dress together. If you can knit seamlessly in a circle, all the better for you – I cannot, so I had to sew. I sew horribly, but I think nobody is going to nitpick except for me. 🙂
Sew the approx. first two rows on the front side…
…then continue on the back side…
…and finish on the front side again. This way the twirled parts look nicer in the end. I didn’t realised this until I had sewn four pieces, but no, I didn’t re-sew them. 🙂
Now dress your doll and twirl the upper and front part of the dress.
If you want your doll to have hair, take an embroidery thread and weave it around your fingers. I find it’s preferable to have it longer and cut it later, then to have it too short and end up being frustrated.
Cut it at one end.
Now weave it around the nail head.
…and do the same for the other side.
Now you can finally hammer the nail all the way down.
Braid your doll’s hair, use an embroidery thread to hold it at the end and trim the hair.
For boy hair create a shorter loop.
Apply just to one side of the bead.
Now sew the hat together on the back side.
Then weave the thread around the top part of the front side.
Pull and tie a knot on the back side.
Apply the pom pom and tie a knot.
Now try the hat so as to see how much space you have for painting the face.
Use an acrylic marker (I used Marabu painter matt as seen in the background) to paint the eyes and smile. If you want the doll to have pink cheeks, paint those, too. 🙂
Apply glue to the inside of the hat. You might want to use less than I did so that it doesn’t leak through the wool (mine did).
Glue a button or a felt heart to the dress. I tried to sew the buttons on, but didn’t like how it looked, so I decided to glue them instead. If you like the sew-on look, go for it instead.
Et voilà, it’s done.
You can use other ways to decorate the front, or you don’t have to do it at all, of course. With some striped patterns it would end up too busy anyway.
I used hearts cut from felt to decorate done of the dolls. Felt is, IMHO, an annoying material, because unless you use something super sharp to cut it with, it gets fluffy. I tried to cut out the hearts with a heart-shaped punch at first, but the punch got clogged after the second one and I didn’t really like the result, as it was horribly fluffy. So, since I have a Sizzix Big Shot cutting machine and some heart cutting dies, I used those instead and the result was perfect. No fluff at all. However, if you don’t own a cutting machine like that, you might come up with alternate solutions or just skip the felt altogether – you can used heart-shaped buttons for example, as I used in several cases.
Here are some other dolls that I have made, and the complete set of all 30 is in my gallery.