Thursday, 7 March 2013

Tips For Knitting Barbie Doll Sweaters

Sometimes knitting things on a small scale, like these Barbie Patterns, can be a bit of a challenge. Here are some things that I've found that make it easier:

Tips For Knitting On A Small Scale

Dropped Stitches: Have a small crochet hook (2 – 2 ½ mm, or even smaller if you have one) nearby for picking up dropped stitches.

Decreases: For left slanting decreases, you can use sl1, k1, psso (also known as SKP) OR K2tbl. Either method will get you there. It is just a question of preference. At this small scale, I find knitting through back of loops (tbl) awkward, and tend to use sl1, k1,psso instead. However, do not substitute a sl1, k1, psso for a k2 tog, that will give you a decrease that slants the wrong way.

Buttons: I have found that 5mm buttons, while more to scale with the tiny garments, are harder to manipulate and are really too small for the smallest button hole you can make. If you use 5mm buttons, I think it is better to not bother making buttonholes and just poke them through the holes between stitches. 8mm buttons are easier to find, and much easier to manipulate. It just depends on what you are using the garments for: play or display. I found my tiny buttons on Etsy.

Yarn: I am not recommending any particular name brand yarns in these patterns. Instead I envision these projects being made up of leftover bits and pieces; subtracting from your stash rather than adding to it. If you knit a lot of socks you will find some of my Barbie patterns for sock yarn and you will also find even finer pieces that can be made from leftover lace weight yarns. Generally, I have paired 2.75 mm needles with sock yarn and 2mm needles with lighter yarns. For the finer work I have used lace weight knitting yarn, punch embroidery threads, and fine (#10)crochet cotton. If it is lighter than regular sock yarn, it should work with the finer needles.
I also recommend you try smooth textured, light coloured yarn for your first projects. They will be much easier to see and handle at this small scale.

Stitch Markers: If you don’t have any small stitch markers, just tie small loops of contrasting yarn.

Stitch Holders: Many of these patterns require moving one part of the knitted piece on to a stitch holder at some point during the process. Alternately, a spare circular needle or dpn can be used. Whatever you use, it should be of a similar gauge to the main needles you are using.

Needles: I am using a circular needle, either knitting flat, or in the round using the magic loop method. Pieces worked as flat knitting can be done on straight needles and pieces worked in the round can be worked with double pointed needles, if that is your preference. You may use larger or smaller sized needles than indicated. This will result in a slightly looser or tighter fit.

Magic Loop Method: If you are just learning to knit socks or working at a small scale, I would encourage you to learn the Magic Loop method. Not only is it easier to knit with fewer needles, it makes it less likely that you will drop stitches. Also, learning this simple method allows you to use one length of needle for ANY circumference of knitting. When you purchase a circular needle, simply choose one with the longest cord you plan to need. If you knit a lot of socks, and other small-scale items (like my Barbie sweaters), I would buy circular needles no shorter than 24” or 60 cm. I would also look for good quality, smooth needles with the finest, most flexible cord you can find. Look for Magic Loop method tutorials on the Internet.

Try this Magic Loop Tutorial from Knitting

Finishing: As much as possible, these patterns are made in one piece and require minimal sewing. However, on some pieces the sleeve and underarm must be sewn together. In these cases it is a good idea to leave enough of a yarn tail (12-15 cm/5-6 inches should be plenty) to use later to sew your seam. This will save you time and cut down on bulk.

Blocking: Unless otherwise specified, I have simply laid flat the finished piece – lightly pinned to the ironing board if necessary – laid clean damp cloth over top, and pressed briefly with a hot iron.

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