Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Things I Love - A well designed doll pattern

If you are like me, you appreciate good design in whatever form it takes. Being a doll maker, good doll designs make me happy. I've made my share of poorly designed patterns and welcome the change when a good one comes along. All the parts fit, directions are clear and concise, illustrations are well drawn, photos are good quality. There are many excellent designers out there...Judi Ward, Deanna Hogan, Jane Coughlin to name a few. And now, although she has been around for quite awhile, Colleen Babcock. A delightful person with full-blown chops behind her in the design arena.

Recently Colleen put out a challenge mystery doll pattern that participants got to buy at a greatly reduced price and the opportunity to join in the Yahoo group to follow along on the construction and have the help and guidance of Colleen. How could I resist? Although I own a couple of Colleen's patterns, I've never made one of them. You know, gotta get the pattern and then it languishes in a folder for days, months, years on end. My mojo had taken a hike lately and this was just the jumpstart I needed to get her back in the saddle again.

This is my doll created from Colleen's wonderful pattern. A doll perfect for use as a mannikin for making endless assortments of clothing for. The body is beautifully proportioned with the use of darts for shaping. Gotta love that! If you design with darts, you know what you are doing. Colleen does. A full wire armature for stability, exquisitely detailed face, and the costuming, to die for. The premise behind this doll was truly an original concept. The points of the skirt overlay are meant to have numbers applied to them and be able to fold up and attach to beads, thereby allowing the participant to reveal each Advent day as the calendar progresses. Brilliant!

I took a few shortcuts when making my doll...because I could. Years of doll making have given me many tools and techniques to use in getting to the end faster. I added beaded edging all around the overlay and gave her a silk shawl for the cold. I love the addition of the fan. What a great accessory!

This doll did for me what I needed her to do. She brought back my mojo. I've already started another doll from one of my own patterns and have another of Colleen's planned. Thanks Colleen.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dear Craft Book Publishers

I am distressed. I love craft books. Really. The problem that arises is that at least 50 percent of them that have patterns included call for the patterns to be enlarged anywhere from 150-400 percent. What's up with that?! The patterns that are at 100 percent of usage are great, I can trace them off and use them right away. But the others, oh no, first I have to trace it off, then either scan it or take it to a copy shop to enlarge it.

This poses a problem not only for me, but for millions of other crafters I'd venture. Unable to use the pattern right away because I have to go through all this extra riggamarole, I will  lose interest in making the pattern at all. Then I have to drive somewhere to get it enlarged. At the price of gas these days who wants that extra expense. And the cost to enlarge it at a copy shop. More expense. So, wasted money for the craft book, and one pissed-off crafter.

Now, if you are listening you book publishers, make your craft books with ring binding, allowing me to open the book flat to make it easier to follow instructions. Include an envelope at the back with FULL SIZE patterns. We who craft will love you. Right now, not so much.

For the publishers of Anna Maria Horner's books...big sloppy kisses. Full size patterns, ring bound. Need I say more. I know there are other books out there like hers, I own a few of them also. If there is extra expense in producing these kind of books, believe me, I'll pay the extra when buying it just to save me all the expenses on the back end of using a craft book that is not ring bound or that has patterns that need to be enlarged.

I'll step down from the soapbox now.