The Blog

My Little Crochet Doll – Ballerina

I know, I know… It’s been a little while since I said hello.

I’ve been so busy. I got a few weeks paid teaching work and I also got a place at Huddersfield Uni. It’s all go!

But I finally sat down and finished the next doll pattern for the little crochet doll. This time a pink ballerina doll.



She is fast becomming one of my favorites.

The bodice from the tutu came from a similar style of dresses from the by hook by hand blog.

The pattern is here… MLCDballet

The dress is written in full, but you will need to buy the My Little Crochet Doll pattern from my Etsy or Ravelry shop to make the doll, underwear and ballet slippers.

So, What’s next?

I was thinking a Victorian outfit, or maybe a cooks outfit. What do you think?

While I’m here I might as well let you all know about the next needle felting session at Inkwell, Potternewton Lane, Chapel Allerton. It’s Saturday 22nd March, 10.30am till 12.30pm £6 each.

We’re making the needle felted fairies and dolls for Mothers day. We made them just before Christmas and everyone loved them. This time though we can look at free standing dolls. I haven’t taken any photos yet, but here’s a similar mobile I made using the same process, it’ll at least give you an idea.


Fair Trade vs Living Wage

I bumped into someone yesterday who had been looking through my blog and Etsy shop. They wanted one of the Little Crochet dolls but didn’t want to learn to crochet. He asked the question I fear the most, how much?

How do I respond?

As a doll collector I have no problems paying for the doll I want, within reason. Mary Shortle, my local doll shop allows you to pay bit by bit for the doll you want, so I am able to save without too much fuss. But many people who like my dolls are not collectors and I worry how they’d react when I tell them the cost.

I could be the bold artist type, who has no worries putting a £400 price tag on a small painting. But I’m not bold, not that bold anyway.

Many people say you should charge £20 an hour for your work plus materials, well, a doll could take me 2 days work. That’s £20 x 16 hours. £320 for a doll. Even I would refuse to pay that and paying myself £10 an hour is £160, a better price but still £10 more than I have ever paid for a doll and that was a porcelain, silkstone Barbie that’s more of an investment than a play doll.

The result therefore, is a sheepish seller who feels like I’m risking humiliation by asking for £70. Is that alright? I know it’s a lot, it takes a lot of work though… and the worrying goes on. Why oh why can’t I be bold?

Why can’t I say proudly that a doll is £70. It may seem like a lot, but it’s hand made, one-of-a-kind. Just for you. Where else can you buy a doll and choose it’s hair colour and clothing? So, from now on I’m going to give it a go. If you ask me how much a doll would cost I’m going to stand up straight, chin up, hands on hips and in a loud voice say, “My dolls are £70”.

So, now I come to another problem.

As a member of The Salvation Army, I should be buying Fair Trade where ever possible. I think it’s a great idea, and believe that people who work hard to earn a living should be paid for the work they do. But often Fair Trade means African farmers, Indian cloth makers. I don’t want to take that away from them, not at all.

I would like more of it. I too, would like to be paid for the work I do. It seems in the UK at least, we grumble at the thought of paying for handmade items.

Back in the days when I had my market stall I would make my Star Wars characters and put a £12 price tag on them. They take around one and a half hours each, so I was looking at £8 an hour. That seemed far too high for most people so I dropped my price to £10, working at £6 (ish) an hour. Still many people grumbled at the price. Towards the end of the stall, when I realised people just wouldn’t pay I dropped the price to £8 (£5 an hour) below the minimum wage. And yet… I had one guy who really wanted one, but when I told him the price he threw it onto the counter, grumbled something unrepeatable at me and stormed off.

That wouldn’t be so bad, but at the time there were Star Wars characters made in Hong Kong, in a factory the same size as mine, but less detail and selling for more than I was asking.

Not only that, Cath Kidson was at the time selling a small crochet bear, a very simple plain pattern, for £8 and people seem to flock to buy them. They’re not made by Cath Kidson, she might have come up with the idea, but I doubt she has even put her hands on the ones your about t0 hand cash over for, so you’re paying just for a label.

It seems Fair Trade only works when it involves other countries, or when the maker/artist has the cash or support to get a name. I don’t begrudge them, people should pay for quality. But far too often people think handmade things should be cheap while happily paying over the odds for often poorly over manufactured items made quickly in factories by machines, not humans.


Okay, deep breath…

So, after my rant I have one thing to say…

Head heald high, hands on hips, looking you straight in the eye with no guilt. Dolls are £70.

Now that’s said, quietly lowering my head, cap in hand, whispering sheepishly, which means I’m working for £4.30 an hour, if that’s ok?



Zipper felt brooches

Tomorrow, 10.30am – 12.30pm at Inkwell, Chapel Allerton, £6 each. We’re making Zipper heart brooches ready for Valentines day next week (yep, it really is that soon).

For those who can’t be with us, here’s the instructions…

1. Draw your simple design onto paper..



2. Pin the paper onto a piece of felt



3. Take your zip and trim off the fabric edge, leavng the metal or plastic teeth.



4. Whip stitch the zip into place, making sure the thread fits tightly between the teeth.



5. pick out the paper centre, use a needle to get into tight areas.



6. Needle felt small bits of felt to the centre of the brooch.



7. Keep going until the brooch is filled.



8. Add buttons, brads or other embellishments



9. Turn the brooch over and sew the brooch pin onto the felt.



10. Cut out the brooch and draw around it onto another piece of felt. Cut this second felt piece out.



11. place the second piece over the first and mark the two pin ends of the brooch. Make a small cut where you have marked and place the second piece over the first, pulling through the pin ends.



12. Blanket stitch around the edge, making sure you stitch through both front and back felt pieces.



13. Pin the brooch on and enjoy!

There are many designs on the internet, have a google around, some are simple, others very intricate. There are also other ways of making the brooch, mostly by using a glue gun, but the thought of young people loose with glue guns scared me a bit (plus I only have one) so I came up with a way of making the brooch without hot glue dripping from little hands!

What’s next…

Saturday 22nd February, 10.30am, Inkwell, £6 Spinning.

No, not spinning on a bike (that’d be very interesting to see) we’re going to make our own little drop spindle and do a bit of spindle spinning, making our own wool. We only have two hours, and already it sounds like it’ll be popular.

Little Terrier Doggie – Free Makey Makes

I’m either mad or developing some great marketing ploy, but something I listed on Etsy I’m giving away on my blog for free.

Yep, Free.

So, What’s the catch?

I wrote this little pattern some time ago and started selling kits so you could make your own little doggie at home. I recently updated the pattern, included needles and bead eyes in the kit and am selling the whole kit on Etsy for £5 (or £10 for three) The kit makes a lovely little gift for crafty dog-lovng friends, so buy them if you can.

But, I’m putting the pattern here dog pattern



The three kit colours are for a Black Scottie dog, White highland Terrier and Brown Yorkshire Terrier.

Am I mad? Who knows.

We made these little doggies two Saturdays ago at our little craft class in Leeds and they went down a treat. The bone is Polymer clay, I also made a polymer clay dog bowl, but that’s gone walk-a-bout.

Well, buy the kit, or print the pattern and buy the materials yourself.

As with all my patterns, you can make to sell, but don’t sell the patterns, I’ve got to make some money somewhere and keeping my cat in the luxury she is used to isn’t cheap!

This Saturday, 8th Feb, 10.30am – 12.30pm, Inkwell Arts, Chapel Allerton

We’re making Zipper Brooches…



Here’s one I made earlier, made out of a bits of felt and an old zip, a great way to use up odd bits of felt. I was planning to have instructions on the blog before Saturday, but I’ve a busy busy week and might not have time. £6 per person and a lot of fun.

My Little Crochet Doll – Nightwear set

Here is it…

The next free pattern for the Little Cochet Dolls.



The Pattern includes full instructions for the Nightgown, Dressing gown and Night cap. It also tells you how to make the frill on the bedsocks and underwear, although you will need the original Doll pattern for the doll, socks and underwear.

The pattern is selling on Ravelry and etsy, jusy google betty virago or my little crochet doll on either of those sites and you’ll find it.

Annyway the pattern is here… MLCDnightwear

What’s next?

Am working on a Ballerina outfit next. Then I’ve thought of a Victorian outfit and have a few other ideas, but am happy to have ideas.

If you can’t crochet but would like a doll of your own here’s how you could win one…

The Joanna project in Leeds is a charity that is very close to my heart, so when they asked me to make a doll for them to make money with I was right on it.


This is the doll I made for them, they haven’t even seen it themselves, so this really is a sneak preview. She has another outfit currently being made.

The Joanna project is a small Christian charity working with vulnerable women who work on the streets in Leeds. They do fantastic work and have changed the lives of so many women. Check out their website at

So, as of yet, I’ve no idea how they will raffle, auction or sell the doll. I’ll let you know as soon as I do. Otherwise contact them and get your name down for information.



My Little Crochet Doll – Gorjuss pattern

Well, I promised it for Christmas, almost a week late, but here she is…

The Gorjuss doll pattern.


She is a FREE pattern, but… You’ll need to buy the My First Crochet Doll pattern to make her.

She has underwear (as all dolls should have!), a dress, coat, hat, wristwarmers, socks and boots.


You can download the pattern here…MFCDGorjuss and buy the doll pattern needed from my ETSY shop or on Ravelry.


I’ve been busy cleaning my place, it was getting a bit unorganised. Give it another few days and I’ll be making more things. Have a bedtime doll planned next I think.

My Little Crochet Doll

It’s been very quiet on the blog for the past few weeks and here’s why…


I’ve been working on a new pattern, my best so far I think.

Ellie and Sam, two little crochet dolls, with poseable arms and jointed knees, two body styles, and a lot of possibilities.


They came to be after I was grumbling about a doll pattern from a magazine I found, the pattern didn’t add up, the arms came down to the knees, and there was a little hole between the legs that didn’t quite seem right. Knitting Annie (my friend Annie who knits!) suggested I write my own, so I did. Then came the clothes, underwear, since all dolls need to be decent…


…shoes, trousers and a skirt. The patterns can be adjusted so the vest can be changed to a sports bra or a t-shirt, the jeans can become shorts. Plus details like the duffle coat having a hood that actually fits and pockets that the dolls can use.


I’ve made the doll so she will grow with the child, the hair is patterned into the head for young children, you can add long hair as the child grows. There are two bodies, one straight and the other with a bit of a waist and curves, and a simple waldorf style face that lets imagination grow.

Hopefully the pattern will be ready by the end of the week (I need to borrow someones computer to make the finishing touches to the pattern)

So, here’s a chance to be the first to win a copy of the pattern…

Email me,, with Free pattern please in the subject title and I’ll do a draw the moment the pattern is ready to be posted on Ravelry. You could be the first to get the pattern.

Pepperpot Dolls – Winter Set

Winter is here… Bah Humbug. I don’t like cold or snow and the wind today was awful. 

But… the pepperpot girls love wrapping up warm for winter. So here’s a little something to keep your doll warm.



It’s a little crocheted hat scarf and glove pattern, hope you enjoy it.

I used a 3.5mm hook and oddments of DK yarn. The hat and gloves are worked in a continuous round begining with an adjustable ring. There are two finished for the hat, one with frills and one without. The scarf is quick and simple and needs one little button to finish it off.

The Hat

1) Using an adjustable ring make 6sc in the ring and pull to close.

2) 2sc in each sc around (12)

3) 1sc, 2sc in next around (18)

4) 2sc, 2 sc in next around (24)

5) 3sc, 2 sc in next around (30)

6) (3sc in sc, 10sc, 3sc in next, 3sc) x 2 (38)

7) sc around

8) (sc in 17, sc2tog) x 2 (36)

9) (sc in 16, sc2tog) x 2 (34)

10) (sc in 15, sc2tog) x 2 (32)

Plain hat

11) sc around (32) FO

Fancy hat

11) (5dc in next sc, sk 1, sc, sk 1) around, join with a slip stitch and FO.

The Scarf

Leave a long thread to sew the button on the scarf at the end.


1) sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next 3, ch 1, turn 

2-25) sc across, ch 1 turn

26) ch 5, sk 3, sc in last sc, ch 1 turn

27) 4sc over the 5 ch, slst and FO at end of row

Sew a button on the front

The Gloves

1) Make an adjustable loop and sc 6, pull closed

2) (1sc in next sc, 2sc in next) x 2 (8)

3) sc around

4) 1sc in next 2, 2sc in next 2, sc in 4sc (10)

5) sc around

6) (sc in 4, sc2tog) x 2 (8)

Slst in next sc and FO.

So, how’s the dolls going?

If you’ve made any pepperpot dolls and want to show them off I’d love to see them. 

If you haven’t yet made any the pattern is in my Etsy shop, buy now because I’m putting the price back up soon!!!



Inhaler Cover Pattern

If you’ve ever been in that situation where you’re rooting in your bag for your inhaler, or forget to take it with you, then this pattern is for you.


The inhalercover fits snuggly over your inhaler and attaches to your keysor bag. It’s best to use a cotton or bamboo yarn because they don’t fluff, breathing in fluff while using an inhaler sort of defeats the object!

I used Sirdar Baby Bamboo yarn and a 3mm hook, I also wrote the pattern in US terms but since its mostly single crochet (double crochet in UK) it shouldn’t be a problem.

Working in a continuous round, Chain 4.

1) sc in 2nd chain from hook, sc in next ch, 3sc in last. Now working on the other side of the chain 1sc in next, 2sc in last (8)

2) (3sc in next, 1sc in next 3) x 4 (16)

3) 1sc, (3sc in next, 1sc in next 3) x 3, 3sc in next, 1sc in next 2 (24)

4) BLO, sc around

5-9) sc around in both loops

10) sc in next 13, ch 1, turn

You are now working in rows along the back of the cover

11-15) sc in next 12, ch1, turn (12)

16) sc in next 12, ch 12 (24)

17) being careful not to twist the chain, join chain with a sc to first sc of row 16. You are now working in rounds again.

sc in each sc and ch around (24)

18-31) sc around

32) (sc in next 4, sc2tog) x 4 (20)

33) sc around to the back of the cover, ch4, sc in the next sc (this creates a loop to hang a clip or key ring) slst in next sc, FO.

Just a little pattern I thought I’d share with you all.

By Hook By Hand amazing dolls

I’ve loved Beths dolls for a long time, but only recently I decided to sit down and made some.

If you’ve not seen her blog google it and go there… By Hook By Hand.

She has written several doll patterns each with sets of clothing. The patterns are easy to understand and amazing, plus she has updates for making joints including little wrist joints.

There are 5 dolls that I’ve made so far…

5 Dolls

Starting with the tallest, Bleuette, based on a vintage french doll. Then the 4 spirit dolls in size order, Spirit Doll (black and pink hair, Pocket Spirit (Green hair at back), Mini Spirit (Purple hair) and Teacup (green hair at front).

I love the smallest one, the teacup doll. She has a limited amount of clothing, but they can Beth includes tips on how to change the patterns. The Mini and Pocket dolls are similar in size, the Pocket doll has knee and elbow joints and a lot of clothing whilst the Mini doll has an additional pattern to change the doll into an Elf, Mermaid or Centaur.

The great thing is the patterns are FREE, Yep, it turns out the best things in life really are free.

If you can crochet, even if you’re a beginner have a go at the patterns and you’ll be hooked.

A Mini Spirit doll