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And now the real work begins…

I know.

I haven’t posted in a while.

It’s been a crazy few weeks, but oh so wonderful!

On Thursday I finally get to wear that cap and gown I’ve worked so hard for, my degree finished. I’ve still got library books to hand in (typical) and being so last minute I still don’t know what time I have to be at the university. But I’m a few days away from not being a full time student.

Here’s a wee photo of my final project (and me).

As well as the degree I won an award…

And I was one of 11 students chosen to take my exhibition to London to the New Designers show

I met some people with potential opportunities and, well, it’s all been a crazy busy few weeks.

And then it all stopped.

Now I have to earn a living. I’ve applied for a couple of part time jobs to keep the money coming in, and the little I have left after exhibiting in London I’m putting into adding a shop onto this website, so excuse the next few weeks as I try out various looks and slowly add items, I’m still trying to figure out how to add postage to the listings.

Have a gander at the shop, let me know what you like and what you don’t like. Give me a few suggestions if you have them. And wish me luck trying to make it in the real world!

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Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

Today I was thinking about the Farmer doll so I took a trip to a local farm. Meanwood Valley farm (www.mvuf.org.uk) is a charity run farm near the centre of Leeds. It’s a short bus ride out and a few minutes walk from the bus stop and it’s only £2 for adults and 50p for children.

It was lambing time so lots of wee ones to see, some of the smallest lambs I’ve seen so that was nice.

There was also alpacas, cows, pigs, donkeys, guinea pigs and rabbits.

The farm has allotments for local people and a cafe which was a bit pricey but since it’s only £2 entry I guess it evens out.

I did a few sketches in pen and ink, some better than others

It was quite a nice little trip out, I’m always happy to visit sheep and met a really friendly fellow who let me give his head a scratch.

Anyway, back to the doll… when I think about a farmer I imagine them wearing a waistcoat and flat cap so that’s a must. I’m wondering whether the dolls should have accessories. Perhaps this fellow needs a bucket of feed, but maybe not knitted or crocheted. I’d like to make something out of clay, but it’s all down to time at the moment.

What do you imagine as a farmers outfit?

Well, I’ll leave you with this lovely photo of wee piglets.

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The Final in sight

Who’d have thought I’d get here?

After four years I’m near the end of my degree, and I think I’m ready. I’ve one project left to do and ten weeks to get it done. My final project… Dolls.

Yep, I started University loving making dolls and tried hard to do something else, but I’ve realised the thing I love most it doll making.

The plan is to make a series of dolls made with natural materials and as locally sourced as possible.

I’m looking at 8 dolls each based on a character in Yorkshire and representing one of the smaller attractions in our stunningly beautiful county.

The dolls are:

A train driver to represent the Middleton railway which is the longest running railway in the world and five minutes from my house.

A terrible knitter of dent for the terrible knitters (terrible meaning great!) and the dent museum

A Morris dancer and perhaps visiting a local Morris dancing team

A farmer from the Meanwood valley farm

A coal miner (hmmm, this is still to be thought out)

A cobbler, actually a clog maker from Wakleys clogs

A fisherman from Scarborough

That’s seven for those who are thinking I’m missing one! Yeah, I might make two Morris dancers ‘cos you can’t dance alone!

Today I did some initial sketches of the dolls, here’s one

I also started on the pattern for a flat cap…

Problems I’m having are:

Trying to choose the yarn I’m going to use.

I want a local breed sheep and ideally I’d like a yarn that’s produced in Yorkshire. I also wanted to keep with one brand of yarn, but so far searches haven’t brought up a wide enough variety of colours in what I’m after. Plus, since tradition is to make dolls out of acrylic yarn and scraps I can’t find a pale flesh colour in pure wool. I’m going to have to dye some of the wool myself.

Also finding the money right now to pay for the yarn I need, that’s a wee problem, but I’ll find a way.

So, I’ll try and keep updating everyone on what I’m doing, I’m terrible (as in terribly bad) at keeping written research so I’m hoping the blog will be my written research.

Feel free to ask questions or comment.

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Designer Makers I like

Here’s a list of designer makers I like. They might not be big names, or money making wonders and might never be exhibitors but I like them.

For me a designer maker is someone who makes things to sell and not a huge scale exhibitor, I like the idea of small time local designer makers.

Crochet Designer Makers

Denizmum – aka Ulku Akcam

Image: Akcam, U. . , Etsy:https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/69189992/amigurumi-16-inc-miniature-giraffe?ref=shop_home_active_19.

I like her style of cute crochet and has an ability to create animals and people in great detail.

Irene Strangehttp://www.irenestrange.co.uk/

Image: Strange, I. (2010). Ladybird Purse. ,http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lola-the-ladybird—-amigurumi-coin-purse.

Irene Strange was one of the first amigurumi crocheters I fell in love with. As with many designers I found several patterns I liked and realised they were from the same person.

Irene’s style is recognised for her use of colour and kitch style animals. Her ladybird pattern was one of the first patterns I bought, easy to understand and includes little details like lining and the tiny ladybird on the zip.

Felt Designer Makers

Ginger Melon

GingerMelon, . . , Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Gingermelon?ref=l2-shopheader-name.

I love her felt patterns and dolls that you can dress.

Polymer Clay Designer Makers

Odd Fae – Dawn M Schiller – http://www.oddfae.blogspot.co.uk/

Image: Schiller, D.M. (2015). . , Etsy:https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/222063646/ooak-pocketwatch-oddfae-fairy-troll?ref=shop_home_feat_2.

Christi Friesen – http://www.christifriesen.com/

Image: Friesen, C. (2015). . , Website: http://www.christifriesenart.com/beads-s/1867.htm.

Clay Designer Makers

Kevin Hickson – https://www.facebook.com/kevin.hickson.397

Image: Hickson, K. (2015). . , Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/kevin.hickson.397.

Beth Smith  – https://www.facebook.com/bethandoscar?fref=ts

Image: Smith, B. (2015). . , Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/bethandoscar?fref=ts.

And finally…

Betty Viragohttps://bettyvirago.wordpress.com/

Images: All my own work

I can’t really make a list of designer makers without adding myself, can I?

I always describe myself as a yarn spinner, but what fills my time is making dolls. So maybe I should start calling myself a doll maker, or maybe I should stop trying to label everything and just say I like making things.

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Miniature Crochet

Been working on this outfit for a couple of days. It’s a Christening dress made from cotton thread, size 1.75mm hook. It’s not sewn or glued to the doll as most dolls house dolls are, but the dress is removable by undoing the tiny button on the back of the dress and the bonnet is tied on. There’s even a trim on the back of the bonnet.

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Anyway, it’s not yet on Etsy, been on Ebay but no takers. If you’re interested let me know.

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My Little Crochet Doll – Gorjuss pattern

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

The Gorjuss doll pattern.

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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.

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

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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.

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Free Pattern, Pepper Pot Doll raincoat

What a busy but great day.

The Pepper pot doll pattern is finished and on Etsy.

One problem I’ve had is not having a scanner. Every time I draw something I have to take it all the way to Inkwell or a local stationary shop (who seem to charge a lot for the service) but perhaps I’ve found a solution.

I found an app for my phone, an HD scanner. Skeptic me thinks how on earth can my phone camera work as a scanner? How will it know the size of my documents?Pepper pot raincoat

I downloaded two apps, Handyscan (free) which turns out is only free to scan, you have to pay $2.99 to get the pictures after they’ve been scanned. The second one HD Scanner cost around the same but at least they were up front about the cost. It’s very simple, didn’t need instructions and has a choice of ways to access the documents.

Anyway, techie talk over.

It does mean that I can get this out today…

Pepper pot doll Raincoat

I’ve not attached a pdf file before so hopefully it works. If it doesn’t email me and I’ll send it to you till I fix the problem.

Hope you enjoy it.

Betty

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Pepperpot Dolls

Pepperpot DollsI am about a week away from finishing the pepperpot doll pattern and am just so excited about it.

The pepperpot dolls is inspired by Gingermelon and the girls from my felt sewing class.

They’re 6 inches tall (the size of a pepperpot!) and have a variety of styles to make each doll just as you want it.

Change the hair style, dress/trouser length, shoe styles and more variety coming soon.

I’ll be posting new pattern ideas, hair styles, clothing, individuality ideas here on the blog for free…

Plus, a wardrobe for the doll is already available on the Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/bettyvirago

What's coming
What’s coming

AND… Additional patterns will be available on Etsy. Turn your dolls into your favourite animals… build a house. Opps!! The house is a BIG SECRET!