Tag Archives: Fashionista Ken

Post-Holiday Shopping

I finally managed to dig my car out of the snowdrift it has been encased in this last two weeks, and to celebrate we drove into the city! Yay! We mainly went there so that my husband could go to the library, but I did manage to stop at a few thrift stores and the local craft shop while we were out. It was a very long and productive day.

Remember that mismatched doll from last post? The one that was packaged with a Merida doll who had vinyl head and plastic body? Well, her head may have been meant for that weird, hollow body after all. I found seven more dolls just like her at the same thrift store (sorry that I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture). Well, not just like her; each one was dressed as a different Disney princess. There were variations on hair, but the head molds and face paint were identical on all of them. To steal a Simpsons joke, we’ll call them Diz-Nee Princesses. They are dolls, they vaguely look like Disney Princesses, and they are much lower quality than the real thing. I was tempted to buy one of them for her dress, but I decided that I really shouldn’t buy a doll just for its clothes. Even if I just donate the doll back afterwards, the dress is likely the same quality as the doll and not worth my money. I will leave them for whomever thought that cruddy Aladdin doll was worth buying. Seriously. He was gone, so somebody mush have bought him in all of his broken, sharpie-covered glory. I can only imagine why they thought he was worth buying.

Anyways, as I was looking at the Diz-Nee Princess dolls, an employee at the store brought a new bin of toys out from the sorting area. I was excited to see a few more dolls in it. One was another pack of Diz-Nee dolls, but the other was an awesome bag with three Barbie dolls in it. They cost only $3.00!

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The first doll is Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie from 1995. She is missing her hair jewels and her fin, but her hair is in remarkable condition. She also has her top, crown, earrings, and ring. She is a really fantastic find! I remember this doll from when I was young. I believe my friend Katie owned this one. I remember that the hair jewels never stuck very well to her hair, but they always managed to get stuck to our clothes. Overall, she is a cool and nostalgic doll to add to the mix. I doubt she will be used for Barbie Who? because I am already quite attached to her as-is. I put her with the Dance Club Kayla doll where they can do their own thing.

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The other two dolls are Wedding Day Midge and Alan from 1990. Neither has their wedding attire (neither had any clothes; I put them in what I had on hand), which is a shame because those outfits are awesome. Check out those links above; I just love the polkadots on Midge’s dress. Alan needs some touch-up paint on his hair, but otherwise both are in very good condition. Midge even has rings on both fingers! She also has a earrings and a nail in her head (I assume it is where her veil attaches). Because of the wedding connection and her lovely red hair, Midge may have to become Donna Noble. Donna is one of my favorite companions, and this doll strikes me as her Barbie Who? counterpart. I also think that she and Cofelia would make a wicked pair together. I am already scouting out tasteful wedding attire if I decide to go that route for the next doll I create for the blog.

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I am excited that the knit pants also fit Alan well; his legs are a bit bulkier than Ken’s, but the pants have more than enough stretch to fit comfortably. Alan is much different than the previous Fashionista Cutie Ken doll I found. Ken’s body is much less substantial and isn’t nearly as muscular as the Alan doll. Ken’s body also seems to be hollow. I like the overall look of Alan more than that of Ken. However, Alan doesn’t strike me as anybody from the Whoniverse. This bothers me somewhat, but I am sure that I will watch an episode and the lightbulb will come on. I just need a bit of time to mull it over. Until then, I have plenty of dolls and inspiration to keep me busy.

After those amazing finds, I went to my favorite thrift store for happy hour. I didn’t find any cool dolls or toys, but I did find some yarn. I bought three skeins of size 10 yarn – blue, green, and gold. I bought the blue and green because I absolutely love the bright, vibrant color of them. It may not be sparkly, but it certainly is eye catching. I bought the gold because of the Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie I found above. I can use it to make a tail that matches her top. I can also use the gold to create a belt and crown for the Merida doll (if I can ever find the time). It is nice to have a plan for the yarn I bought. The three skeins of yarn cost $2.00 total, which is a great because they have so much yarn on them.

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After that adventure, we made our final stop at the craft store. I spent way too much time browsing all of their cool stuff, but in the end I only bought a single sheet of green plastic canvas. Why? Great question! I want to create an accessory for Peri, and this sheet of plastic canvas is the key to my plans. I want to make some plants to be Peri’s accessory. It will be fun to see how it turns out. I haven’t use plastic canvas for crafting since I was a child. I have fond memories of making Loony Tunes coasters with my mom from a book she bought for us. It was always fun, and it taught me how to read patterns and use a needle. I look forward to working with it.

Well, that is everything for today. Peri’s outfit is coming alone quite well! I am almost finished with the body of it. If it fits the doll, I will just need to knit or crochet arms onto it and it will be finished. I wish I had more time to dedicate to it and knock it out, but sometimes life just gets in the way. This isn’t entirely a bad thing; my wrists aren’t complaining about the breaks. I am getting slightly better at working with the tiny needles, but I still need breaks every half hour to prevent wrist pain. I also realized that I spend more time working on these projects than I registered. I have already spent six hours working on this suit, and I’m sure that the sleeves will take an hour each to create. For my next big project, I may have to use the stop-watch function on my phone to get a more accurate number. Regardless, I will carry on and finish Peri’s outfit.

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Knitting Practice

Just as I did with crochet before, I needed to do a test garment to help sort out my knitting skills. I am very happy that I took the time to do this because knitting for dolls in crochet thread is tedious and vastly different than knitting with worsted weight yarn. I did knit my own Doctor Who Scarf (I worked on it off and on for years – I will post a picture and talk about it when I post about the Dalek dress), and it was much easier to work with than these pants. As with crochet, the smaller scale ramps up the skill level needed to be successful.

I started off by finding a pattern. I am using a pattern from Sticka till Barbie because I will be using two more of their patterns for Peri’s outfit. Their style of pattern deals with knitting a specific length instead of a specific number of rows, and I wanted to get used to this type of pattern. Basically, I’m killing two birds with one stone. I chose a pattern for a pair of pants to fit a Ken doll (pattern number 602). The pattern seemed straightforward; it didn’t include any fancy stitches or terms I am not familiar with. It seemed like a good primer in knitting for small dolls, so I went into it with gusto. Oh, how optimistic of me….

I started out with brown crochet thread I purchased at a thrift store ages ago. It had a little project attached to it; if I had I venture a guess, it was an owl eye. They had doubled up on the yarn to give it more bulk, so untangling it was a challenge. I took what I could work with and threw the rest in the bin. It feels like size 10 crochet thread in cotton. I picked out a pair of knitting needles from the lot I had purchased at the newer thrift store the last time I went shopping and began knitting. I chose the needles that said 2 because the pattern called for 2 mm needles.

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I did a long-tail cast on, and it didn’t turn out so great. The yarn kept tangling and somehow I kept getting extra loops on the needle. I did it again. Then a third time. Finally, after a fourth cast on, I had something I could work with. Unfortunately, the cast on wasn’t the only problem I had with this first attempt. The first row was too loose and filled with holes. I did a few more rows before I scrapped it entirely for being too loose. These two pictures really don’t do justice to the hot mess that this first attempt was before I unraveled it. Sheesh!

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Things just didn’t look at all like the pictures on the Sticka till Barbie website. Then I realized… the 2 on my knitting needles probably didn’t mean 2 mm.  They probably meant US 2 and US 2 were probably a different size. I got out a measuring gauge, and sure enough they were size US 2, which is equivalent to 2-3/4 mm needles. They were 3/4 mm too big, and I felt like a total dolt for not double checking the size on my gauge before starting. Not one to give up easily, I switched to the pair of US 1 (2-1/4 mm) needles I bought last week because they are the smallest pair of needles I currently own. I really hoped that the 1/2 mm smaller needles would work for the patterns. Thanks to my practice earlier, the cast on went much smoother; I managed to get it on the first try. The first row also was much tighter and looked like previous pieces I’ve knit in sport weight yarn. It was a much nicer look overall for the yarn I was using. The smaller needles worked! Yay!

The technical problem with my first try were solved, but it was weird working with the smaller needles because they’re made from fairly bendable plastic. It was very hard on my wrists after a dozen or so rows. I had to take many breaks while creating this piece. This turned out to be a good thing because of my next big mistake. You see, I forgot the difference between garter stitch (knit each row) and stockinette stitch (knit a row, pearl a row). I worked the fist 4.5 cm of the first leg in garter stitch when the pattern called for stockinette. If I had stuck it out and done more, I probably would have finished the first leg before discovering my mistake. Luckily that wasn’t the case. I unraveled it, cast back on, and started knitting the first leg for a third time. This time I was able to do the pattern as written with only minor complications. At one point, I dropped a stitch and had to weave it back into three rows of the fabric, and twice I knit an entire row when I should have pearled that row. Luckily the piece held together well, so I was able to pick the stitches back up after unraveling the incorrect stitches. Neither is something I haven’t done before, but correcting it on the tiny doll scale was a challenge. It also made a few of the rows on the finished piece look a bit warped. These problems embody every single reason why I do practice pieces.

To help with the pattern, I used some cool old marking rings to mark stitches. I did this so that I could make notes about the number of rows on each pant leg. (if nothing else, I wanted the legs to be even). I also used a point protector – both were in a grab bag I bought at a thrift store. I love the design on their boxes! I just had to share these awesome finds. I love retro/vintage packaging. Some of the new stuff from Yarnology and Stitchology have some neat designs that remind me of these, but it just isn’t the same.

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As for the pattern itself, I had some minor problems understanding it at times. I like patterns that hold my hand and spell everything out. These patterns do not do that, so I had to interpret them and adjust them as I saw fit. I think some of this has to do with the fact it was translated from Swedish to English. This isn’t the biggest problem in the world, but it did cause me to have to pull out a few rows at one point because I misunderstood what the pattern needed me to do. One big advantage to this type of pattern is how easy it is to adapt to different sized materials and dolls. It is an amazing website, but make sure that you know your terms or have YouTube pulled up to show you how to do things before you assume you know how to do something. All of that aside, here are the results of my first knit piece.

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I finished it by sewing up the entire sides. The ribbing at the top of the pants gave them enough stretch that I didn’t need to sew on a snap or button. The hardest part was figuring out how to sew up the crotch; it took a few tries, but I did get it to fit properly. It was really awkward to work with the small size of them, but that is par for the course anytime you create something for dolls this size. It took me about 8 hours to create this from start to finish, but about half of that was due to my own mistakes. A more competent knitter could probably knock these out in an hour or two.

The pants work very well for Ken, but they don’t come anywhere close to fitting Arachnid Guy. His large, muscular legs are just too big for these pants. I am happy that Ken now has something to wear besides the G.I. Joe vest thing he came with. Which reminds me, this Ken is a Fashionista Cutie Ken. I am not sure what year he was or exactly which box/set he came with. He has unarticulated arms, and every search I have done only comes up with the regular articulated dolls. I did find another blog that had one with unarticulated arms, but she didn’t say anything about that specific doll besides the fact he was a Fashionista Cutie Ken doll with unarticulated arms. I am guessing it was an earlier version, or perhaps a cheaper version of the doll that they rolled out at some point.

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I recommend these patterns to anybody who is a patient knitter. As inept as I am at times, I managed to make a nice pair of pants. This means you can do it, too! I have a great amount of respect for the person who made these patterns because the sheer number of them is mind boggling and they all look amazing. Hopefully I will make more as time goes on. Well, I know I will make at least two more in the near future….

I learned so much from this. Just like the few outfits I crocheted, knitting with tiny needles and tiny thread is fairly different than with larger fare. Now that I am more familiar with the techniques needed, I can make items at the quality needed for Barbie Who? I will begin on Peri’s outfit and post an update as soon as I have something to show for it.

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