Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ben & Buddy ~ new pattern release!

Photo by Pam Allen for Quince & Co.

Hi, Knitters,
Yesterday was an exciting day because I have new patterns released by Quince & Co.! That is always a thrill. Ben & Buddy is a small pattern collection I designed as an extension of the Mary, Millie & Morgan ebook released last spring, which is a girl doll pattern with clothes to fit. 

By the way, the Mary, Millie & Morgan ebook was and is one of the proudest moments in my knitting career for so many reasons. It was the culmination of timing and many years of knit toy designing. The set of dolls and clothes turned out even better than I could ever have imagined. These dolls are something I had wanted to design for years and it finally happened.

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge for Quince & Co.

I am teaching a doll workshop using the Mary, Millie & Morgan collection for the first time at Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago in this coming October (click here for more information!).

Right after the collection of girls came out I began receiving requests to design a boy doll as well. The good folks at Quince & Co. agreed and so this summer I set out to design a boy doll and a few clothing items to fit. The Ben & Buddy set and the Mary, Millie & Morgan set go together so well. The dolls are designed to be together with a traditional look and appeal but also with a slightly modern twist for today's children. 

I started thinking that instead of knitting more samples of the boy in different color selections that a sidekick might be a better use of my time. And really what could be better than a boy and his dog? Not much in my eyes. This storybook pairing can now come to life through your knitting. 

Plus, you can pick the colors for you boy and dog on your own! That makes it even more fun. If you need suggestions for yarn color choices just check out Mary, Millie & Morgan for some great color combinations in Quince yarns for skin, hair and clothing colorways.

Here are the important links for Ben & Buddy:

Ben & Buddy pattern and yarn information on Quince & Co.

Ben & Buddy pattern information on Ravelry (the pattern will be in my pattern shop in 3 months, it is now in the Quince & Co. pattern shop).

Mary, Millie & Morgan ebook ~ the girl doll version!

Now let's talk about construction.

Photo by Pam Allen for Quince & Co.

Both the boy and girl sets are worked completely seamlessly, all of the items, not just the dolls. The boy has some very different shaping and slightly different measurements to make him, well.... more boyish. And obviously the hair is different than the girl's as well. The boy's hair was definitely the most well-thought out and challenging aspect of this new toy design. I worked very hard to get it exactly how it should be and I am so pleased with the end result. The boy's hair is both knit in and finished with a little duplicate stitch. It is pretty perfect.

Photo by Pam Allen for Quince & Co.

The shoes are like the icing on the cake. I LOVE those little brown shoes with the white laces. There is something really sweet about the combination. I also love the boy's knit in t-shirt and shorts. He already has a great play outfit when you finish knitting that last stitch on the toe.

Photo by Pam Allen for Quince & Co.

The boy's wardrobe is simple, clean and functional. The colors in the Quince Chickadee sport weight yarn gives you so many options for the clothes. For my sample version I thought there was nothing better than a red cap, blue jeans and a sweatshirt gray sweater with a tiny bit of Fair Isle at the bottom edge. The clothes are so playful and again, boyish!

All of the clothes are seamlessly knit as well as the doll and the dog! These are a few slick and fun projects to knit.

Photo by Pam Allen for Quince & Co.

The final piece of the set is Ben's loyal pup Buddy. This little guy is knit seamlessly from the bottom up with a very interesting technique I devised when you get to the neck. I have used this neck and head technique on other toys and have taught it in workshops. It is a total winner for looks, effectiveness, and simplicity. I think you will love it.

Buddy the dog sort of pulled the entire set together. This dog packs in so much personality. I am so proud of the expressiveness of his face. He is one lovable little puppy. Buddy is a plus for the set but he is also a great stand-alone piece for any child or dog lover out there.

Photo by Pam Allen for Quince & Co.

I hope you will enjoy this wonderful little 5-piece collection I pulled together and lovingly designed for one of the best yarn companies out there, Quince & Co. I love working with Quince so much and I hope our partnership continues for years to come.

Let me know what you think about Ben & Buddy! I'd love to hear about your thoughts and for whom you will be knitting the dolls. Will you make the set to go along with Mary, Millie & Morgan or will you knit Ben & Buddy without the girls? I am really curious about how the boy version will do in comparison with the girl set.

I often hear a lot of knitters say there isn't enough out there for boys as far as knitting patterns are concerned. Well, here is a chance to knit something specifically boyish for little boys. Little girls will love the boy doll, too, no doubt. The imaginative play will expand so much with these two new characters added to the bunch.

I'd especially like to thank Pam Allen for the ongoing support and for her beautiful photography. What an honor to have Pam photograph my work. All of the good people at Quince are wonderful to work with and I am sending them a very deserving and heartfelt thank you!

I hope you are all having a super week so far.

Go forth and knit toys!
xo ~ susan