Hints & Tips

ak is all about unique, beautifully finished products - whether they're hand made us or by you. Whether it be clothes, home accessories or dolls, ak customers often admire our finish and attention to detail.

Both in the shop and at shows I'm often asked questions about why I use a particular method or how to achieve a certain effect. In general these queries all tend to be about finishing... lots of customers are confident, experienced sewers and knitters but when it comes to finishing  we all have the same qualms. And as everyone knows when you make something for the first time its a learning curve - scroll through this section and you'll find answers to our most frequestly aked questions plus up to date advice about products and corrections to patterns. 

  • We want your knitted doll to be an individual but we also know you’d like it to look like the ones featured in our books. To achieve this we recommend making up your doll over a cotton torso and head – hand knitting will always be subject to differences in tension however this construction method goes someway to controlling the look of the finished doll. 
  • Our construction method may seem fiddly but it will help your doll gain and retain its shape, create a strong firm body that is easier to dress and prevent the dreaded stuffing showing through your stitches. 

      Hands up, sespite we do make mistkes and appreciate you letting us know if you find one or have a particular. 

      Hand Knitted Dolls

      How does the concept  work?

      Purchase an ak creative kit or book and knit your first doll following the detailed instructions. After you’ve completed your doll, sew a set of wardrobe basics from the patterns in your kit/ book and then g on to create a knitted wardrobe to go with them. 

      Additional patterns and trims are available.
       

      What is meant by colourway?

      A colourway represents the overall look of the doll - the There are 9 colourways in total - each colourway has 4 core colours, one main colour and three contasting colours. These 4 core colours are used for the dolls body and striped legs. 
      In addition to the core colours, each colourway is fleshed ut by additional colours which are used to to create a coordinated wardrobe. Most outfits are available in each colourway.
      Each kit includes the basic knitted doll book but may also include additional patterns and instructions to make the outfit specified by the kit label. If necessary notes about how to adapt the colours from pattern to pattern are included.
       

      What sewing patterns are in the kit?

      Long sleeve t-shirt, pants, pleated wrap skirt, nightdress, peasant blouse, vest, gathered skirt.
       

      Are needles included in my kit?

      No, most knitters already have needles.
       

      What needles will I need?

      3.25mm for the body, 3.00mm for the legs, 4.00mm for the clothes – some items need double point needles. 


      What type of needles do you  recommend?

      I use and recommend quality bamboo needles which are kind to your hands and allow the wool to run smoothly.  Bamboo needles aren't cheap but they are an investment which will increase your enjoy, improve the look of your work and add to your overall enjoyment of a project. 
      Short needles are ideal for toy and doll knitting and for dolls clothes.  Double pointed needles are also invaluably not simply for knitting in he round but for trims and small items.  If purchasing needles recommend choosing double point needles because they are very versatile (we use double point needles for a lot of our toy knitting - just add rubber bands to the ends to prevent the stitches dropping off). We sell a range of bamboo needles in short lengths which can be added to your order.
       

      Is toy filling included in my kit?

      Filling is not included because it adds to postage and customers either have a stash or are able to source it quite easily.  Similarly,  some customers prefer to choose their own type of filling. We recommend using a quality synthetic filling.
       

      ak is all about natural products, why recommend synthetic filling?

      We use only natural fibres for all our designs and we stuff our ready made felt toys and dolls with clean, natural cotton fill .  However this is done by very skilled artisans.  Our felt is also very thick and not designed to be washed. 
      In contrast, we hope our knitted dolls and toys will be played with and loved - and if necessary washed.  ak knitting wool is superwash making it ideal for toys.  Unless one is very careful toys stuffed with wool or cotton can become lumpy and hard after washing and if not dried properly, a bit smelly. 
      On a prectical level, synthetic filling is much easier to use than wool and cotton which sound appealing but produce a lumpy, unattractive result.
       

      Why do you  recommend making the knitted doll up over a cotton body?

      We want your knitted doll to be an individual but we also know you’d like it to look like the ones featured in our books.  To achieve this we recommend making up your doll over a cotton torso and head – hand knitting will always be subject to differences in tension however this construction method goes someway to controlling the look of the finished doll. 
      Knitted stitches can also stretch a lot meaning that it is difficult to create a firm knitted doll with a defined shape.  Cotton fabric does not stretch and can be stuffed quite firmly meaning the doll feels sturdy and can be dressed with ease.  We want your knitted doll to be an individual but we also know you’d like it to look like the ones featured in our books.  To achieve this we recommend making up your doll over a cotton torso and head – hand knitting will always be subject to differences in tension however this construction method goes someway to controlling the look of the finished doll. 
      Our construction method may seem fiddly but it will help your doll gain and retain its shape, create a strong firm body that is easier to dress and prevent the dreaded stuffing showing through your stitches. 
       

      Why is the calico torso stuffed with the seams on the outside?

      This results in the best shape because you are stuffing directly against the smooth seam - no distortions.  If you turn the torso right way out, it will become smaller obviously and the seam will create bulk inside the body.  there is no need to neaten the seam if you don't have an overlocker.
       

      Can I sew up my doll rather than crochet or 3 needle cast off together?

      This method gives a more accurate shape and the seams will be hidden inside the doll.
      Crochet is actually preferable but if this defeats you, use 3 needle cast off, seams on the right side.

      Search our store