Autumn Receding
(18 in/46 cm)

This doll is different from most others that I do because I used color in a much more planned way than I usually do, which is more "shoot from the hip." I really liked some pieces I saw in which the color changed in a planned and gradual way and wanted to try that. I chose a variegated yarn (Moda Dea Cache, color Wink) and matched yarns to it from my stash. The yarn had both warm and cool tones, so I decided to use that as my means of color change. I finished this doll in autumn and her name kind of reflects her color changes as well as the climate changes here in the Chicago area. I started her way back in April, with a very small start on the body. Things got busy and I didn't pick it up again until July, when I finished the body. Then it sat again for quite a while until I picked it up again in late September and decided it was time to try to make a doll out of it.

This doll's body was made using a variation on a crochet twirl pattern from Barbara HIllery. I used alternating rounds of single crochet and single crochet/triple crochet "bumps" (sometimes called fake popcorns), working in the back loops for added texture. Originally the body was going to be a skirt, with a torso and head on top. The torso was going to be covered in freeform crochet of a single orange yarn. However, I worked the torso and then decided to stuff it to see how it would look. Well the torso looked more like a head ... and I liked it! It became completely clear to me that the freeform work would detract from the body (and vice versa) and the doll would be too tall and gangly with my original design. For some reason I had to see it to realize that it just needed a head on top ... and of course some fun hair. So, I ripped out the torso (I had made it from yarn intended to be covered and a stitch not suitable for the head) and made the head. The join of the head and arms to the body was displeasing and that gave rise to the collar, also worked in single crochet in the back loops, for a similar texture as the rest of the body.

So what to do with the hair? I didn't want to disrupt the warm tones, and felt I needed something very textured so made cords of various types, a technique I'd used before for hair. The headband, made from the Cache yarn, lifts the hair to give it a little funk and also brings back a little of the cooler tones to integrate the head with the body. I didn't plan on a headband, but it looked like a bad hair day without it. It's kind of fun when things don't work out as I planned, and yet seem so obvious once done.

Faces are always troublesome for me, but this one came relatively easily. It doesn't show up as well in the photo as in person. The facial features are of a different yarn than the head. I lucked out and had two yarns of almost the identical color, but one has some shine to it and I think that worked well to highlight the features (though that doesn't come out as well in this photo).

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