JULY 2009
Featured Category
Micro Crochet for the Dolls House By Alice Bell
CDHM Asst Editor
CDHM category feature, micro crochet for the dolls house

CDHM category feature micro crochet in miniature They hook you in. Teeny, tiny faces created with stitches so tiny, it takes a magnifying glass to really appreciate them. From monkeys to goldfish to purebred dogs, embroidery floss or even sewing thread hooked by a .050 crochet hook can create miracles.

"Honestly I don't know how I crochet so small. It took me some time to learn abut hook size and the best thread to use. It is difficult to handle the tiny pieces and sometimes I lose them! But when they are finally made the most difficult part is to give them a sweet expression. This is the real moment when a new "baby" is born," said Dorys Barahona.

"I just pick up my crochet hook and thread and go," said Amy Bailey.

"I used to think that I wouldn't be able to crochet tiny or mini's. but it is not that different from regular yarn. In fact my hand doesn't hurt with the smaller thread! Sewing thread is a little difficult to hold on to, but it is so worth it. I don't like using patterns but that is just me. I like to see an animal and just crochet it," said Amy.

"It has become a sort of a challenge, doing things the smaller I can. The two most important things are the kind of thread and the hook. I use a very strong and bright cotton that does non fray, and I use 0.5mm hook. The point of it must be pointed but not sharp. I look paranoid when I buy hooks, I have to touch all my fingers to the tips!" admitted Mariella Vitale.CDHM category feature micro crochet in miniature

"I actually started making amigurumi animals first and I saw a picture of a wee bear that just fascinated me. So I worked and worked at it till I could figure out a way to make these amazing little creatures. After I made my first micro animal I was addicted A lot of my friends make fun and say they don't even see the hook on my pieces! I actually have a harder time making them larger - I try and they still end up under two inches." said Tina Smith.

The women are members of a select group of miniaturists who it would seem to observers are intent upon going blind. The tiny crochet sculptures they create share a microscopic precision that seems impossible.

"I have always been an animal lover so I love making them. I first plan which type of animal I'm going to make and then I try to think of a clever little holder for them that seems to remind people of that animal. So far my favorite micro animal is a chihuahua. I love crocheting them because I love this dog - they have such personality for such little dogs just like my creations," said Tina.

"I started in the minis world with molded clay dolls. I thought the companion for a doll is a teddy bear so these were the first animals I made. After a while I tried to make a mini version of my own bichon frise dogs and now I get my inspiration from every real animal, picture, book, stuffed animal, etc. It's a challenge to make a miniature inspired for something in a much bigger size," said Dorys.

CDHM category feature micro crochet in miniature Her favorite thread sculpture is her micro crocheted dolls, which she believes are the smallest on the market.

When Dorys discovered the art of crochet sculpting, she had a lifetime of creating crocheted items from bedspreads to doilies but had never had much success using a pattern.

"I always had trouble following a pattern so I decided to make it up. This was a good thing because now I'm comfortable working with threads in any way and it's like my creations are coming to life by themselves. Obviously, the first of my bears were not like the ones I make now, but I still love them. The crochet sculpting is a process in which I'm constantly learning," said Dorys.CDHM category feature micro crochet in miniature

Mariella shares her dislike of patterns.

"The most part of my animals comes free from my hands, I do not use patterns I just imagine them and how I think they should be. I already knew how to crochet but here in Italy I could only see magazines with patterns for doilies and such. But thanks to internet I saw a miniature crocheted bear and I thought that this was a nice way to use a hook! So I started to try - I still have my "Franken Box", a box full of tiny arms, legs, bodies, etc.! Pieces that may be useful to create something!" said Mariella with a laugh.

Her inspiration for creating unique, colorful sculptures comes from the books she reads to her children.

"I love to read tales to my children and I usually buy books with a lot of illustrations - I love to draw too - and there you find a wonderful world made of the strangest animals and guys," she added. "I love my elves, dollies and fishes. The elves are so funny, they usually came out with a nice face. I love the fish because I think it is the most brilliant idea I've ever had, and the dollies - - well they are sooo small to hide in a matchbox and I always make them different dresses, because the greatest thing in a doll is that you can change her dress."

Not surprisingly Amy agrees with the anti-pattern style of creating.

CDHM category feature micro crochet in miniature "I joined the Thread Artist Guild and started to follow their bear pattern but it wasn't my style. I felt like I was cheating so I stopped and started over with no pattern. Those early bears were not as good as they are now. I couldn't do facial expressions," said Amy.

Amy is inspired by the animals she sees every day.

"I made a hummingbird because I hung out feeders and one sat for me long enough to study the shape and the colors. I made a hummingbird for a woman who told me her friend saw it and the trellis with flowers I made. She asked her 'how did you catch that hummingbird and how are you keeping it alive?!' The bird was made to hang in flight with its beak in a flower. It's my favorite story so far from my minis. I have kept her letter and hope to get more stories about my minis. I would keep every one of them in a book. So many things are bringing people down in the world and it makes me feel wonderful when someone says 'I am so happy I got your mini today'. It is the best feeling in the world!" she added.

Would-be miniature crocheters are welcome to join their ranks and the women shared some hints and tips.

Be prepared for lots of hard work and don't give up. Even if the first one doesn't look right, you can't improve unless you practice, practice, practice. Think about the animal in your head first so you have an idea of what you want to create," said Tina.

CDHM category feature micro crochet in miniature "Don't be afraid to start! You will need a lot of patience! But it's so good you can give a tiny companion to somebody, because the better part of this artwork is the special people, the miniature-lovers, who we meet around the world," said Dorys.

"Oh try, try, try! Maybe start first with a larger thread and hook then try smaller and smaller - miniaturists aren't born, they're made!" said Mariella.

"Just get a hook, thread, pattern or no, and then create. Keep your passion, go with it and don't beat yourself up. It takes time to get your art down. Same with your style, everyone should have a different style in their art," said Amy.

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