We All Learn How to Crochet Tiny Sweaters

Big Book of Tiny Sweaters

I’m embarrassed to admit, I’m only now learning how to read crochet patterns. That’s after about fifty years of crocheting. I learned a lot in the making of this pattern. And, it’s called the Big Book of Tiny Sweaters for a reason, it’s got a lot to offer.

Why am I making a pattern now? Since I’m not an expert, it would be easy to feel not “enough” for this situation. On the other hand, I believe I’m extra sensitive to the worries and concerns of a beginner, since in many ways I’m still a beginner myself.

FAST FORWARD from my first tiny sweater fashion show in 2013 to today, March 2020. I’ve been crocheting tiny sweaters all this time. Hundreds of them. Over time I’ve fine tuned the shapes with an eye towards true human proportions and natural looking silhouettes.

This pattern has been tested.

ME to FRIEND: Would you be interested in testing my crochet pattern?
FRIEND: I don’t think I can read a crochet pattern.
ME: That’s the exact reason why you’re so perfect!

She did read the pattern. And her samples were so beautiful, it almost brought tears to my eyes.

The Big Book of Tiny Sweaters is a beginners pattern with lots of tips and guidance. It has my latest stitch counts. It goes into every detail with pictures and descriptions. Made to be easy to understand and fun to use.

Maybe even advanced crafters will appreciate how much it has to offer. Especially if they’re in a hurry. What?

If the PDF pattern is more than you need, try my online free tutorial and have fun!

Here’s some insight into my creative process on this project.

At first: A book of sweaters was not the plan, I was just taking notes for myself. I wanted to be able to remake sold-out sweaters without having to memorize each pattern. You know? I’d always eventually get there, but I wanted it to be more of a quick start. Although I felt good about taking the notes, at the time I definitely didn’t see that as a stepping stone to anyplace else.

Surprise: Last December I had a surprise mentor. “Thank you, Fiona” of Fiona Meade Crochet! After she shared my free tutorial over the holidays I had something really great happen: more visitors. The questions that came up during this time were so valuable because they showed me what needed to be clarified. And that’s when ideas for the book started to bubble up.

I was surprised at how good it felt just answering a few questions. There was a moment when I decided I had room in my life to be a student and a teacher at the same time. From there my confidence began to accumulate a little more.

Getting there: Going from “great notes” to “book” took me about three times longer than I thought it would. Initially, there was the exhilaration of getting all the notes entered into the computer. But then it wasn’t exhilarating the whole way. There was a tedious middle part. I started questioning my sanity when I couldn’t stop editing.

One of the things that kept slowing me down was thinking of important new stuff to add. Probably because we get our best ideas when we’re working. Even still, I think most artists understand that middle part of a project that feels impossible and, like, what was I thinking? Pushing through the sticky middle is such a relief. I’m not done yet but I can almost taste it.

Later, Fiona also shared an article from Dora Does about how to read and write a crochet pattern. It gave me a checklist. Happily, I was closer than I thought to being finished and starting to feel pretty good about my work. The best part is, if I’d started this project by researching how to write a crochet pattern, I would have been bogged down in too much information. Maybe forever second guessing myself. So the timing of the article coming up on my newsfeed was perfect.

Nearing the end now: Some really loving feedback from my sister, Judy, did a lot to help bring the writing into focus. She also patiently looked at, and commented on, countless cover drafts.

My sweet, and mechanically minded husband, read through the whole book. And while he doesn’t crochet, he gave me a couple of pointers that I think made the book even better for beginners.

Another aesthetically inclined and very tender friend read through a later draft. She encouraged me to be myself. And helped with some grammar, and solving an issue I was having with the headlines.

I’ve written about tiny sweaters before, here and on zenhensart.com. As you can see I’ve been on this journey a while now. In the beginning I didn’t know where it was going but somewhere along the way I found out making tiny sweaters makes me happy.

I’m always making too many sweaters and enjoying it so much that I have no regrets.


In this crochet pattern you’ll see step-by-step exactly how I make my wildly popular sweater ornaments. I’ve refined these patterns over hundreds of sweaters. I hope you’ll have a great experience with this pattern which is why I’ve spared no detail.

PDF file, 22 pages. Available for download immediately after purchase. May be read on your tablet or printed and punched for a 3-ring binder.

Fun to make. Crazy cute.

— Easy instructions
— Beginner tutorial with lots of photos
— Only 3 abbreviations used
— Tips, ideas, encouragement

The Big Book of Tiny Sweater Ornaments gives you the whole inside scoop. Instructions are illustrated to help you jump right in and start creating.

Specific instructions for all the variations you see on the cover, and more.

Discussion of embellishments for each sweater.

Helpful suggestions for creating your own designs.

Adorable sweater ornaments…
Three different ways:

Thank you for checking out my artwork!
with love, Alexis

PS: In case you’re wondering, YES, I do take custom orders when I can.


Doll Clothes Summer Fun Fashion Show

Highlights from last week’s photo shoots. Featuring tiny clothes for the Hawaiian Girl Dress Up Doll. There are shorts and tee shirts for the Hawaiian Brother Doll, too.

Posing the dolls was a lot of fun, I especially enjoyed the flying hair. Occasionally, I used a pin to help hold the pose. It takes me a few tries to get the exact shot that feels right. I throw away several shots for every one I keep. Sometimes the smallest adjustment of a limb or the tilt of the face goes a long way towards bringing the dolls to life.

Using my iPhone 4s, I shot in my studio on a variety of partly overcast days. Mostly only natural lighting coming through the windows. Only a few times did I turn on the overhead lights, and liked the result of that, too. I used a tilted surface to keep the dolls in place while casting the shadows just enough to give the appearance of standing. Throughout the day I turned the tilted surface to follow the sun. The white cloth background helped me see when the angle was capturing the most available light.

While the outfits are all made from only a few basic pattern pieces, I spent a good amount of time developing them. During the process I would redraw the patterns after each outfit I sewed. Making micro-adjustments until the fit and proportions were to my liking. On clothes this small, it doesn’t take much change to create a whole new look. Fit and proportion are so important. Really, once I figure out where I want the hem, which can take a few tries, it is just as easy to hem it at a stylish length as anywhere else. No doll should have to wear ill fitting or unflattering clothes!

The dolls and outfits are available for purchase on etsy where I have more pictures and full descriptions for you. I’m working on all the listings this week so please let me know if you are not seeing the one you really want.

Click on the images for a larger view.

We’ll have the boys first. The boy and girl bodies are identical so these could be considered appropriate for either. I made two of each of these outfits while all of the rest to follow are one-of-a-kinds. Here the denim cutoffs are stitched with orange for a classic jeans style. Legs are frayed at the bottom instead of hemmed for that authentic cutoff look.

Shorts sets for the girly girls. The “Aloha” tank top and plumeria cropped tee shirt are both stamped and hand painted with fabric markers. Long shorts and short shorts. Hooray for summer vacation!

Long denim pants and jean skirt, both have double stitching details in front and real pockets in back. Slim fit jeans, pencil skirt.

Pajamas and nightgowns are two of life’s great pleasures. Let’s get comfortable.

These are ready for sleepovers with a matching eyelet trimmed pillow.

Tutus for dancing and playing fun. They have a little skirt or pair of shorts built in. Tank top with embellishments or decorative stamping and hand painting.

Long muumuu dresses. An elegant look for shelf-sitting dolls.

Skirts and tops and a pants set. I love it when I find prints that fit into the small scale of these clothes.

Thank you for your interest in my dolls. I love making them and hope they bring joy to many.


Satin-Lined Sleep Masks

[These masks are all sold out. And a new and improved version is available so check it out in my etsy shop.]

Satin-lined sleep masks in an assortment of pretty Hawaiian print fabrics. Intended as a light weight travel accessory, it really is handy to have wherever you are. One of those small things that can make a big difference in personal happiness. Soothing for eyes. Good for sleeping on airplanes (or just creating some privacy!). Nice for resting in unfamiliar places.

Also wonderful at home for those full moon nights. Plus sweet-sweet daytime naps. Satin lining is cool on your face. Padded with a layer of cotton batting for thickness. Comfortable elastic band fits most. Trimmed in coordinating or contrast piping for a neat look. Most have black satin, a few have red. I’ve used a variety of black and colored elastics.

Below is a slide show of some sleep masks that I currently have in stock. A fun tropical souvenir that is also useful at home. A gift appreciated by men and women alike.

Cotton on the front and cotton piping. Satin lining is polyester. About 7.5″ wide and 3″ tall with a 16″ elastic band.

Satin-lined sleep masks are $7 each and the shipping is free. I’ve enjoyed making them for you. Please visit my etsy shop to purchase.
Thank you!

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