Knits for Barbie by Nicky Epstein – a review and some garments!

This is a lovely book to play with, like me, if you like to knit tiny fiddly things!

The photography and layout are inspiring and easy to use. The garments are varied but an awful lot of tops – I was hoping for more trousers and skirts and more tailoring – there are hundreds of Barbie roll neck jumper patterns out there!

The bags, scarves and hats are super though -especially the intarsia knitting bag which I’ve stocked with cocktail stick needles, mini skeins, a ball of wool and a half made Barbie scarf…


For relaxing an knitting, Barbie is wearing an Argyle sweater from the book too – Made with the recomended Paterna yarn that I managed to find cheaply on ebay.

This jacket is good too but I picked up a size too large needles – easily done…

My big gripe about this book is that they mostly use VERY fine tapestry, crotchet or embroidery threads rather than knitting yarns. The effect of several garments is down to having a specialist thread sold in very small quantities and from what I can see, only available in the USA (the rainbow gallery threads especially) – making a Barbie garment cost IRO £12 – too much for me!

Don’t buy this book if you’re expecting to use up oddments of 4ply from your stash – it’ll be too thick for most of the patterns. You’ll be better off with an old Sirdar or Patons doll booklet in my opinion (I’ve knit lots of these too!)

Here’s some I made earlier from Sirdar “Playmates” book in 4ply…


I think Rowan should issue some Barbie patterns using Rowan yarn for use by Rowanettes!! I can feel a Barbie miniature of some of my favorite Rowan designs coming on….another day perhaps.
To make this book work, you’ll need to be prepared to makes lots of mini swatches to get close to the sometimes strange gauge required.

Yarns used are :-
. Cotton Perle by DMC (Hobbycraft’s cheap bumper pack of craft thread works very very for this)
. Parternayan Persian Tapestry by JCA (Paterna in the UK)
. Cashmere be Grignasco
. Richesse Et Soie by Knit One Crochet Two
. Knit-Cro Sheen by J&P Coats
. Furore by Lang
. Matt Tapestry Cotton Art by DMC
. Tiny Tresses by Twice as Nice
. True 4 ply Botany by Rowan (Yipee, one I had!!)
. Metalica by Berroco
. Doucer et Soie by Knit One Crochet Two
. Alpaca by Rainbow Gallery
. Cashmere by Rainbow Gallery
. Frosting by Knit One Crochet Two
. JAWoll cotton superwash by Lang
. Perle Cotton by DMC
. Tapestry wool by DMC
. Artic Rays Wispy Fring by Rainbow Gallery
. Fuzzy stuff by Rainbow Gallery
. Laine Corbert Tapestry wool by DMC
. Retors a Broder by DMC
. Retors Mat by DMC
. Angora by Rainbow Gallery
. Very Velvety by rainbow gallery
. Cresta d’Oro by Rainbow Gallery
. Rainbow elastic by Knit One Crochet Two
. Party by Grignasco
. Cashwool by Lang

Needle sizes used are 2mm, 2.25mm, 2.5mm, 3mm.
typical gauge needed per square inch are (stitches to rows) 6×9, 5×11, 8×10, 13×18, 9×12, 15×19, 8×11, 6×10, 7×8, 9×16(??)

5 Responses

  1. Antoynette
    Antoynette February 17, 2007 at 5:37 am | | Reply

    I have been trying to find the yarn’s this book requested. Most of them are discontinued. Is the only way you can find them is by ordering them on line?

  2. susan crowe
    susan crowe February 17, 2007 at 7:43 am | | Reply

    (also emailed)
    Yes – frustrating isn’t it! I only got this book a few months ago so have had the same experience. The book was published in 2001 so yes you’re quite right a lot are discontinued. I found ebay quite a useful place for some of the yarns?

    I ended up pulling all the fine stuff out of my stash and making one inch squares and measuring the tension to see what I could match.

    These sites might be useful for finding substitutes…

    Yarndex – wonderful site but a lot of the yarns are not on there because they are embroidery yarns (Grr!)

    Rowan’s FAQ page – has a complete list of substitutes. (The 4ply botany = 4ply soft)

    I think I said in the posting that Hobbycraft’s “craft thread” (cheap embroidery thread – find it with the anchor and dmc embroidery stuff) works well for cotton perle (and probably a few others). Some of the clothes have to have the yarn to bet the effect. Like I said – old Sirdar and Patons patterns have worked out better in the long run for me.

    I’ve also found it frustrating that the clothes don’t have generous openings to help you get them on the doll. I don’t know if you’re knitting for a child but you might want to think about leaving a seam open on the neck of polo necks. I spent half an hour fighting to change the clothes for these photos!

    I think the bottom line is it’s for Barbie. Mine has never complained if it doesn’t fit quite right or has a huge seam to help the sizing!

    Good luck with the yarn hunt. Send me a photo of the finished article?? I’d love to see.


  3. Janet
    Janet February 19, 2007 at 9:32 pm | | Reply

    Hi. Fell on your page by accident. Thought you may like to know. have some of the Rainbow gallery threads (and they give some equivalents to our more common stuff. I hate knitting little swatches too, I have a bag full all tagged so I can go back to them and say ah-ha got it. With regard to neck sizes, I found it helped to cast on an off loosely in rib, this makes the edges extra stretchy. Hope this helps.

  4. susan crowe
    susan crowe February 19, 2007 at 9:38 pm | | Reply

    Janet – Thanks! I’ll check them out!

  5. Anita
    Anita August 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm | | Reply

    I did the jacket on the front in 4ply Sirdars Wash and Wear (British) and it worked very well if that helps anyone, I havent tried any of the others yet . I certainly wont be chasing any specialist yarns, and if I had known that I would have had to I would not have purchased the book. I did this on the internet going off reviews and I was disappointed.

    For hundreds of Barbie patterns translated into various languages stickatill barbie is a good site, but watch out for translation qlitches, if you are an experienced knitter they are easy to spot and rectify

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