Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Addy's Weave to Our Satisfaction - Photo Intense

Kanekalon braiding hair, color #4.
After Addy's return from the American Girl Hospital, I shared that special plans for her hair were in store.  This was because her wig could not be replaced by the AG folks without replacing her entire head.  She had been hospitalized for replacement eyes, which was done without complication.

For her hair project, I purchased kanekalon braiding hair (shown above), which is the same texture as Addy's original wig.  I chose color #4, a close match to Addy's dark brown hair color.

The plan was to "somehow" attach the hair to only a portion of Addy's wig just to give it volume as the ends are "split" and quite thin.  Because I understand the principle of crochet braiding hair extensions (even though I do not own a latch hook crochet needle) my plan was to attempt this with Addy's hair.  (I watched a few Youtube videos to refresh my memory).

The First Attempt

Recall that while hospitalized, Addy was given a French braid.

The French braid was taken down.

Color comparison:  kanekalon hair versus Addy's wig -- the color is not an exact match, but it is very close.

I knew I would have to braid at least one section of Addy's hair to which the kanekalon would be crocheted.

I initially separated Addy's hair into three sections.  The top two sections were clamped off as I would only be working with the lower section.  This section was braided into a horizontal cornrow from Addy's right to left (I thought I had a photo of this, but I must have deleted it!).  The tail of  the cornrow was left loose (a rubber band separates the loose ends from the final area of the cornrow braid--this will be illustrated later in this post).

The end of a jumbo paper clip was used to "crochet" the hair onto Addy's cornrow.

A length of approximately 8 inches of hair was cut from the bundle of kanekalon.
As illustrated in the above two photos:  I straightened out the small end of a jumbo paper clip to create a handle for the opposite end, which would be the "hook" used to slide underneath Addy's cornrow to latch onto the braiding hair.

Several sections of hair, the width of my fingertip, were separated from the cut bundle.   These were "crocheted" onto Addy's cornrow as illustrated next:
In this photo, several sections of hair have been crocheted onto Addy's cornrow.  To add another section, the jumbo paper clip was slid underneath the cornrow, as shown.

Next, a piece of kanekalon (as wide as the fingertip of my index finger) was folded in half and a loop created with the center.

The loop of kanekalon was placed into the hook of the paper clip, as shown.

With the loop of hair inside the hook of the paper clip, the paper clip was slid downward, guiding the loop of kanekalon underneath the cornrow and the paper clip was removed.

Next, the tails of the loose kanekalon were brought through the looped end with my fingers.
The two sections of loose kanekalon were pulled away from each other to create a knot and to tighten the loop onto the cornrow.

With all sections crocheted onto the cornrow, the weave was completed. 
The center section was combed over the crocheted section (which conceals any jagged edges of the weave that were not trimmed).

The top section was released and combed over the center and crocheted sections, resulting in a natural look. Unless someone roots her head (actually puts their fingers inside her hair to feel her roots), no one will know she's wearing a weave.
From the front, Addy shows off her fuller head of hair.

Dressed, Addy and dolly, Ida Bean, posed for additional photos taken at different angles.  (I had the not-so-bright idea to use a too-hot curling iron on the ends of Addy's weave... as illustrated in the photo on the far left, the curling iron almost scorched a small portion, not to worry though... this was handled later.  The curling iron was set on 2, but was still too hot.)
Addy and I both thought the weave would satisfy our desire for her to have fuller hair with healthy-looking ends.  Unfortunately, the crochet knots were not as tight as I desired.  This, I believe, can be  attributed to the looseness of the cornrow.  I was in a hurry with the trial run, wanting to see if I could actually make this happen.  As a result, the cornrow was hastily done.  So the next day, I removed the added kanekalon hair and also removed the cornrow.  (Because of the loose knots, it was a breeze to remove the kanekalon.  It was just a matter of loosening the knots more and pulling the tails away from the cornrow.)

Day 2 -- The Removal and Re-Do

Addy's original cornrow has been removed.  The thinness of her ends is quite visible in this photo.
Addy was given a much neater and tighter cornrow.
I created a smaller cornrow (the original one contained two wefts of hair from Addy's original wig).  The new cornrow was created with only the bottom weft of hair.  Again, a rubber band was added to the end of the braided section with the rest left loose to blend in with the weave.

With the exception of using a smaller paper clip and smaller widths of kanekalon, the same steps were utilized to crochet the kanekalon onto the cornrow, as illustrated in the following five photos.

Paper clip hook was slid underneath the cornrow from the bottom up.

The kanekalon was folded in half and a loop created in the middle.  The loop of hair was placed inside the hook of the paper clip.

The hook guided the looped kanekalon downward and underneath the cornrow and the paper clip was removed.  The loose ends were placed inside the looped hair and both loose ends were pulled apart to make a knot.

The first strand of crocheted kanekalon has been completed.
All strands have been crocheted onto the cornrow, but the knots are still too loose for my liking.

Using regular brown sewing thread and a regular-size sewing needle, I tacked each hoop of kanekalon onto the cornrow.  (There is actually thread designed for weaves and special needles, too.  I have both weave thread and a needle somewhere; where I do not know. They were purchased to create a weave for a doll a couple of years ago, which never happened. So I opted for what was accessible:  a regular needle and thread.)

Next, I cornrowed the next weft of hair and repeated the kanekalon crocheting process utilized for the bottom row, including the needle-and-thread tacking.

The almost final result.
After crocheting the kanekalon onto the two new cornrows and combing the top of Addy's wig down over the weaved area, a small section of hair from the sides was brought to the back of Addy's head and held in place with a white barrette, as illustrated above.  This time, however, the side sections were twisted.

Addy's Bangs

Several strands of equal length were cut away from this curly doll wig to create bangs for Addy.

A strand section to be cut from the curly wig

A curly strand cut from the wig was placed into the hook end of a jumbo paper clip, which had already been slid underneath Addy's own hair.

The paper clip was pulled downward and removed, leaving the curly wig strand in place, which was next folded in the center over Addy's hair.  The two loose ends were twisted at the center.

Addy's curly bangs

For the final touch, strands of hair clipped from a curly wig were used to make bangs for Addy as illustrated in the six pictures above.  A similar process was used to guide strands from a curly wig underneath the front section of Addy's own hair.  Once underneath Addy's hair, the center of each strand was folded over and the two loose ends twisted at the center to hold in place.  Because the hair is curly and will latch onto itself, knotting was not required.  All loose, straggly ends were trimmed.

The Final Looks

Tighter crocheted kanekalon onto two tighter cornrows created the fuller look that Addy and I both desired for her hair.  The bangs add to our overall satisfaction.

Protective Style

Addy's protective style

Addy's new weave is versatile.  When not wearing it loose, it can be styled in many different ways.  One such protective style is illustrated above.  She has two ponytails which are banded and adorned with a ribbon at the top and a barrette at the end.

Back with Friends

In the presence of friends
After her arrival back home from the hospital, Addy remained in her hospital gown, in the return hospital-stay box, near my desk until her kanekalon weave and final protective style were completed.  She is happy to be back with Kaya and other friends.  They are just as happy (and so am I that this task has been accomplished).

Crochet Braid Video Tutorial
This is one of several video tutorials I viewed to refresh my memory on how to do this.  I did not use the exact technique she uses, but the video will give you a visual of the process.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this tutorial with us. I use the same technique, well sort of, when I want to give my doll Afro hair.

    1. It's wonderful that you're familiar with this technique, Arlette. It's an optional technique to substitute for rerooting, when rerooting is either not an option or not desired. It's also good for temporary hairstyles.


  2. WOW! Her hair turned out great! Its fuller and looks so natural.. I love the style with the ribbons. This is an inexpensive way to upgrade Addy's hair! Thanks for the tip!

    1. You're welcome, Cathy! It is both inexpensive and quick!


  3. This technique is very interesting! Addy's hair looks awesome, I too like the style with the ribbons. The group photo is lovely :-).

  4. Excellent job.. love the styling .

  5. Great job! You can tell you have the frenchbraid technique DOWN! As a child, all my dolls ended up bald-headed, so having had only one son my aptitude has not improved beyond the combing and brushing stages of hair care! Your Addy is lucky to have found you! She looks beautiful!

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      I "can" French braid, but Addy's French braid (shown in the first photo) was done by Dr. D. at the AG hospital.

      I can cornrow, but I'm no pro. I had practice with my daughter's hair when she was a very young girl (although I didn't cornrow it very much). I usually styled my daughter's hair in similar ways as Addy's is styled in the final photos.

      I'm glad Addy found me, too. Thank you!


  6. Wow, you really did an awesome job! Love how it turned out. I am sure Addy loves her new hairstyle too!

    1. Thank you, Phyllis!

      Addy has not stopped smiling and showing her teeth since the weave was completed.



  7. Wow! Awesome job on her hair! I have wondered how crocheting in hair was done. Thanks for the YouTube tutorial.

    1. You're welcome, GG. I've had it done once, when hair crocheting first became popular here in the late 1990s. I was a guinea pig for my daughter, who crocheted chin-length micro braids onto my hair.



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