Huckleberry Friend, free pattern for an 18" doll

February 03, 2015

This dolly ensemble came out of necessity. I simply had to find a use for the leftover bits from the Martin Storey Afghan KAL and the Kaffe Fassett KAL.  Both afghans used the new Rowan Pure Wool Worsted which is not only sturdy enough for afghans but sturdy enough and soft enough for children's clothing and their dolls.  The Huckleberry Friend PDF is free (see below) and contains the pattern for the hat, cardigan, and pleated skirt and will fit an 18" doll such as an American Girl doll or similar.  The entire ensemble is knit on two needles, but I've included directions to knit the hat and skirt in the round if you prefer. The sweater is knit top down, and can be knit with stripes or in a solid color.  You can knit all three pieces with less than one skein of Rowan Pure Wool Worsted plus small amounts of the contrasting four colors for the stripes.  I think it would be fun to make this in school colors.  Your little girl will be able to keep her dolly warm and colorful when she dresses her in Huckleberry Friend!  Sized for an 18" doll.  All the links are at the end of the post.

Why the name?  When I was in high school, an older, popular boy took to calling me Huckleberry.  As in, "Hey, how ya doin' today, Huckleberry?" I would blush crimson at the attention.  Occasionally between class, he would come up from behind, swoop up my books and say, "Where are ya goin' Huckleberry?  I'll walk you to class." Not only was I flabbergasted at him even noticing me but I couldn't get over how kind he was.  Was I in the presence of the rarest of gems--the teenage gentleman?  He was pure California boy from tip to toe: turquoise eyes, shaggy, sun bleached hair with a beautiful smile, plus athletic, funny, and friendly, and was the heartthrob of the entire female high school population. I was thrilled to be singled out by him but admit to spending endless hours puzzling over why he called me Huckleberry.  OK, so it was certain he didn't know my name, but I finally decided that I was happy with any attention,  Huckleberry or not.

I really don't remember seeing him very often; we attended a big Los Angeles county high school filled with baby boomers and we were in the thousands.  I don't remember where he sat at lunch and I never had a class with him.  As the semesters passed and my self-confidence grew a teensy bit, I finally summoned the nerve to ask him why he called me Huckleberry.  He said, "Oh I don't know, I like the name.  My mom is always singing that song, 'Moon River', so I guess it comes from that.  But it's OK, right?"  He had a look of concern on his face, but yes, I assured him, it was a nice name.

So why am I telling you this story?  I often think about him, certainly when I hear Moon River. It was so long ago, yet to this day the memory can make me smile. When I became the mother of a teenage boy I used to imagine my old school mate singing that song with his mom; how sweet!  I can almost hear his mother encouraging her teenage son to pay attention to a shy girl; perhaps carry her books or give her a compliment.  I too encouraged my son to be kind.  He was naturally outgoing and friendly, and I told him how even something as small as a smile and a hello could make someone feel special. And we don't know what little old thing may turn into a lifelong memory, do we?  Because in the end, it's the small things that are the big things, right? 

After high school I lost track of him but a while ago through Facebook I heard he died some years back.  I was grief-sticken, as in my mind he was a smiling, beautiful young teenager who could never get sick and die. I'm certain he had grown into the kind of man who would appreciate knowing how much his attention meant to me.  

Moon River, wider than a mile,
I'm crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you're going I'm going your way.
Two drifters off to see the world.
There's such a lot of world to see.
We're after the same rainbow's end--
waiting 'round the bend,
my huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.

Now we must get back to knitting.
The free Huckleberry Friend PDF is here.
You can queue it on Ravelry!
 Machine washable Rowan Pure Wool Worsted link here.
Moon River was sung by Audrey Hepburn in the movie,
 Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Andy Williams recorded it in 1961.
Have a listen to this beautiful performance.  Made me cry.

Even writing a pattern as simple as this take a village.
I had awesome test knitters who helped me so much, thanks guys!

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  1. Such a tender, beautifully written memory. You are truly a "Huckleberry Friend".

    1. Thank you Lori! I haven't "talked" to you in a while, but through your blog I know you are still knitting beautiful sweaters!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you. I read it aloud to my family right before I published it and I started to cry! I am such an emotional thing!

  3. Very sweet. Making me tear up here over my lunch! geez! :)

  4. I loved your story, Lori. I always wished for someone like that to enter my life when I was an awkward teenager. Cris

  5. Lori, can I use your pattern and sell a few that I make????

    1. Hi Cris,
      Yes you can use use my patterns for clothes that you sell, just please give my blog credit!
      xo Kristen

  6. Wow. I'm completely tearing up over your story! I, too, had a boy in school who was so kind & nice to me. It meant a great deal to me, because I was being bullied, but he was always so nice and kind, even though he was popular. Just 2 weeks ago, I found out that he named his little daughter after me, and it blew me away. I had a very emotional day that day.

    Thank you so much for the patterns. I thought that they were so cute, but now I HAVE to make them. For my own Huckleberry Friend.

    1. It's precious to have a memory of someone who was being kind, isn't it? As for you friend, I think you may have touched him more than you knew at the time. He associated your name with someone he really liked, how flattering!

  7. A lovely story, with a nice pattern too! Thank you for sharing.

  8. Adorable pattern. But I keep getting a message that IE's SmartScreen filter is blocking the download because it's unsafe. Has anyone else had this problem?

    1. I'm so sorry. I've not heard of anyone having that problem. If you email me or pm me through Rav or FB, give me your email address and I'll send you the pdf.

  9. She is adorable. Thanks for sharing!

  10. At first I was knitting the sweater and thought, "how's this going to work--this looks wierd". But then after getting to the underarm and lower body, it was AWESOME and I just love it. Can't wait for my granddaughter to get this in the mail. Thank you so much for the great patterns.

  11. Hi Kristen,
    I have a question. Have you ever knit the pattern Hatchling in the Rowan 4ply Collection book?
    I have a friend working on this pattern and rows 7 and 8 and 19 and 20 don't seem to jive. We think the wrong side row should be purl not knit. It doesn't seem to look right when the pattern asks for knit on the wrong side. What do you think?
    Thanks Kristen,
    Look forward to hearing from you.


  12. Such a lovely story, emotional too;) Thanks for the pattern!

  13. Thank you Kristen for sharing your very nice pattern. Is it sized to fit the 18” American Girl type dolls? Thank you, Arla

    1. Yes, it will fit an 18" doll such as an American Girl. I'm sorry I don't have that anywhere on the post!

  14. Sure looks like the AG or AG type doll in the pictures, but doesn't actually say anywhere. Perhaps she wanted to be sure she didn't run afoul of any possible copyright issues if she actually posted the name. It really is an adorable pattern -- and nice story. Good luck with it. I've not tried it yet -- one of these days . . . .

    1. Wow, I cannot believe I didn't state it fits an AGD or the like anywhere on my post! Changing that NOW!


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