Friday, July 23, 2010

making a waldorf doll - the eyes & hair


you will need:
embroidery thread in your chosen colour
long doll making needle
jerry garcia {playing}

following the instructions in your guide, or here , embroider the dolls eyes in the
places you have marked with pins.
it can be a bit tricky marking those spots.
you will put them in, take them out, say to yourself are they too close? too far apart?
in the end, you will get it just right.
 {if you don't, take them out and do it again.}

 practicing your intended stitching first on a scrap is a GREAT idea.....

the mouth is very simple.
thank goodnes..
just two simple stitches.
for some great inspiration look at the faces here .


the hair is my favorite.
my book has the most amazing hair instructions.
for this doll, i have chosen hair from a goat.
a southern speaking texan angora goat.
{this must be one.gorgeous.goat.}

right. the hair.
i am taking three strands and twisting it in the middle.
 take a threaded needle and begin to sew down
the dolls hair by taking the needle thru all layers where twisted to the
center of the head.
start in the front just where your head stitching begins.
going down this sewn line,
repeat this until the top of head is covered.
next step is to go down about an inch on the left side and go right
round the head with small stitches
tacking down every other bit or so of hair down to the head.
i have placed pins below to show you where to begin and end sewing.

maricristin sealey has some excellent directions for curly hair, short wispy hair, etc.
so if you were using yarn she recommends that it be cut to shoulder length
when doing this method.
since i am using animal hair, which is quite short, i am winging it with my own method.
underneath the top layer of hair, i have made two additional rows of hair.
by tacking down  twisted strands of hair all the way across. i left the curly ends untacked.
repeat this until the hair looks full all around and no bald spots.
i finished with three layers :: top layer down the line, and two layers across underneath.

.:: seal of approval ::.

next ..... the clothes!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

making a waldorf doll - the head & limb joinings

making the head is quite fun, as it is the beginnings of your new little friend dolly coming to life.
both the traditional and the jointed dolls have the same type of head.
depending on the size doll you have chosen to make, measure out your wool, find an old white tshirt, some thick crochet thread for tying, and make your head. i am using my book as a guide.
consequently, the silver penny has an amazing tutorial for making the head online, and its almost exactly the same as listed in my book. {she has instructions for making a nose there, too}.
so get crackin' at your heads and then come back for the rest.
* It is important to note several things about the HEADS*  of these dolls.

  • firstly, you want your 'muff ' or the bit of wool hanging down under your dolls head (which is essentially a tight round ball of wool with thin wool wrapped around it ) to be firmly done so it is very attached to the rest of the head. this is what forms the neck and keeps the dolls head from wobbling around. you will want a good bit of wool to hang down under your head , as indicated in my picture above, this makes the neck and keeps everything firm and in place when you attach the head to the body.

  • secondly, you will want to pay attention and get the size of your head right in proportion to the dolls body. i am making a small 9" jointed doll, thus i need to use 50gm of wool to make the head. My head measurements should be 2.5" high and 9" in circumference. This info is listed in my book for each doll's size and should be followed as close as possible so the doll looks real. Maricristin Sealey discusses this in detail in this book, she is truly the guru of waldorf dollmaking!
apologies, this photo is dark.
after the dolls head is finished you pull a 'sock' covering over the top
tie a string round the neck {do this up high right under its 'chin' }
all of the extra wool you have hanging down goes in the bottom part which you sew up at the bottom.
IMPORTANTE :: hold your doll down at the bottom where my hand is and shake it. don't rattle its brains, just a little shake. did its head move at all separately from the whole unit? if no, congratulations.
if yes, its not right.
if you seem to be having a problem with this, send me a note and i can try and help you out.
its important to get this right, you'll be glad you took it apart and redid it later if it wobbles.
your body should be well stuffed.
wool tends to pack down over time, so stuff it to the max, and then put in
some more. make a little well with your hand down inside the middle of the dolls body
and place the muff down in the hole. (the muff of my doll went way down into the tummy, which is good).
 as you go around the neck use your fingers and make it fit down inside the doll until it is even length with your string. keynote * your body stuffing should be up and all around the muff at the neck. you should not really be able to see much of the muff. *
pin the dolls head in four corners to stabilize.
take a curved doll making needle , starting and ending at the back,
 begin to sew the neck to the body. make sure you are pushing down the wool as you sew bit by bit and make sure the two pieces of flesh are catching each other with the stitches.
doesn't matter what it looks like, you are going to cover it up with a band when finished. :))
i made a one inch strip ( i needed it that wide to hide some oopses)
and  stitched the ends as indicated. long in back and stab in front so it doesn't show on right side.
make sure your grain is going up and down, and the most stretch is going across.
then fold it in half and place around your dolls neck with the folded edge facing UP.
pin, pull (it should stretch) and sew closed.
cut off the extra and turn the band round so the folded seam is now facing
the bottom of the neck.
joining the appendages
as i said earlier, stuff those babies stiff.
you need: buttons of a decent size ( i cut mine off a hideously ugly sweater)
a long doll making needle
thick and sturdy doll or crochet thread
a decent amount of patience and laughter
maybe some bandaids
( if you aren't bleeding already from that neck this
step is likely to getcha )

ok so the first doll i made i jointed with Maricristin Sealey's directions..but the Silver Penny
has the idea of button jointing with the button placed inside the arms and legs.
directions are here . while this took me two tries to get it right,
i love the end results.
* keynotes*
it is important to mark your placements, i used a charcoal pencil.
you want the arms even with each other and a marking spot is easiest.
you want the legs in the right spot so the doll will sit up.
on the second try i took most of the wool stuffing out of the tops
of my arms, so i could actually see the buttons (HELLO!) 
and i declared myself a smartypants.
arms on , who hoo!!
now do the legs in the same way,
then restuff and sew up the holes.
good golly miss molly!
now you should have a cute little fella like this looking at you.
jackson pinned in his own eyes and mouth last night.
which i was grateful for, it helped me remember back to front
while i was sewing the doll together.
i love that he wants a smiley little doll!
good luck with your doll making everyone
next post i will bring to you the eyes and mouth and HAIR.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

making a waldorf doll - the body

yesterday, i cut out the pieces (one post back). i am using pale caucasion tricot from 
winterwood toys. today i am sewing them together. based on the pattern i am using i am ready
to sew, following my lines inside the seam allowance. i find the tricot lovely and so slippery. for some
unbeknownst reason, my feed dog loves eating it. i set my tension high, mine is on 5. do a test run first
on some tricot scrap from where you cut. a small zigzag stitch is required. after much frustrating  feed dog eating of the tricot - i decided to lower my feeddog completly. it didnt illeviate the eating of the flesh, but it certainly was easier. my lowering device is under my machine, as indicated in the photo above.

{if someone can offer a bit of advice or knowledge on this problem, wont you give a shout out. because this stuff is so difficult to sew, this step is my least favorite  of the doll making process. truly. }

                                                                  god save the queen.
                                                               i'm finished sewing this stuff.
when you are finished, you should end up with something looking like this.
if you have no idea what you are doing, dont worry.
neither do i.
{insert nice cuppa here}
the best part about making your own doll at home, is that the child it is intended for can
help. here is jackson carefully stuffing his doll with fluffy wool.
{no sun today = not great photos}

next i will bring you ... jointing the appendages and

Saturday, July 10, 2010

a devil of a time

yesterday we took a trip up to the mountain to see the snow. minor complications led us to stop briefly at the devils sanctuary and so we decided to enjoy an afternoon visit with tasmanias largest marsupial.
the tasmanian devil....
we had quite a nice time getting to know these noisy fellas up close and personal.
look, jack even got to give one a pat.
he doesn't quite look it, but i believe he was thrilled.
tasmanian devils are currently on the critical endangered species list, as their survival rate has been threatened due to a cancerous facial tumor disease which has already wiped out 80% in the wild.
visiting places like this wildlife park and getting to know little friends like these guys is important.
i got a bit choked up actually, when i touched him and realized in ten years time they might not be around.
for more information on these fascinating creatures from tasmania, or to donate, or to learn more about the sanctuary up on cradle mountain, please visit
{this was a big mama with a little one in her backward pouch, so cool.}

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

in the bedroom

ah. its night time again. my favorite...rooibos tea, kids in pjs, warm fire, home and away. books and books and books. crochet time. quiet quiet peace. lamps lit glowing glimmering resting me. frankencense can be smelled. one more week with these beautiful books, then the librarian says i have to send them on. send them on? oh. is that how the library works.

i am tossing around ideas. a winter greenhouse garden. a japanese double gauze bamboo quilt. what to make with a wool/cashmere trenchcoat that cost me a dollar. how to increase my energy and circulation. eating better. keeping a cleaner and tidier home. thinking of my father in his little foot plaster who is sitting on the sofa bored stiff he says. my 5 year old says to send him some sticker books. he says now that's entertainment for hours...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

in the kitchen

i made dinner napkins yesterday for our kitchen table.
this is a heather ross project from my favorite new {library} book, weekend sewing  .
my mind is playing toss between sashiko placemats vs a nap beside the fire and a footrub...
i think you know who's winning.
*yawn *
its just that kindof a day.xx

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My creative space - dolly

SAGE- the Woodland Elf.
hat & cape made from wool felt 
 dyed with sunflower seeds
with ribbon recycled from naturebaby
hair embroidered with baby alpaca wool
he is nice and cozy beside the fire
on this cold winters day
more on dolly here & here..