Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Two Cloth Dolls

Spring is really in the air after a particularly mild winter - my fruit trees are in blossom about three weeks early and bulbs are flowering everywhere. Time to come out of hibernation and get into the garden! I am usually quite productive over winter, and this year is no exception.

One of my winter projects was the making of these two all-cloth dolls. They are a bit experimental in how I made the heads. They were needle-sculpted in wool first and then given an overlay of knit cotton fabric, which was catch-stitched to the form underneath. It was a lovely way to work. Both dolls are around fourteen inches high and finished with all the usual hand-made detail.


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Recent Work

Autumn is slowly drifting into winter, so I'm starting to spend more time inside when it's too inclement to work in the garden. Autumn came late this year, but now, a few days before winter officially begins, the trees are almost leafless and grey, rainy days are more frequent.

More inside time means more working on dolls by the fire, which is a lovely thing to do. Here are two dolls I've recently completed. The little boy in the sailor suit was commissioned and the striped-dress girl was started last year as a needle-felting experiment. The head on this doll is needle-felted then covered with fabric which is catch-stitched to the felted form underneath. I'm quite happy with the result and may make more dolls like this.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

New Stuff

Here are some things I've been working on in recent weeks - some of these are available in my Etsy  store (link in side bar)..........some special little "Sukeshi" dolls and a couple of needle-felted critters. Always busy!



Well, this "Baby's Boots" project is finally finished! I'm particularly pleased with how she turned out and I love how her clothes suit her to a T.  The wig (made from Lincoln sheep locks, which are more hair-like than woolly) worked well, too, styled using rags to curl it in the old-fashioned way. I used cotton batiste for the underwear and worked a crochet edging on the petticoat. The dress is smocked white-on-white with a crochet edging around the collar. 

The coat is made from some lovely boiled-wool fabric in dark teal with black feather-stitched details, with the collar and yoke lined with champagne silk. I knitted her hat in a shade to match the coat (lucky find - last ball in the shop!) and lightly felted it. The stockings are cotton knit. The bear in some of the photos is from my collection and was made by my sister. Linda. Her new owner has given "Baby's Boots" the name "Clara", which suits her very well!

 Here is the finished photo-shoot:

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Putting It All Together...........and other things

 I finally got this big girl put together - this is the biggest doll I've made in a long time, but of course, she had to be sized to fit those beautiful antique boots. She's around 23.5 inches tall (60 cms) The permanent wig will probably add a little to her final height.

I've dressed her temporarily in a vintage baby dress I had and plunked the wigging material on her head for this photoshoot while I think about her clothing. 

The next job will be hand-knotting the wig and styling it appropriately. I'm using this blonde lincoln wool, because it is the only thing I can find that's long enough to make a wig for this big girl. It's not as lustrous as mohair, but it should make a lovely wig. As you can see, the antique baby boots fit her perfectly! I also need to add more painted detail to her hands and feet. Very happy with progress.

I've had a couple of other projects on the go that I've recently completed. Firstly, in late 2022, I bought a vintage "Sasha" doll that I spotted on a stall at a fair. She dates from about 1974, which is about when I noticed these lovely dolls and really wanted one. At the time, with a young family, money was pretty tight and I couldn't really justify the expense of one of these dolls. 
They were quite pricey. Only had to wait fifty years to get one!
I got this one naked and with a bit of an amateur haircut (which was salvageable) for a reasonable price. She's sat around naked for quite a while, but a few weeks ago, I got the urge to give her some clothes. Which I did - tried to make them appropriate to her era - smocked gingham dress, knitted cardi and hat in kid mohair, knitted socks and red leather buckled shoes. I've named her "Lucienne".

Then I thought Lucienne needed a playmate, so I designed a doll based loosely on the proportions of the original "Sasha" dolls. I didn't want to make a replica, but I made a more simply sculpted head than I usually do, with a neck joint. This doll is also jointed at the shoulders and hips. The wig is hand-knotted suri alpaca hair. I dressed her in a similar way to my Sasha doll, with a smocked dress, angora knitted hat and cardigan and knitted socks with leather sandals. She was fun to make!

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