Saturday, 25 December 2010

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Troll Princess

I've carried on needlefelting my polyfill and wadding scraps, and made this:

A troll princess for the top of my christmas tree!

Her hair is a mixture of wool fibres (roving) and novelty knitting yarn.

Her skirt is polyfill hand needlefelted with scraps of silk gauze and little bits of silk sliver, embellished with beads and sequins.

The ruffles on the back of her dress are decorated with gold glitter.


I was feeling "twitchy" and looking for something to keep my fingers busy, as you do. It was too cold to go out to the workshop so I experimented with a few scraps of leftover polyfil, wadding and some wool fibres and needlefelted this little troll baby.

Now I'm wondering if I could make a bigger one using the same method?

Friday, 3 December 2010

Always room for improvement...............

I found some very small plastic safety joints and decided to try them with my Sitting Stanley pattern. While I was about it, I also tried sticking the knitted wig down with washable fabric glue before I stitched it on. I was concerned that little fingers might get caught up in the knitted threads.

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The little safety joints worked really well for the arms and legs. The glue made it even more difficult to get the needle in to sew on the hair, but I think I shall use it in future just in the centre, to hold it in place while I stitch. The heads are still attached by several rounds of hand ladder stitch.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Ow'll try again!

Still experimenting with owls. Flat owls and fat owls!

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Sunday, 7 November 2010

Owls that!

Owls seem to be a popular thing at the moment, so I thought I'd try adapting my cat pattern ready for the autumn and winter craft fairs.

Here are the first tries. I'm using an "iterative" method of working to get these right, so there will undoubtedly be some more later!

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The Boss says these are not owls they are cats, or possibly koalas. So it's back to the scissors and sewing machine. Clearly I should have started with the drawing board! (Serves me right, I shouldn't have asked a pragmatic engineer his opinion...........)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

I must be bewitched!

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She is wise and she knows many things. She is a healer, a counsellor, a listener. She has helped many people. Although she is happy with the life she has chosen, sometimes she is lonely and wishes for the company of her own kind. "Are there any more like me?" she asks. "No," I reply, "not unless I make them!"

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Her body is made from scraps of fleece fabric, chiffon and silk needle felted onto a base of recycled fibres with the addition of dyed wool sliver (roving), machine quilted and heavily embellished with hand embroidery, beads and sequins. Her face is a hand painted and lightly needle sculpted coloured pencil portrait. Her arms are appliqued and lightly stuffed and her hands and her spiky fingers are needlewoven. She wears a necklace of silver beads and animal bones (not really; plastic, I thought they looked like teeth or vertebrae!) and she carries a strange looking skull. She measures about 10 inches from the top of her hat to her base.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Which is the right Witch!

What's in my head doesn't always come out through my fingers. That's what happened with the witch doll I made a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd have another go.

While I was thinking about it, Gina Ferrari raised the perennial question about pricing on her blog Fan my Flame. I was interested to read the comments, many of which suggested that the price should reflect the size of the item and not the work that went into it. Her response was to explain the processes and costs involved in making her hand embroidered brooches here. This struck a chord with me, because some of my dolls are quite small and the processes involved in making them look the way that they do are not immediately obvious.

I had a real problem pricing that last witch doll, so I thought I would document the process involved in making this next one, that is slightly more elaborate. (This is Part 1, Parts 2 and 3 are below, I published in reverse order).


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I started with an offcut of fleece fabric, a piece of recycled "eco-felt" and some scraps of silk. I layered the fleece over the felt, scattered silk scraps over and "mangled" it all together on the needlepunch (embellisher) machine.


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Strands of coloured wool tops (roving); gossamer light and fine as a spider's web, mangled all over the top.

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The needlepunching gives a nice texture and a "felty" feel!


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Rows of machine quilting in my favourite Greek Key stitch pattern, for even more texture and interest. I used grey in the bobbin and black in the needle, and loosened the bobbin tension for a slight "cable stitch" effect for a little more texture and interest. I wanted a worn and faded look for this piece of fabric.

That's the body fabric finished...

Which is the right Witch? - Part 2


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Draw and cut a pattern, cut out the fabric, sew it up on the machine and stuff it.


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Now she needs a face, so out with the pens and coloured pencils.


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Sew the face on, stuff it, add a border of trellis stitch and lightly needlesculpt the inner corners of the eyes and the outer corners of the mouth.


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Add my trademark hand embroidery.

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Sew on the arms with buttonhole stitch and stuff lightly. Add a border of trellis stitch.

Not quite there yet..................

Which is the right Witch? Part 3


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Make the base, a covered cardboard circle. Make the hat brim, layers of felt and base fabric mangled together on the needlepunch (embellisher) machine.


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Add finishing touches to the face, and hair and eyebrows.


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Embellish with beads and sequins.


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Embroider the hands in needleweaving.


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Stitch on the base and the hat brim.


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Make her some accessories - a voodoo doll and a broomstick.


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All done!

How would you price this one, given the processes involved?

Because my embroidered friendship dolls are necessarily relatively expensive, for a recent craft fair I also made some plain fabric ones with very simply embroidered faces. One particular customer said that she thought the embroidered, beaded dolls were much nicer and asked why they were so much more expensive, as they were all the same size. I explained how the fabric was made, and that the beading and embroidery was all done by hand and took a long time. Back came the response "What, so you expect us to pay for that?!" Good job I didn't have a gun!

Sunday, 19 September 2010


One of my elder dolls has been featured in an Etsy Treasury along with some other very lovely autumnal images. Thank you TheMusesCall, maker of the most beautiful greetings cards!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Looking forward..............

to Halloween, the next "deadline" after the Llammas Festival. I experimented with a little witch - my verdict would be "Could try harder!" Here's a close-up of her face:

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It's difficult to show the detail with these dark colours.

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Here's a side view. I gave her arms, the padded sleeves sewn on separately:

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And a close-up of her needle woven hands.

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Out and About with the Creative Co-op

The first weekend in August has been the time for the Llammas Festival for the past ten years here in Eastbourne. The Creative Co-op always tries to have a prescence and this year I again put in an appearance. Here I am, all dressed up and ready to go:

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and here's a picture of my table:

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I sold this:

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(on her way to a Russian granddaughter)

and this:

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(left the tent clasped in the arms of her now owner, already named Alice)

I must say, I was sorry to see them go!

and these went quite well too:

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The Llammas Festival is always a good day out, with lots for all the family. As usual, the sun came out and so did the crowds and a good time was had by all!

Thursday, 13 May 2010


I've added a couple of "Elders" to my collection of "Wise Ones". I thought the men should be represented!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Wise Ones

Little spirits:

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grow up to be goddesses:

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and become wise ones:

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Or maybe I just get better at it?!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Three Graces......Three Degrees...????

Little spirit dolls grown up:

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Here are the back views:

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and a close up of the stitching:

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Friday, 19 March 2010

Monkey Business

An adaptation of the cat pattern makes a cheeky monkey:

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I tried two different faces, because the first one I made looked a bit too plain:

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but, after seeing the two together, I decided to go for it.