Yesterday, I reviewed Salley Mavor’s new book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures, and you met my new stitching companion, who still doesn’t have a name.
For those of you who receive the Needle ‘n Thread daily newsletter in your inbox, you might have missed the give-away. I’m also giving away a copy of the book, courtesy of C & T Publishing. If you did miss that, you’ll find the details on yesterday’s book review, and you still have plenty of time to join in!
Sorry about that – I added the give-away later in the morning, after the newsletter had already flown the coop!
Throughout the day yesterday, I received a slew of email about the curls on the doll, many from folks working on stumpwork figures: how did I work them, are there instructions in the book, are they attached to the head first, is there a pattern for that bonnet, and so forth.
So today, before we get too far away from the subject, I’ll explain how I added curls to my doll’s head, so that those of you immersed in creating stumpwork figures can play with the techniques.
Just so you know, these instructions are not in Salley’s book. It was one of those “try it out and see what happens” experiments. You know the kind!
I cut out a bonnet shaped hat from felt. You can use any kind of hat, of course, by I was kind of going for the Jane Austen bonnet look.
The shape is something like a mushroom, like this:
Of course, you have to adjust it to whatever size you need to cover your figure’s head.
With the shape cut out of yellow felt, I took some darker straw colored floss (two strands) and stitched rows of running stitch horizontally across across the cap of the mushroom shape and the stem, and then I stitched rows of running stitch vertically, between the gaps in the horizontal rows, to give the whole thing a kind of woven look. I worked the buttonhole stitch around the domed line of the mushroom cap and on top of that, I worked a chain stitch line, to enhance the straw bonnet look.
Then, I sewed it together using whip stitch. I brought the two dotted lines together on one side of the mushroom stem and lower cap and whip stitched along the seam, with the right side of the fabric together (so I was whip stitching the piece inside out). I did the same on the other side, and that made the bonnet.
Then, leaving the bonnet inside-out, I worked the drizzle stitch along the edge of the whole bonnet, working with two strands of regular cotton floss in dark brown. (If I were doing it again, I’d probably use three strands of floss, two dark and one slightly lighter.)
Except for the forehead area (the middle of the mushroom dome in the pattern), I stitched drizzle stitches that were anywhere from 18 – 25 wraps on the needle. On the forehead area, I worked about 8 – 10 wraps on the needle.
To really get a curl going, I purposely swirled the cast-on stitches around the needle before re-threading the needle and pulling through.
If you don’t know how to work drizzle stitch, you’ll find a very handy how-to video for the drizzle stitch right here.
I’ve used this technique before for stumpwork figures – it’s a great way to add a curly mass of hair to a head!
The trickiest part is picking up only the inside of the felt, just inside the brim of the hat. You don’t want the dark thread to show through. With good wool felt, this is pretty easy, because the felt is thick enough to take the needle only part way into it to take a stitch.
Once all the curls were finished, I slathered the top of my little gal’s head with glue (except for the area right around the hole in the wooden bead), stuck a needle through the top of the hat and into the hole in her head (heh heh – kind of gruesome…) and into a pincushion, where I let her sit and dry.
When her head was dry, I attached it to her body. And that’s it!
I’ve discovered something about my new stitching companion.
She’s a bit of a nag.
Twice, I found her perched on my embroidery frame yesterday afternoon.
I think she was trying to tell me something.
So I gave her a companion to chat with, hoping she’ll leave me alone.
I think she got the point.
If you want to join the give-away for Salley Mavor’s Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures, feel free to head over to my review from yesterday and follow the simple guidelines!
And now, I’m off doll-making for a while. Back to concentrating on three big projects. You probably know what they are, right?
I’ll be sharing updates soon!