Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hand-me-downs

I've always been a fan of hand-me-downs ... the ultimate in re-use! And so, since Parker had outgrown her 6-month clothes, I co-opted an outfit for her doll ...


While I've never been successful at dressmaking, as the mother of tall, slender, once-upon-a-time prom-goers, I have had lots of experience in alterations ...


And even though it's a bit of a gray day for photography, the end result of my stitching was well-worth documenting ...


Sadly, the 100% cotton resisted my needle every step of the way, so I decided on no stitch embellishing this time around.  

But I'm thinking there could be more hand-me-downs to come ...



Monday, April 16, 2018

One done

Parker's rag doll is done ...


And while the experience is still fresh in my mind, I'm writing a post in order to avoid reinventing the wheel the next time around. 

Me being me, I'll start at the end with the clothing ...


made from one of P's newborn rompers, which I didn't photograph before cutting it up, but it looked much like this ...




I dare say it's a better end result than I would have come up with working from scratch.

As mentioned in the previous post the doll itself ...


was patterned after an image I found on Google that led to a blog in Italian. I printed the accompanying pattern and whipped together a one-armed, one-legged sample on which I also tried some Inktense. Pretty scary looking ...


but informative. This was how I determined the foot was too big (so I trimmed off half the pattern), the arm too low (so I cut it off and tried pinning it higher), the body shape questionable (so I made it less triangular) and the Inktense a non-starter (since everything goes into P's mouth).

Yarn for hair was my biggest concern (see above about everything going into P's mouth), so I decided to use a variegated floss to do the hair in a discontinuous back stitch ...


in hopes of replicating P's own wild hair ...


The face was lined with harem cloth to better anchor the thread bead eyes, along with split back stitch rosy cheeks and mouth (thanks Jude) ...


But even with the lining, I soon discovered that the very first filling I tried (unbleached cotton batting), discolored the pale peach linen face. That pretty much put the kibosh on dryer lint and cloth scraps, so I hit Google again and found a new product ...


It's available from other brands, one of which calls it Cluster Stuff. My brain being what it is, I morphed that into Cluster Fluff, which it turns out is actually a thing ...


Anyway, I stitched the head (down to the neck), the shortened arms and smaller-footed legs inside-out, clipped the seams and turned them right-side out (as seen in the last post). Then I stuffed them and that's when I got into serious trouble.

Do you remember the Iowa Test of Basic Skills? I remember taking it in 6th grade because one of the questions had diagrams of hand silhouettes in various orientations from which the test taker was to discern which hand was the "left" hand. I can still envision my 11 year old self twisting and turning my hands, trying to figure out the answer.

This uncomfortable memory came to me as I tried to figure out how to turn the body inside out and stitch the side seams with a pre-stuffed head and arms. Not happening, was my conclusion. So I turned it right-side out again, turned under the edges, safety pinned them together and used an overcast stitch to hold everything together. Fine, except ...


one of the safety pins embedded its coiled end in the linen and had to be cut out, resulting in the mended hole pictured above. Sigh.

Fortunately, it all worked out and I had enough fun that I've decided to watch how this doll weathers the next year, then make a new doll for P when she turns two. By then I'll have re-accumulated a stash of cloth shreds and thread ends along with a gathering of grandkid dryer lint (fortunately my girls use Norwex wool dryer balls, so there will be no dryer sheet residue to worry about). Oh, and dollmakers' needles (thanks Dee).

That being said, I've long thought about the possibility of making realistic roadrunner "dolls" (not the cartoon version, although the Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons of yesteryear are my all-time favorites). So who knows, you may see some more dollmaking here sooner rather than later.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Figuring

You've heard this before: I'm not good at following directions. That said, I could use some advice as I'm making my first ever doll ...


for soon-to-be one year old Parker ...


and would appreciate suggestions on what to use for stuffing (no pellets please).

In getting started I kinda liked the look of this doll on Pinterest ...


except for the hair, the clothing, and the face. Which I changed, along with the length of the arms and the size of the feet. In any case, I couldn't follow the directions since the tutorial was in Italian ... so, suffice it to say your input would be appreciated.

Meantime, Don was cruising around Pinterest, too ...


For inspiration that led to this ...


A few close-ups ...




And now I'm thinking he's got that junk store cigar mold in his sights ...


We do have fun ...

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sampling a life in stitches, 2018



I recently joined the Fiber Artists of San Antonio (FASA) and volunteered to do a five minute "show and tell" at the April meeting. Only five minutes?! Anyway, I decided to (try to) do a sampling of how my work has changed over the years, beginning with how I learned to stitch as a kid and the last kit I ever did when I was in college ...

The Chase Sampler, 1970s

Then moving on to my time as the Needleworker for Colonial Williamsburg in the early 1980s, when I taught students how to stitch silk on linen samplers ...

 

while making canvaswork ...



and marking linens  ...



Followed by my library career days, when I only made time to stitch when on vacation ...



as recounted in the post Sampling life: a family in stitches.

Culminating with my retirement, when I realized that cross stitch samplers were no longer what I wanted to do, after one last go at it ...



But I'm most looking forward to recounting how I found Jude Hill's Spirit Cloth and a lively blog community of stitchers: the Kindred Spirits who have sustained me ever since (many of their blogs can be found in the right side bar). Jude's online workshop Spirit Cloth 101 led to the creation of my now preferred modus operandi, which I refer to as "patchplay" ...



the development of which was documented during the creation of Prairie-tea-dyed cloth Land of Flood and Drought 2015 (best understood by going to the end of the 19 or so posts and reading them chronologically).

That in turn led me to Remember 2016, my favorite sampler to date, which shows the way I now learn by playing ...

 

one day at a time ...



And so it continues ...

bagstories