Wool Doll

 
needle felted wool doll, face detail

This is the first antique style doll that I ever needle felted; this doll reminds me of my daughter Emili. My mother’s bisque dolls that I’ve saved are 70 some years old and they’re very fragile. Some of the antique bisque dolls that I have, have chipped faces and broken legs. This replica of my mother’s antique doll will never break (because she is 100% wool), but I will take special precautions when storing her. 

needle felted from wool, Emili doll

The stinky moth ball (made from Paradichlorobenzene) is now thought to contains cancer causing chemicals, which I definitely don’t want to use to store toys for my children. There are several natural herbs that are thought to repel moths: lavendar, rosemary, mint, thyme, ginseng, cloves and lemon. I’m going to make lavendar sachets and store them with my wool dolls and toys. The best way to protect your woolen sweaters, yarns and toys is to store them in a clean, air-tight plastic container. Today, as most of us are looking for more environmentally friendly ways to do things, wool is a great choice! Wool is a sustainable resource, it supports farmers around the world without hurting the animals!, it has very little environmental impact compared to other types of textiles, dust mites don’t like to live in wool, wool is very strong, wool is flame resistant, wool repels moisture and it has anti-bacterial properties. For more information about wool see: http://www.woolrevolution.com/index.html.  

seated wool Emili doll

 I believe that in the last few years, because of so many chemical scares pertaining to children’s toys, natural fibers have become more appealing to parents who want to make sure that the toys they give their children are safe. For more information about chemical toy testing please see: http://www.emaxhealth.com/50/18749.html  The Waldorf education system has endorsed natural fibers for children’s toys since it’s inception. Natural fibers are believed to stimulate the sences and give a child something safe with which to play.

needle felted Emili has wool hair and a classic style wool dress

needle felted sheep, from raw undyed wool

Dolly

antique style needle felted doll

I always loved the photographs of little girls with giant bows on their head; I’ve always wondered how this style came to be! Who came up with such a disproportionate hair ornament for a little girl?

Needle felted doll with felt dress and shoes

I have a few antique bisque dolls of my mother’s that inspired me to felt this doll. Needle felted completely from wool, each piece (arms, legs, body and head) was individually needle felted and then sewn together. The head is my favorite part of the doll to make. I take great care to give her a face with an authentic look, I like to style her hair and I think the eyes are the most important part of the face. I found these particular blinking doll eyes in the flea market, I think they’re old because they’re made of metal, not plastic.  

blinking doll eyes

I really don’t like to do the arms and legs, I find it challenging to make both arms and both legs identical (or close to it).

felted doll parts

 The dress for this doll is similar to the original dress of the antique bisque doll, but made from felt. I needle felted a design on the bodice to break up the hot pink color.

needle felted dress detail

I made the socks from some white tricot and old lace that I had, and the little black Mary Janes are also made from felt. 

real life dolly

Childhood Friends

Needle felted teddy bears, 16"
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Torn and tattered
You were my friend
when it really mattered

These needle felted teddy bears were easy to make. Each bear was made by felting together wool shapes.

  1. The teddy bear head is made from a ball, a cone (snout), a tiny ball (nose) and 2 half circles (ears). Two dolls eyes were inserted and glued above the snout.
  2. The body is a big oval, the arms are  long tubes, the legs are longer tubes, the feet are short tubes that are attached to the ends of the legs.
  3. The head, arms and legs are wrapped with curly, brown mohair yarn (2 skeins), then felted securely into the shapes.
  4. The head, arms and legs are sewn onto the body with a doll needle and embroidery thread. Voila, Best Friend!

    Best Friend

Magical Mushrooms

What is it about mushrooms that we all find so enchanting? Is it the colors? Is it the many shapes and sizes? Is it that our imaginations see these fat little fungi as trees in fairy landscapes? I have been particularly taken with the delicate underside of the big umbrella part of the mushroom. I’ve needle-felted quite a few mushrooms and used them as Christmas ornaments, but this time I decided to go beyond my ornament designs and add the many layers of the underside, called gills. I felted the mushroom cap as usual, starting with a felted ball, I cut the ball  in half, hollowed out the half circle, I felted the underside of the half circle and then I attached the felted stem to the middle of the cap.

I cut the gills from cotton felt. I cut a felt rectangle for each gill. The length of the gills are determined by measuring from the middle of the cap to the outter rim of the cap. I sewed all the gills together on one end till I could wrap them around the stem. I sewed every gill to the underside of the mushroom at the stem and at the outter rim of the cap.  

Sewing the gills to the underside of the cap is very time consuming. After I sewed the gills to the underside of the mushroom cap, I trimmed each gill from the outter rim of the cap to the stem, so the gills are rounded.

She’s in love with a pig!

Smooooooch!

We’ve all been in love with a pig once in our lives, haven’t we? I find that when I’m needle-felting, I need to really be “into” what I’m felting. Because needle-felted sculpture take so long to do, I have to be inspired by my subject. I don’t know if I could needle-felt an armadillo or a hippo for example, not that there’s anything wrong with armadillos or hippos. I’ve always wanted a pig, I think because they’re supposed to be very smart and they seem to have a lot of character. If you’re going to have a pet, why not have one you can talk to, right?

needle felted pig

Here in Israel, the pig is not a popular animal; observant Jews aren’t supposed to eat pork, so if I were a pig I’d want to live in Israel. I’m a bit fascinated by the level of repulsion concerning the pig in the Middle East. When the swine flu was affecting people all over the world, the Jewish religious community couldn’t bring themselves to refer to this particular flu by it’s common label, but made up the term the Mexican flu instead. Needless to say, this didn’t go over well with Mexicans. “Bury your head in the sand”, I say and “everything will be o.k!” I’ve read that it’s common to mark out the word pig with a big black marker in Muslim countries. This is done in bookstores, in children’s books as well. I wonder what the job title of the person who marks out the word pig is. Many Middle Easterners and other Muslims have no idea who Kermit’s main squeeze is, nor do they want to know.

I have fond piggy memories from my childhood. There was a pig farm near where we lived and every time my parents drove by it (must have been 10 times a week) my brother and sister and I would hold our noses and yell Pee-ewww! Every single time. So, I’m not upset that Emili has fallen in love with this particular needle-felted swine, I can think of worse company to keep.

Emili and friend