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

I still play with dolls!

 

My mother's bisque doll

  Today I make dolls; I love to make dolls and I’m not sure why. Before I started to make dolls, I played with dolls, then I collected dolls and then I bought dolls for my daughters and every now and then I’d buy a doll for myself. Most of the dolls I’ve collected were my mothers. She treasured her dolls and when she gave them to me they were in mint condition. I played with them alot and now they are very used.

embroidery detail

 

antique Shirly Temple doll in her original dress

 

antique Russian doll
Sally Ann doll
sleeping baby from the 60's

 

antique doll dress pattern

 

My grandma Burch used to make dolls for me and my sister and I’ve kept all of them. This is Raggedy Ann, she’s 30-some years old!

My grandmother made my Raggedy Ann doll
Raggedy Ann and Andy rag dolls

This is Andy, Raggedy Ann’s friend. Raggedy Ann and Andy are characters from the Series of books by Johny Gruelle. These dolls are well known by American children.

My grandma Burch had a good sence of humor; she used to make funny things sometimes, like this Dammit Doll.

Damn-it doll

The tag that comes with the doll reads:

When you think you want to climb the wall or stand right up and shout,

 Here’s a little Dammit Doll you cannot be without.

Just grab it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it.

Then as you whack it’s stuffings out, yell DAMMIT…. DAMMIT…..DAMMIT…..

I remember one of the first dolls I made myself, she was made from a gourd that I picked from our garden. Her body was a gourd, and her arms and legs were toothpicks and my mother made a summer dress for her. I have a photo of myself as a skinny little girl of 7 or 8 years old and my doll in front of our house in Greenfield, Indiana.

rubber flea market friends
little plastic guy
praying doll

This was my doll from the 1970’s. She recited a bedtime prayer when you pulled her string. My mother taught it to me and we used to recite it every night before bed, on our knees.

I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee lord my soul to keep. If I should die, before I wake, I pray thee lord my soul to take. Amen

Indian string doll

We bought this tiny doll in India for something like a penny. She’s about 3″ tall and she’s made of wire and thread. How simple and cute.

Nighty-night