rag dolls and woollies

rag dolls and woollies

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How the rag dolls happened

To say I never stopped spinning is, actually, not true. I did have to stop spinning for a while earlier this year. My thumb started hurting - right at the joint where it joins the hand, you know? I like to spin directly from the carder but that really does put some wear and tear on that joint. And it really started to hurt. And then it hurt up my arm.

Once I started using my hands to make a living I discovered a brand new thing to worry about -- my hands. Banging and smashing fingers, cuts and burns are now a cause for a lot of anxiety (and some nasty language, I admit) And when my thumb (and arm) started to hurt, I took notice.

I rubbed on BF&C and went to the chiropractor. I tried learning to spin with my right hand pulling the fibers. But I am left handed and it was tough. So it all pointed to knocking off the spinning......temporarily.

Sitting still however is not an option. I've never been able to keep my hands still and have been (at different times in life) a thumb sucker (quit), a smoker (quit!), an addicted coffee drinker (still living in the problem), nail biter (we won't discuss that), knitter, spinner, crocheter, weaver, sewer....and now we're talking about obsessions worth living for.

It turned out that sewing and all the associated activities did not irritate that joint. My little grand-daughter was just two and really a bit too young to appreciate a rag doll but that wasn't going to stop me! Do you remember Laura Ashley when it was a fabulous store and they made gorgeous children's clothes? My goal would be to dress the dolls in my best imitation of a Laura Ashley.

Ahhh!!! Quilt fabric! Lace! Ribbons! I can make up the dresses (using a basic bodice and skirt template) as I sew them. Of course, this doesn't translate into real clothes - my doll dresses are NOT comfortable, they only aim to look good.

The kitchen table was piled with gorgeous fabrics, which are, of course, only affordable for doll-sized dresses. The floor was a mess. There was no dinner (and nothing in the fridge even if you wanted to make it yourself). The house went to rack and ruin. My husband would occasionally look over this mess (he's really very tolerant) and remark dryly that I seemed to be "having too much fun."


The dolls became more sophisticated with knees, elbows, fingers and toes. With much help and encouragement from my friend, Debbie, I took a risk and embroidered a face with my own design. That one took an hour (okay, it seemed like an hour) but for sure the next ones were faster. Joyce said, "you need to make extra dresses." OMG - twisted my arm, she did! - and I went back to the cutting table and sewed more.

I hope a few of them might sell during the upcoming holiday season so I have an excuse to trash the house and make more dolls. I want to try noses and eye sockets next.


  1. great beginnings! it wil be fun to follow along!

  2. I admit, sleeping on the couch has been dangerous since this profession started - some days I wake up finding I have involuntarily tried acupuncture with a sewing needle.