Saturday, 27 October 2018

Izannah Walker Dolly

Just two days ago we we're down on  Poldhu Cove in short sleeved t-shirts , sitting at the pic-nic tables , enjoying chocolate ice-creams from Poldhu Beach  Cafe and watching all the happy families and surfers having fun on the beach ...last night the weather changed..the wind blowing from the North and heavy icy squalls ....we must  have had lightning because the clock on my cooker had stopped and it's light was flashing on and off .
 We,ve lit the fire for the first time this year and I,m glad I brought a good pile of logs in .....brrrr was chilly when I let the dog out first thing and there were hail stones on the front lawn .

 And so to work ..... Izannah Walker is said to be one of America's earliest doll makers ,born 1817 , Bristol , Rhode Island  .
 Now then , I dont have any pictures of an original antique Izannah Walker doll.... but there are plenty to be found online if you search the name .
 ... and if you do look it up you too will fall in love with that sweet face !
  I have been reading Dixie Redmond's fantastic journal -   where she has many wonderful pictures of both old dolls and many of her own beautiful creations . She has very generously given a free pattern for the doll's body .
 She also gives workshops , if you live close enough .. I live a whole ocean away , so will just have to do my best and follow her instructions on the journal .
   I have been gathering everything I need to make one and am going to give it a go .

 I have made many , many cloth dolls before but only used clay on my tiny weeny  dolls house size poppets and dolls . Painting with gesso and sculpting clay onto cloth is a new and scary thing for me .

 I,m actually going to make two dolls with Dixie's free pattern. One for me and one for my three year old sweetheart granddaughter ...but first it will be the Angel on the top of the Christmas tree , Grandma will give it to her sometime  during the Christmas festivities :)


My one is stuffed with upholsterers shredded rags stuffing is what my Grandmother used to stuff her home made teddies and dolls with , it packs in nicely and firmly and gives a good weight too . I think the weight is important .
  My granddaughter's doll will be stuffed with the health and safety grade polyester stuffing that we are now told to use ... she will be the Angel on the Christmas tree , so probably better to be lighter in weight anyway .

 I made a small dart at the neck to give a little more shape to the chin .

I used a pencil to poke in the stuffing and stitched the knee and elbow joints with a couple of stitches .

I stitched on the thumbs , reducing the size a little bit and hand-stitched the fingers .
 I wont bother stitch the fingers on my Granddaughter's doll , I will keep it very simple .

So this is where I,m up to ...I,m painting on the gesso..and now it has to be left to set before putting on the clay .
  While it is drying I,m going to go and sort out some nice fabric for the dolly's clothes .
  That's all for now......see you again soon ! Keep cosy and warm ....go and get your flu jab !

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Comfort Stitching - Autumn

Autumn has arrived , rainbow leaves tumbling in the wind .
Breezy dog walking down our country lane , I gather pretty leaves and wish that they would keep their beautiful brazen colour on the trees for longer ... the weather has been mild during the day , cold by night ..but no frost . Last night we had some rain ...dry today here in Mullion , but the cold North wind is blowing .
 Time to dig out the warmer jackets .

                         So I came home with my handful of pretty leaves .
To my cupboard of wool to find Autumn colours , needle and thread ....

I found an old vintage tray cloth , a lovely , soft piece of honey coloured  linen and with a pencil drew around my leaves ....I found a way to save my pretty leaves ! I began to stitch ..just simple easy needle-painting with my crewel wool .

I felt that I had to work fast in the beginning , as my leaves are turning crisp and the colours changing . This , I thought , is good for me, teaching me not to obsess about my work nor linger too long .....

Always several projects on the go ! I,m making wreaths and birdies and dolls and aprons and always thinking , thinking ahead of what I will make in the future .....

Once I have stitched around the outside of  my leaves , I worked the veins , I chose my colours and realised I could slow down the pace , this is not a race after all and now it becomes more relaxing ......the way I like to stitch .....what I call my "comfort stitching" ...... sigh .... breathe ......relax .....

    "Comfort stitching" is just my stitching for joy and relaxation .....please dont ask me " Yes , but what is it going to be ?" ...It is just a joy to do ...a simple reflection... a meditation ....a prayer .

                       The soft crewel wool is comforting in my hands .

Today I noticed the Oak tree changing , they turn from Emerald green and gold then to paper bag brown and hang on to the branches far longer than the other tree's leaves .

         I gathered a few branches blown down during the rain last night .

               I worked the outline and veins of a plain brown Ivy leaf .....

...enjoyed painting the scarlet Hawthorn leaf ...the trees are heavily laden with berries .

Another Ivy leaf ....this one is butter yellow . I worked closely couching the veins in the same colour as the rest of the leaf .

This afternoon I baked a chicken,bacon and mushroom ,n,vegetables pie with a puff pastry crust , a pile of mash and buttered carrots . We took the dog for her second walk down the lane .I gathered a few more Hawthorn leaves as my other ones had changed their hue.
 Later on I relaxed on my bed and worked the little randomly scattered straight stitches between the veins on that brown Ivy leaf . I work these stitches which gently support the"long and short"stitches that I will stitch over the top of them .
 I noticed some dark spots on the sycamore leaf and put them in with tiny colonial knots ...I need to work the darker edges .

             The two original leaves and two freshly fallen Hawthorn .

 I left the brown Ivy leaf after couching the veins over and over...this leaf is just varying shades of brown ..tough on the eyes ....I will come back to it later .
I embroidered the central vein of the second little pencilled in Hawthorn leaf and am just deciding which way to work the colours .
   So that is as far as I have come with it today .
I,ll do a little bit more of it in my bed before I fall asleep .

 This is one of my dolls that I acquired a couple of years ago....but I will tell you about him another time .
 The Chicken pie was yummy !
  What are you "Comfort Stitching " ?

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Peace , Love and Joy Felt Hearts and Birdies

 Sorry ! I,ve not posted on here for a while . Husband has had hip replacement surgery and there have been many hospital appointments . He is doing really well thanks to the wonderful Surgeon, Doctors and nurses .
 I,ve had absolutely no computer time and not enough time to organise my next proper embroidery project .
 However I was inspired over at Wendy's do go take a look ..where she has been stitching flowery felt hearts and birds and inviting us all to have a go . A big thankyou to Wendy for inspiring me ! Here are my felt hearts and birds creations that I,d like to share with you all .
This would be the perfect little things to sit and stitch whilst sitting in the  hospital and physio waiting room .
 First a trip to good ol' Hobbycraft to pick a bunch of cheerful ,bright and colourful squares of felt . I just used up my hoarded left overs of cotton embroidery threads..I just cant bare to throw any away...I just randomly picked the colours as I went along .

I drew the words on in pencil and on the dark fabrics I used a fine white fabric propelling pencil .. I decided to travel back to the funky 60's in my embroidery time machine and spread a little peace , love and joy !

                           Calmly stitching while a gale raged outside .

                              I must say these are really quite addictive !

              These will be going on my funky Christmas tree this year ...along with the colourful fairy lights and silver tinsel .

     They will then be hung up in my kitchen to keep it cheerful all year round .

I only used the most simple embroidery stitches on these , mostly lazy- daisy,colonial knots,back-stitch, stem stitch ,satin stitch and button-hole stitch around the edge . A pretty ribbon to hang with and a little bit of stuffing to fill and some have lavender too .
 I,m just making a couple more .....  :)   ......very addictive !

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Briggs Garden Lady - Long Hot Cornish Summer Days

Yes , long hot Cornish summer days are here again ....and the local beaches are full of happy families , ice-creams , buckets and spades , sand castles , surf -boards and sun cream !
 Not for me...I,m sitting in our summer house in the shade with a fan on to cool me down and enjoying some stitching time ... it's too hot to do any gardening .

              I,ve completed quite a bit more and am putting in the little details .

             I thought I,d try and embroider the veins on the Pansies .......

........well , I wondered if I could ....I,m using crewel wool..which is quite thin ...thinner than tapestry wool ....

 ....but still too thick for the delicate veins . So I thought I,d try splitting the crewel wool . It was a bit fiddly but not impossible !

It didn't have to be perfect , I just wanted to give a suggestion of them being Pansies .

 This would probably look better worked in embroidery cottons or silk ...fuzzy wuzzy Pansies ... lol !

 Crewel wool is not really all that happy being split apart , as you can see in this pic...but it can be done is not too bad if you use a much shorter length than usual and be very , very gentle with it .

 I,ve added more flowers and outlined some of the basket to make it stand out more .

I always have a little Robin following me when I ,m gardening I put him in from another vintage embroidery transfer .....and pots with Lobelia .

                                             Then I thought......bees !

          Bzzzzzzzz .... By the way , the Red Hot Poker flowers  I worked in Bullion stitch with my chenille needle .
  I sought advice from Mary Corbet over at   about a suitable make of needles ....but I think the American Bullion Needle size numbers seem to be different to ours over here in the U.K.
    Then I discovered Tulip Hiroshima Bullion Knot Needles "Big Eye"..these are brilliant and make nice straight bullion knots ...unlike the ones I did with my Chenille needle .......however ...I like the way the knots turned out sort of fat at the bottom and more like Kniphofia flowers ! See what I mean in the pic above .
  Now I have several packets of ordinary Bullion Knot Needles in different makes and sizes AND these lovely Tulip Hiroshima Bullion Knot needles to play with !

             ..............then I got carried away and maybe put in too many bees !

Sometimes it's just nice to get carried away ..takes me away from thoughts of things going on out there in the world . Happy here in my own little world !

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Briggs Garden Lady - in pink !

   First of all I apologise for the poor quality pictures , my camera is playing up !

                              My Ula bag ... Ula is Cornish for Owl  ....
                                 All packed and ready for a trip .

  We have had a few more hospital appointments , husband this time , but I have found comfort,calm and peace in the hospital waiting room with my embroidery in my hands .
 We have also had a few nice short breaks away in Devon and Dorset again where I have found time to relax and stitch a little .

                                I finally settled on pink for her gown .
                     It is coming along , I am doing a little every day .


Izannah Walker Dolly