Fenella Scarlett

fenella scarlett

I have a new friend in my house. Her name is Fenella Scarlett and she comes from Jane at Yarnstorm. She arrived yesterday and I think she was a bit taken aback when she saw the weather-


Snow in October? Where had she landed? Luckily she was prepared- she had on her beautiful and cozy scarf. Yikes, we both wanted to climb into the box and ship ourselves back to England! Today was better-


The weather was beautiful, all the snow has melted and we were able to go to the annual block party… the leaves are suppose to be in full color, but this has been an extremely odd foliage/weather season.


The feet on Santa made me think of a fish tail, which got me thinking mermaid thoughts…

I didn’t have any pinky tone wool, so I dyed some. 3 different woolen fabrics- a knit, a thin twill and a soft, loose woven fabric. One of the things I like about dyeing is the different shades of color I get.

pink wool

Here she is, cut out, with another Santa face and my mostly finished teddy bear…


and here she is!


She is all wool fabric and stuffed with wool. Her hair was a challenge until I remembered this yarn.
I bought it August 2004- I knew I would need it! See Rosa’s
comment? I never forgot it!



Auctions, goodies and progress notes

Skinner Auction House is having a doll auction on Nov. 3. I hope I can get out to the preview. There are some things I’d love to see in person- deco ladies, pin cushion doll, Door of Hope child, Dewees Cochran doll, and some great automaton toys.

Did you get your copy of Jess Hutch’s knitting pattern book? I can’t wait to get mine! I really admire anyone who can put patterns onto paper for another person to use- I have tried and find it incredibly difficult.

more heads

And I’m working on more ways to make an animal head… doing the teddy bear pattern is fun, but not really what I’m looking for- there are 21 pieces in the pattern! And it is only going to be about 5″ tall! I am trying to make a sewing pattern that will produce a look similar to the kitties I knitted, especially this one.

Woolen Santa Claus



santa back

The Vintage Clothdollmaking list on Yahoo is having a Santa challenge. It fit right in with my personal challenge to find ways of using all the woolen fabric I’ve got. I think I spent as much time trying to get a decent picture as I did to make the doll… I gave up with the picture. The fall light is beautiful, but makes photographing my work very difficult.

Pattern Experiments


I’ll stop whining and get to work here! I have been trying out some patterns for soft animals and other ideas running through my head. The drawings are Richard Scarry inspired. The body on the right is my first try, using a pattern from Sewing Tiny Toys by Carolyn Vosburg Hall. I was aiming for a cat, but I think it looks like a fox. On the left is my second try- my own pattern. More cat-like, but still needs lots of work. Right now I am trying a classic teddy bear head- well actually I’m doing the whole bear, not just doing the head. It is a 3 piece head pattern- 2 sides and a piece that goes down the middle of the face. I’ve never tried this design before.

In the middle of the picture is my Santa face experiment. Something else I’m stewing about,,,

Show at Handworks


We went out to Handworks in Acton yesterday for the Fiber Arts Ashow. I was really pleased how my dolls looked! I could see them right from the front door- actually I could see them as I pulled into the parking space. The whole gallery is full of rich colors and textures- it all seems so right for fall and the cold, dreary weather we’ve been having. Then we went off to buy apples and a pumpkin… classic New England October activities.


I am sorting through the stuff I’ve brought home from my parents house. I am walking a thin line between being inspired and overwhelmed. Actually right now I am overwhelmed, but I am working toward getting control and then being inspired… So I’m trying to organize what I will keep and get rid of a certain amount of stuff- that’s the hard part. I have an aversion to putting stuff into the trash, so I feel like I need to find good homes, as if the stuff was kittens!

I went to the library to see if I could find some books about stuffed animal making. I’m thinking about that direction for the woolen fabrics- you can see I’ve got a lot to work with-


I’m packing it up for now. I’ll put it out of sight and make decisions about what to keep after a few experiments.


There are similar piles of silk, bark cloth, table linens, art books, interesting papers and old sewing notions. And this is just the stuff I’m considering keeping. There is lots of other stuff that I’m listing on ebay and/or calling local dealers about. In my house this could be a never ending process.

I’ve got to get to doing some of my own work. I’m getting cranky. Always a sign.

doll club meeting

Lots of fun yesterday at doll club. I am now the vice-president (Ha! as much responsibility as any vice president) and I get to sit in the front in a nice chair. I missed the September meeting and so brought all the stuff I’d been working on since early June. Turned out to be a lot!


I also got to see one of the dolls from my workshop last summer, almost finished. I love it! Thanks Sue!


I am always amazed by the ways the internet wraps around the world. My daughter, Eleanor, who is in Cape Town for a Junior year abroad from college, was IMing with my husband, Ben this morning, in the Boston area. She pointed out that this blog, Puppetry News, had a photo of a church that is right around the corner from my house- which maybe doesn’t sound surprising except this is a blog of an African puppeteer who currently lives in Australia and was visiting the US.

Well, anyway- here is something else I’ve been thinking about- comments. I regularly read a fair number of blogs- probably around 100. Also, I have a group of contacts on Flickr whose work I regularly check out. I try to comment often, although I don’t do it enough. I notice that no matter how much I like something or want to comment on it, if there are already lots of comments, more then 10 say, I am very unlikely to add mine… somehow I feel intimidated, or like whatever I have to say has probably already been said. It leaves me feeling a tiny bit guilty for not doing my bit…

stash enhancement (?)

Clearing out my parents house has lead to a huge influx of possible usable art materials into my house- I am not sure if I should classify it as enhancement or distraction. I have found all sorts of little paper ephemera, old books that are falling apart, old christmas cards with interesting stamps on the envelopes… get the picture? I have always been inspired by materials around me and so this is pushing me to try some collage- How can I resist?

Here is a sample- I have found this old french first-aid manual from 1929. The pictures are amazing!


Do people cut up the actual images or scan onto archival papers and save the originals?

I also have a huge pile of fabric scraps to contemplate- mostly beautiful silk, wool and cashmere. Some with large scale grid, plaid or check patterns. It is the cashmere that really calls to me, but it is coat material and how can I incorporate it into my doll work? It calls out to be touched and petted… hmmm, ideas percolating….

Doll club today- I am giving a presentaion on atc’s.



Yesterday I drove out to Acton to deliver my dolls for the show at Handworks.


I brought Ione, Tallulah and Minnie, Autumn, and Sparrow. I was thrilled when I saw that they had included a picture of Sparrow in their publicity.

For a bigger view of the invitation, I posted it at my Flickr gallery. There is no opening, which is just as well since I have to go back to Connecticut over the week-end. I’d love to hear if anyone goes to the show- it starts on October 8 and runs through the month.