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23 February 2016

Still Playing With Dolls

Well, I didn't mean to wait until so late in the day to chat with you! But I'm a big fan of old movies, and when I Remember Mama (with Irene Dunne) came on this afternoon, I became enthralled.  There's something about older films that very few modern films can achieve.  I'm not sure what it is; perhaps it's something as simple as heart.  I'm not silly enough to think that all old movies were gems, but I'd still rather watch an old movie than a new one.  And then Mr. Steve, the outdoor cat, brought a fat, juicy mouse onto the porch and began to dine ... much to the dismay of the dogs, who seemed upset to not be invited ... chaos ensued.

Last week, I introduced you to my first five kokeshi dolls.  Since we chatted last, I've made six more!

Kokeshi dolls #7 through #11

 I'm still using the pattern by Giodina as my basis, but I have made some alterations that I want to tell you about, in case you decide to purchase and try this pattern for yourself.

Four stitches used in this pattern, as written, were developed by the pattern's creator.  Near the top of the first page, Giodina says, "The following stitches: reversed chain, retro-slip stitch, retro-single crochet and the reversed single crochet are of my own invention."  She goes on to give a link to her YouTube tutorial, and also to her blog, where one can find directions on how to do these stitches.  To be honest, I was too impatient to go look at either.  So throughout the pattern, I use plain old single crochet.  When making the transition from the bottom of  the doll to the sides, I do crochet through the back loop only, to create a neat "fold" line.  So if you've bought this pattern and felt a quiver at learning new stitches, I didn't and things seem to be going well.

Last week, I also mentioned that I didn't like the wig cap as written by Giodina.  Using her pattern and patterns by Susan Morishita, I've come up with my own wig cap pattern that works perfectly for my purposes.  And, as you'll have noticed, I'm using 6 mm safety eyes instead of embroidery.  (Last week, I incorrectly referenced 9 mm safety eyes. Apologies for the error, which has been corrected, as has the link I gave you to the JoAnn Fabrics website.)

So now that I've told you my secrets, let's meet the girls individually!

Kokeshi #6
The sixth kokeshi in my collection is not included in the group photo above.  I made her as a travel talisman for my husband, who's on a business trip.  When I was expecting our daughter, everything he picked out for the nursery and layette featured, in some way, a little yellow duck.  So I used a little yellow duck bead, along with two hearts to show that he's loved and missed while he's away.

Kokeshi #7
This one was inspired by the ribbon floral adornment.  I used two shades of pink for her kimono.  Anyone remember Disney's animated film Cinderella?  That's what inspired the hairstyle and hair ornament!

Kokeshi #8
This one was not supposed to be blue and white!  When I went to bed on Friday night (exhausted from getting up at 3 AM to leave home by 4 AM to get to the airport by 5 AM for the man's 6 AM flight), I had the head and wig cap complete, and was planning to do the kimono in green, with sunflower and daisy buttons.  Saturday morning, however, I realized that it was game day for our Kentucky Wildcats, so this little cheerleader ended up in blue and white.  I've since bought some basketball buttons; I'm thinking about changing out the white flower for a basketball.  Or I might just make another Wildcat kokeshi .....

Princess Sakura, the Empress's granddaughter (kokeshi #9)
You may remember that I introduced you to the Empress in last week's kokeshi roundup.  I thought she needed some family to keep her company, so I made her a granddaughter.  My granddaughters are the apples of my eyes, and I'm so pleased to celebrate that relationship with these little dolls.

The next two kokeshi are very special.  I have two friends, mother and daughter, who live in Wales, and I was inspired to create "portrait" kokeshi to celebrate our friendship.  First, let's meet Catherine!

Catherine (kokeshi #10)
Catherine loves purple, so I chose purple for her kimono.  The yellow flower components, centered by shiny green beads, are my interpretation of daffodils, the national flower of Wales.  I added the blue floral embroidery to introduce another color into the work.  Catherine's hair is hand-laid and sewn to the head with backstitches.

Jenny (kokeshi #11)
This is Jenny, Catherine's daughter.  Jenny is an artist, who combines beach glass found along the coast with stained glass and leading to create beautiful works of art.  (You can visit her Facebook page here!)  I put Jenny in turquoise to complement her hair, and added several Czech glass beads -- which, unfortunately, don't show up well in this photo.  The hair ornament is a silver bead with a turquoise glass star charm.  (It looks like there's a red bead in there, but that's just the reflection of the hair color in the star setting.)  The hardest part of this project (no pun intended) was getting that side part just right!  As with Catherine, Jenny's hair is hand-laid to the wig cap with backstitching.

So those are my newest kokeshi, and I'm still excited about making more!  In fact, younger daughter and I went to the Big Town yesterday, where I spent .... well .... let's just say I'm now well stocked on beads and buttons! ;)

Before I head to the kitchen to start dinner, I want to share with you something I discovered that is making my kokeshi crocheting much easier.  I've always used regular Polyfil® stuffing for my "softie" projects.  With these kokeshi, and with the African Flower dala horse I did not long ago, my biggest complaint was that the stuffing tended to "beard" when I was sewing the wig cap to the head.  ("Bearding" means little filaments of the stuffing come through the doll fabric.)  With supplies running low, I recently bought another bag of Polyfil® -- but this time, I purchased Polyfil® Crafter's Choice.  It's especially recommended for dollmaking, as it's less prone to bearding.

It's my last night home alone (HURRAH! I miss the boy!), so I'm going to go heat up some soup and watch some rugby.  Do leave me a comment and tell me what you're working on lately!  Thanks for stopping by!

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