Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Preparation To Doll Making and Falling In Love

It's funny how one thing often leads to another.  This past month I was to make preparations for my doll making adventure.  Fabric was purchased and the pattern was copied onto card stock for ease of repeated use.  If like me you have wondered why Waldorf Dolls are so expensive...it is because of the materials used to create them.  100% cotton knit, Wool Stuffing and lovely soft mohair yarn for the hair, no polyester fiberfill or fabric would do.
My Sister-In-Law raises sheep and she generously offered to send me a fleece to create the wool stuffing.  Sounds fun, wash a little wool and have some stuffing...yeah right, that's what happened.  The wool arrived about a month ago in a box, I peaked inside and promptly closed the box!  That wool was dirty, this would be a project for another day!  The box was taken to the basement, out of sight out of mind.  Every trip to the basement was a reminder of my task needing to be done.  I recently had some foot surgery and was told to stay off my feet and keep the foot dry.  Why is it when we are told not to do something, the thought of doing something opposite seems so enticing?  That wool was calling my name, so I began reading about the washing process and watching youtube videos....it all seemed very doable and not as scary as I thought.
I brought the box outside, sat up a table and chair to begin the cleaning process.  The fleece had been skirted which means most of the raggedy edges and poo tags had been removed.  What it does not mean is, that all of the hay bits, chaf, ticks, burs, twigs other poo tags and items you would find in a barnyard had been removed.  Those were there all mingled in with the wool, did I really want to do this?
 Yes I was determined I would clean this fleece, muck and all.  I sat there picking up a handful of locks and began the process of removing what I could, it was a beautiful day and really not a terrible job.  What I did not expect was my mind began to wander, the fleece was full of lanolin and felt so good on my hands and the smell....well, surely it must be what heaven smells like.  I was head over heals in love with my task at hand.  It took me 2 days to pick through the fleece (the box weighed 11 pounds).
The washing process involves using HOT water and soaking, more hot water, more soaking and lots of rinsing.  Yes,  that water is as dirty as it looks in the photo!
After rinsing I took the fleece out to dry in the sun.
It is amazing how much cleaner it is!  There are still small bits of hay they call that "vm" or vegetable matter.  I was so caught up in the whole process I called my SIL and told her I would be buying a spinning wheel next!  I did pay a visit to a nearby fiber store The Woolery and sought some advice on fluffing up the wool and removing the remaining vm.  That conversation led me to purchasing hand carders and a drop spindle.
I have been carding and rolling up rolags of wool for using with the drop spindle.  My resulting yarn is a bit lumpy but I was assured with practice it will smooth out.  I still have small bits in the wool and have read Wool Combs will remove all the vm. The wool combs are expensive so I am thinking of making my own, that will be another post!  
So, the idea of doll making, lead to the pattern/book buying, which lead to the fabric buying, which lead to the wool stuffing need, which lead to a generous gift from my SIL, which lead to studying, which lead to finding heaven in a box of  dirty wool, which lead to  HOT washing and very red hands, which lead to drying on a screen, which lead to a trip to the fiber arts supplier, which lead to wool carders and a major crush on a spinning wheel and some wool combs, which has lead to me drop spinning every day...and all I began wanting to do, was make a doll!!!

Love to all,


laurie said...

oh my gosh, what a process but I can tell you love it!! Such beautiful wool, my family raised sheep and I can smell that wool just by looking at it, lol...lots of work!!

Mosaic Magpie said...

Yes, lots of work but that smell is worth it all!
Thanks for stopping by!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

....and the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone....and the thigh bone.... (well, you get the picture!). Isn't that always the way though? One thing leads to another and then you suddenly wake up and wonder how you got where you are.

deanna7trees said...

you did such a beautiful job with the wool. i love to spin but haven't had the time to do it lately. i bought a Little Meggie kick wheel spindle and really like it better than the drop spindle....need to get with it and use it more often.

Createology said...

Goodness gracious you are full in and learning so much more than I ever imagined would be involved. Kudos to you for cleaning that box of wool. Now I do hope you are taking care of your surgery healing. Next you will be spinning the wool into yarn and knitting little sweaters for your Waldorf dolls. High on Life July Dear...

margaret said...

trust the foot is healing well, I had a bunion done a good few years ago and was given a zimmer frame to get about with!
So you have now added spinning to all your achievements think you are going to throughly enjoy doing that, good that you have someone that can supply it to you, the wool once washed looks lovely but glad I did not have to undertake that task

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Some might say you must be crazy. Some might say that's a lot of work. Some might say what difference does it make if the dolls you make use the same materials as the originals. Some might say why be a Jack of All Trades when you can be a Master of One. I say pooh-pooh to all of them. One creative process leads to another when you have an inquiring mind. And that leads to self satisfaction and a healthy mind. This was an interesting path and I think its really cool that you took it...whatever will be see next!?!
xx, Carol

Dorthe said...

Dear Deb, what a feast you have had, all coming from the wish of making a special doll.
I have cleaned lots of sharf wool myself, for all the Danish elves I have created and sold over the years in my shop, so I know what it takes of work :-)
I never wanted to spinn the wool, as I`m not having patience enough for that process, but I know of the temptations to start new ventures ,and dig into knowlage of this and that, having to do with our creative lives :-)
Hugs from Dorthe

desertskyquilts said...

Isn't that just how life is? We think something will be horrible, and then at the end, we realize how good it was for us to do it. Even if the yarn doesn't smooth out so much, nubby yarn is good, too. =) I look forward to seeing the final doll someday, if you don't go off on the spinning adventure instead. =)

margaret said...

I admire you a as always, but you lost me at poo tags! I can't wait to see the doll.

Jillayne said...

Oh, I love this - you sound like me!!! This is exactly how it would go for me - each thing leads to another, and to more joy. And now, thanks to you, I'm off to read about drop spindles...

Barbara Gröger said...

Oh wow! du fängst ja wirklich ganz am Anfang an! was für eine Arbeit!

Liebe Grüße


Wollwesen said...

That sounds like a lot of work but a really good outcome!
Have a lot of fun with all these new adventures!


Krystyna Bienias-Machowska said...

What a nice post. I think your doll will have the loveliest stuffing full of love.
Looking forward to our September meeting to see your next doings.

Createology said...

I like your new banner dear.

Caro NATURMAMA said...

That's just amazing! Thank you for sharing this story and beautiful progress of cleaning the wool and all. I love it! How exciting to make a doll with that kind of wool. So, are you going to make a doll with us? We are meeting again next Wednesday and I shall be very happy to "see" you there!

Best regards,

Caroline from NATURKINDER

JennyPennyPoppy said...

Hi Deb, great post and I hope you are loving all the spinning you are doing. A woman that I work with knits and spins and dyes her own roving. She gave me a drop spindle last month and has been teaching me how to spin which I am thoroughly enjoying even though I don't quite have the hang of it. Just need lots of practice.

suziqu's thread works said...

Such a wonderful story to read Deb. I love handling fleece, owning some goats of our own, and love the smell of them and their gorgeous mohair fleeces which I often take a bit from the bag, wash it, dye it, then often stitch with it these days. I used to spin wool in the 70's and still have my hand crafted spinning wheel made by a wood craftsman. I still adore it but rarely use it these days.
I do hope you spend many happy hours creating wool with your spindle - it is such a calming and soothing process!

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