Archive for June, 2009

Quilting Adventures in Richmond, VA

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Last weekend I was teaching at a fabulous quilt store in Richmond, VA.  I'm afraid I left quite a bit of my hard earned dollars in the store.  I had a difficult time deciding which fabrics to buy, so bought a bunch.  If you are ever in Richmond, VA go to Quilting Adventures.
QuiltAdvJun09classroom The classroom is roomy with project walls for those making quilts.  We were making dolls and also the cover from my new book, Creative Cloth Explorations.  Everyone was able to spread out and not feel crowded.  It was wonderful for all of us.

QuiltAdvJune09 The ten hearty souls that took my two-day Aerin class were heaps of fun.  We dyed all kinds of fabrics, collaged, used the embellishing machines, drew and sculpted the dolls face, did some more dyeing – in other words, we had a very diverse two days.

Mary Terry on the far right in the dark shirt and blue jeans was my host.  He and her husband, Henry, helped make me feel at home in their home.

Kathleen Chrisman is in the green next to Mary.  Kathleen is the editor of Dolls Unlimited, an online doll-zine.  Kathleen teaches doll making classes in the shop.

Joyce Hartley is the owner of this amazing shop.  She's got a fabulous staff who are extremely helpful.  You'll love looking at all the samples, and fondling all the marvelous fabrics.  And, Joyce got me hooked on WonderFil threads.  My Bernina machines like them.  I still love Kreinik's machine threads, and Superior and Mettler.  But, that's for another post. 

Attaching a doll head to the doll body

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Probably the number 2 question I get, after how do I do the faces on my dolls, is how do you attach the head.  In my patterns and books I explain it, but it does help to have photo's.  Thus this post.

DollHeadAttachment1 After filling the body with stuffing, firmly, I slip a pipe cleaner down the spine and have a bit of it sticking up out of the neck.  You can barely see it in this photo.  The neck on this particular doll body is quite long so the pipe cleaner doesn't need to stick that far above the neck opening.

Using a pair of hemostats grasp the neck firmly and squeeze it small enough to insert into the opening at the back of the dolls head. 

On the sample I've locked the hemostats so I could take a photo.  Generally they are in my hand.

DollHeadAttachment2 With my free hand I rock the head onto the neck.  Using the hemostats I push the neck fabric up into the opening at the back of the head.

Nearly all dolls have an opening in the back of the head, but check with the pattern designer you are working with.  Theirs might be different from how I do doll heads.

DollHeadAttachment3 After I have the head placed as I'd like it, I pin it in place.

Thread a needle with about 1/2-yard/meter of strong thread and anchor at the back of the head, or neck.

Ladder stitchDollHeadAttachment4 the head to the neck all the way around.

A ladder stitch is the same as a hidden stitch.  You don't want your threads to show as you get to the sides and front of the head.

Once around anchor the thread and cut.
You can see the sample to the right how the stitches don't show.  Click on the photo and you'll get a larger image so you can see it a bit clearer.

DollHeadAttachment5 When attaching the head angle it in a way that gives her more of an attitude.  This dolls head is turned slightly to her left, your right as you are looking at the photo.  When she's finished she'll look more interesting rather than a straight on attitude/look.

This doll is a work in progress.  She'll be a new pattern once she's dressed, wigged and accessorized.  I've not come up with her name yet.  I generally don't until they are completely finished.  Sometimes a name I've chosen beforehand just doesn't fit her when she's done.

I hope this little tutorial gives you a better idea of how I attach heads.

One final note.  I can't live without a pair of hemostats (forceps).  I use them for turning, stuffing, adjusting, grabbing things, you name it.  I have turning tubes for little fingers and Barbara Willis' small stuffing fork for small places, but my number one tool is the hemostat.  Thought you'd like to know.

Also, and this is my final note, I can't live without my Bernina sewing machine.  They have a magical foot, #37, that allows me to see my drawn lines as I sew, yet keeps the fabric stable. 

Happy doll making!


Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Last week I flew to Orlando, FL to attend Kieran's promotion from Pre-School.  I was so proud of her.  She was the cutest and brightest in her class, of course.  For those who don't know, she's my five year old granddaughter.  Kieran is the 4th "graduate" from the left on the front row.  Isn't she adorable?

Her sister, Kayleigh, wanted to try out her "cap".  Kayleigh is almost 3 years old, so has a bit of time to go before she is in pre-school.KayleighKieranJune09

It was fun attending the promotion, but mostly being there to visit the grandchildren.  We live too far away.

Someday that will change.  John and I pray that we'll be able to move somewhere closer.  Kentucky has captured us.  So, we'll see what develops.

CruzFamilyBestJune09 Our grandson, Kayman, is still a bit too young to be too interested in pre-school.  He has started walking.  At 13 months he's quite a charmer.  It is always hard leaving them.

Our son-in-law was able to be home for the promotion.  Luis works hard to provide for his family.  He's a flight attendant with United Airlines.  And, yes, that is the airline I mostly fly on.  As "in-laws" we don't get flight privileges, but I fly United because I like them.  Having worked for the airlines for a gazillion years, I find United better than most.

Do I get privileges from my career with the airlines?  No.  I jumped around too much.  I started with Bonanza Airlines in 1962, then went with Contiental, Flying TIgers, Airlift – all as a flight attendant.  Then into Marketing & sales with Aloha Airlines and lastly All Nippon Airways.

My next post will be about my time at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, VA.  I'm very excited about my time there.  The quilt shop has an amazing array of fabrics.  I can see I won't be making much money on this trip. 

Also, if you've not signed up for my eNewsletter do so.  I'll be announcing my next intensive workshop soon. 

In the meantime, enjoy life!  It's the best.