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Dollmaker's Journey

November 2001 Issue Six

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November 2001 Issue Six


Copyright ©2001 by Dollmaker's Journey
Dollmaker's Journey Customer Connection newsletter is a free e-mail
newsletter. Tell your friends, family and fellow dollmakers about us,
and feel free to forward this newsletter to those who might be
interested. Visit our companion website:


Dear dollmaker friends,

Now more than ever, we're taking comfort in the simple things...being
with family for traditional celebrations, making dolls for gifts or
for ourselves, decorating our homes for the holidays, and all those
things that make this season special. Wherever you spend this holiday
season (it's rapidly approaching!) remember to take time to savor the
little things...the simple things...the things that make life

'Til next time, take care--Mary Ann and Bonnie


Designer Cyndy Sieving has set the wheels in motion for the Columbus,
Ohio May 2003 cloth doll convention ARTISTIC FIGURES IN CLOTH. A
Holiday Inn located within 15 minutes of the Columbus airport has been
contracted for May 1st registration and the classes to be held May
2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The classes will be taught in the hotel and there
is a great selection of eating and shopping establishments close by.

The teaching proposals are still flowing in and there are some really
exciting new classes being offered. Emphasis will be placed on
selecting projects with innovative techniques. If you wish to be one
of the first to get the information on teachers, challenges, sales
tables and how to register, e-mail your name and snail mail address to
Cyndy Sieving at
or mail your contact information to Cyndy's Dolls, P.O. Box 44244,
Columbus, Ohio 43204



We're delighted to welcome our dear friend and fellow Doll Bee member
JOANN LAW to our Dollmaker's Journey family of designers. Joann's
first published pattern is an easy to make 8" doll cleverly attired in
a beautiful kimono made from an 11" square decorative handkerchief.
Kimono Handkerchief Doll is a terrific way to preserve a treasured

Canadian designer HEATHER GAILEY is again tickling our creative fancy
with her Celebration Pindoll,which is made from tulle and stuffed with
threads and found objects. A really fun project for using up all
those bits and pieces from our sewing rooms.

KATHLEEN CHRISMAN has again incorporated her love of beading into a
spectacular treetop or table angel "Faith."

PATTI LA VALLEY has really outdone herself with her exquisite
reclining mermaid - Mareena, with her beautiful trim, bead and shell



By Bonnie B. Lewis

Here is the method my good friend Ellyn Voss uses to get wonderful
dyed mohair fleece for doll hair.

CAUTION! This method works best with bleached hides because they stay
supple when dyed. Unbleached hides become stiff and brittle,
difficult to work into a wig. It is bleached if the fleece is white
and not off-white or yellow. Other terminology: A skin tanned
WASHABLE dyes beautifully. A skin tanned DRY CLEAN will harden.

1. Cut skins into about 12" square pieces (or as tall as your pitcher
by 18" long ‚ see step 3). Larger pieces are more difficult to dye
using this method.

2. Dissolve 1/2 package Rit dye (powdered dye works best) in 1 cup
very hot water. Stir to dissolve. Cool to lukewarm. Make sure you
have adequate ventilation when using the powdered dyes.

3. Add 6 to 8 cups tepid water to dye mixture in two-quart pitcher.
(This is very important, because fleece can be shocked if subjected to
extreme temperature variations. Hot water will cause the hide to
stiffen.) Pitcher may be glass, enamel or plastic, but NOT metal.
Mix dye thoroughly, using wooden or plastic stirrer. You can also use
a 9 x13" glass or enamel (NEVER metal) pan, but pieces of fleece must
be cut to fit pan. IMPORTANT *NEVER* use any of these utensils or
containers for food again.

4. Wet hide in lukewarm water. Loosely roll into tube with fleece
side out.

5. Immerse fleece in tepid dye bath in the pitcher until you are
satisfied with the color. DO NOT agitate; just make sure fleece is
completely covered with dye. You can push fleece down into dye with
handle of stirrer. Remember that the fleece will look a lot darker
when wet, and will lighten in color when dry. This step can take from
ten minutes to several hours to overnight, depending on how dark you
want the mohair. You can use the dye several times, but the color
will lighten and you will have to leave the fleece in longer for good

6. Gently rinse out excess dye under tepid running water. It helps to
wear plastic gloves so your hands won't become dyed in the process.
Some people are also allergic to the dyes; better safe than sorry.

7. Place wet fleece on an old white towel and roll up, gently
pressing to remove excess water. You can do this several times.

8. Hang fleece with nap going down on a clothesline and dry by turning
on a powerful fan. Dry the skin side first for about an hour, then
turn fleece around and dry the mohair side. Using a fan will speed up
drying time and help the mohair to fluff. Be sure and place an old
towel under the drying fleece to absorb any excess water that might
drip. This method of drying is preferable to using the clothes dryer
because it eliminates agitation, which can create felting.

Realistic colors: For a wonderful redhead color use Rit Pumpkin. Use
Rit Tangerine with a tiny bit of Golden Yellow for a bright carrot
top. Rit Tan makes a good very light brown (almost blonde) color.
Rit Cocoa Brown with Yellow is a light brown. It is impossible to get
a good dark brown or black color using Rit dye.

Fantasy colors: For fantasy pink hair use Rose Pink and Tan. Rit
Golden Yellow by itself is a good fantasy color ‚ very bright yellow.
For fantasy fairies try Rit Seafoam, Purple, Blue, and Kelly Green.

HINT: If the color is too bright, try over dyeing with Rit Tan to
dull the color.


Always wear a mask when working with powdered dyes. Liquid dye is not
as critical. You can buy masks at any good hardware store, pharmacy
or craft store for $3 -$4 a package. Check the paint department.

NEVER use utensils for food after using with dye.

Always dissolve powdered dye in small amount of water before adding
lots of water. SLOWLY pour dye into jar so particles don't become
airborne. This is the same principle as putting down the toilet seat
before flushing. You can put powdered dye and hot water in a quart
glass jar, add lid and shake well.

You must have good ventilation when working with powdered dyes. Use a
stove vent, open a window, use a fan, or do it outside.

Protect your hands. Wear rubber gloves.

You can find mohair plates from the following sources:

World of Mohair (Sue Kneir)1007 Bower RoadW. Harrison, IN 47060
(812) 637-3874

Major supplier

Check out other things they carry.

South Forty Farms (Georgia Thomas)


While you're in a dyeing mood, we are now carrying the Springmaid
Southern Belle Muslin in both Natural and Ivory which is what we use
to dye the Ethnic Fabrics we carry on the site. The perfect fabric for
serious dollmakers, the high thread count makes needle sculpting,
turning tiny fingers and face painting so much easier.

We love our Springmaid Muslin so much, that for a limited time only -
every minimum 2 yard purchase will receive Mary Ann's newest CACHET
pattern, Blanca, a graceful 21" wall hanging doll made entirely of
muslin *ABSOLUTELY FREE* ($7 value)! This doll features hand-smocked
sleeves and delicate hands with opposable thumbs. Try this wonderful
fabric once and you'll know why we're hooked on it!


For dollmakers who relish a challenge- the amazing JANE COUGHLAN has
released The Laughing Man - an 18" character with a wide-open mouth
and so much more . This is the doll that Jane taught at Doll U this

As an added treat, Jane has designed the most colorful ADVENT CALENDAR
you've ever seen! Jane says she's designed it for dollmakers who
don't quilt and quilters who don't make dolls! A truly wonderful
holiday project for everyone!



Even though this is not a cloth doll site, the beautiful sculpted
dolls are awe inspiring!

We were recently contacted by a puppeteer from Brazil and thought you
might enjoy seeing her imaginative puppets -

You can find Noni Cely's exciting new video "Customizing Doll
Patterns" at

Designer Kathy Hays has a wonderful FREE PROJECT on her site - a
charming needle felted bear. This project is such a great way to get
started needle felting figures. Kathy carries the wool - we have the
felting needles.


NEWS FROM THE HOME FRONT Last newsletter Bonnie wrote about a
surprise baby shower for her daughter and how she wore the miniature
baby earrings created from a pattern by Barbara Graff. One week later
(October 17, 2001) her granddaughter was born- 5 weeks early! She was
in critical condition in ICU with collapsed lungs until November 6th,
when she was finally allowed to go home. Of course Bonnie either
drove her daughter to the hospital every day or babysat her three
grandsons while her daughter went. Her family is grateful for the
many prayers on her behalf. Her daughter Amy sang with Voices of a New
Day (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) at the Basilica of
the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (the eighth largest
Catholic church in the world) in Washington,D.C. November 6th at the
22nd Annual Interfaith Concert. Nine different religions were
represented, including Baha'i, Hindu/Jain, Islamic, Jewish, Latter-day
Saints (Mormon), Protestant, Roman Catholic, Sikh, and Zoroastrians.
The costumes were amazing. One of the groups, the Catholic Liturgical
Praise Mass Choir, was dressed in fabulous African Costumes, with the
most incredible hats. Bonnie took lots of notes for a doll she and
Mary Ann are teaching at We Folk of Cloth in 2002.

Thanks to the proportional scale wheel that we sell on our website
( Bonnie was able to enlarge a wedding
dress pattern she bought for herself in
the 60's to fit two of her daughters perfectly. She is now cutting
out stretch purple velvet to make two bridesmaid dresses. Her
daughter Bonnie is graduating from BYU Hawaii on December 15th and is
getting married December 21st. Maybe she can get back to making dolls
in January!

At the end of September Mary Ann had to put her beloved 7 year old
Puli "Kela" to sleep as she was suffering from cancer. The huge hole
in the house needed to be filled and after several weeks of searching
she found the newest addition to the family - Petey T. (which stands
for trouble) at a local animal shelter. It's easier to get a mortgage
than to adopt from a shelter! They require a lengthy application and
even a home visit but it's certainly worth it. They say he's an 8
month poodle/beagle mix but it's really hard to see the beagle. He's
quite the rascal, but is adjusting beautifully and brings welcome
doses of laughter to the house each day. Kela never bothered the
dolls, but Petey is just fascinated and Mary Ann has caught him
running off with doll parts on numerous occasions and must now be much
more vigilant.


We'd love to hear your thoughts about our Customer
Connection newsletter.

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with any comments, suggestions, address changes, etc.

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Journey! All we ask is that you forward it intact, with all
the subscription information included. Thanks! (By the
way, you might want to print this out and put it into
a binder to keep for reference....)


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