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Dollmaker's Journey

March 2002 Issue Nine

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March 2002 Issue Nine


Copyright 2002 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 out companion website:

** New! **
You can now read all the past issues online. Go to:
The archives include an easy to follow index to all the past


Dear dollmaker friends,

The All-Star Doll Olympic Competitor Challenge is drawing to a close (see details below). We are extending the deadline until April 1, 2002, so if you wanted to enter but didn't finish you have a little more time. Competitor pictures will appear on our website and we will announce the winners in our next Customer Connection newsletter.

Here in Virginia March came in like a lamb. We have had unseasonably warm temperatures, and all the trees are budding. The cherry blossoms should bloom the beginning of April in time for our annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. Spring is a time for beginnings, and we would challenge you to do something new. Take a dollmaking internet class, learn a new technique, try a different style of doll, but most of all, have fun!

Mary Ann and Bonnie



We have decided to extend the deadline for the Olympic Doll Challenge until April 1, 2002. We have lots of prizes, and not enough entrants to win them all. Any picture you have sent to our Dollmaker's Journey showcase can also be entered, but you must think of a category for the doll to enter. A possible category: Did you know Salt Lake City imported hookers from Las Vegas (200 of them) so the athletes would have all the comforts of home? This caused quite a ruckus in puritanical Utah (Mormon Country) and there were many scathing editorials. Or your doll could be part of the opening ceremonies. Lots of Pioneers, Indians, and fantasy costumes in that one. (By the way, the Olympic Event your doll enters doesn't even have to be on this planet!) Just make sure the pattern you use is one we carry on our website. For complete details visit our website at



The most recent designer to join us is CLAIRE-ELLEN. She has devised the most charming elves - "Elf Dood and O'Doodle the Leprechaun" - by covering sculpted Styrofoam balls with fabric. Her "Madame doo Berry" is a quick and easy character doll with lots of pizzazz. Her latest design, "Moondoo", is an exquisite18" extra-terrestrial with a lovely needle-sculpted figure and creative costume. Check them out at



We have a special treat for you this week at Dollmaker's Journey - another wonderful FREE PATTERN! "Lucky Penny Pin Doll" by designer JUDY SKEEL is ever so easy to make, but the possibilities are endless. As with all of Judy's patterns, the detailed instructions will guide you through every step of the face sculpting and painting process. Enjoy!



Be sure and visit Karen Samuelson's CLOTH DOLL CONNECTION website for up-to-the-minute details on doll related events such as the Kansas City Doll extravaganza in April, Quilt Market (they need doll centerpieces for American Cancer Society - free pattern link at Karen's site), We Folk of Cloth in October, the Gypsy of the Night Sky 2002 Treasures of the Gypsy Challenge and many other events For the most comprehensive news on designers,
events, challenges and activities bookmark and click on EVENTS.



Feel like your creativity needs a jump-start? One of our designers, Annie Hesse, is trying to totally liquidate her 1600 square foot studio, which is packed to the brim with all sorts of dollmaking supplies. To accomplish this she is selling goodie boxes. Bonnie just ordered the $25.00 box, and it arrived filled with beads, lace, fabric, unfinished doll body, ribbon, rosettes, etc. You can see a sample goodie box at

Click on "dolls for sale", then "goodie box". Here is some information directly from Annie:
"I am downsizing my studio and my loss is your gain! I will be shipping out boxes of wonderful fabrics - anything from glitzy, cottons, knits, to upholstery fabric, along with a wide variety of beads, laces, ribbons, doo-dads, whatever I throw in. No two boxes will be the same, but I guarantee they will be filled with "stuff"! There will be large -up to 3 yard pieces - of fabric and also small pieces, but at least 12-15 different fabrics per box, plus the fun stuff. Each box will be $25 plus whatever the shipping will be. Please let me know if you would like to order one or more....and at this early stage of the game I am willing to take color preferences as I haven't yet packed them! Email: NEW! I AM ALSO PACKING UP $50 AND UP BOXES FOR THOSE WHO WANT LARGER QUANTITIES - PLEASE EMAIL FOR INFO..." Be sure and see her regular website at: for a visual treat.



Felting needles come in many sizes and shapes. They are really an industrial needle that has found its way into the craft/hobby area. Many products you see in your day-to-day life have been made with felting needles. Disposable diapers, air filters, car oil filters and the current polyester craft felt are made using felting needles. Commercially there are very large beds of needles, and fibers (synthetic or natural) are placed on the needle beds. Then there is another top bed of needles that move up and down to 'felt' the fibers.

The type of needle used is dependent on the end product. There are many shapes and lengths of needles. The needles can have one side of barbs, two, three and even four sides with the barbs on the needle shaft. Many people refer to felting needles as though they were all the same. This is truly a myth. Think of sewing needles. There are many sizes and uses for sewing needles. I doubt you would use a darning needle to try and do beading. The same is true for felting needles. The size and shape affect the outcome of success.

I wrote an insert for Dollmakers Journey on how to use felting needles on cloth dolls. Included in the insert was information on how to make wefts with felting needles and how you apply them to a clay doll head. I also recommend three sizes of felting needles. Dollmakers Journey carry the size and shape that is the most appropriate for dollmakers.

The needles sold at Dollmakers Journey are also the same needles used to needle felt in both of my classes at Crafty College. I cannot tell you how many of my students who thought they could use needles other than the ones sold by Dollmakers Journey to needle felt. Sure you can needle felt, but the results are not as good without the proper size and shape.

Perhaps this seems like a shameless plug for Dollmakers Journey, but it is not. I personally encouraged MaryAnn and Bonnie to carry the needles so that all dollmakers could have a good product.

Now for a shameless plug for myself.........(LOL) I teach needle felting online at Crafty College. Both the introductory class, Noggins, and Gunther the elf class will be taught this spring. Also check out my latest class, Tea Time (which has nothing to do with needle felting) that began March 5. If you want take any of these classes, go to and sign up. Kathy Hays



  1. Hold a felting needle with your thumb and forefinger, like you would hold a pencil. Do not hold the end (L shape) of the needle, or you will get very sore fingers. Be sure you insert the needle vertically into the fibers or cloth doll head, and not at an angle, or the needle might break
  2. We sell felting needles in three different sizes. The #38 star blade is very difficult to find, and is extra sharp since it has barbs on four sides instead of three. You can see pictures of the different needles and an explanation of how to use them on our website
  3. I prefer tacky glue (Aleene's) to fabritac when needle felting hair, because it doesn't dry as fast, which enables you to put more hair into the scalp. Also, I have found fabritac tends to guck up the needles faster, and is harder to remove, since it is not water based. (By the way, when wiping the needles to remove glue, be sure to wipe from the handle toward the tip, or the barbs will catch excess glue and your cleaning rag.) Both glues dry clear, although I have heard that fabritac yellows with age.
  4. Needle-felting curly synthetic hair - Mary Ann and I just finished the most fantastic black doll called "Miss Sadie the Church Lady" and used curly synthetic hair. Here is how we did her hair. First, take a bunch of hair and cut it off. Don't bother looking for an end - you will never find one. Rub the hair between both hands. This will remove some of the shine and make it look more natural. (Of course, if you are making a fantasy doll, go ahead and use it straight from the package. It has a sheen to it. However, it will look fuller if you rub it first.) Take thick designer tacky glue, and place some on the doll head where you want to put the hair. Place the hair on top of the glue. Now for the secret. Use a felting needle (sold on our website at and start poking the hair into the scalp. The hair will mix with the stuffing and glue and create a good bond. I recommend you use #36 felting needles for this application, because they are stronger than the 38 or 40 sizes. Make sure you hold the needle in a vertical position or it could break. Just keep poking the hair into the scalp, and periodically wipe the tip of the needle with a damp paper towel to remove excess glue. When you are finished you will have a realistic curly head of hair. Most people make the mistake when they first use curly hair of using too much. This makes the doll look top heavy and the hair doesn't look natural. Using this method you can always go back and fill in any "bald" spots. Of course, this method won't work with wood or porcelain doll heads, <smile> but on fabric heads it is wonderful!



Make sure you meet "Mitze" the latest Enchanting Delight from troll mistress extraordinaire UTE VASINA. You're going to love this little darling perched on her tummy.

PATTI-ANN STANLEY's charming trio of 5-6" dolls - "The Tinys" - include an easy-to-make fairy, mermaid and ballerina.

Last, but never least, SHERRY GOSHON has released "Unity" which is an alternate 9" fairy body for her popular "Freedom" press mold. This pattern features three different kinds of wings - quilted, Solvey and Pellon.



We've just added "Clara" to our collection of Doug and Barb Keeling's wonderful face stamps.

Kris Crawford, owner of Fireside Basics Doll Hair, has 50 different types of natural wool, mohair & cotton doll hair. It is very clean and high quality with reasonable prices. She specializes in endangered sheep breeds for their hard-to-find, wonderful doll hair. Kris is making an instructional video coming out in June about using natural fibers for dollmaking. Check her out at



Mary Ann has decided she needs to color outside the lines a little bit and work on her embellishing skills. Though she usually focuses on realism in her dollmaking she is working on a series of dolls she calls "Swaddlings." She's taken a simple doll body, wrapped it in fabric strips, which she then secures to the body with threads, ribbons, beads etc. She's having a ball as each doll turns out wildly different. Take a peek at her first one - After spending days searching her studio for a certain box of beads she eventually uncovered it on the ironing board where it had been hiding under a piece of fabric all along! Oh the joys of a messy studio!

Bonnie took time out to play with her 3-year-old granddaughter, Jade. Together they chose fluorescent neon green scaled velour and created a bookworm using a Cynthia Sieving pattern. (See a picture of Bookworm - He has glasses and is holding an open book up with his tail. She reduced a page from a book on how to do Yoga, and the worm is trying to assume the Lotus position, a little difficult with no arms or legs. Sometimes you have to do something just for fun. Doubled twisted aluminum sculpture wire was used for the armature so it can be repositioned endlessly (which all her grandchildren are eager to do.) She brought the bookworm to Cheryl Leone's tea party on March 9, where he had a great time ogling all the lovely dollies that came.



Sandy Staker of Sandy's Lace and Trims carries a large range of items great for dollmaking, from findings and laces to ribbons and fabrics. Her website is:

If you want to try adding water to your doll setting, check out

Wonderful tiny tools including micro-drills (No. 60 & 80) in the Micro-Mark catalog.

To try a new technique, check out Regina Edmonds Push Molds for Polymer Clay


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

Contact the editor Bonnie B. Lewis at with any comments, suggestions, address changes, etc.

Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to any of your
friends. Help us spread the word about Dollmaker's
Journey! All we ask is that you forward it intact, with all
the subscription information included.

You can also read all the past issues online at:
Included is an index to all the past issues.

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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