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Dollmaker's Journey

September 2009 Issue 94

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Dream ~ Imagine ~ Create ~ Grow ~ Believe ~ Magic
At we help your creative dreams come true.

September 2009 Issue 94

Copyright 2009 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. You can visit our companion website at:


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

Dear Dollmaking Friends,

Bonnie is very excited. She learned how to wet felt and needle felt at a recent doll club meeting, and she is sharing her experiments in this newsletter. Have fun learning a new technique.

Bonnie and Mary Ann


Our SEPTEMBER SALE brings you a selection of patterns in three categories that we think would be great gifts. Be sure to check out MINIATURE/PINDOLLS, PINCUSHIONS and FURNITURE/TOYS and treat yourself to a 20% discount.

Remember, visit our website at at the beginning of each month to see what our new sale will be. That way you won't have to wait for a newsletter.


Q: Does an ear of corn have an even or odd number of rows? HINT: These rows run lengthwise along the ear of corn. How many strands of corn silk are there on each ear of corn?

A: All ears have an even number of rows (8 to 22 rows, averaging 16). Row number is always an even number because corn spikelets are born in pairs, and each spikelet produces two florets: one fertile and one sterile. There is one corn silk for each ovule (potential kernel) of corn. There can be up to 1,000 per ear, though not all ovules develop into kernels.

OTHER CORNY FACTS: A "popped" corn can be as much as twenty times larger than its original kernel. The first popcorn wagon was on the streets of New York City in 1892. Iowa grows the most popcorn in the United States.

SCIENCE EXPERIMENT: One cup of popped popcorn and one cup of milk can occupy the same space at the same time. If you want to prove this, carefully drop the popped kernels into the milk one at a time.

Congratulations to Linda Crawford from Slaton, Texas. Your name was selected at random from all of the correct quiz entries, and you will receive a $10 gift certificate from Dollmaker’s Journey. Watch for your name in a coming month!


Q: What seven letter word or less contains all five vowels exactly once? It can be an item, the name of a product, place, etc.

Everyone who emails in the correct answers by October 15th will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift certificate to Dollmaker’s Journey. The winner will be announced in the next newsletter. Email your answers to Bonnie at Put September Quiz in subject box. Please include your full name and where you live (state/country) in your email. NOTE: Several times in the past a winner was drawn with no name or state/country included. When that happens we have to draw again. So please, make sure you include this information with your answer.


Flavia writes: I have a bottle opened in October 2002 (probably at We Folk for the Miss Sadie class you and you and Mary Anne taught ) and it is still in good working order. I use that bottle of Grrrip sparingly to determine how long it can last. I do use other glues as well and I store all glues upside down, but none of the others have either the shelf-life of Grrrip or are as good for a multiplicity of uses. And best of all Grrrip does not wreck havoc with my nails.


Last month I answered a question about crinolines. Several of you wrote to update my information.

Newark Dressmaker Supply now carries crinoline. They have a lot of great sewing supplies and continue to have the most reasonably priced set of generic "specialty" sewing machine feet. Here is the catalog description:

TARTLATANE (Crinoline)
A semi-stiff, white material, like stiff cheesecloth, with a loose weave. Used to give a little body and stiffness to drapes, costumes, etc. It can give a bouffant effect to thin fabrics for party dresses. Not washable. Also used for silk screening. 36' wide.
FA23A -Tartalane - $3.95 yd,
Newark Dressmaking Supply also has 1/16 inch rattail cord in 7 colors. Selling price for 50 yard roll is $2.25/roll

The toll free number is 1- 800-736-6783 Check it out at

(for hats, bags, pincushions, ornaments, hair wefting, etc.)
By Bonnie B. Lewis as taught by Bonnie Korr

When I went to G Street Doll Club yesterday, Bonnie Korr was teaching us all how to make molded pouches/amulet bag necklaces/doll purses. I immediately saw applications to create doll hats, pincushions, ornaments, etc. You can stuff pincushions with sawdust, cotton dryer lint, steel wool, human hair (get from beauty parlor), sand, wool scraps or leftover roving to keep needles sharp. It was very easy, quick, and so much fun. Bonnie has used this technique to teach elementary school students, and it is a great class for any age. Of course, my project will turn into a dragon egg, and when it opens there will be a tiny dragon inside. My grandchildren will LOVE it!


1. Wool/mohair roving or batting (supply list at end of article)
Optional – Angelina Fiber for added glitz available from Dollmaker's Journey
Optional – Firestar Nylon glitz (2 oz. bag adds sparkle to surface – do internet search)
2. Ribbed plastic shelf liner (Plast-o-mat ribbed shelf liner 12" wide from Container Store)
Non-skid mat/shelf liner (Contact brand 12 foot roll Grip Liner – non-adhesive)
Editor's Note: This is great to put under your sewing machine foot pedals so they don't slide)
Sushi mat or bamboo mat (Sadomain Sushi mat from Asian market)
Thin foam sheets of packing material (this can be used to cut patterns/resists for dyeing also)
Bubble wrap sheet 12" x 20" (Bubbles should be 1/2" or smaller. This is what we used in class.)
3. Ivory liquid dish detergent OR Ivory soap bar
4. Metal or plastic bowl or 10" x 15" pan filled with HOT water
5. Hat form (directions follow) or Styrofoam eggs (These are available anywhere crafts are sold –
Michael's, AC Moore, JoAnn Fabric, etc.) Good sizes are 2-3/4" tall in 6 pack or 3-1/2" x 4-7/8"
for large egg project. These eggs may be covered with aluminum foil if bits of Styrofoam pull off,
or you can buy smoother eggs such as Dylite or plastic)
6. Nylon stocking knee hi (use toe end or tie knot in leg section)
7. Hand towel (terry cloth – rough as in bath towel, not smooth as in dish towel)
8. Ziploc plastic baggies (sandwich – 5" x 6", snack, or quart) to store roving
9. Normal sewing supplies (scissors, needles, thread), novelty yarns, cords or ribbons for purse
handle or necklace, beads, ribbon roses, charms, embroidery floss, trims, or whatever you might
want to use for embellishments.

Optional supplies in addition to above list if using felting needles:

1. Felting Needles
2. Pen Style Needle Felting Tool (holds up to three felting needles at once – very easy to use)
Needles and felting tool available at
3. Thick foam rubber (e.g. for seat cushions) This can be cut with electric knife if teaching a large

Creating molded hat form from Styrofoam:

1. Get out a pipe cleaner or chenille stem and wrap one around your doll's head, placing it across the forehead and above the ears. Twist the ends together and lift off gently. The shaped pipe cleaner will be the guide for the hat block.
2. For a dome-shaped crown, cut a Styrofoam ball in half that is larger than the shaped pipe cleaner. Using a hammer, lightly tap around the edge to compress the Styrofoam. Keep checking with the pipe cleaner until the Styrofoam ball is the desired shape.
3. To dent in the top to create a cowboy hat or fedora, lay your pliers or scissors sideways and gently tap on them with the hammer to indent the center. Then use the hammer only to smooth it all out.
4. For a pillbox or fez shape, cut a section out of a Styrofoam cone the desired height of the hat and smooth out as necessary.
5. Teardrop shapes can be made by hammering the ball into shape, or by slicing a section out of a ball or cone, or by using a Styrofoam egg which is cut lengthwise.
6. Cone shaped hats can easily be made with Styrofoam cones. Gently round out the top of cone with hammer to desired shape.
7. Cover hat form smoothly with aluminum foil. This will not only protect the surface from crumbling, but it will also help keep the wool from sticking to the block. By the way, if you have dents in your Styrofoam that you do not want, you can fill them in with bits of foil, and the outside foil will hold them in place.

How felting works:

Wool and natural animal fibers are like a pinecone. They are full of barbs that lie flat until they become wet. Then like the pinecone they open up and spread their tiny hooks. With the application of hot water, agitation and soap they interlock, forming a piece of felt. The heat from the water causes the wool to shrink, binding the fibers more tightly. I am not sure why you need to use Ivory soap, but it seems to be a compatible PH to the wool. If you add Angelina fiber or nylon glitz, just add a few fibers and lightly cover with more wool. The nylon or Angelina won't felt, but can be trapped in between wool fibers to add a touch of sparkle. Wool has a memory, so once you make felt, it will retain the shape formed.


1. Place the object you wish to mold on the table. For purposes of this tutorial I will use a Styrofoam egg shape. IF you are using a hat form, follow directions but leave an opening at the bottom of the hat. Gently PULL a piece of roving from one end that is as long as the egg. This color will be the inside of your project. Spread roving apart and wrap around egg, smoothing ends to cover top and bottom. Fibers will be going vertically from top to bottom. (You can also use a piece of wool batting for this step.)
2. Repeat step 1, using the same or a contrasting color, but wrap it so the fibers are at a 90 degree angle to the first wrap. Place the overlapping seam edge in the center of the roving, and wrap around top and bottom, meeting on opposite side. You can spray with hot water to which you have added a few drops of liquid Ivory dish soap or spray with hot water and gently rub with a bar of Ivory soap to adhere wool where it overlaps.
3. Take a third piece of roving, spread apart, and add strips of roving to create patterns, or cut off small pieces of roving to create spots. Add wool yarn or trim if desired to create design. If you want to add some sparkle, add a few tiny strands of Angelina fiber and cover with a light layer of wool. You can fold this in half, gently pull apart, and mix the fibers for a more mottled look. Wrap this around the egg form.
4. Place one hand inside nylon stocking. Place wrapped egg in nylon covered hand and pull stocking over egg. Spray with more hot soapy water. Agitate by placing in plastic container with tight lid and shaking it, or just rub form in hands, adding more water if needed. Wrap in plastic bubble wrap and continue rubbing it. You might want to cover this with a hand towel and continue rolling it between hands or across table. Remove nylon stocking before felt fibers penetrate stocking and try to felt to it.
5. Continue to roll shape in your hands, in bubble wrap, in towel, on table, until fibers turn into felt. Rinse thoroughly in hot water, removing any soap residue. Wrap in towel, removing as much water as possible. Let dry 24 hours.


1. Purse, pouch, amulet bag – Cut halfway around egg about 1/4 to 1/3 from top. Remove egg. Flatten purse. Cut top into cute flap. Add beaded tassel, clasp, buttons, trims, handle or necklace cord.
2. Pincushion – This might work better if you used part of a cone Styrofoam shape or something with a flat bottom such as half a Styrofoam ball. Cut open just enough to remove shape. Add stuffing (see suggestions in top paragraph) and sew closed. Trim as desired. The wool and stuffing will keep pins rust free and sharp.
3. Hats – These will be molded around a hat block. For pillbox or fez, cut off excess fiber around bottom of block. Rub edge with hot water and soap to bind edge. If you want a brim, add more fiber below hat opening, felt and gently stretch felt while wet around edge of hat. Let dry inside bowl or other container to give it the proper shape. You can cut to shape once hat is dry. Add hat band and trim as desired.
4. Ornaments – Cover small balls or egg shapes with felted wool. Decorate and add hanger. There is no need to remove Styrofoam if they will be ornaments.
5. Dragon egg – I am going to cut a jagged opening about 1/3 from top of large egg. Inside I will put a stuffed dragon. I will close egg using beads and jewels. Of course, I added Angelina gold fibers and created a wonderful mottled, magical looking egg. I am still debating whether to turn it into a necklace, make a pin, or just a display item.

Felting Needle Procedure:

1. Layer wool roving on a piece of 2" thick foam rubber. Each layer will be at 90 degree angle to previous layer. Add wool yarn or trim, bits of roving or strips of wool to top. Add Angelina fibers sparingly and cover with thin layer of wool.
2. Use felting needles (size 36) to push wool into foam rubber. It helps to use the felting needle pen which uses 3 needles at once. Continue pushing wool down into foam rubber until the whole surface has been needle felted. Add wool yarn in pretty design and needle felt into fabric.
3. Remove from foam pad. If desired, turn over and felt other side.
4. To create purse, fold in half wrong sides together and felt sides together to create seam. Turn right side out, trim top, add handle and trim, with button or bead closure. If you wish to create flap, right sides together fold up 2/3, felt side seam, turn RSO, and top third becomes flap.
5. At this point you can also take the felt and shape it into a hat using hot water, soap and agitation as detailed above.

Needle felt roving for doll hair:

1. On 2" thick foam rubber pad, place a thin line of roving. Gently pull roving from long strip and place at 90 degree angle to thin line. Continue placing roving along line. Add another thin line of roving on top of original line.
2. Needle felt just along thin line of roving. When you remove hair, the thin line will be felted and the hair will be loose. Sew or glue to doll head.

Bonnie recommended these suppliers of wool fiber for felting (You can find many more in your local area by doing an internet search):

Dollmaker's Journey –
We carry straight and braided wool and mohair roving in many natural hair colors. We also have Angelina Fiber in many colors, which is perfect to add a touch of glitz to felting projects.

Liberty Ridge Custom Carding – Tom and Sunny Bixby, 6175 Greenway-Lowell Road, Verona, NY 13478 (315) 337-7217 Fax (315) 337-6924 Email:
They sell Romney wool, mohair batting, merino tops, wool roving, exotic fibers. They dye their own wool – not all colors available on short notice. Web site coming soon.

Stony Mountain Fibers – 939 Hammocks Gap Road, Charlottesville, VA 22911 (434) 295-2008
Email: Web site:
Recommended – Corriedale roving – This dyed roving is imported from New Zealand by Stony Mountain Fibers. Most colors are in stock most of the time.

Mielke's Fiber Arts, LLC – Rudolph, Wisconsin 54475 (715) 435-4494
Web site:
Click on fibers, click on felting for Corriedale roving from New Zealand

Wild 'N' Woolly Farm – E. Hope Allen Yankey, P.O. Box 475, Mathias, West Virginia 26812
(304) 897-6820 Email:
Web Site:
They carry Coopworth batting and Coopworth dyed locks. Their website is new. Call for roving. This is home dyed. Not all colors available at any given time. Batting retains some of the curl. Each color is a subtle blend. White batting is great for stuffing.

Meet these suppliers and many more at your local sheep and wool festival (check the internet for one near you):

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival – First weekend in May at the Howard County Fairgrounds, 2210 Fairground Road, West Friendship, Maryland 21794
Web site:

Fall Fiber Festival and Montpelier Sheepdog Trials – First weekend in October in Orange County, 11407 Constitution Highway, Montpelier Station, Virginia 22957 1-800-784-9285
Web site:

We would love to see any projects you make trying this wet felting method. Please send pictures to

PERFECT EYES by Gloria "Mimi" Winer

Gloria recently taught a class in New York about how to draw eyes on a doll face so that they were exactly spaced. Basically, you use your thumb. You place it where the eye should be and draw around the top. Then you reverse the thumb facing down and draw around it again for the bottom of the eye. You place your thumb against the edge of the eye, the other thumb next to it, and draw the other eye. Use a disappearing marker when you do this, and you will have perfect oval shaped eyes.


September 30, 2009 – Mimi's Child Interactive Pattern for entry forms and instructions
Download free pattern from her website
NOTE FROM GLORIA: "If you printed the free pattern, please correct as follows. On both the human and elf heads the chin area is marked "OPEN". This is WRONG! The chin is to be stitched. However, in this case only, DO NOT stitch all the way off the fabric, but stop at the quarter inch seam allowance. When the head front is attached to the head back this quarter-inch opening will be at the neck and since the back of the head is also open at the neck there is enough room to stuff. Be aware that all my patterns are templates and seam allowances must be added."

October 15-18, 2009 – Treasures of the Gypsy Challenge
Houston, Texas
The theme this year is "The Enchanted Gypsy." Send $20 to Pamela Armas to receive your challenge packet of “Gypsy” fabric and trims. This includes the entry fee and shipping. All dolls to be exhibited at the Houston Quilt Festival!
For more info:
For packet send $20 to: Treasures of the Gypsy PO Box 748 Mountainair, NM 87036


Alice in central NY sent in this tip to FOCD: "When I worked at a daycare we used a paper towel (or toilet paper) tube to test to see if an item presented a choking hazard or not. If an item slides through the tube it presents a choking hazard. If it does not fit into the tube it generally does not present a choking hazard." We felt this was a timely tip as everyone gears up to buy or make gifts for the upcoming holidays. Make sure you use this rule of thumb when giving gifts to children under 3.


September 25-26, 2009 – California Regional Doll Festival
Millbrae, California (by San Francisco Airport)
For more information contact the Lowmans at or call (831) 438-5349

October 8-12, 2009 – The East Coast Art Retreat
Crowne Plaza, Cromwell, Connecticut

To save yourself time and energy, get all the details on upcoming doll related events at


Free Itsy Bitsy Rag Doll pattern
Click on little rag doll at bottom of page for free PDF file

Free kitten pattern


We're kickin' off the Fall season with some wonderful Fall themed patterns from MAUREEN MILLS. We'd like to introduce you to "Lenny" - he has the distinction of being the very first scarecrow pattern we've ever had on the site - and a fine gentleman he is! MAUREEN really knows how to add all the details. We also have her lovely "Pick of the Patch" and the somewhat crazed "Candy Cat." Stop by and check
them out -

We also have two new patterns from GINI SIMPSON - a sweet "September School Daze" and the very special ""Hope - Breast Cancer Awareness." GINI will be donating her profits from this pattern to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer. -

PATTI CULEA has just released her fabulous "A Stargaze Sewing Apron" that's not only really fun to make but it will be even more fun – and useful - to wear. A terrific gift idea, too!

We are excited to bring you the patterns of our latest new designer here at Dollmaker's Journey - KAREN NIEFORTH of R&K Creations. KAREN has a wonderful, whimsical, vintage style that we found very appealing. Stop by, take a look and see what you think.


So many designers include 20 GAUGE WIRE on their supply lists for a variety of purposes that we thought it about time that we have handy for you in our Supply Department. We have also added the white NYMO THREAD that many of you have requested for beading projects. We are happy to report that the GRRRIP GLUE is back on the shelf, along with the SIZE 7 JOHN JAMES DARNERS

We're continuing to add to our HAIR products. This week we have 2 new shades of Straight Mohair - "Honey Blonde" and "Golden Blonde" and 3 new shades of Braided Wool - "Dark Brown," "Medium Blonde" and "Fox Red." In our on-going effort to increase your hair options we've just added two kinds of hand dyed, hand spun yarns from Suzy Chouinard in a variety of yummy colors. These luscious fibers will make the most wonderful hair not only for your Folk Art and Prim dolls but just about any other style of doll you make. Why not treat yourself - and a bald doll - to a ball or two!

We have several new combinations of doll making needles and that very handy tool the Sixth Finger Stiletto is finally back in stock. You can check them out here -

Blush WOOL BLEND FELT and Chamois Deersuede is also back in stock.

Over in the SUPPLY Department the Applicator Bottle is back in stock. Whoo - hoo!


Lesley Riley has finally finished her new website. She has a newsletter with monthly prize drawings for subscribers. Check it out at


G Street Doll Club had a Bendi Doll Challenge. Bonnie decided to enter. She created a clown balanced on one hand upside down on top of a large ball on top of a wooden base. She used a turquoise feather boa for hair. The clown has a wooden dowel running from the base through the ball and up the clown's sleeve. Attached to the base and dowel is a heavy coat hanger wire which runs through the ball, inside the hand, arm, body, and opposite leg. He is wearing oversized red leather shoes. The ball used is the same as those balls in children's play houses at some restaurants. She bought a bag of 100 colorful balls for about $3.00 at Walmart. They are easy to use for dolls because they can be cut with a seam ripper to make a hole for the dowel and wire. She also had a class from Kate Erbach when she visited Judi Ward and drew a wonderful caricature face that looked just like President Obama (oops! It was supposed to be a girl.) Now she just has to decide what to do with it.

Mary Ann has lots of birthdays to celebrate in September – her daughter-in-law Kyah and assistant Tara on the 2nd, Jim on the 14th, her son Michael on the 22nd and her own on the 26th. She's been working feverishly to finish dolls that she started last year. So far she's managed to complete the Doll for All Seasons "Geisha" for Kyah who adores all things Japanese, and Cindee Moyer's "Wilda" for Tara. The projects for Jim and Mike are nearing completion. To her great delight she found she has a free weekend to actually take a class! She can't wait to meet UK designer Colleen Babcock and make her whimsical "Finders Keepers." If you haven't visited Colleen's site - by all means treat yourself. Each Friday she generously posts a list of wonderful, free projects related to dollmaking you can find on the net. Next week Mak and Jim will be heading to his hometown Buffalo, NY to attend the 50th Reunion of his 8th Grade class from Saint Paul's School. Should be lots of fun!


I found the following neat software while surfing the web. It is a sewing program that prints out patterns for hats, bags, wraps and footwear. It will print out the size you specify, so you can make hats for heads as small as 7 inches around. You also control the width of the brim and the height of the band. You can make a purse or bag for yourself and make a matching tiny one for a doll. Best of all, it is totally free. You can find it at:

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

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

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