A doll for school

I made this doll for the fundraising auction for Amy’s Montessori school. I hope she gets some high bids!

She is made from two t-shirts, thrifted yarn and fabric, fabric leftover from quilting, new thread and stuffing, and a zipper rescued from a thrifted shirt.

I’ve never drafted long sleeves before — and it worked! I don’t think I’d know how to do them non-puffy, but I’ve sewn enough sleeves from patterns that I know the general shape of the cap, and it was good enough for this project, AND Amy loves puffy sleeves. (I used a piece of yarn to measure the armscye, and then laid it out in the shape of a sleeve cap and traced it.)

Her face is simple like a Waldorf doll’s face, to foster greater flexibility and creativity in play. A true Waldorf doll would not even be smiling, but have a simple barely-curved mouth.

Because her head is fairly flat, the Waldorf-style wig didn’t lie quite right — I chose to stitch down the hair in back to keep it smooth — and to better hide the knots from the facial embroidery.

Her head, arms, legs, and body are all separate pieces. The legs were stuffed first and sewn into the body. When the body and head were stuffed, they were sewn together. Then the arms were added. I learned about this kind of arm from the Waldorf doll we got for Amy when she was younger.

I’ve never ruffled an appliqué before — sure was challenging, although it might well have been easier than ironing under the edges of a regular appliqué. The heart came out a little wonky but is still cute.

I attached the zipper with the kind of stitch that you can use to invisibly close the opening of a stuffed item. It’s visible on the inside in this case, but invisible on the outside. And the bodice lining is whip-stitched to the gathers of the skirt, a technique I learned from making Amy’s baptismal dress.

Tree and skirt

Our old tree was too big for almost all the places we’ve lived. For several years we’ve only put up the top two thirds, shimming it into the base to get it to be somewhat stable that way. Even then it was rather wider than we really had space for. For the last year or three we’ve been looking and thinking, and finally Mark chose this one — not only slender but also hinged and prelit. We’re happy with it.

Would you like to have the old one? It’s still in great shape after all these years. A dark spruce, 7′, 60″ diameter. Comes with several bundles of multicolored lights that, as far as we know, still work. Sorry, local folks only.

Having a new tree motivated me to finally make a real tree skirt instead of just bunching a white blanket around the base. This one buttons up the back, and could be reversible, with a holly pattern on the back.

What we’ve been up to

Amy has been drawing some new things lately. For a long time it’s been all people, mostly girls, and now sometimes there’s a sun, or a horse, or these cats (two on the bottom row) or a house. It’s interesting how it seems to be correlated with her expanding writing and reading skills. That’s right — reading — she can read simple words now, and has read two whole Bob Books to us in the last two days, things like “Dot has a hat” and the like. It’s so neat to watch her in process.

She’s also been doing a lot with writing — half the time she writes backwards, and some letters bear little resemblance to their intended form, but there is clearly progress and great interest. She spends a lot of time with the movable alphabet at school. This is a divided box of many letters, which she can use to spell words. Today her teacher said she spelled out “Mama and Daddy and Amy and Miss Ann and Miss Natalia,” with her own spelling, of course — I think she said Natalia came out something like Nutoua. She’s constantly chattering, trying out and listening to words and sound combinations and asking things like “What does ‘ppy’ spell? Can you sound it out?”

I’ve finished all of this block for our quilt — eighteen blocks, twenty-five squares each, including eight squares made of half-square triangles.

This is the block I’m working on now — I need twenty. I’ve been using strip-piecing for part of it, which means I sewed strips of the white paisley and the green paisley together and then cut them to make the center five-square row and the three-square bit in the rows above and below the center row. It’s much more efficient.

Amy’s school has generously allowed me some space in a basement room that is rarely used; it’s wonderful to be able to stay at the school instead of having to drive off to the library or something, and wonderful to be able to do something productive while there.

Amy tore a button out of the back of this dress — it’s relatively new and a great favorite, so after several unsuccessful efforts, I came up with this floral patch. She wishes they were on the front instead… I may have more work to do.

Denim sling

I think this is the third sling I’ve made. The first was for me, the second for a friend, and this one for a lady in the playgroup. A few years between the second and third, but this was by far the fastest and easiest. This denim is beautifully soft, too, and the “wrong” side looks just fine. The fringed selvedge on one edge is a nice bonus; having the two long sides different makes it easier to find the bit you need to adjust.