is how these little fellas
Just simple sketches on white paper which I’ve divided up into sections. One half of the sketch is always a little more detailed than the other side. The sketch above is what I’m working on today. In a few minutes I’ll cute each segment out then fold each character in half on the vertical line that runs down the body. I’ll cut my shape from the more detailed side and Voila! an ornament pattern is born. The vertical line allows the ornament to be symmetrical on both sides. To some this doesn’t really matter, but for me…I’m always so disappointed when I’m finished stuffing an ornament and notice the ears are way off or the cheeks are in different positions. So I like this method. It works for me…(usually). I still have to pay careful attention when I’m stuffing so that the curves are “right”. You would think that since the shape is sewn a certain way, you could just stuff willy nilly and all would turn out fine. Over the years I’ve learned that this is not always the case. I can control the shape with my stuffing fork.
A stuffing fork, you say? Whaaa?????
That little white instrument on top is my stuffing fork. Under that are long hemostats. These are two items I can’t live without. I have a back up stuffing fork, just in case I should ever lose the one I’m currently using. In the beginning of my doll making career I used whatever I could find to push fluffy fiberfill into doll bodies. A skinny long handled paint brush was my go-to. And I thought it worked fine until I saw a stuffing fork in a doll parts catalog. “Hmmm, I’ll give it a try”, I thought. It made such a difference in my projects. The tiny tines allow you to really control the stuffing in a way that I couldn’t with a long handled paint brush. It holds my stuffing so that I can direct the tiniest amount to sharp corners like tiny ears, hat tips and pointy noses. I think my work really began to improve when I purchased the stuffing fork. In fact, I wouldn’t even want to try to make painted ornaments without it.
Today I’ll be cutting out and sewing a large batch of these little guys for winter stuffing sessions bundled up on my couch while the temps dip outside! It’s nice to still be productive when it’s too cold to actually work in my studio. Oh the woes of living in an old farmhouse!
But I’ll have Netflix and my stuffing fork to keep me company.