Monday, June 27, 2011

Crocheted Figurines?

So, I must admit, I have been feverishly working on new dolls and I've run into yet another set of inspiring/ensnaring/troubling potential rooms to grow my doll making.

The Problem: Crochet Isn't for Every Office

I have a great friend who wanted a desk doll (what I call the crochet dolls I make) but she had a problem with the dolls I make (and not just that I am not currently taking custom orders ...or any orders). Here's our convo:

Her: You know, I'd really love one of those desk doll thingys you made for x,y and z but...
Me: But?
Her: Yeah, I couldn't keep one of those at work. My desk gets way too dusty. (She works in an old office building and sifts through old records for a living.)
Me: Hmm...
Her: If you ever make one out of something else... like a figurine, but not like a little kid or precious moments thing or something, an adult thing like the crochet ones, I'd be willing to pay you BIG money.

Big Money? My ears perked up. I don't make the things I make expecting money (although it would be nice one day). But the rest of what she said had been irking me about the dolls since I first started making them. 

Am I making crochet figurines?
I had another friend tell me that they were more like crochet sculpture or a figurine than dolls. But like my friend with the dusty office, all I can really think of when people say figurine are glass unicorns or Precious Moments babies:


Honestly, I don't see anything wrong with precious babies and glass mythical unicorns, but they aren't really what I'm going for. 

I started making the dolls in preparation to making doll friends for my little one, so that she could have play unique stuffed. Once I got that form down, I moved on to making amirgurumi and the dolls. 

I make dolls with hug afros -- self and friend reflecting little women dolls. They don't do much but sit and look pretty on a flat surface but I always like have a bit of soul or good feeling attached to them. Put one on your desk and when things get rough, look over at her and share a smile like you would do with a good friend who knows you well. 

I use crochet because I like it, I'm good at it and it's a fairly inexpensive medium.

My friend has a point. Because I am not making stuffy playthings (amigurumi)) for the baby and making things that will sit out on desks or shelves, crochet isn't for every environment. Dust is not easy to get out of the hair. 

Should I Try to Make Them Out of Clay?
I've had a really productive few days with the dolls in progress but will have to slow down because my little one is fascinated with the beads I am using to embelish them and I don't want to keep bringing them out and not letting her play. In a few days, she and my hub will go out without me and I'll get back to finishing up my last three dolls. 

BUT, I'm tempted to go to the cfraft store and buy some clay and try my hand at sculpting a figurine version.

This is either the beginning of a really good idea or ...well....

Thanks for stopping by. I know that there are a lot great blogs out there on the net and the fact that you waste any of your time on my ramblings, is really significant to me.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Tooth Fairy or What you doodle while recovering from dental surgery..

The Tooth Fairy arrived quite unexpectedly in my sketchbook today. I was brainstorming. I'm trying to figure out how to draw a cartoon-like version of the dolls I crochet. I was growing frustrated when I started thinking about the Tooth Fairy.

Remember when we were kids and it didn't hurt when we lost a tooth and we were rewarded by the fairy of myths for our lost little chompers?

Too bad that as an adult when you get a tooth pulled (wisdom my foot!) it hurts like hell and there is no winged lady with money for your loss. 

I don't know when I stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy, only that right now I wish I had one. Maybe the drawing will suffice.

Peas and mashed potatoes (all I can eat right now),

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So, What Am I Going to Do About it?... Dolls in Progress

In today's post, I'll share a bit about why I think I was having a hard time crocheting and what I plan to do about it. I hope that my experiences might help someone else who may be having muse problems.

Okay, last post I was a bit nonplussed. I wanted to crochet but I wasn't getting the results I wanted nor taking the time I wanted. I blamed my muse. You know that infamous mythical woman that we who would be artist are taught to blame things on when we aren't being productive? I gave my muse a hard time. But if the muse is supposed to be a friend and a supporter, I thought, how dare I be so critical of her? I sat down and I reassessed my problem. And then, after writing that post about the doll I wasn't going to finish. I did this:

I started two dolls, completing their basic structure and their hair (the most difficult part) in a night. This was a feat not just because I wasn't feeling particularly crafty, but also because I was (and still am) in immense mouth pain. Turns out that I had to have some wisdom teeth pulled among a host of other painful procedures. And after really reflecting, I think part of my crafty difficulties arose from my denial of the pain I was in. I'm used to doing a million things at once --- working full time, mothering, wife-ing (I know, I know, but you get what I mean), friending, writing, reading, and every other ing I could pack in.

But, dear friends, let me tell you if you don't already know, not paying attention to how your body feels will only work for so long. Eventually it will give out on you, make you rest, make you take stock of what's important.

Good thing is, now I think I can go back to doll making. I'm even inspired to try a few things.
I don't work from a pattern for the dolls. I usually just crochet in a spiral, increasing and decreasing where it feels right. For these two dolls, that I began out of frustration --- I just wanted to get a doll done in my rut -- I used two of my favorite skin tone yarns and basic black yarn for the body and wig. The wigs are actually a frogged hat. While similar, these dolls are differently shaped. Most notably from the side they have different bust shapes. I like each of them. I have plans to embellish them each with beads, ribbon and embroidery to enhance them. New territory for me. I usually just give them some earrings and maybe a necklace. I've got big plans for these dolls. I have a third doll with a lighter skin tone on the hook right now. Once she's done, I'll embellish all three. And hopefully have the first dolls for my new crafty business endeavors. (No more custom orders for awhile)

And what about the weird doll I posted about last? I dug her out of the scrap box (am I the only one with a scrap box for crochet?) and also dug out another failed experiment. Here they are in their ugly glory.

Putting them side by side made it easy for me to see what I didn't like about them! They have the same problems even though they have very different appearances.

  • Problem 1 - Eye size. I use standard safety eyes in my dolls. Apparently I only like the really small ones. Lesson learned.
  • Problem 2 - Body Shape. All my dolls have boobs, or at least a breast ridge. Neither of these do. They are both oddly conical and straight up and down.
  • Problem 3 - Hair issues. Both dolls have hair that I have used on other dolls and loved. But I hate (yep, the H word) both of their wigs. After really looking at them I noticed that I had sewn their hair too far back on the head. These dolls have too much forehead. Plus, each wig is too thin. I like my dolls to have big lush afros. Neither of these do.

So, what am I going to do with the two uglies? After much debate (with myself), I've decided to unravel them both and reuse the yarn and stuffing. I can't salvage them because of the eyes. I don't think I'll ever like those eyes.

The next few posts will be progress posts for the three new dolls. Wish me luck.

Peas and carrots,

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Crochet Muse is Resting ..A Doll In Progress, A Tiny Granny Square

Hey Good People,

Life is bizarre but good. I say it's bizarre because I've been all over the map (literally traveling a bunch), under the weather and not inspired by my crocheting ... Like this doll:
I started making her a few months ago for a friend. Every few weeks or so I pick her up and say I really should finish her.

She needs a bit more hair, some jewelry and a stand. She already has a home. I'm making her for a friend. Good thing that friend doesn't know it, because I don't know if she'll ever get done.

Has that ever happened to you? Ever start a project, put lots of work into it (believe me the hair on these dolls is lots of work) and then just decide not to finish it?

Part of me just wants to take a few hours and give her a once over and see if I like it. (You might remember I started this blog to stop having so many unfinished projects.)But then there's this other part of me that just isn't into her anymore.

I think I've lost my crochet muse or something. 

Practicing what I preach to my students -- do something small to get you going on something big -- I decided to make a little jewelry project to get the crochet fires burning.

I watched a little tv shopping network (most of my jewelry ideas come from watching hsn or qvc. Maybe I'll write a post about that soon.) And came up with an idea for a granny square pendant.

And I made this out of some crochet thread:
It's been hanging on my refrigerator ever since. The picture doesn't do it justice. The thread is a nice, soft burnt umber and the square is tiny (less than 1.5" across). It would be great with some beads and a chain. Alas, if only someone else would finish it.

Don't think I'm writing about this lack of crochet inspiration from a bad place. I'm not. It is what it is.

I've been wondering if the problem isn't health related. Crocheting is a physical activity for me.  I work small and long. I spend nights squinting at tiny thread making my eyes tired and my fingers numb...Perhaps, as a good friend offered the other day, I'm just too tired to crochet much right now. No worries. It's just a general fatigue and I have been getting other things done. I've participated in my first swap on Craftster and made a set of greeting cards for a friend. My doodles are growing daily. I find that I can do them more easily while watching my rambunctious 9 month old than working on my dolls which require deep concentration and a meticulous attention to detail. I haven't gotten totally out of the doll making spirit, I've started drawing paper dolls.

Yeah, the more I think about it, perhaps my crochet muse is resting... like I need to. Maybe in a few weeks I'll pick up this doll or the granny square and be inspired...

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