I haven’t done much weaving this summer, so I was pleased to find this sweet dolly at antique store. She was a steal at $4.
I say “uh oh” because she’s kind of creepy, but even so, I did it–I bought a big-eyed doll, Susie Sad Eyes. Not only are her huge eyes sad and woebegone, she has dark circles under her eyes, poor thing, crooked bangs and a really rough haircut (which I see is the norm for this doll). I first spotted this 8″ doll in a locked glass case at a nearby antique store. With each visit over the past few years, I’d stop by and peer down at the sad creature, and this weekend I couldn’t resist, so I bought her. The price was $24. Now that I know a little more about Susie Sad Eyes, I know the price was really good; however, I’m just not a doll-buying type of person, so for me, it seemed like quite a lot of money. I’m glad I bought her, though. What a strange-looking doll!
Susie Sad Eyes was a cheaply produced plastic doll from the 1960s and 1970s. There are plenty of websites out there with information about her for collectors, but she came around during the popularity of artist Margaret Keane, who specialized in sad-eyed images. (For anyone in the know, this was pre-Blythe.)
Susie has a following that’s kind of fascinating. There’s a Flickr group, full of photos of Susies, many who have been updated with new hair, painted eyes, and plenty of modern clothing. There’s even a book dedicated to her, Susie Says, by the same author, Gina Garan, who started the Blythe craze in the year 2000 with her eerie photos of the 1972 doll. Blythe was Barbie doll-sized with a string out of the back of her head that, when pulled, changed eye colors. Talk about creepy! It was manufactured for only one year and then discontinued. If you judge popularity by how many active websites are out there, Blythe has a tremendous following. There are even new Blythe dolls being produced. When you compare little Susie Sad Eyes to Blythe, she’s less popular. Yet another reason to be sad, I guess.
Now, I must say that the Ebay prices of Susies are a bit steep. My little doll was a good deal. She even has her original clothes and leggings, but no shoes. The strange thing about Susie is that she’s really photogenic, and I find myself snapping way too many pictures. I assume this isn’t the last time Susie Sad Eyes will show up on this blog!
When I saw this posting and instructions on the eLoomanator's blog, I knew I had to try to make these two dolls using just one 4" woven square apiece. Barbara Giguere created these dolls using her 4" Weave-it loom. I made mine with the Wonder Weave, which also creates a 4" square.
I selected three colors of Dale of Norway/Falk 100% wool and threaded the loom with the neutral beige. I used the same color to weave six rows for the head. I then swapped to my second color, wove six more rows, and finally swapped to my third color, weaving six more rows. Once off the loom, it's pretty straightforward to finish the dolls. Simply sew up the back to make a tube, use the extra yarn to draw in the neck and stuff, then gather the top. Stuff the body, tighten the waist and sew the feet. I liked how Barbara stitched in some arms and on the boy doll, some legs, so I followed the same idea.
Doll hair is still difficult for me. I don't quite know how to stitch it so it covers the head and yet can't be pulled off by a child. These two dolls have hair, but it's pretty loose–one good tug and it'll come off. I'll need to research hair for future dolls.
These two dolls are just four inches high. Aren't they sweet?
I knitted this doll using the same pattern as Loofah, only on the large end (8 peg) spool Knifty Knitter instead of the flower loom. She’s very tiny, about 4″. I think if I were going to make these dolls to give away, I’d have to find a way to keep the stuffing in place. As it is, you can tell the gaps between each row are so large you can see the polyfill. One idea I had is to use a child’s sock as a way to stuff the doll. I can also use a tighter stitch like I do for the head.
I made this loomed dolly on the smaller (12 peg) flower Knifty Knitter. The pattern is Lulu the Loomed Dolly, and it’s Bev’s from Cottage Garden. She loom knits Lulu Dolls for charity.
When I saw her dolls, and I saw the Lulu that American Girl in Italy made, I had to give it a try. I used Lion brand wool (worsted weight) for the head and some left-over medium-weight wool for the body.
I didn’t have the 18 peg loom that Bev uses, so I used my brand-new flower loom. Compared to the smallest loom in the KK round loom kit, this one has 12 pegs vs. the 24 peg blue loom; however, it’s still large gauge.
It took me awhile to decide what stitch to use, because I knew I wanted the head to look different than the body. After starting four times, I ended up using a 1-over-3 wrapping and just the basic knit stitch. How I do this is I single wrap each peg, and I go completely around four times total. I then knit the bottom loop over the three remaining loops, and I do this for each peg. I then wrap just one strand around all pegs and continue.
I made the head this way by knitting 24 rounds. (If I was using thicker yarn it would have been many fewer times around.) I then switched colors and started the body. I used two strands here, plus I choose the garter stitch. I knitted Loofah’s body to be twice as long as her head.
When I neared the end of the body, I decreased by putting one existing loop on the neighboring peg and knitting off. I did this all around so I was left with six loops. I then gathered them all together just like a hat. I stuffed the doll with polyfill, and gathered the head.
When Loofah was at this stage, I decided the garter stitch wasn’t exactly attractive. It was, in fact, sorta odd looking. Although I had played around with some cutsie names like Magnolia, in the end, she most resembles a loofah gourd, so that’s her name: Loofah.
I knitted a little scarf on my other new KK loom: the spool loom. It makes two different sizes of i-cords. I used the smallest side, and I even added some tiny tassels. I then knitted Loofah a hat, so I went back to the flower loom and knitted about two inches. I decreased the top of the hat and gathered it off. The brim curled up on its own.
Finally, I decided Loofah needed some personality, so I had a try at stitching a face. She has a tiny pink mouth, two blue eyes, and some wild hair. You may notice one of her eyes is crooked–looks like I need some practice!
Because she’s wool, I wonder if she’d felt at all if I washed her. I’d have to de-stuff her first, but it may be a cool look. At this point, though, I’m a little attached to her, and I’d hate it if something bad happened to my lil’ Loofah.
I think Loofah was a great first doll. She’s pretty much a tube with a scarf and hat. Now that I have these smaller looms, it’ll be fun to knit her new things once and awhile like a blankie, shawl, and maybe even a couple of snazzy tube dresses!
By the way, it’s sure nice to have the kitties nearby. Whenever I need help choosing a color, they’re right there to lend a helping paw.