Sunday, January 27, 2013

Drop Spindle

I have always been amazed at the process of taking fibers and turning them into yarn. I did have a chance to try using  a drop spindle when I was working on a project in Mexico many, many years ago.  There was a women on the project who was working with the spindle whorls that were found at the site. They were really beautiful.
 I wish I had some pictures of them.  The pictures above are from a different Aztec site but look  similar. They are made out of clay and came in all different sizes the smallest for cotton and the large ones were for maguey fibers which come from a cactus. We were so interested in how they worked. The women ( I can't remember her name :( but she was very nice) gave us a demonstration and then let us all try.  Some of the ladies took to it right away. I was not one of them. The cotton kept breaking and I couldn't get a good spin going. I figured it was just not my thing and moved on.

Now many, many, years later I've decided to give it another try. For Christmas I got a drop spindle and some wool fiber. I think wool is much more forgiving than cotton. I also got the book Respect the Spindle   . I thought it was a very good book for a begginer, I was able to start spinning the same day.

At the top of the blog you can see my very first single ply yarn. I did end up double plying it in the Andean style. Here it is after it has been washed and set.
I still need to work on getting it even and it turned out chunkier than I thought it would but it's usable and that makes me happy :) !

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Angelina is the other 18" doll I made as a custom order at Christmas. It was requested that she have blue eyes, sunset coloured hair and freckles.  She is made from organic cotton interlock and stuffed with warm and cozy wool. Her face is hand embroidered with cotton embroidery floss and her cheeks have been blushed with a bit of bees wax.

Origianally I had planned on using Malbrigo's Rios in Sunset for her hair. The same yarn I used for Ella (who is at the top of my blog). But when I went to buy it they were all out. I went around to the other yarn stores in my area and they were all out to. One shop said that they have had it on back order for 3 months.  So I figured I would have to come up with a different idea.

I'm actually glad they were out because it made me try something I haven't done before. I blended 3 different yarns to make her hair.
The medium colour and the highlights are Cascade's Super Wash and the low lights are what I had left of the Malbrigo's Rios. I really love how it turned out and I will do more blending in the future.
Angelina is modeling the dress I designed for her. It is 100% cotton with a full skirt and a Peter Pan collar. The back is closed with a hook and eye and has a satin tie at the waist to make a bow in the back. I wish I would have taken a picture of her from the back.

I have always wanted to try smocking and she really seemed like she needed a smocked dress.  I hand gathered the fabric before I started the smocking. It was a nice process, kind of soothing like knitting. I liked it so much I did more smocking on the dress for my next doll Anna.  And I have a feeling there will be more smocking coming up!
Angelina's sweater is knit from Cascade's 220 Superwash. I had the yarn for the sweater before I bought the material for the dress and when I saw the little dots of the same aqua blue I knew it would be perfect.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I recieved a request for an 18" doll with brown hair, brown eyes and scattered freckles. And so Marie was born. I used and organic cotton interlock in peach(which is fair but warm)for her skin and Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca in Chocolate for her hair.

Her sweater is made from a felted tweed by Rowan. I really like how it turned out but the yarn had lots of little hairs that seemed to trigger my allergies:(
I made a cable down the front of each side of the sweater.

I had put a bow in her hair but she didn't like it very much. She said she wanted something to match her sweater. So I crocheted a headband with a flower and a little button in the middle. She likes it very much.

Marie's dress is made of purple cotton with white rickrack around the collar, sleeves and hem. There are four pleats down the front and the collar is finished with an antique mother of pearl button that I have had in my collection. She also has on little white bloomers trimmed with a purple bow(not pictured) and a pair of black crocethed Mary Janes made from Berroco's Ultra Alpaca.
Marie is adopted and very happy at her new home.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tag Along Owl

As I mentioned in my last post I have started my own little doll shop. For Christmas I took 3 custom doll orders, 2 were 18" dolls which I will showcase in later posts and 1 was a Gingermelon doll.

I had a request to make this Tag Along Owl for a sweet young lady who just loves owls.  I have admit owls are on of my favourites too. The pattern can be found Here at Gingemelon's Etsy shop. He is made from a merino wool blend and stuffed with eco wool from happy sheep:)

He has gone on to his new home where I know he will receive lots of love.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I think it's time for me to introduce Amelia. I created her by modifying the pattern I made for Ella in order to make an 18" doll.  I used Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca in chocolate for her hair. It is so soft and silky I hope I can get it in other colours as well.

 Amelia is my very own doll (you can never be too old or young to have a doll) ,but she is also my business partner :) I do so love making the dolls and have had requests for some, so with the encouragement and support of friends and family especially my husband I decided to start my own hobby business.

I have named my business Tooken's Tale after some stories my children and I have made up.  Basically, Tookens come from the Land of Brung. They are sometimes seen in our land but are very shy so they often turn themselves into small creatures like butterflies and ladybugs when they are spotted.

 My goal is to be able to release a small collection of dolls and coordinating outfits seasonally on Etsy and offer custom dolls 2-3 times a year.  But for now I think I will make one doll at a time. I will try to post images as I create each one and announce when she will be ready for adoption on Etsy.

Each doll is an individual and though I may have a basic idea of what I will make she really takes shape through the process. I think there is something very special about handmade items. I take a lot of time and care choosing high quality materials for each part of the doll and her wardrobe. It is a joy to create them and think about their future homes and families.