Thursday, June 19, 2014

Curly wild hair.

When I original sketched my rough idea for the girl dancing Over the Hills, I drew her with a mane of curly, wild hair - perhaps with a few flowers sprinkled through it. But how do you stitch that?

The ideas of how to do it have been simmering for a little while but I confess I was a little worried about if what I had in mind would work. After all, adding lots of stitches over and through the top of the head would easily turn into a real mess.

The first bit was pretty straight forward - create a foundation for the flowing locks. A rough base for shape and direction. To give the hair a bit of bulk, I added a bit of felt padding first, then added long stitches over the top. At this point she looked more like she is facing a bit of a storm, don't you think.

Years ago, I made little dolls with my grandma, and we used to make curly hair by casting yarn onto knitting needles and then pulling the stitches off. I figured the same method would work this time - fine threads and a fine knitting needle. To make sure the 'curls' would set, I steamed it just a a few minutes. 

It ended up sitting on the needle for a couple of weeks (you know what it is like) and when I finally pulled it off last night it most certainly had set! Once I unravelled the little spring, it was pretty clear that since I wasn't intending on giving her an afro, only the half of the thread that had been around the needle would do. So fare so good.

Gently easing the curly thread bit by bit and the hair started to take shape. It was working (happy face!) Mind you, it was very slow going as you can probably imagine the curly thread would twist and snag and if I accidentally pulled too tight, well the curls were pulled out.

Slowly but surely it got there. Flowing, curly wild hair. Looks ok I think and it wasn't at all as difficult as I had thought it might be.

Have a lovely rest of the week,
Anna x


  1. This is just stunning. Your stitching is so even. I love her dress and the stitches you have used. I also like how you have created the effect of wind with the stitching on the background.

    I remember one of my sisters using this method to make dolls hair as well. I had forgotten about it.

  2. This is wonderful - it shows that you can think 'outside the box' for certain elements of design. How wonderful that your experimenting worked...and wow, what a fantastic result! I'm envious of her beautifully tousled locks, perhaps I should try wrapping my hair round knitting needles? ;-) Chrissie x

    1. I know what you mean Chrissie - not even knitting needles will my hair curl.

  3. That’s such a great blog! as an embroidery artist I will definitely check this out!
    Thank you, Elia

  4. Anna she is delightful! The sense of movement, not easy to capture!, is very much alive and well in this young lady.

  5. I just LOVE this happy-go-lucky dancer! I really wish you would write a book. Great technique for curly hair.

  6. You have been very good, as the original and has volume. :)


  7. What a fascinating insight into how to solve a problem. The hair looks really great and I love the whole design.

  8. Beautiful! You could get the same look using Edmar's Boucle thread as well. We use that in needlepoint embroidery with a random stitch to achieve this type of look.

  9. Yes, it turned out very well! I am looking forward to the finish now!

  10. My Mom made hair that way too. I think she put it in the oven on low temp. At first I kinda liked her without any hair. She looked like someone who had lost her hair due to chemo therapy but is so HAPPY to have made it through the treatments fine. She even had a pink frock on. She's beautiful either way.

  11. Such happy artistry and creativity! This brings a smile to my face that does not want to go away. :-)

  12. What a great idea, I have never heard of this before. Well done, she is looking gorgeous.

  13. Wow, she is gorgeous. I love watching her come together.