Take It Further Challenge

On January 1st I was excited to see that Sharon B had posted the first installment of the Take It Further Challenge. The theme for January is to make a stitched something about a person who inspires you. I had just finished writing an article about artist/poet/designer Gretchen Elsner and was still trying to sort out her magic in my mind. So the decision was quite instantaneous - i thought I would make a cloth figure (doll in any other words) that might represent Gretchen.

Now from what I have seen of Sharon's last challenge (Take a Stitch Tuesday), the bar is set pretty high with this crowd. I don't know if a doll will even cut it - but I figure it's cloth, stitched by hand, and I can go bonkers embroidering the wardrobe.

The other thing is that, although I made some marionettes when I was in high school, I am not a doll maker. But this is supposed to be a challenge, right? So of course I want to make a jointed doll.

I figured out a head shape...

...and added button eyes, outline stitch features, and some of my handspun, lichen dyed yarn for hair. Oh, I didn't mention, my own self-imposed rule for this challenge is that all materials must come from the stash.

I was just reading Peter Steinhart's The Undressed Art, and one interesting thing I learned was that the universal approach to drawing a human figure is that one starts with the head, then moves down the body. I apparently have done just that with this doll! Given my lack of doll-making experience, perhaps I should have started my figure with the simpler, less visible body parts, but no, I had to dive right in and start from the top!

Just in case anyone else is following the Challenge and happens to be reading this, I will not be using the colour palette that Sharon suggested. Blecchhh! Oh, sorry to be rude - I guess one person's inspiration can be another's turn off - part of what makes this year-long project so fun. Can't wait to see what others are doing!

While you're visiting Sharon's website, check out her posting about her sewing room clean up and stash weigh-in. This woman is a marvel of organization - I'm in awe. (And I'm pretty sure I don't have 400 kilos of stash - but then I haven't weighed it!)


  1. Sounds a novel idea - a doll. Hope you haven't set yourself too huge a target, will you manage to finish in one month? Do you enviseage a doll a month?
    Sharon's challenges are certainly stimulating and somewhat stretching but I think it is good to move out of one's comfort zone now and again. Can't wait to see your end result.

  2. Looks great for a first doll! I posted my opinion of the palette on my blog--similar to yours.

  3. wow! this is a challenge!, the doll look great! i am working with the concept too.

  4. Great idea! Your doll will be wonderful Hadn't thought about it, but yes, we do start from the head when drawing/designing human figures, don't we? Thanks for the insight.


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