Monday, January 21, 2013

among the roots of my garden...

...Benny and I found this pod.

We carefully opened it up and there inside, nestled snug and deep was a tiny baby.

This doll was a very special project for a dear friend of mine. We have been talking about it for a few months now and I have loved working on it this month.
The baby is curled up inside a knitted and felted pod. There is actually a pretty funny story behind the pod:
 I had the general shape and feel of what the pod should look like in my head, but didn't really know how to make it. I decided to knit a base out of dark brown, handspun Jacob's yarn from here. I then picked up stitches all the way around the base and knitted in the round using strands of earthy coloured vintage Irish yarn from my stash. Round and round I went, it was so grounding and beautiful to knit. 
Now to the funny part. I wanted to felt the pod as a whole in the washing machine then cut the door hatch into it. I'm pretty rubbish at felting (apart from things I don't want to felt) I knew I needed something to bash it around inside the machine to help it felt. My first thought was pebbles, but then thought it probably wouldn't be so sensible to put stones into my washing machine. So then I thought potatoes! And that's what I did, I popped a couple of hard, clean, raw potatoes into the pod before knitting it closed and put it in the machine. It wasn't until I had switched on the hot wash that I thought about what I had done...what if the potatoes cooked...worse still what if they mashed all over the knitting? So with baited breath I waited for the wash to finish. Phew, although the potatoes had cooked they hadn't burst their skins. It did make me giggle though. Me and my bright ideas!
The pod didn't stand the way I wanted it to unsupported so I knitted a second 'skin' and sewed it into place stuffing it with some sheep's wool. Oh my, how warm that wee pod baby is in there snuggled up!

For extra warmth the pod baby is curled up inside a little leafy sleeping bag. This is knitted from the most beautiful handspun yarn, also from Melissa's shop. I have to say I haven't knitted with handspun much but I just love it, so organic and interesting. The colours are so beautiful too. Melissa's yarn is so lovely and the last I knew she was offering a discount on the yarn she has in her shop. She also does small quantities, completely perfect for dolls clothes, and she takes custom orders!
 The pod baby himself/ herself is about 11 or 12 inches long (I can't find my ruler to be more exact). He is pretty unique in that he has a wire skeleton. For this project we felt that we wanted the baby to retain the curled up shape from being inside the pod. So I used a similar technique that I use for the doll house dolls, wrapping wool roving around pipe cleaners and stuffing that into the skin. It worked really well, and although you can't see it so well in the pictures the baby is pose-able and will sit unsupported (and even cross legged...oh the cuteness!)

 The baby is wearing a little wool felt top made from an upcycled wool vest that Joa had grown out of. Over this he has knitted dungarees from the beautiful Jacob's sheep yarn I mentioned before. They are so sweet and really remind me of Pan or a little fawn's trousers.
 He also has a hat in leafy handspun, pointed of course, to match his green eyes.

 It was a special project and I felt that it has helped keep me grounded and rooted to the earth and nature at a time when I have needed it most.
I have some lovely projects coming up in the next months including a Scottish doll, 2 flower fairies and a family :-)

ETA: Melissa does still have a few yarns and if you use the coupon code 'flighty' you will get 20% off :-)


  1. Laura, what an amazing story to go with an amazing pod and baby. I am enjoying watching all your new dolls.

  2. Oh, Laura! I love it! I feel so honored to have my yarn be a part of this amazing creation of yours! Your talent is forever surpassing my expectations. (:

    Also. The potatoes? That's pretty funny. I retold the story to the Elf and B, we all had a good laugh. Next time might I suggest tennis balls? Or small metal bowls? Even a pair or two of balled up socks will do the trick. (:

    1. I still laugh at the potatoes, I think I might start factoring vegetables into my pricing lol! Yes I had thought of tennis balls, but I only had one chewed up old thing Andy's dog had killed...balled up socks, now that's the thing...potatoes are a thing of the past x

  3. Oh so wonderful, what a delight for a child, cheers Marie

  4. Oh, Laura! I am so laughing here about you and your potatoes!!!
    I love this darling special pod baby!

  5. Oh my, your potato story made me gasp - I'm glad it worked out for you and your machine survived. The finished project is one of the cutest and sweetest things I've ever seen. Great job!

    1. thank you so much and I think I have learnt my lesson in felting terms ;-P

  6. I love the pod idea and the photos are adorable.

  7. What a beautiful creation and a lovely, funny story to go with it!