Making a Yarn Doll *
A couple colors of yarn (we used one for the body, one for the arms/torso, and one for the hair
something about 6-8 inches long to wrap the yarn around
yarn needle (optional, but it makes some parts easier)
cloth scraps, buttons, ect (optional for eyes, clothing, etc)
Wrap the yarn around your 6-8 inch long object until you have about a handful of yarn. Its hard to say how much to use…if you decide to braid the arms and legs, you need less, but if you are making a dress with the yarn, it looks better with more. Either way, you should be able to tie it off pretty tight to form the parts of the body.
When you are done, tie off what will become the “top” of the doll so youhave a loop of yarn like so:
To make the arms, wrap a separate, thinner section of yarn (we used the width of our guide, but you can use the length and trim the “hands” if you prefer). The other choice is to wrap the arms, which makes them a bit pose-able, as we did (you can leave the hands as loops or trim the arms), or to braid them (the arms can be trimmed to the length you want).
Tie off the head, insert the arms and cut the loops on the bottom.
There are two methods to make the bodice/torso. For the first, you just tie off the torso under the arms (its the technique that the website linked in the first step uses). For the second, you wrap the torso, which forms a bodice (its a bit like making an ojo de Dios, in terms of the pattern it forms for the bodice).
Add the “extras”–hair, eyes, skirt, etc. For hair, take a loop of yarn for the hair, and cut it at one end, then tie it at the middle through the top of the head. For eyes (this is where a yarn needle comes in handy), you can tie and trim a piece of another yarn color, or you could sew in buttons. A skirt or apron can be made from fabric scarves, as can a kerchief.
Making it Pagan:
These dolls can easily be decorated in ways that turn it into a doll representative of a deity. These make great additions to children’s altars, or can be used for kids to reenact and recreate (or create their own) mythologies and get to know pantheons. A yarn doll makes a great Brigid doll for Imbolc (while a corn doll is more traditional**, I generally don’t have corn husks still hanging around in February!), yarn dolls make great faerie ornaments (just add wings) for the Yule tree, they make awesome charms (add a crystal or a small pouch with herbs, choose the yarn colors appropriately, come up with a suitable chant to energize it, etc) for kids to carry (similar to our sleepy spell bear). If you plan to leave it outdoors at all, be sure that you use natural fibers (wool, cotton, ect–not acrylics or other synthetics).
*Originally posted here
**Sometimes I have to wonder about this word “traditional”…traditional to when? I mean…corn is a new world food…so a corn husk doll is certainly not a “traditional” European craft.