Lovely Lilies: Feature Plant For November

I love lilies! They have such beautiful flowers and really come into their own in late November, hence I have chosen them for this month’s feature post. While there are many flowers, which contain the word ‘lily’ as part of their common name like Day Lilies Hemerocallis (first photo below) and Jacobean Lilies Sprekelia (second photo below), true lilies belong to the Liliaceae family and Lilium genus, which contains 80 to 100 species, all native to the temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. The only true lily we grow in our garden is the November or Christmas Lily, L. longiflorum, so I was keen to know more about the other varieties!BlogLovelyLilies25%IMG_7449Lilies come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours and have been extensively hybridized over 4000 years, being one of our oldest cultivated plants and having thousands of cultivars. It is little wonder that it is so easy to get a bit confused and overwhelmed by the variety! Here is a brief rundown of their description; categorisation (species and hybrids); propagation and cultivation; history and mythology; and uses.BlogLovelyLilies3018-02-03 11.54.51 (2)Description:

Herbaceous perennial plants, their erect stems 2 to 6 feet (60cm to 1.8 metres) tall with narrow lance-shaped leaves, though some species are only 30 cm tall, while other exceed 2.5 metres.

Most of the cool temperate species are deciduous and dormant in Winter, but those species from climates with hot Summers and milder Winters, often lose their leaves for a short dormant period from late Summer to Autumn, resprouting a dwarf stem with a basal rosette of leaves from Autumn to Winter, which elongates as the weather warms up eg L. candidum and L. longiflorum. The stems of the latter are on the move with the warmer weather and longer day length in the photo below.BlogLovelyLilies2015-11-10 15.40.11Flowers are solitary or borne in racemes or umbels at the tip of the stem from late Spring through to late Autumn, their blooming times dependent on the variety, but most blooming from mid to late Summer (July and August in Europe).BlogLovelyLilies2015-11-25 18.58.53Each flower has 6 petal-like segments or tepals in a variety of shapes:

Trumpet or elongated tube (eg L. candidum; and L. longiflorum-see photo below);

Bowl (eg L. auratum);

Flat open cup, with or without recurved tepal tips; and

Tepals strongly recurved (eg. L. martagon).BlogLovelyLilies2015-12-02 08.45.33They face upwards, outwards or downwards (pendant) and have a huge colour range.

The seeds ripen in late Summer.

Lilies grow from underground naked scaly bulbs. Some North American species develop rhizomes with small bulblets at the base of the bulb and other species develop stolons.BlogLovelyLilies2015-12-02 19.19.25Categorisation

Lilies are divided into nine divisions, their photographs displayed on the following sites:

https://www.ftd.com/blog/share/types-of-lilies ;
and   http://www.lilies.org/culture/types-of-lilies/.

Another excellent link for hybrid lilies is: https://lilyflowerstore.com/fun-facts/about-hybrid-lilies/.

Division 1: Asiatic Hybrids

eg Tango; Forever Susan; Lollipop

Hybrids are derived from Asian species: L. tigrinum, L. cernuum, L. davidii, L. maximowiczii, L.x macultum, L. x hollandicum, L. amabile, L. pumilum, L. concolor, L. callosum, L. dauricum, L. lankongense, L. leichtlinii, L. pumilum, L. lancifolium, L. wilsonii and L. bulbiferum.

Straight stems 3 to 4 feet tall with a high bud count.

Blooms face up, out or down, depending on the parent species, and most are unscented.

Broadest colour range of all lilies: White, pink, plum, yellow, orange and red.

One of the earliest lilies to bloom from early to mid Summer with a long flowering period (up to one month).

Cold hardy. Grow in full sun to part shade. One of the easiest lilies to grow.

Very popular as a cut flower and potted plant.

Division 2: Martagon Hybrids

eg Turk’s Cap

Hybrids are derived from such species as L. martagon, L. hansonii, L. medeoloides, and L. tsingtauense.

They were first cultivated in The Netherlands in 1891, the first variety called ‘Marhan’ (L. x dalhansonii), resulting from a cross between pollen parent L. hansonii and L. martagon var. dalmaticum. They include the Backhouse hybrids (L. martagon x L. hansonii) from the late 20th century and the rare heritage Paisley hybrids (L. martagon var album x L. hansonii).

Tall slender stems (90 cm to 1.8 metres or 3 to 6 feet tall) with whorled broad leaves and many small (5 to 10 cm wide), dainty, nodding flowers (usually 12-24 flowers per stem, but can bear up to 50 flowers on a single stem from a single bulb), with strongly recurved thickish tepals, resembling a Turk’s Cap, from early to mid-Summer.

Their colours range from white and yellow to pink, lavender, light orange, deep dark red, spattered with freckles and spots, and the scent is only very slight or unpleasant, so it is not one for the house! Despite this fact, I would love to grow them in the garden!

Martagons do not typically grow well in hot, humid climates and much prefer cool weather and shade, so are excellent for the woodland garden. They are also excellent border plants. Highly disease-resistant, they like slightly alkaline, well-drained soil and good moisture. They can take a year to establish in a new garden. If you want to know more about growing Martagon lilies, read: http://www.da.lilies.org/articles/martagonlilies.pdf.

Division 3: Candidum Hybrids/ Euro-Caucasian

eg Madonna Lily, June Fragrance (L. candidum salonikae x L. monadelphum 1971)

Hybrids are derived from L. candidum, L. chalcedonicum, L. monadelphum, L. cernum, L. longiflorum and  L. henryi.

This division includes very few entries, and they are not easily found in commerce. It includes one of the oldest known hybrids: L. testaceum (Nankeen Lily), a cross in the early 19th century between L. candidum and L. chalcedonicum.

Fragrant large white funnel-shaped blooms with a yellow base on 4 foot tall (1.2 metres) stems from late Spring to early Summer.

Division 4: American Hybrids

eg Tiger Lily

Hybrids are derived from L. columbianum and L. pardalinum (West coast); L. canadense, L. superbum and L.philadelphicum (East coast); L. michiganense (middle states) and L. grayi, L. michauxii, L. catesbaei and L. iridollae (south). Other North American species include: L. humboldtii, L kelloggii, and L. parryii.

Tall stately plants with flowers with reflexed tepals on curved pedicels, which bloom about the end of June and early July (mid Summer), although if they are planted south of Philadelphia, where the climate is warmer, they will bloom in late May to mid-June (late Spring).

They enjoy light dappled shade and can develop huge clumps in woodlands if left undisturbed.

The best known are the Bellingham hybrids, developed from a cross between Lilium humboldtii var. ocellatum, L. pardalinum and L. parryi.

Division 5: Longiflorum Hybrids

eg Easter Lily, November Lily or Christmas Lily

Hybrids are derived from L. longiflorum and L. formosanum, both native to Japan and Taiwan.

These hybrids bear elegant large pure white trumpet-shaped flowers.

They are easily raised from seed, but not particularly hardy in the garden and need a protected position.BlogLovelyLilies2015-12-02 08.43.39Division 6: Trumpet or Aurelian Hybrids

eg Henry’s Lily; Regal Lily; African Queen

Hybrids are derived from L. leucanthum, L. regale, L. sargentiae, L. sulphureum, and L. henryi.

There are two types:

Trumpets: tall stately plants bearing huge waxy trumpets with a heavy sweet fragrance and a colour range from white, gold and yellow to pink, plum and apricot with maroon on the outside of the trumpet in mid-Summer. They can be upward-facing, outward facing or downward facing. eg Regal Lily…and the

Aurelians, resulting from the introduction of the hardy L. henryi to the mix and producing a plant with 5 foot tall willowy stems bearing secondary and tertiary buds over a long season from mid to late Summer. The buds open to wide bowls with flared petals, sunbursts, stars and flares.

Trumpets and Aurelians may need staking to prevent the heavy flower heads breaking in the wind and mulching in colder climates, as they are not frost tolerant.

Division 7: Oriental Hybrids

eg Stargazer, Casablanca

Hybrids are derived from L. auratum, L. speciosum, L. nobilissimum, L. rubellum, L. alexandrae, and L. japonicum.

They are stronger, more resistant and often more spectacular than their species parents. The plants are 5 foot high and bloom from late Summer to Autumn with huge (6-8 inch) bowl-shaped, flat or reflexed flowers, which face upward, outward or downward and have rich colours (white, pink,and red with yellow banded petals and striking spots) and strong fragrance, making them very popular as cut flowers.

They are not as east to grow as the Trumpets and Aureliums, but like plenty of water, an acidic humus rich soil and mulch for a cool root run.

Division 8: Interdivisional Hybrids

eg LA Hybrids; Orienpets; OA Hybrids; LO Hybrids . See: http://www.bdlilies.com/long.html and http://www.lilynook.mb.ca/Division8.html.

LA hybrids are the result of crossing L. longiflorum (the Easter lily) with Asiatic varieties. Most of such crosses on the market have larger flowers (4 to 7 inches across), a very slight fragrance and hardiness. Eg Brindisi. See: http://www.lilynook.mb.ca/LA_Hybrids.html and http://www.bdlilies.com/long.html.

OT hybrids or Orienpets involve crossing Oriental lilies (beauty and fragrance) with Trumpet/Aurelian lilies (robustness and adaptability; heat tolerance; and range of colours). They can be incredibly beautiful, robust and durable plants, 6.5 to 8 feet tall with many large heavily scented flowers (6 to 10 inches), which face upwards and outwards eg ‘Black Beauty’ ; ‘Leslie Woodriff’; ‘Scheherazade’; and ‘Starburst Sensation.’

OA hybrids are derived from crossing Orientals with Asiatics. Eg Kaveri. See: https://blog.longfield-gardens.com/new-for-2015-the-first-oriental-asiatic-lily-hybrid/.

LO hybrids are produced from a cross between L. longiflorum and one or more Oriental Hybrids. They have large (6 to 10 inch) fragrant outward facing trumpets with curved tepals. Eg Pink Heaven. See: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=271494&isprofile=0&.

Division 9: Species Liliums

Species lilies are wild lilies, the parents of all the lily hybrids in our gardens and hailing from temperate areas in North America, Europe, and especially Asia (Japan, China, Burma, and India). They propagate from seed, but are often harder to grow in the garden than the hybrids.

To learn more about some of these species lilies, see:

https://www.gardenia.net/guide/Species-and-Wild-Lilies and https://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/Lilium.

Other excellent sites for information on Liliums in general include:

The North American Lily Society http://www.lilies.org/culture/types-of-lilies/;

The RHS Lily Group http://www.rhslilygroup.org/;

and the Europaische Liliengesellschaft (European Lily Society), written in German, though their links page http://www.liliengesellschaft.org/links/ is particularly useful, listing a large number of other lily societies worldwide.

Here in Australia, some good sources for Lilium bulbs include:

Tesselaars https://www.tesselaar.net.au/liliums;

Club Creek Bulb Farm http://clubcreekbulbfarm.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/cat-2018-lilium-email-version.pdf   in Victoria and

Van Diemen Quality Bulbs https://www.vdqbulbs.com.au  in Tasmania.BlogLovelyLilies2016-12-05 18.04.40Propagation and Cultivation

Lilies can be planted in beds and herbaceous borders (photo above); shrub borders; woodland plantings; formalised or natural pool plantings and alpine rock gardens and make excellent accent plants and patio plants.

They love cool climates, but the amount of sun or shade is dependent on the variety. The general advice concerning lily position is: ‘Heads in the sun; Feet in the shade’. Ideally, they should get direct sun all morning with partial shade on hot Summer afternoons. They love a north-facing aspect in the Southern Hemisphere. Blooms with pastel shades do better in partial shade, so they don’t bleach or fade with the sun.

Lilies like a porous loamy lime-free or moderately acidic soil (pH 6.5), but clay or sandy soils can be improved with large amounts of organic matter. Good drainage is ESSENTIAL.

They can be grown from seed eg Longiflorum hybrids, but take up to 4 years to bloom, so they are more often planted as bulbs in Spring or Autumn. Do not plant dry or shrivelled bulbs and on their arrival, plant immediately 12 to 18 inches apart at a depth of twice the height of the bulb, except for L. candidum, which is best planted in late Summer and should barely be covered with soil.

Water deeply and apply a 3 inch layer of organic mulch around the plants to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool. This mulch layer can be removed in Autumn.

A balanced fertiliser (low in nitrogen) can be applied every few weeks during the growing season.

Stake long stems with heavy flowerheads or grow them amongst shorter flowers for support. Remove seedpods as they appear and yellowing stems and foliage.

Really lilies are very easy to grow, except for species lilies and some of the American hybrids. My L.longiflorum plants receive minimal care and bounce back every season!BlogLovelyLilies2016-12-12 16.53.33

History and Mythology

Lilies have been cultivated for over 4000 years and have an extensive history and mythology. The Madonna Lily L. candidum was used in Asia Minor as a medicinal ointment and food in 2000 BC and artefacts depicting it have been found in ancient ruins in Mesopotamia, as well as Knossos, Crete and mainland Greece.  In Greek mythology, the lily was the symbol of the goddess Hera and represented purity, innocence and refined beauty and was used for ornamental and medicinal uses, a practice continued by the Ancient Romans.

During the Middle Ages, it was also a symbol of purity and often depicted with the Virgin Mary in artworks. In the Victorian Language of Flowers, lilies represented love, ardour and affection. The Easter Lily L.longiflorum is a symbol of the resurrection of Christ, while the Orange Lily, L. bulbiferum is, not unsurprisingly, a symbol of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland.

Colour also dictates lily symbolism. While white lilies are a symbol of modesty and virginity, yellow lilies represent gaiety and orange lilies passion, happiness, warmth and love.BlogLovelyLilies2015-12-07 09.43.15Uses

Floristry

Lilies are supposedly the fourth most popular flower in the world and are used extensively for funerals, representing the restoration of the soul of the deceased to a state of innocence, while the Easter Lily L. longiflorum dominates the Easter trade. Other popular lilies for floristry include: L. auratum; L. canadense; L. speciosum; and Oriental hybrids, Stargazer and Casablanca.

Be aware that some lily fragrances are so strong that they are best avoided in closed hospital rooms; some lilium species like L. longiflorum are toxic to cats, causing acute renal failure; and dropped pollen can cause gold stains on white clothing.

Lilies should be harvested when the lower bulbs are showing colour, but are not yet open. Stems should have plenty of buds. Remove the bottom leaves and cut the bottom of the stem at a 45 degree angle, adding floral preservative to the water. Change the water every few days.

Lily plants also make attractive gift pots.BlogLovelyLilies2016-12-05 12.14.11Food

While lilies are the food plant for some Lepidoptera larvae, including the Dun-bar, humans have also been consuming their starchy roots for years, especially in China, Japan and North America. Edible species include: L. bulbiferum; L. lancifolium; L. auratum; L. leichtinii; L. pardalinum; L. pumilum; L. davidii; L. brownii; L. canadense and L. columbianum.BlogLovelyLilies2015-12-07 09.42.44Medicine

Lilies have also been used for their medicinal properties, including:

Madonna Lily L. candidum: Astringent and demulcent;

Turks Cap L. martagon: Diuretic; emollient; emmenagogue; and expectorant properties and for heart disease and cardiac pain;

L. japonicum: for respiratory conditions; and

L. henryii, which relieves congestion and was used to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Lily oil has healing and softening effects, can be used for massage, as a hot oil treatment or in or after a bath, and is particularly good for sensitive or baby skin; dry cuticles and elbows and as a facial moisturizer and under-eye oil.BlogLovelyLilies25%IMG_1774I learnt so much about lilies through my research for this post and am now keen to trying growing some of the species lilies, including the Turk’s Cap lilies. Our lilies have been a little later this year, their buds not yet open. Maybe, they will be in another week, when I am posting an update on our late Spring Garden. What a visual and olfactory treat it has been! And there is a surprise in store…the next phase of our Candelo Blooms adventure! See you then!

 

 

Books on Sewing With and For Children

Now that the school holidays and Christmas are almost here, I thought a post on sewing and creating with children would be very timely! Sewing is such a useful life skill, whether it be the basic ability to sew on a button and repair your clothes or more advanced garment making, and learning at a young age gives individuals so much confidence in their abilities, as well as developing their creativity and just being fun!BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-04-22 08.59.48 - Copy

I have already reviewed Learning To Sew by Barbara Snook and Simple Embroidery by Marilyn Green in my first post on embroidery books (See: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/08/07/books-on-embroidery-part-one-general-guides/).

Another excellent sewing primer for children is :

Busy Little Hands: Sewing: A First Craft Book For Parent and Child  Illustrated by Douglas Hall 1988

Written specifically for children, this book has a very child-centred approach with simple instructions and fun pictures of mice and rabbits engaged in the task. Basic sewing skills are taught from enlarging patterns and using a needle threader to patchwork, tacking, oversewing, hemming and pleating, as well as a range of simple stitches, including back stitch, blanket stitch, herringbone stitch, stem stitch, satin stitch and cross stitch. There are some lovely easy projects from leaf needle cases and prickly hedgehog pincushions to butterfly mobiles; costumes, masks, hats and crowns; and drawstring bags and patchwork night cases. It’s a delightful little book and very appealing to young children.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_6572

Once the basic skills are mastered, the next two books by quiltmaker Yolanda Gifford are wonderful for inspiring creativity and imagination and a love of fabric and colour.

Fabric Fun For Kids by Yolanda Gifford 1995

After introducing basic stitches (running stitch, back stitch, overstitch) and materials (vliesofix; embroidery thread; and fabric textas, markers, dyes and paints), Yolanda launches straight into the 24 projects themselves, including hanging pillows, cushions, bags, pictures, runners, Christmas decorations, quilts, toys and glove puppets and rag baskets.

Each project has a materials sidetab; clear instructions and finishing notes, patterns and diagrams and full-colour plates of the finished article.

When my eldest daughter was younger, she was inspired by the pattern Ellie’s Bird (seen on the book cover below) to make her dad a felt panel of a king parrot.

BlogSoftToys25%IMG_7245

My girls also made the Christmas tree pillow and picture; the heart pin cushion; and Jake’s Four Patches, as seen in the photo below.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_7214 I could easily make the chook runner; the flower cushion; the Nick-Nack Sew a Patch bag and the Home Sweet Home panel myself! The projects are an excellent indicator of the popularity of Yolanda’s home sewing classes for children.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_6573

Simply Applique by Yolanda Gifford 1997

Yolanda’s second book is similar in presentation to her first book, but focuses on applique, using non-traditional methods and lots of freedom in colour, design and structure to portray children’s artwork on quilts, table cloths, curtains, cushions, bags, banners and family portraits and postcards.

While written for children, it is an equally wonderful book for beginners to the wonderful world of applique!

I love Yolanda’s use of bold simple shapes and bright colours and would love to make her family portrait and postcards; her appliqued curtains; her animal cushions and banner; her red and white embroidered cot quilt; and her love quilt, seen on the front cover of the book.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_6574

Steiner education also have some wonderful books for encouraging imaginative play and creativity in children. Here are three of my favourites:

Toymaking With Children by Freya Jaffke 1987

Imaginative play is so important for the development of creativity, as well as developing basic life skills and this little book is packed with wonderful ideas from building sets, shops, dioramas and landscapes to making dressing up costumes, crowns, puppets, gnomes, toy animals and dolls, including doll clothing, houses and furniture and using natural materials to make toys like pine cone birds, bark boats, wooden animals and log trains.

Below is a photo of my youngest daughter’s make-believe fairy, which kept her occupied for hours in the local park, while our car was repaired during a family holiday.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_7246There is also a large introductory section on the meaning and importance of play; the three stages of play; appropriate toys for each stage; and outdoor play.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_6575

Feltcraft: Making Dolls, Gifts and Toys by Petra Berger 1994

Felt is a wonderful medium for children to sew, as it is strong, firm and colourful; does not fray at the edges; and is easy to cut out into different shapes. Starting with simple embroidery stitches and instructions on making hair, the book describes a wealth of toy materials, construction methods and projects including:

Wooden standing dolls: Gnomes; a royal family; Saint Nicholas; an angel; a mother and baby ; hazelnut children; a wooden doll with moveable arms and legs and matchbox dolls;

Felt Dolls: Basic model; gnomes; woollen dolls; flower children and blossom fairies; finger puppets; and walking dolls;

Dolls with pipe-cleaner frames: Basic model; Christmas gnome; jester; man; and the man in the moon;

Animals and birds: Duck and swan; a bird; a seal; a butterfly mobile; a snail; cats, dogs and mice; a horse; a rooster; simple felt pictures and books;

French knitting and crochet: a picture and bag;

Felt gifts: Balls; jewellery; a gnome and a clown brooch; bookmarks; comb cases; scissor cases; egg cosies; purses and little gift boxes.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_6577

The Nature Corner: Celebrating the Year’s Cycle With a Seasonal Tableau by M van Leeuwen and J Moeskops 1990

After a brief discussion on arranging seasonal tableaux and basic techniques for making dolls and marionettes with sheep’s wool, cotton, felt, cardboard cones, wire and wood, as well as creating faces and embroidering hair, this lovely book follows the seasons and special celebratory periods with instructions for all the elements of seasonal tableaux from:

Early Spring: Mother Earth and root children;

Spring: Spring fairies; flower children; felt dandelions;

Easter, Ascension and Whitsun: Hen with chicks; hares; sheep with lambs; paper flowers; Whitsun doves and a Whitsun wedding couple;

Summer: Beehive with bees; Summer fairies; grass wreaths; and sandcastles;

Autumn: Pumpkin child; toadstools; teasel hedgehog and spider; a boy with a kite; and a spider web;

Hallowe’en and Martinmas: Lanterns; gnomes; and mice;

Advent and Christmas: Saint Nicholas and assistant; an angel; sheep, oxen and ass; crib figures- Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus; the shepherds and the three kings;

Winter: King Winter and Mrs Thaw.

It is a wonderful way to develop and promote an appreciation of nature and the seasons in young children.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_6576

My final book, Baby Crafts by Juliet Moxley 1995,  looks at sewing for children and contains 25 wonderful creative projects to make for babies, exposing the latter to the wonderful world of colour.

They are divided into four categories:

First Needs: Moses basket; cot quilt; laundry bag; nappy stacker; travel seat; sleeping bag; night dresses and caps; and rag doll pyjamas case;

Bathing and Playtime: Fish bath mat and mitts; bath robe; cardigan and beret; play mat; painting smocks; and a very cute crazy patchwork teddy;

The Nursery: Torn paper frieze; painted toy box and chair; a delightful wall hanging with pockets based on the tale of the Princess and the Pea; a cot and quilt cover and an animal mobile using reverse applique

Photo of animal patches for mobile

Special Occasions: A beautiful christening robe and pin cushion; some very appealing Christmas stockings; painted plates; and a cross stitch sampler.

While directed primarily at adults, some can be achieved by children like the torn paper frieze and the painting projects. It’s a lovely book and is a great way to generate a love of bright colours and start young children off on their own creative journeys.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6578

 

Books on Doll Making

Last week, I shared my favourite toy and softie books with you. This week, I am focusing on doll making books.

While I tend to make toys rather than cloth dolls these days, cloth doll making is still a wonderful form of self-expression and creativity and these books are classics in the doll making world!

One name that is synonymous with contemporary doll making is that of Susanna Oroyan  (https://www.niada.org/portfolio/susanna-oroyan/). Sadly, she died in 2007, but she left behind her a wealth of doll making knowledge with her books, most of which I own except for her first (Contemporary Artist Dolls: A Collector’s Guide by Susanna Oroyan and Carol-Lynn Rössel-Waugh 1986).

In order of publication, they are:

Fantastic Figures: Ideas and Techniques Using the New Clays 1994

Anatomy of a Doll: The Fabric Sculptor’s Handbook 1997

Designing the Doll: From Concept to Construction 1999

Finishing the Figure: Doll Costuming, Embellishments and Accessories 2001

Dolls of the Art Deco Era 1910-1940: Collect, Restore, Create and Play 2004

They are all fabulous books with beautiful dolls, packed with information and very inspiring photographs!

The first book, Fantastic Figures concentrates on working with the new polymer and paper clays, from working armatures to sculpting and curing heads, bodies and limbs, then finishing with painting and wax, as well as wigging, clothing and accessories.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_6538

The dolls are so life-like and amazing, but I think cloth dolls and soft sculpture is much more my forté, so her next book Anatomy of a Doll has been very well-perused!

The first section discusses the creative process and the design process in depth, including the origin of ideas and concepts, as well as variations, then looks at the evolution of dolls from elemental, primitive, simple and basic forms (outline dolls and rag dolls) to some very sophisticated figures.

She examines heads and faces, the body and joints (bead, stitched bead and button), working with wire armatures, and finishing the figure with hair, footwear, clothing and bases, as well as a myriad of embellishments, all supported with photograph galleries of other talented dollmaker’s artworks.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6537

Designing the Doll is another essential book for the dollmaker’s library with more fabulous and inspiring art works and a more detailed and comprehensive analysis of doll design and construction.

Part One: Designing the Figure looks at problem solving and making choices, addressing the issues of construction (materials, costumes, embellishments and treatments); sculpture (materials, armatures, moulds); design variations and breaking rules. Considerations of form (animal, realistic human, toy, exaggerated or caricature and abstractions) and design elements (subject and motif, focal point, line, scale, colour, texture, pattern, balance, harmony, and style) are discussed in detail, including basic body proportions, developing patterns and making templates.

Part Two: Construction Materials looks at the nitty-gritty of constructing the head, body and body parts with notes on making moulds (wax, plaster, elasticon, latex and RTV); wire armatures; sculpture mechanics and movement; joint physics, considerations, design and construction; and cloth figure construction.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6534

Finishing the Figure is the final book in the trilogy, looking at costume and elements of design (line, scale, texture and especially colour), as well as a large section on pattern drafting and historical costumery.

The elements of costume include underwear, underpinnings, petticoats and panniers, kirtles and corsets to bodices, skirts, dresses, folk costumes, pockets, headwear and shoes.

The section on embellishments is equally large and ranges from painting, stencils, stamping, embossing, printing, dyeing and burning to machine work, pleating, weaving, felting, beadwork, hand embroidery, lacework and appliqué.

Specialized costume like wings, glasses, jewellery and animals have their own chapter, as do the elements of display, including furniture; doll photography; and transport considerations (packing and shipping).BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6536

I bought Dolls of the Art Deco Era to try and discover more about the vintage doll parts in my collection.

Boudoir dolls, which were dolls for adults, were displayed in the bedrooms of the era, especially the porcelain and wax-over-chalk half dolls and heads, which could be attached to pin cushions, purses, powder boxes on the dressing table and even lamps.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6517 I particularly love the flapper wax doll heads, the cloth mask faces made in Belgium and the antique French boudoir half dolls.

While I did not find my dolls in this book, I did learn so much about the Art Deco period, the dolls and dollmakers of the era,  the art of collecting vintage dolls, repairing and storing vintage dolls, and making and costuming boudoir dolls. I suspect most of my collection hails from the 1920s, when Marie Antoinette, Flapper and Harlequin and Pierrot dolls were very popular. See: http://www.jazzageclub.com/fads/the-boudoir-doll-craze/#more-916 for more on boudoir dolls.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6533

Patti Medaris Culea is another well-known name in the doll making book world. See: http://www.pmcdesigns.com/ and https://dollmakersjourney.com/culea.html, as well as her videos on cloth doll making (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpoxSzpx0zQ) and cloth doll faces (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klNPrt0EUao) .

I own three of her books:

Creative Cloth Doll Making: New Approaches For Using Fibers, Beads, Dyes, and Other Exciting Techniques 2003;

Creative Cloth Doll Couture: New Approaches to Making Beautiful Clothing and Accessories 2006;   and

Creative Cloth Explorations: Adventures in Fairy-Inspired Fiber Art 2009.

Patti’s dolls are always very bright, fun and colourful and she makes the most of all the wonderful materials and embellishments available today!

In Creative Cloth Doll Making, she generously shares all her knowledge about the basics: the basic kit; laying out patterns; turning fingers; stuffing body parts; and creating the face, before progressing to all the fun and magical bits: surface coloration with dyes (silk dyes), paints (Dye-NA-Flow; Lumiere paints; pearl-ex pigments; textile paints; Prismacolor pencils; gel pens and Zig Millenium pens) and stamps (Impress Me); working with Tyvek, liners and machine embroidery; beading using Peyote and bead embroidery techniques; and collage with fabric, beading and photo transfer.

She explores all these techniques with backup projects like the Beginning Doll, seen on the front cover, and a gallery of other artists’ work. The patterns for the projects are in the back, as well as details about the contributing artists.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_6541After an introductory chapter on making the basic cloth doll, Creative Cloth Doll Couture focuses on costumes and accessories.

There are four wardrobes: a 1940s Haute Couture stylish suit; a 1960s Flower Power outfit; a Formal Affair and a whimsical Fairy Gathering, each section a platform for teaching specific techniques like collage and layering appliqués, fibres and transfers (1960s);  working with beads, lace, satin and silk (Formal affair); and dyeing, painting and stamping (Fairy outfit) and again, reinforcing and inspiring with a gallery of other artist’s work.

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Her last book, Creative Cloth Explorations has a similar presentation to the previous two books, but dives headlong into the fairy world, a perfect venue for indulging in extreme creativity!

The first chapter on basic techniques and supplies for fibre arts is a bit longer and more comprehensive than its counterpart in the other books and covers: the basic sewing kit; the basic beading kit; the basic embellishing kit; making stencils; using silk rods, waste and cocoons; stabilizers; photo transfer; threads, needles and presser feet; colour; embellishments and embroidery and beading stitches.

There are some wonderful projects: an Art Nouveau Fairy themed journal with fairy pages and a book mark and a fairy fan, as well as gallery pages showcasing the inspiring work of other artists.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_6540

Making Creative Cloth Dolls by Marthe Le Van 2002

My final book with some wonderful totemic and abstract spirit dolls!

Basic materials and techniques are covered in the first chapter by Barbara Carleton Evans with some useful notes on design, journaling, conceptualizing and proportion and movement.

Marthe then presents a series of Blank Canvas projects, based on basic forms: Clarity; Energy and Strength for the reader to make, then decorate and embellish creatively.

She also asked four other doll artists to decorate them as well as a platform for showing different techniques and the huge potential and versatility of the craft. She also invited ten talented designers to create unique patterns to showcase more inspirational ideas.

Along the way, she also discusses the use of doll making for personal growth; art therapy and healing; and past historical and cultural associations, including health insurance, good luck, fertility, magic, the supernatural world and sacrifice.

There are a number of contemporary photo galleries for further inspiration: a Gallery of Mystics;  a Gallery of Storytellers;  a Gallery of Angels and Demons; a Gallery of Legends; and a Gallery of Body Language.

This is a particularly good book for beginners and people with limited experience, as it promotes creativity and imagination without overwhelming the reader!BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6543

Other sources of inspiration include doll making groups, like Western Dollmakers, in Western Australia ( http://westerndollmakers.com/), magazines like Art Doll Quarterly http://www.artdollquarterly.com/ and https://stampington.com/blog/ and commercial patterns.

There are so many talented artists in the cloth doll world. Some of my favourites include:

Julie McCullough of Magic Threads: https://www.magicthreads.com/ and https://dollmakersjourney.com/mccullough.html, as well as designers like: Elise Peeples; Jo Maxwell; Bev Bradford; Ann Clemens; Priscilla McDonald; Maxine Gallagher and  Sally Lampi eg The Weather Vane in the photo below.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_7211Many of their patterns can be sourced on websites like: https://dollmakersjourney.com and http://dollmakersjourney.net/ and Pinterest is also a wonderful source of inspiration and ideas.

Next week, I will be looking at books about sewing with and for children. Until then, Happy Creating!

Books about Toymaking

Last week, I shared my toymaking journey with you. Here are some of the books in my craft library for the aspiring toymakers amongst you!

Sewing Sculpture by Charleen Kinser 1977

One of my very first books on soft sculpture and still a favourite for its originality, its notes on design and its patterns.

The first two chapters discuss the inherent qualities of the craft; developing visual awareness and clarifying your perception; and recognizing symbols and form.

The next chapter takes a comprehensive look at the nature of different materials:

Fibres: Cotton, linen, wool, silk, acrylic, nylon and polyester;

Fabrics: Woven, knitted and felted fabrics;

Other materials: Leathers, fur, fleece and vinyls;

Threads and Yarns, both utilitarian and decorative: Mercerized cotton, linen, silk, nylon and polyester; and

Fillers: Cotton or polyester batting; down; foam rubber and polyurethane foam; styrofoam pellets, dried straw and grasses; excelsior; wood shavings and sawdust; sand and pebbles; sewing and knitting scraps; and aromatic dried herbs and flowers.

It also discusses the workplace and the tools of the trade: Sewing machine; shears; needles; pressing aids and stuffing aids.

Design is a major part of sewn sculpture and is covered in two chapters with notes on:

Idea and concept;

Elements of surface design elements: Colour; pattern and texture; theme; contrast and comparisons; transitions; variation and repetition;

Elements of drama: Proportion; composition; and staging;

Seams and darts: Placement and type;

Borrowing shapes from objects and patterns; and

Materials as a point of departure.

The thoosing fabrics; pattern and fabric preparation; stitching and types of seams; stuffing; special considerations for working with leather, fake fur and knits; surface ornamentation and batik; and making geometric forms (box, cone, tube, opposing triangles and squares, softball, closed doughnut, spiral and globe) are all discussed in the next two chapters before presenting a variety of wonderful patterns:

Floor cushions and nest chairs; scallop and marble cone pillows; pillow dolls; tiny witches and life-size grannies; floral toads and huge grizzly bears and seal sliders; some wonderful ogres and an orphan Annie doll; an Art Nouveau plant form and a beautiful leather gentle beast; and finally, a set of soft sculpture heads.

This book is full of wonderfully creative ideas and possibilities and is a terrific book for toymakers wanting to design their own original patterns!

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Toys For Your Delight by Winsome Douglass 1962

Another excellent old book, written by embroidery expert Winsome Douglass, which has a similarly broad scope, allowing for plenty of creativity and personal self-expression. The introduction covers the basics:

Tools and equipment;

Materials and the use of paper mounts with fraying materials;

Surface decoration: embroidery, appliqué, beads and sequins;

Embroidery stitches; and

Stuffing.

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The majority of the book is devoted to patterns, but the instructions are general and allow for lots of variations. The simplest form of toy is a ball, with patterns given for four-sectioned, six-sectioned and eight-sectioned balls.BlogSoftToys2015-04-22 08.58.14The chapter on animals starts with notes on wiring, manes and tails, ears and eyes, horns, decorated heads and moveable legs before describing a variety of separate animals: a dachshund, reindeer, cow, horses and deer, a sitting cat and a tiger, a lizard and toad, and a magical griffin.

The chapter on birds starts with notes on beaks, heads and crests, tails, wings, and feet, legs and stands with patterns for sitting ducks and hens, small birds on conical stands and cockerels on cotton reels,  and two standing birds, all magnificently embroidered.

Insects and fish are also covered with notes on insect wings, legs and feelers and hints on design and patterns for wasps, flies, ladybirds, butterflies, fish and sea-serpents. More complex creatures include a rocking bird, a tortoise, a pig, a camel, a donkey and cart, a French poodle, an elephant, an alligator and dragonflies.

Papier-maché toys, Christmas decorations and dolls and their toys are also covered in depth. Below are a few photos of Christmas decorations I have made using this book: BlogSoftToys2015-10-13 14.34.34BlogSoftToys25%IMG_7226While many of the toys shown in the colour plates look a little dated now, the use of modern materials and bright colours would totally revolutionize their appearance and I love the bold black-and-white designs in this book. It allows for plenty of individuality and creativity in the execution of its patterns.

However, if you would prefer more detailed precise patterns, so you can reproduce exactly the same toy described, then the next suite of books are perfect for you!

Titmouse Cottage Designs by Christine Brooke 1992 is an Australian book, based on an original range of woodland characters for her shop Titmouse Cottage: Mr and Mrs Nibble, Amelia, Miss Poppet, Rosebud and Missy Mouse. Patterns and step-by-step instructions for making and dressing these delightful little felt mice make it easy to reproduce them.

The author also gives introductory notes on equipment, materials, working with felt, stuffing, attaching beads and lace and general instructions for making ears, paws, heads, noses and eyes, whiskers, tails, glasses, mob caps and sleeves with patterns and pattern layouts in the back of the book. Each specific pattern details the mouse’s size and personality, materials used and method, including black-and white sketches and colour plates. They are very sweet little characters, which I would love to try making one day, especially Rosebud and seamstress, Miss Poppet!BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6556

Little Grey Rabbit’s Pattern Book by Pamela Peake 1988 is based on the world of Little Grey Rabbit, created by much-loved British children’s author Alison Uttley with patterns and clothes for five characters: Little Grey Rabbit, Squirrel, Old Hedgehog, Weasel and Hare.

General directions include notes on patterns, fur fabric choice, layouts, cutting, seams, ladder stitching, stuffing, safety eyes, whiskers and tape hinges for limbs. They are lovely patterns, though those in the next book are even more attractive.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6557

Sue Dolman’s Book of Animal Toys by Sue Dolman 1994 also features mainly British animals, the exception being Kenny the Koala! General notes are provided on fabrics and furs, equipment, patterns, cutting out, trimming fur, stitching, trimming seams, turning, filling and the assembly of body parts.

Characters include: Freddie and Freda Fox, Brewster and Bertha Bear, Kenny Koala, Reggie and Rosie Rabbit, Bertie Badger and the entire mouse family: Mrs Maisie Mouse, Baby Mouse, Miss Molly Mouse and Master Monty Mouse.

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Each project includes actual-size patterns, notes on materials, step-by-step instructions and drawings and clothing. I used the pattern for baby mouse to create these cute felt mice in the photo below and could easily make up some of the other patterns, especially Bertha Bear and Baby Mouse’s mother, Mrs Maisie Mouse.BlogSoftToys30%IMG_7236Countryside Softies by Amy Adams 2011 is another favourite toymaking book with 28 very cute and whimsical woollen creatures made out of recycled felted old jumpers or blankets, though I prefer to use ordinary felt, having had to do a major clean-out of my severely-clogged front-loading washing machine after trying to felt an old jumper. I think having an old top-loader expressly for felting would be ideal!BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6559

Tools and equipment, materials and notions, embroidery stitches and detailed notes on felting wool and making weighted bodies; tummy and chest patches; snouts and beaks; eyes, mouths and ears; wings, feet, claws and arms; tails; whiskers; and insect legs and antennae are all discussed in the introduction, before presenting groupings of patterns according to their home environment:

In the Hedgerow: Fox; rabbit; hedgehog; robin; bumblebee; and butterfly;

Amongst the Woodlands: Squirrel; badger; owl; mouse; and toadstool; and

Along the Riverbank: Otter; swan; duck; kingfisher; and dragonfly.

There are patterns for baby versions, as well as related plant materials and props like bulrushes, carrots, chestnuts, fish and eggs, and notes on making mobiles and finger puppets. Each project details requirements and assembly instructions, while the patterns are in the back of the book, along with a list of resources. You can see more of her work at: http://www.lucykatecrafts.co.uk/ and http://lucykatecrafts.blogspot.com/.

I just adore her style, the mixture of felt/ wool with floral patches; her recycling ethics; and her patterns. They are seriously cute! I have made her Baby Rabbit for my daughter for Easter one year, but am keen to try my hand at her Fox; Robin; Badger; Owl; Mouse; Toadstool; Duck and Kingfisher.

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I have mentioned the next book briefly in my post on Fabulous Felting Books: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/07/17/fabulous-felting-books/, which also describes a few other books on toymaking, as does my post on Knitting Books: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/06/26/books-for-winter-knitting-part-two/.

Sew Soft Toys: Using Natural Fibres by Karin Neuschütz 2007

A lovely book from our Steiner years using cotton, drill, flannel, towelling, wool gabardine, wool felt, fur and dupion silk to make dogs and cats; mice and bunnies; horses, donkeys and zebras; cows, sheep and pigs; seals and penguins; red and polar foxes; brown bears and polar bears; weasels; and elephants, camels and giraffes, all with baby equivalents and notes on variations (eg transforming the bunny into a squirrel)!  I used this book to make Jen a camel and Caro an embroidered piglet.BlogCreativity120%ReszdEarly march 2013 014BlogSoftToys25%IMG_7232 There are introductory notes on fabrics and stuffing materials; washing instructions and storage; and sewing and stuffing with detailed notes on materials; patterns and step-by-step instructions for assembling and stuffing each project.BlogSoftToys2017-08-28 18.04.20 They are lovely patterns and I am keen to make more, especially the mice (little grey mouse in photo above); the donkey; and the African elephant.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6560

It will be a very useful book for pcreating my Noah’s Ark Christmas ornaments!BlogFeltBooks2515-10-13 15.06.45Sock and Glove: Creating Charming Soft Friends From Cast-Off Socks and Gloves by Miyako Kanamori  2005

This book also appealed to my recycling and thrifty instincts, as well as being exceedingly cute!

Written from the point of view of the characters created, it is a charming book, which introduces all the sock creatures first and tells their stories, before getting down to the details of their assembly in the back of the book with detailed notes and sketches. Gloves were used to make Billy the Dog and the rabbit, bear, pig and panda, while mittens were used to make the mouse and bonus fish. Marcus the Monkey and the dog, cat, sheep, bird, fish, elephant, zebra and girl were all made from old socks.

I just loved Billy the Dog, who features on the front cover and whose face can be portrayed in so many different ways, changing his character totally. I also loved the sheep, the mouse, the sock fish, the bear, the elephant and the zebra. Clothing patterns are also provided to dress the characters.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6561

Steampunk Softies: Scientifically Minded Dolls From a Past That Never Was by Sarah Skeate and Nicola Tedman 2011

And now, for something completely different…! I just love the originality and creativity of steam punk and the fact that anything goes!! Materials and accessories; cutting out; gluing; and ageing fabrics with wax, toothpaste, chalk, scratching and bleaching to give that essential timeworn appearance and ‘authenticity’ are all discussed in the introduction, followed by detailed notes on each project’s personality; materials and equipment; and assembly and construction.

Characters include: the mysterious illusionist and teleporter, Tompion Zeitgeist; the deep sea diver, Fathomless Tilt *; the Steam Punk Lady, Marveletta O’Houlihan; the mining prospector, Geronimo Bore; the intrepid explorer, Floyd Fastknight *; the aviatrix, Charity Storm; the lady detective, Minerva Dupine* and the steam punk doctor, Ferris Scapula.  They are all delightful characters, with my favourites highlighted with an asterix *.

It’s a wonderful way to use up all those obscure bits and pieces in your hoard and letting your creativity run wild!BlogSoftToys30%IMG_6562

Finally, a book on top dollmakers and the secrets of their trade:

We Make Dolls: Top Doll Makers Share Their Secrets and Patterns by Jenny Doh 2012

After a brief section by Jenny Doh, in which she discusses templates, seam allowances, doll making tools, embroidery and hand stitches and tips and techniques, including clipping and notching curves, turning and stuffing, raw-edge applique and rotating joints, the doll makers themselves are introduced, complete with websites; notes on their dollmaking journeys; tips and secrets; and patterns with finished sizes, materials, preparation and step-by-step construction notes.

I particularly liked the style and work of Mimi Kirchner (http://mimikirchner.com/blog/) and Denise Ferragamo (http://deniseferragamo.blogspot.com/). I particularly liked Denises’s Matryoshka dolls, which can be seen on: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/374784000213602208/?lp=true and https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/864409722201944266/. It is also well worth exploring Mimi’s blog with links to other useful and inspiring craft and art blogs.BlogSoftToys25%IMG_6563

Next week, I will be sharing some of my favourite dollmaking books.