Louisa's number one request for Christmas was "a mermaid doll." I have been wanting to tackle a handmade doll for a while—first inspired by this fabulous one, and then reinvigorated by the Little Amigo pattern in Growing Up Sew Liberated, as well as by recently reading Heaven On Earth (a great book about early childhood by a local preschool teacher and the founder of the Charlottesville Waldorf School).
I also wanted to make sure she was enthusiastic about getting a doll that looked like her mom made it, as opposed to one like this (which was my backup should the endeavor fail). And I thought she would appreciate the process and time that was spent making her very own custom doll.
"Waldorf Inspired Mermaid Doll" by Thimble Garden, available on etsy here or directly from her at thimblegarden.com. The skin fabric and the stuffing are from Weir Dolls and Crafts, which was recommended in the resources section of Growing Up Sew Liberated. I chose the peach interlock for the skin, and bought a 1/2 pound of Eco-Wool Core Wool Batting (fantastically natural stuff), as well as a yard of 2" stockinette tubing to make the head. Their customer service was great and they shipped everything right away.
Her tail fin is Sarah Jane Out to Sea Seaweed Blossom Pink, and her bathing suit top is Sea Flowers in Navy from the same line.
Kid Hollow Farm. This one, which Louisa and Nona selected together from her inventory, is Silk'n Kid Yarn (40% kid mohair, 40% silk, 20% wool) in Cherry Mountain. Fun fact: Nona is also a full-time teacher at our local middle school, and I had her for 7th grade English. Her son and my future-husband was also in my class. :)
I made the simple cardboard and knitting needle hair loom which she describes in the pattern. I made the needles 11-inches apart, which set the length of her hair.
Once off the loom, the yarn loop is stitched together on the machine, then snipped in half. I made the mistake of backstitching a few... don't do that. It made threads show when I was sewing it to her head.
The hair installation took me probably three hours, the first bit over drinks in our dining room with a few friends visiting home for Christmas, the last few on the couch on Christmas Eve while my husband made her necklace.
Louisa named her Violet. :)