I have tried so many variations on this basic pattern over the last couple of years that I thought I might create a tutorial and see if anyone else would like to try it too. The embroidery for this one was guided by the colours of the chakra. It became a very peaceful, meditative little project.
Using the same pattern on a smaller, simpler scale, this is a set all ready for a market stall in a few weeks.
So, to make a linen pebble doll you will need:
-an oval piece of cardboard cut to the size and shape of the doll you would like to make
-coloured embroidery thread
The first step is to trace with biro around your cardboard cut out onto a linen scrap.
Put that scrap on top of another piece of linen and use a few pins to hold the two pieces together.
Then cut (through both pieces of linen) around the line you’ve drawn leaving about half an inch around the edge, like this.
It’s best to create the doll’s face at this stage so that you can keep all the knots and loose ends on the inside of the doll. You could keep it very simple by making just two straight stitches for sleepy eyes, or you could add lots of detail. Either way, the embroidery you do later will be more effective if you stitch a little circle around the facial features to distinguish the face from the rest of the body. I did this face using black cotton (double running stitch) for everything except the lips, which are two little stitches made with embroidery silk.
To begin sewing the body of the doll, start on one of the longer edges of the oval shape. Start with the linen piece with the shape drawn on it. Fold the fabric over so that the biro line is tucked inside. Then fold the other piece of linen inwards to match it, like this.
Using small stitches, sew the two folded edges together, folding/tucking as you go.
Stop when there is about an inch still open and knot the thread to keep it in place while you stuff the doll. Use enough stuffing to fill the whole oval but not so much that the linen starts to pucker.
Then sew up the hole and you’re ready to start decorating.
I like asterisk shapes and circles best. If you’re not sure how to do them, here are the steps.
Begin by securing your embroidery thread with a knot (loose end inside the doll). This can become part of another shape later. Bring the needle up where you would like the centre of your asterisk to be.
Make a stitch and bring the needle back up where the stitch began.
Add more stitches – four to make a cross, or else as many as you would like.
To make a circle around the asterisk shape, bring the needle up where one of the stitches ended…
Go back in at the end of the stitch on the right and come up at the end of the stitch on the left, like this.
Just keep going…
You could embroider your pebble doll sparsely and randomly, like this.
Or go a bit nuts with it, like this.
If you would like to see some of my pebble dolls for sale, you can find them at one little loop.
And if you make a pebble doll of your own it would make my day to see a picture!