hair-sticks & knitting needles :: tutorial


Are you looking for a super easy, super quick holiday gift?  Here's a good gift for anyone you know with long hair... or someone who knits.

I came up with this project last week after walking around all day with a DPN knitting needle stuck in my hair to hold it off my face.  I've been known to hold back my hair with an assortment of odd items: pencils, paintbrushes, plastic forks and spoons, etc... Before things got too ridiculous, I decided to make something specifically for my hair.


Wooden beads or other small wooden shapes (I used these, these and these)
Dowels 3/16 inch /.5 cm diameter)
An electric drill plus 3/16 inch/.5 cm diameter drill bit (optional if your beads already have 3/16" holes)
Woodworking vise
Small saw (hack saw, carpentry saw, folding saw, etc...)
Sand paper (medium and fine grit)
Pencil sharpener
Paint and paint brushes
Beeswax polish
White craft glue

Safety notice: always use a vise to protect your hands & fingers when using woodworking tools!

Step 1: My wooden beads and mushroom-shaped drawer pulls already had 3/16 inch/.5 cm holes, however, I needed to drill holes in the bases of the peg dolls.  If you are using peg dolls for this project, secure them in a vise (and you might notice that I have lovely yellow vise jaw pads; these vise jaw pads are amazing for protecting wooden pieces from becoming dented and damaged in the vise).

Use a 3/16 inch/.5 cm drill bit to make holes in the bases of the peg dolls.

Step 2: Secure dowels in vise and use a small saw to cut them to size: 10 inches/25 cm for knitting needles and 6.25 inches/16 cm for hair-sticks.  After they have been cut to size, create points on one end of each stick with a pencil sharpener.  Use sandpaper to smooth the sticks and pointed ends. 

Step 3: Paint your beads, dolls, drawer pulls, etc...

And add any small details you wish... (Note: This is where you can let your imagination run wild. I chose to paint faces on my beads, but you could paint stripes, solid colors, abstract designs, add glitter, etc... You could also paint the sticks!)

 Step 4: Rub your sticks with beeswax polish, and if you painted your beads or dolls with watercolors, you can rub them with polish to brighten the paint, too. In case you have never made beeswax polish, here is the (very simple) recipe:

In a double boiler, heat a small amount of beeswax with some almond, jojoba or olive oil.  The usual ratio is 1:3 (one unit beeswax to three units of other oil).  Once the beeswax has melted and combined with the other oil, pour your polish into a small container (a throat lozenge tin or small mason jar works well) and allow to cool.  You will only need tiny amounts of polish at a time and the polish will keep for at least 2 years.  (Or you can buy beeswax polish here or here.)

To use the polish, put a small amount of the beeswax & oil mixture onto a paper towel and rub until there is no excess polish on the wood.  If the surface you are polishing is painted, you will know you are done when very little paint pigment rubs off on a clean piece of towel.

Step 5: Insert the unsharpened ends of your sticks into the holes of your wooden pieces.  My pieces fit so snugly that I did not need glue, however you can put a tiny drop of white craft glue inside each hole before inserting the ends of the dowels.

If the ends of your dowels are too large to fit inside the drilled holes, use sand paper to slightly decrease the diameter of the unsharpened ends.


A note about knitting needles: 3/16 inch/.5 cm diameter dowels correspond with 5 mm metric/European size and US knitting needle size 8.


fancy hat

Peg dolls love to keep their wee noggins warm with acorn hats this time of year.  Luckily, I find lots of charming specimens by the wayside which are not only functional, but stylish.


peg doll pilgrims & native americans :: tutorial


 -- Peg Dolls (click here for a list of shops where peg dolls may be purchased)

-- Brown, black, white, yellow & blue wool felt scraps (note: paper may be used for embellishments when working with children as paper will be easier to cut)

-- A tiny bit of brown wool roving or yarn (for beard)

-- A small amount of black wool yarn for hair

-- Watercolors plus black acrylic paint

-- Beeswax polish (optional)

-- PVA or other non-toxic white craft glue

 -- Paint brushes

-- Scissors

-- Pencil

Step 1: Paint clothes -- I used black acrylic paint for the pilgrim clothing & brown watercolor paint for the Native American clothing.


  Step 2: Paint hair.

Step 3: Paint faces (or draw with pencil).  Use beeswax polish to brighten the paint of watercolored areas (optional).

Step 4: For Native Americans, create headbands from tiny strips of wool felt.  Braided hair may be glued across the head and anchored beneath the headband.

Use tiny strips of white felt to create hat, shawl, apron and collar for Pilgrims. I added a needle felted beard to the man -- a bit of yarn or felt would work as well for creating a beard. (note: paper may be used for embellishments when working with children as the paper will be easier to cut)

I hope these little turkeys, Pilgrims, Native Americans bring smiles & joy to your holiday table.

P.S. Don't forget to have a look at my turkey tutorial, too...


a tiny turkey protest

I'm afraid not many will heed the protest of my tiny turkey; after all, few people prefer turnips over turkey.  Still, this opinionated little turkey is ever hopeful on behalf of his non-wooden brethren.

If you would like to create a flock of tiny turkeys to march across your table at Thanksgiving, please have a look at the tutorial I posted yesterday.  And come back tomorrow if you're interested in a tutorial for peg doll Pilgrims & Native Americans...


a tiny turkey tutorial

The other day I got it in my head to create turkey peg dolls.  Rummaging through my stash for blank pegs, I ran across a few small wooden bowling pins, finials and Parcheesi game pieces which I'd purchased with no clear intent beyond the thought that it would be interesting to paint different sizes and shapes.  It turns out that wooden finials make charming turkeys.

Before starting, I pulled up a photo of a turkey and learned that wild turkeys have blue & white heads.  I decided not to paint the heads of my turkeys blue, but I enjoyed digging through my felt scraps for shades of brown to create tails.


-- Peg dolls or other wooden shapes such as small bowling pins, game pieces or finials (I used one of these, one of these, one of these & these)

-- Red, yellow, white & various shades of brown wool felt (note: if doing this craft with young children, colorful paper will be easier for them to cut)

-- Watercolor paints, or brown acrylic paint, plus black acrylic for the eyes.

-- PVA or other non-toxic white craft glue

-- Beeswax polish (optional)

-- Paint brushes

-- A pencil

-- Scissors & pinking shears

Step 1: Paint your pegs, finials or other wooden shapes shades of brown.

Step 2: Use black acrylic paint or pencil to add eyes.  Rub with beeswax polish to give watercolor paint an nice patina (optional).

Step 3: Cut beaks and wattles from wool felt, and use white craft glue to attach to the face.


Step 4: Cut curved pieces of brown felt, glue together in layers, trim in white, and attach to the backs of your turkeys with white craft glue.  I found that pinking shears give a nice edge around the tails, mimicking the scalloped white edge on tails of real turkeys.


knitting a fairy cup cozy

Do you love drinking from mason jars as much as I do? Isn't it nice to have a cozy to protect hands from hot drinks?

I've sized these cozies for an 8 oz. (240 ml) jar -- just right for warming small hands around little wintertime cups of cocoa. And these cozies are quick to knit up, so you might think of making a few as you work your way though your holiday gift list...

For this project you will need a few yards worsted wt. wool: I made three cozies: one from Noro Kureyon, another from Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and a third from Knit Picks Chroma worsted. You will also need a stitch marker (optional), a tapestry needle and a tiny, 3 cm “baby/bee” size peg doll (please check the CRAFT SUPPLY RESOURCES page on this blog for places where you can order blank wooden peg dolls by mail).

US 5 (3.75 mm) dpn needles
US 7 (4.5 mm) dpn needles
(or whatever needle size you require for gauge)

5 st/ 8 rows per inch. Please use which ever needle size will achieve the gauge.
Note: as you are knitting, the cozy might seem too small; please trust me that it will stretch to fit your jar.  It should fit snugly.

CO: cast on
k: knit
k2tog: knit 2 stitches together
Kfb: knit one in front and one in back of st to increase
p: purl
rnd:- round
st:- stitch

CO size 5 needles, use long-tail method (or other method) CO 36 st.  Evenly divide between needles and join in the round. Place marker to indicate start of row/round (optional).

Rnd 1-6:  knit 1x1 ribbing (k1, p1) for ¾ in
Rnd 7-28: switch to size 7 needles.  Knit in stockinette. 2 ¾  in (approx. 21 rnds)
Rnd 29: purl all st. (i.e. 1 rnd garter st)

(knit in the round on dpns)
Rnd 30: *(k2, k2tog) Repeat pattern through entire round (27)
Rnd 31: knit all st
Rnd 32: *(k2, k2 tog) Repeat for entire round (21)
Rnd 33: knit all st
Rnd 34: *(k1, k2 tog.) Repeat for entire round (14)
Rnd 35: knit all st
Rnd 36: *(k2 tog) repeat to end of round (7)
Cut yarn and thread end through a tapestry needle.  Run needle through all st. and secure end.


Count up 3 stitches from the purl (garter) row. From left to right, pick up 5 st. using size 7 needle.
Row 1: knit all st
Row 2: purl all st
Row 3: k1, Kfb, k1, Kfb1, k1
Row 4: purl all st
Row 5: k 1, Kfb1, k3, Kfb1, k1
Row 6: purl all st
Row 7: k1, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k1
Row 8: purl all st.
Row 9: bind off, cut yarn and thread yarn through a tapestry needle.
Sew up sides of pocket so that the interior width of the pocket is 5 stitches wide. Weave in all ends.

Have you created a cozy from this pattern?  I'd love to see your photos posted here on Ravelry!


making peg dolls & more :: book trailer

Dear friends -- I am excited to show you the first book trailer for Making Peg Dolls & More.  But first, I want to share good news about the availability of the book.  It was uncertain whether Making Peg Dolls & More would be available in time for holiday crafting and gifting, however, there are a number of ways you can purchase the book. Currently, the book is available for immediate purchase from The Bookstore at Rudolf Steiner College, and starting December 1st it will also available via Amazon and Book Depository

Please know, I understand that the discounts and free shipping offered by large, online retailers are enticing; however, I urge you to consider also supporting smaller shops such as The Bookstore at Rudolf Steiner College, plus Bella Luna Toys, A Child's Dream and Castle in the Air, all of whom will carry my new book starting January.  If you are buying books elsewhere, perhaps browse the craft supply sections of these shops for peg doll bases, wool felt, millinery flower stamens, paint, etc... (Also, do have a look at the peg doll base selection at Mother Goose Online -- it's astonishing! The biggest selection I've ever seen.) I love these stores, and they need our business to stay in business.

Now, without further ado, the book trailer!

(please feel free to re-blog, re-post, and forward this trailer to friends & family... share the peg doll love...)