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Witches' Corner

Yarn Dolls

by Claire Louise from Hedge Witchery UK


Witches Corner

With Claire Louise from Hedge Witchery UK


Yarn Dolls





This issue, I have been making yarn dolls. Yarn dolls could be used in a variety of ways in your craft. They can be used as an altar decoration, dedication to a particular god or goddess you're working with, as a charm or talisman, or they can be constructed with intention into a poppet doll.




Yarn dolls can be easily decorated in ways that turn it into a representative of a deity, by selecting corresponding colours, fabrics and other materials. This makes them a great addition to an altar space as you can personalise them to your needs.


They could also be created to make a great Brigid doll for Imbolc, or a faerie ornament with wings for the Yule tree. By stitching in a crystal or a small pouch with herbs, and choosing the yarn colours appropriately, you could create a beautiful talisman.


I spoke to a witch at a recent event I attended who hung them in their local forest for others to find with a little note attached. For this, it would be a good idea to choose only natural materials.


Many witches also make yarn dolls into poppets by bestowing clear intentions upon them in the process of their construction. This is a kind of sympathetic magic where the doll often represents someone to whom the magickal working or spell is directed. This can be enhanced by stitching in corresponding herbs and crystals.


The term ‘poppet’ is thought to have come from Middle English, with roots in the Latin word for ‘girl’ or ‘doll’. The word ‘puppet’, which came later, also derives from this.


As with all my witch crafts, I recommend you do your own research into your craft and make it your own.


How to make your own Yarn Doll


What you will need:

  • Yarns in various colours and textures to suit your design

  • Scissors

  • A small hardback book

  • Needle and thread

  • Fabric scraps: these can be selected for your desired intentions (for example if you were making a yarn doll of the goddess Aphroditie you may want to select purples and reds)

  • Driftwood or twigs that you are drawn to for the arms (for example, if you are making a doll to represent a deity of the Ocean, driftwood would be perfect for this)

  • Any other items that can be wrapped or sewn onto your doll to match your intentions, especially in the construction of a poppet. You can get so creative with this part by considering using shells, herbs, or even moss or seaweed. The possibilities are endless.





Step 1

With all these steps, if you are creating a poppet doll ensure your intentions are clear. You may wish to cleanse your area, tools and materials before you begin. Personally I like to smoke cleanse with a burning bundle.


Using the yarn you would like to use for the body and face, wrap it around the hardback book around 30 times. Gently remove it from the book so it stays in a loop (see images for reference).







Step 2

Using the same coloured yarn, tie a portion for the head and use a double knot to secure this in place.





Step 3

Select the yarn you would like to use for the doll's hair and wrap it around your palm about 20 times. Free this from your hand keeping it in a loop. Then, using the same coloured yarn that you have used for the hair, attach this to the top of your doll's head using knots to secure it in place. I'd knot this at least twice to ensure it is secure. Sometimes I like to add an additional colour into the mix, such as a golden thread to add interest. Again, this is all about creating a doll to match your intentions. Maybe you could switch out the yarn to use dried grass, wheat, moss or seaweed.








Step 4

Taking your driftwood or twig, place it under the knot you made for the head between the yarns (see image). Tie this in place again with a double knot. Using your fabric scraps, attach this wood securely to make the body. I also like to use fabric scraps to make a little skirt. This is a perfect opportunity to insert your own intentions - again with colours and patterns - and to personalise your doll to your own requirements. If you're making the doll for a particular person, maybe they could provide you with scraps of fabric from old clothes or scarves.









Step 5

Stitch on any decorative charms using a needle and thread. For mine I chose a little flower charm. For the making of a poppet doll you could stitch on a personal item that relates to the end user, or you could select a charm to match your intentions, for example a pearl could be used to represent purity and faith. In the past I've stitched lockets onto larger poppets that can be used to add in locks of hair to further link the doll to its user. You could also consider stitching on crystal beads for their added magickal energies.




Step 6

Cut the bottom loop to form a skirt shape and then cut the hair loop too, freeing the doll's locks. These can be manipulated into shape with your hands until you are happy with your doll's appearance.






And that's about it! I find it enjoyable to play with different materials to create unique and individual designs. To inspire you further, I reached out to members of Hedge Witchery UK to show you some of their yarn and poppet dolls. If you enjoy sewing and other types of crafts you can really let your magical creative energies run wild with this one.


I love these ones from Baya Sue Loona:






And these from Karen at Moon Cat Magick:









And these poppets are from myself at Hedge Witchery UK:






If you're interested in learning more about this kind of sympathetic magic, I recommend the book Pagan Portals - Poppets and Magical Dolls: Dolls for spellwork, witchcraft and seasonal celebrations by Lucya Starza as it's full of lots of useful information and ideas.


If you have made a yarn or poppet doll yourself, we would love to see photos. Please send them to us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pagansofthenorth, or by email at pagansofthenorth@gmail.com


Until next time!


Claire


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