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Punch Needle Embroidery Celtic Angel Pin or Pocket Dolls

Designed by Noreen Crone-Findlay
Exclusively for The Caron Collection

Noreen has designed these darling little Celtic Interlace Mermaid dolls for you to embroider, using Caron Collection hand dyed threads. Noreen has used punch needle embroidery to work the Mermaids, but satin stitch would also work if you prefer. There are two sizes of dolls. The more intricate one is approximately 6 inches tall. The smaller, simpler doll is approximately 4 inches tall.

To make each doll you will need:

Tracing paper
*A transfer pen or pencil
A piece of closely woven white or light colored fabric, approx. 10 inches by 12 inches.
An iron
*An embroidery hoop with a lip
Straight pins
*An Ultra punch needle (which comes with 3 sizes of needles)
*The threader that comes with the needle, and you might consider ordering an extra one.
Floss bobbins and a floss bobbin winder are really handy
Invisible thread and a needle to sew the dolls together
Small amounts of stuffing
Blush for the doll's cheeks
Eyes: If you prefer to have beads for eyes instead of just having embroidered ones, then
you'll need 2 round black beads 1/4" or .5 cm in diameter.

Note: All the equipment marked with an asterisk above (*) is available at

For each of the Larger Mermaids ­ Antica

Outlines of face: AT6 Bronze 1 skein
Heart Outline: AT5 Cedar Green l skein
Heart Fill: AT7 Terra Cotta l skein
Celtic Interlace outline: AT8 Copper 2 skeins
Celtic Interlace fill: AT2 Gold l skein
Hair for Dark Skinned Large Mermaid: AT6: Bronze 2 skeins Watercolours:

Light Skinned Large Mermaid ­ Watercolours:
Skin: 01 Sandstone l skein
Body: 091 Blue Spruce 1 skein
Hair: 052 Marigold l skein

Dark Skinned Large Mermaid ­ Watercolours:
Skin: 114 Clove l skein
Body: 067 Celadon l skein

Small Mermaid ­ Watercolours:
Skin: 01 Sandstone l skein
Body: 091 Blue Spruce 1 skein
Hair: 010 Fiesta l skein
Face Outline: AT5 Cedar Green l skein

Working Notes:

1] Punch needle embroidery is worked from the back of the piece. The loops, which are the surface of the right side, are left by the needle on the side that is away from you as you embroider.

2] The thread passes through the needle, and leaves a line of embroidery behind it, rather like footprints in the snow.

3] If the thread seems to be catching in the needle (it doesn't leave a stitch) then pull the needle out of the fabric, holding the last stitch in place, and tug on the thread that is in the needle. It should flow easily through the needle. If there is a blockage, check for knots or frayed segments. Snip them out and re-thread.

4] If the embroidery looks thin patchy or skimpy (it should look as dense as terry toweling), then work another row in the gap.

5] If you are not pleased with a color, just pull it out from the wrong side. The thread will unravel, and can often be used elsewhere.

6] The needle shouldn't break the threads of the fabric. The thread is held in place by being pushed between the warp and weft of the fabric.

7] The fabric must be stretched in the hoop as tight as a drum. This means that stretch fabrics are never appropriate for punchneedle embroidery.

8] If there are long loops or thread ends left on the right side of the embroidery, snip them flush with the surface.

9] If the fabric is visible through the embroidery on the turned edges of the finished doll, take a gel pen in a matching color, and color in the white bits to match the embroidery.

10] If the outline of the face seems out of line or a little wonky, take the tip of the needle and re-arrange the loops to make the loops move into the lines that they are meant to be in. If they are really reluctant to go where you want them to, you can snip a single loop out.

11] Outlines are always worked before filling in areas of color.

The Watercolours Thread is separated into 3 single strands for all 3 of the dolls. To do this easily and without tangles:

1] Untie the skein. You are first going to wind the thread into a ball. I do this sitting in a wooden rocking chair so that I can slip the loops of the thread over the right hand arm of the chair. The other end of the skein goes over my left hand. Then, I wind a ball
with my right hand. I hold the ball with my left thumb and forefinger while I wind the thread onto it with my right hand.

2] Now: Pull one strand out of the end of the 3 strands with your right hand, and allow the other 2 strands to bunch up in your left hand. It will get hard to pull out the single strand, so stroke the bunched up strands down toward the ball, releasing more of the
single strand. Continue until the single strand is completely released. Wind it onto a floss bobbin. Wind the double strand onto a floss bobbin and repeat the separating process.

1] Trace doll pattern with a transfer pen or pencil.

2] Iron the doll pattern 2 times onto fabric. (Once for the front and once for the back). Be sure to leave at least 1/4" around each piece for the seam allowance, and a couple of inches around the outside of the doll to allow for the embroidery hoop. The arms are worked as a single unit, in skin tone, with the smallest needle set to depth #3.

3] Stretch the fabric in the embroidery hoop, pulling it tight as a drum.

4] With the medium needle set at depth #4 thread the AT6 Antica thread into the needle, and work the outline of the face and the chin line.

5] Outline the heart in AT5 Cedar Green and the Celtic interlace on the body with AT8 Copper.

6] Normally, rows of embroidery are worked very close together. The exception to this will be the filling in the Celtic Interlaces. Set the needle depth to #3, and work only one row of filling with the Gold in the body knots, and the terra cotta in the heart knots.

7] Change to smallest needle, and set needle to depth #3. Fill in face and shoulders with skin tone, and body with appropriate color.

8] Work back of head in hair color.

9] For loops around face, set needle depth to #12. Work 2 rows of long loops around face, imagining that you were working from the tip of one ear to the tip of the other, with hair color.

10] Small mermaid: When filling in the body color: Work the rows of embroidery in each diamond so that the rows are perpendicular to the rows of embroidery in the diamonds that are adjacent to them.

11] Cut out mermaid, leaving 1/4" seam allowance around each piece, and 3/4" at the short ends of the arms. Clip curves.

12] Fold the seam allowance in along the long edges of the arms, and with the wrong sides together, stitch the edges together by hand, using invisible thread, and making the seam as inconspicuous as possible.

13] Pin seam allowances to wrong sides, and holding the wrong sides together, starting at the tail, sew the doll together. When you reach the underarm area, insert the arm into the shoulder, and sew firmly in place. Sew around the doll's shoulder and head, and insert other end of arms into second shoulder. Just before the front and back are sewn totally together, stuff the doll. Sew remaining seam shut.

14] If you wish to sew on beads for eyes, do so, firmly.

15] Rub a little blush onto her cheeks.

16] Finishing the hair: Wrap thread around 2 fingers 10 times. Sew the loops to the edge of the doll's face with invisible thread. Repeat on the other side. When using the Antica thread for hair, it tends to kink up on itself, so you may need to thread a needle with some more and randomly add loops around face.

17] Put a seashell or other treasure in her arms.

For a special Designer Spotlight on Noreen Crone-Findlay see Part I of our special Doll Themed Site.

URL for Noreen's Designer Spotlight is : http://www.caron-net.com/jan02files/jan02des.html

You can contact Noreen at:
Email: knittingfairy@ematic.com

© 1999 The Caron Collection / Voice: (203) 381-9999, Fax: 203 381-9003

CARON email: mail@caron-net.com