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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Carving my Queen Anne doll

Yes I found the carving tools, downloaded a pattern for carving a peg wooden doll (which will give me a guide to go by) and girded my loins.

Suffice to say that my arms ache and I've only grazed a finger so far which is good for me.
 If you are going to carve any wood, do yourself the biggest favour and buy the best quality carving tools - they make it so much easier.  I already had a starter set of good tools but went and bought a couple more - one of which is by Pfeil of Switzerland which is like a hot knife through butter. I'm in love.  I wouldn't mind a couple more but will see how I go.
So this is what she looks like now. 
I am a bit bluffed of power saws so I roughed her out by hand from scratch with my little coping saw and chisels.
At the moment she is a little short waisted for my liking so I will be carving some more off those hips.
Some Queen Anne dolls don't particularly appeal to me - the ones that look downright mean. Mine will not be one of those.  I like the smiling ones.  
And mine won't have the glass eyes since 
a. I have no idea where to get said eyes and
b. I wouldn't know how to set them in the head.
So it's a given that mine will have painted eyes.
As I have the attention span of a gnat at times I'll be gung ho for a while and and then probably flit off to something else (like the other UFOs I have). 
And now that I am down to the finer details like the head I am a tad scared that I will do too much and she will be nose-less!
So here's to carving! 


  1. I can't wait to see how your Queen Anne turns out! I have been wanting to learn how to make a Queen Anne forever. I am signed up for a class online with Gail Wilson so hopefully I will get started soon. Last year, I downloaded the same pattern as you but I was a little intimidated by the carving. You are much more brave than I!! ♥

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence Kathi. : ) It's won't be quick but then I'm not setting a deadline - I just want to enjoy the process and not chop her nose off or make her completely chinless.

      Good luck with the class but why not have a go at something in the meantime? I did a couple of small torsos years ago just with an exacto knife - no facial features - just a nice curved surface. I'll take a photo and post it so you can see what I'm talking about.

      You can even get special gloves to wear if you are concerned you might stab or cut yourself. I'm thinking about buying one anyway. It would probably take some of the anxiety out of the process. And I wear glasses but if you don't I'd recommend wearing safety goggles in case any wood flicks into your eye. Oh and if a knife falls, don't try and catch it. Just get out the way and let it fall. You can always buy another if it's wrecked, but mending bodies isn't so easy.

      The carving itself is quite soothing to do and very satisfying to see it take shape. But I expect I'll be a wreck when I get to the face.

    2. Thanks! I am such a perfectionist at heart which sometimes holds me back. Your encouragement makes me want to try. I took a woodcarving class last winter but the teacher wasn't very good. He handed us a HUGE slab of wood and tools and said "Have a go at it!" Well, I had a go at it and walked away from the class with something that looked like an over sized cigar and very weary arm muscles!! A little bit of a letdown after that experience...
      I have carving knives and glasses. Thank you for all of your advice. I will keep my fingers crossed so that your doll will have a nose!
      Oh,what type of wood are you using?

    3. Well that teacher wasn't very helpful was he! It's always better to give people some guidance to start with. Don't let his lack of ability stop you. There are great YouTube videos you can watch for techniques and hints.
      Oh yes I've battled the perfectionist thing. : ) Still am when I think about the face I have yet to carve!
      And as to wood, well it was a bit I found in my Dad's old shed that I figured would be suitable - it may be some kind of pine - it's soft but reasonably dense so it feels nice to carve.
      Re the sore muscles, one of the Swiss carvers on YouTube recommended some wrist cuffs like you wear for tennis - his Granny knitted his. They keep the wrist warm and aid circulation and may reduce the chance of carpel tunnel. I'm going to get some.
      Ha I don't know why I'm worried about the face when I have those fingers to carve!

  2. Hi,

    I was wondering if you can let me know where you can find a pattern of the doll to download? Would love to try to make it too. Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Hi Phyllis,
      Here's the link to the pattern from eVintage patterns on Etsy.
      Happy carving. I have to get back to mine!