Needle-Felted Wool Sculpture
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Written and Posted by Sarah on January 4, 2011
Mom has always been a nut about the Poirot TV shows. So, we decided that a little wool-felted Poirot doll would be a perfect Christmas present. This happened in March, as soon as I finished the first two gnomes. It took a couple of months for us to start working out the logistics. We sent for autographed pictures from David Suchet and Hugh Fraser (Poirot & Capt. Hastings in the TV shows), and with the help of a friend in the UK, managed to keep them a secret from Mom.
The next problem was the box. Elizabeth wanted a dark colored box (black or navy blue) with a velvet lining. Sounded good, but no amount of browsing at Hobby Lobby or any other store was supplying even one option. We were even open to covering over a box and making our own lining, but nothing was the right shape, size or feel. This one had to be perfect.
Then, in early June, we stopped in at a thrift store to drop off some stuff. While Elizabeth was looking through LPs, and Mom was looking through something unknown, I just kind of wandered around. All of a sudden . . . there it was! Sitting on a shelf with a bunch of picture frames was a thin, navy blue box. It was the perfect height for a doll. What was even cooler was the fact that it was velvet lined! God is amazing!
We decided to change things around now that we had this perfect box. It opened the wrong way, so Elizabeth sliced the velvet out and reversed the foam lining underneath. Once it was put back together she painted the logo on the top with a white gel pen. She's so talented. We spent a month working out the color and stance for the doll. We wanted the light gray suit, but I didn't have any light gray wool. That meant that we had to wait until the fiber show in September (not to mention telling a few fibs as to why we had to have light gray wool!). We looked high and low through the show, but no light gray was fine enough . . . until the last booth. Again, God is amazing!
Elizabeth decided that it would be really cool if we could put the autographed photo inside the box. The photo that we had was just not the right shape or size, no matter what we tried. So, we sent another photo to Mr. Suchet with a letter explaining what we were making and asking that he return it before Christmas. This was on the first of October, and his response time is usually about six weeks. No problem, except . . . he must have taken some time off, because he wasn't signing anything after September (that we could tell by the fan sites). We resigned ourselves to no autograph and figured that we'd print a plain picture to go in the box.
Work, work, work and the doll still wasn't quite finished on Christmas. Not to worry, though, since Elizabeth hadn't finished a surprise for me, too. We all voted to postpone our Christmas presents until the following Sunday (January 3). Some point in the middle of the week a #10 envelope arrived. Elizabeth didn't recognize it, so she threw it on Mom's desk with the other mail. I had an inkling of what was inside, so I snatched it up before Mom could see it and ran off to open it. It was! It was the picture with a gorgeous personalized autograph! It hadn't even been mailed through the agency, so Mr. Suchet actually had to do it personally. He had even mailed it before Christmas, and it just took a little while to arrive. We were on Cloud #9 for the rest of the day. God's timing really is perfect!
Elizabeth put the picture in the box with a black mat, and we were almost finished. Actually, we didn't put the finishing touch (the little purple flower in the lapel pin) on until we were actually wrapping up on the very day that we opened presents! Nothing like finishing in the nick of time.
Well, this entry is a lot longer than I had anticipated, so we'll get on to the statistics. Poirot is seven inches tall (including his hat), weighs two ounces and took about 28 hours to complete (felting time, that is). He was felted with a #40 and a #42 needle and is made of 100% Merino wool. His watch chain is actually sterling silver. Elizabeth made the chain and lapel pin with old jewelry parts that she had.