Nellie


Please let me introduce you to Nellie, spinster of the parish of Upchurch in Kent.

When it was decided to do a scarecrow festival in the village, I knew immediately what I had to do, and Nellie was conceived.

Her clothes came from a charity shop - mine are too good for a scarecrow!!- and her boots were found in the roof space of the garage. She was attached to the traditional "T" shape of roof tile batten which was in turn pushed into a dressmakers dummy stand. Her shape comes from a pillow.

Her head was made using about 15" of batten which I wrapped with commercial Aran weight wool to about half the length. This gave me a foundation to needle felt. I used any old fleece that came to hand to get a rough head shape and features with my large needle felting tool. The colour came from some experimenting I had done with beetroot and I really enjoyed working on the face and doing the features. She looks as though she's either been under a sunlamp too long or she's a bit jaundiced. Her hair is some flax that had been hanging on a distaff for far too long. I stitched it into place with a long doll making needle and formed a bun at the back which I secured with a knitting needle.

My husband bent some wire for fingers and stuffed rubber gloves with fleece and so we were able to bend the fingers to hold the drop spindle.

On her first outing into the garden for a photo shoot, the wind knocked her flat on her face, breaking both arms, so poor Nellie had to have some surgery. That's the trouble with living in way of the wind blowing from the Thames and Medway estuaries, but we're made of strong stuff in Kent.

This has been a great fun experience, and I recommend it.

Carole Leonard