Finger Turning – An Ah-Ha Moment…

Jim and I are working on our next DVD, Mimi’s Modular Mermaid. I have enough
body parts stitched and mostly stuffed to complete 14 mermaids! So…yesterday I spent the afternoon turning hands and fingers and stuffing them.

I noticed that when I used the turning tools I had made it was difficult to get the fingers turned. But when I switched to the set of turning tools made for me by a student’s husband while I was teaching in Australia those fingers turned immediately, without exception. It was time to determine what differed between the two sets of tools.

The ones I made consisted of a bent doll needle with the sharp point stuck in a cork and a brass tube. I learned this from a student who learned it from Noni Cely many years ago. The needle’s point is pushed into the cork for about an inch, which left the eye end 2-1/2” long. The brass tube had been cut in half and was six inches long.

Original Tools

I then examined the ones made by the Australian wood turner. The lovely wood handles aside; the brass tube was set and epoxied into the handle. It had a flat bottom so it fit comfortably against my chest when working with it. The ergonomic wooden handle that holds the needle is comfortable to hold and the eye of the needle sticks out of the handle only for 5/8th “. I also noticed that the needle was thicker with a larger eye and that the top of the eye was a tiny bit broader than the eye of the doll needle.

Austrailan Student's Tools

I went searching through my needlebook and discovered that this was a chenille needle used for embroidery, especially for stitching with ribbon or narrow tapes.

I then replaced the doll needle in one of my corks with a chenille needle and tested it. It works as well as the fancy hand tooled one. I also cut off one end of the tube, (which flattened that end), and now I have to buy a bottle of wine to get a nice cork to glue the cut end into. I will make several sets for classroom use.

Chenille Needle Vs Doll Needle

So if you have made finger turners with doll needles and brass tubes from the model-railroad shop, as I have been teaching for years, replace them with chenille needles and put the tube into a cork s well. Your doll’s fingers will turn more easily and quickly.

Now, for those of you who haven’t read how I turn tiny fingers here’s how:

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