Doll Hair

Apr 11, 2016 | Designing Knits | 8 comments

knit alice in wonderland

Creating doll hair may be my least favorite part of knitting toys. No, “least favorite” is not quite the right phrase. Doll hair is challenging. It can be frustrating and time consuming. But I keep thinking that with a bit of experimentation, I will figure out the secret to perfect doll hair -something fun to knit that also looks amazing.

Needless to say, I’m still experimenting.

I’ve been making an Alice in Wonderland companion to Pippi Longstocking the Simple Doll, and I’m at the hair part now in my design now.

Alice in wonderland knit hair

Above, see Take 1 of Alice’s hair. It fits the bill of being simple and pleasant to knit, not finicky. The hair is long, knit from the top with some increases, and a bit of wave. But it feels too heavy to be exactly right. My husband’s sheepish comment when I asked him for his honest opinion of this hair: “well, it looks a bit like she has a towel on her head.” True enough, husband.

knitting doll hair

Now, here’s Alice’s hair take 2. I shortened the hair, and tried to “lighten” it up by ending it in waves instead of evenly around. It’s still really simple and pleasant to knit, but does it look right? When I showed him this version of Alice’s hair, my husband said: “It looks more like an upside-down tulip than hair.” To which I grumbled, “well at least tulips are pretty. You didn’t say it looks like something ugly. You didn’t say it looks like a toilet brush.”

What do you think of this version of her hair? (Please -I’d REALLY appreciate the opinion of another knitter. My husband doesn’t knit.) I may stick with this basic principle, with only a couple of tweaks. Or I may go a different strategy entirely.

knitting doll hair pippi longstocking

Pippi Longstocking’s hair was much simpler, because Pippi is famous for her braids that stick straight out sideways. In other words, Pippi’s hair isn’t supposed to look like normal natural hair. I think the i-cord solution I came up with is totally adorable, and fits her character.

The other way to go about making hair, is to abandon knitting entirely, and pull the hair through strand-by-strand with a hook. This way can look amazing and natural, but is also (in my experience) intensely tedious.

knitting doll hair

It’s not an unbearable process when the doll is tiny. It’s how I created the hair of my tiny Alice in Wonderland finger puppet. (Haha, I see that after years of being played with, Little Alice Finger Puppet even has some split ends, to make her hair look really natural)

But I want the simple doll to be something knitters LOVE to knit, knit dozens of times for all of their kids and friends and neighbors, and tediously pulling through hair strand-by-strand with a hook might be a turn off.

There is a compromise solution. You don’t have to be as precise about making sure each strand is perfectly placed when the doll has some sort of braid around the center, like this fancy Cinderella:


So you see, knitter friend, I need your help. Which kind of hair looks right for Alice? Have you ever knit a doll, and what kind of hair did you give him/her? 


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