Have you seen the movie 'Encanto' yet? Currently streaming on Disney+ we have all fallen under this magical spell of a Colombian family with amazing gifts of healing, strength and shape-shifting, with the exception of Mirabel. With the family's magical gifts in danger, Mirabel decides to 'save the magic' and find her place in the family.
It's a wonderful story, filled with songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and one which has truly captured the imagination of our daughter. We're all singing one of the most popular songs 'We Don't Talk About Bruno' and have been dancing to 'Surface Pressure'.
Given the popularity of the movie, I was inspired to make a Mirabel crochet doll. I've been working on my doll pattern for a long time so thankfully it didn't need tweaking too much. The finished doll probably stands around 20cm tall and I really adore her!
If you've followed my creative journey, you'll know I made a 'Lilo' doll for my daughter about four years ago. I worked on an 'all-in-one' pattern because I wanted it to be sturdy enough against anything a then-four-year-old might do. I've tweaked the pattern over the years until I'm happy to have found my 'style'. I now include some wires so that the arms and legs are poseable but the whole process has been trial and error.
Mirabel wears a stunning blouse and skirt, which you see in the movie she has made herself. It is filled with details, including her name, the face of one of her cousins, animals, clouds and of course the important candle which gives the family their magic. Due to the size of crochet Mirabel's skirt, I couldn't include all of those details, so picked out a few which I felt were key to the story, namely the candle and the butterflies. I decided not to embroider the tiny butterflies around her blouse, but to include the larger woollen butterfly. Watching the movie, the butterflies looked like they had been made with wound yarn, then sewn along the middle. I made the ones for my doll using a fork, then tying yarn around the middle - it was a bit like making a tiny pom pom without cutting the edges. It was very fiddly, however the finished effect was really good.
The other issue I had was creating her hair. I've created a variety of hairstyles for my other dolls, including plaits, buns and crops. Each poses their own challenges and I often joke that I spend more time on my dolls hair than I do my own. Mirabel has beautiful barrel-curls in the movie, a style I've never done with wool before. My first step was to unwind all the strands of yarn which left her hair very crinkly (it looked amazing and I know I've spent hours trying to create the same look in my own hair) and give it a brush. I then washed it to remove any traces of coating the yarn may have had. I then used my hair straighteners (yup, my ghd straighteners haven't touched my hair in years but I frequently use them on my crochet dolls).
Once it was straight and brushed, I gave Mirabel's hair a cut so it was a little more even. Dampening the hair again, I sectioned it off and wound it around a 3mm doweling rod, before using hair pins to keep the curls in place while the yarn dried. Carefully removing the pins, I sprayed the yarn with a lot of hairspray to keep the curls in place.
And here she is! I didn't time how long it took me to finish Mirabel, but it was easily close to 13-15hours work. Her hair took me a couple of attempts and I would try different techniques next time to try to produce a tighter curl. What do you think? Let me know in the comments if you're in love with 'Encanto' and if it's inspired any crafts.
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