I started crochet because I saw a wee Suffragette doll adapted by @yarnmonster26 (Instagram) from a Mexican doll pattern by @amourfou_crochet (also IG). Mine turned out to be not at all as planned or as beautifully crocheted as theirs but a joy to create and a gift, that was appreciated, for someone estranged from me.

Suffragette doll worked in white wool with black dress & bonnet, and a green, white & purple sash.

The original and adaptation are a lot neater and everything is in better proportion but she was really fun to make. I bought the pattern – then had to spend months learning the basics of crochet cos it was too advanced to jump right in!

Social media has been full of Suffragettes lately; it’s also been full of the Scots slogan #WomenWontWheesht! In English that’s “women won’t keep quiet” and it’s been translated by women all over the globe:

#LasMujeresNoCallaremos (Spanish)

#女は黙らない (Japanese)

There have also been international reports and sisterly solidarity about the situation in Scotland:

So I felt it was time to add some Scottish brotherly solidarity and, with that manly purpose, I got out my crochet hook! Unfortunately I’d mistakenly deleted the notes for the pattern from my phone so I looked back at photos I’d taken of the process for the last one – and then just made it up as I went along!

First a “magic circle” of 6 and single crochets (SCs) until it looked long enough, compared to the old photo. Cast off and same again then a slip stitch (SS) to link and SGs around the circumference of both legs joined to form the hips. I started a line of black thread, as the old doll has a black dress, but then fancied grey instead as I realised it was too flimsy for a good blouse.

You’ll have seen the problem! A flimsy skirt is hardly decent either so the solution was pink bloomers (Suffragettes were good Edwardians, after all!) and lengthening and billowing (increasing by 2 SCs in the same position) the skirt. To decrease, you bring one new loop through an established loop then immediately bring another through before pulling all three through the one already on your hook.

I had loads of white wool and it’s nice and chunky so a good choice for the body but the black, though stronger than the grey and so easy to work with (except I soon swapped the coloured tray for a pale one to see the gaps between threads easier) was fine, so the bodice had holes where the white showed through. First of all I simply cheated and threaded it through using the plastic yellow blunt darning needle.

Then I decided to make a covering shawl, like last time. As it developed and I kept going round and round to increase the size (I add an extra SC to turn corners) I realised I could just darn it on as part of the black blouse and sew the head on top. Crocheting with different coloured thread means you end up with some nicely embedded long single threads that you can use to anchor additions.

Some more SCs round the cuffs and I was ready to make the head. Same as the legs and arms (forgot to mention those!) that started with a magic ring (6 for legs and head but only 4 for arms and I didn’t stuff those) and I just increase and decreased as needed. Stuffing the head was a bit tricky. It’s best to hook it in from below than try to shove it in from above. I use soft toy filling 100% hi-loft polyester but only because a mate was moving house and chucking it out. He’s a sailor and thinks nothing of knocking out an arran sweater, complete with cable stitch, while binge watching Scandi noir on the high seas. Exciting! (My mum does worry about the pirates 🏴‍☠️)

The hair is made in 2 stages. First a cap starting with a magic circle of 6 and expanding immediately then lots of doubled and cut strands that it would’ve been sensible to affix before sewing on the cap but with the black bonnet on top (same procedure but don’t just maintain size once reached as for the cap, if you decrease it fits more snugly) it was suitably wild and witchy.

I sewed brown thread for eyebrows, black for the mouth with a suggestion of pink around it, and a bit for blusher on the cheeks. The eyelashes were at first a mistake as the thread poked out but I liked the Liz Taylor look (if she were a wild Scottish Suffragette) so I did the same for the other eye. Then I used the pearl pins for nostrils that I’d originally used for the eyes (sounds nasty!) but decided to substitute them for black one. So this version is not child-friendly!

With the addition of the Suffragette sash, the doll was complete! And ready to be posted to…? Well, now, I think you know who.

In other news, I’m completely fed up of this lockdown nonsense so I’m meeting up with a few friends for a shopping trip starting at 8:30 am (shop’s open at 9) on Saturday 20th July. I do like planning ahead. Some of us are meeting at Glasgow Central Station and some taking a wee stroll nearby along the Clyde. It’s so lovely. Do join us! In solidarity.

Women won’t wheesht! And why should they?