In attempting to select the right penny doll for my upcoming pen wipers, I came across a nice article by Bonnie Taylor-Blake. “Defrosting Frozen Charlotte” is filled with well organized citations. I highly recommend the read.
It turns out the proper nineteenth century name for these tiny dolls is “penny doll” rather than “frozen Charlotte.”
Are you curious which pose of doll I chose? I opted for what I am calling the more active pose, with the little arms slight raised as apposed to what I am calling the mummy pose with the arms along its side or the death pose with the arms laid upon the chest. This is because this pose seems to be the most frequent on original pen wipers.
Violet is about 20″ tall. Her cotton body is stuffed with wool, an entire small quilt batt if wool.
Violet has hand shaped/sewn hands and feet.
Her petticoats were Ag Fair entries.
One of the more common constructions of pen wipes I find when looking at originals is a stack of folded pinked folded circles upon a black pinked circle base with some type of decoration/embellishment on the top. The folded circles sometimes alternate colors, sometimes are an assortment of colors. Usually, they are set in quarters. The decorations range from a bow of ribbon, to a sewn figure, to a metal figurine, to a tiny porcelain doll.
This original, now in my collection, falls into this category. Four folded, pinked pieces of wool in tan, red and orange are arranged on top of layers of pinked black wool. These folded pieces are not set evenly in quarters.
The tiny dolls are Frozen Charlottes. Each is dressed in ribbon wrapped around their bodies with their tiny hands sicking out. Their little feet are painted gold.
My trio of folded pen wipes gave me a chance to test some different wools and see how they responded in terms of construction, though not ink absorption. I may send Lily a few wool pieces to get her opinion on that. The white wool is from a length of wool I have run through the washer and dryer several times to use for wool pages. I find this to be most like the original top wools. The black wool is a dense wool meant for upholstery. This makes a nice solid base. The blue and red wools are wool flannel. They are also very like the original. The duo-toned blue and berry have a little more loft and are a tiny bit thicker than the originals. The thickness is not apparent until folded. This is pre-package rug hooking wool.
I embellished each differently. The doll was the motivator in this project. This is a tiny Frozen Charolette two inches tall with arms flat against her body. Her dress is made from two ribbon scraps. She is sewn around her head and feet to the base.
This was followed by the red, white, and blue parasol. It too can be used as a pen wipe. The handle is a broken crochet hook. It is gently tacke down on the base.
The simplest is the ribbon puff created from a length of ribbon knotted at a regular length, the tided together into the puff.