Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hercule Poirot as a Needle Felted Doll

Mom has always been a nut about the Poirot TV shows. So, we decided that a little wool-felted Poirot doll would be a perfect Christmas present. This happened in March, as soon as I finished the first two gnomes. It took a couple of months for us to start working out the logistics. We sent for autographed pictures from David Suchet and Hugh Fraser (Poirot & Capt. Hastings in the TV shows), and with the help of a friend in the UK, managed to keep them a secret from Mom.

Added on Jan. 23, 2013:
We have now designed a miniature Poirot doll made of wool and wool felt.
These are available in our Etsy shop, and you can check them out by reading
THIS ENTRY here on my blog.

Added on May 12, 2013:

I have now made two more felted Poirot dolls (slightly larger than this one). To see pictures of them and to read their story, just see their entry by CLICKING HERE.

The next problem was the box. Elizabeth wanted a dark colored box (black or navy blue) with a velvet lining. Sounded good, but no amount of browsing at Hobby Lobby or any other store was supplying even one option. We were even open to covering over a box and making our own lining, but nothing was the right shape, size or feel. This one had to be perfect.

Then, in early June, we stopped in at a thrift store to drop off some stuff. While Elizabeth was looking through LPs, and Mom was looking through something unknown, I just kind of wandered around. All of a sudden . . . there it was! Sitting on a shelf with a bunch of picture frames was a thin, navy blue box. It was the perfect height for a doll. What was even cooler was the fact that it was velvet lined! God is amazing!

We decided to change things around now that we had this perfect box. It opened the wrong way, so Elizabeth sliced the velvet out and reversed the foam lining underneath. Once it was put back together she painted the logo on the top with a white gel pen. She's so talented. We spent a month working out the color and stance for the doll. We wanted the light gray suit, but I didn't have any light gray wool. That meant that we had to wait until the fiber show in September (not to mention telling a few fibs as to why we had to have light gray wool!). We looked high and low through the show, but no light gray was fine enough . . . until the last booth. Again, God is amazing!

Elizabeth decided that it would be really cool if we could put the autographed photo inside the box. The photo that we had was just not the right shape or size, no matter what we tried. So, we sent another photo to Mr. Suchet with a letter explaining what we were making and asking that he return it before Christmas. This was on the first of October, and his response time is usually about six weeks. No problem, except . . . he must have taken some time off, because he wasn't signing anything after September (that we could tell by the fan sites). We resigned ourselves to no autograph and figured that we'd print a plain picture to go in the box.

Work, work, work and the doll still wasn't quite finished on Christmas. Not to worry, though, since Elizabeth hadn't finished the Secondhand Lions toys either. We all voted to postpone out Christmas presents until the following Sunday (January 3). Some point in the middle of the week a #10 envelope arrived. Elizabeth didn't recognize it, so she threw it on Mom's desk with the other mail. I had an inkling of what was inside, so I snatched it up before Mom could see it and ran off to open it. It was! It was the picture with a gorgeous personalized autograph! It hadn't even been mailed through the agency, so Mr. Suchet actually had to do it personally. He had even mailed it before Christmas, and it just took a little while to arrive. We were on Cloud #9 for the rest of the day. God's timing really is perfect!

Elizabeth put the picture in the box with a black mat, and we were almost finished. Actually, we didn't put the finishing touch (the little purple flower in the lapel pin) on until we were actually wrapping up on the very day that we opened presents! Nothing like finishing in the nick of time.
Well, this entry is a lot longer than I had anticipated, so we'll get on to the statistics. Poirot is seven inches tall (including his hat), weighs two ounces and took about 28 hours to complete (felting time, that is). He was felted with a #40 and a #42 needle and is made of 100% Merino wool. His watch chain is actually sterling silver. Elizabeth made the chain and lapel pin with old jewelry parts that she had.

If you want to see more pictures of the Poirot Doll, CLICK HERE.


  1. Hi There,

    Hope you are well.
    What a fabulous story, and how lovely for your mum, I bet she was absolutely delighted with it.
    I, like you mum, am a bit obsessed with Poirot and I would have been thrilled to bits to receive a gift like this especially when it had come from the heart as this obviously did.
    Very well done to you, you have a really fantastic talent to be able to make something as beautiful as this, have you ever thought of making anymore to sell, I know I would love the opportunity to own one, and i bet there are many others who would too, even if I couldnt have the lovely box, even the doll on its own is spectacular.
    Thanks for sharing your lovely story and your great talent, as a perfectionist myself I laughed at how you had to get every detail right, and my goodness it paid off, just wonderful.
    Love and very best wishes

    1. Thanks for such a lovely comment. My sister and I have now opened an Etsy store, and I am making a couple of Poirot dolls similar to this. If you would be interested in contacting me, please send a note to: feltedgnomes@gmail.com

      Again, thanks for the lovely words! :)

  2. Oh,what a beautiful story! How everything came together! Your devotion is wonderful. It's just remarkable how it looks all put together in the box. What an amazing gift for your mother!

    (I'm gushing-- I so enjoyed reading this post!)

  3. Oh, how lovely! What a wonderful present for your Mom! I bet she was thrilled to receive him.