How To Make Yarn Wigs and Other Confessions
Let's talk about yarn wigs. I mean, how often do you make one of these? Not often right? Well we here at Darn Good Yarn we want to bring this subject out of the closet...like literally...do you have a wig? Have you ever considered wearing a wig? Have you made a yarn wig? Or is it now time to make that yarn wig? Let's drag this wig idea right on out and no longer keep it hidden.
There are so many reasons that you might own a wig and and we'll explore a few of them. Wigs can give you a whole different look and some people may just like to flip color and style at the drop of a hat. Tired of that gray? Ready to be a dazzling red head? You can be any of these without having to use those yucky chemicals and with a yarn wig you can have a different look when it moves you, maybe one day you are a red head wearing your yarn wig and the next day you are nature girl with no wig at all! Health can certainly be a reason for wanting a wig. Family of mine has had cancer and the chemotherapy treatments have left them with no hair, not even an eyebrow of hair. My sisters used turbans to cover their less than perfect scalps because they didn't know of yarn wigs. Do you know of someone working through the health challenges of losing hair? You know their personality and style so wouldn't it be great to create a hair wig for them...it could be as tame or unique as they are and what a great way to say you care! Know any older people who might love the warmth of a yarn wig? Some yarn wigs look and feel like a hat so the possibilities are endless. Another purpose for this craft is you could make a great wig for a Halloween or costume party...why not be Pippi Longstocking ( oh do I have a story for you about a Pippi wig!) or a Rageddy Ann doll with a beautiful yarn wig? Last but not least, some people love dressing costume dolls.You can make a tiny wig for that doll you have and smaller is simpler!
Be proud of your wig wearing for whatever the reason and let's think outside the box on what a yarn wig is.The definition of wig in Merriam Webster is "artificial hair that you wear on your head because you are bald or in order to change your appearance". Simple enough right? After all it is not about why you want or need a wig. The wig is about the style, your appearance.You personally can create a yarn wig. It can look as ordinary or as exotic as you would like. So that is where the handcrafted wig idea may go be beyond the ordinary wig. With some of the unusual fibers found at Darn Good Yarn your wig will not be just a wig, but a fashion statement and a work of art.
We all have our talents and not all of us have the same ones. And it is fabulous that we can be our own unique selves and do some things well and learn there are other things we just are not going to excel at. For example, I really love music...but do I play an instrument? Not a chance. The only thing I play is the radio! But let me tell you I do that really well and when company visits, the music choices are perfect! So....where am I going with this? I just want to mention that you don't have to be an expert knitter, crocheter or weaver to make a yarn wig. Here is a great tutorial on making yarn wigs thanks to www.danamadeit.com. This tutorial link shows four ways to make yarn wigs and if you sew with a machine, this is a very good lesson for you on how to get started on your wig using yarn. I think the orange braided wig would be great for a Pippi Longstocking wig (yes, I will get to the story about the Pippi wig!). Will I be making yarn wigs using the sewing machine? NO WAY! I am not someone who enjoys sewing on a machine and would never make it through! I prefer a needle and hand sewing as I have done a fair amount with sewing in fiber ends with my projects. Like I said, we all have our talents, and modification for sanity is a wonderful thing!
So now that I have confessed to not being at-one with sewing machines ( I no longer own one as long,long ago I figured out it would be best for both of us, if we parted ways!) Pinterest has a cool page for yarn wigs and tutorials. I am really excited to tell you about how to make a very simple wig and you can be as bold and daring or as calm as you wish in creating this. You only need a few things but here is what I would suggest: crochet or sewing needle and thread, scissors,a tight fitting skull cap(make sure this cap is soft and comfy if making this for a friend who may have had chemo or other medical scenario), and fiber!
If you use dyeable yarn, I recommend figuring out your colorway and dying your fiber first and making your yarn wig after the fiber is thoroughly dry. If you are looking for a fuzzy look, consider wool and I particularly think the Darn Good Yarn thick and thin wool will give you diverse texture. Remember that you can use what ever fiber that suits your fancy so wool is just one suggestion. Perhaps you want to add a band of sari ribbon cording or some other splash to make your wig spectacular. What makes yarn wigs great? The audacity to be unique!
1. Measure one scrap piece of fiber to measure your hair length-do you want short or long? Remember to make it longer if you intend to braid or wrap your "hair".
2. Take your scrap yarn measurement and now take your primary fiber and hold it up to your scrap yarn. Continue to measure out one long piece by going back and forth with your primary yarn. Very IMPORTANT: your yarn you are measuring is for both sides of your wig so keep this measure bundle in the length needed for your wig. I recommend going back and forth for a total of 50 times total. Cut this bundle and tie it off using either yarn or thread- BE SURE to leave 2 long ends of this thread or tying yarn after you tie and knot this around the MIDDLE of the bundle.
3. Now you have one hair bundle. Put this bundle center on the top/middle of the cap by taking the two thread or yarn ends (where you tied the bundle in the middle)and pull those two ends through the cap using either a small crochet needle or a sewing needle. I prefer to use thread for tying the bundle and a sewing needle for getting the yarn through the cap.
4. Take this first hair bundle and put the yarn on either side of the center sewn area on each side of the cap.This will give you a sense of how the "hair" looks on the cap. You now need to consider how to best continue with making your bundles and filling out the wig by repeating the steps above.
5. I would suggest trying just one bundle sewn to the cap to get a sense of how it will look. Then measure and tie all the bundles you think you will need to fill out your wig. Be generous with your yarn as it really takes more bundles than you might think and there are always areas to fill in.
6. Once you are done sewing in your yarn, you will find you have many different lengths because of the areas where you have filled in with extra bundles. Figure out where you part is, running your fingers through your yarn wig, and cut as you wish and remember the longer the "hair: the more you can do with it!
7. Here is a wig tutorial courtesy of tipjunkie.com that shows the method similar to what I did with my Pippi Longstocking yarn wig. Oh yeah, I mentioned I would tell you my story about Pippi...
Have you ever read Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren? Well in our family Pippi was just a rollicking good read as she was an adventuresome young girl and my kids were a bit intrigued with her "almost" naught ways! And as a librarian and parent, I loved that my kids were very excited about getting to the next chapter. As Halloween rolled around that October, my daughter wanted to dress as Pippi Longstocking for the school costume parade. Of course, I was all in with the literary theme the school had for the parade and loved my daughter's suggestion. How to get that crazy orange hair when I would never put dye in my daughter's hair? Of course! A yarn wig. I raided my stash and found that I had some red and some orange so used the combination to make a Pippi wig. I bought a small thin cap and sewed the orange and orange-red yarn in to the cap leaving a part in the middle.Once all the hair was sewn on, the orange yarn was braided and the rest of the costume was easy with just a jumper and crazy tights (for the Longstocking part). I was psyched!
But my daughter was not....Pippi's orange braids were suppose to stick out like the photo on the right below! Hmm I was really stumped as the braids hung down limply on either side of my daughter's head. Then Eureka! I straightened out a metal coat hanger and put it through one braid, molded the metal rod through the Pippi orange yarn wig hiding it under the yarn and out the other braid. We did it and now had an orange yard wig with Pippi hair standing out either side of her head. Wow! Was I a very proud mother the day I walked my daughter to catch the bus for her school parade. I then headed to work at the public library just as proud as a peacock that I had created a perfect yarn wig for "my" Pippi. Within an hour, I got a call from the school that Pippi's costume was dangerous and she had to sit alone on this bus as the braids were close to jabbing another child. "Could I please come to school and march with Pippi in the parade as her costume needed adult supervision?" I jumped in the car, drove to school and proudly marched in the parade with Pippi, metal coat hanger and all! Teaming up together, mother/librarian and Pippi were a literary success!
- Nicole Snow