Several months ago, I checked out Zoe Mellor’s Knitted Toys from my local library. I loved it so much that I immediately added it to my Amazon wish list, and at the end of last month I broke down and bought it for myself.

My first project: a doll for Sylvia. While I had the library copy, Sylvia looked through the book and more or less asked me to make everything in it for her. Lately, she’s been increasingly interested in imaginary play with her stuffed animals and her friends’ dolls, so I thought she should have a proper doll of her own. Neither Jan nor I are keen on most of the rubber/plastic dolls on the market today, and after poking around for alternatives I was all set to make her a Waldorf doll. Simmy has a great tutorial here, but that requires sewing, and, well…let’s just say that my very first sewing project (a snazzy tote bag!), which I started at the beginning of this month, remains unfinished because I can’t figure out how to put the stupid bobbin into the machine properly. (Sigh.)

p7235603sm.jpgI did find in an online shop a pattern for a knitted Waldorf doll (and may yet end up giving that one a try one day), but decided to start with the item in Knitted Toys that Sylvia liked the most: the fairy doll. (It’s pictured on the back cover, which you can see if you click on the “See inside this book” link at Amazon.) As you can see, my doll lacks the waist sash, the tutu, the wings, and a proper face. I may at some point knit a sweater or a dress for her, but for now she’s running around in her birthday suit (which really is a suit of sorts). I left the face off because I have no idea how to add eyes and a mouth after everything is put together. Sylvia noted the lack of facial features immediately, but then decided that the doll has a “pretend eyes and pretend mouth,” so if she’s happy the way things are now, maybe they will stay off altogether.

p7235623sm.jpgI used yarn that I had on hand (mostly worsted KnitPicks Yarn of the Andes) for the body, clothes (which are actually built-in so are really part of the body, too), and head. The brown hair is a skein–an entire skein–of YotA that Gina gave me for this purpose. (Thanks again, Gina!) All together, the knitting, putting together, seaming, and stuffing took me about six hours. Not a huge amount of time–so I knew I wouldn’t be terribly upset if Sylvia hated it. (Besides, it’s impossible to predict what will strike a two-year-old’s fancy anyway.) It was a lot of fun to watch this take shape as I shoved more and more polyfill stuffing into the forms. This was the first time I’d stuffed anything, so I didn’t have a sense of how much filling to use. A few times, when a limb starting to look like a sausage about to burst out of its casing, I took out some of the stuffing. The head is oblong and not as round as the original, but the rest of the body looks more or less on target.

p7235617sm.jpgSo what do you think? Does she like it? Maybe just a little bit…

4 Responses to “Gratifying”

  1. Katie Jon 24 Jul 2007 at 4:06 pm

    That doll is so sweet. Does she have a name yet?

  2. Marshaon 24 Jul 2007 at 9:25 pm

    She’s decided to call it Sesame. Sylvia has long been fascinated by the spice cabinet in the kitchen–one of her favorite activities is to “look at the spices with Daddy.” (She stands on the counter while Jan pulls the jars down one at a time and opens them for her. She sniffs them and sometimes–with larger things, like cloves–picks out a few pieces for closer inspection.) Her first doll–a small, very simple, machine-washable cloth doll that I got her last fall–was quickly named Cinnamon. Her second, a Dora doll that was given to her by my parents’ friends at Christmas, was christened Saffron. (Sylvia remains utterly clueless about the Dora phenomenon, thank goodness.)

  3. Bethon 24 Jul 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Beautiful doll, lovely photos.

  4. Ginaon 25 Jul 2007 at 3:15 pm

    OH MY DOG! That is absolutely adorable. And the picture of Sylvia hugging it tight is like the most endearing thing I’ve ever seen. Very sweet!