Tuesday, 13 September 2011

On Dolls

Isn't there something comforting about dolls? I don't know if you find it, too, but for me there's something about dolls that makes me want to cherish them. They are so often thrown away, gummed up with glue, rotten with woodworm, torn up - it's nice to be able to pick them up, dust them off, and give them another chance.

Of course it's always immensely satisfying to work on very small things, as well! It demands a whole new 'eye', as I found recently when I knitted a fisherman's gansey for a doll I picked up recently.

Here he is, as he arrived;


He was part of a group of four dolls that I got from eBay, someone clearing out a shed I think. His body is made from cloth sewn into kid-leather, and stuffed with wood shavings. He leaked shavings all over the carpet, not a brilliant start! At some point he'd lost an arm and both legs, the other arm was horribly scraped and over-painted, and the kid had been painted at some point with what looked like household emulsion!

I made him a new body from calico, following the proportions of the old one closely. It's odd, but the old body had a really short torso and really fat legs! I toned down the legs a bit, on the grounds that I think his wood shavings had settled over time into his calves. Although I tried to save the one china arm, it was really too badly damaged at looked kind of 'post mortem', so that unfortunately had to go. I made two new arms from fi-mo, the oven-hardening modelling clay. I decided to make them very basic so as not to detract from his lovely face.

Yesterday, in bed with flu, I decided to finally tackle the gansey. You might remember the Mary Wright book I picked up a few weeks ago - I used the instructions for an adult gansey to make a very, very small one with a stitch pattern for the upper half from the isles of Scilly. I really wanted cables, but it couldn't have a large 'spread' or the jumper would have looked out of scale. I used DK yarn on 2.00mm needles to give a really tight stitch-size and firmness; a lot of doll clothes end up looking funny because the stitches are so large and loose they don't sit right.

Anyway, here he is at the moment - far from finished, but doing very well!

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