My daughter turned 2 in October. For a long time, really since I was pregnant, I had my eye on those neat Waldorf dolls. I saw them talked about and featured on so many different blogs, talking about the natural fibers and beautiful simplicity.
The ones that struck me the most were people talking about making their own dolls and the process of crafting something so special for children. Think about the love little girls (and many boys!) have for their baby dolls, cuddling and playing with them. What could be more awesome that to handcraft something your child cherishes so much?
It was settled – I was going to make a doll for my daugther’s 2nd birthday. I was so excited as she started to show interest in playing mommy to her toys months before. I gathered cotton flannel for the skin, soft wool yarn for hair and fluffy wool roving to stuff the insides.
I searched for the best tutorials and patterns, but strangely found that despite all of these blogs talking about crafting Waldorf dolls, there isn’t very much in the way of free patterns. What I did find is this one for the body, this one for the head, and this one for hair. I winged it with the facial features.
Crafting something, anything, is a wondrous process. You’re creating. It can be frustrating and difficult at times, and you might not even be very happy with the final product, but you have accomplished and given life to a new object that was once just a collection of scraps.
Weaving parts of living things, grown cotton and wooly sheep, into a new object is a palpable experience with meaning beyond a simple toy. Working with your hands and placing a piece of yourself, a piece of your love, into that toy for your child can’t be fully comprehended with our intellect; it’s something you can only feel.
In the end, the great part of making her doll was struggling through it. While the patterns had helped me begin, I definitely did not follow the directions. I wanted to make it myself, not have have someone (a tutorial) hold my hand through the process.
The doll is a disaster.
The wig, which has way too many threads on it, barely covers the Klingon forehead ridges where the head pattern didn’t fit correctly, the legs cross, the head is misshapen, the neck seams are a mess and the face crooked.
But you know what? My daughter adores that doll. She runs around with it joyfully singing about her “Dolly”, changing the clothes, putting her on the potty, feeding her. She could care less what it looks like.
Isn’t that what parenthood is really about? You’ve made this beautiful child, breathed life into her, and no matter how much you struggle or screw up, she doesn’t give a crap as long as she feels loved and cared for. Making this doll was an exercise in consciousness of my role as a mother and nothing can take away from that moment when my baby’s eyes lit up and she hugged that doll with pure love.
This holiday season, I definitely recommend crafting a gift for someone you love, especially something made of natural materials. It doesn’t have to be a doll or a toy, or even intended for a child. Just be conscious of what you’re making and put your heart into that gift.