Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Comfort Dolls

Look who I found in my closet today.
I was introduced to this little doll at a Church bazaar last Christmas season. It was love at first sight.

The ladies behind the counter told me that they make the dolls to use as packing material for medical supplies their Church sends to Africa. Once the supplies are unpacked, the dolls become gifts - and a comfort, the ladies hoped - for the village children. Where would the world be without Church ladies! I marvel at all they do.

I purchased three dolls to give to my grandchildren for Christmas. Once home, I studied them more closely. They appeared to be simple to make. Out came my needles and scraps of yarn. In no time, I had figured out the pattern and made a couple of dolls of my own.

And for your knitting pleasure - here is the pattern.


YARN - Use any thickness of yarn you like. The thicker the yarn, the bigger the doll. You will need at least 4 colours per doll.
NEEDLES – Use needles about ½ size smaller than normally used for the yarn chosen.
BASE – Cast on 32 stitches and work 6 rows of garter stitch ( knit every row).
SKIRT/PANTS - Change colour. Work 14 rows of stockinet stitch ( knit one row, purl one row)
SHIRT - Change colour and work 12 rows stockinet stitch.
HEAD - Change colour and work 8 rows stockinet stitch
HAT – Hat Brim -Using the colour of either the shirt or the pants, knit one row. Then, change colour and begin to decrease for the top as follows
Row 1. - and all odd numbered rows, Purl.
Row 2. Knit 1, *K2tog, k4. repeat from * to last stitch. Knit 1.
Row 4. Knit 1, *k2tog, K3. repeat from * to last stitch, Knit 1.
Row 6, Knit 1, *K2tog, K2. repeat from * to last stitch, Knit 1.
Row 8, Knit 1, *K2tog, K1. repeat from * to last stitch, Knit 1
Row 10, Knit 1, *k2tog , repeat to last stitch, Knit 1.
Pull yarn through stitches to close. 
Embroider eyes and mouth on centre front.
Sew across base. 
Sew up back, leaving an opening so you can stuff.
Stuff with fill, then close opening.
Thread a darning needle with matching coloured yarn and draw  through stitches at base of head and pull tight to gather in.
For arms, pinch a few rows of knitting and stuffing between your fingers at the side of the doll, and starting where pants meet the shirt, baste up to just a few rows before the head. 

GENDER IDENTIFICATION - If you want a girl doll, you are done. Boys take a little more work. For a boy doll, stitch up from base, through pants section, stopping a few rows below the shirt. This divides the body for the legs.
The dolls are a great project to use up small amounts of yarn. Leftovers from other projects perhaps. Thick yarn and needles make large dolls. Fine yarn and needles make small dolls.

A comfort to the recipient for sure. But a comfort to the knitter too, I think.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Hi Brenda! I know this is an old post, but I am just getting started making these dolls for my sponsor child and her sisters, then for other children in Africa.

So I have knitted it, but I am a bit confused as to how to stitch the arms and legs! Do you use a needle and thread? Or yarn? How do you not see the yarn stitch?

Thanks so much! I'm obviously not an expert knitter ;)