Friday, April 1, 2011

A Little Waldorf Companion

I love Waldorf dolls.

picture borrowed from Maria Ribbeck 
picture borrowed from Gopita
picture borrowed from The Parent Vortex
Waldorf dolls are intentionally simple.  They have no facial expression and no brightly coloured doll 'make-up'.  They certainly do not have batteries and do not move or make robotic doll sounds.  The reason for their simplicity is to inspire imagination and creativity (two characteristics I believe are vitally important to encourage in young children).  Also, waldorf dolls are made with love from natural materials like cotton and wool using traditional European doll-making techniques.  Their natural softness makes them oh so cuddle-icious! 

I believe all children (girls AND boys) should have their own "babies" to love and hold and take care of.  Young children are naturally very self-focused.  Early childhood is the time for the child to learn all about his or her self and how the self relates to the rest of the world and vice versa.  Most children love dolls because they remind them of themselves.  Children can learn so much through doll play.

So for ages I've been wanting to make a little companion doll for Ky.  But to make a true Waldorf doll, seemed to me, to be a bit beyond what I was capable of.  So I kept putting it off (while often browsing through how-to doll making sites) until I happen to stumble upon an already made basic doll body while shopping with my mum when I visited Australia recently.  It was the perfect canvas for the little baby I had in mind for my little baby.  I bought it immediately!  It's made of calico and stuffed with some kind of soft stuff (I'm determined to continue imagining the soft stuff is beautiful organic wool, when deep down I know it's most likely synthetic stuffing).

I also bought a single ball of lovely multi-coloured wool for its hair.  I love this wool!  The beautiful sheepy colours and the varying thickness is so yummy.  I imagined a wonderfully messy dreadlocked pony-tail for our little doll.  But I had absolutely no idea about how to attach the hair.  Luckily, I found this simple tutorial from Crafty Sheep and within 20 minutes I'd crocheted-up a little cap.

As you can see I didn't worry too much about being neat with my sewing.
It was time-consuming sewing the cap onto the doll but worth it once I started hooking the pieces of hair onto the cap.  It was so easy and so satisfying watching the hair sprouting and transforming the naked doll body into a baby with character.

only his back bald patch to go
How's that for a full head of hair?
Before the hair, Ky was not at all interested in the doll.  But even before I'd finished the hair, he was asking me "Kaya's baby?"

How's he looking so far?
It was a very cute thing to see Kaya cuddling his naked, face-less baby.  But he wasn't entirely happy.  He asked me "jacket? eyes?"

I think I'll start with the eyes.  Once he's got a face, he'll be a real baby doll!