Off to Class.

7 Nov 2006


Today I gave the first in a series of classes teaching young mothers to make a Steiner cushion doll for their little ones. I gave classes last year also and it was wonderful to see the growth in confidence of these women as they saw their efforts rewarded. Some of the class members had never sewn before and the thought of threading up a needle and making something with their own hands was very scary for them.
They all managed beautifully with varying degrees of help and had a lovely cuddly doll to give their toddlers for Christmas.
This year's group seem more confident except one who circled the table for half the lesson before she joined in. They have their children there with them so it is often a challenge just to have enough hands to hold a needle and thread.
This is a poor picture of the type of doll we are making. This year , instead of cotton velour we are using miniwale cord and also embellishing with some braid. I sew the bodies for them but everything else is done by class members. The doll won't have a knitted cap, she will have a little cord one.
Some of the girls in the class are from difficult social situations and I admire their determination to finish what they have started although some last year needed lots of encouragement to keep going when their doll was almost complete.
I do enjoy the classes and the problem solving it involves. I have done enough classes now to be more aware of how much I need to be say and to recognise when someone is slowly and quietly drowning. When I was a physiotherapist I used to do a lot of teaching but it was never as enjoyable as teaching dollmaking and all the skills that go with it such as plain hand sewing, basic embroidery and knitting.
Dollmaking may sound a bit lame but making these special little dolls, Steiner dolls, that are quite plain and definitely meant to be used, seems to give the maker a contentment that is quite obvious to anyone watching.


14 Responses to “Off to Class.”

  1. I like what your write about your classes and these dolls - they speak to the fact that you have a true avocation in making them.

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  2. These dolls are so lovely. If I could be in Tasmania, I would come to your class.

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  3. Jenny, I am so glad you are doing this class. This is just the kind of thing young mothers need. Something special happens when you make a doll for your child. Clarice

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  4. Such a wonderful thing you're doing! Anytime you can give your little one something you made yourself - it's just a special feeling that can't be matched!

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  5. Do you know of a good online tutorial for similar dollies. I would love to make our little boy one. He is desperate for a little sister and we are having to wait on adoption so I'd love to give him a Dolly Sister instead. My husband thought of a Cabbage Patch dolly but they are pretty pricey and out of my budget - plus kinda ugly and impersonal.

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  6. Oh dear, you cannot say dollmaking is lame! The experience you are giving these ladies is invaluable. It sounds like they benefit greatly from the boost in self-confidence. And what you add to their treasure-store of memories with their children is immeasureable.

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  7. Jenny, the dolls are very sweet! How wonderful that you are passing your knowledge on to others.
    Debbie

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  8. These dolls are so sweet... It must be so satisfying for you to teach others the art of sewing. Hopefully, some will have caught your enthusiasm for creating things with their own hands. I come across people daily who regard knitting or sewing as out of their reach, simply because they were never taught how and think it is too difficult...

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  9. I love to make dolls. I haven't made much since my last two boys were born but i will get back at it one of these days. It really is a joy and especially if you give them away to people you know will love and appreciate them. How great that you are teaching others in need to learn a skill that can somehow help them out in life.

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  10. I agree with the other commenters who were saying that what you are doing is far more valuable than just toy making.

    PS. F's doll arrived today! Thank you so much she is very beautiful and has the family curls!!! I've popped her on top of the wardrobe so that F does not discover her before her birthday. She's so lovely. Thank you!

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  11. What a wonderful gift you are giving these girls. I hope that their kids are thrilled and the mums take immense pleasure in seeing their kids faces when they receive such lovingly handmade dolls. It is a special thing to be able to make something to give to your kids - kind of life-affirming and heartwarming.

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  12. What a wonderful thing you are doing and what adorable little dolls.

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  13. What a lovely thing to be doing helping these young Mums to make somthing that will be so treasured. I'm sure the working togther in a group and the supportive conversation helps them too. By the way I love the hot water bottle covers and the new spotty creature.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.