At some point, when I moved to Riyadh, I got the idea to start making dolls. I don’t remember exactly when. I just know that this wasn’t really an idea I had before arriving. In hindsight, I can identify a couple of things that made an impression on me, leading to this new hobby. At the job I left back in Brooklyn, I was a retail director at MoCADA, a small museum. I did all the buying, merchandising and managing of the museum shop as a whole. Over the two years that I worked there, I kept an eye out for cute, sophisticated and eclectic dolls representing girls of colors. I had a rather clear picture of these dolls in mind. I never quite found anything that matched this image in my head and recently, it dawned on me that if I couldn’t find it, I should make it. Duh.
I also had the lingering inspiration of Jess Brown’s rag dolls. Like many people I first saw her dolls in Martha Stewart Living a few years ago. I felt something deep in my soul when I saw her work, but I was not in a place where I could even fathom making something like that. Subconsciously, that article crept into my yearly vision board a couple of times and all crafting roads seem to lead me back to images of her work.
I finished a second doll (the one with the brown & white polka dot turban) yesterday. This thing should’ve been done long ago, but I really made a mess with the pattern. After completing my first doll, I noted several things I wanted to alter on the second. Above anything else, I wanted to make the pattern a little bigger as I learned working smaller is not easier. It was a real pain to turn those skinny arms and legs inside out. Even with a loop turner, I struggled to get that done. So I made the second set of arms and legs twice as big. While this did solve the turning inside out problem, I’m not terribly pleased with the results. I think the arms and legs are now a little too big and clunky. Next time, I’ll take that down, just a hair. I still would like the doll to be able to cross her arms and legs, which is not the case with this latest one. Maybe, the arms and legs are a little overstuffed. That could be the issue.
I also made the head and torso a little bigger, and for some unknown reason, played around with the shape of the head, making it more square that oval. That did not work at all. I ended up taking the doll apart and trimming down the pattern to something closer to the head shape on the first. If that wasn’t enough, I also altered the eye shape before backtracking to something closer to the first doll’s eyes. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There’s still a lot of tweaking to do, to make the construction better, but nothing as extreme as what I tried this time around.