The Dollmaker

That’s who I was, for a while.

I found this wonderful free pattern over at Stitch, and knew I had to make one for my daughter. I bought a rather low quality yarn that cost maybe 1€ per skein, because back then I couldn’t much care about quality or durability, only about spending as little money as possible on a hobby that I had just recently discovered and felt really passionate about.

Times were the toughest they have ever been for us, just around that time. Good thing some things do change, given time and patience. Anyway. Here’s my interpretation of the pattern – Elena’s Doll:

Not bad for a first attempt – the hair was a bit fuzzy, and those shoes didn’t quite work out, but my daughter loved it – and so did I. This was in March 2010. Christmas rolled around, and I wanted to give all of “my” children at the time a gift, something self-made. Mine included, we were talking about 8 kids – 4 wonderful friends with 2 children each, and at the time I didn’t see nothing insane at all about my project. It was early November, after all – enough time.

Long story short: it was enough time… but barely. Without the help of my husband, who had pretty much put all the hair on the dolls’ heads while I was crocheting like a madwoman, I would never have managed.

In the end, I had all of these, just in time for Christmas:


I absolutely love this picture of all of them lined up on our couch. I am not entirely sure about it, but that year, giving these dolls was probably a lot more gratifying to me than it was for the recipients to receive them… who knows how many of them were thrown into a corner that same day, never to be looked at again, and which of them have become beloved and appreciated toys, if any. 6 years later, and I would love to know how many of them still even exist – and in what state they are in, considering the cheap yarn they were made with. In some cases, I’ll never know… time has its cruel way of messing with good things, sometimes.

Alas – there were two more really important little girls in my life around this time who both happen to have their birthdays in the spring, so two more dolls were made:

By that time, I started to have my absolute fill with this pattern, and after these two I didn’t want to make any more – but that’s when the commissions started, 3 in total. I don’t even remember who ordered them anymore, or what I charged for one… somewhere between 20 and 30 €, if I remember correctly. But I upgraded the pattern a bit and added a little skirt for two of these, wishing I had thought of it before.

In retrospect, I am not sure how I managed to do so much of this repetitive work in so little time, seeing how now I can’t even quite handle a second wrist warmer, or a second slipper anymore after finishing one, for the boredom of it. Regardless, these dolls – for me – are markers of what used to be a few wonderful and very intense years that I will always look back upon fondly.


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