About once a year, I get sucked into making a soft toy for N. This is how it usually goes–her birthday, or some occasion where she is to be receiving a gift, or I have been conned into bribing her comes around. Sometimes it is as simple as, “aai, I don’t want clothes any more, make me a dog/cat/monkey/doll etc”. Or worse, Lata/ Waghu [insert doll’s name here] needs a new pant/shirt/jacket etc.
So you can tell how much I like making soft toys right? What’s worse is making dolls’ clothes. Something to do with the fact that there are tiny parts, that get sewn to even tinier parts. You get the idea. Here is what I made earlier in the week for one of her dolls.
The fabric is from here, which she had loved and which I found I had a a tiny bit of remaining, just enough to make a top for Ms. Lata. Its roughly modeled on N’s own blouse, except that after making it I realised that dolls tend to have really large heads. So a back opening was made, velcro attached, and presented to one child who couldn’t have been more delighted.
But, I have to say this. The minute I do make something for her dolls or a doll itself, it gets showered with so much love and care that it never fails to amaze me. She not only spends hours playing with them, but also when necessary gives me advice on how to deal with naughty children of my own 🙂 So having spent a lot of time swearing about this tiny top, I then proceeded to make this:
The pattern is from book that you can read more about here (Unfortunately I cannot figure out how and where to order it, but I think you could write to the author). My friend got it for me about a year ago, and this is the first thing I am making from it. The toys are all lovely, and after following the instructions in this I can say that they are pretty easy to follow. So. For me, the whole process went without a hitch (perhaps having just made that tiny top, my fingers had grown more nimble…), and except for attaching the head to the body part things went pretty well. Making the limbs was not as excruciating as I was expecting it to be, and N helped me stuff them with cotton. The sweater too was a bit of a challenge. I did not have the requisite felted wool so its a bit stretchy. But, in the end not to bad I would say.
My favourite parts are the fabric that we chose together: the body is from an old washed black denim-like fabric, the snout is a from a silk kurta and the ears are from scraps. The sweater is cashmere which I lined with a bit of ribbon (again from an old top of mine). The result: we think she is quite fashionable young lady.
Like with other dolls, she went through a naming ceremony where other dolls were consulted, and they settled on “beamy.” A suitable name I think for a donkey who is looking relatively relaxed and happy. I know the next few days are going to be spent in taking her around and doing every little activity with her in tow. Last night N went to sleep with her, the entire morning was spent in playing with her, and then we took her out to lunch…
Oh, but I never told you why I ever got to making this in the first place. Once a year on Kojagiri Purnima falls Ashwini when the oldest child’s gets something special. While growing up my family which is not particularly religious, did celebrate this festival. I think I enjoyed it particularly because it was the one day of the year when I could endlessly tease my younger sister that she wasn’t getting anything (and it wasn’t even my birthday:-) The honour gets passed on to N as being the only child, and she gets to choose what she wants from me, just as I get to choose what I want from my mom.
For some reason this day always reminds me of my own childhood and this time of the year when the weather turns for the better. It also reminds me of the year when N was born and I was making an endless number of soft toys for her (she had no say in this of course, given that she was only four months old). But for some reason it was my idea of what a baby “wants.” They were all very very terrible; oh, if you knew my sister she would tell you all about it! (All this to say I have gotten better:-). But. It was that time when I was in Pune, we sat around a lot, entertained this very tiny baby and spent a lot of time with each other. It was lovely, and I miss that time very much. Perhaps it is fitting that N should then want at least one soft toy every year, something that got me sewing in the first place, and something that I persisted with depsite somewhat shaky beginnings.