Friday, 16 June 2006
where it all started
These are the first toys I ever made. It seems like an age ago, but it was less than three years since my most inspirational sister out law Cath pulled out a basket of felt on summer afternoon and started the ball rolling.
I still absolutely adore these two. My love for them is so deep and inexplicable it's almost weird. I love the way they feel in your hand, just the right size for little hands to hold, and so utterly simple and yet so full of character.
They represent everything I love about toy making too. They were really easy and fast to make. They are robust and age really well. They are made of natural fibres. They can be made by the most novice of sewers because they do not aspire to look like they came from a factory. Every non-symmetrical limb and wonky stitch merely adds to their individuality.
So I have decided that although I should be doing other things I am going to write tutorial on how to make them. Basically I think everyone should have a go and discover the wonderful magic of the Steiner doll. It's addictive.
But I really really strongly recommend that if you want to have a go you source the proper materials. Synthetic felt is absoilutely no substitute for wool - it does not behave or feel the same and looks like crap.
Even poor quality wool felts have a habit of breaking up at stuffing time, which can break your heart after you have invested time in making something sweet. You can tell a good felt if you poke it with your finger it should have a little bulge/indent, but if you pull the sides of the felt it should flatten back out. That's because it's made with long fibres not just left over shortie bits.
I personally can't stand polyfill either, but if you find the place that sells good felt, I am sure they will have wool stuffing too.
If you don't know anywhere near you that has the goods, investigate Steiner and Waldorf craft suppliers. They are all over the world and share the philosophy that makes these dolls so good - the right materials and a love of things done by hand.
Next week I hope to post it - so stay tuned!