An old fashioned technique has taken on a funky edge with dolls you can make yourself –
2009 Morning Herald Feature Mag
Words by Louise Surrette Photography Mark Taylor
The art of crocheting generally conjures up images of grannies stitching together doilies and tea cosies, certainly not funky dolls complete with dreadlocks, trendy outfits and accessories.
But these little characters called Nature’s Dolls are what Jenny King is hoping will bring the craft she loves to the masses.
“Crocheting is so relaxing, it is like yoga,” says Jenny, who is the author of numerous crocheting books and patterns covering everything from fashion to homewares. “I’m hoping the dolls will entice people who wouldn’t normally crochet to give it a go.”
Jenny has created clever kits that provide all the wool, hooks and instructions needed to create a Nature’s Doll and swears even a novice can make one. “A beginner could get one done in a week, sitting down in the evening and doing a bit of crocheting,” she says, adding that the beauty of the dolls is that once they are washed, they go through a process known as fulling, which creates a felt-like finish, covering up any major stitching mistakes.
The Nature’s Dolls have been great for teaching kids because they love the end result so much, Jenny says. Jenny came up with the idea of crocheting dolls when she saw a doll she liked while in Byron Bay.
Always up for a design challenge, she created a pattern for a similar doll that could be crocheted. As for their unusual look, Jenny decided to live vicariously through the dolls. “I would really like to have dreadlocks,” says the mother of two daughters. “But I don’t think my husband would like it much.” Jenny says the 11 dolls in her range all have a bit of attitude. They are multicultural and include girls and boys.
Each also has a name, such as Maxine, Lexi, Jackson and Jasper. Separate kits for clothing are available so people can create different outfits for the dolls. Jenny was a young girl when she began crocheting, starting out because she liked the crocheted outfits she had seen in fashion magazines.
“I did my first crocheted bikini when I was 12 but I had to put about ten extra rows on it so it wasn’t too small,” she says. “Even then I wasn’t allowed to wear it.” Jenny says crocheted fashions have come back in style and can be seen in many boutiques, but she is hoping young fashionistas will try creating their own rather than buying them.
Since she is having so much fun creating different dolls, Jenny says more designs are on the way. She has also sourced organic wool and stuffing and now offers a completely organic version of the Nature’s Doll.