Dear Prudence

Yesterday I finally took a little leap of faith and starting working on a Waldorf doll.

I am calling her Prudence because if it hadn’t been for the gorgeous Waldorf dolls which Prudence makes and sells on Etsy, I would never have attempted it. Prudence, the doll, is a big tribute to Prudence in Montana, who inspired me to ignore the “rules” of Waldorf doll making (something which I have found very intimidating hence the reluctance to ever attempt this before) and do an alternative interpretation.

I like that she has injected huge amounts of personality into these dolls. They are a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Raggedy-Anne. Each one looks so incredibly sweet and endearing. I love their distinctive faces. Quite obviously I was very taken with her idea to use multiple soft and stretchy fabrics to make up the body rather than the traditional skin toned fabric. This is the bit that really appeals to me – lots of nice texture and crazy colours.

The head construction was challenging. I gotta tell you – if the Steiner ideal is to create a unique doll full of love, with a specific child recipient held lovingly in mind etc etc, then this poor wee doll is going to have to be stashed away in the cupboard because not a lot of love went into that head. A lot of “frigging” fleece went in, but not a lot of love. That being said, don’t let me put you off. Once I finally finished it I felt pretty sure I could do it again with far less struggle.

I did some free form cutting (that was fun) based losely on my rabbit pattern and came up with something that does quite well… if a tad derivative and just a little wonky.

Is there a way to avoid those little gathery puckers around her neck? I am hoping that goes with practice.

Yes – I want to make more now – I can see how people get quite addicted to it. I was thinking it would be fun to make each one without a pattern so no two are the same. That would be pretty radical for me – a person who has been making rabbits and cats from the same pattern for the last four years!

For those who might like to try it — I got all my supplies for the head from Winterwood here in Melbourne where I also got the book Making Waldorf Dolls by Maricristin Sealey which has very clear instructions. This tutorial helped a lot too – and Sooz has a great tutorial for a simple Steiner doll to get you started. Magic Cabin looks like the place to get your supplies in the States.

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27 Responses

  1. Cindy says:

    I think that she is lovely. I love the material on the arms and the rosy cheeks. So sweet. Thanks for the winterwood tip too, I am off to have a squizz now.

  2. Nichola says:

    There seem to be waldorf dolls wherever i look at the moment! I just got that book from Amazon yesterday and intend to make some for my girls.

  3. Christie says:

    Your doll is beautiful! I made my daughter a waldorf doll for Christmas last year & was so glad that I did, but I must say that I quite liked making the head!

  4. Jen says:

    Wow Clare – gorgeous! You will have to do some of these in an Etsy shop, she really is lovely.

  5. ~kristina~ says:

    She’s adorable! Doubt I’ll ever have the patience to make any doll, but at least I can enjoy those other people make!

  6. Prudence says:

    Wow – thanks! Thanks for the sweet write-up and for naming your doll after me! She turned out really cute.As far as the neck goes – with a traditional Waldorf doll, where you’re sewing the cotton knit head onto a cotton knit body, you can do a kind of invisible stitching that keeps the puckers from happening. But when sewing a cotton knit head onto a woolen body – I haven’t really found a way around it. Some of the dolls have much less than others, some have *almost* none, but it happens – although you’re right that the more you make the less it shows. It’s stopped bothering me! And yeah, the head takes a very large amount of wool!

    I love your blog and your creatures by the way – very very sweet.

  7. Donna says:

    She’s lovely, I like her chenille body.I had to laugh on your creating with love comment–I’ve discovered that a number of supposedly calming, peaceful waldorf projects seem to involve a lot of non-calming, non-peaceful swearing on my part, haha.

  8. Beth says:

    Ever so cute – her expression is just lovely. I have stumbled across your blog and am enchanted!

  9. She turned out to be lovely. I’ve felt so intimidated by the simple face–almost as though every imperfection would be completely obvious. I didn’t even notice the neck-puckers, though, so maybe I’m off-base with that! Thanks for the links!

  10. read me... says:

    Your Prudence has such a beautiful face…

  11. Alexis says:

    She’s beautfiful! I’ve always wanted to try but I’ve been intimidated!

  12. brit says:

    ooh a magical new blog! thanks for the pointer!and prudence the doll is beautiful I love the textured doll limbs, can’t wait to find out more about prudence the person

  13. meg says:

    she’s beautiful! I know you should like the spare waldorf dolls, but they have never appealed to me, but prudence is adorable!

  14. Kirsty says:

    It looks to me like you started & finished! She’s absolutely gorgeous…I love everything about her.

  15. Michelle says:

    She is beautiful. I really like the way you have mixed the fabrics. I have some waldorf doll making supplies in the shed – may had to dig them out now you have inspired me.

  16. Prue says:

    Ah well, it can’t be about me, this post. I don’t have red hair. There goes my ego.

  17. sooz says:

    She’s great Claire! And isn’t Winterwood ace? Oh my lord I enter a timewarp on every visit and emerge blinking an hour later.You might also want to check out a fantastic book called Kinder dolls (Sandra sells it out at Winterwood), which has wonderfully detailed drawings and instructions – especially for hair and clothes. It also has a good range of dolls of gradually increasing complexity.

  18. Anna says:

    She’s very sweet – I love her hair (we visit CERES a lot and i think she’d fit right in there!).As for the neck pucker, I tie around the neck whilst pulling on the skin fabric at the back of the neck. That way most of the bunching is at the back and can be covered with hair.

  19. Shivi says:

    Your waldorf doll is very cute. I personally don’t usually like waldorf dolls and find them a tad creepy but yours looks so happy and the hair really makes it. I want one!

  20. freya says:

    I love her hair! i wish i had hair like that…

  21. Emily says:

    I think your doll is lovely, and much nicer with the patterned body. It reminded me of the beautiful rag dolls my Granny made for me and my sister when we were little, they had patterned bodies with frills at the edge so they looked like they were wearing full length victorian underwear! Is that liberty jersey fabric you’ve used for the arms? Me and my mum are always chasing it up for the monkeys we make, and it seems they have stopped making it!I’m going to look at prudence’s dolls now, they sound fab…

  22. Yay!!!! I love her. I have been wanting to make one too-Lola has a few of the Kathe Kruse ones. I must go to winterwood one day. You did a fantastic job Claire!

  23. cathygaubert says:

    i love how you put together her body…so sweet! also, thanks for the link to prudence…her dolls are amazing. i just love how they each have such a sweet little nose!

  24. mollie says:

    your doll is lovely!thanks so much for prudence’s link! i just spent a good deal of time reading her blog .. . lovely!

    i made a few easy waldorf inspired dolls (from that martha stewart kids mag awhile back) and not only did their necks pucker but i had the hardest time getting their hair to be nice. thanks for the tutorials and links!

  25. Laila says:

    Prudence is lovely! I bought a doll (I know, big no-no) for my eldest daughter when we had our second child – it was never played with or loved by any of the children – maybe because it wasn’t stuffed with love etc???? Even though my children go to a Steiner school, they still play with inappropriate things like mobile phones, screwdrivers… I live in hope still!

  26. Kirsty says:

    Hi ClaireI thought this waldorf doll neck method didn’t look too puckery?

    Good luck – love the dolls.

  27. Lucy says:

    Love your dolly, she has such a sweet face. Lucy xxx

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