I had a long list of things to accomplish but I knew I had that nagging thought in the back of my head "you promised yourself you were going to work on her this January, remember? it is January already". Five cloth figs were on my table, almost finished, like they had spent all week, just looking at me and begging for their dresses to be ready, for their boots to cover their feet, for attention. Prepping other work was also necessary, the little bits of achievement that make my working week that much more enjoyable: when I can bring a little basket of soft dolls with me into the living room while the girls read or practice their handwriting. But life was going to take me elsewhere.
After all, I had been tinkering with this idea of a new doll since the Fall of 2013. A whole year passed with several attempts at constructing something new and different for me, but not entirely out of the ball park, let's just say unfamiliar. I made sketches, I got excited, I drew and cut and sewed and stuffed. Not there. I did it again. Not there. This sentiment of needing her, of trying to find in which pattern pieces she was, of unearthing something that was waiting for me, that feeling started to disappoint me because I kept looking and she wasn't there. Just not there, and somehow an emptiness took hold of me. Looking at all those previous sketches, at the myriad of pattern pieces that sprung forth, at the actual dolls that came out, and having her now in front of me I can see where the tangents took me through different bends in the road; roads in which I would have never found her, thank goodness she found me. Because she is now here and my heart is full.
Examining the steps that reared me into finding her makes me believe in magic…and perseverance. Both such necessary ingredients in the creative life. One poses the belief that there is something out of your control, that happens to you, that lifts you up from the ordinary and makes you part of a wondrous universe; the other one makes you realize that only by actually working and making is how magic can and will find you. Sitting on your bum and feeling sorry because you can't make the doll you can't even see with your eyes but your heart tells you is there, well that is not going to do it.
There are many words I can say about her. Let's start by how on Saturday morning I just couldn't take it anymore. And I made a life size drawing on brown paper and I spoke to her all day. How the life size drawing kept curling up on me while I tried to transfer the pattern to fabric and I kept saying to myself "it doesn't matter if she is not perfect because I am pretty sure she won't even be here yet". First time around, as usual, the pattern was looking at me with such minute inches I cried. The second time it was such a big doll that I had to turn the paper roll around to fit. Something was wrong and I was grasping at straws. Then I looked up and Eva, my doll, was sitting in front of me with her all-knowing eyes. I measured her arm, I took a deep breath, crunched some numbers and continued. Another drawing. Pattern pieces. First the legs, then the feet. Make a torso. Make sure her arms are right. Can it be possible? She was starting to take place. I stole, yet again, a jersey shirt from my husband *just to see* if it was happening. Made one doll. I almost cried. It was getting late and I knew I couldn't possibly a) go to bed after seeing her and b) have an entire doll made in real skin and stuffed with wool by tomorrow. But I just couldn't wait or take it any longer. So I did. I worked as hard as I could, talking to her, letting myself know that this *might* just not be what I was after but that it was ok. That I was on the right path. I had to go to bed at some point but Sunday found me on the same state of mind and that night she was there. She was here, with me. Finally.
She found me to be honest. I was a little lost thinking of this and that, things I *thought* were the pattern tweaks she needed. Not so gently but very quietly she led me to this design. Not reinventing the wheel, not a complete turn of gears as I was hoping, just different. And to me this doll is so unique in her proportions and size that I just stare at her. My husband called her "the missing link" between my Mannikin doll and beloved Figlette. And as usual that bugger is right. I can say she is exquisite, dainty, loving, playful, huggable, demure, little and big. Oh so many adjectives fill my head when I see her sitting on my bed, catching sun rays and looking right through me.
I had thought of a name for this new pattern of mine, I was so proud of it, even giggled when said it out loud and now I am not so sure it fits them anymore. Them? Would there be more like her that warrant a name for the style? Surely there must be. What exactly do I mean by more? Does it mean that I need to wave this one good bye? Wait a minute, we never discussed that. We do have strict policies in this house concerning my doll making: we are allowed to fall madly in love, in the knowledge that no doll stays here. I never parted with the first figlette because I just couldn't tear myself away from her, Eva. Packing away the first Mannikin hurt like tearing a limb from my body…but I survived. And this one? This one is a combination of the two. So special to me on so many ways I wish not to bore you anymore. Are you still reading? Dear lord.
Her name is Poet. I am not teasing, well not intentionally, by not showing you her face. It's just that we are having still our private moments and would like to see each other, just the two of us, for a little longer. She wants to be outside and feel the cold hard-packed snow under her feet, feel the sun on her wooly cheeks and get a dose of fresh air. Not without a jacket I said, so I promptly knit one for her with alpaca and wool and it is almost dry. I am so fascinated by her that I feel the moment I put her outside, in the snow, she is going to spring to life and start walking by herself. Magic is a beautiful thing and for those of us that believe in it…well, the world is just a wondrous place to live in.