Yukki, his new name.
As anticipated, my little boy went from calling himself Kaito, to Yuki. A new name given to him by my daughter. In my head though, please don’t tell her, I call him Kaito every now and then, just for giggles.
I guess the creation of Yukki ties really strongly to the beginnings of my dollmaking journey. The first doll I ever made was for my first-born third birthday. My last doll was for my second born twelfth birthday. Both dolls left big impressions, the first one catapulted me into making dolls, I wonder what the second one will create for me, as I feel a stirring of inner cogs and bolts shaking.
As you’ve probably noticed from the last post about this doll, he is rather different than my dolls. Or at least, the dolls I regularly create. For once, he has a wire armature and I don’t normally make those, though this year I am teaching people how to add one in the neck, for head mobility.
He is also completely needle-felted, pretty much like my Mannikin doll but very different body proportions and way of making the armature. Aside, Mannikin dolls don’t have wire but an articulated inner armature.
Yukki here had separate pieces that I put together like a puzzle. The Mannikin is a full sculpture that I cover in fabric. Very different process, very different feel, the dolls speak quite distinctly. Neither of them reminds me of the other, so I can venture out to say this is a completely new doll and adventure.
He can bend his legs, stand by himself, fold his arms, leave them up or down, move his hands, open and close them as his thumbs are fully articulated, can arch his back quite a bit, sits very properly and can also moves his little feet. But the best of all, at least to me, is the way he moves his head. There is so much movement in his head but in very natural positions, he can look up and down, to the sides and glance at odd angles. So endearing and I adore him.
His creation took nearly a century, so I am not even sure if I would make this doll as a regular offering, but one thing is for sure: I will make another one in his likeness. There is no pattern per se, all the skin fabric was tailored to fit, but there were some important measurements made so I can make another one. Perhaps I will make a whole series of these little dolls and make a book with them, I don’t think I could sell them.
He was so labour intensive I can honestly say there were moments where I though: if this wasn’t for my child…I would give up right now!
And let’s contemplate his clothes. Dear me. Making a fully tailored shirt with sleeve plackets and darts, cuffs, standing collar…I almost lost the will to live. I had to sew so much of his clothing by hand, in order to reach the mini cuffs, the tiny armholes, etc that it compensated for the very frustrating times when things got eaten by the sewing machine, in a fruitless attempt to stop my mothering efforts. Birthday presents must be given on the birthday date. Or so I was determined.
Lucky for me, I attempted this doll and his clothes with ten years of experience under my belt. Not just do I know how to sew much better now, I also don’t shy away from experiments and doing things “the hard way” in order to achieve a better fit or look. My hands have their own brain now and know where to felt, how to angle seams, joint body parts and how to embroider. So though long and hard and very intense, this was also an enjoyable adventure of discovery, led by curiosity and all the little requests my daughter made.
If I had attempted to create this doll even 5 years ago…I think we wouldn’t be looking at him.
He is so fresh in my memory that I am almost a little afraid to work on my “in process” custom dolls, but truth be told: I love everything about him. His fat bum and gentle belly. The length of his hands and those little thumbs. His button nose and pout upper lip. Those piercing blue eyes. The smidge of eyebrows. His chubby ears and cute knees. The way he sits and stands, very coy. When you hold him in your hands…you melt in all the places. You can’t stop running your hand over his hair because it’s extremely soft (one of the very important requirements: must have hair that feels real but it has to be very soft).
Perhaps I will make another post sharing details of his clothing (because we have to giggle together at the tie, his undies and that lovely jacket), but for now I just wanted to share him in his full glory. I am still expecting some hair cut and go to bed every night hoping it doesn’t happen. Knowing my daughter, that is very wishful thinking.
Thank you for coming to see more of Yukki. He is about 12 inches tall, so very small. A little boy for a not-so-little girl who plays with her dolls every day.