The Dolly Project









By Barb Drew

As many of you may remember from our Pieces event last March (2015), we tried our hand at “Yarn Bombing” . This was made possible because many individuals answered the call for 24 square inch textile submissions.  These squares were used to make the banners that hung in the parking lot,  and to decorate the entrance to the Florence Filberg Centre.



Not only did we receive these amazing textile creations but others donated yarn to be used for the event.  It was our promise to all those who submitted a square and to those attending the day-long celebration of textiles, that we would repurpose all the materials used for the yarn bombing.


This was easily accomplished with most of the yarn because a request came from school knitting programs for yarn donations. Jen Emslie from Uptown Yarns in downtown Courtenay agreed to be the conduit. We dropped off the yarn, she got it to the schools.


This left us with just the finer yarns.  The schools did not want these because, fair enough, it is more difficult to learn to knit or crochet with thin yarn.  What to do?


It so happened that a friend, Patricia Foster, just back from volunteering in Guatemala,  described a possible use for some knitted dolls.  Patricia, a retired nurse, had been with Project Ix-Canaan  in northern Guatemala. id=2

Part of this project, started by Canadian Anne Lossing in 1995 and located in the small town of El Remate, includes a health and dental clinic staffed by two local assistants and visiting health care professionals.

In Patricia’s own words;

“Last year I was privileged to volunteer there ( thanks to a Calgary physician who introduced me to the project) and saw many young children. Toddlers were often fearful of seeing a “foreign stranger who spoke poor Spanish” and I would try to make small toys as token gifts ( e.g. Dry corn seed in a screw top container to make a rattle, or share an orange or take them to the children’s library). They seemed to gravitate to the small and battered teddy bear that lived in the clinic….. I would sometimes put a bandage on the teddy to show what I might need to do for their skin problem. It seemed to ease their fears; one 3 year old child in particular had extensive skin infection secondary to scratching mosquito bites and her 6 year old sister comforted her with the bandaged teddy as I cleaned and dressed the wounds. The teddy became the safe companion over the next 2 weeks that I treated her. The idea for the dolly project began to form and I brought it back to my knitting community. ”


When Patricia returned to Guatemala last fall (2015) she took 25 dollies with her.  Here’s some of “the kids” ready for the trip south.


The dollies were great fun to knit, very easy, and will hopefully put a smile on someone’s face or at the very least, make a difficult situation just a little bit better.


Marvin, one of the clinic staff, with the new owner of a dolly.





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