All dolled up

Unique Hobbies

All dolled up

For most people, a hobby is the best way to destress and channel their creativity. Usha G Rao, who makes dolls out of knitting and crochet work from woollen threads, says that this hobby has made her a favourite among her family and friends.

Ask her what got her interested in this hobby and she says, “I was in North India for a while and a lot of people knit over there. I learnt how to make a doll from a lady there a while back. But I thought of doing it myself only a year ago and that’s what triggered my hobby,” she says. “This hobby has kept me gratified. I have knit a lot of animals and birds,” she says excitedly.

Though Usha made her first doll when she was in the tenth standard, she discontinued the hobby and got back to it just recently. “The first doll I made back then has been my most memorable one. It was of a parrot,” she recalls.

Last year, when she got back to the hobby, the first doll she created was that of a teddy bear. Ask her about it and she says, “The dolls are small in size, just about four to five inches long. Made out of woollen threads, they are in different colours.” Usha’s collection consists of animals like rabbit, monkey, elephant, camel, giraffe, teddy bear, puppies and also birds like parrots and penguins.

When an idea or theme comes to her mind, she is able to work on it and finish it within a day or do. “For example, I can make a bird in a day. I make all the dolls out of my imagination. My family members often suggest different colours and combinations that I can work with too,” she says. “I use beads for small detailing and work on these dolls. Most of them are made entirely out of wool,” she adds.

She buys the woollen threads from Raja Market. She says, “I like working with all colours that are available like pink, red, black, yellow, purple, green, orange and lemon yellow.”  
To give these dolls a firm shape, she stuffs them with cotton. “I make the shape and fill it with cotton. Each of them takes its own time to make. The detailing on each item varies accordingly,” explains Usha.

She adds that since crochet work consists of different shapes, she usually starts making the face, then moves on to make the rest of the body like hands and legs. She then stuffs the dolls.

Usha uses both needle and crochet work on these dolls to make them special. Her collection comprises of almost 40 dolls. “I have almost all of them with me. I give away some of them away to children as birthday gifts,” says Usha. She adds that she has spread out her collection in a showcase in the drawing room of her house.

“This keeps it safe and away from dust. The glass on the showcase helps keep the dolls clean and thus I don’t have to do anything special,” she says. Usha has always got positive and encouraging comments from the people around her.

“When people see the collection, they are in awe. They all want to know what the specifics of each dolls is, what the material is, how I got the different shapes etc,” she explains.

She doesn’t mind letting children play with her collection. “I do let guests touch them and play with some of them, especially the teddy bears. These dolls are washable,” she sums up.

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