Ugly doll 

This little guy started life as a couple of balls of Japanese Noro ‘Silk Mountain‘ yarn. When I saw it on the shelf in the shop (Loop, I think) I was drawn straight to it – it was beautiful: incandescent, multi-faceted, sublime, colours reminiscent of the majesty and beauty of the Scottish Highlands in early autumn. I immediately loved it, bought two balls (as far as the budget would stretch), and couldn’t wait to get it home to turn it in to a beautiful creature.

I worked to my own very basic ‘pattern’ (having made a couple of critters previously in the same unstructured way which had worked well enough) but I hadn’t progressed very far before realising I loved the ‘Silk Mountain’ a whole lot less when knitted up, and that I also found the sensation of knitting with it, of it running through my fingers (knobbly and textured as it is), vaguely unpleasant.

 Noro ‘Silk Mountain’ knitted texture

The embryo of this creature was quickly dubbed “the ugly doll” in my mind, and he sat neglected and forlorn for a very long time, growing only a few rows at a time, the ever-present threat of being ripped and unravelled and turned back into balls hanging dark and heavy over his (as yet to be created) head.

After weeks and weeks I found (by some miracle) that I had completed all of the parts and all he needed to be ‘born’ was a face (and a good stuffing). Having had such a rocky relationship with him from the start I didn’t think too long or hard about his face – I chose some translucent turquoise buttons shot through with a watery grey (from Cloth House in Soho) for his eyes and almost unconsciously embroidered him a line of tears. He’s a sad little fella. I guess I would be sad too if my parents had called me ugly all my life!

Here he is with some chums (not everyone hates him!) – the original ‘prototype’ on the right, and the second in the ‘series’ on the left. (Showing both sides of their schizophrenic personalities).


I should like to clarify that I am in no way disparaging Noro’s ‘Silk Mountain’ yarn. I guess this is more about how ‘making stuff’ will always have unexpected, and sometimes ugly, results regardless of how beautiful or fine the raw materials are. This won’t always be a bad thing…