February 1, 2012


Say hello to Sockbert.

Hello, Sockbert

Made when I was perhaps little more than a wee weirdo-in-the-making, Sockbert was perhaps one of my very earliest (and creepiest) attempts at doll-making. Looking back, I feel like I should probably walk into a Doll Collectors Anonymous meeting and just admit that I have a doll problem.

Once, this problem reached the point that I was desperately looking for ways to get my doll fix. That meant figuring out how to make my own dolls, never mind that I was then too young and uncoordinated (read: stupid) for the task.

For a good number of upper-middle-class Filipino youths within the last few decades, the Childcraft books have been an indispensable part of many a household. Or at least that's the impression I got from reading Luis Katigbak's fun essay anthology The King of Nothing To Do.

Volume 14 Make and Do was all about kid-friendly arts and crafts.Naturally, there were more than a few doll ideas in it, but only two patterns fully satisfied Kid Me's criteria of proper doll cuddliness. Option 1 involved futzing about with fancy cloth, cutting it into neat animal shapes and then sewing it up all nice and smooth. That was right out, so I was left with Option 2.

A good chunk of Sockbert's existence can be directly attributed to my early years spent in a Catholic girls' school. For his body I used an old white sock either I or my sister outgrew. My meager sewing skills, I got from the Home Ec classes I only half-heartedly paid attention to in Grade... 4? 6? I forget, all I knew was that back then I could easily name the various parts of a sewing machine. Like a boss.

Other items I used include an old piece of Christmas ribbon, a couple of old buttons from Mom's stash, and (curiously) a blue ballpoint pen.

Of course, Kid Me still had much to learn about the art of doll-making. For instance, since felt was unavailable near-unheard-of in our home and I knew nothing about making doll limbs, Sockbert was left to lead a sad existence of ill-defined blobdom. I also thought that anything soft and plentiful could suffice as toy stuffing, so Sockbert's insides were made of cut-up bits of leftover sock, tissue paper and dried munggo seeds. (I was going for the Beanie Baby vibe.) 

Look at those beady little eyes. I'm not quite convinced this was what Neil Gaiman had in mind when he conceptualized Coraline. (Though I may be underestimating Neil Gaiman in this regard.)

Here you can see the somewhat shoddy sewing job Kid Me did on the heel, which has now become Sockbert's tush.

And here you can still make out some of the knitted detail on the original so--wait a second. Where have I seen that design before?

Butterfly Drop Motif (it's a knitter thing)
(Taken from Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns)

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