Friday, October 28, 2016

SweaterDoll in Nepal

Where do SweaterDoll pattern samples go when they overflow in the sewing room?

Once I had a flash sale and sold a few of the dolls, and many are given away, but a whole bunch of them traveled to Nepal with the 108 Lives generosity program this year. 

108 Lives is a giving and service organization that promotes individuals to travel to Nepal to find actual people to help with medical costs and resources, clothing, education costs and access, and, of course, toys for the children.

This is a village called Phulping in one of the least developed districts of Nepal. The population there relies almost entirely on agriculture and live lives of self-reliance within family and community networks. 

There's nothing more gratifying than to see children enjoying play and imagination. Play gives children an opportunity to practice social skills and morays and safely express difficult emotions, such as grief and fear. 

One of my favorite studies on play was conducted by O. Fred Donaldson who wrote Playing By Heart. He had the chance to actually enter wolf environments and learn how they interact socially. He found play was the manner in which cubs learned socialization and social structure. It was highly physical and rough and tumble as you might imagine. 

Fred took this understanding back to children, mostly developmentally challenged, abandoned, or traumatized in some way. His sessions with them was considered therapy by professionals but to him it was just love. The children blossomed when played with - no words, just touch and tumbling and smiles and laughter. 

I had the great fortune to spend a week training with Fred back in the early 90s. It was a game changer. 

Toys made by hand are always such a heartfelt gift. It's a gift of time and love as much as the object itself. 

May you have years of gift-making ahead of you. It's a joy that is experienced in the planning, the making, the giving, and the playing.


  1. What a lovely way to share your handmade toys!! I am sure there will be a lot of joy for these children from having them.

    1. Thank you, Melody. I'm so tickled 108 Lives took the toys on their trip this year. These children have so little commercialism in their lives, but who doesn't love a new toy?

  2. That is just so beautiful, Allison! I've donated plenty of times, but to actually see the sweet faces of the lovely children who appreciate your work and generosity... it must make you feel so happy! :) Lisa

    1. It's really special to see the kids with the toys. Yeah, you don't get to see that much, right?

  3. This was such a lovely idea and I agree with Fred and you. The children will have so much enjoyment from the dolls and everyone is unique, just like each child, making them extra special. Love becomes entwined with the stitching. Playing with children is a form of communication and is so important for child development. It makes me so sad to see mothers in the Western world, pushing toddlers in pushchairs/strollers, and just chatting on their phones or with earbuds in listening to music. They could be chatting to the child or singing to them, pointing out things of interest. It is no wonder that children fall behind in social skills.