Knitted Dolls


allpics s

I’ve been making dolls from my knitted swatches for awhile.  I finished my sixth one last week.  The one pictured above was completed several years ago, but I like the multiple view photo layout my daughter did for me.

eye idol 1s

The original inspiration for these dolls came from eye idols.  Hundreds were found in the Eye Temple in Tell Brak, located in northeastern Syria.  Dated at 3000 BC, they were thought to be offerings to the gods.  The eye is a magical and religious symbol in many cultures:  a window to the soul, a gateway to awakening, offering both protection and enlightenment.

eye doll 1s

The first knitted doll I did was simple, like the eye idols.

peruvian doll s

Another inspiration comes from Peruvian fiber dolls.  The ancient ones were found in graves, and seem to have been created specifically for each burial.  Modern textile artists in the Andes have used ancient textile fragments to recreate dolls in the old style for sale.  I was lucky enough to purchase one in a thrift shop, although at the time I had no idea of its connection to history.

magician front s

I’ve called the doll I finished last week Magician.  It took me a lot longer than I anticipated because I decided the hair and head covering needed beads and sequins.  Lots of beads and sequins.  I like the effect, although it makes the doll a little top-heavy.

magician back s

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel

9 responses to “Knitted Dolls”

  1. memadtwo says :

    What a great post. The Magician looks like a very magical doll indeed. You know how I love the bling, so I’m glad he got the bead and sequin treatment! Keep up the good work!


  2. Dionysus Amber says :

    I so wish I had your skill and could knit! But unfortunately I always drop too many stiched. Your creations here are wonderful.


  3. Ann says :

    These are beautiful! The beadwork on the Magician is gorgeous!


  4. Marcy Erb says :

    The dolls are fantastic – I love the idea of repurposing the knitting swatches. They reminded me of miniature Nick Cave Sound Suits! (


    • memadtwo says :

      I love Nick Cave! I reviewed a book about him on goodreads: He’s had an interesting life.
      Which makes me think I should do a post about him one of these days. There was also a soundsuit in the Brooklyn Museum the last time I visited. I’ve seen videos of them in motion, but would love to see them performing in person. I feel my embroidered dolls also owe a huge debt to his work.

      I meant to tell you I especially loved that 3-D work you did, the Professor’s Thoughts. Should be like a Joseph Cornell Box, mounted in a deep frame.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marcy Erb says :

        The first exhibit I saw upon moving to Boston was a Nick Cave retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art. They’d had a couple of performances with one of the suits, but I’d missed those – I completely agree with you, it would be amazing to see them in performance.

        Thank you! A deep frame is a good idea – one of my motivations for the arrangement of the paper was for the shadows it cast and a box would capture that.


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