When I first heard about Waldorf dolls, and the crucial wool stuffing, I have to admit, I was dubious.
I just was sure that it wouldn’t be as good as modern poly-fill. It must be hard to wash, hard to keep clean, and I just couldn’t see any reason why I would use it. Modern manufacturers of toys don’t use wool stuffing so I needed some convincing.
As you know from my earlier post – what is a Waldorf doll – I initially didn’t make a wool stuffed doll, but every doll since Enid has been wool stuffed.
Now, I would never go back to using poly-fill, so what convinced me of the wonder of wool? Here are my four reasons:
The warmth and cuddliness
Wool is an amazing product, when you wear wool it keeps you warm in Winter and cool in Summer. Used in a doll it retains these properties and absorbs the child’s body heat as they cuddle it – my children interact a lot more with the wool stuffed dolls and I am sure this is one of the main reasons. It also has a more substantial feel than poly-fill, not heavy, but a weight which adds a realness to the doll.
From personal experience with my two daughters, wool stuffed dolls just don’t get as smelly as their polyester stuffed rabbits and teddy bears.
I had a look on the Campaign for Wool website and they say:
Wool is far more efficient than other textiles at absorbing sweat and releasing it into the air, before bacteria has a chance to develop and produce unpleasant body odour.
Our doll’s faces do get grubby as they are played with inside and out but the cotton interlock ‘skin’ surface washes lovely. They age so much better after years of play than plastic dolls which get covered in marks and scuffs.
The natural element
I am someone who does care about the environment; I used reusable nappies; I use natural cleaners in the house; I walk everywhere and try to shop local; as a family we try to eat seasonally and make an effort to connect with the natural world on a regular basis. I’m not perfect by any means, but I am aware of the impact my life has.
Wool is (obviously) a natural product. The wool I use is British so it supports our farmers.It is a renewable product: each year sheep will produce a new fleece. And, if my doll reaches the end of her life the wool can be returned to the soil, where it will rot away, it takes a very short time to break down this way, whereas most synthetics are extremely slow to degrade.
Working with it
As doll maker it is a joy to work with, it is soft and the natural oils in it don’t dry your skin out. It smells divine.
It can be rolled, shaped, needle-felted or wet felted to do your bidding. Unlike poly-fill which is very springy and you need to use a lot to created a smooth firm doll, wool has more weight and you can stuff lightly or more firmly depending on what you want the doll to be like.
Have I convinced you to try a wool stuffed doll? I have dolls to suit all budgets in my etsy store – why not give one a go?