Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Amigurami Irish Dance Doll: Jigs, Slip Jigs, and Slip Stitches

Crochet is not my first language.  Nevertheless, needing an outlet for some excess time and creative energy sent me reaching for my hook.  One of my sons is a Irish Dancer.  For years I drove him to lessons, to feises (competitions), and more recently even on international trips for bigger challenges at major competitions.  This past summer, adolescence, an enormous growth spurt, and repetitive stress-related injury combined in a perfect storm of misfortune, resulting in my son electing to stop dancing.  At the time he stopped, it was unclear whether he would quit forever, or take a break.  What WAS clear was that we both suddenly found ourselves with an immense amount of newly discovered time on our hands.  Afternoons, nights, and weekends which had previously been booked solid with dance commitments were now wide swaths of emptiness and stress about the future.

Not unlike 2009, when I found myself knitting an oversized ear because I was trying to pass time whilst my eldest son was undergoing surgery on that important sense organ (you can read all about it HERE)... I once again found my myself perseverating on dance... and a resultant dance-related project on which I could focus... occupying my hands and and stilling my mind.

This doll was the happy result of that uncertain period in our recent history.  I elected to make a female dancer because the costumes are more distinctive than the boys'... and I was intrigued by the prospect of making the characteristic oversized curly wigs worn by female Irish Dancers.  I began with the yarnpaint's wonderful Jane Austen Inspired Regency Doll pattern (available on Ravelry HERE).  I altered the pattern considerably... shortening the dress length (making the sides longer than the mid front/back so as to create the flat appearance of Irish Dance costumes), adding long sleeves, a cape, and ghillies.  The hair was great fun.  I used metal chopsticks as my form and (as per instructions) wrapped yard-long lengths of acrylic yarn tightly around them, wetted them with water, and then dried them in the oven for an hour at 200 degrees.

The end result of my labor was this talisman... a lovely doll which will be raffled off at the Dance School's benefit ceilli ... AND a son who has resumed dancing.