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How to Knit a Comfort Doll or Duduza Doll

Sushma is very interested in completing knitting projects for charity, including these duduza dolls.

A comfort doll or duduza doll is an easy knitting project for charity.

A comfort doll or duduza doll is an easy knitting project for charity.

Use Your Knitting Skills to Help Children in Need by Making Duduza Dolls

The duduza or comfort doll is an easy knitting project which can be taken up by both beginners and advanced knitters. The word 'duduza' means 'comfort' in Swahili, and to begin with, these dolls were given to HIV/AIDS-affected children in Africa.

These dolls have reached children in many different countries in the last few years. The duduza dolls are made by people all over the world through their knitting groups, church groups, prayer groups, charities and as individuals.

How I Began Knitting for Charity

I have always been interested in knitting for charities and found many interesting yet easy projects on the internet. I first came across the duduza or comfort doll project when I was searching for a simple knitted doll pattern to improve my knitting skills. I was looking for something that I could finish in a day or two.

The duduza doll takes from 4–6 hours to make, including the sewing and defining of the facial features. These dolls can be made out of leftover wool from other projects.

Two-Colour Duduza (Comfort) Doll Knitting Pattern

The duduza doll can be made with just two different colours if you don't have a variety of colours available. To begin with, decide what colour face you would like to make for the doll and start with that colour for the feet. I downloaded the free pattern but made a few changes. Below is the pattern I followed, using stocking stitch throughout:

Materials Required

  • Wool: 4-ply wool, any two colours
  • Knitting Needles: 4 mm needles or above (USA size)
  • Stuffing: any washable material
  • Tapestry Needle: to sew the sides and facial features

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Cast on 32 sts and make the following components:

  • Feet: Knit 4 Rows in stocking stitch (Knit 1 row and Purl 1 row). Leave 15 cm of wool to later gather for feet when completing the doll.
  • Trousers: Change colour. Knit 16 rows in stocking stitch.
  • Belt (if you are using more than two colours): Change colour. Knit 2 rows.
  • Sweater: Change colour. Knit 14 rows. You can use the two colours alternately every two rows to make a striped sweater. Decrease four sts evenly across the last row. Leave 15 cm of wool to later gather the neck when completing the doll.
  • Face: Change colour (the one you used for the feet). Knit 10 rows.
  • Cap: Change colour of the hat. Knit 2 rows. Decrease as follows:
  • Row 1: (Knit 4, k 2 tog) x 4, knit 4 (24 sts). Alternate rows: Purl.
  • Row 3: (Knit 3, K 2 tog) x 4, knit 4 (20 sts)
  • Row 5: (Knit 2, k 2 tog) x 4, knit 4 (16 sts)
  • Row 7: (Knit 1, k 2 tog) x 4, knit 4 (12 sts)
  • Row 8: (Purl 2 tog) across row

Step 2: Thread remaining sts onto the needle and sew up cap. Sew up face. Run the gathering thread through the last row of sweater stitches and, after stuffing the head, pull up tightly for neck, finishing off securely.

Step 3: Sew up centre back. Run the gathering thread through last row of feet. Stuff body and pull up gathering thread tightly, finishing off well.

Step 4: Complete feet by sewing up centre seam through both thickness of knitting, i.e., dividing feet, which are stuffed individually. Fold foot across cast on edge at right angles to body and sew up. Finish off other foot in same way.

Step 5: Define legs by sewing through all thicknesses from feet towards belt, finishing off 2 rows from belt. Define arms in same way starting 2 rows from neck.

Step 6: Embroider face as desired to give your doll character.

Your duduza or comfort doll is ready!

Doll Pattern for Sewing

If you prefer to sew rather than knit, here is a free pattern for sewn comfort dolls.

Organizations Involved in the Duduza or Comfort Doll Project

Here is an organization that can be helped by the duduza doll project:

  • CINDI: Children in Distress Network in South Africa: CINDI members use comfort dolls in their therapeutic work with bereaved children, and some give them to HIV-positive children. They receive dolls from all over the USA and the UK.

Some groups try and find local charities to donate comfort dolls. Getting together to help those children who might never have had a doll of their own or ever received a gift in their life is a reward in itself.

Duduza Doll made by a fellow Hubber ESPeck1919

Duduza Doll made by a fellow Hubber ESPeck1919


Sushma Webber (author) from New Zealand on October 27, 2014:

Hi Donna, sorry for the late reply. I am not sure of any agency here in NZ which accepts dolls. I will keep a look out. Keep up the good work and thanks for your feedback on my article and video. Hope other knitters will find it helpful.

Sushma Webber (author) from New Zealand on March 16, 2014:

Hi ESPeck1919, how wonderful you tried to make a duduza doll and succeeded. I have sent you Fan Mail :)

Emilie S Peck from Minneapolis, MN on March 16, 2014:

Lot long at all, and the result is so cute, even if mine ended up a little on the awkward side. ;)

These are very snuggly little dolls.

Sushma Webber (author) from New Zealand on March 15, 2014:

Thanks ESPeck1919. I really enjoyed making the Duduza doll. Doesn't take loong to make it.

Emilie S Peck from Minneapolis, MN on March 12, 2014:

This is so sweet! I've bookmarked this to try out later. What a wonderful idea. :) Voted up!

Sushma Webber (author) from New Zealand on April 10, 2013:

Thanks BlossomSB. I too thought it was a good idea to make this doll.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on April 10, 2013:

What a great idea. So simple to knit and helping others at the same time. Voted up.

Sushma Webber (author) from New Zealand on April 08, 2013:

Thanks Wonder wool. I have been learning how to knit since last year and have made a few projects. I learned how to knit from youtube! So it is possible. I think I need to knit a few more comfort dolls to perfect it.

Priyanka Estambale from United States on April 08, 2013:

Cute Doll! Wish my knitting skills were as developed as I dream them to be. thanks for sharing :)