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How to Knit a Comfort Doll or Duduza Doll

Updated on December 2, 2017
Comfort Doll or Duduza Doll is an easy knitting project for charity.
Comfort Doll or Duduza Doll is an easy knitting project for charity. | Source

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

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 the facial features. These dolls can be made out of leftover wool from other projects. I have always been interested in knitting for charities and found many interesting yet easy projects on the internet.

Comfort Doll is made from a knitted rectangle.
Comfort Doll is made from a knitted rectangle. | Source
The Comfort Doll's head is stuffed and centre is sewn up. Then the body is stuffed.
The Comfort Doll's head is stuffed and centre is sewn up. Then the body is stuffed. | Source
The Comfort Doll's feet are made by drawing a string through, stuffing it and sewing it closed.
The Comfort Doll's feet are made by drawing a string through, stuffing it and sewing it closed. | Source

How to Decrease Stitches

How to Sew the Side Seams

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

Steps to Make a Comfort Doll:

Step 1:

Cast on 32 sts

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 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 for 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 needle and sew up cap. Sew up face. Run the gathering thread through the last row of sweater stitches and, after stuffing 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!

Two colour duduza doll or comfort doll is done!
Two colour duduza doll or comfort doll is done! | Source

Duduza or Comfort Doll Project

There are two organizations 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 USA and the UK.

Some groups try and find local charities to donate the 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 | Source

Did you find the videos and pattern inspiring to make a comfort doll yourself?

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    • Sushma Webber profile image
      Author

      Sushma Webber 3 years ago from New Zealand

      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.

    • profile image

      Comfort Doll Project 3 years ago

      hello i found your page while looking for information and maybe you can help me! I notice you are from New Zealand -- I have a lady in NZ who knits these dolls and has been sending them to Canada to an agency that takes them 4 times a year to Africa.. but it is costing her a lot to mail them over.. we are desperately looking for an agency over there who is taking dolls directly.. if you know of anyone we'd love to supply them a few times a year! ALSO i love your video! I am going to add your page link to our website for visual learners to use , its brilliant !! Donna - comfort doll project.com

    • Sushma Webber profile image
      Author

      Sushma Webber 3 years ago from New Zealand

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

    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      ESPeck1919 3 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      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 profile image
      Author

      Sushma Webber 3 years ago from New Zealand

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

    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      ESPeck1919 3 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

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

    • Sushma Webber profile image
      Author

      Sushma Webber 4 years ago from New Zealand

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

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

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

    • Sushma Webber profile image
      Author

      Sushma Webber 4 years ago from New Zealand

      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.

    • Wonder wool profile image

      Priyanka Estambale 4 years ago from United States

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