How to Knit a Comfort Doll or Duduza Doll
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.
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:
- 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:
Cast on 32 sts
- 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.
- Change colour
- Knit 16 rows in stocking stitch
Belt: (if you are using more than two colours)
- Change colour
- Knit 2 rows
- 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.
- Change colour (the one you used for the feet)
- Knit 10 rows
- 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
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.
Sew up centre back. Run the gathering thread through last row of feet. Stuff body and pull up gathering thread tightly, finishing off well.
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.
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.
Embroider face as desired to give your doll character.
Your duduza or comfort doll is ready!
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.
- CHABHA – Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa having offices in USA and Rwanda in Central Africa: CHABHA supports three associations of children and a vocational training program in Rwanda and one association of children in Burundi.
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.
Did you find the videos and pattern inspiring to make a comfort doll yourself?
Duduza Doll Projects Around the World
- Dolly Donations: Duduza (Comfort)
Sarah's mission is to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, especially orphaned children around the world ....... to provide them with a source of comfort ...... to send them love, one dolly at a time!
- Twisted Blog Archive: Duduza Doll Project
Welcome to Twisted - your local yarn shop located in Portland, OR. Specializing in indie dyers, sock yarn, local products, natural fibers, and hand-dyed yarns. Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Imperial Stock Ranch, The Plucky Knitter, Hazel Knits, ...