These Guatemalan-inspired agony aunts can help you stress less
According to Mayan legend, the dolls were first made by two children when they were worried about their family’s future. Using twigs and scraps of cloth, the children fashioned the little figurines. Before going to bed, they asked them for help, then placed them under their pillows. The next morning, when they awoke, the dolls were laid out in a circle on the table. The children believed this was a sign that the dolls were magical as they had managed to sleep without fretting!
• Long pipe cleaners/chenille stems
• Dk yarn, cream
• Embroidery floss
• Cotton fabric scraps
• Small trims, beads and button
1 Fold a pipe cleaner in half and use pliers to cut it into two equal pieces. Bend one piece in half around your finger and twist to make a head ring. Bend the other in half around the neck of the first, twist the ends on either side to make shoulders and arms from the shorter lengths. Twist a ring into the longer ends to make a body and legs.
2 Stuff a little cotton wool into the head ring and wrap yarn around it from top to bottom several times, passing it through the body ring. Wrap the yarn around the neck before winding around the head to build up the face.
3 Stuff cotton wool into the body and secure with a couple of wraps of yarn. Take it around one arm to the very end of the pipe cleaner. Bend the last 5mm of the wire over to hold the fibre in place and wind back to the shoulder. Repeat for the other arm and legs, fastening the yarn around the hips once the body is completed.
4 Use three strands of embroidery floss to stitch eyes and a mouth onto the face of the doll, securing the thread at the back of the head. Stitch several lengths of yarn down the centre parting of the head and plait to make hair. Alternatively, simply stitch and fringe with embroidery floss and cover the back of the head with a hemmed triangle of fabric to make a headscarf.
5 Make skirts and tops from hemmed wraps of fabric stitched into position around the waist, torso and arms. Add tiny ric rac trim and buttons to hide seams. You can stitch rings of glass seed beads around the neck and wrists to make jewellery.
Make your worry dolls more personal by matching colours and clothing style to the recipient, or create yourself in miniature so they’ve always got you to talk to!