June 27, 2004: Let's make "Sweater doll" by Hiroko Tanaka
I came up to Asahi Ohirayama public hall in Beppu City, some 15Km to the north of my hometown Oita on Kyushu Island Japan. The rain is pouring down in the midst of the rainy season in Japan. Today, a lecture meeting titled as "Let's make sweater dolls" sponsored by Mokumoku library. The lecturer is Ms. Hiroko Tanaka.
As two branches (Beppu and Oita) of our "Group of Friends" got invitation letters, many members joined the meeting with joy.
The lecturer Hiroko Tanaka and her lovely products.
The doll was born from a voice of her child who said "I want a doll that sits steadily." She decided to create it from long-used sweaters.
The materials were already cut in parts today. We picked them up according to our liking and started to make the doll.
They are the members of Beppu branch.
A pair of grandmother and granddaughter joined from Oita and they sewed up a doll with their whole hearts.
Hands, legs, bodies, heads are put together. The lecturer kindly advised the student the knack of stuffing cotton into the head by saying "Use your fingers to roll up the threaded cotton."
Small Aduki beans were stuffed in the arm and leg. The body was filled with the beans and cotton. The doll is making shape steadily.
Ms. Tanaka creates many kinds of small items using hands. The small amount of felt scrap has turned to a lovely box like this. "This is good for putting thread dust and setting on the table for needle work", she explained.
I was taught how to make lily yarn. A cylindrical muffler was completed by using wasted milk pack and yarn.
After the lunch, our Oita branch members created the dolls. We took a we-were-there-picture with Ms. Tanaka on the left.
Katsuragi, the president of Mokumoku library, made a few words after the lecture. She planned today's meeting by getting hints from the kids' toys introduced in the commemorative lecture meeting held last year. The day-care service helped the mothers to concentrate in making the dolls.

The same paper pattern makes so many different faces like those.
I have had a very good time.
About Hiroko Tanaka
Graduated Jiyu Gakuen in 1958. Then involved in Kids Living Group and junior school education for eight years. She taught fine arts and wrote many books on kid life and handcraft. She continues to writing, lecture, and supporting works. She is the inventor of the Sweater Doll that sits well.
report by Nagano Mieko