While I’ve heard of crocheting, I’ve never actually seen any crochet dolls up close. My first experience was when I came across Pocket Yarnlings at the Singapore Toys, Games and Comics Convention (STGCC).
Their booth was intriguing – in a hall filled with many who were selling their digital drawings was a booth that displayed crochet dolls of identifiable characters. Think Justice League, the Disney princesses and Star Wars – I found myself drawn to their booth almost immediately.
The brains behind Pocket Yarnlings is no other than Huipei, who is currently a full-time mother to a 6-month-old baby and a part-time doctor.
To my surprise, it’s her first time having a booth at STGCC. Huipei says that she had a rather positive experience at the convention.
“I had no idea what to expect but the response has been good so far. It’s very fun for me to watch others stand at my booth and spend 5 minutes trying to guess each character. And consequently very heartwarming when they are identified correctly!”
A Means To De-Stress
Huipei first became interested in picking up a portable handicraft skill back in 2015, while she was looking for something to help her de-stress from work.
It was initially a small square piece that she made using cheap yarn from Daiso, and then progressed to a small cotton coaster. She recalls that her tension technique was terrible then.
As with those who invest time and effort into their craft, it’s safe to say that Huipei’s skills have improved since then, along with the variety of materials she’s learnt to handle. These include cotton, acrylic, and combination of both. Now, most of her yarnlings are made from acrylic.
For Huipei, a fun part of crocheting is that there are always new techniques to pick up.
“For my later dolls I started adding a more prominent chest for the females and also started adding in limbs as well. I try to make them seamless – one continuous stitch from head to limbs to body.”
Apart from that, she’s also starting to experiment with various hairstyles. Yet, she adds that there are always new characters to make and new crocheting techniques to learn.
It’s Not As Easy As It Seems
When it comes to the choices for the characters she chooses to crochet, she reveals that they are mostly characters that she likes and are fairly distinctive, making them easily identifiable. There are also others which are suggestions from her family.
For a product that many may mistake as simple, the crocheting process itself is not easy.
“It’s a fair amount of work, whether it’s a big or small piece of work.”
In fact, Huipei reveals that the head, limbs and body have to be made first. This is then followed by the hair, and then any accessories on the body such as bow and arrow, scarf or shield. Once a mistake is made, the whole piece has to be unraveled to the point of the mistake and redone again.
When I press for favourites, it’s no surprise that Huipei is unable to point out a particular one. After all, they are all individually different and handcrafted, which makes each piece unique.
Eventually, she picks Princess Leia as a special piece to her.
“She’s one of the earliest ones I made and very simple – white outfit with beige hands and grey legs but her buns were what made her distinctive. From there I realized characters with iconic features were easier to represent in crochet form.”
To date, one of the challenges that Huipei faces is coming up with the pattern for the piece. She adds, “it’s the toughest and yet the most fun part. Making again a duplicate of the same doll is not quite as stimulating as coming up with a brand new design.”
Despite the difficulties, she takes joy in learning from others. In fact, she occasionally buys patterns to pick up new tricks.
On top of that, she has also invested in a few books to hone her skill, although she admits that she has to adapt them to the dolls because the size is different. She also makes sure to pick very specific shapes to fit the yarnlings.
At the moment, Huipei’s future plans include going to STGCC next year.
“I’m a huge Comic-Con fan, I previously went to New York comic con and it was an amazing experience. I hope to be able to bring my family there some day and also have a booth there to see the response internationally!”
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