The Olive Sparrow Children: Claire

Claire, pretty little Claire is 31 cm tall (12 inches) and was a birthday present for little Maddy a couple of weeks ago. 


Here Claire is keeping company with "Eseli" (german for donkey), a little stuffy that is about 40 years old and belonged to me when I was a little girl growing up in Switzerland (and got as a wee little toddler from St. Nikolaus… grin). There is also "Love-Bunny", Huxley's Christmas gift from Bear Noel (a very sweet Holiday Story). The bunny was purchased from and arrived on the 24th of December, just in time to be wrapped up and placed under the tree. Bear Noel doesn't deliver overnight like Santa, but I had to wrap him up. So many times in the past months I caught myself thinking "Oh, what is that real bunny doing here". I was a bit worried that Huxley at five and a half would be too old to take to the him, but no such fears, he is a favourite and is unbelievably lifelike. 


Here Claire is wearing a pinafore made from fabric that Maddy's mom provided me as memory fabric (generally fabric that the child receiving the doll at one time wore themselves, or that holds other memories that the parents wish to share with the little one). 

The memory fabric wasn't quite large enough for the whole piny, so I put some of the green linen from the pants onto the back of it. There is also another memory fabric used as binding on the sleeves of the linen tunic.  

Could there be anything more fun than ridding a bunny?


Huxley used to go to school with Maddy and I am friends with her mom, so as a little extra, I crochet the booties and the acorn necklace for Claire. On the front of the linen side of the piny I used another memory fabric piece and sewed a large pocket.

On the linen tunic I appliqued three hearts from yet another memory fabric. The easy way working with memory fabric is to have large pieces and make the whole outfit from it, this was more challenging, yet I also really enjoyed finding an appropriate way of incorporating these little itty bitty memories. 


This is a view of the mohair wig from the back. I love the colour and the fuzziness of it. 

Claire's face, sweetly embroidered wit cotton floss. I tend to make the mouth in more than one stitch, as this provides a better security to the stitches. I am worried that just one large stitch could easily get caught on something and putt, hence distorting the face. The star-type eyes I have always loved, as the various angles of the thread tend to catch the light and add a glossy look to the eye. I double the fabric for the head for extra play-strength. 

Claire really made her way into my heart and she was very hard to let go. I have another few babies on the go, but the past couple of weeks had me locked into my other studio (the artwork), as I had to finish eight works to be sent to the Whistler Village Art Gallery in time for the Olympics. Then my old, trusted, much beloved Bernina needed some tender care and had to spend a couple of weeks in the shop. Today I'm getting to pick her up again, so the fun can start anew. 

An etsy shop is also in the works of being set-up. If you are interested in my dolls and would like to receive an advance notice of Olive Sparrow Children ready for adoptions, send me an e-mail at: info at theolivesparow dot com (replacing the at with an @ and the dot with a .) With "Olive Sparrow Children Pre-view" in the subject line. When Olive Sparrow Children are ready, you will receive a private notice with a profile of the doll before she goes up for general sale at Etsy.

Currently I am accepting 1 custom doll per month, as I have so many little Sparrow Children in my head waiting to be created and "delivered". I started to make these sweet creatures as an alternative creative outlet to my dolls, letting me use my textile skills and visions and brining to fruition a dream that I have had in my heart for about twenty years (more about this in a later post).

Each doll is made up of the following materials.

Skin: 100% cotton (Swiss-made to Öko-Tex-Standard 100)
Stuffing 100% “green-processed” wool batt
Hair: 100% Wool, or a Mohair/Wool Blend
Clothing: 100% natural fibres (linen, cotton, silk)
Shoes: Recycled felted wool sweaters, or pure leather
Face: 100% cotton Embroidery Thread

Each doll is created individually by artist Monika Aebischer, the proprietor of The Olive Sparrow. She sources and uses only the highest quality materials in her creations – swiss-made skin fabric, north-eastern-Ontario green processed wool stuffing, her own hand-dyed wool/mohair for the dolls hair.

She uses up-cycled vintage and clothing fabrics, in either pure linen, cotton or silk. Up-cycled fabric is wonderful for doll clothes, as the cloth has been washed soft, gentle and free of textile manufacturing products. Monika also felts used woolen sweaters to use for doll shoes and clothing. She knits the doll’s hats out of prime quality knitting wool. Each seam on the doll’s body is sewn twice to allow your child to fiercely love their Olive Sparrow Child. Clothing is sewn with French seams and some are fully reversible. 

All Olive Sparrow Children’s hair is made from a crochet cap that is sewn to the head, allowing for replacement should it ever become necessary (although most children will object to this, as it changes their doll dramatically). The hair of each doll is made from wool or mohair yarns.   

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