The Keepsake Dolls of Yolonda Jordan
Crochet World|April 2021
Every crochet designer has a passion. Some are known for their clothing, others specialize in afghans and there are those who are inspired to create accessories. Among doll designers, the crochet world is fortunate to have Yolonda Jordan, who creates wonderful and unusual dolls of color.
Randy Cavaliere

Yolonda is a crochet designer, a self-proclaimed “one-woman show.” Her dolls are small versions of women, men and children with many hues of brown skin tones and natural hair-inspired hairstyles. As she says on her website, www.myprettybrowndoll.com, “I’m a brown girl who loves the skin she’s in, and this is just my small part in making sure that little and not-so-little brown girls see the ‘pretty’ in every shade of brown.”

As an African American woman, her perspective on her design work is different from other designers. “You see pompoms, I see Afro puffs. How I see the stitches and what they could be or what I want them to represent is different. The use of color in general, where someone else might think it’s too bright or too bold for a doll, I know that [an African American] girl will see it and be like, ‘That’s me!’” Her work obviously fills a niche that isn’t always seen in crochet magazines, books or on yarn company websites.

Yolonda is from a military family that lived in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and Germany, but always found its way back to North Carolina where she was born and mostly raised. She now lives there in a small rural town and has a 19-year-old son. She was taught to crochet at age 7 by her great-aunt, who made all the blankets used in Yolonda’s family home. She’s still in awe that one “can take yarn and turn it into a useful, functional thing.” She feels the same pride in her work today as she did when she made her first project, a dishcloth.

Yolonda didn’t set out in life with the intent of crocheting for a living. With a bachelor’s degree in political science, she once wanted to be a lawyer. She’s worked briefly as a lobbyist, and had an interesting 12-year career as a hospice care consultant for nonprofit and for-profit hospice organizations. She remains a huge advocate of hospice care.

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