Friday, 4 March 2011

My first dollies - Dolly Day Friday

As it's Friday I'm joining Jenny at Little Jenny Wren with my post for her 'Dolly Day Friday'.

Whenever I see this picture I'm reminded of my first sweet dollies. Just look at those cheeky little faces with googly eyes. My Mum loved images like this and so, as soon as I was born she made me two googly eyed cuties named Mary-Lou and Belinda Blue-eyes.

Below is the two year old me washing my dolls' clothes. Sadly these photos that Mum took with her ancient camera are the only reminders I have of Mary Lou (on the lawn under the clothes line) and Belinda Blue-eyes (in my wheel-barrow).


Much to my distress these two little sweethearts were not completely play proof as they had celluloid mask faces. By the time I was four Mary-Lou and Belinda Blue-eyes no longer had their cute googly expressions as their brittle masks had all but disappeared. Needless to say I was heartbroken.

When I was young, mask face dolls were cheap and easy to make; you simply stitched the celluloid mask to the rag doll's head, but of course it soon cracked and broke away.

When I sorted through Mum's bits and pieces I discovered this googly mask that had never been used. It's a typical example and you can see how fragile it is. 

I also remember having one of these little celluloid 'Diddums' dolls which was handed down by an older cousin. After a while it sadly cracked and broke.

Googly eye dolls were first introduced in the early 1900s and grew in popularity over the next few decades.

In 1904 the artist Grace Drayton created the well known googly Campbell Kids. Now, 100 years on, this book entitled 'Campbell Kids - A Souper Century' has been published to chart the Kids progress through the decades. 

When Grace Drayton left Cambells she went on to create the ever popular Dolly Dingle images and several other cheeky looking characters.

These googly eyed characters were part of my mum's childhood, as was Betty Boop who was first introduced in the mid 1930s.

And so it's hardly surprising that googly eye dolls were favoured when Mum had her first child

I know there are many dolly lovers who aren't very fond of googly dolls but for obvious reasons I find them very appealing and luckily so does my daughter. When she was little her Granny took her into a shop and invited her to choose a dolly from a huge selection. What a dilemma that could have been for one so young.

However, with no prompting or persuasion, a favourite was quickly chosen. It was the little googly doll above that topped my daughter's list and of course Granny was thrilled with her grand-daughter's choice!!

Over the weekend I hope to continue knitting my latest dolly but it won't have googly eyes!

I'm often asked if I will knit dolls for other people and so far have declined as there never seem to be enough hours in a day. To be honest, I can't imagine anyone wanting to buy one of my little people but I've decided to make one or two to discover if there is a market for them.

I'm not planning to make anything fancy or unusual, just ordinary little dollies, similar to the ones you often see in my blog posts. Here is the first one, she's progresing well and should be available some time next week.

I hope you have an enjoyable weekend, wherever you are, and however you choose to spend your time.