Sunday, March 3, 2013

Six years on, Nancy Ann and the dolls she inspired


About six years ago, I was smitten by the little doll above.  She is a Nancy Ann Storybook doll.  These dolls were produced from the mid 1930's through the 1950's, and transitioned from all bisque to hard plastic in the 1948 time frame.  The little girl above is a hard plastic Nancy Ann, with move-able head and legs, and sleep eyes.  She is 5 1/2 inches tall, and free standing.







I purchased this book at the time; it is a wonderful reference book for the bisque Nancy Ann doll, and is chock full of pictures, especially comparison shots of the undressed dolls and their dimensions.  A dream book for a dollmaker :-)







The summer of 2007 found me making many, many little crochet cousins of this dear little doll.  I wrote down some rudimentary instructions, dressed them in international costumes, then walked away from them...for six years!


So, this post is more about inspiration than instructions, although I do have instructions for you to make your own little doll, that I call Forget-Me-Knot Kids.

I'm afraid there are no instructions for the outfits above; sometimes it is just fun to sit down with thread and hook and create, without writing down every step of the way.  However, I did record a basic bodice and underwear; every outfit I ever make springs from these simple patterns.

Here is my updated doll, free standing and with a move-able head and leg joints:


And the pattern:  Forget-Me-Knot Kids.

A great source of costume inspiration is Dover Publications.  I used a paper doll sticker book for the International costumes above; I think this book is still in publications.  Paper doll books are inexpensive, colorful, and simply fun :-)


Coming soon: basic clothing patterns.  They can be the start of a creative journey; enjoy the crochet!


29 comments:

  1. This is delightful reading. Those dolls of yours are adorable!

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  2. I remember the Story Book dolls well. I collected them as a child. Mine were the bisque dolls (It was a long time ago), and they were everything a little girl could want. If I remember correctly I had about six or so. I have no idea what happened to them. We were a military family and moved a great deal, and somewhere along the line I suppose they were left behind. I have fond memories, however, of hours of play as I dressed them and fixed their hair for the numerous parties and events I imagined.

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    1. I love your story it make me feel like I was there.

      Carolyn

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  3. A great post, Beth. Thank you for introducing us to this sweet little doll. Up until now, I'd never heard of it. I love the name you have given your crochet version of Forget Me Not Kids. After six years they have tugged at your heart and now we can enjoy them.

    Thanks my friend for the many years of inspiration and delightful patterns.

    Joyce

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  4. How perfectly lovely, the way you were inspired by a doll and a book. Love it! thanks for sharing.

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  5. Joyce and Sue and Yvonne and Pink Hamster, thank you all for your wonderful comments! I love to read about dolls that were special to you, and it really warms my heart that you enjoyed the post, and the doll pattern. Six years ago I really had no one to share my enjoyment of crochet with; now I have wonderful women like yourselves.

    Thank YOU!

    Beth

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  6. Adorable as always! But I don´t see a Swedish girl among the dolls :-)
    Youre dolls are amazing, it makes me so happy to follow your blogg.
    Hope you´r feeling great!

    Jenny

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  7. I can see where you Spirit dolls can from. They are wonderful!

    til next time

    connie

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  8. What a wonderful story. I hope your dolly journey continues on its happy path.

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  9. Just found your website and am amazed and inspired. I can't wait to try my hand at some of your patterns for my little girl (and maybe my big girl too!). Thank you so much!

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  10. What a lovely little doll! I can't wait to start one. But there are so many other projects (dolls). I have to live another century. I enjoy your blog every time. Thank you. Hartelijke groeten, Beerta.

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  11. Thank you so much for your kind words, Jenny, Connie, Eli, Heather, and Beerta :-)

    Beth

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  12. Ooohhhh, she is lovely! But first I must make Bleuette. She is almost done!

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  13. I found this site yesterday while searching for a doll to make for my daughter. She is a mixed-race little girl, half white, half Indian, and I wanted her to have a doll she could dress up in western clothes or Indian outfits. I haven't decided which doll to make yet, but I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for your outfit instructions!

    Sarah

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  14. Oh I came over from facebook from a post of Amigurumi Freely, And I am sooo glad she shared your link, I love dolls, and your creativity is amazing. I'm just blown away with all the talent that I have ran across lately. I will continue to stop in and visit. I look forward to making a few of your little dolls, thank you so much for sharing....Wishing you a wonderful day...

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  15. I'm really looking forward to the clothing patterns. ♥

    Sweet Faery Creations

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  16. these dolls are so cute...I hope you can remember how you made them...and share with us....You are so talented.... ;o)

    love all your work.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. There is a link to the doll pattern in the post, and you can also find the patterns on the left side bar under Forget-Me-Knot kids.

      Beth

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    2. I just read most of the comments here and boy did it bring so much joy to my soul. Such wonderful stories and heartfelt comments. I'm going to sleep really well tonight.

      Carolyn

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  17. Oh wow Beth you out did your self again. This is good stuff really good stuff.

    Carolyn

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    1. Carolyn, thank you so much for all of your good words, and it is good to have you back and posting :-) Take good care,

      Beth

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  18. One more thing...I sure wish you are with us for a very long time.

    Carolyn

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  19. What is the mm size of the hook used for the dolls? a size 2 seems to mean either a B/2(2.75mm) or a 2(2.20mm).

    Does it matter?

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    1. Hi anon; yes, it does matter. I used a size 2 steel hook, which are used for thread crochet, and run smaller than the aluminum or plastic hooks used for yarn. Here is a link to hook sizes: http://www.karpstyles.com/crochet/hook-chart.html

      Based on this, the size 2 steel hook I used for this pattern is a 1.95mm hook.

      Hope this helps,

      Beth

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  20. Beth, I co-ordinate the annual Nancy Ann West Coast Gathering. You should check out our website www.nancyannwcg.com It's a wonderful time with lots of educational programs. -Rebecca

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  21. I do hope I'm not being presumptuous in asking, but I adore this pattern very much. Would you be opposed to someone selling dolls made from a modification of this pattern if proper credit was given?

    Thank you so much.

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    1. I am happy for you to sell dolls made from my patterns. All I ask is that you give me designer credit on your hang tag. Thank you very much for asking :-)

      Enjoy!

      Beth

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  22. Hi Beth. It's joyous to have come across your blog. I knit, crochet, sew, design and pattern devise (in all those areas). And although still a beginner, I love to embroider - which are perfectly culminated in dollmaking. Ive been making dolls and dressing them since childhood and have been fascinated by handmade miniatures almost as long as I can remember. I made my first crochet doll in my teens while I taught myself to wrangle a hook. Its been many decades later that I learned to read crochet patterns. A new skill really and not one Ive mastered yet. So thank you for such an inspirational dolly project that is definitely furthering my pattern reading skills. Im almost done with my Forget-Me-Knot doll. So cute. Im posting about her on my fb page as she comes together. Ive given you credit for the pattern ideas and inspiration. As much as I try, for some reason Ive NEVER been able to stick to any recipe or any pattern, including crochet it seems, so needless to say my little dolly deviates in her making- lots of ripping out and reconstructing fun! You and she are lovely inspirations in my journey. Thank you so much Seren ♡♡♡

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    1. Thank you for your lovely words, Seren! Doll making is all about improvising, and making a doll your own, so not following the pattern, or taking a turn from the main path, is all good :-)

      Happy New Year!

      Beth

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