Remember a couple of weeks ago when I was so excited to get this magazine?
Well, I'm even more excited now. You see, dolls like this one have been a family tradition for many years. I think they came from Dad's side of the family, but Mom can correct that if it is wrong. I know that Dad's stepmom in Florida had one in her house when I was a little girl that I loved to play with. On my second birthday I got one as a present and when I opened the box, I exclaimed "Why there's Mary Lou" as though I had been waiting for her all my short life.
Well, recently my nephew (my oldest brother's son) and his wife went to China to adopt a beautiful 20 month old baby girl orphan. They already have a beautiful daughter who is just 8 months older than the new baby and two beautiful sons who are 8 and six years old. These are Mom's first great grandchildren and with two of them being girls, I know Mom would love to carry on the Mary Lou Tradition.
Mom made these three Mary Lou dolls for Girl Far From Home - my oldest daughter. As you can see they are well loved. These are made to be machine washable, but eventually they become too worn and fragile to be washed anymore (see that center one?). As they became too bedraggled, Mom would make a new doll and Girl and I would send Mary Lou to Gramma's hospital to be 'repaired' and she would come back with new skin and the same clothing. Girl never knew (until a few weeks ago) that she was getting a brand new doll and the old one was going into my closet for safe keeping.
Mom also made 'friends' for Mary Lou. The two little ones were called little sisters. They are different sizes and the one with yellow hair and an orange dress was mine when I was a child. The boy was mom's invention and the other girl is wearing a bear sweater I knitted for Girl a million years ago. You can see the girl doll wearing the sweater is a bit worn as well, but since she wasn't the actual Mary Lou, she didn't get dragged literally everywhere the child went, so isn't filthy and worn out.
That Other Girl was a blanket girl. Mom knitted each girl a lovely blanket when they were born and each of them still have (and yes, still use) those blankets. These two Mary Lou's were backups that were never used because That Other Girl pretty much ignored dolls in favor of other stuffed toys and her blanket. Her original Mary Lou is somewhere in this house and still in really good condition. The blanket is not so much because it went everywhere with her and at one point had to have a section reknit when a rabbit chewed a large hole in it. Eventually, when That Other Girl grew pretty large, I had to knit her a new and bigger blanket - she still uses both blankets to this day.
This is the collection of Mary Lou dolls and friends that I could easily find. You can see the three very well worn babies on the right and the brand new ones on the left. Those brand new ones will go to my grandchildren someday, if I'm lucky enough to have any girl grandchildren. Somewhere, deep in the recesses of my closet is my original Mary Lou but her head got eaten by a puppy so I don't really care to find her.
Ok, so now we understand the history. A very kind friend came over yesterday to help me look at my old treadle sewing machine and maybe put a new leather drive band on it. We decided that it really needs to be gone over by a professional so we are waiting on putting the band on. However, being the very nice lady that she is, she brought over this shiny electric model for me to borrow. Then she showed me how to set it up and thread it and make it sew. I need to practice a good bit because while I can do straight pretty well, those dolls have lots and lots of curves. My friend left me some thread and fabric to practice on and helped me sort Mary Lou pattern pieces.
I think I'm going to try to learn to sew so I can make Mary Lou dolls for the next generation of girls.
I think I may have lost my mind.
I wonder how many times I have said "I hate sewing" on this blog or out loud. Maybe that just applies to my knitting?