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Crocheting for Dolls

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As a child, I had a natural love of dolls. How about you? One of my fondest memories is the year I was 10 and my grandmother sewed a whole wardrobe of clothes for the Ginny doll that I was about to receive for Christmas from my mother. That year, the Ginny doll was a fixture in many a household, and I still have mine. I treasure each and every outfit made so lovingly by my grandmother from scraps of fabric left from clothes my mother had made for me!

Ginny's history includes being produced by various companies in addition to Vogue, but in 1995, the new Vogue Co. was reunited with the Vogue doll. I also own two of these "new" Ginny dolls, which I bought in resale shops. Over the years, I've enjoyed crocheting clothes for my doll from Ginny patterns; 2012 is the 90th anniversary of the Ginny doll, so I think I'll crochet her a new outfit to celebrate!

In my research on doll collecting, I found an interesting list of the "Ten Myths About Doll Collecting" written by Denise Van Patten on

Here are a few of my favorites:

"1. Myth: All Barbie® dolls with 1966 stamped on their behinds are very valuable.
Most Barbie® dolls with 1966 stamped on their behinds were actually made much later than that, are very common, and aren't worth very much if anything. The '1966' mark refers to the patent date for the doll, not the date of issue. Many millions of dolls made as late as the 1990s and 2000s have 1966 as part of their marks."

I missed the era of Barbie® dolls, but I am very intrigued by the intricate crocheted outfits created by several designers. There are probably more crochet patterns available for the fashion doll, like Barbie®, than any other type of doll pattern. Most of them are challenging thread projects that will thrill any Barbie® aficionado, young or old; many are published by Annie's and can be found here.

"2. Myth: All doll collectors are old, like your favorite eccentric grandma.
People of all ages collect dolls, and some of the biggest collectors are smart, busy career women. Some are teenagers. Some are grandmas and aunts, but they are the type with a passion, and they often travel far and wide and have many interesting and far-flung interests. It's true that many women don't discover doll collecting until their 30s, which is a very common decade to discover collectibles based, at least partially, on playthings of youth."

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These facts describe my collection which is modest. It includes a wooden doll bought by my aunt in Nuremberg, Germany, when she lived there after World War II; an antique doll with porcelain face, hands and feet; and my mother's childhood doll.

"7. Myth: Dolls should be purchased for investment.
Dolls should be purchased to play with, enjoy and love. Don't buy dolls -- especially modern dolls -- to stuff in a closet in boxes as an investment. Many people did that with 1970s Madame Alexander dolls and 1990s Barbie® dolls, and today, those dolls mostly sell at or below retail. Buy what you want to enjoy, look at and take out of the box, and if investment follows, great. However, if you are buying very expensive antique dolls, investment is important and should be part of the equation."

"8. Myth: If it's an old doll, it's valuable.
Many old dolls are not that valuable, especially those that are in poor condition. A doll with a ratty wig, a battered body and no original clothing is generally not worth much unless very old or very rare. And there are many composition, bisque and cloth bodies that are still very plentiful today (or for which demand is not great), and their prices are not high. This can be a boon for collectors who want to collect older dolls on a budget (see above) or those who like to fix up dolls."

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This myth prompted me to remember that the wig on my original Ginny doll became quite disheveled over the years, but I was lucky that my hometown had a doll "hospital." I was able to have the wig replaced, and it is still holding up quite well some 40 years later.

Angel Whitt has such a love of dolls that she opened a shop dedicated to helping other people keep their dolls in repair for years to come. Called Angelic Doll Hospital in Naperville, Ill., Whitt and her staff of doctors can bring back to life dolls and stuffed animals of all kinds. Angel told me that she also has a lot of vintage crocheted doll clothes for sale and she offered the following tip to Talking Crochet readers. "Be very careful when washing vintage doll clothes. Many times the dyes will run. Use a cotton swab and a small amount of water to test the color-fastness before washing."

My daughters were never much interested in dolls, but my interest has continued into my sixth decade. They think I am silly because I bought my own American Girl® doll several years ago! I was quite thrilled when the company began to include crochet fashions for these dolls, and I wanted to crochet my own fashions for her as well. Now that I have a granddaughter, I am awaiting the day when she is old enough to play with my doll and enjoy the dollhouse I have been furnishing for her to play with.