Copyright: All artwork/content protected under ©2007-2011 Lynne Ciacco

All content herein copyright © Lynne Ciacco

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Doll For Christmas

When I was a little girl, I always got a new doll for Christmas.  A few that I remember are a Betsy-Wetsy baby doll that would wet her cloth diaper, a bride doll with a lace dress, a glamour doll with a tight perm  and removable high heels, and a 3-foot "walking" doll that could sort of be made to stiffly move her legs if you wobbled her from side to side, giving her the gait of a sailor on shore leave just exiting a pub.  The last doll I got, when I was 16 (by special request) was a beatnik doll that I named Suzuki Beane, after a story I'd read with a heroine of the same name.   I still have her stashed away in one of my trunks but the others are long gone.(Click on image at right for a 1-minute synopsis of the book. *Note: Suzuki is a beatnik and not a hipster, as the hipster reviewer claims she is!)

For a time, I was making and selling cloth dolls.   I thought I'd share two here that evoke thoughts of Christmases past.

Bianca, Dressed up for a Christmas Outing

Here's a little girl all dressed up in new Christmas finery, including handknit items made by her doting mother.  She's eagerly anticipating going to the theatre to watch the local ballet school's production of  The Nutcracker...

Pretty in Pink, Baby Ballerina
(all she wants for Christmas are her two front teeth)

featuring her very best friend dancing the part of a sugar plum fairy.

I remember my grandparents took my little sister and me to see The Nutcracker one year and my sister fell sound asleep about half way through. 

Do you remember any favourite Christmas gifts?

(P.S.  All knit clothes on the dolls were embellished by me but hand knit by my own doting mother.)



  1. How sweet! I'd recognize those faces anywhere. The younger sisters, daughters, and nieces of the Maxim Ladies. I love it. And what a lovely mother/daughter project. They reflect the beauty of femininity that we are so in need of enhancing in this world. You are so gifted in communicating these values. Warmest Wishes for your Holiday Season!

  2. I just love this post. First of all how did i ever overlook the beatnik book. I must find it. wonderful.

    your dolls are beautiful. I have made dolls in the past too but not nearly as lovely as these. the clothes add so much too, and the fact that your mom knit them for you and the dolls.

    May your holiday be bright and filled with laughter and love, Suki or should I change that to Suzuki??

  3. A happy memory for me knitting costumes for your little army of wistful dolls. The mini-glamour ones, the tiny angels, the Santas, the "little girl" ones. I had so much fun waiting to see what the finished creations would look like and was never disappointed, always delighted.

    Thankful you said "doting" instead of "dotty" mother.

  4. Do you remember the first Santa you made? We entered him in the Pac. Ntl. Exhib. that year and he won Second Prize. Later, at a Craft Fair, you sold him to a lady who said he should have won and she happily took him home.

  5. Stickup Artist,
    I guess I do have a recognizable style, in spite of expressing it in many different forms. That's good to know. And it's very perceptive of you to recognize it so quickly. It's your own artist's eye at work. Perceptive, discerning.

    "Reinforcing the beauty of femininity"...a worthwhile concept that I hadn't consciously considered, so it is a gift to learn that I am communicating these values. Thank you! Best wishes to you and the Sergeant (?) for a wonderful holiday season full of treats and love.

  6. su(zu)ki poet,
    I understand that this book has become difficult to find and expensive to obtain. I don't remember if I had my own copy, or if it was a library book, but I do wish i had it now.

    I'm so happy that you enjoyed this posting. I wonder if you have any of the dolls you made? I taught myself to make dolls, first sewing everything by hand. Eventually I bought a sewing machine and conquered my fear of it, and things progressed a lot more quickly, if not exactly more smoothly. a comeback at some point.

    I think with your collection of berets, it would not be out of place for you to change your name to suzuki!

    I wish you a Christmas full of lovely moments and self-indulgences and shared merriment.

  7. Shirl,
    Those little party girl and glamour girl outfits you knit, complete with hats, were absolutely delightful! Proof in the pudding is the fact that they sold. No two alike. Just as delightful for me to receive the little dresses from you as for you to see the finished product. If you hadn't sent me the white coat and hat set, or the ballet ensemble, I never would have thought to make the two dolls shown here. So, thanks!

    Maybe we should make a book, complete with patterns! Good way for knitters to use up all those special leftover bits of yarn in their stashes. Hmmm....


    I had forgotten all about that Santa! I believe it was one of your first knit Santa robes as well, wasn't it? I hope he's still bringing pleasure to the lady's family and hasn't wound up in a bin at the Sally Ann! I had such a good time doing those craft fairs with you that Christmas. We definitely had a good thing going. We coulda been contendahs!

  8. I have gone on line and searched for the book. Yes, a not so good copy is $40. But the prices leap from there to $150 and up. Guess I wont get to read the book unless some library somewhere has a forgotten copy.

    The dolls i made were not nearly as lovely as yours. I too hand sewed them. They were made to represent various friends in either their careers (I made one for my homeopath with little envelopes such as they put the remedies into) or areas of interest. Blessings, Sukisuzuki

  9. Wow - what amazing work. I do remeber being very exciting to receive one of those stiff walking dolls.

    Have a wonderful Christmas xxxx

  10. Sukisuzuki,
    There is a site where you can read the book online:

    It's a bit slow to load each page, and there are 95 pages, so it's rather an exercise in patience, but you could at least get a taste of the book.

    How generous of you to have made such personal dolls for your friends. Labours of love are the best!

  11. Lulu,
    Oh, I'm chuffed that you like these dolls! That's sweet that you were excited to get a walking doll, too. I think, in the end, she proved a little disappointing...but there was always next year, with its new marketing ploy.

    Bestest of merry making Christmases, to you! xoxo

  12. Your doll making is exquisite! LOVE the gap toothed one! They are just incredible- I do love dolls- all sorts- failed to ever out grow them- I have a cnina hutch full of them but they freak everyone else out so there they must stay...
    Happy Holiday to you!

  13. Linda Sue,
    A china hutch full of dolls sounds delightful, not freaky. I must admit that I have a few cupboards full of wee dolls that I picked up at flea markets and second hand shops. They're all a bit tatty but that just adds to their charms.

  14. I seem to remember this Suzuki Beane book from somewhere in my childhood- very cool that you named a doll after her. Do you remember Mrs. Beasley from the Family Affair TV show? My brother-in-law gave my sister-in-law an old Mrs. Beasley doll for Christmas, still in the original box! Wow, I think I've wandered off the track here. Your dolls are great; I can't imagine how much work it would be to make one.

  15. Sharmon,
    I don't think I saw that TV series, oddly enough, though the name Mrs. Beasley rings a faint bell...rather like Suzuki Beane for you. You're right, doll-making is a time-consuming, labour-intensive process and I'm not great at sewing so it's a real labour of love...that I seem to have gotten over (correct English: from which I seem to have recovered). However, I suspect there are a few more dolls in me waiting to get out.