Monday, May 4, 2009

While Strolling Through the Park One Day, in the Merry Merry Month of May ...

(A popular “Parlor” song from 1884 – see below)
Motif #19 – Edging Used on Victorian Handkerchief Doll, Hat and 3-D Parasol.
(Edging # 8834 from the Tatters Treasure Chest – Dover Publications)

In honor of Month of May, and also Mother’s Day, I’m showing my Victorian ‘handkerchief’ doll, which I created back in 1992, after I saw a McCall’s pattern for making dinner napkins into Victorian dolls

I thought the idea would also work with handkerchiefs which otherwise would be stored out of sight in linen closets

Of course, two handkerchiefs with tatted edging are ideal!

The two handkerchiefs used for the doll can be completely ‘untied’ and used again as handkerchiefs. No sewing or cutting is involved. As I recall, I used size 30 DMC ecru thread for the tatting.

I’m going on memory here, as far as the instructions. The basic idea is to take a Styrofoam cone and cover it with plain fabric, providing an underskirt. A thin dowel rod is stuck into the top of the cone so that the upper body and head are supported

The lower handkerchief (put on first) is draped over the cone, showing off the tatted lace to best advantage.
The upper handkerchief forms the head, sleeves and upper ‘apron’. This particular handkerchief has a simple chain edging, and an appliqué in one corner, which becomes the ‘apron’ of the skirt. The head is formed over some cotton batting, and a ribbon is tied at the neck. She also has a piece of scrap tatting for a ‘collar’. The puffy sleeves also have quilt batting, and the ends are tied in a knot to form ‘hands’. The handkerchief is also tied with a ribbon at the ‘waist’

Here is a the back of the doll. Her hair is ‘tacked’ onto the top of her head with some small stitches. and her hat is a very small doily stiffened into a hat shape, using the same lace edging as that on the lower handkerchief

The parasol is basically rings and chains and is topped with the same lace used on the bottom handkerchief and hat.

I’ll feature the parasol on another post

The basket is from Rebecca Jones’ book, and I’ll also feature it on another post

She’s sure carrying a lot of stuff !!!

Imagine what you could do with all those handkerchiefs stored hidden away. The dolls would make great gifts and wonderful curio keepsakes

Here’s some information about the song

You can check the website to hear this melody and see the lyrics. You might even do a little “soft shoe” tap dance!
Younger folks may not be aware of this quaint 1880’s Victorian parlor song (although the original title was “The Fountain in the Park”) , as that kind of music (sadly) doesn’t seem to be popular anymore. This is one of those ditties which remained a staple in most barbershop quartet repertoires and in family sing-alongs
Because of my interest in Victorian things and in playing music, I find it to be a charming reminder of a more ‘innocent’ time, when “June, croon, tune, honeymoon and spoon” were popular rhyming words

Although the author of the song is listed as “Ed Haley”, further research on the amazing web indicates that the actual writer of the song is a fellow named Robert Keiser (1862-1932) , also known as Robert King. For whatever reason, he wrote music under several different pseudonyms, even using women’s names! Ohio’s theme song “Beautiful Ohio”, was published under the name “Mary Earl” but the writer was actually Robert Keiser/King again. (Go figure!)

I hope you all have a Happy Mother’s Day! Although I’m not a mother myself, I’ve enjoyed my role as “Aunt Kathy” to several nieces and nephews, ranging in age from 48 to 18. However, being an aunt is definitely easier than being a mother! My hat is off to all of you who have children! You deserve to have a special day! I’ll fondly be remembering my own wonderful mother, and other older women in my life who were mentors and friends, especially those who shared my love of needlecrafts.


TattingChic said...

What a lovely doll! I love the edging you've used on the handkerchiefs! It looks like a little styrofoam ball is on top of that cone, too.

So pretty; like everything you do! :)

Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

Oh, the memories! I remember reading about those handkerchief dolls, but never got around to making one. There were lots of dolls I wanted to try making. In fact, stored away in my cedar chest are doll heads for making Little Women dolls. I should probably dig those out!

I love the old songs also. My sister Janet and I used to make up our own little dances to all the old songs. We kept ourselves entertained for hours! Of course, we didn't have all the electronic gadgets, and our t.v. time was severely limited. So, we sang, danced, played board games, and read books! How I miss those carefree days!

Gina said...

I love it! I want to make one!!!!

Carol Lawecki said...

Hi Kathy, The doll is Beautiful! I love the parasol too! Is this your design?

Thanks for the info on the Victorian Song too!

Nice to see you blogging again.

Have a great day!

Kathy Niklewicz said...

Hi everyone!

Thanks for the compliments! The doll has been on the 'show circuit' for the past 17 years and I realized when photographing her that she definitely needs some refreshing! She especially needs a new parasol, but right now household chores and family goings-on are taking precedence over tatting and even blogging.

Tatting Chic – Always enjoy hearing from you! Actually, the doll’s head here is soft, formed with just polyester batting, although a Styrofoam ball is a great idea! I was surprised when I ‘squeezed’ her head and discovered that I didn’t even use a dowel rod but some kind of pliable wire that I pressed into the foam base, then formed into a tight “U” turn and pushed the other end back into the foam. Can’t imagine what kind of wire I used - I’ll find out when I 're-do' her!

I’m hoping to find the pattern booklet (somewhere in the house!) where I got the idea. The dolls created out of dinner napkins were stunning, and much larger.

Diane – Thanks for the comments! Yes, we were less ‘distracted’ in our youth and had more time to daydream and play. I remember spending long hours doing crafts with simple materials such as construction paper, popsicle sticks and potholder looms. (Almost sounds like I grew up in the 1880s instead of the 1950s!) I've watched craft supplies evolve, and now we have the mega-stores, where I am both bedazzled and overwhelmed.

As for music today, I remember a bride-to-be on a Martha Stewart program a few years ago who was ‘amazed’ when she heard some Cole Porter songs for the first time! She wanted something different for her wedding reception and fell in love with songs of the ‘30s and ‘40s! I’m dismayed that the kids today don’t hear the wonderful music of previous decades at all anymore – except, possibly, in school musicals such as those that your own talented daughter works hard to bring about. I was SO impressed with your post (and photos) from her production of “Oklahoma”. Wonderful!

Gina – First of all, I hope your foot is better - not to mention your roof! Thanks so much for visiting! I get lots of compliments on the doll, and I think I’ve inspired some of our show visitors to get their old handkerchiefs out of the drawer – especially those special ones with edgings crocheted or tatted by mothers or grandmothers or aunts - They can even be just framed, with a history (and photo) of the person who created them!

Carol – Thanks for stopping by! Yes, the parasol is my 'design', where I tatted simple rings and chains and added a fancier lace, then used Alene's fabric stiffener and while'damp', put the tatting over a form. Tatting the parasol is easy. It’s adding the handle (a thick wire)that's tricky. Here I’ve stabilized it by putting it through the center of a potpourri bag, then add beads on the ends. I’ll explain it in more detail on another post!

Our teaching session is this Friday, May 8, at Vicary. Hope I see your Mom there!

Tatskool said...

Your doll is delightful and an inspiration.

Sherry aka Celtic Dream Weaver said...

I love your hankerchief doll. She is a true beauty. Thank you for the kind comments you sent to me on my comments at my blog.