...and in the beginning there was...DOLLS!

…that was a chuckle!

Yes, I have been making dolls ever since I stumbled across this awesome website 15 years ago. The wonderful dolls and easy-to-follow patterns hooked me. That website belonged to none other than world renown Jean Greenhowe. And I will always love that fabulous woman for teaching me how to make dolls. All pics below are the dolls I made, thanks to Jean! :heart:

The first doll I “ever” made was “Jamima Jane” from of course, Jean Greenhowe’s pattern. AND, I did not deviate one iota from her pattern…probably because I didn’t know how at the time. Making her dolls also taught me to love dolls, again, because knitted dolls are huggable little creaures like none other. And yes, I certainly got my share of those! They are so soft that it seems like they just melt in your arms. Kids and ME go crazy for them! Jamima Jane was a big doll at 27." I made her a few times and gave her as gifts.

Jamima Jane - 27"

Then I fell in love with Jean’s clowns in her booklet, “Tradesmen CLOWNS”…also big dolls at 29"

The first of these that I made was “The Carpenter” with his hammer, saw, watch, pencils and coffee cup balanced on top of his head. Aaaah, a clown after my own heart!!

The Carpenter 29"

The 2nd one I did was The Chef" with a string of sausages wrapped around his neck, a strawberry tart in one hand and a peeled banana in the other. On top of his is a delicious looking ice cream sundae and a carrot is tucked neatly in his apron. He was my favorite!!!

The Chef - 29"

Then I did “The Golfer.” He had a booklet all to himself because he came with “extras.” And was a lot of work. He is holding one golf club while the rest are held in his golf cart. All golf clubs have a protective sock covering them and each sock is has an animal’s head, chicken, duck, cow…etc. He is wearing a scarf and a derby with a pin that says, “I Luv Golf.” His initial “L” (stands for Larry) is on his chest. He is about the same size as the other clowns.

The Golfer

…and here they are, together. I MISS you, guys!! :pensive:

The next doll was “Little Elsie.” She was 21." She has her toys (all knitted): her wooden pony, jump rope, skates and yo yo. I added a tiny teddy bear of my own. I see I am starting to do my thing, here!!!

Little Elsie 21"

Then I discovered Jean’s Topsy Turvy dolls. Topsies are ONE doll that when you flip the doll over (by pulling the dress over the doll’s head), there will be ANOTHER doll beneath it and it can be a completely different character. I luv making Topsies!

The first Topsy I did was Cinderella. You naturally have a sad Cinderella dressed in clothes covered with patches. When you flip the doll over, you have a happy Cinderella in a gorgeous ball gown. I made this doll twice - each slightly different. It is a 15" doll. I like making Cinderella because I have fun making my own designs on the patches for sad Cindy’s dress.

First Topsy Cinderella - 15" Sad Cindy

first Topsy…Happy Cindy…

                                                  SECOND CINDERELLA TOPSY

2nd Cindy - Sad Cindy 15" doll

her patches:

and then Happy Cindy

A bit of a story involving this last picture. I accidentally cut into the yarn on the face of the doll while doing some last minute trimming of yarn fuzz. Next thing I knew I had a bunch of batting billowing out from what was once a face! Realizing that the doll is now beyond repair, I threw her in a bag then threw her in the closet where she stayed for 2 years!.

2 years later, my friend Liz asked me if I could make a Topsy for her grand daughter as she has seen the ones I made and loved them. I told her, “it so happens that I do have one just about done that I can give you and you can have it by tomorrow.” She was delighted!! The promise made, I set off to keep it! I went to the closet where I had stored the Topsy, and took her out of the bag. To my horror, I suddenly remembered why I put her away!! She had no face and what’s worse, she had no way of EVER having one because there was ANY yarn left to stitch one on! “Oh, good grief” I said, shaking my head and wondering what to do. I only kept the doll because I didn’t have the heart to throw her out!

I collapsed in my chair, staring hard at the blob of batting looking back at me. Then… I suddenly jumped up, ran to my box of doll fabric and pulled out a specific shade of fabric that just might do the trick. I don’t think anyone’s ever done this, before…but I HAD to try! I cut out a small piece of fabric, held it pressed to the doll’s face with one hand while tediously sewing tiny little stitches (using sewing thread, not yarn) all around the entire circumference of the face with my free hand…forcing the batting back in place as I went while keeping the stitches hidden under the hair line.

When I was finished…to my relief, this is what was staring back at me…and boy, was I thrilled!!!
A doll with a face!! What joy!

I danced over to my paint box, grabbed my acrylics and painted up the pretty little face you now see on sweet little Cinderella. Phew! Good save!! Whatta relief that was! When I gave Liz the doll the next day, she hugged me and thanked me profusely and talks about how much her GD is enjoying the doll. She brings it up almost every time I see her. She never did know the story behind that doll.

Another Topsy I made from one of Jean’s pattern was her FOUR-IN-ONE Topsy. Normally you can make only two dolls in a Topsy doll format. But if you put a second head in back of each head, you can create 4 characters. And so when I made this Topsy, I actually made 4 fairy tale characters. Little Red Riding Hood becomes Little Miss Muffet and Red Riding Hood’s Grandma becomes Old Mother Hubbard. Dolls were 15" tall. They all also had their own accessories…just look at them all, and I had to make them! See pic 3rd row down.

The last one of Jeans patterns that I worked was this 13" doll from her ScareCrow collection

I made lots more dolls after that, but no more of Jeans. I graduated (thank you, Jean)!! Some dolls I made were based on patterns that I wound up “tweaking” to some degree or greater degree, or that I just created, myself. I will post, soon.


I love those topsy dolls so much.

These are all so fun and colorful and very very well made!!

Also, my parents totally have those first two clowns in their house! They bought them at a crafts fair. I guess someone else used the same book because apart from some colors they are just the same! How fun!

1 Like

Thanks Roler, I loved having them around because they are so colorful and comical, always lifted my spirits.

And you can bet I will be making more of them.
Btw, how odd? I notice this is NOT a doll-lovers forum. Never been in one like this. Well, to each his own.
Thank you!

Always thought the topsy dolls were cool. Yours look very professional. Great save on the doll face.

These are so great! I can only image the hours upon hours that went into making them all. I’ve seen the booklets in our craft shops and I think that they just look so difficult to make! (I’m not a knitter) :see_no_evil:

1 Like

I loved reading the progression! My mom made some crochet versions of the topsy turvey type dolls when I was young and I thought they were pure magic!:smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

1 Like

The topsy turvies are my favorite! And great save on Cinderella’s face!