Gram knit clothes for dolls


She did this every winter – dressing naked little girl dolls she brought home from the office and then packing them up to give to a poor little girl who needed a present at Christmas time.  I used to be so jealous of those little girls because the dolls looked so pretty when Gram was done.  I don’t recall her ever working off of a pattern.  She would just grab some yarn and a dress or a pantsuit and shoes and a hat would be created.  I coveted those dolls but every year they went off to some other little girl.  I always wondered who got them and pictured them so happy to have their new beautiful doll dressed by my Gram.

I am thinking about this today because I am feeling frustrated by people’s desire to knock the work performed by other people rather than doing anything themselves to make things better.  That got me thinking about that whole concept of being part of the solution – not part of the problem – which made me think about Gram’s dolls and how she taught by example.

When I would covet those dolls, she would explain to me that we were lucky – that I had dolls and a home and a family and not every little girl in the world had that – that this doll would go to a girl that had so much less than I.  She made me realize from a young age that there were folks who had less and that, even through little things like knitting an outfit for a doll, you could make someone else’s life better – someone you did not know and did not have to know to do it.

Our family were dyed in the wool Democrats.  We believed in those ideals which centered around people rather than money.  For Gram, family was so much more important than money.  I remember being young and seeing Gram and Grampa walk into the kitchen of Mom’s house with bags of groceries when Mom did not have enough money to feed us all.  I know when I was young and not working or in school, Gram would send me money to cover my bills when I was short.  She did not make alot.  Her pension was small and social security did not add that much either.  But she always had a meal for you and a $20 bill if you needed it.

For me, this need to be part of the solution manifested in different ways.  I volunteered to work with a community theater when young.  I did some public speaking about the dangers inherent in the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle and eventually worked with a group which kept Union Carbide and Tennessee Valley Authority from reopening uranium mines in an area where they had a horrible safety history.  I trained to be a lay women’s health practitioner to provide free women’s health care to young and poor women and I trained to be a lay midwife.  If a friend needed a place to stay, and I had room where I lived, I took them in and they lived with me free of charge until they got on their feet again.

Chip and I love dogs.  We worked with various dog rescues and eventually formed our own rescue with like-minded friends which – through the efforts of many many volunteers – has placed over 4000 dogs into homes.  We took something we loved and found away to do something positive with it.  To me, all of this is a direct line from watching Gram take something she loved – knitting – and do something positive with it – to be part of the solution.

If you knit, there are so many ways to take the thing you love and add a little something to the world.  There are groups in Ravelry that knit little caps for premature babies and groups which knit blankets and toys for children going into foster care.  There are groups which knit things to send to the military troops and their families and there are groups which knit chemo hats and scarves for folks living with cancer.  Gram would have been so busy.  (grin).

But my bigger point here is whatever you give your attention to grows.  If you spend your time focused on what is wrong and knocking those that are trying, then all you do is give energy to negative things and the negativity grows until we have Neo-Nazi groups in Idaho planning military actions against us – or worse, killing people in the dark of night.  If you instead give your attention to what you can do to bring about happiness and hope, even just for one person, then that too can grow to where communities and countries enjoy peace and prosperity for everyone.  We all choose.  More people are finding it easier to be part of the problem than the solution.  We have to not give those people our attention and instead try to focus on the solutions and how we can help.  It can be simple.

Like knitting a dress for a doll.

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About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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2 Responses to Gram knit clothes for dolls

  1. Barbara Antonelli says:

    Hi Shell,good blog…..I remember Gram crocheting all the clothes for those dolls too. They were then put on display for a while on big Christmas trees somewhere downstairs in the State Office Building. I hated to see those dolls go…I’ve always loved dolls. Sometimes she’d order naked dolls from Mary Maxim or Herschnerrs and then she’d dress them too. Mostly she crocheted except for the sweaters she made for you. Have a great night,Love,Mom

    • Shelly R. says:

      Oh, I do remember the pictures of all of the dolls around the tree and looking to pick out Grams from among all of them. Thanks for reminding me about that part.

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