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Sunday, January 10, 2010
In 1942 the McCall pattern company came out with a mannequin doll. It came in a box with two patterns scaled down to doll size. In 1942 it was thought that every woman would, when married, be sewing for her family, and McCall wanted to be sure it was their patterns being used. Even so, it was a wonderful gift for those like myself who loved any kind of needlework.
I got my McCalls set on Christmas day of 1942 and immediately began planning all the good things I would make. My grandmother gave me some needles and thread, and after a shopping trip came home with a number of remnants from our local fabric store. I cut, I sewed, I fitted, I sewed some more. Soon I had the best dressed doll in town, but where was this every growing wardrobe to be stored? My grandfather came up with a cigar box. Oh, not your usual cigar box but a presentation box. It was beautiful, made of some kind of dark wood and lined with cedar. It stood on four little legs. It had a tiny gold hasp on the front so it could be latched
One day my grandmother asked why I didn't knit a sweater for my doll. She gave me some yarn and needles. With her help I began to knit. I am not sure how much I learned about knitting during this project, but I learned a lot about ripping out. Finally the sweater was done. If I remember correctly it rather overpoweed my doll as the yarn was too heavy. However, it fit, well at least I could get it on her. I ended making several caps, scarves, and a vest for my well dressed mannequin.
I did not take up knitting in earnest until years later, but the lessons learned so many years ago stayed with me.