As strange as it is to write, my daughter turning seven has kind of caught me by surprise. Honestly, catching me off-guard has really been her MO from the beginning. Because my oldest child’s labor was a month early and took less than 3hours start to finish, everyone told us that with the second child I should strongly consider sprinting to the doctor at the first signs of labor. When the time came for my daughter to arrive, it was more or less her due date when contractions began and I ended up waiting at home until it seemed likely that she meant business, but it was not yet urgent. I waited overnight in the hospital barely uncomfortable, but with really no commitment to be born on her part. When morning rolled around, we opted to induce to get the show on the road. Three hours passed with very little happening and then it hit me like a freight train. Within about 5minutes I was having the textbook “Why did I not take the drugs?” thoughts and on the second or third contraction my husband hit the emergency call button because apparently the monitor had slipped and it was not registering reality. Thankfully the nurses responded in time and they managed to ‘catch’ my daughter in her mad rush to be born. The doctor came running in a few minutes later, just in time to see all 5lbs 15oz of my baby girl in my arms.
She’s always been a happy, sunshine-y kid, but she has also been an individual from the start and very much the master of her own opinion. As a baby, the fastest way to get her to stop crying was hip-hop, especially M.I.A. She is equal parts princess and tomboy. She is sweet and thoughtful and loving and tenacious and stubborn and tough. She is very bright and reads like a fiend and loves to explore the world around her. She is a true force of nature if I have ever met one. And the fact that she is already seven years old completely blows my mind.
Now normally, I leave the gift shopping to my husband because as I’ve said in the past, he is way better at it than I am. This year, however, when Susan B Anderson launched her Mary, Millie, and Morgan doll pattern in January, my daughter saw it and immediately started asking for me to make this set of dolls for her. Knowing it was a lot of work and aware of my own aversion to knitting toys, I let it sit and waited to see if she’d forget.
She did not.
True to form, with her mind set she asked constantly about them. I told her I had to wait for the yarn — not a complete fib as the heathered greys were out of stock for a while. But when I took my mom to visit Cream City Yarn in late spring, I saw they actually had the out of stock greys in the shop so I picked up the colors I’d need in the wonderful Quince & Co Chickadee. Then the yarn sat for a while. I decided to wait until after the WI Sheep & Wool Festival in early September. They were small and with her birthday at the end of October, I thought that would be plenty of time. So the beginning of September turned into the end of September and I began to suspect I was cutting myself a little short on time. Because I wanted to knit these as a surprise for my daughter, that severely limited the time I could work on them — only an hour or two morning and night — and I hadn’t anticipated how long this type of project would take me.
I won’t lie to you — part of the hold up was that I really don’t enjoy knitting toys. There, I said it. I enjoy knitting. I enjoy knitting with the truly lovely Quince & Co Chickadee. I have the patience and willpower to create almost anything with sticks and string, but for whatever reason knitting toys just kills me. It feels like I do a ton of work and get no where. I get super bored and I struggle to find a rhythm. It is just so not great.
These dolls were for my girl though and she loves her stuffed animals, so I knew she’d appreciate and use them. I persevered. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know there was a week or two in there where I kind of did nothing but post photos of these dolls, usually with captions like, “Hoping for a leg and an arm tonight!”
And “Here go the faces!”
I almost did not survive the French knots for the eyes — it took me an hour and a half to do 6 French knot eyes. True story — I only wish I was kidding! Something about the size of the perle cotton thread and trying to put the knot on knitted fabric was just not happening. Anyways, 90minutes, 2 tutorials, a glass of wine, and more than a fair amount of frustration later, they had eyes.
And I proceeded to stay up until about 2am to finish their hair. From there, it was a mad dash to finish up their clothes…
skirts, dresses, and sweaters (the last two I don’t have separate photos of — I’m lucky I got the photos I did!). I followed the color guides on the pattern except for the little blonde doll who got a pink sweater & shoes instead of red ones.
With two days to spare… they were ready to go.
The final test was what my girl would think…
To my surprise and delight, she really, truly loves them! And was beyond excited to have them. I mean, I knew she’d like them, but as any 6… I mean 7 (gulp!) year-old can be, there was a worry deep in my gut that she’d be fickle regarding these dolls, especially when you compare to some of her other gifts from family. I’m so happy that did not play out though. She plays with them a ton and loves to change their clothes and they get tucked in with her every night. Sometimes she sings them lullabies. It’s just about the sweetest, most rewarding thing ever.
Oh, and she named them and started assigning them personalities and character traits almost right away.
All in all, I still don’t love knitting toys, but I would do this project all over again knowing how happy she is with these dolls. In fact, I’ve been flirting with this idea for Christmas. I kind of can’t believe I’m considering it, but Delia, Jr. really does want a puppy…