cloth doll
(Javascript Slideshow)




MISSION STATEMENT: Provide the bibliography details and information necessary so that researchers and crafters can pursue excellence, as well as historical context, for their craft.


I began this project in 2003, when I went hunting for information on a doll crafting magazine("The Cloth Doll") at the Library of Congress' website. I was trying to figure out when it ceased publication so that I would know when I had a complete run. I was shocked to discover that not only does the Library of Congress not archive a copy of all periodicals, it isn't even aware of most craft magazines. I felt betrayed! When I queried, I was informed that "they don't concern themselves with women's hobbies." I admit it shocked me. Every English teacher I'd ever had informed me the Library of Congress collected everything ever put in print in the United States. I'd always envisioned an army of unpaid interns and an underground bunker full of metal desks each armed with a scanner, a microfiche reader(and then later a computer) and sharp-eyed Librarians passing among the desks to ensure their interns from the local colleges weren't sneaking in a game of pong on government time. The Library of Congress was my mecca for all our recorded history - ALL our recorded history. Of course, I exploded. Luckily my husband was nearby to contain the explosion just to our household. I still think it was a great idea to catch a train up to Washington to give them a piece of my mind in person. After all, an e-mail could have been deleted. The Betrayal!!! But my husband's more even temper prevailed. So I went searching elsewhere for bibliographies of various craft magazines - and came up with nada. Even Wikipedia is largely silent on the subject. (I have since discovered that the magazines "THREADS" and "PIECEWORK" keep searchable databases of all their issues(kudos to these awesome periodicals!!!) and that there are some women out there as dedicated to the dead publication "WORKBASKET" as I am - but there was no collective database of all of them as I'd hoped to find.)

I had also been discovering there were a great many magazines and newsletters out there that I'd never heard of, that had all sorts of wonderful information packed into their pages. Magazines for me are a source of patterns and recipes and inspiration for my own projects. I may not have made those leg warmers from "Workbasket" yet - but I know I will eventually - and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to know I can easily look up which issue and be able to go straight to the right box it's archived in.

Magazines both reflected and helped form our culture for nearly two centuries. They still have their effect - but the internet has been slowly leeching this power away, just as tv did to radio. One thing the internet cannot take away from old periodicals, however, is their permanence - which seems like a funny thing to say about a form of media that has always been considered as disposable as newspapers! Websites come and go like mayflies - the information they impart can be gone tomorrow without explanation. But I have magazines dating as far back as 1864! They will still be there when I die and this website is gone. My collection will go to a textile museum along with the database, so that it will continue to enlighten and inform on these small arenas of textile arts long after I am gone.

Between the books on Soft Sculpture I'd been finding and periodicals like "National Doll World" and "The Cloth Doll" I began to get a hazy picture of this huge renaissance in soft sculpture art that got started in the 60's and peaked in the '80's that I'd completely missed! I grew up in exactly this time period, sewing hundreds of (Barbie)doll outfits, making furniture for doll houses for my sister and cousins, making cornhusk dolls, applehead dolls, whittling articulated dolls, and designing stuffed animals that I could make out of my mother's scrap bag. I was completely unaware that there was this great movement going on at the same time. I was a rural kid, always too busy to be bored, but pretty insulated from the larger crafting community. My only contact was through books, which could be checked out for a week from the book mobile that came in from Grand Junction from the public library there. Did I mention that I was a (very) rural kid?

Which brings me to this long-winded point: 1) I felt that someone should be collecting, organizing(! - very important, that part) and archiving the documentation for this wonderful time period, 2) that most of it was quickly ending up in landfills as the generation before mine starts dying, and their heirs look at the amassed mountains of paper in the forms of patterns and magazines and catalogs(because we ALL buy and hoard more patterns and materials than we could ever use in ten lifetimes), and decide a shovel and industrial trashbin on the lawn is their best option for getting through the stressful mess, and 3) that the person who recognizes the problem is typically the person who should do something about it. So here I am. I have no formal training as a librarian or curator, and my research training was all geared toward lab work. I had to teach myself HTML and Javascript in order to build this website, so while it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles(though I'm proud of my slideshow on this page!), I can make any needed changes myself - and of course, continue adding information! I'm not wealthy - not even well off. My husband owns a comic shop. Comic shops don't make money - they make back-issue comics. But we are happy, and I've learned so much working on this project. Of course it has been worthwhile, and it has only barely begun. There is still so much more to accomplish! The website will get "prettier" as I get more of the important stuff done. That likely won't be until 2025.

I started with the soft toy, doll and teddy bibliography page, and it sort of swallowed my undivided attention for the first eight years of this project. You'll see why when you get down to the magazine reviews. There is a catalog of all the soft toy books I am aware of, and reviews of those books in the catalog I happen to own(only about six hundred - don't laugh, to my husband and me, that is a paltry number!), and what has turned out to be the black hole for time consumption - the magazine bibliographies. I have since put serious time into putting together the tatting bibliography - hopefully, it shows with over 1,100 reviews! I also have the beginnings of bibliographies for candle making(because I owned a custom candle shop), polymer clay, and chainmail knitting. I have other bibliography pages in mind - I have a very wide ranging interest in crafts - but those are the five I've started with.

I delayed putting the website on-line until I had a certain checklist of things done, which included completed bib pages for key magazine titles - but I kept adding things to the list! I finally realized I would never get the bibliography up if I continued to wait until I had the list all checked off. So keep in mind that this bibliography project is a Work-In-Progress, and that I only have about 30 hours a week that I can devote to building it. I have a full-time job, and help my husband out at his shop on the weekends - and I craft. I'm currently doing a LOT of tatting for a cloak for next Fall. That has turned into needing to learn how to dye variagated thread, designing a pine cone pattern I will be satisfied with, and trying to find just the right weight of olive-colored wool...

I've put thousands of hours into the soft toy magazine bib and still have a great many titles to add. General craft/needlework magazines that carried doll and toy patterns are included here, so if you're hunting for other information you may well find it here. Ideally, I would like to catalog everything considered a women's magazine, and all hobby magazines. I'll never accomplish that goal, but it will be interesting trying. Donations of magazines are greatly appreciated - the older the better. I try to have at least three quarters of a run before I start building a full catalog page for any given magazine title, and I have a great many partial runs that I'm still working on filling in. Even so, I have a backlog of material that needs to be data entered that will take about seven years to catch up on at the rate I'm working! And every time I start getting smug about having a pretty complete picture of what's been published, I run across yet another title or well established designer I was completely unaware of.

I will post updates on what has been completed in the column to the right of this introduction, so you can check back periodically and see if there's anything new you are interested in.

Please read the FAQ if you have a minute - at least skim the questions in bold to see if any are questions you might have yourself. Yes, it's dry and unentertaining, but there's a good reason why it's called "Frequently Asked Questions!"

Feel free to drop me a note with any questions, suggestions or complaints. If you find errors, PLEASE let me know. I try very hard to be as accurate as possible, but I have no one checking behind me, and if there's a broken link or misspelled word, there's no one to blame but me. Taking a minute to send me a note is always appreciated! And of course, I love creative compliments. :)


October 20th, 2017:

With the help of the stellar scholar Becky Clark, organizer of data without peer, we have reorganized and cleaned up all the pages for American Thread Company, Coats & Clark, and Lily Mills Company. Becky patiently searched out and filled in titles for booklets, and even found some that had on-line pdfs available! I will continue to add those links as I find time. I'm also working on writing a history for each of these companies to try and do justice to all the work and hours that Becky poured into this project. I think the updated pages provide a clearer picture of these three thread company's publications, and if there's a particular discipline you care about, it should be easier to compile a list of titles to search for. I believe that a healthy library to support your particular craft and fuel your creativity and inspire you are an essential part of any discipline. Have a bat-tastic Halloween, and if you need help finding something in particular, all you need do is ask! Happy, Happy Leigh, signing off...

If you need to contact me, use "akamoraih[at]gmail[dot]com" and you know to replace the "[at]" and "[dot]" with the appropriate symbols, right? Spammers look for those symbols when trolling for addresses to try - hence the shallow encryption. There's a mailing address on the contact page now, if you need to mail me stuff, and if you're having trouble figuring out the incryption, I'm fairly active now on www.Craftree.com under the name Moraih. I enthusiastically encourage people to check it out!

September 2nd, 2017:

I have completed cataloging all the Piecework Magazine issues that I have - that's only roughly half of them. I've compiled a list of all the tatting articles I've cataloged so far and placed it below the review for reference. If you have any interest in history and quality patterns at all, Piecework Magazine is for you. So if you haven't subscribed, get thee to their website: https://www.interweave.com/needlework/ And for those of you who aren't aware, Interweave Press provides SEARCHABLE INDEXES of their periodicals. I've put these links on the catalog page and in their stubs on the bib pages. I'm a big fan of searchable databases. So far as I can tell, Interweave Press is the only publishing house who bothers to do this. They deserve our support for so many reasons, but this one is also a biggy! And no, this is not a paid solicitation. They don't know me from Adam. I just think excellence should be enthusiastically applauded and rewarded.

I'm starting McCall's Needlework and Crafts next...

August 18th, 2017:

Sytske( Antique Pattern Library ) has obtained permission to digitize and make available all the back issues of "Workbasket"! I'll be helping with this project.

I have completed cataloging all the Modern Priscilla that I have - that's only roughly half of them. I've compiled a list of all the tatting articles and placed it below the review for reference. Since they are no longer under copyright, I am creating pdfs of all those articles and will imbed links to access them in that list and within the catalog so they can be accessed at will by anyone who has an interest! This is going to take me some time, however, as I will be working on it while trying to finish other tasks as well. If you need a particular article, please e-mail me and I'll move it to the top of my TO DO list for you.

I'm diving into "Piecework" next, but don't have many issues after 2004.

I've completed the catalog of issues for Soft Dolls & Animals. I'm very sad to see it go. It has been a great pleasure and inspiration to me. Thank you, Scott Publications, for many wonderful years.

If you need to contact me, use "akamoraih[at]gmail[dot]com" and you know to replace the "[at]" and "[dot]" with the appropriate symbols, right? Spammers look for those symbols when trolling for addresses to try - hence the shallow encryption. There's a mailing address on the contact page now, if you need to mail me stuff, and if you're having trouble figuring out the incryption, I'm fairly active now on www.Craftree.com under the name Moraih. I enthusiastically encourage people to check it out!

July 19th, 2017:

The Bead & Button catalog is done! I'm still missing a small handful of issues from last year, but it is otherwise complete and up to date as of this writing.

I'm still waiting for our next guild meeting to borrow a run of "Pieceworks", so I'll be cataloging more of Modern Priscilla while I'm waiting. I still only have roughly half the issues, so if you come across any bargains, please get in touch...

June 11th, 2017:

I came across a small handful of two tatting newsletters I had previously not heard of and took a brief break from the "Bead & Button" cataloging to set up pages for them and catalog what few I had: Lacemaking Today and Lace Magazine of the World

The "Bead & Button" cataloging is moving apace(I'm up to issue 80), but it is getting less and less interesting as they become formulaic and less interested in anything that isn't seed beads, glass art beads and crystal beads. I particularly am missing the long running "Origin" series of articles that covered the history of certain types of beads and buttons...

I've been asked twice in the recent past about cataloging "Pieceworks", so I'll move onto that next once I've finished the B&Bs. At one point Interweave Press had a nice searchable index of their issues, but that has apparently disappeared. Anyone know why?

May 20th, 2017:

I'm making progress on cataloging a full run(except for a couple of recent issues) of "Bead & Button", but the really exciting news comes once again through the spectacular super-powers of Becky Clark! She knew I've had trouble finding out more about a group of fiber artists who began publishing in the 1910s on my "TO DO" list for a long time, but have been too busy with the cataloging to really pursue it - so she used her geneology super-powers to not only find out a whole lot about them, but found the great granddaughter of none other than Mary E. Fitch! Sharon not only graciously shared an article she wrote on her great grandmother, but shared some spectacular photos that I hope I've done justice by. If you have javascript disabled, you may wish to enable it for the slideshow. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Becky Clark and Sharon Heim for sharing!

April 28th, 2017:

I've completed cataloging the issues I have of Creative Crafts and Canada's marvelous Craft's Plus. I'm missing a lot of issues from both runs, so I'm hoping going ahead and getting the catalog started on both will nudge someone into filling in some of the holes. My goal this year is to get as much of my backlog of magazines catalogued as I am able to wedge into each day. The more I get done, the more widely useful it will be to everyone! I've had a scattering of information requests from as far away as Scotland, Australia and Hong Kong this past week, along with all the usual 'local' requests. I got to make one lady extremely happy by unearthing a couple of articles about her grandmother, who was an exquisite doll maker. Connecting people to our history really jazzes me. It makes all this work worthwhile!

April 1st, 2017:

HAPPY TATTING DAY to everyone!!! I'm still working dilligently on some test tatting for a friend, and on cleaning up some scans of an antique German tatting book I'm converting to a PDF file. Cleaning up the front cover took a good bit of time, and the back cover is taking about three times that, but I'm almost there... I'll be at our local Lace Day at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill, NC all day, celebrating all laces with my local guild.

MARCH 22nd, 2017:

Thank you to an anonymous donor for her donation of a big stack of The Bulletin back issues! Her generosity allowed me to fill in quite a bit more of the catalog for that title.

MARCH 4th, 2017:

March has started off with a bang! Hope Wright has donated her bibliographies of antique tatting books to the Bibliography Project, along with a listing of ALL the tatting references in the famous Godey's Lady's Book !!!

FEBRUARY 1st, 2017:

I've nearly finished cataloging what I have of Women's Household magazine - another Tower Press periodical that published the occasional tatting pattern, and had many doll articles, including a short run of paper dolls by R Lane Herron! The tatting patterns were mostly by the amazing Myrtle M. Hamilton.

JANUARY 1st, 2017:

When I started the Bibliography Project, it was with full blown fury at the Library of Congress and the systemic wrong that had been perpetrated on 53% of the U.S. population for over 200 years. I am still furious, but now I have hope, and that was never there before. I started this knowing full well it was a hopeless task, and considered myself just another sadly deluded person tilting at Windmills because I saw dragons. I did it anyway, because some dragons have to be slain, imaginary or not. Thank you for riding along with me, my friends. It has given me more than I can ever repay.

Who knew I'd get so far? It wasn't done alone. I've gotten so much enouragement, made friends, and found fellow enthusiasts who have contributed a great deal of time, materials and badly needed expertise in computer skills, foreign languages, historical knowledge and social skills. I am deeply grateful and love you all. So "I" is no longer really applicable. It's really "we", and we have all accomplished so very much. Just discovering there have been more than a thousand tatting books put into print over the last 150 years was a revelation none of us could have imagined. That knowledge had never been gathered all in one place before. We still wouldn't know this without all of your help.

2016 was a milestone year, whether anyone realizes it or not. A woman was appointed Director of the Library of Congress for the FIRST TIME since it's creation in 1800. Librarian has been one of the few professions where women have traditionally found a niche, so isn't it amazing that our national library has been exclusively a men's club for 215 contiguous years? I wonder if that has any connection to the fact that the LoC cannot be concerned with "women's hobbies?" I think it very likely. I do not expect our new director to work miracles, or for the culture of this national edifice to magically heal in three years or thirty. But a crack has been made in the poorly laid and far too small foundation, and natural erosion will inevitably take place. The damage was done from the very beginning. That damage is permanent. But we can hope that the next 200 years will bring the Library of Congress more in line with its promise to the American people. It was meant to conserve our history and culture through printed medium - all our history and culture, and not just what has been important to a small club of men. In the meantime, we all work to build a better foundation for that missing wing of our cultural heritage. 2017 is our next dragon, my friends. The LoC has been the windmill we've been tilting at for 15 years, and the foundation has cracked! Huzzah! We shall slay this dragon yet! And may we all find peace in the clearing at the end of our paths, and know joy in the journey there.

If you need to contact me, use "akamoraih[at]gmail[dot]com" and you know to replace the "[at]" and "[dot]" with the appropriate symbols, right? Spammers look for those symbols when trolling for addresses to try - hence the dumb encryption. There's a mailing address on the contact page now, if you need to mail me stuff, and if you're having trouble figuring out the incryption, I'm fairly active now on www.Craftree.com under the name Moraih. I enthusiastically encourage people to check it out!



(In Alphabetical Order, not in order of contributions)-

These are the wonderful people who have gone way above and beyond the call to provide obscure materials, solid advice and indispensible expertise. Thank you, one and all.

Karen Cabrera- Has joined the ranks of highly skilled agents contributing her knowledge and savvy to the Bibliography Project. Her facility with Spanish and impressive research skills have made her the obvious choice as Head Agent of the Spanish division. Her knowledge and insights have added substantial value to the BP. She provides excellent tatting tutorials and an entertaining blog at: http://entrelanzaderas.blogspot.com/

Becky Clark- has introduced me to the wonders of Excel in 2015 - and shared her Excel spreadsheets of the bibliographies(mine, Georgia's and IOLI's) with me as well as sharing her own research into what had been published in the way of tatting in Norway, Denmark and Sweden!!! She is a lot more conversant with WorldCat and those particular languages than I am, and dug out a tremendous amount of information I would have remained ignorant of. She is smart, knowledgeable and funny, and I am so glad to have gotten to know her. She's done an amazing job of entering books and links into Craftree's library, and has done a lot of badly needed proofreading for me. Becky is AWESOME!

Kristy Effinger- Colette Wolff's biggest fan and a fellow collector of all her patterns - Kristy has been a huge contributor to the CW bib page - it would look very thin without her contributions!

Phyllis C. Keller(In Memoriam, Oct 12, 1918 - Jan. 7, 2011)- Doll Making and collecting were her hobbies and passion for 40 years. Her loving husband Bob donated most of a decade of "Doll Castle News" and "Dolls" to the bibliography in her memory, enabling me to put both titles on the list of bib pages I can set up! In memory of this lovely lady and her generous husband, you have my heartfelt thank you.

Carolyn Kotlas- I think of her as a renaissance woman - superb at anything she puts her mind to. She was finally convinced to submit some of her work for competition at the state fair this year(2015), and came home with a stack of blue and red ribbons - Not surprising at all for those of us who know her. She opened her tatting library to me so that I could expand the tatting bibliography - and her generosity has taken the review count to over 900! Carolyn made that possible. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Marian Lynn(In Memoriam)- Her loving daughter, Linda, passed on her mother's collection of "The Toy Trader" spanning from January 1954 to March 1972 to the bibliography. Linda's words about her mother- "My mother was kind and generous. She started her first doll collection when she traveled through Europe with my Dad, and upon her return gave the collection to her friendís daughter who was starting to collect dolls. Later she started collecting dolls again. She taught (us) her children to share and that good deeds are a reward in themselves. She would be happy to know that her collection of The Toy Trader Publication went to someone who will appreciate them." Linda is also a fellow tatter along with being an accomplished knitter and crocheter. Thank you for your generosity, and for allowing me to help keep memories of your mother's many kindnesses alive in thought and memory. It is an honor to acknowledge her living legacy - the family she clearly cherished. Best wishes to you and yours, Leigh

Anitra Stone- Has been a mentor and friend for several years now - shoulda added her name to this list a long time ago for all the information she has hunted down for me and funneled my way. I'm so deeply grateful. I remember I was very excited to meet her for the first time. I already knew her for years, you see, from the eye-catching Captain's Wheel tatting pattern she published in my beloved "Workbasket"! She is a very talented designer we hope to encourage to put out her own books. Anyone who has seen her array of birds can attest. Her help with the tatting bibliography has been substantial and long running. Her friendship and patience have been deeply appreciated. Thank you.

Ruth Wilson- Librarian extraordinaire and another fellow Colette Wolff fan - also clued me in and introduced me to Joan Chiara Cigler's amazing work, gives advice freely on this arcane business of documenting and archiving vintage materials, and has helped complete several runs of important doll magazine titles from her private collection. Lovely lady, you Rock!

Hope Wright- Yet another goddess of tatting information disguised as a Librarian Without Portfolio who out of the blue contacted me with so much information it's going to take me a while to add it all! I've started with her complete list of all the tatting references found in the pages of the famous Godey's Lady's Book of the 19th century.

Zendelle- Donated an obscure run of "Milady In Miniature" out of the blue after seeing my website during the first time I was able to put it up - the only issues I've ever been able to locate of this title. Zendelle runs a fantastic searchable(yay!) website for doll collectors that I envy greatly. You should check it out if you are a doll collector of any vintage: http://www.vintagedollcollector.com/

Back to Top

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional