Thursday, January 20, 2011

Maybe I should save this until Halloween...

Back in December my aunt and uncle came to visit, and as they often do, they brought along some of my late grandparents' things. Among many photographs, vintage costume jewelry and a few newspaper clippings, we found this:


When I saw this doll, I knew I'd have to blog about. And not just because it's crocheted.

The doll looks pretty normal here, although it is very seventies. But if you unfold the blanket, things start to get weird.

I'm melting!

That's right. The baby's body is attached to the blanket. It's like there was a nuclear explosion while the baby was lying on the blanket and it fused to the baby's body. Or a regular baby doll got left in a hot car and melted.

It has a bottle

The head is attached to the blanket at the base of the "skull," and the arms and legs are attached at the "shoulders" and "hip joints" in a similar fashion. The hands are made of the same hard plastic as the face, complete with a baby bottle permanently fused to the baby's right hand. However, the feet are crocheted, and they seem to have been folded over and sewn to make it look like someone bound the poor baby's feet. And if you look closely you can see the line between the body and the blanket. It looks like the creator crocheted a small pillow, then started crocheting around the edges of it to make the blanket.

Is the face alone really that creepy?

The story is that one of my grandmother's coworkers crocheted and sold a bunch of these dolls to people in the office. My grandmother bought a couple for her grandchildren. I didn't get one of these dolls, so we suspect this all happened before I was born.

The babies scared the daylights out of my two older cousins. I don't know if it was the melted body that scared them, or if they just thought the baby doll face was creepy. I'm not sure if the babies went back to my grandmother or just got put away for awhile, but they got rid of them.

Or maybe this is what scared them:

Is this heat or ice?


If I haven't scared you off, you can get a closer look at what's behind the face here. Basically, it's a ball of Poly-Fil stuffing in the foot of some old pantyhose with some more stuffing behind it to round out the back of the head.

I didn't know that stuffing, pantyhose and a piece of plastic could be so scary.

I revisited the Creepy Baby after Mom told me she found a pattern for the same type of doll online. Although it is the same concept, the Puppet Dolly in a Blanket is not scary at all. I think it's because the head isn't a plastic baby doll head, so the face looks like it's the same "species" as the rest of the body. The face can't be pulled most of the way off. Also, the blanket is a different color than the baby's clothes, so the baby's body doesn't look like it's melting. And it's a puppet, which works really well with the attached blanket.

In other words, good job Judith.

I'll leave you with this US Postal Service ad that seems to embody the same kind of creepiness as our Creepy Baby.

(Is it just me, or is the idea of "scary clowns" a fairly new one. I imagine coulrophobia has existed as long as clowns have, but in recent years it seems like the general public tends to find clowns creepy. I still like clowns. As long as their faces don't come off.)


Patricia said...

This is how children grow up to have irrational fears of dolls and clowns!

Anonymous said...

I actually had a similar doll, but knitted in green and white, it was my favorite doll, I called her "Bottle baby" and carried her everywhere with me.... and I never lost her blanket, LOL

I did however shove the bottle into her mouth too hard and after that she had a big hole in her face, I decorated it with red marker (lipstick). Anyhow, I believe she's still in a box of keepsakes, but I'm not tormented I swear. I LOVED it.

sandra said...

I have been looking for this pattern, many perhaps 30 yrs ago a lady made this and sold many!!! I made one for my daughter who still owns it and she loved it as a child, drug it around everywhere.
Faces were rubber and body needs to really be stuffed full, which yours probably was at one time. Thanks for letting us know how to find the pattern.

Erika said...

I have this very same doll and love it. I recently found it and the pattern and am looking for a full head, just like the one mine has. I hope to make some for my grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

Erika I have 1 large and 1 small negro baby parts and 2 small english baby parts if you want to buy them