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 thought it would just be a matter of plugging in the ISSN# and reading a file. I discovered 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! But I took a deep breath and thought it likely they just hadn't caught up to the 21st century yet with their website. Surely the information was safely locked in some microfiche cabinet or even a dusty card catalog, waiting for some poor intern to pull out and start entering it into the electronic record. But when I queried, I received a brief reply that said, "we can't concern ourselves with women's hobbies."

It shocked me. Profoundly. And then I got genuinely angry.

Every English teacher I'd ever had confidently informed me the Library of Congress collected and cataloged everything ever put in print in the United States. It was a sacred trust they had that I had bought into with all my heart. They are our countries' library - the bastion of all our printed works. In the back of my mind was always the confidence I would be able to look up anything, if I really needed to, if I just made a pilgrimage to Washington DC - and I use the word pilgrimage deliberately to reflect my exact emotions - and with the advent of the internet, I didn't even need to physically go there. I'd always envisioned an army of unpaid interns and an underground bunker full of metal desks lined in rows, 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 our mecca for all our recorded history - ALL our recorded history. I've always thought that women's history is intimately tied to textiles, and has been expressed through them via their hobbies since, well, since history as we know it began. The published record of that history began much later, but still covers centuries. So what the Library of Congress effectively told me was that they couldn't be concerned with women's history.

Did you know there has never been a woman in charge of the Library of Congress until September 2016? The Library of Congress was founded in 1800. Only fourteen men have ever held the post, until Carla Hayden was sworn in. I find it interesting that one of the few intellectual careers a woman could choose for herself historically, Librarian, never had one at the head of the most important library we have until the last decade. The crime here is so large in scope and so diffuse in responsible parties(the President of the United States makes the appointment of the Director for the Library of Congress, and the Senate confirms it) that I can't begin to define it. The history we've lost isn't calculable, because we don't know everything that's missing and we have no means of finding out. The contempt suggested in the email I received was a blessing in disguise. Without that e-mail, it would never have occurred to me someone needed to at least make the attempt, or be angry enough to do it. It baffles me that I am apparently the front runner on this issue, and that anyone could simply shrug upon hearing about it. My anger about this has kept me at it almost nonstop for over nineteen years now.

I went searching elsewhere for bibliographies of various craft magazines - and came up with nada. Even Wikipedia was 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(I'm referring to June Schwede Myers and her brilliant index) 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.) So I've been building one, one found issue at a time.

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 are a direct reflection of the culture they are catering to. That makes them historical documents - all of them.

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. So far as I can see, the only things that have any staying power on the internet are funny cat videos and porn. 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 1960'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 midwest 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 collect 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!

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 - soooo many magazines on that subject. 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 eight 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 1,500 reviews! I also have the beginnings of bibliographies for candle making(because I owned a custom candle shop), polymer clay, quilling(filigree paper) and scherenschnitte(paper silhouettes), quilting, leatherworking, string art(symmography), chainmail knitting, origami, and duct tape(yes, to my surprise, this is a small but definite craft). I have a list of other crafts I want to set up bibliographies for, but simply don't have the necessary library of books to do the job they deserve yet. If you have a library of any craft that you wish to see preserved, please contact me. My contact page is at the top of this page.

I delayed putting the website on-line until I had a certain checklist of things done - 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 the Craft Bibliography Project is a Work-In-Progress, will always be a work-in-progress, until I die.

And of course donations of books and magazines are greatly appreciated. I try to have at least three quarters of a magazine run before I start building a full catalog page for it, and I have a great many partial runs that I'm still working on filling in. I've built a ginormous catalog so far, and figure I've got at least 20 more years in the tank before I have to retire and let someone else take over.

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! :)


JUNE 13th, 2024:

Elise Rose Crochet put up a very good and informative video on spotting AI-generated crochet patterns and how to spot them that I feel everyone who crafts should see. I do not think it will be long before we see AI-generated patterns in everyone's particular discipline and what works for spotting them in crochet will likely also work in your discipline. I would be very interested in being sent examples should you start seeing them elsewhere yourself. I was very upset when I started seeing deep fake tatting books for beginners that have great covers, but can't actually teach you the basics of tatting. This is just another scam that is sophisticated enough to fool people into parting with their money, and potentially souring them on the craft they were interested in. It is extremely harmful to our community and should be stamped on firmly wherever it pops up. 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!

FEBRUARY 1st, 2024:

I haven't had the time and bandwidth to update the front page much since my husband's stroke, but something has come up that is too important to wait. Lisa Adams, owner of THE TATTING CORNER has serious financial issues coming up with her husband's medical trials. She has asked for help keeping the doors open on The Tatting Corner so she can continue to serve our community. Please consider helping out if you are financially comfortable and able - this is a good cause and your help will benefit everyone in the community, but most importantly someone who has enriched us with her thoughtfulness and compassion for many years. Though we have never met, I consider Lisa a friend, and my heart goes out to her during this really difficult time. She gave us a way to help. I hope you will follow the link below and pledge something - every little bit adds up. Our thoughts and prayers are with Lisa and her family.


JANUARY 1st, 2024:

I didn't post anything here for 2023 for various reasons, most of them having to do with my husband having a serious stroke, complicated by undiagnosed diabetes, blindness from cataracts, and a case of Covid. If I hadn't insisted we keep current with our vaccinations, I don't think he would have survived it. He is recovering, but it has been a very slow, painful process for both of us. I am currently the sole bread winner and caregiver, working 64 hours a week and helping Rick recover. Have you ever heard the expression, "It's hard to drain the swamp when you're hip deep in alligators"? But Rick is recovering, and I am adjusting. Life goes on - for both of us! I've started to catch my breath and look around again. The books and magazines are piled high - they've kept coming in as more and more people realize what I'm doing and want to help. I am truly grateful. Without the donations of materials, I wouldn't be nearly so far along. So it's about time I started to work on catching up.

Because it's a brand new year, I thought I might share the new year's resolution I renew every year since I was sixteen. It has evolved a little bit since then, but not in substance, just in language: "REMAIN CURIOUS. Try new foods, new authors, new ideas, new experiences. These are the sun and the rain that make a life grow rich."

And on that note, HAPPY NEW YEAR!



(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!

Jennie Gaskin- Jennie has been very generous with her time and knowledge of the amazing crochet designer Elizabeth Hiddleson. She was instrumental in making the page as informative and complete as it is. She also still has a large stock of the books and single patterns for sale! Jennie can be reached through her website at: http://www.countryyarns.com and she has a blog at: http://countryyarnscrochet.wordpress.com/.

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!

Barrett and Susie Lagerquist- started sending me quilting books and magazines in 2019, while I was getting through the first round of my mom's big library and I'd started ordering books to fill in some holes mom had. They didn't just send me the books I ordered, but other stuff as well that they thought would be useful. It's 2020 now - and they're still sending me little gems! They clearly love books as much as I do, and have an extensive collection. I'm deeply grateful for their willingness to share it with everyone.

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.

Marilyn Thompson loved to make beautiful things. She created because it brought her joy, not to make money. Her first creations were Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls that she made while in high school and stuffed with old cut up nylonstockings. While she did counted cross stitch and other crafts, her speciality was her stuffed creations. When Care Bears were popular in the 1980‚s, she made so many that she was featured in the local newspaper. She made jointed teddy bears out of fake fur and a variety of other fabrics including reusing old quilts and mink coats. In the days when she was regularly attending crafts shows, she would sew while her husband tightened the bolts in the jointed bears and her daughters helped with stuffing. Marilyn loved to create and share her creations with others. Her family is thankful to have some of her stuffed creations as a way to remember her doing what she loved. Marilyn's family really buffed up the teddy bear craft page to make it the most comprehensive bib page for this craft online.

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 is a veteran doll collector and very knowledgeable in this field - she's my GO TO for questions about collectible dolls. Zendelle's website is here: https://vintagedollcollector.com/ and has some educational videos up on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSc1GqCu4B83wGMpSM3OVCw

Back to Top

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional