The “Dolly Mamas” Connection (Or How this Saga Began)
Finished! Yes, f-i-n-i-s-h-e-d! At long, long, last we are thrilled (relieved?) to announce that the Dolly Mamas’ DVD, titled “KuKu Dolls – Knit ‘em, Felt ‘em!”, is now on our shelves and available for purchase ($29). All this just a mere 14 months after filming. Surely this has set an all-time record in slow production circles!
Please note that the pre-ordered discs are already in the mail to our patient, nay saintly and understanding, customers. We will miss chatting with you and updating you on the latest delays.
The Dolly Mamas are, in reality, two delightful caring women, Darlene and Lisa, who became hooked on doll making in a variety of forms. It didn’t take long for the dolls to become interpreted in knitting at Lisa’s store Elissa’s Creative Warehouse in Needham, MA. where they developed their easy-to-knit and fun to express-yourself-with-a-doll pattern and began to see what a delightful effect the dolls had on anyone that saw them.
Customers were knitting dolls for their friends and families, but as with any appealing knitted product, non-knitters were also wanting dolls: they couldn’t keep up with demand for finished dolls. At this point a relationship with the project Connect Africa was forged, and knitting the dolls began to provide employment and income for African women and a marketable product in the US. The dolls help not only in Africa, but Lisa and Darlene also donate a portion of their profits to a variety of women’s and children’s causes in North America.
The Kuku Doll DVD project began at the TNNA trade show in Columbus, OH in 2008. Darlene and Lisa decided it would make the doll more accessible to anyone that wanted to knit one if they had an instructional DVD that would guide the uninitiated through the stages of making the doll. They were familiar my DVD series, and decided to approach me about presenting a DVD for them. They cunningly surrounded me with a gang of dolls too sweet to resist: I could not but accept the challenge. One doll is cute, but en masse they are adorable.
We outlined the project (what would be necessary, who should accomplish what) and set about adding their disc to our January filming slate. We decided that they should design a special doll with pink and blue hair and a crazy dress for the filming (a.k.a. a Lucy Doll).
Our first snag was Darlene breaking her leg just a week before she was due to fly from California to Nova Scotia with a carry-on cargo of (dolly) body parts. (This should have fore-warned us, but we were naive.) The knitted pieces were hastily despatched to Nova Scotia by courier instead. (Darlene’s leg mended slowly but well and we had her section on the intro filmed in California). Lisa arrived just fine; we didn’t even need to use the snow day we had included in her schedule “just in case”. Customs officials weren’t even a problem: Can you imagine the fun you’d have trying to explain a bag full of dolls, heads, arms, and torsos?
Lisa joined the background crew in the filming of one of our discs, and then it was dolly day in the spotlight. All the parts were prepped and pinned-up-ready-for-use, and Lisa sat in the dark, handed me the bits as needed and made sure that I covered all the vital details in my commentary. It’s good to have a second pair of ears!
Filming together was great fun; Lisa was a pro in front of the camera when we filmed the introductions, especially once she caught on to the fact that words could be moved around to fit the pictures with a little TV magic.
After this we got into the nitty gritty stages of editing, post-production, authoring, cover design, and then the totally unforeseen manufacturing issues which all combined to eat up a full year. Believe me, it was far worse than herding cats, but, thankfully, now it is done and done well, and we wish Darlene and Lisa great success with their family of dolls.
For more details of the Dolly Mamas’ story see this page.