Helen and i left the exercise yard. We discovered a room with an exhibition in honour of Flora Thompson the author of Lark Rise to Candleford.
In this room there is also some lovely lace and a beautiful hand made child’s gown. Lace was produced locally in Buckingham.

Flora Thompson was the eldest of 10 children of whom 6 had died very young. Her father was a stone mason and her mother was a former nursemaid.
Flora Thompson is famed both for her literary skills and for the valuable contribution she made to social history. her acclaimed trilogy “Lark Rise to Candleford” tells of the rural community in North Oxfordshire where she grew up in the late 19th century.

Above is a photo of Flora Thompson and below is a map of Fringford and Buckingham.

Just before we left Helen and i signed the visitor’s book.

The last door you go through before you leave the Old Gaol brings you into a quaint antique shop. I found three lovely litle bears for sale which i purchased and one of them will be going into helens aution next year. Here are some photo’s of the rear view of the Old Goal and also a statue of the swan girl that stands at the front of the Old Gaol.

Well that concludes Helen’s visit to The Old Gaol and below is a photo of the souvenirs that i will be sending to Wendy to commemorate Helen’s visit. They are a leaflet about the Old Gaol, a booklet on Flora Thompson. a magic slate,a red teddy bear with a garnet around its neck and a porcelain thimble with a picture of the The Old Gaol on it.


by twizeltheresa Pro @ 2014-08-20 – 21:00:28

Today Helen and i decided to visit Buckingham which is approximately 7 miles from where i live.
Buckingham Old Gaol is located in the centre of historic Buckingham. Gaol is the old English way of spelling Jail, so the old Gaol is the old Jail in Buckingham.
Buckingham Old Gaol
Located in the heart of historic market town of Buckingham, the iconic Old Gaol was built in 1748 in the style of a castle, with later additions in 1839 by the famous local architect George Gilbert Scott. It is one of the key visitor attractions of Buckingham.The outside of the building looks just like a little castle.
Entrance to the Old Gaol is through the governors house. The walls on the stair case up to the 1st floor have some enchanting paintings on them.
At the top of the stairs there is along corridor with various different rooms. Each room has something different inside.
The first room contains fossils and various bronze age tools that have been found in Buckingham.
The next room featured the Tudor period, in particular Henry the V111
first wife Katherine of Aragon whi is said to have introduced the craft of lace making to the women of Buckingham.
The next rom we encountered was the medieval room that had a show case of various buckles and buttons of that time.
There was also a man in this room who was working very hard, Helen decided to give him some encouragement and shouted at him “hit it harder”
From the look on the mans face he was not impressed.
At this point Helen decided it was time we moved on so she went to the doorway and then stopped, “she said oh,oh i think we are in trouble.”
Out on the landing was a Victorian policeman. I reminded Helen that we were in a jail so it would be best if we kept a low profile from here on in.
Another room had some lovely examples of lace and i found out where the term looking for a “needle in a haystack” came from.
Another room was all about the civil war and did you know that the Royal Mace has very humble beginnings before it became the ornate mace it is today.
Out onto the landing before we descend the stairs to the cells and you can really get a feeling for what it must have been like for the poor inmates with no electricity or running water.
Helen and i entered one of the cells which contained a prisoner and two other men.
Helen decided to take a closer look at prison life.
We moved out of the cells and into the exercise yard.
Helen tried out the stocks
Buckingham held different markets on different days.
This visit is in two parts so if you would like to see what else Helen got up to then tune in tomorrow.

Nearly everyday at work i pass through Berkhamsted station. Berkhamsted station is a lovely Victorian station, on one side there lies the ruins of Berkhamsted Castle and on the other the grand union canal.
Berkhamsted reminds me of a chocolate box cover as it doesn’t matter what season it is it always looks enchanting.
This is Helen’s final visit with me before she moves on to pastures new. Helen travelled by train to Berkhamsted and of course she went first class.
Helen thought the train was great fun, she got quite excited and jumped on the table before gazing out at the window shouting faster,faster.
We got off the train at Berkhamsted station and headed towards the castle ruins.
At first glance you may be forgiven for thinking that Berkhamsted castle was just a pile of old ruins.However, the castle is one of the oldest motte and bailey castles in England!

The story begins with Duke William of Normandy. After the defeat of Harold at the battle of Hastings on 14th October 1066, William marched with his army through southern England, pillaging as he went. Crossing the Thames at Wallingford, he reached Berkhamsted.
Here he was met by Archbishop Ealdred, the Bishops of Worcester and Hereford, Earls Eadwin and Morcar, and the chief men of London, who swore allegiance to him, and offered him the crown.William proceeded to London where he was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066.
Helen and i started our exploration of the castle ruins.
Above Helen is not finding the seating area to comfortable.Helen said she wanted to climb the big hill called the motte and on the way we found an old well, which would have been used to provide fresh water for the castle inhabitants.
As we walked towards the motte we could see where the moat had been, once filled with water and Helen also enjoyed climbing up the castle walls.
The nearer we got to the motte the higher it became. It must have been a great look out post in its day. Helen assured me that she could make it to the top,so off we set.
As Helen bounded up the stairs she shouted “come on slow coach”
We finally reached the top and the views were spectacular!
It was time to tackle the descend, which i must say for someone who is scared of heights,seemed like a long way down.
Once again on firm ground Helen did a little more exploring in the castle kitchens.
Helen and i made our way out of the castle passing the custodians cottage on the way.
Unfortunatley the visitor’s centre is only open at the weekends so there was nowhere to buy a souvenir of our trip to Berkhamsted, not to be deterred i decided to look in the town. We walked over the grand Union canal via a little bridge and came across a curiously named house.
A little further down the road was an antique shop, surely i might find a souvenir in here.
Nothing Sasha sized here I’m afraid, but i was lucky enough to find a very small pair of pinking shears, just what i have been looking for, for ages. So our search for a souvenir continued. A little further up the road we came across Berkhamsted’s private school, which dates back to Henry the V111 and a lovely church.
After a bit more walking around we finally found something for Helen to have as a souvenir from her visit to Berkhamsted. A packed lunch and an English phone box.
We headed back to the train station just as the train was arriving and went home to pack.
Its time for Helen to say goodbye, it’s been great having her stay and she is now off to meet her next host.
Who will it be and where will she go, well you will just have to wait and see!!
“Bon Voyage Helen”

The news of Sara Doggarts passing has been felt throughout the Sasha World. But her legacy will live on in the wonderful Sasha dolls that were very dear to her heart.


I thought you might like to see this. It is an email that i received from a lady called Sue Thornes, who was a friend of Doreen Bell the eye painter at the Sasha factory. Sue was the sand blaster at the Sasha factory.
At the time i received this email from Sue she did not know that Sara Doggart had passed away and i found it so heart warming in the way she spoke about her.

(I was friends with Doreen Bell who we used to call her ding dong … I joined there 1979 and left to have my first child 1982 my mum worked in the canteen there a year after me and stayed for a long time …. Sarah Doggart was a lovely lady and was quite elderly back then … but she was a worker and that i admired … not many owner bosses roll their sleeves up and work amongst the shop floor staff but she did … those dolls were her babies each and every one of them..and she would be so excited when a new outfit was designed or hair colour …
I myself worked upstairs where sasha was born so to speak in the moulding room … on this floor i was the sandblaster that stopped them being the shiny plastic … i would have to check each and every limb so there was no shine on them .. if one slipped through it would be returned and would have to go through again … my machine needed cleaning out on a regular basis by the mechanics … so then i woud go and work down stairs for a couple of hours filling in where ever i was needed … so i did the ironing of the pretty dresses even sarah doggart would iron or show me exactly how she wanted the pleats … the worst for ironing i found was the silk dresses … i would presstud the shoes … there was a person for every step of the way …
When i knew i was pregnant … my supervisor took me off my blasting job as it was quite heavy work lifting heavy jigs .. she put me on the next process which we call flashing … we would trim all the plastic off the rims of the bodies legs and arms and heads with a scalpel knife so everything was smooth .. then off they went in boxes down the conveyor belt to down stairs where they was put together )

What a lovely person Sara Doggart was, she will never be forgotten.


Yesterday as most of you know Sara Doggart was laid to rest. Myself and Sarah Price attended the funeral and we met up with Kendal Hackney,Brenda and Fred Walton.
The service was lovely, Sara’s,sons,daughter and Grandchildren all paid tribute to her.Sara’s Jewish heritage was also celebrated, with a Rabbi singing a prayer for her which was very moving. Sara’s son also thanked the Sasha world for all the tributes that had poured in for her,which totalled 12 pages.
After the service we went to visit John Doggarts grave where Sara’s ashes will be interned and to lay flowers.
Sarah Price and i were very fortunate to be invited to lunch with the family after the service.
The lunch was wonderful and it was lovely to speak with Anna Doggart. Anna had displayed lots of photos of Sara for everyone to look at.
After the lunch Sarah Price and i made our way to the site where the Trendon factory (thank you to Brenda for printing off the directions for us).

By the time we reached the Trendon factory site we were beginning to lose the light and it was raining,but i was determined that on this poignant day to take some photos.
Part of the factory had been turned into gated apartments and as the gate was open,we took our chances and headed in. Sarah and i thought we had better talk to the concierge in case we got arrested for breaking in.
We found the concierge and sweet talked him into letting us take some photos, to which he agreed, although he warned us not to try to enter the part that is due to be turned into apartments as the building was not safe.
Sarah and i had bought along some Sasha dolls to mark the occasion, i had bought my new lad, Ruth my 68 Kilt and Todd the toddler wanted to see where is cousins had come from. Sarah had bought her beautiful NP,Lilly.


Above are two photos of the Trendon factory site, to the right of the tower in the first photo, is the part of the factory that has been developed and in the second photo is the part that is due to be developed into apartments.

Sarah and i thought we would mark the occasion by having a photo taken in front of the tower.



Above the first photo is Sarah Price and the second photo is me.

In the factory grounds there was a small play area with some mushrooms in it.



Todd the toddler decided to jump onto a mushroom with the help of the new lad and Ruth, however once he was up there he was a little worried as to how he was going to get back down.




After much discussion a voice of reason was heard coming from another mushroom.


It was the beautiful Lilly, who announced that as she aw the oldest and obviously the most sensible that she would take care of Todd and so she did.


I hope Sara Doggart would of approved of our little tribute to her. We managed to take photos (excluding Todd) of Sasha dolls from the start of production, from the popular 1968 period and from the end of production outside the site of the Tendon factory.
We would have like to have taken more photos but we were all wet and cold so we re-treated to the car and set off to Kendal’s to enjoy a wonderful evening with our Sasha dolls
Thank you Sara Doggart for all the joy you have bought to us, long may it continue.

Well what a fabtabulous Sasha Celebration it was.In fact it was so Sashatastic that if there is not one next year it will be a crime.
All the guests made their way to the grand Eastwood Hotel. A wonderful hotel with grounds to boot.The rooms were very comfortable and spacious and there was a swimming pool too. Although i took my swimming costume i didn’t get a chance to try out the pool, but those who did said it was wonderful.

Eatwood hall front

(Above the front of Eastwood Hall Hotel)

hotel reception

(Above the Hotel Reception)

hotel lounge

(Above one of the many hotel lounge areas where we sat when we arrived)

hotel swimming pool

(Above the hotel pool)

hotel grounds

(Above some of the Hotels sumptuous grounds)

After we had arrived and checked in we all assembled in the lounge area and were given our name badge and programme of events.

news leter front

(Above front of the Programme)

newsl letter back

(Above back of programme)

We were a very excited bunch, before Dinner we were given a chance to take a peek at the raffle prizes.





(Above photos of the many raffle prize donations and also the main raffle prize, which was a beautiful hand-painted Gregor, by Janet Myhill-Dabbs, Janet also made him and authentic early 19th century sailors outfit and his extra outfits were made by Lorraine Tyler.)

Time flew past so quickly that i did not have time to change for dinner so after a quick make up check it was off to the Tempest restaurant in the hotel for dinner.





Dinner was a 3 course meal and as you can see from the photos above everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

As the evening came to a close we all couldn’t wait to see what the next day would bring.

Stay tuned for the next part!!

On to day 2. Which started with us all meeting for breakfast at 8am.
The breakfast choices were outstanding and it was a buffet style so you could have as much or as little as you liked. Unfortunately i did not take any photos at breakfast as i was far to busy enjoying it.

After breakfast we all made our way to Holroyd Hall, which was where we were going to have our craft classes.

Before we entered the hall we were told to come in one at a time as Janet wanted to see us individually. I did think for a moment that i might be put on the naughty step, but i need not have worried. As i entered the hall i was handed a goody bag by Janet, much nicer than being put on the naughty step.
We all received a goody bag from Janet. The bag had a photo on the front of the Studio Doll replica’s that Janet had so beautifully produced. Inside the bag was an array of goodies. There was chocolate, two pairs of baby shoes with Sasha Celebration ribbon on them, a note book and Sasha sized pencils, some lovely hair slides for Sasha too.

goody bag 1goody bag 2goody bag 4

(Above photos of the goody bag and contents)

Now talking about the Studio Replica’s, here are some photos of Janet’s fantastic display, including the twin girls.






(Above are photos of The Studio doll replica’s by Janet, i have a very soft spot for the little periot, at the 2012 festival i was lucky enough to hold the original periot that Sara Daggart kept at the end of her bed and fell in love with him. My other favourite is essentialist girl in the fur coat,)

Before the crafts began Brigitte Swchitter gave an excellent demonstration on re-stringing early Gotz and early Trendon and also later Trendons with the neck ring assembly.

Once again i have no photos of the re-stringing session as i was too busy taking it all in. However Brigitte has created a video and once i have her permission to do so i will post the link on here.

There were three tables set up in the craft room. On the first table, Janet held a felting workshop and some people created some beautiful birds. I on the other hand created a monster from the depths of the ocean.

The second table had a workshop by Dollmum, which consisted of assembling and painting a Sasha sized train engine and wagon. Dollmum had painstakingly cut out and sanded all the pieces. I had a better result with this craft and was awarded a certificate for my efforts.

train awardIMG_0884IMG_0885

(Above photo of my completed train and wagon)


(Above photos of all the finished Train and wagons)

On the 3rd table Lorraine Tyler held a crochet workshop. Unfortunately i did not have time to join in this workshop as we ran out of time. Lorraine has kindly sent me the pattern for the Sasha hat and i will attempt to have a go in the near future.

Everybody enjoyed the crafts and some had never made anything before and have now discovered talents they never knew they had, great fun indeed.

After the craft workshop we had lunch which was bought to the adjoining room and was very enjoyable.More raffle tickets were sold and after we had our fill we headed back to the hall for the raffle.

Once, twice maybe, but three times lucky even i was not expecting that one.
I was the lucky winner of the 1st prize which was the handsome Gregor hand painted by Janet and beautifully dressed in an authentic sailors outfit, he also came with some extra outfits made by Lorraine Tyler and a slinky and some bugs.I am now thinking of banning myself from any further raffles. I won a couple more raffle prizes as did some others and then we decided to nominate everyone who had not won a prize. At the end of the raffle everyone had at least two raffle prizes and you could really fill the love in the room.
We raised around £624 for charity which will be doubled by our friends at the Sasha Festival in Texas America this year.

raffle prize 1raffle boy 2raffle boy 4

raffle boy 3raffle boy  extra outfit1

(Above photos of my Sailor boy raffle prize and his extra outfits)

After the excitement of the raffle Janet called for quiet and then announced that a few select people were to be awarded a special one off necklace that Janet’s husband had made as a thank you, As a hostess i was the very lucky recipient of one of these exquisite necklaces. Janet’s husband had fused two metals together one being bronze and has created a Sasha symbol necklace. Janet has told me that the bronze will darken with age.

janet neclace 1janet neclace 3janet neclace 2

(Above photos of the box and necklace)

Next were the sales tables and what an array of goodies there were. Pretrana, Dollmum. Judith Dolly Doodles, Jane Woodward (my room buddy),Linda Simpsom,and Lorraine Tyler had a wonderful array of Sasha sized items to buy.

After the sales tables there was enough time for a quick change before dinner.

Dinner once again was a great experience.




At the end of our three course dinner Tricia called for quiet as we surprised Janet with a bunch of flowers from all that had attended to say thank you for all the hard work she had put in to give us all such a fabulous time.


(Above Janet receiving her flowers)

We all chatted on into the evening and then eventually to bed no one wanted the day to end.


Morning arrived on our last day together and we all made it to the restaurant for our last scrumptious breakfast together, no one wanted to go home.
I had bought along my BBQ set which comes in very handy at get together’s to take photos of all dolls attending the Celebration weekend. I had set it up in the hall the night before and after breakfast everyone headed down to the hall for a photo shoot.


(Above some of the dolls on the photo shoot, in the background, i can see Todd the toddler and little Twizel sneaked in to hitch a ride on the truck)


Above the three beautiful Cora’s belong to Jocelyn Rose and the one in the white dress is called Susanna)


(Above in the back ground is Janet’s unisex Gotz taking the role of Master Chef. (if anyone would like me to add there dolls names just let me know)


(Above my Marina and Trendon O’Neill are busy serving, whilst Henry and Kendal’s Miss Nobody look on.)


(Above another bevy of beauties)


(Above at the end of the row i can just see Mr G talking to a rather pretty girl)


(Above a closer view of MrG and the lovely lady he is enamoured with)


(Above the babies sitting on a blanket by Rosie laird)


(Above Trendon O’Neill and Henry are in competition for the beautiful NP owned by Elizabeth Sockett.” Henry says,” You have no chance i am senior to you and i am more intelligent and wider travelled”. Trendon O’Neill, replies,”That may be so Henry, but i am better at DIY and i have more hair.”(Boys will be boys.)


(Above my favourite girl Little Bea owned by Kendal Hackney and re-painted by Raven.)


(Above whilst these little guys waited to get in line they
decided to form a band. ( the Gregor belongs to Gillan Buchanan, The Caleb with the Sashapotumus top belongs to Linda Simpson, the cora is my Nuru and the other Caleb is mine. I decided to dress mine as cowgirl and cowboy as a tribute to this years Sasha Festival in Texas and the top that Caleb is wearing with the horses on was made by Ginny Lee Myers from the 2012 Festival.


(Above is a panoramic photo of all the dolls together, thank you to Lorraine for sending it to me.)

After the dolls were photographed it felt right to take a photo of all that attended.


Here goes starting at the back from left to right we have Tricia Jackson,Jocelyn Rose, Jane Woodward, Emma Flood,Jo, Gillian Buchanan,Kendal Hackney,Shirley,Alice and Jane, Next row left to right,Liss Camber,Dollmum,teddy, Elizabeth Sockett,Paula Tottle,Janet Myhill-Dabbs,Brigitte schwitter,Angie Hale,Michaela,Lee Chapman,and Judith Dollydoodles, Front row Left to right, Lorraine Tyler,Dollmums daughter,Petrana and Shelly Cuff.Unfortunately a couple of people are not in the photo as they had to leave early.

Gillian Buchanan had a display of all the Golden Hands outfit’s she had knitted as a child.


After the photo shoot it was time to pack up ready to go home. I was just about to leave when i heard a voice saying “don’t forget me”


Perriot and i headed home.


My final photos are of my perriot, he is unique and it feels like i have waited forever for him to come home. He came with a card which tells his story and he loves to pose.

periott information backperiott information frontperiott information inside2
periott information inside 1periott sitting 1periott sitting 2

periott sitting 3periott sitting 4periott sitting 5

Well that’s all from me folks, except ot say a great big thank you to Janet for a fantastic weekend and i look forward to doing it all again next year.


Eastwood and Caleb were in the back garden with Nag their horse causing a bit of commotion, so I had to go and see what they were up to.
Caleb and Eastwood were both riding Nag and chattering about Sheep rustling.


Ssh,”says Caleb I know he’s around here somewhere”, I was wondering who or what they were referring to, but i decided it was probably best just to watch.
Look, said Eastwood, there he is!

Sure enough as i followed their gaze i could see Sean the sheep up on the rocks.

The two lads put their heads together to discuss tactics.


Right says Caleb,” you go around the back and I will go around the front.” Oh, say Eastwood,” how come I have to go up top.” “Well”, says Caleb,” you are the one whose good at using a lasso.”
Whilst the boys are chatting Sean the sheep is keeping his eyes on them.


The boys attempt to catch Sean the sheep.


Eastwood tells caleb to creep quietly around the back of the rocks so he That the sheep will not see him coming.


Caleb agrees and tells Eastwood to get the lasso ready and head for the rocks.


Eastwood gets into position.


Caleb shouts to Eastwood that he can see the sheep.


Eastwood throws his lasso,but misses the first time so he tries again.


“Great stuff!” shouts Caleb you got him. Proudly the two young cowboys collect Sean the sheep and secure him on a rope behind Nag.


“Ok, Pardner”, says Eastwood to Caleb “give me a leg up and we will get this sheep back to its pen.”


“Hang on a minute”, says caleb “does that mean I’m riding shot gun again.” “Afraid so replies” Eastwood


Caleb takes his place behind Eastwood on Nag the horse with Sean the sheep nicely secured they head off into the sunset.


Caleb and Eastwood would like to wish everybody at the Sasha Festival in Texas a great time and like me they wish they were there with you.I would also like to thank my co-director on this project, as you can see he is a litte shy.



Hi Everyone its time for the next instalment in the From Childhood to Sasha profiles.
Please give a warm welcome to the wonderful Susanna Lewis.



Susanna and granddaughter Anya, at Sasha Festival 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.





 Dear fellow Sashaphiles,

My name is Susanna Lewis, I am working up to four-score years, and I am thoroughly an American. Most of my ancestors arrived here in the 1600s and 1700s from England and Scotland, seeking religious freedom, economic opportunity, and adventure. They settled in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and gradually moved westward with every generation as America expanded. During the 18th and 19th centuries, every war fought in the American north and midwest included at least one of my English or Scottish ancestors in battle.

Then there was my Danish great-grandfather. In the early 1860s in Copenhagen he lost his wife and three children to a plague. Shortly thereafter he converted to Mormonism and came to America, trekking across the prairies and through the mountains to Salt Lake City with other Mormon pioneers. Eventually he settled in southern Idaho, became a successful farmer, and married three times, plural marriages. He built a cabin for each wife and they lived side by side, rearing seven children to adulthood among them. My grandfather’s mother was his last wife. He eventually spent time in jail for his polygamist practices, but he was a devout Mormon and locally well known for his lengthy sermons delivered in a loud voice. He was also a firm believer in the value of education, and insisted that all his sons go to school and pass their examinations, then earn  the neccessary money to go on to university. He wanted them to become pioneers in whatever field of endeavour they chose to enter. I am telling you about him because this pioneering attitude has persisted in subsequent generationsof my family, mostly in the teaching profession, although adherence to Mormonism has long since faded. It has colored my life, and is a family tradition with daunting responsibilities.

My growing-up years were spent bouncing around from one place to another, I went to eight schools in twelve years. My father, a university professor in the field of experimental psychology, did research work for the military in addition to his university work, necessitating frequent moves all over the country. Changing schools so often was difficult of course, both for me and my three younger brothers, but my family was adventurous and embraced every chance to explore a new area of our country with camping trips and visits to our many far-flung relatives. It was fun and stimulating, and I remember it with great fondness. When I went to university I was determined to carry on with my family’s tradition and become a teacher. I majored in both biology and art, with a minor in music. After I graduated from university I taught art in a junior high school, then married Tim Lewis, my college sweetheart. We lived in Okinawa at first, while he did his Army service. I was teaching biology in the dependent high school, and we both fell in love with Asian cultures. We travelled around Asia as much as we could while we had the chance. Back in America with Army service finished, we loaded our few belongings and Tim’s portfolio (he was a budding artist-illustrator) onto a Greyhound bus and went to New York City to seek our fortunes.



I was a little girl who loved teddies, dolls, and kitties, right from the start. A great many of my childhood photos picture me with one of the three. In the left photo I am age twenty months, in Fayetteville Arkansas, holding my very worn constant companion. In the right photo I am age four in Kirkwood Missouri, with my first brother and a newer teddy constant companion.




In these two photos I am age six, at the left in the early summer sun of San Antonio Texas, holding our neighbor’s cat, Boots. On the right it is Christmas in Kalamazoo Michigan, and I was given my mother’s childhood baby doll, a Bye-Lo baby with a wardrobe made by my grandmother and great-grandmother. I still have the doll and clothes, and I treasure them.




Two years later we are now in Nashville Tennessee, in the left photo at Christmas I was given a longed-for popular doll, Sparkle Plenty, from the comic strip Li’l Abner. My best friend also got one, and we were in doll-heaven together for months. The right photo, a year later, pictures two cloth dolls in Dutch costumes my father purchased from a Pennsylvania hospital for mentally ill patients. I still have these two dolls but don’t know much about them. They are a distinctive style, and beautifully sewn with a lot of details on both dolls and clothing.





Now in New York City, Tim and I camped in a cheap hotel room, cooked our meals in an electric frying pan and kept our perishables in an ice bag in the bathtub. I found a job teaching in an elementary school on Long Island. Tim enrolled in the School of Visual Arts, where he met Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast as instructors, and soon they hired him to join their Push Pin Studios. His career launched, in the next few years Tim became a very successful illustrator. As soon as we had enough money we moved into a fourth floor walk-up over a bakery on West 72nd Street, two blocks from Central Park, and thankfully it had a tiny kitchen with refrigerator and stove. Life in the big city was full of discovery and adventure and we took advantage of every opportunity to sample anything that was free-of-charge – museums, concerts, street fairs, ethnic neighborhoods. We loved it, as did our new circle of artist friends. Because I grew up without a home town, New York City became my home town. I am from the Big Apple and lived there for forty years.

In the second year of our life in the city I became pregnant with our first daughter. I was very happy to become a mother, but also very happy to have time at home to pursue my own interests. The first thing I did was to enroll in the Master’s Degree program at Columbia University Teacher’s College, so I could become permanently certified for teaching in New York State. I also wanted to spend home time to perfect my sewing skills and explore other needlework techniques as techniques for art forms. I wanted to develop my own art work using needle work, not paint and paper like my husband. I was motivated by the work of many European artists using lacemaking, knitting, embroidery, fabric pleating, quilting, macramé, crochet, weaving and other well-known traditional needlework and fabric techniques, to produce museum-quality works of art. I needed home time to perfect my skills and techniques in order to express myself in any kind of museum-quality sort of way. It was during this time that I first saw the work of Sasha Morgenthaler, in an article in Graphis magazine from Switzerland. I am quite sure that it was the same article that John and Sara Doggart saw that inspired them to produce serie Sasha dolls. It was my first acquaintance with Sasha dolls and I remember being very favorably impressed. Here was a woman artist, using her talents to produce her art work in an unconventional medium, museum-quality dolls.

After our daughter was born I was very busy working on my degree, and enjoying my baby. An architect friend commissioned me to sew a wall hanging for a restaurant he was designing, and I was to design the hanging. It was fun, and I earned some money. One commission led to another, and soon I had an income designing and sewing wall hangings for businesses. But I was not satisfied, I wanted more than sewing on a machine. One day while walking down Fifth Avenue on my way to do some shopping at Macy’s, I passed by a sewing machine shop that had a curious machine in the window, it was a knitting machine. I had never before seen one. I went into the shop to inquire, and was given a demonstration. When I saw what it could do, my imagination exploded with design possibilities for my wall hangings. A week later I had put together enough cash to buy one, and then spent three frustrating months learning how to use it. Once I had enough technical skill I began using the knitting machine to make my wall hangings, very pleased that now I had a unique technique and tool to produce my artwork.

Our second daughter was on the way. We adopted an eight-month-old baby from South Korea, satisfying the strong desire to have Asia in our family ever since our days in Okinawa. While awaiting her arrival, we gave up our fourth floor walkup on West 72nd Street and made a down payment on a fixer-upper brownstone row house in Brooklyn’s Park Slope. At first, living conditions were not much better than our first months in the hotel room, but at least there was ample space for two little girls to run and grow, and studio space for both my husband and me. We lived in our wonderful brownstone for thirty-one years. It was early in this period that I made my second acquaintance with Sasha dolls. I saw the photos of Blonde Gingham and Gregor Denims in the Fall 1968 Creative Playthings catalog. I remembered the article in Graphis I had seen, and how impressed I was by Sasha Morgenthaler’s work. I wanted one of her dolls, and promptly ordered a gingham girl. I did not tell my husband what I had done, as we could not afford the $15.75 price tag for an expensive doll our girls were too young to play with. She stayed hidden in a closet, secretly looked at from time to time, until the girls were older and the doll came out to play. She is the doll pictured on the cover of our book, Sasha Dolls: Serie Identification.

My babysitters were college girls from nearby Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, studying in the Fine Arts program. There were several of them interchangeably, madly knitting or crocheting on something sculptural every time they came to care for my girls. Some of them were making their fiber sculptures into wearable garments – this time period was at the beginning of the Art-to-Wear movement. I was impressed by their use of traditional needlework techniques for creating fine art. They in turn, were impressed with the machine-knitted wall hangings I was making. At their urging, I put together a portfolio of my work and took it to Julie Schaffler Dale, who owned a high-end wearable art gallery on Madison Avenue, called Julie: Artisans’ Gallery. Some of my babysitters were showing and selling their work there, and after seeing my portfolio, Julie promised to show my work, too. I was elated, no more wall hangings for commercial spaces, now it would be wearable art, as soon as I could figure out how to make my wall hangings wearable!




Three examples of my wearable art creations: Left, “Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder,” 1977, made to honor my father’s service in the Army Air Corps during WW-II. Center, “Shakespeare Dream Coat,” 1977, with a Shakespeare quote knitted into the interior of the coat. Right, “Oz Socks,” 1978, made for an invitational show at the American Crafts Museum in New York City, called The Great American Foot. I am pleased that all three are now in museum or private collections. Much of my art work, together with Julie’s other artists, was documented and published in Julie’s book, Art to Wear, Abbeville Press, 1986, ISBN 0-89659-664-8. The three photos above, are from Julie’s book.





My love affair with wearable art continued to the end of the 1980s. Many of my pieces were sold to individuals in the public eye, and once in a while I would see one of my wearables on the back of a person in a television newscast, or in the case of Elton John, worn for a few numbers in one of his televised concerts. It was very gratifying to see others enjoying and displaying my work, and to know that I was able to contribute to an important period in the fine arts.

But the teacher, educator, researcher in me was also at work, restless for a change of pace from the constant output of imaginative combinations of images. By now my techniques on the knitting machine were well-honed, and I began teaching workshops, writing articles and designing garments for several knitting magazines in the UK and USA. I had also written two books, one on the technical aspects of producing patterned fabrics on the knitting machine, and a second one on the hand knitting of lace-patterned fabrics. The second book, Knitting Lace, was the result of my work for several years at The Brooklyn Museum of Arts, deciphering and documenting an antique knitted lace sampler in their collection. Ann Coleman, curator of the Costumes and Textiles department at the time, not only made the sampler available to me, but also taught me much of what I know about the conservation and restoration of textiles, and how to mount and document a major exhibition. If you the reader, are a doll collector, you might know about Elizabeth Ann Coleman in another way, the collaboration with her mother Dorothy and sister Jane, to produce the volumes called, The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Dolls.




My first two books. Left: first published in 1986 by Lark Books, it went through three publishers and at least five printings. I was the author, and my friend Julia was the editor; she taught me how to write a book. Right: first published in 1992 by Taunton Books, it had at least two printings. A few years ago it was republished by Schoolhouse Press and is currently in print, ISBN: 978-0-942018-31-8.



When my girls’ interests eventually turned away from playing with dolls, our first Sasha became totally mine to play with, and I used her to model quarter-scale prototype garments that I was designing for knitting magazines. At left, Sasha and her sister Marina model hand and machine knit versions of a garment I was designing for a 1990s issue of Knitter’s magazine. The center photo is the adult-size finished garment as it appeared in the magazine. The right photo is another hand knit version I made for the Children’s Fund Auction at the 2015 Sasha Festival in Fort Worth, Texas.





In 1993 I discovered that Sasha dolls had a collecting community, and I attended my first festival that year. It was hosted by Sherry Foggan in New Jersey, and the theme was Sasha Morgenthaler’s 100th birthday party. Prior to that festival, I had no idea that so many wonderful adults were as enthusiastic about Sasha dolls as I was, and were using the dolls in so many different ways. After the festival, I was on fire with Sasha dolls. The first thing I did was to purchase a few more dolls. Next, I began using them as teaching aids in my weekly machine knitting classes at Parsons School of Design in New York City, and three-day hands-on machine knitting workshops that I was teaching in the spring and fall each year across the USA and Canada, England, Scotland, and Australia. Two Sasha girls would travel with me to each workshop and model simple garments made from fabrics that were being taught in the workshops. The girls were very popular, they lightened the mood created by the intense course of study in the workshop, and acquainted my students with Sashas and their quarter-scale bodies. Some students had never before seen Sasha, while others either had one as a child, or had wished for one during childhood. Nearly everyone did not know that a Sasha collecting community existed, or that dolls could even be obtained. Of course, this was during the days when the internet was just getting started.



A photo collage of my Sasha girls attending knitting machine workshops. The first photo shows a typical set-up for a workshop – a room big enough for up to twenty machines, plus people, computers and cones of yarn. Since the machines are electronic, most of the fabric design is done on a computer. After the machine is programmed and swatches are knitted, my girls help with critique, but mostly they want to play. Sometimes a doll visitor (belonging to one of the students) would generate a lot of curiosity with my Sashas. The final photo pictures them in their travel bag, tired and ready to go home for a few days before the next workshop.





I was using Sashas in my own work, but as I became more acquainted with the two (at that time) productions, I also became intrigued with all the differences in the dolls. I carried on correspondence with Dorisanne Osborn, who was publishing Friends of Sasha at that time, and asked her a great many very detailed questions. Dorisanne was publishing everything she knew or could observe about the dolls, but finally, she wrote and said that in order to answer my many questions, I would have to help and do my own research. That was all I needed to give me the motivation to start a new research project, to document and date the progression of style changes in the dolls and clothing during the two productions. In order to do this I needed to examine and document a great many dolls. I contacted my collecting friends in the USA and England, and photographed and documented all the details about the dolls in their collections. I began a Sasha repair service, so that I could examine and document more and more dolls. I published my research in the Sasha Dolls Charts, updated every two or three years as I was able to draw more conclusions. I started a website, www.sashadoll.com, launched in January 1997, in order to have exhibits about the dolls, sell knitting patterns, the Charts, and a few dolls, so I could fund my research. Remember that there were no digital cameras at that time, and film and processing cost money!



The New York City Toy Fair in February 1995, was especially exciting because of the launch of the new Götz Sasha dolls. Dorisanne Osborn, Yvonne French (owner of the New York City toy store dollsanddreams) and myself, met at the Götz toy fair showroom to see the display of Gregor, Angela and Maria, and the prototype for LE Marianne (she has warm brown eyes, not the turquoise of the final production doll). Later in the day, we three travelled by subway to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, to compare their very early Dungarees doll, donated by FAO Schwarz toy store, to our own examples of the same doll. L-R: Dorisanne holding her Dungarees, Susanna holding her Dungarees, and Yvonne holding the museum’s Dungarees. All three are 1967 with original clothing and no-philtrum heads.





The tragic events to the World Trade Center on September 11 2001, which I witnessed from the windows of my brownstone studio, brought an abrupt end to my travelling and workshops for the fall season. Within a week, I decided to permanently retire and remove myself from the city. The brownstone was sold, and I moved to a quiet rural place in the Hudson Valley where I could be near our daughters and their families. Now, I could put the horrible tragedy and its aftermath behind me, focus fully on finishing my research of the serie Sasha dolls, and begin work on several other projects that were on my “bucket list.”

Fellow Sashaphiles Ann Chandler and Anne Votaw, and myself made the decision to work together to produce a book about Sasha dolls where we could combine our research on Sasha history, clothing, body and painting styles. We wanted to make a comprehensive volume covering everything we knew about Sasha dolls to date, knowing full well that more information would come to light in the future, especially detailed variations in the dolls. Both Ann and Anne have written to you in their profiles on this blog, about the trials we had getting the book put together, and the final decision to make three books instead of one. These three books are a very large accomplishment for all three of us, as they represent twenty-plus years of research and development for each of us, hard work, a large financial investment, and a dream come true. Many of you helped by contributing your dolls for research or photos, and many others have written to say how helpful the books are to you, and that you are enjoying them. We fully appreciate your contributions and kind words, they make the years of work and effort very worthwhile. Thank you, thank you!



These are the three Sasha doll books, resulting from years and years of research and collecting, and a collaborative effort by Ann Chandler, Susanna Lewis, and Anne Votaw. If you want a copy, or to print out a copy of the errata, visit my website, www.sashadoll.com.



Now that the books are finished I can really enjoy play time with my Sashas. One thing I love to do is design knitting patterns for Sasha. Being a teacher at heart, I can continue to teach knitting techniques through my patterns. They are available for sale on my website, www.sashadoll.com.



Since I love knitting, most years I try to make an outfit for the Children’s Fund Auction at the annual festival. Here are a few examples.





Now you are up-to-date with my story “From Childhood to Sasha.” My last paragraph is to tell you how much I appreciate the wonderful friendships and acquaintances I have made through the years with my fellow Sasha collectors. In common, we share Sasha Morgenthaler’s values and ideals that she presented through her dolls. May we continue our play, our coming together at festivals and local events, the Yahoo and Facebook groups, and persevere in our work toward a better world through Sasha dolls. A big thank you to Theresa O’Neill, for inviting me to share my story with all you fellow Sashaphiles on her blog!

All good wishes to you all, Susanna.


Thank you so much for taking part Susanna, your knitting skills are incredible. Once again everyone please do not copy or upload any of Susanna’s photos without her permission.