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Friday, 12 August 2022

USA 2022 - Sasha festival part 5

On the Saturday morning of the Sasha Festival in Syracuse the Sasha Sales room opened at 9am, though the stall holders had been busy long before then setting up their wares. I didn't take any photos of the sales room, I was too busy looking at what was for sale and making choices within a tight budget! I did buy a few items.

The theme for the lunch was A Christmas Story, the 1983 film, which wasn't familiar to us though is a Christmas tradition in the USA. Our table hostess was Chris K, who gave us lovely little denim bags she had made, inside the bag was a Christmas apron she made, and she also gave us jingle bells on red ribbon. I had changed Melanie into the Reindeer outfit I had bought from Kurt at the sales, so she ended up wearing the green apron and the bell over her reindeer nose, while holding the bag and other tiny gifts which people gave out (thank you to all those generous people who gave little gifts over the weekend).

Saturday lunchtime

Melanie in the reindeer outfit with Laura still wearing her 'Once in Royal David's city' choral outfit at lunch on Saturday

The festival souvenir for Saturday lunchtime was an amazing red snowsuit with knitted scarf and mittens (threaded through the sleeves) all beautifully made with black boots in a gift box. Ralphie, the main character in A Christmas Story film wears a red snow suit in the film apparently. 


Our Saturday lunchtime Sasha festival souvenir gift boxes containing the snow suits


Our Saturday lunchtime Sasha festival souvenirs of red snowsuits, hand knitted scarves and mittens, plus snow boots

The Helper raffle draw took place again at lunchtime. After lunch, there was an open meeting about future festivals which everyone was invited to attend. Although we already knew the 2023 festival was being arranged in Portland, Oregon (details had not yet been announced) there was no organiser or venue yet for the 2024 festival. There was some discussion about what is involved in organising a festival, with Heidi explaining she was updating Ann Chandler's festival organiser advice document. Then Diane D announced that Petrana was offering to run the 2024 festival in Milton Keynes, England! Most of the Sasha Festivals have been held in the USA, with only 2000 (Huddersfield, England) and 2012 (Stratford-upon-Avon, England) held elsewhere - it seems a pattern of every 12 years from 2000 onwards the Festival goes to England. As a local, I offered to help Petrana once she calls for helpers.

I cannot quite believe I didn't take photos of all 6 Raffle dolls! I had meant to but somehow never got a good moment to do so, which means the only two I've photographed properly are the wonderful Christmas Eve in the child's bedroom ensemble by Julie Ruleman and friends, and the Susanna Lewis ensemble which I had helped display. 

Raffle doll

A night before Christmas themed Sasha girl's bedroom raffle doll, co-ordinated by Julie Ruleman

Raffle doll

Many of those wonderful outfits (all the smocked ones) were made by Julie Ruleman

Raffle doll

This Sasha doll is very lucky as she has many lovely toys, a beautiful bed and some superb outfits to wear

The other four Raffle doll ensembles were:

  • Baby's First Christmas organised by Fran (to which I had contributed my abacus toy)
  • Sasha Alphabet with an item for each letter of the alphabet
  • Sasha and souvenirs from the 2021 Sasha festival donated by the Bolland family
  • A year of Sasha/Seasons of Sasha with an outfit for each month of the year

We had free time on Saturday afternoon after the Future festivals meeting, so we took the opportunity to use the hotel laundry, then prepared for the festival banquet that evening.

The theme for the banquet was 'A night before Christmas'. Once again the food was served buffet style in the lobby to the large conference room, there was a choice and what we had was delicious.

Our table hostess was Fran, who gave each of us a pretty Christmas dress she had made plus a miniature elf on the shelf in a gift bag.

Table hostess gifts from Fran

Florence and Miranda (who didn't attend the festival) wear the Christmas dresses made by Fran, with the miniature elf on the shelf toys and the gift bags.

On the Saturday evening only there was an exhibition of dolls featuring outfits made or designed by Susanna Lewis, but I didn't manage to photograph that either!

At the hotel one of the staff members had commented earlier in the week when Diane D first arrived with Curly and Helen that she also had a Sasha doll, from her childhood, but had never met anyone else who had a Sasha and was amazed that there was an annual festival featuring these dolls. On the evening of the banquet Stacy brought her doll, called Sasha, to the banquet to show everyone, by that time several Sasha people had given her some new clothes and shoes for her Sasha, who was wearing a lovely yellow ensemble. Diane introduced her and said that as Sasha had not met any other Sasha dolls in many years, tonight she would visit each table so we could take photos of her meeting our Sasha and Gregor dolls and share them in the Sasha Morgenthaler Facebook group.

Diane explains

Diane introduces Stacy and her Sasha

Diane, Stacy, Sasha

Diane explains about Sasha meeting the Sasha community


Sasha came to meet Timothy and Laura at our table


"Welcome Sasha, it is really good to meet you, we are Timothy and Laura all the way from England"


"Hello Timothy and Laura, I am pleased to meet you, welcome to Syracuse" said Sasha

Usually at the end of the banquet meal there is a presentation or talk of some kind, this year the format was slightly different because Sharon and Carol explained that the programme was our recollections of Susanna Lewis so everyone was invited to contribute. The microphone was handed around to those who had something they wanted to share about Susanna, resulting in several interesting anecdotes about Susanna, her artistry as a fibre artist and her well researched knowledge of Sasha dolls, plus some early recollections of Sasha festivals especially from Dorisanne Osborn and Anne Votaw who were both sitting at the dinner table with us.


Jeanne, Peggy, Mary and Dorisanne at our table.


Marti and Anne at our table, with Fran's Sasha wearing the rainbow dress she got in the Children's Fund Auction on Friday night.

Programme announcement

Sharon at the podium invited recollections of Susanna Lewis.


Dorisanne Osborn recollecting Susanna Lewis and Sasha festivals.


Anne Votaw talking of her memories of working with Susanna on the three Sasha books.

Our final festival souvenir gifts were given out and proved to be an astonishing achievement of fine sewing and smocking - imagine making 100 almost identical hand smocked white dresses and underwear. The maker had asked to remain anonymous but many of us guessed.

Souvenir dress

2022 Sasha Festival souvenir hand smocked Christmas dress and underwear by anonymous and shoes by Marge Truax

Souvenir outfit

The white underwear, shoes, socks and ribbon

There were four different smocking designs, we received two of the same design, so swapped the next morning with one of our breakfast companions, Florence G, so we had one dress with the candy canes and one with the Advent/Christmas wreaths.

The final Helper Raffle items were drawn then came the big moment when the 6 Raffle dolls draw took place.
Susanna Raffle doll

The Susanna Lewis tribute doll changed into her Christmas dress, a copy of a dress Susanna Lewis wore for Christmas one year, when she was given two little rag dolls (miniature versions of which are just in front of the tribute doll.

Susanna Raffle doll

Wearing her Susanna Lewis Christmas dress, just before the raffle draw

As a gift for helping at the Children's Fund Auction, each young helper was given named raffle ticket to put in their favourite raffle doll paper bag for the draw. The younger teenagers and children helped with the Raffle doll draws. First it was the Sasha doll in her bedroom.

Draw 1

Drawing the first ticket, opening it and reading her own name in amazed excitement! It was brilliant that this raffle doll was won by the child who drew her own named ticket from the previous evening's Children Fund Auction thank you gift! Her joy was a delight to behold.

Draw 2

Next was the draw for the Susanna Lewis tribute doll and her wardrobe. This was won by Carol who was one of the festival organisers.

Draw 4

The children clustered around Fran's Baby's First Christmas raffle for the fourth draw. This was won by Tricia, who generously shared her wonderful prize with the two young brothers who were attending the festival.

One of the teenagers won a raffle doll (I think it was the Alphabet one - draw 3), but I didn't take a note of who won the other two raffle dolls.

Susanna Lewis Raffle doll winner

JoAnn, Carol (the lucky winner) hold the Susanna Lewis doll, me holding Reuben wearing the Shakespeare Dream Coat for Sasha, and Marti just before we took down the display of the Susanna Lewis tribute raffle doll.

Some of us had brought our SCW Charity course dolls to the festival, so after the Raffle we arranged a group photograph.

SCW Charity course dolls

Four SCW Charity course dolls and their proud makers at the 2022 Sasha Doll Festival - me, Monica, JoAnn and Beth

On Sunday morning we all had breakfast together in the conference room before Sharon and Carol gave out thank you gifts to those who had helped at the festival. For helping at the Children's Fund Auction my daughter received a set of four beautiful notelet cards with the illustrations by the late Mary C Krupp, whose tribute was printed in the festival journal. One of the cards was the image on the front cover of the journal and had been used on the postcard announcing the details of the festival.


The Notelet cards illustrated by Mary C Krupp and the Festival journal article about her.


Sharon and Carol doing final festival announcements.


After breakfast with our cheerful breakfast companions as we awaited the announcement of the next Sasha Doll Festival

Karen and Kurt came up to the podium to announce the theme, date and venue of the 2023 Sasha Doll Festival as the postcard with all the details was handed around to everyone. The theme is 'Sasha Rocks' as Sasha enthusiasts celebrate 40 years of the festival. The festival will take place from 27th - 30th July 2023 at the Holiday Inn on the Columbia River, Portland, Oregon. Karen explained that she had been challenged at (I think) the Arizona festival to put on a Sasha festival on the western side of the USA, as so many of the festivals have been in the Eastern or Midwestern states, so this festival was several years in the planning, delayed a bit by the pandemic.

Sasha Rocks

The official Sasha Rock group announcing that 'Sasha Rocks' in Portland, Oregon, July 2023

We wish we could attend, but it overlaps with a musical event in which my daughter will be playing violin plus the distance and cost is another factor for us unfortunately. Good luck Karen and Kurt with all the planning, we'll come up with something to contribute which fits the theme even though we won't be able to attend.


Florence, Melanie and Reuben wish they could attend 'Sasha Rocks' next year

And so it was time to say goodbye to all our Sasha friends as the 2022 Sasha Doll Festival in Syracuse came to an end, which is always sad. Several people congregated in the main foyer during the morning and lunchtime as they awaited transport to the airport, some of us were not leaving until the next day.

Thank you Sharon and Carol, and all their helpers for a wonderful 'Christmas in July' Sasha Festival 2022.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

USA 2022 - Sasha festival part 4

On the Friday at the Sasha Festival the Susanna Lewis doll changed outfit to her long floral dress and stood playing the guitar.

Susanna Lewis doll playing her guitar on Friday at the Sasha Festival

The Helper items is a raffle of individual items donated as seed funding of future festivals. The Helper items were laid out on tables around the edges of the conference room, each item having a paper bag alongside for the tickets. People bought strips of tickets then chose which paper bags to put their individual tickets in, so if you won it was something you wanted rather than something chosen for you by the order of the draw. There were a lot of prizes, so they held the draw in small batches over the festival. We did win one item in the Helper raffle, also Ginger gave one of the Helper items she won to my daughter (a kimono, thank you Ginger). I seem to recall there was a Helper items draw before the auction began, or maybe it happened at lunch that day instead. 

The Children's Fund auction is the major charity fundraiser event of the Sasha Festival. People donate lovely Sasha related items to be auctioned off for the benefit of a nominated Children's charity. There are usually over 100 items in the auction, so it lasts quite a while.

All the items were placed on display from the start of the festival and a list of items is provided in the Registration pack each person receives when they arrive at the festival. On the Friday afternoon I took photos of almost all the items. In my luggage I had brought 3 dresses from England made and donated by Louise K, but didn't have an item to donate myself because I had spent so much time making the Shakespeare Dream Coat in the Susanna Lewis Raffle doll collection.

Lot 1 Baby Sasha with a wardrobe donated by Cynthia Hunter

Lots 2 - 4 including the first of the Zurich Museum prints donated by Dorisanne Osborn, Sasha dress made and donated by Louise Kelly and a Sasha dress made by Frances Trickett donated by Betsy Roberts

Lots 5 - 7 including a 3 sisters ensemble of outfits made and donated by Monica Jarpey and JoAnn Staricha

Lots 6 - 8 Sasha dress made by Olga in Ukraine donated by Florence Gadol, a wig for a studio or course doll donated by Peggy and a Brunette Sasha donated by Cathy Himmel

Lots 9, 10, 12, 13 and 14 including 
Ernst Morgenthaler Book donated by Laura Knuesli,
Sasha Studio doll Dress by Ruth Hartley donated by Peggy,
Caleb outfit donated by Pamela Jo Tagashire,
Lace knitting book donated by Ann Chandler with yarn donated by Sheila Foery

Lot 11 Children's Christmas Play (10 piece) made and donated by Gerry Montorory (dolls not included)

Lot 11

Lot 11

Lots 12 - 15 including
Sasha Baby donated by Kim Orthner in an outfit by Olga from Ukraine, Gregor Holiday Ensemble donated by Ellen Church

Lots 15 - 19 including the sisters smocked dresses and quilt made by Millie Dingham and donated by Heidi Wheeler

Lots 18 - 21 including Dress made and donated by Louise Kelly, Sasha Studio doll dress made by Ruth Hartley, Sasha Rainbow Knit dress made and donated by Gillian Nash

Lots 20 - 21 including the Harlequin case and wardrobe donated by Judanna Cavallo

Lots 22 - 23 Gregor's wardrobe made and donated by Millie Dingham and Frances Trickett made dress donated by Betsy Roberts

Lots 23 - 25 including Zurich Museum Print donated by Dorisanne and a Sasha dress made by Olga of Ukraine

Lots 25, 26, 28, 29 and 30 including framed Harriet Shoop paper dolls donated by Ann Chandler, Gregor fair denims donated by Ginger Mullins, a shirt (I didn't get the details as this was a change in the printed list), and an Ann Chandler dress donated by Jackie Kraemer

Lot 27 Collection of Elizabeth Zimmerman knits made and donated by Diane Duke

Lot 27 Collection of Elizabeth Zimmerman knits made and donated by Diane D

Lots 31 - 32 a Brunette Sasha dressed by Minniebloomers donated by Ginger Mullins, and a Dutch auction of 2 vintage fabric & trims boxes donated by Dottie Dailey with patterns donated by Petrana

Lots 31 - 35 including Ann Chandler Sasha outfit, Sister knits made and donated by Janet Myhill Dabbs and a Pie Rat AZ Funday Souvenir outfit donated by Ann Chandler and Dorothy Knight

Janet has asked me to add this photo of her donation, as it wasn't displayed the right side up when I took my photo.

Lot 34 Sister knits made and donated by Janet Myhill Dabbs

Lots 35 - 36 including Cora Stripe dress and extra outfits donated by Wendy Bailey 

Lot 37 2022 Sasha festival outfits made and donated by Lynne Field

Lot 39 Vintage hankies and linens donated by Dottie Dailey and Sheila Foery

Lots 38 - 40 including Caleb donated by Holly Marano and a Zurich Museum Print donated by Dorisanne Osborn

Lots 41 - 42 Sasha festival bits & bobs (2016 & 2018) donated by Dorothy Knight and a Boneka Sasha outfit donated by Jackie Kraemer

Lot 43 Peggy's wonderful Susanna Lewis inspired cape, hood and dress set with the doll donated by Mary Righos

Lots 43 - 46 including a Zurich Museum Print, Sasha Studio doll dress by Ruth Hartley and a dress & hat made and donated by Marge Truax

Lots 47, 48 and 50 including a dress made and donated by Louise Kelly, Boneka dress donated by Jackie Kraemer and a Sasha 2007 Festival Harriet Shoop print donated by Maria Lamatagine

Lot 49 Sasha girl donated by Cathy Himmel

Lots 51 - 52 Baby outfits made and donated by Dorita Mortensen and the 12 Days of Xmas Surprises made and donated by Marti Murphy

Lots 52 - 53 including a Zurich Museum Print donated by Dorisanne Osborn

Lots 54 - 55 Sasha blond in a Petrana dress and a Coat donated by Cathy Himmel, Hat & Spats outfit made and donated by Marge Truax

Lots 56 - 57 Sasha Studio dress by Ruth Hartley donated by Peggy Livingston and a Boneka outfit donated by Jackie Kraemer

Lots 58 - 59 Sasha dress made and donated by Dorita Mortensen and a Christmas outfit made and donated by Pam Jo Tagashire

Lot 60 a Zurich Museum Print donated by Dorisanne Osborn

Lot 61 Ukraine Knits made and donated by Rosie Laird (the catalogue said donated by Florence Gadol)

Lot 62 2014 & 2015 Sasha Festival bits and bobs donated by Dorothy Knight

Lot 63 Dutch auction of shoes made and donated by Marge Truax

Lots 64 - 65 Nature boy outfit by Susan Waite donated by Florence Gadol

Lots 65 and 67 Vintage Gotz & Trendon outfits donated by Wendy Bailey and Ann Chandler, Sasha dress and quilt made and donated by Pamela Jo Tagashira

Lots 66 and 68 Sasha Festival Souvenir outfits donated by the Bolland family, Sasha in a Petrana dress donated by Cathy Himmel

Lot 69 Zurich Museum Print donated by Dorisanne Osborn

Lots 66, 68 and 70 including a Julie Ruleman dress donated by Ellen Church

Lots 71 - 73 Knit dress donated by John Tripp & Steven Hukriede, Sasha dress made and donated by Tricia Jackson, Gregor Football donated by Wendy Bailey

Lot 74 We Whisk you a Merry Christmas made and donated by Lynne Field

Lots 75 - 76 Lace dress made by Olga in Ukraine donated by Florence Gadol, Twin knits made and donated by Pat Pellerito

Lots 77, 79 and 80 Coat bonnet muff & boots made and donated by Sheila Foery, Sasha Patterns and Liberty fabric donated by Vanessa Preece, Sasha outfit made & donated by Ruth & Lisa Hartley

Lots 81 - 82 Sasha Studio outfit by Ruth Hartley donated by Ginger Mullins, Early baby twins donated by Wendy Bailey

Lots 83 - 84 Sasha coat and dress donated by Ann Chandler, Sasha dress and shoes made and donated by Marge Truax

Lot 85 Marcy Street baby pattern book donated by Ann Chandler with fabric donated by Sheila Foery & Dottie Dailey

Lot 86 Sasha outfit made and donated by Marge Truax

Lot 87 Gotz outfit donated by Karen Watson

Lot 88 Baby White Bird donated by Ginger Mullins

Lots 88 - 89 including Zurich Museum Print donated by Dorisanne Osborn

Lot 90 Red shoes by Jean Jenson

Lot 91 Sherlock Holmes outfit donated by Maria L

Lot 92 three books by Lorraine Punchard donated by JoAnn S

Lots 93 - 94 Frances Tricket outfit donated by Betsy Roberts, Dollydoodles baby dress donated by Betsy Roberts

Lot 95 Dollydoodles lavender Sasha dress donated by Betsy Roberts

Lots 96 - 97 Dress and shoes made and donated by Natalia Zabolotna, three pairs of leather shoes made and donated by Natalia Zabalotna

Lot 98 Sasha outfit in white made and donated by Cheryl Conrad

Lot 99 Baby and accessories donated by Cheryl Conrad

Not pictured - Lot 100 which was a smocked romper for baby / toddler - a prototype by Julie R

There was no festival meal just before the auction which started at 6pm, so we ordered some pizza from the hotel restaurant and it was brought to our table. 

Dorisanne had donated 8 very large framed prints (from the set of 59 which had been on display at the 1991 Keuka Park Sasha Festival) of Studio doll photos taken at the Zurich Museum, these went individually from $50 to $380 (total $685).

Dorisanne explaining about the Zurich Museum prints at the start of the auction

My daughter went to join the children and other teens who help during the auction. It is a clever way of keeping the younger children occupied during the bidding, as they got the privilege of handling every item in the auction because they carry them around the room to show people and encourage more bids. My only photo of my daughter carrying an item did not come out well.

Sheila F was the auctioneer in her Christmas onesie and did a fine job of keeping track of the bidders (we each had a numbered paddle in our festival bags). The 3 person admin team sat quietly at a side table noting down all the winning bid amounts and numbers in their computers so they could take the payments promptly after the auction. At a separate table 2 people busily packaged up each item once the bid on the item had finished (in some cases this meant removing an outfit from a doll which was modelling the item if the doll was not included in the auction).

Despite encouragement from others at the table (you know who you are!) I resisted bidding on anything because invariably anything I might have bid on went way over my budget. I enjoyed noting down how much each item sold for as it was interesting to see how generous towards the children's charity Sasha people are willing to be - the answer - very generous as 100 items raised $12,000!!! The winning bids ranged from $40 to $560 (item 27, the Collection of Elizabeth Zimmerman knits made and donated by Diane Duke), with Peggy's wonderful Susanna Lewis inspired cape, dress and Sasha doll donated by Mary R (item 43) going for $390. 

It had been a long and very enjoyable Friday at the Sasha doll festival 2022.