What is it about polka dots? I love them. Recently, I started thinking about where the words came from and my mind leapt to "Google." But wait - if I "Googled" it, I would get an instant answer and then, there goes the wonder. Remember wondering? All children do it, and I certainly did. I wonder why the sky is blue? I wonder what makes a cloud? I wonder what will happen if I rip the tag off my mattress? (I wonder if the "o's" in the middle of "Google" are polka dots?)
So, without Google or a dictionary, this is what I came up with: The polka is a lively dance and the music for it has a definite lilt. I imagine the music as written has lots of those dots over the notes to indicate a hold. I'm not a musician, so I'm guessing here, but that is where I think the polka dot may have come from.
So after wondering about it for a few weeks, I decided, rather than googling, to look it up.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary says the following: "polka: n. [Czech, fr. Polka a Polish woman, fem. of Polak Pole] (1843) 1: a lively couple dance of Bohemian origin in duple time with a basic pattern of hop-step close-step 2: a lively originally Bohemian dance tune in 3/4 time - polka vi; polka dot m/n. (1857) a dot in a pattern of regularly distributed dots in textile design. .polka dotted: adj. duple: adj [L duplus double - more at DOUBLE] 1: having two elements 2 a: marked by two or a multiple of two beats per measure of music <~~time> b: of rhythm: consisting of a meter based on disyllabic feet." So there you have it. I still haven't googled it, but my son did, and it had even more information.
In the meantime, now that I'm focusing on polka dots, I'm starting to see them everywhere: dresses at the Good Will, a vintage dress I bought last year, a woman crossing the street in a black dress with baseball-sized white polka dots, a little girl with a red sundress with diminishing white polka dots, a bigger girl in a turquoise Minnie Mouse skirt with golf ball sized white dots, wrapping paper at the new paper store that opened across from the Farmer's Market.
And as you may have noticed, many of the dolls I make sport polka dotted arms and legs or
dresses, with more in the works. I sometimes put polka dots and stripes together, as with
Mitsuko. Luckily, my favorite fabric store, International Silks and Woolens, has a great selection of vintage cottons, many with polka dots, so I have lots of choices.
Here is the blue and white vintage silk polka dot dress Sophie and I found at a yard sale on the corner of Oakwood and Crescent Heights in L.A. last year. And here is the red and white polka dot dress from Good Will that I couldn't resist. It's too big, has shoulder pads, a white collar and wide self-belt which reminds me of Lucy Ricardo. This is destined for a Sophie/Sasha remake.
Well, 4th of July has come and gone. Saw some fabulous fireworks last night, full of red white and blue polka dots lighting up the sky, as well as gold fountains that dripped golden coins. Hope your 4th was a great one too!
Next time, I will talk about Raggedy Angela, the newest Raggedy, who is a gift for my friend at the fabric store.
Have a wonderful week. And if you live in L.A., go see the giant boulder!