Would you like to know where Travelling Ava came from? It is a very good question and I’m sure it has an interesting answer. As we already know Travelling Dolls aren’t like other dolls, they are magic. I’m a firm believer in starting a story at the beginning. Where does Travelling Ava’s story begin? Does it start with a box of yarn? A box of yarn is always a good place to start a story. I’m just not sure it is where Ava’s started. To tell this story we will need to go back a bit in time.
Travelling Ava wasn’t always a doll. Before I met Ava she was a fuzzy ball of energy whizzing about the place. I’m not sure where she came from and neither is she. All she can remember about her beginning is that one moment there was nothing and then in the next moment there was everything. From the very first moment, she was full of energy zipping this way and that. She was so excited she wanted to see everything. Everything was new and wonderful.
Travelling Ava might have been full of energy but she was also very, very, very small. You would need to have very good eyesight to be able to see her at all without a very big magnifying glass. Not only was she so small she was practically invisible, she was also super quick. She literally moved 100 miles an hour all the time.
The best way to see these magical orbs of light is to not look for them at all. Have you ever seen a dart of light out of the corner of your eye? A dart of light that moves so quickly that by the time you turn your head it is gone? If you’re nodding your head then you’ve probably seen a magical creature of some description. Not all tiny orbs of light become Travelling Dolls, some are fairies and elves.
So that is how Travelling Ava started life, as a tiny ball of light and energy whizzing through the air, 100 miles an hour.
This was Ava’s first incredible adventure. She got to see so many marvellous things. She got to whizz around the pyramids of Egypt. She travelled along the full length of the Great Wall of China. She saw shooting stars and Field Mice and Penguins. It was thrilling. The problem Travelling Ava had was she could only travel at one speed and that was very quick indeed. She moved so fast she could see everything but she couldn’t stop. She didn’t have time to enjoy what she was seeing. She didn’t have time to really appreciate how magical the World is. This is the saddest part of Ava’s tale. She moved so quickly she wasn’t able to stop and make any friends. She had seen so many wondrous things but she had nobody to share them with.
Meanwhile, I was busy working in my workroom. I had spent weeks designing and making different dolls. I was really struggling. I had an idea in my head for a doll but after a few attempts, none of the dolls were quite as I imagined them. I sat in my comfy blue chair with my hook and ball of yarn and started to crochet my latest design. As l sat drinking cups of tea and crocheting a little orb of light whizz passed, catching my attention for just a moment. It was there and gone again in the blink of an eye. I continued to crochet, I had finished the legs and started working on creating a body for my doll.
The little orb of light and energy which was to become Travelling Ava hadn’t whizzed off. Something amazing had happened. For the first time ever in her life, she had stopped. She was no longer travelling 100 miles an hour through the air. She had landed in amongst my squishy pile of yarn and toy stuffing. Ava thought it felt wonderful, all soft and warm. This almost invisible orb snuggled amongst the yarn on my desk and watched me work. She watched as I made notes in my book, crossing bits out, pulling out bits of yarn and working some new stitches together. Ava felt happy, she didn’t feel like whizzing off. As she watched me work she realised something, all this time she had been travelling around the world she had actually been looking for a home. She had finally found it.
Of course, I didn’t know any of this at the time. I was just happy to be sitting in the workroom with my cup of tea and my crochet. I think the world would be a much happier place if we all spent a bit more time crocheting and drinking tea. What makes crochet so special is each stitch is stitched with love. This time though each stitch was also combined with a little bit of magic from our tiny orb, transforming this doll into a Travelling Doll.
I carefully positioned her brown eyes and sewed a little nose and mouth. She was already different from all of my other doll designs. You can imagine my surprise when she suddenly sprang to life. Tea and yarn flying everywhere as this doll started darting around the room. For the first time in her life, Ava had legs and she wanted to test them out. She was no longer moving 100 miles an hour, their legs are too short, however, for dolls, they are pretty quick.
After a peaceful afternoon quietly crocheting, I was stunned. I didn’t know what to do. You don’t expect dolls to spring to life, do you? At least I didn’t expect this before Travelling Ava. I sat very still for what felt like a very long time, watching as the doll I had just finished crocheting started exploring the workroom. She wasn’t just running around it but she was looking in draws, boxes and bags. She had started to rummage through the yarn box. This wouldn’t do. Detangling yarn is a nightmare, lots of time-consuming knots.
“Stop, just stop what you are doing,” I called out, I didn’t think about it, it just came out my mouth. She might be amazing but she is also very messy.
Ava immediately stopped what she was doing. She had been so excited to try out her new body she had completely forgotten I was there. This was no good at all. I couldn’t have a doll running around my workroom making a mess and tangling all my yarn up. She had stopped rummaging and had folded her arms resting them on the side of the box. She peered out over the edge watching me as I started cleaning up the spilt tea, rescuing yarn and stuffing, generally straightening up the trail of chaos she had left since spring up off the desk.
I had done my best to restore some order in the workroom. This gave me a few minutes to compose myself. After all, this was turning into a very strange afternoon. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I sat back down in my chair and tried very hard to hide my surprise as I heard a little voice say “Hello”.
After a moment I was able to reply. “Hello, nice to meet you. Do you have a name?”
The little doll was still just standing in the yarn box with her arms folded on the edge, she tilted her head to one side and looked thoughtful for a moment.
“I don’t think I’ve got a name but I would very much like to have one. How do you get a name?” She asked.
“Well normally someone gives you a name but you can just pick one yourself,” I explained.
“How do I pick a name?” She asked excitedly.
“That is a good question, we could search for a list of names online and see if you find one that you like.”
The little doll agreed to this and I searched online for a list of names and she sat scrolling for a moment until she pointed at one. I leaned over, I had propped my phone up on my desk in front of a stack of books so she could scroll more easily through the list of names. Meanwhile, I was searching for something for her to wear. She couldn’t go wandering off without some clothes and shoes. Luckily I had already been working on a sparkly dress. Dresses are easier and quicker to make so at least she had something to wear. I handed her the dress and looked at the name she had chosen for herself.
“Ava? Is that what you would like to be called?”
She repeated the name, testing the sound of it.
“Yes, is it a good name?” She asked.
“Actually it is the perfect name, you look like an Ava,” I replied.
She smiled, twirling around in her new sparkly dress. It didn’t look right, she needed her own outfit. I made us a pot of tea and we sat down together sketching some ideas for the perfect outfit for her. She was clearly an explorer and would need an explorers outfit for her adventures. She started to rummage through the yarn box looking for the perfect colours for her outfit. The hat was her idea. After all what kind of explorer would she be with without her hat?
I could never have imagined as I sat down to crochet my new doll design that I would now have a magical Travelling Doll living in my workroom. When the little orb of light had been whizzing around that morning she never imagined that she would have found something she had been searching for, for so long, a home and a friend to share her adventures with. Working with Travelling Ava is a real treat for me too. Yes, she can be demanding and messy at times but she is also great at reminding me to have more of my own adventures. Even if this is just a trip outdoors to read a book. She has also helped me to be a hometown tourist. To really focus on those wonderful places and things happening locally. I’m so lucky to live in the North East. Lots of opportunities for mini-adventures. Travelling Ava encourages you to be a hometown tourist, an urban explorer. Grab a buddy and go for a walk, go for a picnic, visit a museum and have an adventure.
When she isn’t having adventures magical or otherwise she lives in the workroom. She still loves rummaging through the yarn box, drinking cups of tea and planning her adventures.