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If you were already a fan of Salley’s previous book Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects, you will recognize some of the previous characters. Many more doll patterns have been added in this book as well as additional step-by-step guidance.
This is a fabulous book! The detailed photos are helpful and clear. Her clothing and doll patterns have a charmingly hand-drawn quality. I highly suggest using wool felt, just as Salley does - it makes a world of difference when it comes to cutting fine shapes and tiny decorative edges. Sharp scissors are also a must.
More about the book - there are SO MANY patterns and ideas in this book - at 159 pages, there are 18 chapters of dolls and photos. Each chapter has a different doll theme - Blossom Fairies, a Dollhouse Family, Harvest Folk, Driftwood Clan, Woodland Folk, Royal Family, Nativity Scene, Winter Play, Hansel and Gretel, Sherwood Forest, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Nursery Rhymes, and Wedding Cake Toppers.
The wedding cake toppers are genius and sweet - how adorable would it be to create felt versions of a couple for their wedding cake or engagement party?
There are many sizes of dolls to make: 1 1/2 in., 2 in., 2 1/2 in., 3 in., 3 1/2 in., 4 in., 4 1/2 in. and "sturdy" versions of doll bodies that will take more bending and posing. There are also simpler projects for children, like a simple flower fairy and simple Wee Folk boy and girl doll - and these could be a great way to get started. Lastly, there's an adorable lamb pattern bedecked with oodles of French knots for the nursery rhyme scenes.
My personal favorites, and the patterns I chose to craft from were the Blossom Fairies, Harvest Folk, Woodland Folk, and Sherwood Forest:
Now, on to my crafting! I'd like to add the disclaimer that I am not excellent at any of the skills it takes to create the dolls - your real judgement of the book should come from the beautiful photos from the book above, and Salley's blog! :)
The most time-consuming part, and the one I initially enjoyed least, was bending and winding thread around the pipe cleaner bodies. But once I was on my third or fourth Wee Folk body, it made a bit more sense to me.
These projects involve a lot of different skills, but I think you can approach them from any level. Painting heads and faces, cutting felt, embroidering outfits, sewing, bending pipe cleaners, gluing on hair, etc.
I worked on the larger 4 in. size dolls - but even they were TINY. Such tiny projects require lots of patience and attention to detail. You will likely be frustrated in your first attempts, so I’d suggest planning to make a few Wee Folk rather than just one. Don't be surprised if the dolls take hours to make - my first doll took a good 6 hours to put together, and I worked together with my sister!
In terms of embroidery stitches, I used a variety of stitches and threads, but I most enjoyed the look of couched threads, crewel wool, a dash of metallic floss, and golden seed beads.
I tried the projects for kids - like the little acorn fairy below, with my 10 year old niece and had a lot of fun with it. The dolls were much smaller, but not having to wind thread around the bodies made it go faster, and not embroidering the outfits also made for more speed.
If you don’t have access to unfinished wooden beads for heads, but do have access to a tree with acorns, you could try what I did - use the entire acorn as a Wee Folk head! I can't take credit for this idea - it was my mom's stroke of genius while she was collecting acorn caps. :)
I washed and dried the acorns (freeze to kill critters - oops I left out that step) then hollowed out the bottoms with sharp scissors to make a hole for the pipe cleaner.
Then I painted the acorns with acrylic paints and decorated. The paint did not adhere quite as well to the acorns, and flaked off in tiny bits, so I'd suggest a second coat on yours.
I actually like the acorn heads a bit better - they look more organic and true to life as very few humans have perfectly round heads. You get a larger variety of face and head shapes, and best yet, for absolutely free! :)
I really had a lot of fun creating these tiny dolls, and as you can see, I could continue making them forever...
If you enjoy tiny, detailed projects that allow for lots of creativity and personal handiwork, I cannot recommend this book enough!
Giveaway time: The publisher has generously offered us 1 free copy of Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures to give away today! This giveaway is open to all of our readers, with 1 stipulation - U.S. winners will receive a print copy of the book, international readers will receive a PDF copy, as we did for this review.
To win, please leave a comment on this post by 5 PM US CST, Feb. 20, 2015. Tell us what your favorite part of making these dolls would be - embroidering the outfits, painting the faces, creating funky hairstyles, etc. I'll choose 1 random comment and announce the winner soon after!