There's a great giveaway on Feeling Stitchy for Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures - and I spent about a month prepping for it! I don't usually spend such a long time making items for a review - in truth, my time is so limited that I can usually only squeeze out 1 project per book.
This book, however, has a very special magic to it - I don't know what to call it but that special something that makes you want to craft and craft. I first learned about Salley Mavor when reviewing her previous book, and she was kind enough to do an interview on her process then.
What fascinated me about Salley's method was the length of time her projects take - literally years to complete! So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised at how time-consuming these fabulous little doll projects were... I kept my review for Feeling Stitchy as brief as I could, but here's a little more background on my process.
I started my project by purchasing unfinished wooden beads for the heads, and painting them a nice range of flesh tones. The hardest part of this step for me was brush control - I stink at it. But I actually liked the organic, messy quality of the faces I painted.
I chose the largest wooden beads I could find at the craft store - at 1 in. they were larger than Salley's largest doll heads in the book. Even then, the surface area to paint on was TINY, as you can see from my giganti-hand:
My next step was bending and wrapping the pipe cleaner bodies with embroidery floss - sheesh - this part took forever. Do I have any obsessive floss winders in the house? The ones who wind, unwind, and rewind their floss on the little plastic bobbins until it lies perfectly flat? YOU FEEL MY PAIN. ;)
I had to just let go and accept lumpiness, club-footedness, and general imperfection in my projects:
Of course I'm not showing you the imperfect ones, just my as-perfect-as-I-could-get-it ones. :)
Next up was cutting the clothing and embroidering it, which I probably loved most. I did a lot of thread couching, really enjoying the look of crewel wool, metallic flosses, and golden seed beads.
I also have to reiterate that you try to use wool felt - I bought 2 nice wool blend bundles from BenzieDesign - the MmmCrafts Curated stack and a nice Heathered Collection. It made such a huge difference in terms of cutting finely detailed edges - until you've tried it, you'll never understand how different it is from the cheap synthetic felt at the craft store!
So, here's a few of the dolls I made - the Robin Hood girl in green was one of my first. Her clothes were made with acrylic felt, which was just "ok" in terms of quality. I love her hair and hat. The Harvest Woman next to her was also made with acrylic felt - I'm proudest of her curly loopy bangs and double buns.
Next up is purple Beret girl, with a painted acorn cap. Her top is in acrylic felt and her skirt is made of the wool blend felt. I really love the sassy beret girl in green - her black hair was made from pearl cotton and her green dress from wool blend felt.
But I have to say my personal favorite is this flower fairy girl I made for my niece:
At this point I had shifted to using the entire acorn as a head, which explains the slight vertical ridges on her face. But it seems like a nicer, more organic shape than the perfectly rounded wooden beads.
Here's a close-up view of the acorn head:
His outfit was completely unembellished but I loved it just the same - I think it's the wool fedora that makes it. :)
I made a pink-haired flower girl, over on the right, but I'm not a fan of her lumpy arms:
I also enjoyed making the simpler projects for kids with my 10 year old niece - they were quick and easy, like this acorn fairy:
This was the first iteration of blonde flower girl and fedora guy, as a simple project for kids:
SO, I think I have fully summarized what a blast I had making these dolls. Super time-consuming and very detailed work, but strangely addictive and enjoyable fun!
You have until Friday, 5 PM if you'd like to enter the giveaway on Feeling Stitchy - I definitely recommend this magical book!