3 small needle-felted dolls, Waldorf style

Mad in Pursuit Notebook

Gem Dolls: Antique Brooches on Woolly Figurines


2 Jan 2023.

Challenge. After Eli's makeover, with my boxes of wool and felting tools out, I wanted to play. Also, at the back of my mind is always the call to "do something" with the remainder of Jim's collection of antique brooches and buckles. Could I incorporate some brooches into a simple doll design?

Plan. I drew inspiration from the Living Felt channel on YouTube, specifically, the video "Needle Felt Waldorf Doll--Bee Fairy." "Waldorf" style encourages faces without features to encourage a child's (or adult's) imagination. And 6-inch "fairies" don't need much armature--only 2 pipe cleaners.

I also relied on Living Felt's "Needle Felt Doll Hair Styles--Dos & Don'ts."

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I picked out three brooches and buffed them with the Dremel silicone polishing bits. Mind you, I didn't ruin the patina of priceless gem pieces. These are made with glass and base metals--pretty costume jewelry (although the blue brooch does feature the wing of a morpho butterfly, which is both exotic and sad).

Results. I made three dolls, using my old skills more effectively with each one--(1) blue Morpha; (2) lime green Topaz; and (3) green Pearl. For Topaz I used felted sweater wool for her core. I was working on her in the image below.

The results were surprisingly lively and fun. They look like they are singing!

[continued below the image]

Working on doll #2



  • Needle-felting is a slow process, even for dolls as simple as these. It is a meditation.
  • The brooches didn't integrate with the dolls as much as I would have liked. I made Pearl much stouter than the other two to accommodate her round brooch.
  • Mid-process, I sent for more wool. I mistakenly ordered long-fiber Merino wool, so that Pearl and Morpha now look like they are wearing fur coats. Lesson learned.

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Books from Mad in Pursuit and Susan Barrett Price: KITTY'S PEOPLE: the Irish Family Saga about the Rise of a Generous Woman (2022)| HEADLONG: Over the Edge in Pakistan and China (2018) | THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) | TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) | PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008). Available at Amazon.