Spring Fairies have Arrived

If you see a fairy ring

In a field of grass,
Very lightly step around,
Tip-Toe as you pass,
Last night Fairies frolicked there
And they're sleeping somewhere near.
If you see a tiny fairy
Lying fast asleep
Shut your eyes
And run away,
Do not stay to peek!
Do not tell
Or you'll break a fairy spell
-Author Unknown

Over the last week or so I've been working on a batch of hand-stitched fairies.

Detail on the fairy wing...

This is the first one finished. It's an original pattern, so I may be brewing up a tutorial soon...

I made her from craft felt and an old peasant style skirt (upcycled!) in the Waldorf style. I used knit fabric for her head and wool roving from Wisteria wool.

There are a few more to come. I love making Waldorf dolls. I've made a few in the past, but this is the first one I've shared on this blog. There is something about doll making that is uniquely gratifying among all of the crafts that I like tinker around with.

According to the bits and pieces of fairy lore I have gathered, the Fairies come out and about in the earthen realms at Beltane (May Day) and leave this world again at Halloween, so these Spring/Summer fairies are right on time. I modeled these in the contemporary popular tradition of lady fairies with flowing hair and butterfly wings, but as my knowledge of fairy lore grows (in other words: as I become an even bigger nerd) its becoming evident that these little people are much more varied and even fearsome than the risque little things flitting about the onscreen flower gardens of Fantasia.

This poem, originally from the Book of Leinster (ca 1160, Ireland) translated by Kuno Meyer shows something of the fairy folk's warrior-like nature:

White shields they carry in their hands,
With emblems of pale silver;
With glittering blue swords,
With mighty stout horns.

In well-devised battle array,
Ahead of their fair chieftain
They march amid blue spears,
Pal-visaged, curly-headed bands.

They scatter the battalions of the foe,
They ravage every land they attack,
Splendidly they march to combat,
A swift distinguished, avenging host!

No wonder though their strength be great:
Songs of queens and kings are one and all;
On their heads are
Golden-yellow manes.

With smooth comely bodies,
With bright blue-starred eyes,
With pure crystal teeth,
With thin red lips.

Good they are at man-slaying,
Melodious in the ale-house,
Masterly at making songs,
Skilled at playing fiddle

With a line like "Good they are at man-slaying" it's not an obvious pick for the littlest kiddos, but I do think I will share this with Chobie at some point. I just came across some commentary on the Horror literary genre that discusses how horror writing allows adults to explore fear in a safe context, and I think that that applies to telling the darker fairy tales for children too.

The other aspect of this that I like is that is shows a more masculine side to the little folk. Being the mama of two little boys, even though we are not big into enforcing gender roles, the idea of making little fairy warriors or hunters appeals to me. 

More fairy dolls to come.

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  1. These are adorable! I was just telling my older daughter how much she loved fairies when she was younger--my younger ones still love them! Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle Sunday. :)

  2. Oh she is so lovely :) I do hope you make more and make a tutorial!


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