I took the Baba Yaga and Vassalisa class from Melinda at Doll U 1999. You can not believe the excitement I felt Thursday night when I saw the actual doll on display during the Teachers introduction night. All that I had seen up till then was the line drawing Melinda had supplied for the catalogue. This pattern is a challenge for both the beginner and the advanced doll maker. Use your paints, pencils and pens to color the faces.

The doll is made by using "trapunto". She has a mask that contains all the soft sculpting. Her hands are a modified mitten. This type of hand provides great detail for a lot less work. My doll is made from various materials, a hand towel for Vassalisa's apron, upholstery material for Baba Yaga festival dress, cottons, velvets and rich braids. Their blouses were made of white cotton that I embroidered using my sewing machine. I used bone beads, plastic buttons, garnets, pearls and silver buttons.

Melinda's pattern not only provides the doll maker with a great pattern but also the opportunity for the doll maker to understand a woman's role in history. The doll comes with the Russian folk tale about a girl going through the door to womanhood. It is rich in symbolic details that would provide a doll maker with many options. Melinda has provided some research material in her pattern. For additional insight into what the folk tale represents I suggest the following book "Embroidered Textiles, Traditional Patterns from Five Continents" by Sheila Paine, ISBN 0-5500-27823-7. After you have read that book just go to your local cloth store and look over the button selections. You will be amazed at the use of so many of the ancient symbols used in today's society.

I think that the best success with this pattern is to keep with the traditional colors. Keep your reds as true as you can. Use braids that are the three traditional colors. There are a lot of braids that come in with additional colors and they just detract from the more traditional scheme. This pattern is very fun to do. Enjoy it.

Melinda's website is located here.