Children have been making yarn dolls since the Colonial times which is why many museums across the country use yarn doll making as part of their children's activities programs.
For example the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center included yarn doll making in the Saturdays At The Museum program. ription for the program was as follows:
Join us on Saturday, September 8 from 1 - 3 pm for Second Saturdays at the Museum! Your child is invited to learn about the Civil War and Civil War era dolls while they make a yarn doll and a journal about the doll's story. We will talk about the Museum's guests, two Civil War era dolls on temporary loan from the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia, and what the War meant to the children who experienced it. Children are invited to bring their own dolls to share, discuss, and journal about during the activity. The Civil War era dolls will be on display in the Museum's permanent gallery, Fredericksburg At War, from September 3, 2012 through March 3, 2013.
The Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House has a Puppets, Dolls & Plays program that teaches how to make yarn dolls. Their description is as follows:
Did you know that making puppets and dolls is an art that was a very popular pastime in the Victorian age? Learn about the toys and games of Louisa, Anna, Elizabeth, and May and about the dolls they made. Girls will make their own yarn dolls and take them on a tour of Orchard House! They will also make a puppet and use it to dramatize a story from our "Puppet Theatre."
The Missippi Department of Archives and History created an Antebellum Tree - Yarn Dolls .PDF showing hown to make yarn doll ornaments.
According to the Missippi Department of Archives and History, "Christmas trees in Antebellum America were commonly placed on a table in the parlor, the most formal room in the house, following the fashion set by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. As commercially produced ornaments were not widely available, children and adults alike often made their own. Small gifts were often hung on the tree. Cookies, dried and preserved fruits, and gilded nuts made fashionable and tasty decorations. Yarn dolls, cornshuck dolls, snowflakes, and other cut paper ornaments decorated the tree. The tree was “lit” with candles in special holders that clipped to the branches. "
Yarn dolls are very popular for children's activities so there are a lot of tutorials out there showing you how to make them. Generally, they are faceless, but I've seen some tutorials that give the dolls simple eyes.
The Wikihow.com website has a How to Make a Colonial Girl Yarn Doll tutorial showing how to make the simple faceless yarn doll shown in the picture to the left.
According to the tutorial, "Back in colonial times, kids couldn't buy toys. Kids had to use materials like yarn to make toys. One of these toys were colonial yarn dolls. Today you will learn to make a girl colonial yarn doll."
If you would like to see and read the How to Make a Colonial Girl Yarn Doll tutorial please click here.
The Wee Folk Art website as a wonderful Yarn Dolls tutorial showing how to make the two different versions of the faceless yarn dolls shown in the picture to the right.
According to the tutorials, "If you have a skein of yarn and 15 minutes, you can create a yarn doll! This is a great craft to share with young crafters, and soon, everyone will be busy creating a community of yarn dolls! "
If you would like to see and read the Yarn Dolls tutorial please click here.
There are a lot of tutorials out there showing how to make the yarn dolls shown above, but they aren't the only faceless yarns dolls being made for young children for many years.
There is an adorable Knitted Faceless Doll tutorial on the Simply Rurban blog showing how to make the adorable faceless yarn doll shown in the picture to the left.
According to the blog, "I started a couple of projects about 2 weeks ago and finished the knitted, faceless doll. I love these dolls, they are so easy to make and the kids love them, even the boys! You can complete one of these in a day or over the course of a couple of nights."
If you would like to see and read the Knitted Faceless Doll tutorial please click here.
The Yarn Doll page of the Folk Dolls chapter of The Complete Photo Guide To Doll Making book by Nancy Hoerner, Barbara Matthiessen, and Rick Petersen has a tutorial on making a faceless yarn doll on pages 78-81 that shows how easy it is to make a simple faceless yarn doll.
According to The Complete Photo Guide To Doll Making book - Page78, "These quick and easy dolls are ideal for using up bits of yarn and can be easily adapted in a smaller size for ornaments. Mix and match colors, change length of hiar, and even glue on a face if desired."
Ravelry.com has several patterns for making faceless yarn dolls here.