The Russian dolls (also called Russian Nesting Dolls) are called Matroschka, Matryoshka and матрёшка. As a kid I would see these Russian dolls when we went to the Canadian National Exhibition in downtown Toronto at the end of each Summer. I always wanted one. They were exotic, something from a country I heard so many different stories about. They were also so pretty, some were cute and some were so intricately painted they were things of real beauty.
I asked my Mother to buy me one. She told me to wait and see if I still wanted one next year and then I could buy one myself. This is still excellent advice for anything you want, it sure does cut down on my impulse spending when I am out shopping around. (Not that I always follow that rule, of course).
It took me a few years before I had the money to spend on a Russian doll. I couldn’t get one of those really big ones with endless dolls nested inside. But, I did get one that made me happy. She has five dolls, including the tiny baby in the middle. She is a traditional looking Russian doll cause when I took the time to look and remember the very first Russian dolls I had wanted this one seemed to be the most like the very one I had wished for all that time ago. I think she’s pretty. Of course, I have seen cuter dolls since then. But, I am happy to have the doll that I have.
Buy a pattern for (very cute) crocheted Matryoshka dolls from Handmade Kitty’s Etsy shop.
Soleil Girl has pretty Russian nesting dolls made out of felt, with embroidered features.
The Russian Crafts site has a page up with lots of information about the history and creation of the traditional Russian Nesting Doll.