Sunday, November 21, 2010

Handmade Holiday ~ Wool Advent Calendar Tutorial


We have celebrated Advent for the past several years now, but I never think of making an Advent calendar until the last minute. This year I remembered in plenty of time though, if you can call one week plenty of time.

I spent most of this beautiful snowy day working on the calendar. I took pictures as I went along and am trying to get this posted right away, in case you want to make a last minute (I mean a well planned out, way ahead of time) Advent calendar too.

I had a felted wool sweater which I cut to use as a base. You could use a large sheet of felt as well. My piece is about 12 x 16 inches. I cut it kind of oval but with a flatter bottom and a rounder top. I like this dark blue, reminding me of a cold winter night sky.

I then took some yellow/gold wool roving, made a frame around my base, and gently needle felted it in place.

I made two star templates, a larger one for the Sundays in Advent, smaller stars for the days in between. I chose my colors of wool felt to make the stars.. a soft white, a beautiful turquoise, a bright yellow, and a darker gold for the bigger stars.

And then I cut out lots and lots of stars.

I decided to have 28 spaces on our Advent calendar. We will begin along the path on the first Sunday of Advent (November 28th this year) and we will reach the end of the path on Christmas. In years when the season is shorter we will just have to move along the path a bit more quickly during the last week. You could just do 24 or 25 spaces instead though and always start your calendar on December 1st.

Then I laid out the stars in a spiraling path.

Satisfied with their position I began needle felting them into place. I have done lots of needle felting but always with roving, not felt sheets.. it's lots of fun! Just hold the smaller stars very carefully as you try to get them secure with the first few pokes. At first they may want to lift right up, but they will soon start to hold. I went around the path getting each one at least a bit attached to begin with, then I didn't have to worry about them shifting as I went back around and made them more secure. As with most needle felting projects how much or how little you want to felt them is up to you. I liked my stars best needle felted well down onto my base. I am not even really quite done yet, and I may felt the border some more also.

I have not yet decided who or what will be traveling along the path. I thought perhaps Mary, but I think she will be waiting until the last Sunday of Advent to make her appearance.

The first week we will bring our crystals and stones to our Advent spiral.

The second week we will add plants. I hope to make some wool trees and I will share this part of the project too as soon as I get to it. Another idea would be to just add pine cones, or some small evergreen stems. These will have to go somewhere around the outer edge of the calendar.

The third week we will add animals, maybe a little sheep and some birds. (Thinking out loud here, I'm glad I will have some time each week to work on this rather than having to do it all at once.)

And then on the fourth Sunday we will be greeted by Mary. She will then continue along the path and be joined by her Child of Light on Christmas day. (And possibly Joseph too, but he might have to wait until next year...)

You could leave your Advent calendar much more simple though. Just the spiral star path with a special little something to move along the path.. acorn, a crabapple, an angel, a little shepherd boy, some of the ideas I have had so far...

I will continue to share my progress as the rest of the details come along. I sure am looking forward to this cozy season of creating!



the nest said...

Renee, it is so beautiful! Such a thoughtful approach to the season.

best ~ Annri

Linda said...

This is so beautiful Renee! We have also made an Advent calendar and blogged about it yesterday.
Take care my friend

Sarah said...

Beautiful. The one I made takes up a lot of space and we ate having trouble finding a flat spot for it this hear.

Tonya Gunn said...

This is my plan to make one also for advent - last minute I fear:) but a wonderful project - yours looks beautiful!

Beth said...

This is such a beautiful idea Renee! Thank you so much for sharing. We have done Mary's path of stars in the past and the children loved it - it really brought reverence to this very exciting season.

Amanda Pedro said...

hey, this is a different idea to me. love it. will bookmark it for sure!
thanks for sharing

Kelly said...

Really lovely, Renee.

Restless Prairie Farm said...

This is lovely! And so simple. I'm also working on a "last minute...I mean, planned out well ahead of time" advent calendar.:o)

I hope we get to see the trees and such too. I love seeing all of the things you come up with.

Unknown said...

It is lovely Renee, I think I shall make one to. xxx

Val said...

What a lovely idea thank you!

a little crafty nest said...

Renee, This is wonderful! I like all the stars. I have a similar advent calendar but I only used 4 stars and dots in between. I like it all starry and heavenly, though. We also use a rock, then a plant, then an animal, and finally people. It's so fun to share similar traditions with other like-minded folks.
xo Jules

Tahara said...

I love your calendar Renee!

Hullabaloo Homestead said...

Love your creativity. To think that a sweater is just a sweater seems so silly now. I can't believe you are having snowy days! I mean I guess I can, but our days are stil in the 60's! Hope you and your family are doing well...and your horses too!


suzanne said...

HELLO Renee~!

How beautiful...I am inspired as last year I left this part of our celebrations out . I love the adding and scene creating left for every Sunday. Olivia will love this..OOOPS better get cracking.

I just love this time of year. Busy , festive...little hands eager to help.. JUST LOVE IT!

I hope you are well Renee. Love to your family too.


W-S Wanderings said...

It's gorgeous, and full of meaning. Perfect!