The second light of Advent is the light of plants. Roots, stem, leaf, flower and fruit by whom we live and grow.
Happy second week of Advent! Have you been bringing greenery into your house? Or maybe you took a poinsettia to your neighbor or church. We set up our Christmas tree. I have a confession to make, though: it’s fake. With a toddler and two dogs running around, and being eight months pregnant, a fake tree is about all I can handle. Also, it must be admitted that until this last year, I was not a holiday decorator. Before the baby was born, I’d throw a bag of ornaments in our trifle dish and consider the job done. This is part of the reason I love Waldorf Advent so much! It gives me–the holiday novice–some much-needed structure! I do love decorating the nature table, though. I thought I’d share some tips for making a forest gnome like the one I made last night.
Start with a handful of roving and wrap it around a pipe cleaner. It’s okay if it looks like a dead rat; you just want it to have a vague cone shape. Keep a couple of inches of pipe cleaner uncovered; this will become your base. Begin felting with your needle. I would love to give you some tips on technique, but I am a pretty new felter myself (this page has a couple helpful videos, and of course Pinterest and YouTube have lots of great advice). I just sort of make it up as I go! Anyway, at this point your cone should start to come together a little (it will start to look more like a live rat). You want your base shape to be firm. Getting a smooth finish later is dependent on having a nicely felted core. Make a circle with the uncovered pipe cleaner and hook it on itself. You will cover this when you add the next layer of wool. Choose your colors. I decided to make my gnome’s hat a mossy green, while his suit was more of a forest green. Wrap and loosely felt your outer colors to your roving. You want to use enough to cover the roving, but not so much that it’s really thick. Also, don’t forget to cover your base. Just felt around the pipe cleaner (be warned that using pipe cleaners in your felting projects will cause your needles to go dull sooner).
Start felting! This is the longest step. Just keep going until your little gnome is pretty firm. You’ll notice that you can still see some needle holes in my pictures. This is because I only have one old needle! I just ordered some spiral needles, but they didn’t come in time for this tutorial. I don’t think my gnome minds too much. You can stop here or choose to add some highlight colors. I had a bunch of strands of greens from making a forest fairy earlier in the month, so I decided to add them here and there to my gnome. Next comes the nose. Simply felt a small ball out of roving, and then cover it with whichever flesh tone you choose, and felt that. Place your ball directly under the hat line and stick it a few times with your needle to attach it. Now it’s time for the beard. I had a gray roving that I really liked, but I thought I’d add some strands of brown to it as well, just to incorporate another forest color. Start by attaching the beard with a few pokes around the nose, and then add some “curls” by placing your needle next to the beard, pushing in a little, and then sticking the roving down.
Almost done! Add a brim to your gnome’s hat by felting a few strips to the base so it hangs over his nose a bit. Finally, I added a holly detail. I needle felted two small leaves to the hat. The holly I poked a few times with my needle, and then I rolled each ball with a bit of water between my fingers. Then I stuck the three balls to the leaves. That’s it! Our gnome is now happily at home on our nature table with our forest fairy, our Tomten and his little buddy (these will be our answer to the Elf on a Shelf when the kids are older), and our salt candle holder from minerals week.