Saturday, November 30, 2013

Waldorf Style Felt Advent Spiral Tutorial

We love Christmas-time. We love to bring in the tree, decorate it, and fill up our winter table with little dolls and trees and such. We do not celebrate Christmas in the religious sense at all.

So... why do we do an Advent Calendar? The main reason is so that the kids have a visual about how long until Christmas. Without it, my younger kids are certain that Santa is coming every night, despite my telling them otherwise, and then they're disappointed every morning. Since we get our tree the day after Thanksgiving, that's nearly a month of waking up disappointed. With the Advent Spiral, they can count and see how many days until Christmas. 

This tutorial is completely free, however, you may not sell any projects made using this tutorial. Please be sure to link back if you use this idea!

To make an advent spiral, you will need:
Blue felt
Thread to stitch your yarn on - I chose a metallic silver
Yellow embroidery floss
Battery operated tea-light
Something to move from star to star - we use a blue stone
Needles and scissors

First, cut your blue felt into the size you want. I don't measure, I just eyeball it.

Place your candle in the center and draw around it with a white crayon.

Freehand a spiral outwards from the candle.

That's the easy part - now you've got to sew on your yarn!

When you start to stitch you will notice that the yarn doesn't really want to stay on the pattern you drew. It wants to go all caddywhompus on you. Maybe if you are using wool felt and wool yarn, it will stick better, but I was using acrylic felt and cotton yarn (I'm cheap.) 

But never fear, I have the solution!

Place the end of your yarn down at the middle of your spiral (working out.) Now bring your knotted thread up from the back, in the very center of the line you drew. Send it over the yarn about 1/2" away from where you came up and put it back down, again in the very center of the line you drew. The yarn will naturally follow the spiral if you work in this way. 

Place a stitch every inch or so, making your stitches 1/2 inch long. Remember, you'll be reinforcing this with stars, so all you're really doing is tacking it down. I used metallic silver thread which is a huge PITA work with, but adds a nice sparkle.

Here's the completed spiral. You can still see a bit of my marking in the center, but that's okay, because the candle will be covering it. If you have more visible markings, don't worry about it, because you can strategically place your stars to cover up any goofs.

Now it's time to stitch on the stars. The nice thing about stars is, no two are alike, so you can make them bigger and smaller. Just try to place them in such a way that all 24 will fit on your spiral. 

Use all 6 strands of embroidery floss and come up from the back (call it 12 oclock) , about 1/2" away from the yarn. Now go over the yarn and back down, at 6 oclock. Come up again at 2 oclock, then down at 8 oclock, now up at 10 oclock and down at 4 oclock. That sounds insane ... let me show you with pictures.

Now you need to take two stitches in the center of the star, or its going to just flop around on the yarn and look crazy. 

Knot it off, and you're done with your star!

 Now just repeat 23 more times - this isn't as time consuming as it seems, I promise! I got it done in about 3 hours, which includes getting up numerous times to play with kids, get lunch, clean up messes, and even a little boy's haircut. If you have uninterrupted time, you should be able to get it done in an hour or so.

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