The days are growing shorter here in the Northern Hemisphere, the leaves are falling, animals are preparing to hibernate, and we are all called to slow down and rest as the temperatures grow colder. The festival of Advent is a balancing force to this darkness and slowness. It brings anticipation and expectation while we forge our way through the darkest months. The four-week festival of Advent calls us to grow closer with the natural world around us, honoring the four kingdoms of this natural world.
Today, we welcome back our talented Creator of the Month, Josie, from @onwillowsbend to share how to make a wool felt Advent Calendar to mark each week of the four week festival. This pocket calendar is the perfect way to celebrate the joy and magic of Advent without feeling tied to a daily ritual. Children don’t need a daily gift or activity to enjoy the magic of Advent time. Fill the pockets with treasures corresponding to each of the four lights of Advent, and on the four Advent Sundays, your children can look inside and find a small gift. You could fill the pockets with some of the following suggestions or come up with your own ideas-
Week 1, Stones Week - Crystals or seashells
Week 2, Plants Week - Flower or vegetable seeds, acorns, or gumnuts
Week 3, Animals Week - Tiny wooden animal figures or modeling beeswax
Week 4, Humankind Week - Small felt angels, candles, or a loving note
Gather Your Supplies
- A 9x11" rectangle of wool felt in your choice of background color
- A piece of felt measuring at least 8x8" in a neutral color for the pockets
- Felt scraps in various colors
- Embroidery thread
- Embroidery and fabric scissors
- A sewing needle and pins
- A chalk pencil
- A printed copy of the paper pattern
- A straight stick and yarn for hanging
Start Your Craft
Begin by cutting out and shaping the pocket calendar background piece. Use a dinner plate as a template to draw rounded corners on the bottom end of your felt rectangle, and cut out.
Next, create the sleeve for the stick at the top of the calendar. Fold the felt over by 1" and pin in place. Sew along the edge using a whip stitch or a blanket stitch.
To make the applique pockets print the calendar pattern page. Cut out the patterns and pin them to your felt. Then carefully cut around them. Alternatively, lay the pattern pieces on the back of your felt and draw around them using a chalk pencil and cut out.
Applique the Pockets
Next, make the applique calendar pockets. Start with the shell. First embroider the shell using a backstitch to create a spiral pattern. Next, pin the felt shell onto a larger piece of background felt. Sew around the outside of the shell and around the inside cut-out using a whip stitch or blanket stitch. Cut around the shell leaving a small border of background felt.
Next decorate each felt pocket with each applique design. First lay the appliqué pieces onto each pocket, when you are happy with the positioning, remove the top pieces and pin the bottom pieces in place. Sew in place using a whip stitch or blanket stitch. Continue to pin and sew the remaining pieces of felt. Finish by adding some simple embroidery stitches to the appliqué pictures. I used French knots for the center of the poinsettia flower and simple straight stitches for the candle and bird wings.
Now lay these four pockets in the correct order on the main calendar piece of wool felt. Pin in place. Sew around the sides and bottoms of the pockets, securing the top corners of the pockets with a few extra stitches for strength.
Slide the stick through the sleeve you created at the top of the calendar. Use a length of yarn or finger knitted cord to hang the calendar at child height. All that is left to do is celebrate the light of Advent each week!