We’ve been using Elsa Beskow’s wonderful books to supplement our kindergarten time, and this week we are reading Ollie’s Ski Trip. With a fresh snow blanketing the world in white this morning, I was inspired to make a little wool roving Ollie to kick off our adventures in his story.
First, I took a piece of roving and formed a ball, leaving a tail- this will be the head and upper body. Next, a thin piece of roving tied under the “head” serves as a neck. After tying it and wrapping the loose ends around, I poked them a bit with the needle to keep them in place. Just click on the pictures to enlarge them a bit if they are showing up too small in your browser. Also, you can see some of these steps in the first few video tutorials I posted last time for Magic Wool Fairies.
Next, I took half a pipe cleaner minus 1 inch (save the other piece of half plus 1 inch for the legs!) and wrapped it once under the neck for arms. I curled the ends of the arms in a bit to keep the hands from being poky (the end of the pipe cleaner is sharp) and to make them thicker to look more like hands. Then I wrapped thin strips of roving around the arms, shoulders, and upper body to fill it in and give it the contours of a human body. Next, I separated the “tail” hanging from the upper body into two pieces- back and front- and then divided each of these into two, with the inner back and inner front serving as two “strings” to tie around the piece of pipe cleaner left over after making the arms. The leg pipe cleaner is folded in half of course…
Next I took the hanging pieces of roving and wrapped them around the legs. I folded the pipe cleaner “feet” just as I did the hands. I wrapped the feet in white and black roving to look like Ollie’s boots and socks, and tied bits of red embroidery thread to mimic the ties on his legs. Then I added some blue roving pants, wrapping and poking until they fit just right.
I set Ollie on a piece of paper and traced a coat for him. I made sure to cut the wool felt a bit larger than the actual tracing to leave room for his three-dimensionality. I wrapped his hands in white mittens with a red border, and sewed his little coat right on.
Next I added some hair, and “measured” him for his hat with a piece of paper. I cut the paper in two and added some shaping to it, as a pattern for the felt hat he would wear. Next time I won’t make the pieces quite so triangular in top, but it still turned out pretty well…
I sewed the hat wrong side out, turned it right side out, and needle-felted it to his head by adding a circle of wrapped roving around the border (just like Ollie’s hat has a thick rim) and poking it through the felt and securely to his head. I topped it with a tiny ball of roving. Be careful! Hard not to poke yourself with such a tiny ball. Lastly, I gave him a face. It was my first attempt at a face, using black and red roving in tiny quantities for eyes and mouth and a tuft of skin tone as a nose for the face. My kids like the face, but I think I prefer him without one… what do you think?
The final touch was to hot glue his feet to popsicle stick “skis” and toothpick ski poles.
For Christmas, the children got a collection of Arctic animals from Ostheimer, and we used them to reenact some of the Ollie scenes. King Winter, gifted last year by my friend Mama West Wind, has a castle guarded by polar bears and a throne guarded by walruses.
They enjoyed playing for a while…
Until we headed outside to build a real snow castle for Ollie.
Then we went inside and I had a cup of hot cocoa with my favorite little people. Our “natural” recipe is 1/4 cup of organic cocoa, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water heated til it begins to boil. Then we pour in 3 cups of organic raw milk, 3 TBSP honey, and bring just to the point before boiling. We remove it from the heat and mix in 1/2 tsp vanilla. MMMmm!