Some time ago I shared our kindergarten homeschooling plans, and I mentioned we will be enjoying one special Elsa Beskow story each month. For September- well, late September and early October, as it panned out (after all, one must always be flexible when little children are involved!)- we read Christopher’s Harvest Time.
The story is about a small boy named Christopher, who wanders into his yard and gardens with a ball. He loses the ball, and meets another boy, “September”, who represents the spirit of September and whose presence has the magical effect of making the tree and garden people spring alive to talk and play with Christopher.
To bring this story to life in our family, we are following Christopher’s adventures. The first thing we did was make a ball like his. I used wool roving and needle-felted, then wet-felted it. It was easy and fun! I tried out my new multi-needle felting tool (definitely only for teens and adults!), and it went very quickly. First I shaped a small ball by hand, rolling the roving around itself at first and adding wispy layers to gradually make the ball bigger.
I used natural roving as a base, then added red roving as the ball bulked up. I was very careful to grasp the ball carefully on two sides, and use the multi-needle felting tool in the middle of the space between my two fingers so I wouldn’t poke myself. Those long needles can be brutal if you make a mistake!
The first time I ever tried to make a wool ball, I added too much roving at a time and the results were lumpy and had “cracks” where the roving didn’t felt together well. This time I went slower and used just wisps of roving at a time, and it came together very nicely.
When we were happy with the ball’s diameter, we began to wet felt it by hand. This is a great sensory craft for kids, dipping the felt into warm soapy water and gently smoothing the roving and lightly squeezing it into shape.
When it was wet and smooth as can be, we added the other colors of roving that would make it look like Christopher’s ball.
Then, I popped it into an old stocking and tied the stocking securely. It went into the washing machine with a load of towels, which carefully preserved the design and finished the felting process.
The children loved it…
Next, we made leaf crowns like September wore.
I tried various leaf crown tutorials in previous years, and since none of them seemed to work very well I experimented a little. The yellow one above is leaves woven into a band of goldenrod stalks- two stalks entwined together and then yarn-wrapped at the ends. But the goldenrod stalks were a bit stiff and the the crowns weren’t incredibly comfortable. Then I had an idea- a fingerknit chain with leaf stems woven in. It worked wonderfully, and the fingerknit chain will last (old leaves can be pulled out and replaced from day to day if they dry out).
If you don’t know how to make a fingerknit chain using four fingers, here is a great tutotrial.
Measure your child’s head and make the chain shorter than the needed circumference so that you are tying the crown on with the two tails, not the knit part.
Weave your leaves in like so…
Here is the back view.
And your leaf crown is ready to wear!
I’ll be back soon with more fun autumn activities. How have you been celebrating autumn?