Last week during Maine's schools winter break, I entertained a huge group of children and their parents at our local library. The children came to create their very own gnome, magical creatures perfectly suited to our woodsy landscape. My friend and arborist, Jeff Gillis of Welltree introduced the activity with a fascinating slide show on gnome habitat.
My husband Jon's woodworking talents were used to prepare the wooden gnome bodies. He cut 1 to 1.5" diameter hardwood branches into 4" lengths. Then he used a belt sander to make a 1"-1.5" long notches in the bark for each gnome's face.
I assembled the rest of the materials, wood glue and wood plugs (used for flooring) from our local hardware store. From my studio stash I pulled out polyester fleece, wool roving, yarn and felt scraps. I pre-cut the fleece into 3" x 7" rectangles for the gnome coats, and cut 9" circles into quarters for the gnome hats. I quickly ran the hats through my sewing machine, and turned them right side out. This eliminated the frustration of the kids gluing fabric hat edges.
The first step was to glue on the nose and draw the eyes with a pencil. A word of caution, If you use a felt tipped marker the ink may run into the wood grain. Next children wrapped fleece around the wood body and secured it with a knotted yarn belt. I suggested trimming the fleece under the nose to shape a coat collar.
Wool roving hair and beards are attached with a dab of wood glue. Check out this little guys long mustache!
photo Sheryl Palese
The pre-sewn hat is simply pulled down over the head, fleece has enough give that it stretches to accommodate thicker branch bodies. Or you can skip the hat all together, check out this artist's original 'Yoda'!
My basket of felt scraps encouraged creativity, the children added feet hands, bedrolls, pompoms, sleeves, hands and feet.
photo Sheryl Palese
If you love gnomes and woodland sewing projects please check out my newest book Stitched Whimsy. In honor of National Craft Month I'm giving away two of my new Whimsy Stitching Kits. They include everything you need to make your very own stitched felt creation.
For a chance to win these kits please leave a comment on this post. I'll select a lucky winner next Saturday, March 10th. Happy Crafting and Good Luck! Heidi