Only 3 or 4 days ago, I realized how close we are getting to Martinmas. I also remembered a few very specific crafts that I've been dying to make since, well, last Martinmas. And so the frantic crafting began. In the midst of all that, a friend from our festival group asked if our kids might enjoy getting together to wet felt lanterns. Of course, wet felting lanterns meant that the project was mostly worked on by us moms. The balloons are so slippery to try to felt around!
We finally found some success when we wrapped some mesh around the wool on the balloon to hold things together while it started to felt. Inevitably, there were a few thin places in the wool lantern.
I thought that a bit of decoration might cover the thin spots. I needle felted a few stars inside of cookie cutters, then steamed them with an iron and stitched them to the wool lantern.
Another issue I discovered with the lantern was the propensity it had to fold in half when the weight of the lantern was on the handle. I bought a bit of 1.2 mm wire to form into a circle and blanket stitch to the top of the lantern to give it a better shape when held.
Finn is quite thrilled with his little Martinmas lantern.
He quite seriously walked around the yard to practice carrying his lantern for Martinmas.
And he took his lantern into a dark closet to test it's brightness.
I will confess to one less-than-natural piece to this lantern. I bought a battery operated candle light. Wool is less flammable than other natural fibers, but Finn is not known for his careful handling of lanterns, and I really didn't want this lantern ruined or burned. Maybe another year we'll add a little glass candeholder and tealight, but for this year I wimped out.
This lantern I bravely trusted with a real flame.
Elizabeth started a felted lantern at our friend's house, but she really wants to use this mason jar covered with a lacy jar cozy that I started earlier in the week. The yarn really has a glossy sheen to it that shines with a candle inside.
We just need to add a wire handle for her.
The last bit of Martinmas crafting I've been working on this week is this sweet little lantern child. I wish I would have started this sooner because I'd love to make a whole parade of these children.
The kids adore this little addition to our nature table, and I bet I can find other seasonal uses for this little hooded cutie.