Martinmas is a favorite celebration in our family — full of wonder, ritual, and the beautiful reminder of the inner light within all of us. In the Waldorf tradition, Martinmas is a festival that celebrates empathy and kindness towards others, and the powerful spark of light in our hearts that glows brightly even as the days, deep into Autumn, grow darker. Even if you don’t celebrate Martinmas in your home, the symbolic warmth of lantern light is a wonderful way to connect with each other as the season slips into the crispness of fall days
In celebration, I want to share with you our Martinmas Lantern Bunting. Made of wool felt in autumnal colors, this bunting adds a decorative warmth to your home and lantern festivities. Enjoy!
100% wool felt in various colors
Embroidery floss to match
The Martinmas Lantern Bunting is based on the traditional pattern for paper lanterns, one that we are all familiar with from our childhoods. First, decide on the colors for your bunting. We used colors that reminded us of warmth and firelight. Then, cut a series of 12 wool felt rectangles sized roughly 3 ½ inches long x 2 ¾ inches wide. You can make your lanterns any size you wish, but we like ours to be small, making them easy to string up anywhere.
Next, fold each rectangle in half and lightly iron, with the steam setting on, until you have a nice fold in the felt that holds it shape. With scissors, make a series of cuts along the folded edge, being careful not to cut too close to the bottom edges of the rectangle.
Then, from matching colors of felt, cut 12 strips that will become the lantern handles (we used the measurements 2 ¾ inches x ¼ inch).
Using the needle and embroidery floss, sew together the top and bottom of the short edges of each lantern. Then sew the lantern handles into place.
Finally, choose a color of embroidery floss to join the lanterns together, sewing them by looping the floss through the top of each lantern handle. We spaced our lanterns at roughly 2 ½ inch intervals.
Your bunting is now finished and ready to decorate the arrival of Autumn, the celebration of Martinmas, and the beauty and joy of your family’s inner light.
Gwen Elliott is inspired by family feasts, celebration, and the magic of everyday, simple living. She lives by the Salish Sea, in British Columbia, with her husband, daughter, and faithful black dog. Her inspiration to build family foundations and traditions is chronicled on her blog, barn raising.