My daughter brought out the Christmas stocking I made for my granddaughter, Bridget, this past visit so I thought I would share it with you.
It is from a pattern in Inspirations #60 designed by Jenny McWhinney of Australia. I happened to have the fabric on hand, and ordered all the yarns from Needle in a Haystack in Alameda, California. They are a mixture of Appleton Crewel Wools and Paternayan Yarns. This looks complicated, doesn't it? But it is surprisingly easy to work up. Being used to much finer cotton and silk threads with their exacting placement requirements I was pleasantly surprised at how "loosey-goosey" this was to stitch. Woolen yarns are very forgiving to work with, and this design can tolerate non-exact placement of the stitches, you just add new stitches here and there until it looks right. Jenny advocates a very interesting method of design transfer. You trace the embroidery design onto water-soluble stabilizer, and tack it to the fabric. Then stitch right through the stabilizer. I used the really heavy Super Solvy which made the tracing very easy. Once all the embroidery is finished, soak in water until the stabilizer is dissolved and let dry. I added the gold lacing on the name afterwords. Luckily, all the wool yarns for this project are colorfast. Don't try this with silk and some of the DMC cottons without checking for colorfastness first!
I embroidered the name with chain stitch in the red yarn, and I have to admit I went a bit overboard on the gold interlacing. Oh well, pretty flashy. The holly berries are made by wrapping yarn around 1/4 inch beads. Everyone who has seen it asks me what is that robin sitting on? Most think it is a frosted Earth. I have to explain that this is a design by an Australian, and I think they must follow the English custom of steamed puddings for Christmas dessert. While I was in Australia for Beating Around the Bush in October 2009 I asked Jenny to design one with a pecan pie for the Americans. I doubt she will consider this, but I think it might be kind of cute.
My likes and dislikes:
I really love the pattern, even with the odd pudding. The wool yarns are very easy to work with, the design stitched up fairly easily and it looks great. You can compare it to her kit and see for yourself. It is available on Jenny's website at a discounted price of AUS$60. It contains everything but the fabric, which is pretty easy to get anywhere.
What didn't I like? Ummm, nothing! This was a great project, and I even bought a kit for a different stocking, one with candles, just in case I get another grandchild. Wait - the only thing I didn't like is that the stocking is huge, measuring 22 1/2 inches top to bottom. With the precedence set, I will have to make one this big for every grandchild. Depending on how many there will be, this could get expensive for the parents (and grandparents) to fill each year.
You can barely see the date due to the fold in the fabric, but it says "2008" which was her first Christmas. I actually finished this in early spring 2009, but I don't think she will remember. Several of the jingle bells have fallen off so my daughter will be sending this back to me for some repair work.
OK, no more Christmas stuff until I actually start on Christmas 2011 projects.