Christmas Stockings and Christmas cheer

Eeeeek! It’s nearly Christmas! So excited about this Christmas  – we are not hosting it this year, so will be able to hang out with our family without organising the food or preparations, and play with my brother’s new puppy, yay! Anyway, given that a sewing blog should have more sewing and less puppy in it, I’ll move on  –  to Christmas stockings! Hurrah for Christmas stockings! Apparently in Germany, they used to leave out shoes and Santa would put sweets in them. I might have nicked my dad’s shoes when I was little…

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You might have seen the one I made for a wee baby boy called Matthew a couple of posts ago. Well, this one is for his mum. They are commissioned by a neighbour of mine, and I think she liked the idea of one which matched Matthew’s, even though I offered her the choice of some more grown up ones. Obviously you know your own family, so she felt Chloe would like this, although at the time it was only part-finished (and nameless!). It was nice to finish it, as I think it did end up quite nice, and looks like a pair with her son’s.

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I made Chloe’s stocking with a white cotton exterior, a red cotton lining and the cuff and heel with a flannel christmas tree fabric from … I can’t remember! I’ll have a think an insert here, but it could be by My Mind’s Eye for Riley Blake.

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I rather liked this little penguin on Matthew’s stocking (I designed him 3 years ago for my son’s little friends’ stockings – on my flickr stream if you are particularly interested, although I think I’ve got more polished over the last years), so decided to give him a wee friend:

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Again, I had fun just freehand cutting felt, keeping the shapes simple is the key to this! And particularly enjoyed the hand stitching. I used no. 8 perle cottons again, and the are lovely to work with, and add texture and a shimmer, which I don’t remember getting with the little embroidery I have done in the past using embroidery floss. Running stitches and backstitches – not difficult! But I think they look nice anyway.

And finally Chloe’s name in pink:

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And then the other daughter in law! My neighbour got 2 daughters in law and a baby grandson in the space of a year – lucky lady! And such a lovely family. The brief for Carolyn was “pastel”. I read “more grown up”. Unfortunately I can’t get good pictures of this, so you’ll have to trust me when I say it looks better in the reality (again!)… That’s one thing about Christmas crafting in Scotland – difficult to get any light to photograph in!

Well I most definitely did not freehand cut the felt for the stag! I found a nice silhouette of a deer on the internet, sized it up, printed it out, traced it onto freezer paper, ironed it onto the felt and cut round it. Once I sewed it onto the stocking I could then “draw” with my needle and perle cotton thread and a running stitch. It was very therapeutic.

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The little pink hearts were sweet and fun to add a little touch of colour. The whole thing was lovely to make – I think the white makes it feel wintry and snowy, not to mention Scottish, without being too “in your face” Christmas holly and all. After all it is a christmas stocking, you could applique a beach and it would look Christmassy. Well in Australia anyway.

I’ve only swithered about whether I should have done the lettering in pink felt – part of me is still unsure, although I like it better in my hands than on pictures. I think pink might have messed with the magic of the pink hearts on a frosty day, and the white gives the impression of having been made of snow. I’m saying that, but in reality whatever my subconcsious feels is being firmly slapped down by my conscious which says I don’t want to unpick and re-do it!

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well that’s a lot of words about stockings (and as ever pictures!), so I’ll take my leave of you and maybe even get in an episode of “Firefly” which we got on boxset last Christmas and are only just getting round to watching now! It’s those cold winter nights, make us couch potatoes 😉

Poppy

xx

It’s Sew Christmas!

I can never decide if being too busy sewing to blog is a good or bad thing. I’ve most certainly been too busy sewing to Flickr. Sewing… Ok, and holidays in Mallorca (wonderful), Shingles (not wonderful), only son turning 4 (pretty darn cool) and a piratey 4th Birthday party (too wonderful and joyous for words). And sewing and sewing and sewing…

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This is a first Christmas stocking for a sweet little baby boy called Matthew, who is the grandchild of a lovely neighbour of mine. It’s her first grandchild and she’s quite rightly smitten; and asked for a Christmas stocking after seeing my flickr stream. I really enjoy the embellishing of a Christmas stocking, once I get over the hump of “it’ll take ages” – and it never does take as long as you’d think! Mostly because it’s mainly handsewing, which is a lovely relaxing thing to do, and I do it in front of the TV or whilst listening to an audiobook (I’ve discovered the joys of Audible!)

The exterior and lining fabrics are 100% cotton, and it’s interlined with “Warm & Natural” cotton batting, which gives it some nice structure without being stiff. I drafted my own template mainly because I like quite a big stocking – nothing worse than those skinny little things. Actually, his parents might not thank me for that; there is equally nothing worse than a half-filled stocking 😉

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I freehand cut felt into shapes after a quick back-of-an-envelope sketch of a design on paper first. I would find these things much harder to do if I had to use a lot of templates and be too fussy about it all. I’m much more of a go with the flow kind of girl. Keeping shapes simple is the key for me! And felt is very forgiving. I have done a stocking using a picture from Tilda’s “Crafting Christmas Gifts” and fabric – using wonderunder and then handsewing all the layers down. To be honest although I loved the results, I didn’t really enjoy the process – too restrained – using someone else’s ideas, and too much faffing around with an iron. It is lovely though!

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Anyway, stocking sewn, felt cut, I settled down in front of cosy crime on the iplayer and sewed them on with a whipstitch. I should probably use blanket stitch for stength, but a whipstitch seems to do the job from past projects and is quicker and more fun for me. I did blanket stitch the lettering, as that would be harder to repair in the future if needed.

My absolutely favourite bit was getting out the perle 8 cotton and doing some simple running stitch embroidery. I was deeply inspired by an amazingly creative and lovely girl I met who runs “Avery Homestore” in Edinburgh, and has the most inspiring blog (http://www.mybearpaw.com) who likes to hand quilt with perle 8s, and inspired me to buy some, a long time ago – finally I decided to give them a go, and I’m glad I did! I loved working with them – they give texture and an almost shimmery look to the stocking, which I hadn’t expected, and were surprisingly easy to work with.

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So there you have it, one Christmas stocking for Matthew. I really love it and one day will work out how to make photos look as nice as the real thing – the only thing I don’t like about it is that the name “Matthew” is firmly stitched on there and not the name of my own boy. I think he might notice if I suddenly called him something else too 😉

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Well, more sewing to be done, including more Christmas stockings – expect many more blog posts in the future!

Hope you are all enjoying a lovely bright Autumn, and getting excited about Christmas too! I dread the end of summer every year, and yet the colours of Autumn and magic of Christmas is always so inspiring and exciting every year. Now January may see me turning to drink…!

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

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