One of our most important Christmas traditions centers around the humble stocking. As a child, I remember how excited I was about stocking time on Christmas morning – there was a unique sort of magic that rendered it almost bottomless. Credit is due here to my parents, who did such a fantastic job of creating a magical tradition that I have continued it for my own children.
When Cameron rang to say that he and the lovely Ellyse were joining us for Christmas this year, he happened to mention that Ellyse didn’t have a stocking. He then asked me where he might buy one. I’ll confess – I’ve never actually bought a stocking before. Our stockings are from childhood, made by my mother. Marshy and the kids have ones that I made for them. They’re all different sizes and styles, but they are handmade with love and they are ours. I couldn’t bear the thought of Cameron buying a stocking, so I promised to make one for Ellyse in time for Christmas. Remember when I said I had to put Piper’s kina aside and focus on another project instead? Well, this is it!
Over the years, I’ve learnt a lot about stockings. When Orion was a baby, I nabbed a Debbie Mumm panel from spotlight and used it to whip up a quick stocking. It wasn’t what I’d had in mind but he was barely six months old and I was still struggling to see through the new baby haze. I promised myself it would only be for a year and I would make something better, but what do you know? Three years later I was whizzing up the second panel for Piper’s first Christmas. They’re cute stockings, and technically I made them, but I’ve always felt like a panel was cheating. I did design Marshy’s stocking (I had more time in those days) but it’s made from cheap felt and after almost a decade’s worth of determined present jamming, the poor thing is literally splitting at the seams. Cam and I have felt stockings too, but obviously Mum invested in some good quality materials back in the day because 30 years on and ours aren’t splitting. I’d wager there was an overshop though, because Mum extended them in a rush one year and now they have an extra bit on the top.
When I sat down to design Ellyse’s stocking, I spent a lot of time thinking about the stockings I already had and how they could be improved. My goal was to design a pattern that I could use to remake everyone else’s stockings in the future, so I didn’t want to just slap something together. The stocking had to be tall and wide enough to actually fit presents in it, and it needed to be something I could personalise. My design is broader and longer than most of the others, and I decided on a whim that I wanted a cute little turned-down cuff at the top. This is partly because I wanted to make sure there was extra reinforcement in the hanging loop, and partly because I picked up some cute trim from Fabric Pixie and I was dying to try it out.
Once I had the shape, I worked out how I wanted the end result to look – where the name panel would go and how big the drawing would be – then I sat down with my sketch book. There is something magical about seeing an image in your mind and then recreating it on paper. I drew a set of four designs, took pictures and bombarded Cameron with a set of text messages so that he could choose the winner. I’ll be honest here and say he has good taste, because the one he chose was my favourite.
The biggest decision was actually how I would stitch the embroidery. I was limited in my choices by time and the colour palette of the busy bird fabric, so I decided on a variegated thread from Cottage Garden Threads. I have a little stash of these threads now and they are absolutely divine! They are on the expensive side but the results are always worth it. And voila! One finished stocking. Ellyse loved it, I loved it and Santa loved it. I’m imagining all sorts of embroidery designs, fabric combinations and cute trim to personalise this for each member of my little family in the future.
What about you? Do you have a Christmas stocking? Do you follow another Christmas tradition? Do you love embroidery as much as me?