December 25, 2009
My niece Katie was born in October, so there was no way she was getting her Christmas stocking for her first Christmas. But get it she did, and for whatever reason, I stitched 2007 into it – to show my tardiness for posterity and confuse people about her birth year, I suppose. I stitched Elizabeth’s Stocking from Shepherd’s Bush for Katie, with some tweaks in charm placement and the addition of a personal message in very light yellow.
Caroline had the good sense to be born in June, meaning she’d get her Christmas stocking (Shepherd’s Bush again, of course!) for her first Christmas – if just barely. For Caroline, Stephanie (her mom) and I chose Sophie’s Stocking by Shepherd’s Bush. Coincidentally, Sophie was one of the names on the short list for little Caroline.
For Caroline’s Christmas stocking, I changed just about every color from the original charted color. I thought the green of the angel’s dress was too muted, so I picked a darker green and started tweaking the other colors from there. I had perle cotton laid out all over the floor of the cross stitch shop, and the ladies there were hesitantly offering help, which I waved away. (I don’t always agree with Shepherd’s Bush color choices – they’re beautiful coordinated actually, but I think the designers at Shepherd’s Bush prefer colors a bit too muted for my taste.) I chose the hair color based on the color Caroline’s hair was when she was born – wouldn’t you know, it’s now a soft red like her Tonton Allen’s hair.
(For those of you stitchers who care and want to use any of these colors, feel free to leave a comment with a way to contact you, and I’ll send you the list of the substitutions I made. I don’t feel comfortable posting the “instead of ___” bits on here, as it pertains to Shepherd’s Bush’s copyrights.)
Once satisfied with my color choices, I took liberties with the combinations within the stocking pattern too. I laid out all the color skeins for the hearts, then moved them around and switched others in to find my favorite combination. I played with the stars and the row on the bottom of the stocking similarly. With the stars, I actually stitched them all and was disappointed with the second star from the right, so I pulled and replaced all of the light pink stitching with darker pink/light purple. I figured I was going to have to look at it for a very long time!
The angel’s hair is made of many, many French knots, which was a real pain in the tucchus. Some were a bit unruly when I finished, which I fixed by sewing them down with the clear nylon I used for her halo. I used the same nylon for the charms, of which there were fewer, so they were easier to place than on Katherine’s Christmas stocking. I used it again for the ribbon, which I attached during the finishing steps, by twisting the ribbon and then tacking it to the stocking with the nylon.
Cate helped me with the finishing for the stocking again, and thank goodness for her! Having actually seen the steps, I think I’d be comfortable doing the next one, but I was too nervous to do much of the sewing at all on this one! Cate deserves a medal for her patience with me! You’ll remember (or read in my other post) that Cate made the pattern for the other stocking because Shepherd’s Bush doesn’t put out a detailed pattern for their Christmas stockings, but we both misplaced our copies of it. We started from scratch on the stocking finishing pattern, which has inspired us to set aside some time in the coming month to put all of the steps into a short manual for finishing these stockings.
I stitched the last few stitches to close the toe of the stocking during our Christmas Eve dinner. Phew! And after all that description – and months of work! – here is Caroline’s stocking:
I was also able to get a couple of good pictures with both stockings on the mantle before sending them back home with their pint-sized owners.
Alright, who’s next?