The Christmas Stocking
Back in September my sister in law had her first baby – a little boy called Jacob. I was very excited about being an aunt. Whilst trying to decide what to make for my next White Tree Fabrics project, I came across the embroidery and sewing kits they sell, and thought it would be nice to make Jacob a Christmas stocking. I felt very smug because it was only September and already I was planning a Christmas project. The older and wiser me looks back at the younger, smug, more foolish me and laughs scornfully.
If you know me, or have read my blog for a while, you will know that this is not my usual kind of project. I’m not a fan of hand sewing, really. But still, I thought it would be nice to try something different, and I thought that it would be pretty easy. I mean, it’s a kit, right? You just, like, sew on some bits here and there and a few sequins and you’re done, right? I envisaged setting aside one (child-free) day, and just sitting down with the radio and a pot of tea and making a lovely stocking.
Under this misconception, I decided it was too early to start making this when it arrived in October. Instead I made a start on the family Christmas pyjamas, and by November I had made three childrens’ pyjama sets and two pairs of adult pyjama bottoms. SO SMUG. Then I made the dinosaur dress for my friend’s wedding at the end of November. Then I did some boring sewing I had been asked to do but was putting off.
And then it was December. Eek.
A child-free December day arrived – Monday 7th – and I got out the kit, made a brew and put the radio on. I had six hours before I had to collect my daughter from school. Plenty of time. Six hours later, I had this:
Hmmm. Maybe this was going to take longer than I thought. The following Monday – 14th December – I had another child-free day. I spent another six hours and got this far:
I started to get very worried that I wasn’t going to finish this in time. I started to prioritise it and try to do as much as I could here and there. By December 19th I hit the 18 hour mark, and was still only on step 9 of 20.
Suddenly I was thinking of everything I had to do before Christmas (I won’t bore you with a list – but be assured it was long). I was going to have to really knuckle down to this and just get it finished so I could do all the other things in time. It took a further ten and half hours to finish – so twenty eight and a half hours in total to complete.
Looking at it, I still can’t believe it took that long. This kind of craft is so deceptive! Having said that, I want to state, just for the record, that I did actually really enjoy the process. It was a very absorbing activity and I listened to a lot of radio whilst doing it, so it felt relaxing in one way – I just wish I’d started it earlier so that I wasn’t worrying about all the other things I had to do. I don’t love hand sewing, but that’s usually because I prefer to use a machine. But this project wouldn’t be possible to make by machine – so it’s a totally different kind of hand sewing. I have never done embroidery before and I’m pleased with how it turned out even though the embroidery is mainly just very simple stem stitch.
As for reviewing the kit itself – well I thought it was very good. The instructions were excellent and the quality of the materials was top notch. The only criticism I have is that you are supposed to stuff some of the applique pieces to give a more prominent, 3D, quilted effect, but the stuffing was not provided. Everything else was provided – right down to the needles – so why they couldn’t also provide stuffing is a mystery to me. Having never done a project like this, I have no idea what sort of stuffing I need, and frankly I didn’t have time to traipse around a craft shop guessing. So, the stocking is not stuffed, and I think it looks fine, although I think a bit of stuffing would have made it look even better.
I’m very happy to have finished the project, and have already informed my own poor children that I will not be making one each for them: they can make do with the mass-produced £1 stockings from the Card Factory. As for Jacob, I’m going to get him to sign an agreement to use this every Christmas Eve until he is at least 21 ;-)
Merry Christmas one and all!
All of the staff at WhiteTree would also like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a wonderful Christmas and new year!