Over the years I’ve created all sorts of Christmas stockings: golf courses, bowling pins, light bulbs, dog bones – you name it. I’ve also beautifully embroidered a few that are very special to me.
My friend Priscilla Miller recently recounted to me the making of very special Hardanger Christmas stockings. “One of the drawers in my linen closet upstairs is filled with patterns, stitchery ideas, and unfinished projects. Earlier this year, I came across some nearly finished Christmas stockings that had lain there a good ten years. I really desired to complete them, but who would want them? Dawn Seiy at the Stitch N’ Frame in Waynedale suggested the grandkids. ‘Finish the stockings,’ she said, ‘and hang them up at holiday time when your grands come over. You will have something pretty to put their goodies in.’ What a great idea! (Why didn’t I think of that?) So, they were worked over two winters and they are all ready for Santa’s visit. Hardanger work was by far the most challenging, as it has to be exact down to the thread. It is also the most gratifying as it can be turned into lace with the needle weaving. I think the term is always capitalized as it is named after a region in Norway where it originated.
Adrian is seven-years-old. His stocking is made of 28 count antique white Cashel. Cashel is an elegant premium linen fabric with a slightly irregular structure. A cross-stitched picture of the angel singing to the shepherds adorns the front. Like a traditional sampler, numbers are stitched across the top, and the alphabet and decorative stitches run several lines across the bottom, toe to heel. The stocking is framed with dark green cording and lined with a cotton Christmas print fabric.
Amelia is six, and lives with her parents in Washington DC. Her stocking is made of red satin with a Dublin linen cuff. The 25-count linen is decorated with cross-stitched wreaths, seed pearls, and a Hardanger edging. The red satin peeking through the open work gives it a very striking effect. This stocking is also lined with a Christmas print cotton.
Adrian’s younger sister is four-year-old, Mikaela. Not to be outdone, her stocking is made of ivory Cashel, decorated with cross stitched roses, glass beads, and Mediterranean stitchery. The pattern called for floss in shades of mauve, turquoise, and ecru. I learned several new stitches on this project, including the Smyrna cross, and the Algerian eyelet. A dark mauve cording frames this stocking, and it is lined with blush pink batiste.
I can hardly wait until December to hang these beauties up! Won’t the kiddies have a happy surprise? Now comes the fun of finding stocking stuffers for them all!”
Aren’t these Christmas stockings amazing? Once again, I stand in awe of Priscilla’s needle skills.
Don’t forget to celebrate St. Nicholas Day on Dec 6. He is the patron saint of children, merchants and repentant thieves. Sounds like a good day to shop local merchants for kid’s gifts for Christmas.
As this is my last column for 2019, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year! God Bless!