A last-minute Christmas craft project

Yesterday – my last day off before Christmas – I had fully intended to get into the festive spirit by (finally) putting up our tree, and wrapping presents.  I failed.  Why did I fail?  Because instead I was inspired by a project I saw recently by friend & blanket stitcher extraordinaire, Britta Jarvis: mini stockings (shown right).  Suddenly I decided that that was what I really needed to do, in order to start feeling Christmassy.  (I think it was the thought of the stocking fillers I have for my parents & sister, combined with the realisation that stocking fillers without a stocking aren’t even really fillers…!)

Britta’s stockings were made of felt & – as implied earlier – beautifully blanket stitched around the edges.  But as this was a completely off-the-cuff decision on my part (definitely no time for shopping!), of necessity my stockings were made from whatever materials I already had to hand.  Luckily, although under normal circumstances I will tell anyone who will listen that I cannot sew & have a hate-hate relationship with my sewing machine, I am powerless to resist pretty fabrics & hoard them, anyway..  Thus, no festive colours whatsoever, but I think I like them all the more for that!  And although I did begin by attempting a blanket stitch edging on Stocking #1, I very quickly unpicked after realising my non-proficiency in terms of seamstressing meant that I would do far better to work concealed seams, instead…

Stocking #1 has both sides cut from a tea towel, with no attempt made on my part to align the pattern in any way – as clearly seen!  I drew a rough stocking shape freehand onto the reverse of the fabric, then flipped it over & drew around it for a matching reverse side.  I might have done better to do a quick google search for a stocking pattern to trace (the ‘neck’ of this first one came out a little narrow), but I just wanted to get on with the project, so I decided not to worry about it.  The open end of the stocking, I hemmed the edges using a very primitive running stitch – yes, it could have been neater, but it was good enough for me. 😉

Stocking #2 is made from a thinner fabric, so to avoid flimsiness, I opted for a sturdy craft felt for the reverse side.  Brown would probably have been better, but orange was the best match available from my stash.  I tried to make the neck slightly wider this time, and the body slightly fuller (must remember actual gifts need to fit inside!) .

I think Stocking #3 shows positive results from my little learning curve, with proportions far more convincingly stocking-y.  The body is less rounded, yet has far smoother curves at toe and heel – guess that’s what happens with practise! 😉 Each of the stockings is approx. 7″ tall, but the widest point of Stocking #1 is 5″ across, compared with 6″ across Stocking #3 – it’s amazing how much difference such a small measurement can make to the overall look.  I must confess, I’m kind of in love with Stocking #3, which is why I was motivated to actually take pictures before we parted company…

As a finishing touch, I used an off-cut from each piece of fabric used  to make a matching badge, which I then pinned to the heel of Stockings #2 & #3 (& the toe of Stocking #1) to brighten up the plain reverse side.  The badges are removable, but I think they look kinda cool. 🙂

 

Given that every year I fully intend to make my own Christmas cards but never actually manage it, I’m very proud of myself for actually managing to do something handmade this year!  It only took a couple of hours to complete all 3 stockings, and that was including any minor mishaps needing to be recovered along the way.  I’m sure anyone more proficient with a needle (or sewing machine) could whip these up far more quickly than I, but the experience has nonetheless left me feeling quite positive (& indeed slightly inspired) about future handmade projects.  Felt plus fabric is definitely a successful combination.

Hmm, suddenly I am feeling the need to collect felt in a wide array of colours…
No hang on, I do still need to put up that tree & wrap presents…!

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Doodle-stitch postcard #2

Who will be the ‘lucky’ recipient?  It’s already on its way, but I won’t let on, yet, so as not to spoil the surprise!

Just a thought – is this mail art?  Or mail craft?

I had so much fun with the first doodle-stitch postcard, I just couldn’t resist stitching another.  It shouldn’t have taken me so long to discover, though!  I ‘invented’ this type of doodle-stitching last year, as a last minute extra to go with my Contours art zine.  I took a chance, as I didn’t have time to guinea-pig it first; but luckily, one of my first readers, zinester Robin Mayberry of Alchemy Studios had her free bookmark stitched up within days of receiving it (right).  (Even more luckily for me, the concept worked!)  Now, 6 months later, I feel like a whole new world of crafty opportunities has opened up.  I am never organised enough to hand-make all the christmas cards I intend to (I’m fairly certain I didn’t even manage 1 last year… :-S) but I can so visualise these abstract swirls in shades of red and green, burgundy and pine…  Well, you never know – it might happen!  On the other hand, I am constitutionally against even contemplating Christmas when spring has barely begun, so it might not… 😉


More happy things

Can you believe it?  Touch wood, technology finally seems to be on my side again!  I am the proud owner of a new laptop, and revelling in the fact that I no longer have to sit at my desk to type, but can instead make use of the lovely, comfy chairs and sofas in the downstairs part of the house!  I also now have a keyboard that can type all (yes, that’s ALL) of its letters at first touch, so in future, any typos you come across are just the result of my being a bit haphazard, rather than the keyboard randomly omitting letters I have actually requested.  Hurrah!

But the BEST thing about it, is that IT HAS USB POINTS THAT WORK!  Finally, for the first time since summer, I can attach my printer, and therefore print off documents, and scan things again.  This means that in addition to the new weaving kits, I can finally get going with the stitchery charts and kits again.  Well, actually, I’ve decided on a slight change of direction, and the needlework charts are going to be available in book form, in the future, rather than as kits, with some still available as individual charts.  I will be re-vamping the needlework pages in the near future, so watch this space!

So this lovely little laptop is making my life a LOT easier, just now.  Forgive the excess of capital letters in this post, but I’m very excited about it!

Oh, you know what else I’m happy about?  Okay, December is a busy month; but I’ve decided not to worry about re-launching the needlework books until the New Year, which means I have a good few weeks in which I can spend any spare time weaving.  You would think I had done a lot of that in the weeks running up to the craft fair, but actually, the last couple of weeks were all about the preparations, with VERY little weaving time.  I have my eye on some lovely new yarns to play with.  This month, despite Christmas madness going on around me, I plan to RELAX…  Wish me luck!