Okay, so, I probably should have shared my good idea BEFORE Christmas, instead of afterward. Sorry about that. I got caught up in other things. Like making the stockings themselves, and finishing the Christmas scarf a mere three days before Christmas. So, perhaps in time for next year, although if you craft like I do, this is not necessarily enough time. Ah, well. Deadlines are a wonderful motivator, so pull up this post again in early December some other year, and sew frantically to finish the stockings in time.
The year I met — and started dating — Himself, his sister moved to Japan to teach English. This had a regrettable effect on my opportunities to get to know her, as she’s very cool and interesting, and I am hardly slanting this at all knowing she’s likely to read this! On one of the occasions when she was visiting the States, she told me about her Orphans’ Christmas, although she probably called it something else. Every Christmas, she gathered up all her ex-pat friends and had as close to an American Christmas as they could manage in Japan, including stockings all around. I liked this idea a lot, and filed it away for future reference.
Some years later, I graduated from college and moved to a new city with Himself and Herself and Herself’s sweetheart, and another friend as well. Yes, there were five of us, in a tiny three-bedroom apartment, with no storage space, and guests slept on the living room couch. But that first year, we made our own Christmas.
Well, mostly. For one thing, we all were planning on going to parents’ houses for the actual day of Christmas, so we didn’t do it on December 25th. For another thing, I didn’t really think anyone wanted to be dealing with other people’s socks, even if freshly washed and pressed (wait, did you really think I iron my socks?!). So I set out mixing bowls, covered them with kitchen towels, and labeled them all. It worked really well.
The next year, with almost the same cast of characters, we did it again. The following year, we had added another two people and moved to a bigger house (with a guest room, even!), and one of my housemates decided he wanted actual stockings instead of mixing bowls. I certainly wasn’t going to argue, and he came home a few days later and labeled them and tied them to the railing of the stairs, exactly as my parents still do. It made me all sniffle-y.
After Christmas, however, the stockings were a slight problem. He had gotten cheap ones, and they weren’t washable, and shed fake fur, and were not very nice to touch.
As first stockings, they were very good, but not really something that I wanted to keep around, year after year. Particularly as they weren’t machine-washable.
Happily, I’m me, and useful in such cases. I bought a yarn of red polar fleece, and six squares of felt, for the Grand Sum of Five Dollars. I folded the polar fleece into eighths, that is, so that it was eight layers thick. This was, by the way, the week after Thanksgiving, so it really didn’t take very long, especially as during that time I also started and finished the aforementioned Christmas scarf. I lay on of the old stockinga on top of my folded fleece and used it as a pattern. I moved the stocking over and cut out another eight layers of fleece, leaving me with sixteen stocking-shaped pieces of polar fleece, and some scrap red stuff. From the scrapes, I cut eight stripes of fabric, about an inch wide and maybe six inches long, to use as loops at the top of each stocking. Then I sewed them all together. Literally.
Careful counting might reveal that there are eight stockings, and only seven people living in my house. I’d make a crack about the cat needing a stocking, but really, I just assumed that we’d usually have extra people around the house on Christmas morning. When we get up to more than one extra person some year, I’ll have to make more stockings.
So all that, even though there were eight stockings, took about an hour or two. One evening, anyway. Sew the edges, with the loop, surge the edges, and hem. Easy. Then it was time for the felt.
For reasons that are still unclear, but probably have to do with trying to show that I am too cute for words, I decided that not only was I going to make the household nice soft and washable stockings for Christmas, I was going to personalize them. As in, put everyone’s name on a stocking. I printed out the 18 letters I needed (duplicate letters abound in our names), in the biggest font I thought I could reasonably deal with, and then painstakingly pinned each letter to the felt and cut it out.
In total, this meant cutting out and sewing on 35 felt letters. I also let each person chose what colors they wanted their named to be in. Never have I been so grateful that I have dedicated fabric scissors, which had been recently sharpened!
I decided I wanted to use blanket stitch to hold the letters in place, and I used some cotton yarn and separated it to use as thread. I really liked the way it all came out! The last one is the guest stocking, and yes, I cut up the candy cane to make it stripy.
Come the night before our Christmas (renamed Indiscriminate Giving of Gifts Day), we hung the stockings from the stairs, in order of age. I put in my stocking stuffers, some nice chocolate, and resolutely went to bed. In the morning, I went back down stairs to take pictures of my lovely plump stockings. And there they were, waiting patiently for us all to get up.