Monday, October 8, 2007

And The Stockings Were Hung. . .

I finished one of my sewing projects this weekend. (Sidenote- I made these totally from scraps I had - I spent $2.49 on the set!) I made a set of stockings for Michelle and Brad who are sharing their first married Christmas together this year. I also made a set of these two years ago for Andrea and Jayson for their first married Christmas. I guess I've started a new tradition :) I love tradition. But making these stockings wasn't my first plan. I had made a stocking for each daughter when they were little that I intended on giving to them when they had their own home.

You see many years ago, during my husband's first pastorate, we were in a difficult church in a very difficut area of the country to grow a church. It felt much like a mission field. Our home was a tiny apartment attached to the back of the church. It was a tough three years. And it was a lonely three years. I lived far away from my family and there wasn't anyone around my age to be close friends with. During that time I discovered the joy of. . . . Cross Stitching! And I threw myself into it with a vengeance. I cross stitched so much it really almost became an addiction. And some of the things I made were beautiful Christmas stockings for each member of our family. They are crossstiched on 28 count linen. For you non-cross stitchers that means there are 28 squares to an inch to be crossed over with fine thread. It was very tedious and very precise. It literally took me years to finish. And one year for my birthday, my mom made mine for me!

(If you click on the pictures, you can see more of the detail)

So when Andrea got married, I prepared to give her the stocking with her name on it. First she asked me if I would also make one for her husband. I told her no, I didn't think I had it in me anymore to work on something so tedious. And I also realized that if I agree to do it, there would be no end in sight. I would have to cross stitch stockings for every future son-in-law and every potential grandchild! So she and her sisters conferred and told me that I should keep them and not break up the set. I was so glad! They look lovely as a set. Every year I hang these stockings out and they remind me of how God provided a joy in my life during a difficult time.

I couldn't let my married daughters begin their homes with no stockings at all! We take Christmas stockings seriously in our family - I think the girls would rather go without gifts than go without their stockings. So I found the pattern above to do the quilted stockings. They are much easier and I love the way they look as well. And the kids love them. So their homes will be decorated for the holidays with something mom made. That makes all of us happy. And I look forward to adding more stockings to their mantles as needed *wink * wink*! Jess told me something funny this weekend. She was studying the stockings and she said, "Maybe I'll name my kids after all our family members and then I can have the full set of stockings someday!" That girl - she makes me laugh!

Oh, and Here is a fun blog to visit and a chance to win a great contest. It is a drawing for a complete little quilt kit from Anne Sutton, who designed it! Such talent.


Anonymous said...

You are a lot more talented than me! I have been looking for the perfect Christmas stockings for my boys. I never thought of making my own!

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a sweet comment. I hope you have a great week!

Julie Fink said...

Those stockings are beautiful! I used to love cross-stitching and sewing too. I can't seem to squeeze it into my schedule anymore! Maybe next year things will slow down. I'm with you, I love traditions too.

Sandra said...

Oh they're beautiful, I only wish I could cross stitch like you :)

Barb @ A Chelsea Morning said...

Believe me, as a counted cross stitcher, I know the hours involved in those stockings. I can see where you'd not want to commit to making a new one every time a new member is added to your family.

I've cross stitched some amazing things. I have a couple of projects that took years.

So I stayed with the felt kits for Christmas stockings. They're much easier and quicker and it's no trouble at all to make a new one when a new baby is born or a daughter gets married.

Those stockings are beautiful. And your daughter obviously loves them so much she's willing to name her kids for the names on them just so she can have the set. How smart!


Angie said...

Robin they are absolutely beautiful!!! I cannot cross stitch...tried to once (heehee) but I thought I'd go blind!
The Lord used that as a balm for your soul during that time of loneliness. This makes me want to GET MY CHRISTMAS STUFF OUT!!!
I hope you have a blessed day friend!
Love you bunches--- :-) Angie

Becky said...

Oh, that Jessica is quite clever! I think she has a great idea. And that makes 4 grandchildren, or 5, unless she married a Chuck :)

I love your cross stitch stockings. But more than how beautiful they are is the meaning behind them. What a comfort and a proof of God's faithfulness every time you see them.

Your new quilted ones are so pretty. And you know, quilted has a special place in my heart :)

I love tradition too. And the stockings for the new members are a wonderful tradition. I'll put that one in the back of my head till I need it.

Lisa B. said...

I just can't help but think that you should make some for me and Jason and Daniel. :) I always LOVED these stockings. Maybe you could give me copies of three patterns? I will do them when I finish everything else. :)

pei girl said...

wow Robin your stockings are just Beautiful !!!have an awesome day (hugs from the Island)

Dawn said...

Thanks for stopping by my book review today - I know you would enjoy both of these series!

Those stockings are amazing. I did a lot of cross stitching when I could see! But the tiniest was 18, which was tough enough. Well done!

Corrie said...

Those are beautiful! Isn't it awesome to have a tangible reminder of God carrying you and your husband through a difficult and trying season!

Karen said...

The stockings are just beautiful. I've done enough counted cross-stitch to know I wouldn't have made it through one, much less 6! How nice that you get to keep them together as a set. I can't decide which is my favorite -- probably Jessica's!

Penless Thoughts said...

I did ONE of those counted cross stitch Christmas stockings for my granddaughter. Took me almost 3 years. She was born in February and received it for her 3rd Christmas. When the grandson came along 4 years later I did not have another one in me so he got a really cute appliqued stocking. My hats off to you for accomplishing ALL those!!!
The ones you are doing now are lovely!!!

Chappyswife said...

Wow. I am in awe. The stockings are beautiful. I never could have made those cross-stitch stockings. What heirlooms. I really think it is wonderful that your daughters thought it was best to keep the set together. How thoughtful.

My mother-in-law has made a little cross-stitch ornament for each member of the family, as well as a felt kit stocking. They are beautiful. She keeps the ornament, and we get the stockings.

gail@more than a song said...

Oh you're so smart to be doing this stuff! I love the stockings. I haven't even thought about Christmas yet.