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I often forget how slow going most embroidery projects are but I also need reminding how much I enjoy it. At least until I’m on the fifth or sixth pillowcase.

I chose motifs from this book that I bought at Kinokuniya in Portland with Robyn last year.  Robyn received one set with this design and Erin and Braden got a set with the same motif.

The pair with satin stitch leaves went to my aunt and uncle.  It almost went in the garbage when I botched transferring the design but Chris convinced me that it would look fine stitched up and he was right.


I have an extra set of pillowcases that I might monogram for Chris and myself and I bought this adorable set that I think would be cute framed in Kate’s room some day.


I stitched up a little handmade gift for Kate just under the wire.


I can’t think of a cuter quick baby gift.  It’s the Bonneted Baby from Wee Wonderfuls, which I won from Austen at Canadian Living, and I’m so glad I did because I might have passed it up otherwise and I love that book.  I’d love to make a doll from it for Kate every Christmas.

Can you believe I freaked out about the felt colours I ordered when they came?  This is actually the second batch of wool felt that I ordered because I felt that the “flesh” (eww) tone I ordered was too orange in the first order from an Etsy seller and then had the same little melt down with this order from Bear Dance Crafts, who, incidentally, have AMAZING customer service.  Phew. Congrats for making it through that sentence.   Now I don’t know what I was so concerned about.  It’s adorable.  I can’t wait to see Kate playing with it.

We’re driving to Winnipeg tomorrow and then waking Kate up the next morning way too early to fly to Ottawa for the first time in two years.  I’ll be the one in the basement trying to convince my cousins to play Wizard.  Merry Christmas friends!

I never know how to display Christmas cards.  We don’t have much shelf space, I’m not crazy about the look of them on the tree, and the piece of string tacked to wall is a bit amateur hour.  So, when I saw this idea in the round up of twenty years of holiday Good Things in the new Living I started collecting the supplies.

It took no time to make; just glueing some mini clothes pins to an embroidery hoop and tying on some ribbon.  Finding the clothes pins at a price that wasn’t total highway robbery was the biggest challenge.

Now I just have to wait by the mail slot for more Christmas cards to arrive (let’s get our acts together friends and family, I have just a few more days to enjoy them).

Thanks so much for the kind comments about Kate’s stocking.  It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who likes it.

I’m starting to peter / flake out on some of my (dozens of stupidly) planned homemade Christmas gifts but I did manage to get a few finished before crafting malaise took hold.  We did a little party and gift exchange with our friends Adam and Michelle this weekend since they leave to spend Christmas with their family this week.  Michelle’s keeping a little baby warm in her belly so I thought I’d help out by keeping her hands toasty.

This is my second pair of Bird in Hands and again they were fun and challenging.  At least this time they’re both the same size.

I had intended on using up some of the Cascade 220 I have but of course I ran out and had to make an emergency trip to Winnipeg so that I could finish them off.

Michelle seems to like them so I guess this is one successful Christmas gift down.

I really wanted to make Kate a stocking for her first Christmas so that she’d hopefully have it for every Christmas of her life.  Every year I consider getting a kit from Judy’s Colors but I just couldn’t settle on a design that I really liked for Kate so I decided to design one for her in that style.  I didn’t consider all the math and technique involved in stranded colourwork over a heel or toe and it’s probably a good think I didn’t or I never would have started.  Now I feel extra pleased knowing how much thought and effort went into it.

Lots o’ detail ahead:

I used Cascade 220 except for the off-white which is Ram Wools Selkirk. The central motif is from Elli Stubenrauch’s Snowbird mitts which I charted out with colouring pencils and graph paper even though all I changed was the text in the banner.  I guess I like making work for myself.  The snowflake motif above it is just the snowflake that appears between the two birds repeated all around.  I carried the design around the back but left out the birds and banner.

The other elements are two-colour vikkel braids, instructions here, and I made up the other two patterns on the foot, although I doubt they’re original.  The heel and toe design had to be easy for me to wrap my head around the back-and-forth work for short rows on the heel and decreases in the toe so I just alternated the colours and then offset them on the next row.  For most of the figuring work I had to just try it out and rip back because I just couldn’t puzzle it out actually without doing it.

I also wanted to line it so that it wouldn’t get stretched out after years of shoving candy and deodorant in it so I picked out a pretty reindeer patterned quilting cotton and traced the stocking as a template.  Then I hand embroidered a little label and unintentionally cut it into a wonky shape and appliqued it inside.

I think that may be my favourite part.  I wracked my brain about what to write and ended up writing something out that wasn’t too long or cheesy but would have meaning if it gets passed down or ends up in a museum.  Not exactly modest but after the work that went in it better be a frickin’ heirloom.  I stitched over my handwritten note with two strands shiny silk floss.  Here’s a better picture of the whole lining before I whipstitched it in.

Yesterday I made an i-cord loop for hanging and I was finally done after at least two months of planning and stitching.  I’m really genuinely happy with it and I hope Kate appreciates it too some day.

December 2010
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