Saturday, December 09, 2006

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  • How I Made the Stockings

    Embroidery has a natural affinity for flowers.
    It can also, of course, represent nothing at all.
    -Chris Rankin

    More fun details on how I made the stockings: I went to the thrift store and I got a whole bunch, but the colorwork ones seemed the most promising and felted to the right texture - enough, but not too much. I made a template from my injured stocking out of a brown paper bag, cut the stockings, and sewed them together on a sewing machine. My sewing skills are as rudimentary as my embroidery (very), but even I could handle this (the Craftster tutorials were very helpful). After the first one, I realized that if I used the bottom sweater ribbing as the top of the stocking, I had a built in border. For the first one, I went back and blanket-stitched the ribbing onto the top. I was going to embroider (somehow) our names across the ribbing, but gave up after multiple attempts at a multitude of stitches, all of which looked worse than "country chic." We will tell them apart by their patterns.

    Some helpful hints for anyone else felting entire sweaters and making things (anything really:)
    • If the sweater pills now, it will really pill later.
    • Thick Aran sweaters make really thick fulled fabric.
    • For some reason all the red sweaters felted more. I don't know why.
    • You CAN felt in a front loading washer. I used the "Superwash" setting and hot/cold with heavy agitation. Worked great on the first try, then I stuck them in the dryer. I don't have all year, after all.
    • The sleeves creased at the fold line, so if you were going to do something involving the sleeves, I'd take them apart before felting.
    • This is awfully thick for the sewing machine. Patience.
    • There are some really nice sweaters at the thrift store. Shetland wool, etc. $3.99 a piece. Hard to beat that.
    Highly recommended, and way faster than knitting the 17 stockings Tam is knitting at Knit Once, Purl Forever. Go cheer her on - that's an awful lot of work!


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the additional 411!

    12/09/2006 10:27 AM  
    Blogger Disentangled said...

    The felting tid-bits are coming in handy for me! I've converted several of my knitting gifts this year to felting gifts after I found several good felting sweaters in my Purging Extravaganza!

    12/09/2006 10:59 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sounds entirely doable! It's on my list of to-do-somedays. My loooong list.

    12/09/2006 12:49 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Those stockings are cute!

    We're a toothbrush family too. And fruit. It's not a Christmas stocking if there's not an orange in it.

    12/09/2006 4:52 PM  
    Blogger Amy O'Neill Houck said...

    Great advice! From personal experience, I can add that a stocking is small, and quick to stitch by hand if your machine can't take the thickness... Backstitch works great with a sharp tapestry needle and some top-stitching yarn (the stuff destined for sewing jeans).

    12/09/2006 5:44 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Love those stockings! The trick for me would be to find wool sweaters in southeast Texas. I think I may have to visit a thrift shop when I travel to colder climates.

    12/10/2006 5:27 AM  
    Blogger Melissa said...

    wow, what a great idea! If only I had a sewing machine...

    12/11/2006 9:03 AM  
    Blogger Eileen said...

    Just got back from the thrift store with my first two sweaters. Can't wait to see how the stockings turn out. Thanks so much for the inspiration and all the helpful hints!

    P.S. Our dentist just gave us all new toothbrushes so we'll skip those this year. The toe of the stocking however always holds a large navel orange to snack on until Christmas breakfast is served :-)

    12/11/2006 9:24 AM  
    Blogger JayJay said...

    What a great idea! I may have to try this sometime, once we have a chimney that needs some stockings. :)

    12/12/2006 11:39 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I think these are brilliant - thanks for the inspiration and additional info...

    12/13/2006 9:11 AM  

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