Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Irene's Christmas Stocking

I knit this Christmas stocking for my 6th grandchild. It carries on a tradition started by my husband's aunt when she made one for my husband when he was a child and then made one for me when I married him and one for each of our three children when they were born. My husband located the vintage pattern on the internet and requested I continue the tradition. The most fun part is charting in the name and birth year since that is unique for each stocking. Irene was born in January so there is absolutely no excuse for me to not have her stocking knitted before Christmas.

Here is the back side of the straight section from the upper band with the name down to the foot. I sewed in all the loose yarn ends and blocked it flat.

The patterned bands remain flat until starting the heel. Then I switch to double pointed needles and start the heel strip in white.

Once the white heel length is knit, it is shaped into an angle to bend around the heel by inserting two lines of gradual decreases. The green gusset 1) picks up stitches up the one white vertical edge, 2) crosses the red at the base of the leg, 3) picks up stitches down the second white vertical edge of the heel, and 4) continues along the white edge at the base of the heel. The green gusset then gradually gets smaller to accommodate the lowering of the instep as it extends toward the toes, again with a series of decreases. Switching to red for the foot, the size around the foot remains straight. Once reaching the toes the yarn switches to white and the decrease frequency becomes steep enough to taper the toes. When only a few stitched are left, they are bound off and sewn closed.

When laid out flat, from top ribbing to the tip of the toe measures 27".

I sewed up the back seam and added a loop for hanging. Irene's stocking is complete!

And... I finished it before Halloween! Irene is happy. But then, Irene usually is.

Here are the stockings for my husband Frank, me, and our son Alex. These were all made by Frank's Aunt Ruth. The stockings I knitted have all been disseminated to my daughter's and my other son's respective homes.

Irene's is the eighth vintage stocking I have knitted when you also count those for my daughter's husband and my son's wife. I have repeated links for my posts of the earlier seven stockings in the following list. Some links tell of history and tradition, some are tips, and some contain both.

December 31, 2011   Jeremy and Carrie
December 10, 2014   Autumn (October birthday, 2012) - I was late completing hers
December 17, 2014   Vivian (April birthday) has hints
December 28, 2015   Isaiah (July birthday)
November 29, 2016   Lillian (May birthday) 
November 07, 2018   William (April birthday) has detailed heel and foot photos 
October 06, 2021       Irene (January birthday) this post

This classic stocking pattern was originally published in "A Woman's Home Companion" in 1945. I changed the tree background from white to red; I also made changes in the stripe order in the foot so that both the toe and heel were white. Previously I had posted a link for the free pattern. At the time of this post, I found that the link had issues, which may or may not have resolved. Options for the pattern, at a minimal charge in several Etsy shops, can be located by googling "1945 vintage Christmas stocking". 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Accessories for Twin Bear Quilts

After completing two 48" square quilts from two Paddington Bear kits, destined for a pair for twins, I had a large amount of fabric left over. Counting Stuff on the left had less extra since I made it per kit instructions. Going Places on the right had more extra since I had pared it down from 56" square to be the same size as Counting Stuff. Details and closeups of these two quilts are given in my blog posts dated 8/28/21 and 9/7/21 respectively.

Each pattern used a cloth book panel, and I had the slightly larger front and back covers remaining. I considered appliquéing them to the back of the quilt but opted instead for two pillows, each ~8" to ~9" square. I backed each image with a layer of flannel to give it a bit more substance, sewed right sides together, turned, stuffed with polyester fluff, and machine sewed the opening closed. In the interest of expediency and trying to forestall further project creep, there was no FMQ at all. They came out cute. How could I ever have tossed this as scraps? Never!

With more leftover fabric, I cut out two bears so the twins' older brother would have two "babies" of his own to care for. Each is ~10" tall; the back is a solid and the front is a print from one of the quilts. Initially planning to put the face on the plain side so the features would show up better, I changed my mind and put the face on the more interesting side, the print. Once again, in the interest of convenience and minimization of project scope creep I skipped embroidery and drew the faces on with permanent marker. Left bear is from Counting Stuff scraps and right bear is from Going Places scraps.

I still had some bits left over so I whipped up two simple reversible blankets for the bears with no batting and no FMQ. Counting bear leftovers yielded a cute image that I fussy cut out of the instruction portion of the panel. It is backed with stripes. The banner style title on the panel for the counting book begged to be used and not plunged in the trash bin. I bound it and it can be a wall decor, a bottle holder, an arm band, a flag... etc.

Traveling bear leftovers yield a striped band of bears which I backed with the numbers backing fabric remaining from the other quilt.

The traveling bear kit came in a cute metal lunch box size suitcase with a clear window in the front and Paddington Bear initials P.B. on the back.

I squished the two pillows into the suitcase, wrapped the bears in their blankets and sent these accessories off nestled within the two quilts.

I am not finished with the leftovers, but I am finished with my interest in making anything more out of them at this point in time. They will now be relegated to my scraps and be scattered among future quilts, wall hangings, doll blankets, placemats, coasters, gift pouches, or improvisational class technique projects.