Jan Nicholls - Embellished Christmas Stocking
This is a project about 20 years in the making. It began when I purchased kits for 2 Christmas stockings while on a trip to the US in the late 1990s. The kits are stamped, synthetic felt with embellishments – lots of sequins, beads, and embroidery floss.
I worked on the first stocking for a full year, cutting out each of the numbered pieces, sewing on sequins, sewing the small pieces together with a little stuffing for padding, then mounting on the base stocking. I had 2 young daughters at the time, and discretionary time was at a premium; I recall working on it during car trips, with plastic yogurt cups cut to 1/2” depth to hold the sequins and clear beads! I don’t recall any major spills, but a few minor ones certainly happened. The first stocking was completed in time for Christmas and my youngest daughter was very happy with it. She was about 7 at the time, and the shiny sparkles and teddy bear theme were very appealing at the time.
The second stocking progressed very little that next year. I think the snow flakes and the moon were completed, perhaps along with the snow-covered trees. Then other things got in the way, and my older daughter wasn’t ‘pushing’ for me to get back to the project... so time passed, and it sat in a drawer, less than 5% done.
Eventually we moved to a new house with a studio. I was able to set up my creative activities in one place – felting, sewing, dyeing, knitting, etc etc I spent some time getting organized, and found the second stocking kit in a drawer. Guilt set in and I thought I really should complete it.
First the cabin, then on to Santa Claus, and his sleigh full of toys, the hobby horse, the doll, the teddy bear, the candy cane and the trumpet. The sleigh with its gold ‘scrollwork’ was adorned with a large wreath, and some holly, along with a banner declaring ‘Happy Holiday’. The runner on the sleigh was interesting, a challenge to stuff it to provide depth and texture yet sew it firmly enough that it became one ‘blade’ that did not gape. Finally, that step too was complete, and the assembly proceeded in earnest. As the pieces all came together my motivation to complete the stocking grew – making the sequinned stars, the clump of holly, the bow and the hanger... It all came together in one final push to completion one weekend. I embroidered my daughter’s name, Thea, on the top panel, and completed the final assembly.
I’m glad to finally finish this project – only 20 years after the kit was purchased, my contribution to the ‘slow’ movement, not slow food, but slow embroidery instead!