Wednesday, December 03, 2008

When I was a child in England, Father Christmas always left our presents in a pillowcase at the end of our beds. I cannot remember if the gifts were wrapped or not, but if they were, it would only have been in brown paper.
We always opened our presents in bed as soon as we woke up. There was always an orange or a tangerine at the bottom, and that was a genuine delight for us in an English mid-winter.
Nowadays, we expect the children to be more civilised, and open their gifts together with the rest of the family on Christmas morning. But because they are far more indulged with toys and treats throughout the year, I am sure they are not nearly so excited about presents as we used to be.

One of the small stockings I made last year to give away.

The humble pillowcase seems to have gone by the board, and presents sit under the tree. Some families have them sitting there for some days prior to Christmas, but we do not put ours out until last thing on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas stocking, the original gift holder, is a popular decoration. The real thing would have to be enormous to hold all the presents one receives nowadays, particularly with all the boxing and packaging.

Christmas stockings realy lend themselves to Crazy patchwork, for a nostalgic Victorian feel. I have made many over the years either to give away or sell or use to hang in our fireplace.

This year, the Southerncrosscrazies, an online Crazy Patchwork group I belong to, decided to have a Christmas stocking Round Robin. The idea was that you pieced the basic stocking, and then it travelled around a group of 6 people, each one taking a month to add some embroidery, beads or other embellishment before posting it on to the next person. There were three groups of 6, and to make up the numbers, a couple of us took part in two groups.

My first stocking was in more muted pastels, and I absolutely adore the finished result!

My two stockings were very different in their colour schemes, but when they came home, after 6 months, both were very beautiful. There was such exquisite embroidery, beading, and delightful doo-dads on them.

The second stocking was in jewel colours, but the girls who worked on it managed to make it look very Victorian and festive.

It is now my task to give them a backing and a lining , which I hope to do before Christmas.

Two of another "batch" of stockings I made last year as little gifts for members of my Craft group.

By the way, I have been involved in making an enormous Crazy Christmas Stocking. Some years ago, a gentleman on the island offered me his late wife's craft supplies, if I would get together a group of people to make something in her memory using these materials. I was quite puzzled about what to make, because there were all these different threads, fabrics, beads, buttons, ribbons and all sorts of miscellaneous items. I finally decided that a Patchwork stocking would best showcase the materials, as well as giving a wide range of people the chance to contribute their own particular skills.

In the end, about 19 ladies worked on the stocking, and it ended up over 7 feet tall!

I must get it down from the attic and photograph it for this blog!


Anonymous said...

Hi Mary

Yes We had pillow slips at the end our beds when we were young, as did Kim, Rebecca and Peter, I hope Kim keeps up the tradition with William as it was so exciting to wake up and find the buldging pillow slip at the end of your bed.
Karen Mason

Anonymous said...

The stockings are just beautiful Mary. One of my goals this year was to make some new ones but I'm not sure I'll get around to doing it with the other projects on the go.

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