Quilted Holiday Stockings

We don’t technically celebrate Christmas, but we do enjoy the traditional seasonal activities that we were raised with. Among our favorites are stockings. In my family we have always said that stockings are one of the best parts of the holiday. On Christmas morning, us kids would run to the living room as soon as we could no longer stand to stay in bed (sometimes as early as 4:30 am) and rummage through our stockings while we waited for Mom and Dad to drag themselves out of the sack and join us. The whole group would empty our stockings one item at a time (and every other item was a tangerine or piece of chocolate, which, if eaten as discovered, could make the whole process pretty lengthy) while we waited for everyone to wake up enough to move on to presents.

As I’ve gotten older my love for stockings has not waned. I now see the challenge in stuffing them. It’s like a treasure hunt: what’s small enough to put in there that isn’t just a cheap, junky toy the recipient will end up tossing – something interesting and appropriate to the person – but not necessarily expensive or expected . . . ? I have found that stocking stuffers can be found in some surprising places. For Matt’s stocking in 2009 I made small purchases at a discount tool store (air fittings, electrical tape, Gorilla Glue), a children’s educational toy store (weather balloon), and the espresso stand (gift certificate), among others.

My mother made stockings for herself, my dad, and all of us kids as we came along. They were classic appliquéd felt and rickrack affairs, and have proved quite durable. Unfortunately, I had one and Matt didn’t. Now married, I figured we should have our own matching pair.

I don’t remember what all went into the design process, but I know I vetoed knitting because my skills in that area are still pretty rudimentary (they would have been a solid color, misshapen, and as tightly knit as a net market bag). I ended up quilting them fairly simply out of 2” squares of calico. The toes, heels, and ankle bands were kicked at an angle to the main body, making the squares look like diamonds. I covered the inside seams with bias tape and embroidered our initials and some simple symbols on them in bright colors. I quilted them on the machine and didn’t do a spectacular job of it (I seem to remember late nights, cursing, and a lack of proper materials due to impatience) but the overall effect is pretty decent.

Now we just need a mantle . . .

— Amanda

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