Ribbon and Embroidery Christmas Stocking

The fridge is packed with Thanksgiving leftovers and the Black Friday ads are out, so now it is time to think about Christmas.  While I try to plan ahead each year, I really find it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit early (unless I am working on a book project or something for one of my clients!).  In my personal life, I like to take my holidays one at a time.

So here is a little Christmas project I want to share with you.  I designed it for the Renaissance Ribbons Quilt Market & Festival booth.  I love Sue Spargo’s holiday ribbons and I thought they might look good with a few hand embroidery stitches.  I was trying to create the feel of a richly embroidered/needlepointed Christmas stocking, but with a bit less time-consuming hand stitching.  So I sewed the ribbons down to the velveteen stocking shape with pearl cotton hand stitches and then added rows of stitching between the ribbon rows.

I used cotton velveteen for the base of the stocking and I pre-washed it. (You’ll see why shortly.)  Then I cut out my stocking shape (a basic one I have used for several projects) and fused the rows of ribbons in place to the stocking front.  For the embroidery, I chose pearl cotton, in sizes 5 and 8, but floss would certainly work too.  To make it easy to sew the stitches, keep them even and work without an embroidery hoop, I used strips of Sew Cherished crazy stitch adhesive guides.  What a cool product!  You cut the designs into strips.  They are tacky so you can stick the strips where you want the stitches to be and then sew right on top of them.  The needle slides through the adhesive paper easily and you don’t have to worry about making your stitches perfectly spaced – just follow the lines.  When you are done stitching, place the stocking shape in water and the adhesive paper will quickly dissolve.  So now you see why I pre-washed the velveteen fabric.  I was worried it might shrink.  I did not pre-wash the ribbons, although I did press them lightly to smooth them before I stitched them down.  They are polyester and will not shrink.  After the stocking front dried, I sewed the stocking back to the front and finished off the top edges by sewing a lining in place.

Of course you can use any stocking shape; the ribbons can be applied diagonally, vertically or horizontally.  I used horizontal rows at the top to give the look of a “cuff”, but that can be replaced with an embroidered name and maybe just one row of ribbon below that line.

If you love these Sue Spargo Christmas ribbons as much as I do, Pat Sloan is conducting a give-away of her collection, along with a copy of my ribbon book, The Complete Photo Guide to Ribbon Crafts.  Check our her blog for the details.

Win a collection of Sue Spago’s holiday ribbon collection for Renaissance Ribbons – and my ribbon book too!

Good luck, but remember if you are not the lucky winner, the ribbons are available in the Renaissance Ribbon store and you can find my book on Amazon.

Hope you get into the Christmas spirit with a little bit of ribbon and stitch.  Have fun!

Time slippin’ away…..and so much to be thankful for.

I know I haven’t written in a long time, but I didn’t realize it’s been 2 1/2 months since my last post.  Yikes!  Time sure has a “funny” way of slippin’ away.  Rather than write a lot of words, I’ll share a few pictures of what has been happening around here, going back to September.

I spent the month of September chained to my sewing machine, working on projects for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival (more about that in another post).

Cruisin’ the Mediterranean

Although Quilt Market wasn’t until the end of October, I was super motivated to get everything done and out the door by 10/1 because we had a very special trip planned – a 12 day Mediterranean cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.  We have never traveled like that and it was indeed the trip of a lifetime! (Took over 1000 pictures which I will eventually edit and share just a few with you in an inspiration post.)

Came home for a few days – full of family and friends and fun – as we celebrated our niece’s upcoming wedding and our anniversary.  A big thank you to our amazing daughters who planned it all since Mom was a bit jet-lagged.

Renaissance Ribbons Quilt Market Fall 2012

Then off to Quilt Market and Festival in Houston where I taught a Schoolhouse class and demoed for Renaissance Ribbons.  Their products are so beautiful and the response was amazing.  I demoed making bracelets from ribbons and must have made several hundred between the two shows.  It was so energizing to spend time with the talented folks from Renaissance Ribbons and all the consumers who absolutely fell in love with everything in the booth.  Exhausting, stimulating, overwhelming….what else can I say?  It was quite an experience.

But while I was enjoying myself in Houston, Hurricane Sandy was on its way to NJ.  We do not live near the shore, so I really wasn’t that worried.  But then again, last year when I was in Houston, I came home to 23″ of wet snow, downed trees, and no power for 5 days.  So maybe we would get a lot of rain and wind and lose power for a few days.  But as we all know, it was much worse than expected.  I was able to get home Saturday night after the storm.  We ended up without power for 14 days and phones and Internet for 17 days.  We live out in the country, surrounded by trees….and we lost about 36 trees, all pushed down in a row, like matchsticks.  Luckily nothing hit the house.  Everything was OK.  But driving around and seeing the images from the shore communities, we saw that many had lost so much.

If anything good has come from the storm, it has been the heartfelt outreach of so many people – from checking in on neighbors and friends near and far, to our church finding a generator and serving meals to hundreds each day, to the many volunteers who are still are out there cleaning and clearing and getting things back to what will be a new normal.  There is indeed so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.  Hugs all around!