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November 2008
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January 2009

A few gifts and good cheer

I'm away now for Christmas with my family back home. These are a few gifts I made prior to leaving. A couple of heart sachets I stitched up for teacher gifts and the cushion is a birthday present for a lovely friend.

Now looking at these posted images I realize how spring-like they look. I wasn't really wishing winter away, only the numb fingers and toes that inhabited the ends of my limbs for the few weeks before leaving. Oh, and also the grey sky and fog that sat over the tiny valley where we live. And the minimum four layers of clothing I piled on each morning - that's all.

I hope all of you are enjoying preparations for Christmas, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah or any other seasonal celebration you and yours share. If none of the above, probably a nice relaxing few days off are in order anyway.

I'm celebrating Christmas with my family in Northern California and so happy to be with every last one of them.

Best wishes to all,

J x

My bunny arrives


A special post from Gracie

On Friday, 12th of December mollychicken sent me a bunny and her baby. We had an arrival tea party for her and here is a picture of her looking at the biscuits.

She came in a box with a little pram, pillow and quilt and it's all really cute. I'm already enjoying playing with her very much.

Easiest stockings ever


There's still plenty of time before Christmas to knock out these stockings for the whole family. Using felted wool blankets makes Christmas stockings very quick to stitch up.

The beauty of felted blankets is that they're thick enough to hold a nice shape even if they're big so there's no need to line them or use interfacing.

Over the last few Christmases I've made slightly smaller versions of these with our year six class. They do a running stitch around the edges and stitch on fabric & felt scraps, ribbons and buttons. I love making these with the classes, a very unusual calm descends upon them.

This is a largish stocking that I've stuffed with chocolate - the design is quite classic as it's going to school as a raffle prize for the Christmas Fair.

These are so simple to make, here's how to make this stocking with a cuff:

Cut out two stocking shapes and two pieces for a separate cuff. The finished size of this one is about 23" top to toe (with the cuff rolled down.) The cuff piece is about 5" high by 8.5" wide.

Before sewing the two sides together decorate the front if you wish. Then stitch it together and turn it right side out.

I used a cookie cutter as a template to needle felt the gingerbread man on, then sewed on his trimmings. I also added a dyed piece of felt to the toe and heel and blanket stitched around them. Then I cut out a few holly leaves and backstitched down the centre of each and added a few beads for holly berries.

Stocking-how-to-sketch To make a cuff cut out two pieces of felted wool that extend about 5" above the stocking. Put them together and stitch down the sides (I sewed a length of bauble trim to this one.) Then sew the cuff onto the completed stocking wrong side out with the bauble trim at the top and turn the cuff down and over to the right side after it's sewn on. 

To finish, stitch a ribbon to the inside for hanging.

There are so many stocking templates out there I haven't included one here but if anyone feels another one is needed I'll knock one up (hopefully before Christmas ;) And I can sketch up the appliqued pieces too.

Sorry no images for a full how-to, no time at the moment. I'll stop rambling now, back to a very important non-Christmas related job.

Have a great weekend.

Update: In reference to Lisa's question about the dye, I've used a couple different types of dye but we really only have one easy brand to get here in the UK which is Dylon.

I stock-piled a lot of their Multi-Purpose dye a few years back and am still using that supply. They have now changed their product line and the dye that has similar instructions to the Multi-Purpose is called Dylon Fabric Dye for Hand Use. See their site for the instructions on how to use it.

I've not done a tutorial for dying blankets because Lynn has a great one which illustrates a good process to use (she used Multi-Purpose too but substitute that if it's no longer available, just check the instructions to be sure your dye works on wool.)