Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Stockings

I mentioned in my first post about the Christmas Stocking for my almost nephew – Nathaniel (I mention his name because, for a Christmas stocking it’s LOOOONG). (He’s pictured – looking over photos I found this wonderful photo of him from September) I’ve know his mother since the day SHE was born – her older sister is one of my closest friends, and has been for OVER 40 years now. (My “best” friend and I are going on OVER 50 years – which gives a clue to how old we all are).

Anyway, at the baby shower for Nathaniel I gave an Alice Starmore (AS) baby blanket (Point Rhys I think is the pattern – it has whales and a lighthouse)(pictured!) and a certificate for a Christmas stocking, because at that point, two years ago this January, we didn’t know for certain what his name was going to be – and I had just finished two stockings over Christmas, so wasn’t in the mood to do another one.

Fast forward, last year got hectic and Nathaniel’s mom and I agreed he didn’t need it, that he wouldn’t notice the lack thereof.

But this year, I think he would, and I’ve been thinking about it for a month or so --- I should say that the Christmas stockings for my extended family (I’m an only, of an only, and have very few blood relatives) so my two closest friends (see above) and their families are my extended family, as well as a few other dear friends that we’ve gathered together over the past 25 years) are all DESIGNED by me, as well as knitted.

I came up with a basic pattern when my godchildren were little (now nearly 25 and 23), originally knit out of Germantown in “Christmas” Red and Green (those were the color names!) and white, black, and whatever colors I needed. The original ones (my first forays into Fair Isle Knitting) were such a hit with all the parents as well as the kids, that over the next few years I knit everyone else stockings (except my husband and myself). My husband, Bob and I got ours (mine’s still not totally finished, it has a cat knitting, and I keep meaning to start a little tiny Christmas stocking on toothpicks and insert them in my stocking) when I made one for our son just before his second Christmas.

So when Nathaniel’s parents got married in 2000, their Christmas presents that year were handknit stockings, and when his older sister was born in 2003 (January), she got one for her first Christmas. So Nathaniel’s due one.

So yesterday I decided to dig out the box labeled Christmas stockings in my stash (60+ plastic boxes with handles, roughly labeled, stacked in a big pile in my “knitting” room), see what yarn was in there, and what I needed. I also checked my computer for the patterns I done for his sister and parents.

I went to lunch with my former co-workers at the LYS (now a web-based business), and then got the colors I was missing (white and red and yellow). These days the stockings are done in Cascade 220—a little thinner than Germantown, but the same nice defined colors. Came home, played with Knit Visualizer, and did the name first – even though that’s the last part I’ll knit, and talked with Nathaniel’s mother and aunt about any interests he’s showing at 22 months, and then played around with designs, pulling out AS’s Chart designs book among others. My WONDERFUL husband came home just about then, and sweetly wound the yarn into balls for me (there is a swift and a ball winder), and I cast on –

The basic stocking pattern is set, it just what I put in them in the leg that makes them unique to each recipient—so Nathaniel’s has holly bands (which almost all do), and then a band of reindeer in the leg.

(one I did years ago was for the son of a Jewish friend who’s married to a gentile, It’s a basic stocking, but the motif for him is a menorah.)

And thus, my first photos on this blog are of the stocking on the needles – I’m using size 5’s 12” circulars – Cascade calls for 7’s to get 5 sts to the inch. I am a loose knitter, and always start 2 needle sizes smaller. I am right at 5 sts to the inch on the 5s.

The next two photos are of my goddaughter’s and her mother’s stockings – I’ll post photos of my immediate families’ when they come down from the attic next week. We decorate for Christmas slowly – putting electric candles in all our windows around the first Sunday in Advent (4 Sundays BEFORE Christmas – this year Christmas Eve is Advent IV – a horror for all who are involved with church services regularly [I sing in my church’s choir – have sung in choirs as long as I’ve been knitting! No wonder I knit during the lessons and sermon!!!!!!!!!]), then we add lighted wreaths on doors, and sometime in the week before Christmas we get the tree [Saturday this year], and it goes up by the 22nd, and comes down on Epiphany, which is January 6th.

I probably should put at the top of this blog that it is a babble – I become quite long winded when I sit down to write . . . .

Photos to come after Choir rehearsal -- found the camera, but haven't found the device to download the photos. . . . .

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