Handmade Christmas Victorian Santa Stockings

More Victorian – My sister’s town does a Dickens Christmas event (which I think must be so cool!). Used their “proper names” to go along with the times. I might try to make the exact same set for myself for next year – Love them!

Osnaburg (poor man’s linen, a sturdy 100% cotton) is the base, heavy duty cut away is the stabilizer, Sulky embroidery the threads. Stitching the fabric to stabilizer around the design before embroidering (on my machine it’s “fix”) is something I highly recommend.  You remove the basting stitch when it’s done. The designs are from Embroidery Library  (Victorian Santa and Victorian reindeer 1); the lettering for the name is from my machine (Husqvarna Viking).

Pieces were stocking front and back, cuff, lining front and back. (There are oodles of free stocking patterns on the web if you need one). An upholstery weight micro suede (faux suede) is the cuff with a light Christmas cotton the lining (I didn’t want anything that might show through the osnaburg, light color and light design deliberate for the lining).

Using both red and burgundy lets them tie together their new home color and their existing holiday reds. You’ll note I didn’t want a seam along the “front” stocking edge of the cuff, but used one long piece to wrap around.

Stitched the top inside edge of both the stocking (right sides together) and lining (right sides together), then stitched the cuff (right sides together) to the lining and the cuff to the stocking (right sides together).

Fold lengthwise with right sides together and stitch all the way around, leaving a gap large enough for your hand on one of the lining sides. You can see my gap on the calf back.

Pull the stocking through the gap to get it right side out. (Stitchers – are you admiring my collection of embroidery threads in their handy, closable (read dust proof) cases that I pick up on sale (or with coupon) at Joann you get a glimpse of in hte background?)

Then push the lining down into the stocking and allow the cuff to fold  a bit into the lining side as well.

I leave the heavy duty stabilizer in so they’ll hand nicely when empty. I also didn’t stitch the gap in the lining closed – it might be easier a few years from now to press them inside out. If these were for children, I would’ve stitched the gap closed. Next time I’d flare out the stitching for the cuff a tad.

Finger smooth and press the cuff, use an iron to smooth and lightly press the stocking now that it’s right side out. Wrap.

Hoping you’re all having a lovely holiday season! A free stocking pattern is here at Moda Bakeshop. This post is participating in Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou and Metamorphis Monday.

Murphys Irish Days and St. Patrick’s Bling post 1

I’m an Irish gal (my dad was born there) living in a town called Murphy’s and our biggest event of the year is Murphy’s Irish days. I can always count on houseful of guests and even a backup crew or two of guests for that weekend (did I mention it’s a really really big deal here?). A little bling to toast the Irish is something that gets use.

One of my holiday bling items is aprons (love to cook and bake, love crafts…). This apron follows the patterns and instructions I’ve shared on Apron Redo and for Halloween here. The fabric, which has the requisite sparkly gold, is from JoAnn and Wrights trim provides the edging. The St. Patrick’s Day postcard vintage, or a different choice, can be downloaded from Vintage holiday crafts.com for free. It’s printed on a sheet from the package of photo transfer fabric. Follow the instructions on your package of photo transfer fabric. They aren’t all the same. I simply cut it out and stitched it on. I will have to handwash this particular apron to ensure my photo transfer remains in good shape. If you love vintage style aprons, take a peek at this selection from Sur La Table to get some great ideas.


For places to stay and other things to do around Murphys, check out my Murphys page.

I participate in the picture linky parties linked at the bottom of this post.

Knit one Perl two – Dazzling Winter Scarves

With the arrival of a blustery winter snow storm that knocked out power in the region for more than 35,500  residents, which incuded lil ol freezing in the dark me for 24 hours (with 6,500 other Calaveras County residents – there aren’t all that many of us to start with), it seemed apropos to blog about warm woolly winter scarves. Especially as PGE (our gas and electric company) was forewarning those with outages to expect extended outages (arrgggh no!).  In an earlier post, I blogged about the oh so simple to make beautiful yarns on a loom scarves. This post is for scarves on needles.

This lovely mohair (Madil Kid Seta 70% Super Kid Mohair, 30% silk) was knit from a pattern a Murphys resident sold at our previous yarn store. I’ve seen her knitting and selling creations at one of the shops in town and will have to seek her out to ask if she still sells the pattern. If she does, I’ll post an update here. It’s an easy to knit lace pattern that looks best on lighter yarns. The terribly thin Madil kid mohair was a tad difficult to work with but I so love the result and consider it worth every effort.  I know many who are allergic to mohair and wool – so it’s something to consider when choosing your fibers. Often folks allergic to animals are also allergic to wools/mohair. As mentioned in my previous post, I also know many who refuse to hand wash and dry – so if you were to gift them a beautiful natural fiber they’d end up with an expensive potholder. I always try to gift what the recipient would like (as opposed to what I may be dying to give them).  Know your friends and relatives.

This is the same pattern knit as above with the yarn the store was marketing with the pattern (in their sample and picture on the pattern) – they’d chosen a lovely electric blue color that I also grabbed and made, but didn’t catch a picture of before gifting it.  This lacey knit holds up very well on the Gioiello (30% mohair, 30% wool, 10% cotton plus manmade fiber).  I also made this pattern in a Kidlin regimental red and it would work beautifully with a Zitron Prisma. Currently, you can view a lovely lace pattern scarf with Gioiello at All About Yarn (scan to the bottom of the page).

This scarf is simply knit 3 perl 3 with edges that are also 3 stitches (row 1 knit, row2 perl, repeat for rib pattern on edge) – no overall pattern, just me winging it. Madil Fusion Ocean Pearl (20% mohair, 36% wool, 44% dralon) was the yarn. I’m pretty pleased with the “prefect snowy days” result and notice as I try to link you to a sample of the yarn that it is on sale most places.

I’m seeking your help with the one above. Did it awhile back and thought it was a crochet stitch called half shell. I really like the pattern and if someone is aware of what this crochet stitch is – please do tell. This is an acrylic yarn that’s no longer carried.


The above is in progress (and going very slowly) stockinette stitch. I wanted more of a shawl like my pashminas (I have friend travelled to India a lot for work and everyone who knows her now has many lovely pashminas). This kept eating skeins – I finally got more Etoile Bollicine from All About Yarn. This is the project that grew. Got the pink/peach tones – decided it needed to be toned down given I’m not really into pink and don’t know folks who are, bought more in sand color, then found didn’t have enough and bought even more (do have to add shipping each time) – this will be so expensive by the time I’m done. Plan to crochet sand onto the knit rectangle to finish the short ends. Here’s hoping I like it when I’m finally done!

As mentioned before, when the yarn store here closed I found All About Yarn for mail order of the beautiful specialty yarns, and I’m very pleased with their service and inventory;  eBay also carries some (at a good discount) and more recently I’ve been perusing our new Maise Blue yarn, doo dad & book store here in Murphys.

The picture linky parties I participate in are linked at the bottom of this post.

The Dark Side of Ruffles

Loved browsing all the various aprons and Christmas decor bloggers have been sharing  – but I have to tell you, everyone’s using them but no one is talking about the dark side of ruffles. The items for sale, the projects on blogs – they all look so lovely and so perfect. No one shows pictures of what happens when you wash and dry the item. It’s time to fess up folks.

Case in point: I had found this stunning fabric of ruffles stitched to a net backing at JoAnn. Wonderful! So perfect for a large Christmas tablecloth.  Isn’t it just to die for? When I laid it out to be sure it was what I wanted, I fell in love.  Next step, wash and dry the fabric.

Yes, this is the same fabric as the top photo. It shrank a lot, which home sewers can remedy by a prewash and dry before you sew with the fabric – let’s hope all those folks selling do the same thing. I’ve mentioned before in this blog – if sellers are concerned the fabric won’t look “new”, just iron with a bit of starch. If the ruffle fabric wasn’t pre-shrunk – where it is stitched to the backing will get all scrunched up as the fabric shrinks and you’ll have much smaller ruffles than you thought.

Worse, it was a wrinkled mess. Yes, there is that distressed look that’s popular – but if it was THAT popular – wouldn’t folks show you pictures of the items for sale after they’re all wrinkly and “distressed” instead of when the ruffles look so perfect? This can be solved by ironing. But, I for one am not going to iron every single ruffle of a tablecloth or rows of ruffles on an apron. I may make an exception for something like the cuff of a Christmas stocking that would only be about 6 inches wide and you only pull it out once per year.

I’d thought about taking the fabric to the sewing machine and just stitching rows across the ruffles at 3 inch intervals to try to hold them down a bit flatter.  If I wouldn’t also have to stitch rows along the lengths of the ruffles to tack in the netting so the ruffles aren’t so widespread, I might have considered it. But it will take too much to salvage this huge piece of fabric. Need to find someone local much more industrious than me to donate it to.

The other thing I also like to point out is that for those of you making gifts – will your gift recipients really want to have to spend that much time ironing to make something look good?  Food for thought.

So, with ruffles out other than for really minor trim or unless stitched down (the thought being they’d look better after coming out of the dryer if they couldn’t roll up on themselves as much), it’s apron time again.

Went with my favorite tried and true pattern set and instructions as I outlined here and here. Sometimes the bottom flounce is longer, sometimes shorter. The apron is always lined with muslin. Small rows of ruffles are definitely out for me. The Valentine panel was a find at Country Cloth in Angels Camp, it’s by Makower UK with wonderful with truly metallic gold accents. The flounce and bib fabric is from JoAnn – an accent for the fall fest fabric I use quite a bit. The deep red with metallic gold is so perfect for me. The binding is pre-made Wrights trim.

Special Thanks to Melissa at My Craftie Life for featuring this post on her blog!

This post is participating in the following parties:


Classics never go out of style

Egads, in searching out a favorite site I recall from eons back on making Halloween tombstones (and I found it, these were top-notch, meant to be built once and last Wolfstone Halloween Host Tombstone how to),  I found a copy of a post I made on the Gardenweb junk forum regarding Halloween decorations in October 2005, fifteen years ago!  “Forget the Backyard …” was its title, we were offering solutions for “Dragoness MS” who wanted Halloween decorations on the cheap as her neighborhood, although standing, was recovering from Katrina.

 Nifty little bit on the Mac I have, I can save any webpage as a .pdf.  Used to just save links, but then a favorite gardening magazine with truly top notch instructions online for various wood crafted items went out of biz and took down their web.  Now if I love it, I try to save more than a link.  I’d saved this particular post as someone had put free vintage images within the posting and it was a collection of fun Halloween stuff. 

 Wow, I do say in a post a few down, everything old is new again. The painted Halloween jars aka lanterns are all over the linkys and Pinterest this year.  I don’t have pictures for the crafted items as I moved and these older things didn’t make the cut for packing space (too easy to replace).  From Oct 7, 2005: 


“Basically, for the ghosts, you invert tomato cages and string white Christmas lights around them. Then, cover with the Ghost (EASY – a front and a back – if you don’t sew you can use glue) and the faces are painted on.  You don’t really need the pattern. They use white craft felt but any heftier white/ tea stained fabric (Osnaburg for a nice look) would do. Use stick tepees instead of tomato cages.

 Lanterns – use clean jars (I’m personally fond of Classico spaghetti sauce as it has nice flat sides and for other crafts clean new mason jar lids fit). Use contact paper or WIDE painters tape and cut out four Halloween shapes (bats, cats, ghoulish face, wide toothy grin, nose, eyes like jack o lantern) and 99 cent paint from WM.  Place a shape on each side or just one – invert jars on a stick in the ground (empty wine bottle, whatever) and spray away (I do cover the area with old newspapers as I tend to be messy). You can also spray the shape area first (orange, light purple) and then do the black coat (looks much better, use painters tape not contact paper if doing this – you can also stencil a face on at the end). I’ve traced around Halloween cookie cutters, used the shape from rubber stamps and see this year MarthaStewart.com has some good, downloadable images along with a beautifully executed version of the jars. Place in a bit of sand (optional) and a tea light (battery ok if not raining or you put the lid back on, candle ok but know kiddies may wander over up close  to stare in and some costumes are flammable) – la voila. String wire around the tops to hang them. I may do all ghoulish faces this year and have the outer coat purple or icky green.”

Do visit Wolfstone’s site and note that he navigates to more detailed pages and updates (they made them a few times so many years apart and included their learnings and improvements). His gravestones are incredible and, if you follow his method, they will last.

Resurrecting this post for 21st Century Housewife’s Gallery of favorites and Half Past Kissin Time’s Saturday Sampling.