Top-Notch Needlepoint Stockings

By Sandy Williamson, Crafts Contributor

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care each Christmas season, and the selection of just the right stockings for your mantle’s mix is an important decision. Not only will stockings be joyously unpacked every Christmas morning, but they will become a keepsake for future generations.

Many stores offer machine made needlepoint stockings that feature popular motifs – Santa, wise men, angels, animals, sports themes and many others. These pieces feature the traditional basketweave stitch using wool fibers and can be personalized with the names of your family members. But there is a whole, big, wonderful world out there for those who wish to create their own customized stockings.

Step into your local needlepoint shop and fine beautiful works of art carefully hand painted by artists on to canvas. The canvas itself is a work of art and average cost is $300. It can take months to arrive after ordering – but when it does – then the fun begins. Fibers, stitch guides, name fonts, all need to be decided upon for your stocking creation. Velvet fiber for the reindeer antlers, beaded snowflakes, metallic threads, patent leather for Santa’s boots, fuzzy fiber for teddy bears, and just the perfect shades of each color make the canvas come to life.

Next step – stitches! Diagonal, straight, turkey work, interlocking goeblin – it all sounds like a foreign language to a new needlepointer but seasoned stitchers will nod in full understanding. It’s important to find the correct stitch for each area of the stocking.

On to the embellishments – bells on Santa’s sleigh, tassels on the end of a scarf, jewels on an ornament, bead work, the list goes on – at long last, the stocking is ready to go to the finisher. Velvet or brocade is usually chosen to back and trim the stocking. The lining is satin and often there is a monogrammed message embroidered inside the stocking with the date and stitcher’s name.

The finished product is a piece of art but more importantly, it is an heirloom that becomes part of your family’s Christmas tradition and legacy. I waited until my children were older to make theirs when each could select his or her own design (Their grandma had made them felt stockings when they were born and they treasured those throughout childhood). Designing a stocking was a special time to sit down with each child as they went through all the many options and selected a favorite.

My son recently got married and my engagement gift to my daughter-in-law was a needlepoint stocking topper (a large, stitched cuff with her name). We went to lunch then off to the needlepoint store to select from her choices. It was a wonderful time together, and this year we are blessed to add a new stocking to our mantle! Stockings can be a thoughtful way to welcome someone to the family or a beautiful way to create tradition through needlepoint heirloom treasures. Happy stitching!


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