It's that time of year again ~ the local Christmas stocking show & competition will be held the week after Thanksgiving. I wrote about it last year and shared my entry. It's a fun project benefiting a worthy cause and through it, I've met a number of interesting local people. All year it's been my intention to participate again, but, ever the optimist, 'things would be different this year' (my default motto). I'd start early. Well, I did start earlier.
Because I wanted to breeze through at a little quicker pace this year, I thought I'd make it easy on myself by designing a stocking based on something I'd already done, the Lollipop blocks. They've always had a holiday feel to them, especially as I've been making them, on the red background. And I have a big box full of fabric circle and leaf shapes from which audition ~ that should knock off some time! Of course, I forgot to consider the *Jan* factor, so there's still been quite a bit of musing about this and that. But I'm making progress. Here's what I've been up to.
First, I traced the shape of last year's stocking on a couple of pieces of cheap sketchbook paper. I knew I wanted to have a main stem run evenly through the middle, so I measured in from the side edges and made small, dark marks every couple of inches. My first effort, on the left, was very light sketching in of the elements ~ leaves, buds, blossom ~ to get a feel for how much I could fit in a stocking shape. I refined that in the second effort, on the right, moving things up and down, erasing, making small notations, until I had pretty much what I wanted.
I then pulled out some graph paper (8 squares/inch) and lightly traced the final sketch, this time refining stem widths and positions, using the graph as a guide. After neatening up all of the circles using my template, I went over it all with a fine marker so that the design would show up through the red fabric when I traced it on my light box.
I was starting to make fabric decisions when Thimbleanna wrote a post about bias bars which set me off, digging through drawers and containers until I found my set of what was probably the original version, made for Celtic quilters. How I could have forgotten about this wonderful tool for nice even stems is beyond me, especially since they're so much fun to use! (I think perhaps I ought to do a periodic drawer dump. Who knows what other treasures might lurk there?)
I very lightly traced the design onto the red fabric with my white Sewline pencil and started appliquéing elements. First, the middle, and then working toward the toe, switching out fabric choices if there was too much of this or a little something *more* needed.
I had a real difficult time deciding on those three leaves at the toe. I think these work.
I left the large blossom until the end since it's sort of the focal point but no matter how many options I tried for those top circles, it didn't look right. Somehow it doesn't look as problematic in the photos, but after more than enough deliberation, I pulled out the stitchripper and removed those three green stems.
I opted for a little less exuberant topping and am quite happy with it.
And it's done. There's that.
Despite an earlier start and relatively quick execution, it seems like I've been working on this forever. I think that may be due to the view out the window. Last week, it was 70° and we were having a maple tree planted in our front yard to replace the huge locust tree that we lost when it was hit by lightning this summer.
Today it's 11° and my front view looks like this ~ ugh. Pretty, but altogether too soon for this.
It's been a good week to finally clean up my sewing room. Between the stocking and my Trip Around the World, there's been way too much cross-eyed deliberation and fussy cutting for such a stretch of months. Once I get this lined and finished, I'm ready to dust off my sewing machine and let the rotary cutter fly. Among other things.
Lots is going on around here these days. Just you wait and see.