Stockings Knit Memories Together
Stocking stuffers are a great tradition, but what about the stockings themselves? When I was a little girl, my grandmother made stockings for my parents and me. She hand-picked different colors, ribbons, and buttons to reflect our own tastes and personalities — my mother’s was green for her favorite color, my dad’s was maroon for his alma mater, and mine was peach to match my room. They seemed more special than a store-bought, red-and-white striped stocking, as pretty as those can be.
Thanks to some area retailers, the tradition of making your own stockings to pass along to loved ones is still alive and well. Many fabric and craft shops are ready with tips to create your own memories.
Laura Chandler teaches classes at Yarn and Stitches on Coit Road, and she has seen and made many stockings herself.
“I have a lot of old patterns that my mother had, and a lot of them are old designs,” she said. “With a Christmas stocking, you’re making a picture and seeing it all come together.”
If you do decide to paint a scene, Chandler recommends getting creative with materials.
“My favorite is a Rudolph face that covers the whole side of the sock. I use a pom-pom for his red nose,” she said. “I also have a choo-choo train with green and black cars, and I use buttons for wheels.”
But not all stockings have to follow a traditional Christmas motif. Susan Wellik, owner of Holley’s Yarn Shoppe on Forest Lane, sees many customers come in with an interest in nontraditional colors.
“These ladies wanted to make all six in the same color palette, but with different designs,” she said. “I’ve also seen people that might choose the same pattern, same design, same decoration on the stocking, but different colors.”
With that in mind, she recommends sticking to either one color palette or one design to keep a common thread, if you will. Stitching in initials and birth years are another way to differentiate matching stockings.
“We see families trying to match colors to a 40-year-old stocking and the only thing that’s different are the initials on the top,” she said.