As I write, H is running on the cross trainer, distracting his mind from the tedium of plodding along by watching a recorded episode of Match of the Day. From Boxing Day. I kid you not.
He tells me it’s the first chance he’s had to watch it since Christmas and that something worthy of highlighting happened to Manchester United. I’ll take his word for it and it certainly makes a fittingly festive backdrop to tell you that after some sewing,
and a little more sewing,
I’ve finished Elma’s Christmas stocking.
As she arrived before I’d even started, and with a fair amount of Christmas knitting to complete as well, it was perhaps just a smidgen, a trifle, a wee tiny bit optimistic to imagine that I could complete a hand pieced EPP (English Paper Pieced), fully lined stocking in 12 days, while also caring for a newborn, her big sister, her father, and a host of adoring relations who came to pay homage.
Never let it be said that I have a realistic grasp on the space time continuum.
Happily Father Christmas was more than understanding and delivered Elma a few little bits and pieces wrapped in pretty pink fairy paper in a little pile at the foot of the tree, and the beautiful girl herself was mostly asleep and I hope will forgive me for the lapse, although I strongly suspect that it will be used against me at some point during the teenage years. When that time comes I shall of course deny all knowledge of having planning it for her first Christmas and simply claim that I was in fact really really organised for Christmas 2013.
And so I am. We’ve got 299 sleeps until Christmas and I’m ready.
As far as the nitty gritty of constructions goes, it is in its simplest form two lengths of fabric made by hand sewing hexagons from which I’ve cut a stocking front and back, two more cut out of lining and the whole thing sewn up and bound at the top with a little ribbon loop tucked in for good measure. Simple, right? I’m thinking about writing up a tutorial if anyone’s interested and I promise to write it up to give you more than 12 days in which to make it.
For once I don’t mind not having finished anywhere close to the deadline. It could be the combined mellowing effect of two daughters on whatever remains of my inner control freak, but I think it’s more to do with the memories wrapped up in the making. Just as I remember Kitty sitting in her bouncy seat as I played with fabric and pattern in the weeks before her first Christmas, there are reminders of Elma’s early weeks sewn up in this fabric. H tracing my hexie template onto freezer paper again and again while I sat on the sofa and nursed a very tiny girl; the first time I took both girls out on my own and they fell asleep in their car seats as we arrived at the park for the time it takes me to baste 10 hexies; hours of chatting to Elma as she lay on my knees while I sewed around her; and her gentle little snores coming from her pram in the kitchen as I put in the finishing stitches.
I could have made her a stocking much more simply and quickly (and had it ready for Christmas) and I could have bought one even quicker but this is the stocking that I envisioned for my Elma, back when she was just an Elma-bump, the stocking that I wanted to make for her, and the stocking that I hope she loves. At the moment she doesn’t think it’s terribly interesting but I have a funny feeling that in the coming years she might just change her mind.