Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Vintage Christmas Stockings

I had a request a year ago to knit two Christmas stockings for a lady who works with my Husband. She wanted me to copy her stocking from 1956. It took me a while, but I was able to find the pattern online and not make my own chart!
It has taken me a year to finish them due to school and illness, but the result is worth the wait. I think she could have had these done faster if she ordered from Siberia! Shhh!
I'm not a slow knitter by any means, but when life happens, some things get placed on hold.

Christmas Stocking Supplies:
  • 1 skein each: Red, Green, White Red heart Super Saver Acrylic Yarn (Worsted/Aran)
  • Small scraps of black, whatever skin color you choose for Santa's face, and blue yarn
  • Size 6 32" circular needles (Or size to gauge)
  • Stitch marker
  • Tapestry needle
  • 1 package assorted color sequins ($1.97 at WalMart)
  • Size 11/0 glass seed beads whatever color you choose (clear)
  • Bead needle or thin quilting sharp for darning and decoration

This pattern from the 1950's is a good introduction to intarsia knitting.

I actually used a stocking pattern from Knit Picks (Free Download: Holiday Stocking) for the conversion into knitting in the round. I personally did not want to knit these stockings flat and do a seam. I would have preferred kitchener if that was an option, but we are not working with any live edge stitches here.

The pattern suggests that you knit the stocking flat and purl across every 3rd row to "lock in" the colors. I only used the chart, not the written pattern. I cast on 60 stitches on size 6 circular needles.

I knitted 2 stockings and each turned out a little different. The first has a name on it, and the second does not. You can knit the name into the white band or the red part, or even duplicate stitch the name into it. I was going to do that, but the finished result looked crappy and uneven in the yarn I was using (Red Heart Super Saver), so I just knitted it in Fair Isle.

When changing colors, you will need to know how to do the twist. You can twist over or under, but make sure to twist the working yarn around the red yarn every 2-3 stitches to prevent gaping or tightening. Also, make sure that on the next row, you alternate where you twist. You will get the hang of it. If you don't alternate where you twist, you will be able to see the twisted color in a gap between the surface color.

Behind the scenes, it will look really messy. Make sure you keep those strands twisted and evenly tensioned. If they are too tight, you can always "faux steek" and cut all the yarn floats straight down the middle of the motif on the wrong side and pick/nudge the stitches into proper tensioned alignment. You can also go back and tether down any stitches that went awry on the motif edges. I used a needle and red/white thread and went all around the perimeter of my motifs to lock them down. I had some wonky gaping edges, but it turned out fine due to my secret finishing techniques.

To finish, you need to embroider two eyes on Santa's face and a smile if you wish, and then turn to the Christmas tree side and place beaded sequins with needle and thread.

The bead acts as an anchor for the sequin so it cannot move. To place sequins, pull the thread through the desired spot (I recommend covering wonky gaps and places where the branches look crooked)
Thread on the sequin dome-side up, then thread the bead on top of the sequin. Poke the needle back through the sequin and try to poke through the stocking where you pulled the needle out first.

Add a gold star or an angel or a bow at the top of the tree with more beaded sequins.

Finish by placing stocking on an old white t-shirt or white cotton fabric and trace around, leaving about 1/2" around the whole outline for a seam allowance. Stitch by hand or machine, leaving the top free. Make sure the liner is wrong side out, so that the nice smooth seams are inside. Loosely tuck the top under to fit beneath the top garter row. Tack by hand with a slip stitch.

The finished stocking should look something like this:

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