Friday, December 6, 2019

Ashley’s Christmas stocking—a new family heirloom

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “craft.”

While I don’t consider myself to be a crafty or creative person, I am able to stitch an “x” and follow a pattern, so cross-stitching is one of the few crafts I partake in. And this week’s theme came at a perfect time for me to share a project that I just finished—a Christmas stocking for my daughter-in-law Ashley.

In 1984/1985, I made a Christmas stocking for my son Chris. You can see it and read about it here. Then, after many years of guilt, I locked myself in my bedroom every day for the better part of 2018 making a Christmas stocking for my son Kevin. Chris, his wife Ashley, and Kevin all lived with my husband and I up until last month. Because of that, I didn’t want them to know I was working on the stocking, just in case I never finished it. Kevin already gave me a hard time about Chris having a handmade stocking and not him so I didn’t want to give him ammunition to give me more grief! But thank goodness I finished Kevin’s stocking and gave it to him for his birthday last year. You can see that stocking and read about it here. So now we had three stockings hanging on the wall last Christmas, two handmade and one store-bought. As I sat in my chair every night looking at them, I decided I needed to make one more. The store-bought stocking looked sad beside the handmade stockings. So, I ordered a kit, gave it to Ashley for Christmas last year, and then promptly took it back. I told her I’d try to have it ready in time to hang this Christmas, but made no promises.

I started working on Ashley’s stocking on December 30, 2018. Unlike the year before, I didn’t push myself too hard in the beginning but sometime in the spring of this year, decided it was time to get serious. That meant working on it every Saturday and Sunday morning and evening for a couple hours each, followed by a couple hours every Monday through Thursday nights. Friday nights were reserved for working on this blog and I stuck to that. I started posting progress photos on Instagram and Facebook late spring, thinking it would help motivate me, knowing other people knew I was working on it. I had to show progress, right? Since I had to stay hidden away while working on Kevin’s stocking, I got used to spreading out on my bed to work, but this time around I was able to keep the door open. Chris, Ashley, and Kevin periodically stepped in and checked my progress. Charlie and I had many conversations yelling at each other from the bedroom to the living room, especially during October when the Washington Nationals were in the playoffs and World Series!

I kept track of my progress by highlighting the x's on six tabloid sized sheets of paper.
One set was for the x's, the other set for outlining.

Close-up view of the pattern


Knowing I was nearing the finish line in October, I bought red satin and velvet while on vacation. Once I completed stitching all the x’s, all that was left was outlining. That should have been a piece of cake, but I was wearing down and had to force myself to work on it. I outlined for one week, took a week off to refresh, then worked hard for one more week, finishing on a Wednesday in mid-November. I washed the finished piece that Thursday evening, ironed it Friday evening, and then took it to the alterations shop Saturday morning. I picked the finished project up the following Saturday morning in time to give it to Ashley when she and Chris arrived to hang the Christmas lights on the house last Saturday.

Finished product before I took it to the alterations shop for sewing

View of the back

So now all three of my kids have a personalized, handmade Christmas stocking/family heirloom. And guess what, at one point this fall, Charlie told me he wanted one too. Not sure I can commit to another year though. I’ll have to think hard about that one. Because if I make one for him, then I have to make one for myself!


  1. So beautiful. What a work of love. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

    1. Thank you Cathy and happy holidays to you as well. Thanks for reading!