Let's continue with the weaving trend this year, shall we? Handmade stockings are always my favorite—so much so that I've made a new set for our family each year as our decor has changed. My kids won't grow up with memories of the same stocking each year but rather stories of how crazy their mother was. Nevertheless, it's safe to say these are my favorite stockings I've ever made. They are functional, whimsical, cheerful, and look way more expensive than they actually were to make.
If you're into the idea of weaving but haven't tried it out yet, may I suggest you peruse my basic weaving tutorial and the tutorial for creating shapes from earlier this year. They will break things down even further for you.
-cotton yarn for your warp
-5 to 7 different colors of medium to thick wool or synthetic yarn for weaving
-1/3 yard of fleece for every stocking you make
-slab of wood measuring a little taller and wider than you want your stocking to be
-sewing machine and thread (hand sewing is an option)
Step One: Nail about 14 finishing nails across your board about 1/3" apart from each other. Then nail 14 more nails directly under each of those but at a downward angle in the shape of a stocking. Then create a toe shape with more nails spaced about 1/3" apart. In total, I used 41 nails. You can use a traditional stocking as your template for this or just eyeball it like I did.
Step Two: Tie a loop knot on one end of your cotton yarn and hook it over the nail in the top right corner. Loop it down and up and down and up as shown until you get to the last nail left on the toe side. Carefully tie another loop knot and hook it over your last nail. Trim your ends.
Step Three A: To make your toe shape, start from under your weaving and come up and over one row at the lowest point on your stocking shape. Weave up and over two or three rows and then turn back the way you came after wrapping over or under the last row.
Step Three B: Weave past the row you started, and then turn back to the left. You'll continue weaving past the next row before turning back to the right. Continue increasing by one row one last time on the right. This helps build your toe shape out a little bit.
Step Three C: Keep filling in your toe shape on the left by increasing a new row or set of rows depending on how much room you have to fill. Chunky yarn will make this process faster than small to medium yarn and is a good size for this kind of weaving project. If I were using thin yarn, I would have needed to use more nails to create a tighter weave.
Step Three D: After the halfway point of filling in your toe shape, start decreasing your rows on the right. Your shape will naturally decrease rows on the left as you fill it in. If you run out of yarn, tuck your leftover end to the back side and add another length of yarn that comes up from the back as if it were still connected. For reference, see steps 13 and 14 from this tutorial.
Step Five: Now you will fill in the rest of your stocking. You can do thick stripes, thin stripes, add tassels, or skip the heel and toe shape and just free weave the whole shape. Just be sure to start at the lowest part of your weaving and work your way up. I started my hot pink row from behind and came up between two rows and then went over and under to the right about four nails as shown before heading back the other direction. To get the random shapes, I just increased and decreased rows as I filled in the space. For a refresher on filling in spaces, see steps 20 and 21 in this tutorial. It's okay for this to get a little messy. It adds to the whimsy.
Step Six: Work your way all the way to the top. I made sure to try and balance out my colors so that I had each spread throughout. I also used longer strands of the medium red yarn and shorter strands of the thickest white yarn for obvious reasons. I do suggest weaving two rows of the same length of yarn all the way across the top to help join all of your rows like a dowel rod would if you were using one.
Step Seven: Once you've finished those top two rows, gently pull the top off of the nails, and then gently pull the bottom and toe piece off. Be sure not to stretch things as you go.
Step Eight: Since the back side will be covered, I just tied off the ends into knots and trimmed the extra to help thing stay put. Then lay your stocking with the right side down on TWO layers of fleece in a coordinating color. Pin along the edges of your stocking so that your pins go through all three layers.
Step Nine: Starting at the top right corner, back stitch and then stitch along the perimeter of your stocking. Be careful to leave about 1/4" seam allowance (space between the edge and where you're sewing) so that things don't unravel when you turn it right side out. You can also stitch this by hand if you don't have a sewing machine. Just be sure to use small stitches. Leave the top edge of your stocking open.
Step Ten: Once you're done sewing, trim off the edges and discard.
Step Eleven: Turn it right side out and help it get it's shape by poking the toe out, etc. Then press the fleece closest to your weaving and your weaving together, and use a blanket stitch across the top to sew them together. This will keep the back side of your weaving from getting pulled and messed up when you fill your stocking. Tie off your end with a double-knot and trim thread. Attach a loop of yarn with a tapestry needle along the seam or through the back side of the fleece to hang.
Each of these stockings took me about two hours to complete but didn't cost much to make at all, and I love that they look like they came straight out of a boutique Christmas store. What do you think? Are you feeling brave enough to weave your own stockings? –Rachel