Last Christmas I had the idea that Jillian and Wesley needed their own special stockings. We looked at some while Christmas shopping, but didn’t find anything that we fell in love with. So in January I made a note to remind myself in August that I was going to have get to work making them myself. Because I loved the latch hook stocking Grandpa Joe made me (and the other Hunter kids) I wanted Wes and Jillian to have the same kind.
In September I ordered two kits from Shillcraft: A snowman for Wesley and a teddy bear for Jillian. The kits came with almost everything I needed: the pattern, yarn and mesh. I bought a latch-hook tool and set to work. Here is what the snowman kit looked like when I unpacked it.
Once I had it unpacked I realized I didn’t have a clue what to do. So I hopped on YouTube and found a few videos that were rather helpful. One key tip: count out your yarn for each row before you start. Following the pattern on the mesh is asking for mistakes. The actual process is pretty easy and you get much faster at as you go. Which is good, because I was very slow at first. When I calculated how long it was taking me to do each knot and that I had 1700 to do on each stocking, I got a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to finish. In fact I posted this to Twitter:
“math can suck. at the rate I’m going it may take 22hrs for each stocking. about 1700 knots each. ignorance is bliss.”
I decided to share the process with the kids from the start. This was a very good idea. They were very interested in the whole thing and their enthusiasm kept me motivated. Another way I kept motivated was by tracking my time for each row of the stockings. Yes, I know I’m a geek. But I did it and it helped. I used a great free application called Klok to track my time worked which is how I know it took me 14 hours and 54 minutes to latch hook Wesley’s, but only 12 hours and 43 minutes for Jillian’s. I started onWesley’s first and that 2 hour difference is the learning curve for latch hooking (at least for me).
Being the kind of person I am I also took pictures of each few lines. This is the time-lapse movie I made.
The only problem with the kit was putting their names on the top. My stocking from Grandpa says “Josh”. Of course mine is twice as big as theirs (and due to its enormous size I realized this year it has probably fetched me thousands of dollars of extra stocking-stuffers over the years. Thanks Grandpa!). And it didn’t take long for me to figure out I could shorten Welsey to Wes, but Jillian was going to be tough to fit on there. Just not enough little squares to make it happen. So after some back and forth I decided on initials. I’m still not thrilled with them, but they are stuck with them now. Sorry kids.
Yes, despite the fact that Jillian will likely get married and change her name someday. She’ll just have to limit her choices to people with last names starting with “H”. It worked for her mom after all. This limited space is the reason Adrianne as called “Dri” for a bit there. I thought the stocking said Dri because that was her nickname, but no, her nickname was Dri because it fit on the stocking. Who knew? (Maybe everyone knew this. I’m slow on this kind of stuff.)
Once the pattern and initials were finished I kind of panicked. Now I had to sew. Not a skill I actually possessed (or do now). So I basically did nothing for two weeks. Then panicked some more because I’d wasted two weeks. What to do? Back to the internet of course. I found this page and this page to be really helpful with types of stitches. Then the kids and I bought fabric. Amber said nope and we went back and got some different fabric.
A mere 11 hours and 20 minutes of hand sewing later and Jillian’s stocking was done. Another 7 hours and 12 minutes and Wesley’s was done. An even steeper learning curve on the sewing. I had to redo multiple parts of Jillian’s as different stitches didn’t work the way I thought they would. In the end I ended up using whipstitches and backstitches for the visible parts and for the inside parts a whole bunch of stuff that I made up that would make people who know how to sew cringe deep down inside.
I am so glad to be done! And I’m done before Christmas! When I was ordering I asked Amber if she wanted me to make her one to match the rest of us and she said “no”. Thank you, thank you, thank you! If I had to do another one I’d probably break down in tears. Which would probably ruin the holiday for all of us, frankly.
I’d hoped to have included a bunch of nifty graphs using Open Flash Chart v2, but sadly there doesn’t seem to be a plugin built to make charts for WordPress that isn’t really lame. So instead of being able to show you all kinds of nifty data I collected while making these things I just have this one sad chart I made in, embarrassingly, Excel. The big flat stretch there in October was when we went to my Mom’s wedding and then again in late November early December that is when I was pretending I didn’t have to learn how to sew to complete the project.