As noted, I did in fact finish LB's stocking in time for Christmas. One might say it was a Christmas miracle considering all of the trials and tribulations it took to get to the finish line. In any event, come Christmas Eve, the stocking was hung by the chimney with care. A WHOLE LOT OF CARE! And, it made it to Christmas morning still full and still hanging.
Let's start with the good. I love this stocking. I think it's beautiful. I feel like it is whimsical and fun, yet not overly childish. Something LB will enjoy as a kid and appreciate as an adult. I love the design. I love the angora on Santa's beard and eye brows. I love the bedazzled bits. I love the little single stitches on the foot that look like hearts. Visually this stocking just does me right.
The knitting of the stocking was quite easy. Having knit a gazillion socks I did have some stocking-like experience. Nonetheless, I felt that the pattern was clear, straight forward, and easy to follow. The pattern was well written ... sort of. There was a small glitch. The pattern, a stock pattern for all of the stockings made by the company, is written for a stocking knit from the top down. The sample picture of this stocking, however, is of a stocking knit toe up. So though the pattern is great, it isn't exactly like the picture which might make someone, say someone neurotic and detail-oriented like me, twitchy. It isn't a huge difference, but it irked me. It made my eye twitch. I really wanted the foot stitches to be oriented to look like hearts. Also, I felt the snow looked more melty when they were oriented in the toe-up way. So after my first goof, I re-knit the stocking from the toe up. I used basic toe-up sock stuff, like a star toe done with increases instead of decreases, but used the pattern's stitch numbers. I also knit the stocking in the round, up to the chimney.
The bedazzling was also pretty easy. I felt like you needed a little intuition to make the package bows, but it worked out fine. I'm not such a great seamstress so the antlers and the chimney cement are not prefect, but they are good enough. In the end the bedazzled bits make me smile and feel all warm and squishy.
But even though I have a whole lot of love for the stocking, I also have a whole lot of fuckin-piece-of-shit-asshole for it too. Here's the bad. There was the whole bleeding thing. That REALLY upset me. When it dried and was still pretty pink, I wrote to the company, which I think is actually one woman. I first wrote on December 11, explaining what happened, noting that the instructions specifically said to block the stocking and asking for a miracle cure or a new stocking kit.
The response was not exactly what I expected. The woman stated that you never wet block anything red and recommended I use Rit dye remover or Synthrapol. She also noted that, "I did not state that items should not be wet blocked, probably because I have never thought of wet blocking anything, other than just lightly spraying an item with a fine mist, or as I said, lightly steaming it. I have washed many of these stockings with no problem, but I always use a really good wool wash like Eucalan." Ironically, I had wet blocked Monsieur Stocking in Eucalan. Not ironically, she made me feel like a dumbass.
I was unable to find a Rit dye remover that said it was okay for colors. The ones I found said for whites only or stated that they would fade colors. Not really viable options. I also did not find any Synthrapol. I ended up using Rit white brightener which stated that it was color safe. When that helped, but didn't solve the problem, I used Sharon's Solution (aside: I really like this for yellowed heirlooms like linen table cloths; it's never done me wrong). After using both (separately), a lot of the pink was out and most of the grey was out too. Unfortunately, some of the fibers were weakened so that several of the floats snapped. Or rather disintegrated. This happened in the foot area of the stocking, which got me all pissed off again, since the foot is what takes the weight of all of the stuff in the stocking. I was able to tie off all of the floats, or weave them in when there wasn't enough to tie off, so that the stocking looked okay from the outside.
At this point I didn't have enough time to knit a new stocking, had I even had one to knit, so I decided to proceed as planned and hope for the best. I bedazzled Sir Stocking and stitched him up. Oh how I suck at mattress stitch. My sucktastic mattress stitching is not the stocking's fault though.
Once the stocking was done, it was time for the liner. I had a friend sew the lining on her sewing machine (thanks Zazoo!!) and we made it smaller than the stocking itself.
I thought that if I made the lining slightly smaller than the stocking, it would take the brunt of the weight of all of the goodies inside. I am sure that LB will be quite irked by this when she is older and her stocking only holds one toothbrush and three chocolate kisses. In any event, once the lining was done, I hand-stitched it into the stocking. Let me re-phrase that, I stitch the ever-lovin-shit out of that bad boy. I figured that the smaller sized lining would do me no good if it fell into the stocking so I REALLY sewed it on. In hindsight I think that since the white floats snapped, and not the main red ones, the stocking probably won't fall apart if it gets weighed down. But I am a safety girl, so the smaller lining stays. Also, there is no way in hell I am unstitching it. I am so done with the stocking.
On Christmas Eve the stocking company woman wrote me, asking how the stocking was doing. I explained what I had done, down to the smaller liner, indicated I was stitching it in that night and hoping for the best. She responded by asking that I send her the stocking after the holidays and indicating that she would send me a new kit. Um, ??? I just spent a month of my life in high anxiety getting this stocking together. My daughter then used it for her first Christmas. I ain't giving it up. So I told her that I didn't want to give it up. I thought maybe she thought I had been trying to scam a free stocking kit from her, so I attached pictures of the parts where the red dye was still noticeable. She, however, didn't care about that and wanted the stocking so she could send it to the yarn manufacturer to show them the broken/disintegrated bits. Despite my refusal to send the stocking to her, she is still offering me another stocking kit. Quite frankly, I think this is the right thing to do but the wrong time to do it. If she was going to replace the stocking, she should have done it back on December 11. The whole exchange makes me feel a little weird. There is nothing overt, she never says, "THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT. YOU ARE A MORON." but that is kinda the vibe I get. Maybe it is the tone of the e-mails? Maybe I am just sensitive? For whatever reason, my panties are bunched. Which, incidentally, totally annoys me because I love the stocking. I'd recommend the kits. I'd knit another. But yet ... grrr.
So that is the story of the stocking. But for the part where it is apparently demonic.
Both my husband and his brother feel that I have created Satan Claus, not Santa Claus. When Boo first mentioned this to me, I almost choked on the M&M (peanut butter of course) I was eating. He said something along the lines of, "It looks great but what's the deal with Satan Claus?" After dislodging the M&M from my esophagus, I laughed. I thought he was talking about all of the crap that I went through to get this stocking done ... like it was possessed by the devil or something. But no. He means that Santa looks like he wants to suck your soul right out of your body, and feast on your kidneys for desert. Something about the eyes or the eyebrows ... he can't pinpoint it. He just feels like his mortality is in danger if he looks Mister Claus in the eyes. Trying to disprove such silliness, I asked BiL5 his thoughts while he was here. He was solidly in the Satan camp. Bastard!
Yarn: Elegant Heirlooms, Googleheims Stocking Kit purchased from Angelika's Yarn Store
Needles: Addi Turbo Lace Circs, size 3.25 mm (US 4)
Pattern: "Here I Go"
Modifications: Knit toe-up. Knit some of it in the round. Added extra stripe around white name band so both top and bottom had a red and green stripe. Added bells to reindeer collar. Made Santa evil.
Time: One and a half months.