Boy do we have it easy today. Do you remember the days of macaroni art and egg carton Christmas tree ornaments? Once upon a time, there were no craft stores and kits with pre-cut, color-coordinated pieces. Once upon a time, when someone handcrafted a doll or a greeting card, chances are good they carved the doll’s face from wood or made the card stock with a mold and deckle.
I know, I know … pining for those things is like pining for rotary phones and 3 channels on the TV. But even as I wonder and marvel at aisle after aisle after aisle of beading supplies, scrapbooking materials, woodcrafts, needlework kits, notions, fabric, and everything in between, I’m often just a little sad that there seems to be a kit for absolutely everything. From greeting cards to jewelry to rock polishing to ceramics to paper dolls, it seems there is a ready made kit available to suit every crafter’s taste.
My objection to these pre-packaged kits is, I suppose, is not so much that they make things too easy (although that’s a part of it – a lot of the fun of any craft project, in my opinion, is finding the perfect materials), but rather that they take all the creativity out of the process. I mean, how creative do you have to (get to?) be, when your Christmas ornament kit comes with red, pink, and green beads, and step-by-step instructions for how to use every last one of them? It’s kind of like making sugar cookies from a kit that gives you one cookie cutter, two colors of icing, and one color of sprinkles. Where’s the fun in that?
And so I feel thusly about the whole idea of Christmas stocking kits.
The thing is, I get that we live busy lives in a busy world that whirls around us so quickly we’re lucky we even find time for handcrafts anymore. And I know that some people truly appreciate the ability to make “it” themselves, without having to put too terribly much thought or effort into the project. So, just because Christmas stocking kits are not for me doesn’t mean there aren’t others out there who wouldn’t appreciate the opportunity to use a kit to create a lovely keepsake Christmas stocking. (Wait a minute … I think I recently wrote about the fact that there’s no accounting for taste?)
So here’s the scoop. You can stitch your own Christmas stocking using one of the many kits available in Michaels, Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, or your local craft store … and of course they are available online. And as mentioned earlier, these kits do include everything, from the material to the needle and thread to the fabric paint and/or decorations. All you have to do is find one you like, and then find the time to start stitching!
Various Types of Stocking Kits
- Needlepoint – Needlepoint is stitched with wool yarn on a canvas. Once the work is finished, the entire canvas is covered so that none of the mesh is exposed.
- Counted and Stamped Cross-Stitch – Cross-stitch is a needlecraft that is usually stitched on an even-weave fabric like Aida cloth or linen. Stamped cross-stitch kits follow a pre-printed pattern on the fabric, while counted cross stitch requires the crafter to follow a paper pattern, manually counting and placing the stitches in the appropriate places.
- Crewel – With crewel, the crafter stitches yarn on fabric that is preprinted with a sketch of the design. Unlike needlepoint or cross stitch which use a combination of (x) and (/) patterns, crewel stitches are all sizes and shapes.
- Felt – Many stocking kits contain felt, sequins, and yarn or floss, with a needle or craft glue.
- Fabric – Some stocking kits come complete with coordinated fabrics, thread, needles, and decorative buttons or beads.
All kits come with complete instructions, although some instructions are certainly much easier to understanf (and subsequently follow) than others.