This such strange timing to make a blog post about needlepoint stockings. It’s March! Everyone is counting down the days until spring! Well, maybe it’s because it feels like a winter wonderland as I’m writing this (we are getting the tail end of a nor’easter) or because I’m in the thick of stitching Mike’s stocking…. but here we are. Christmas in…. March.
If you’re new to needlepoint (or just want to learn more), I have a post with everything you need to know about needlepoint for beginners.
Stockings are some of the best things you can needlepoint. They are time-consuming and require so much thought and care… from selecting the perfect canvas for someone to stitching it. Sometimes they can take years to finish! But they are truly heirlooms if done well. If someone has stitched you a stocking, know it was done with a lot of love. (Really this goes for anything made by hand!)
I wanted to share more details about our stockings, so far. They’re all labors of love and I’m excited that this year we’ll all have one to hang on the mantle. (As long as I stay on schedule to finish Mike’s!!)
It’s tempting to want to jump into a stocking immediately, but if you’re truly a beginner, I would wait a little bit. I’m not gatekeeping here– in fact, I want more and more people to needlepoint. The more stitchers we have the better the industry can be. But starting off with a stocking could be incredibly discouraging. They’re very expensive and take forever, so there’s a high chance of burn out. (They present unique challenges as they typically have many colors you’re working with and are also hard to hold.) It’s just not, in my opinion, the best type of canvas to start with. Penny Linn Designs, Greystone Needlepoint, and Lycette Designs all have great beginner canvases to cut your teeth on.
One of the most fun parts about needlepointing a stocking is finding the canvas. There are so many options out there nowadays and sometimes it can take hours and hours of poring through websites, Instagram, and Pinterest to get inspiration and other times the right canvas finds you. I’ve experienced both. There are also just, like, so many styles of canvases that you can really find something for everyone, no matter what your preferences are. You can go for extremely traditional, you can pick from a myriad of Santa motifs, or you can go for something a little more modern.
I went with designs that felt like “new traditional” to me.
Jack’s stocking is “Nantucket Captain Christmas Stocking” by Silver Needle
Mine is “Yellow Bow Stocking Canvas” by Riley Sheehey x The Plum Stitchery
Each of these– and really most stockings– can be ordered through your LNS (local needlepoint store) or you can search around online to see if/where they’re in stock or reach out to a dealer to have it ordered. It is a little confusing, but it’s worth it in the end to make sure you get exactly what you want.
The minute I found out I was having a boy, I started hunting for a great needlepoint stocking. I didn’t want something super boy (no footballs or race cars) and, personally, didn’t want something too baby or too “Santa.” I was trying to picture the stocking hanging by the fire for decades to come! I love what I went with for Jack, though looking back, I wish I had stitched a little wreath somewhere? I was pregnant and furiously stitching to get it done before Jack made his debut (which happened to line up finishing deadlines!) so I wasn’t even thinking customization.
And the minute I saw the yellow bow stocking, I knew it would be perfect for “me.” For our names, I did Jack’s “freehand” by mapping it out in Excel and then I tweaked a needlepoint alphabet chart I found on Pinterest for mine. Personally, I like that they feel handmade and personal. Anyone can buy a perfect stocking online but these were made by hand with love.
So Mike’s was so much harder to choose. I wanted something that coordinated with Jack’s and mine and I wanted it to feel more masculine. Oh, and Mike needed to approve. Those turned out to be pretty difficult parameters! It took me over a month to land on a design. Between searching and culling and coming back to the list and adding to the list. I finally landed on this “Nutcrackers” canvas from Spider Spun. I will say, I almost quit stitching when I first started it because it’s printed (versus hand painted) and that is extra challenging since it involves guessing and isn’t 100% straightforward. But the owner of Spider Spun gave me a stitch guide I could follow and I’m so glad I stuck with it. It’s a little more time consuming, but I’m really obsessed with the nutcrackers. They have such big personalities– each a little different. Can’t wait to share the stocking when I’m finished….
Thought I’d round up some more stockings that I enjoy:
STAR STOCKING // LONDON BROWNSTONE STOCKING // TOPIARY CHRISTMAS TREE
SKI VILLAGE STOCKING // HOLIDAY GEESE STOCKING // CHRISTMAS TREE STOCKING
ROSE MEDALLION STOCKING // PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE // SANTA’S FLIGHT STOCKING
TWELVE DAYS STOCKING // PINK BOWS IN LATTICE STOCKING // WINTER VILLAGE STOCKING
What a fun and creative hobby! I love following along with your progress!
These are gorgeous and so so special. How did you start needlepointing? Did someone teach you? Did you take a class? Buy a book? I really want to get started but do I just dive in…
A friend taught me, but you can totally do it! Here’s my guide for beginners: https://carlyriordan.com/needlepoint-for-beginners.html
These are AMAZING. What treasures!
What’s the difference between stitching on printed? I guess I’ve only done hand painted and didn’t realize there was a difference the experience!!
With hand painted every cross section is specifically one color because someone is going in and adding that color “dot” of paint (hence the price tag!). With printed, it can be off by a mm or two and all of a sudden the cross section colors can be off! So it’s not straight forward which color to stitch (sometimes there are two or three colors on the canvases) and you have to guess or figure out what it’s supposed to be.
Love this post! I am a loooong time stitcher but working on my first stocking now… a surprise for my mom. She stitched them for everyone else in my family and now finally there will be one on the mantle for her. 🙂
I LOVE this!
These are so beautiful!! I am a needlepointer too and love following along with your projects. I just had a baby boy and am hoping to start a stocking for him soon. Question: do you stress about matching the sizes/shapes of the family stockings? If so, how does this affect your search?
In a perfect world, I wish they were all the same! But I don’t think it really matters
The ski village stocking just arrived for my little one! Can’t wait to get working on it. Your needlepoint posts always keep me motivated–it’s so hard to find the time with little kids but it’s so important to keep up with hobbies 🙂
Okay, so I’m new to the Needlepoint world…. But one day, I know I want to do family stockings! My question for you (though, it may be a very beginner question, ha!): once you’ve finished needlepointing the stocking, what are the next steps? How do you turn it into a “pouch?” How did you finish yours with the velvet liner and Jack’s with the red rope lining? Thanks so much 🙂
Great question. If you’re brave (and can sew) you can sew the stocking yourself. Even though I’m a fairly confident sewer, I was afraid to attempt on my own, so I sent mine out to finishers. Jack’s was done through my LNS and I sent mine out to The Needlepoint Clubhouse in St. Louis for a rush turnaround since I missed the deadline by MONTHS!! You can usually send your own fabric in or work with the finishers to figure out what your vision for the stocking is!
Beautiful work! Who did you have finish them for you?
Jack’s was done through my LNS (Wool & Grace in Summit, NJ) and I sent mine out to The Needlepoint Clubhouse in St. Louis.
I love this stocking! You mentioned on Instagram that you didn’t like your scroll frame…I just started a larger project and need to find a frame solution. Can you explain what didn’t you like about this one? And would you mind sharing the link?
It takes a WHILE to get the clips on just right and once (somehow) the screws on the knobs got overtightened and we couldn’t unscrew them for days… Mike and I kept trying. I think they swelled with heat in our house?! It was weird! https://amzn.to/42dZjaI