Bending the Rules goes against my nature. I grew up on the era when cheating-on anything or anyone- was not acceptable for anything or by anyone. The shame was incredible even without the tar and feathering of colonial days. So, I was definitely a child that colored INSIDE the lines.
But now I color without any lines at all. So, it is not surprising that I am bending the rules with my current craft project. A Bucilla stocking for the youngest grandchild is almost complete. The instructions for these stockings are complex and run multiple pages. Since this is my third stocking, I now make “adjustments” to the required steps.
Important First Steps
In late grade school our teacher gave us a task. The single sheet of paper was full of simple steps to the assignment. The first step was to read all the instructions before beginning. Second on the list was to take out a sheet of paper. Third, we were to write our names on the top left page. Next, we were to number the lines from one to twenty. The list went on with the final instruction: Complete the first three items and then wait for further instructions. Many were tricked by this lesson in following directions.
The stockings begin with the same first step. Read all the directions first. And yes, I remembered my grade school experience and read all the instructions first. But then I start bending the rules. For example, under the general directions the requirements are to separate the color strands of embroidery floss and then cut each in half. I don’t cut the threads in half until I need that color.
However, I do follow the directions of cutting out each felt piece as needed and not at the beginning. A few of these shapes are so small, I can see them getting lost easily. So, you can see I choose which directions to follow.
Bending the Rules
I now use an added felt piece to back the front of the stocking before starting the craft work. My tendency is to make tight stitches which are not ideal for embroidery of any kind. And disastrous when working with felt. The additional piece provides needed sturdiness for my needlework.
A secondary use for this added piece is to hide the applique stitching. Few stitches carry all the way through to the second piece. I believe this will add to the longevity of the stocking. Christmas goodies will not snag or pull on the interior threads nor will chubby toddler hands. These stocking gifts are meant to last a lifetime-not just survive the childhood years.
More bending of the rules began with the second stocking made and continue with this third one. On each I have replaced a provided thread skein with a color I felt coordinated better. I am very picky with my colors blending together. A carryover aspect of my quilt designs.
Next, I followed my own rules with respect to the tops of the lightbulbs. These pieces were incredibly small. So, I embroidered each before cutting any out. This gave me a bigger piece of felt to grasp while stitching. Then, I kept the lightbulb tops open and sewed them shut around the “cord” of thread. Again, I sought added stability. These extra steps were time consuming.
Finally, I diverged from the rules with respect to areas requiring a stuffing. The suggested polyester fiberfill is good for large pieces. But for the smaller pieces I have transitioned to using leftover quilt batting. The flat cotton layers still give the shape body but are so much easier to use. In this snowman stocking, the berries would be a nightmare to stuff any other way.
Everything we do involves a learning curve. This third Bucilla stocking proves the adage. I encountered very little frustration and the pieces have melded into a beautiful Christmas treasure and tradition. So much easier than the first stocking made in 2019. I am looking forward to this Christmas with guarded anticipation.