Cheryl’s Stocking by Gail Sirna

Over the years I have made many Christmas stockings for my family members. The family continued to grow as my children married, and grandchildren arrived. But the stocking I had made for my second daughter was kind of unacceptable, both to her and me, as it was stitched on 10 count canvas, and worked in Paternayan Persian yarn. Hers decidedly paled in comparison to her husband’s and the two grandkids’ stockings. My skill had definitely improved in the last 40-some years, so I designed and stitched a new stocking for Cheryl.

Christmas was not too long in the future, and to be truthful, I was somewhat burned out after making 14 Christmas stockings over the years. To hurry the process along I obtained some navy-blue canvas (I had never stitched on colored 18-count before) and realized I would have to use threads that contrasted colorwise with the dark blue. White silk seemed the route to go, and a snow scene seemed the right idea for us residents of the far north. Cheryl’s children were only about 2 and 4 at the time, and to me they occupied her whole life. So, the little children were included on the stocking, embraced by all white conifer trees so ubiquitous in the north.

I wanted to use some of the snowflakes that Toni Gerdes had employed on one of her recent designs, but it turned out that they were way too large for my piece. I managed to make a couple of them smaller, or otherwise adjust them in size. I added some other snowflakes which are mostly standard stitches.

Next, I decided that I should repeat the red of my grandson’s jacket, so I added a tiny red cardinal in one of the trees, and added a red and white border between the name and the rest of the design.

When I look at all the stockings hanging along my daughter’s mantle I am drawn to Cheryl’s stocking, as of all those I have made over the years this one is the most visually compelling.