Sunday, April 26, 2009

Names on Stockings: How To (a tutorial)

As long as I had committed to do this stocking cuff for a very dear friend, (few get this privelege these days, as I am old and crabby and lazy) I decided to do pictures of the stages I go through when doing the job. It's actually a very simple process, but exacting, and takes a bit of time if it's done right.

Avery is one I did for a great granddaughter of this delightful lady several years ago. Now there is a baby brother, whose name is "Griffin." As the letters of the Avery alphabet are wide, I couldn't possibly make them work for Griffin - and actually, I don't like things all matched anyway. The stockings are by the same designer, so the continuity is there.

The canvas mesh is 13, so I decided that a simple lettering would fit best, but couldn't just do block letters - time to make one up. Here you can see the blank cuff.

The first step is to trace the shape of the cuff onto a piece of tracing paper with black ink, and then roughly draw in letters the size they need to be. Then, go over them with black ink to make them easy to see under needlepoint canvas. I always do this first as a pencil sketch - then ink that. In this case, the penciled letters were too big, so I made them smaller when drawing in the ink. On the "G" I started playing with a style instead of block letters.

The next step is to put this under a piece of scrap canvas, and start creating letters - which have to be the same height and width, and have the same number of threads between them. Actually an easy thing to accomplish once you get the hang of it.

I didn't like the first attempt - at the top - as the letters are too narrow. Soooo I tried again at the bottom with a different count, and like it much better. On the bottom version, you can see where I counted for centering. Just mark every 10th thread to the end of the name - There are usually a few threads left after the last 10. In this case, 4 - which left me with an even number.

At this point, I counted by 10 + 4 to find the center. There were 94 threads, so the center is in the groove between threads (even number). On an odd count, one would mark ON THE THREAD.I simply counted over 47 stitches, and marked the center. Next in this process is to find the center of the cuff - by just measuring the line that separates the cuff from the body of the stocking, and then marking the center - corresponding with the odd or even count.

From here, I placed the stocking over the lettering to determine the vertical placement - always leaving less space at the bottom than at the top, as the name needs to visually "rest" and not float away. Then it's a simple matter to just copy the lettering count, beginning at the center. These letters are 29 stitches high, but it's only necessary to count this once. This is the "F" just to the left of the center in "Griffin."

All done now - and I always paint these in grey when doing them for other people, as mixing paint takes time, and it also gives them leeway for choosing colors of thread.

I am planning to do another tutorial on putting names on mini-stockings (may be applied to full size ones as well) on my "Freebies, Etc." blog - probably not tomorrow, but soon. For that one, I'll use more decorative alphabets I've either made up myself and use a lot - or from my favorite books (two of them). Stay tuned!


g said...

finally..people think there is nothing to putting a name on a stocking...a mongram or fitting any word or pharse into a confined takes planning and counting...nice instructions..

Jan said...

Terrific! I'm working on stockings for my granddaughters, so the timing is perfect for this tutorial. I'll be visiting this post often. Thank you for taking the time to teach some very useful skills to the rest of us.