Thursday, November 3, 2011


When we got our beagle, Bailey, two weeks after our wedding in 1995, I lovingly made her a cross-stitch Christmas stocking, complete with her name at the top.  She died in 2005 and the Christmas stocking has been in storage ever since.  I can't bring myself to get rid of it.  I can't bring myself to pluck the stitches spelling out her name and replace them with one of my four other pets.  My critters have made do with crappy cheap stockings from the grocery store and I often think I really should create something a little more appropriate for beloved members of the family.  On the other hand, a decade from now I don't want FIVE handmade, personalized stockings in storage.

With my newly developed knitting skills obsession, I decided to make each quadruped his or her own stocking, without personalization.  It will be his or hers until time to cross The Rainbow Bridge.  Then it will get passed on to the next guy.  (If my accumulation of animals continues at the same pace of the last nine years, I'll be needing to make more stockings soon.)

I present my recently-finished dog and cat stockings.  Full details can be found on my Ravelry page here.

Frank and St. Jimmi

For my two hounds I chose the Christmas Stocking Knitting Pattern found on Red Heart's site here.  What I quickly discovered about most stocking patterns is that they are big.  I mean they are BIG.  (You will see evidence below.)  The first striped one on the left was acceptable, but a little too large for my taste, so the second time around I went with needles two sizes smaller and got a more reasonably-sized stocking.  As I was hanging them to take the picture, St. Jimmi wandered over and started nosing hers.  It hasn't even had anything edible put in it yet.  I'll have to watch out for that one.  Bailey was always obsessed with her Christmas stocking.  One year she jumped up and got her teeth in it, bringing the heavy silver stocking holder crashing into the fireplace, chipping a brick and nearly cracking the dog's skull.  Once I had children I switched to the light wooden holders shown, where the worst thing that happens is a dog overindulges and gets indigestion.

Snickers and Milky Way
The feline members of the family get very little in their stockings.  Unlike my enthusiastic dogs, who love nothing more than the crackle of a treat bag opening or the squeak of a new toy, the cats usually just look bored and turn their noses up at my tasty tuna-flavored offerings.  Since I needed only enough room for a small can of cat food and maybe a tiny catnip-filled toy, I made their stockings much smaller.  The original Lion Brand Fuzzy Santa Stocking (found here) used their Fun Fur Yarn for both the cuff and the body.  While I love the look of the fuzzy yarn, working with it gives me the pip.  I used plain acrylic yarn for the body, then topped it off with the nice faux fur at the top.

Finally we have the ones that didn't quite work out.  The first stocking I made, Bernat's Happy Holidays Knit Stocking (found here), was made with this cute Christmas variegated yarn.  Unfortunately the thing turned out to be as big as Santa's boot.  Actually, make that BOTH of Santa's boots.  It was not only long but unbelievably wide.  When I hung all the stockings up to photograph, though, Foghorn made it very clear which one she liked best.

Since it was useless as a dog stocking (unless I was giving him a 25 pound bag of Milkbones), I gave it to Foghorn.  And she managed to find a use for it...

The second substandard stocking makes me a little sad, since I think it came out very cute.  It's Lion Brand's Decorated Christmas Stocking found here.   Like the previous stocking, it's HUGE.  Unlike the previous one, though, it's proportional.  I'm thinking of filling it with small toys and hanging it for a decoration on the wall or maybe the front door.  If my knitting math skills were better, I would have redone the pattern to make it smaller.  Unfortunately I'm not at that level of expertise yet.

Now that the stockings are out of the way, I can get to work on filling them.  I have a great pattern from the Stitch 'N Bitch book for a knit Joey Ramone doll.  I think that just might suit St. Jimmi.


Corinne said...

Oh geesh, the guilt is too much for me. I didn't think about needing stockings for our new four-legged family members, too. But of course Santa will bring them goodies. I will check out your Ravelry page and your links to see if your projects are doable for a relative beginner like me.

Oh dear, must I make stockings for our chickens too?

Anonymous said...

I know why Foghorn loves that stocking - just think how much loot can be stuffed into it.
Mom said...

So cute! I've thought about knitting stockings for my family but worry they will get all stretchy and deformed. How are yours holding up?

Shannon Breen said...

Maggie, I honestly can't say how the stockings will hold up. This is the first year for knit ones (my kids' are needlepoint). I'll have to answer that question in January. ;)