It’s the most wonderful time of the year: you’re stitching the night away, fingers raw from using tapestry needles, eyes blurry from focusing so intently, hands jittery from too much caffeine and/or sugar cookies, breathing shallow from the stress of the clock. You’re stitching Christmas presents, and all is not calm.
Well, it should be calm. Stitching has therapeutic benefits! Clinical studies have shown that stitching relaxes heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration. True, yes, but I doubt these studies were done while the stitchers were pouring their hands, heart and creativity into making meaningful Christmas presents for their loved ones…in December.
Christmas comes at the same time every year. It is impossible for this holiday to float around the calendar and surprise us. Most likely we were distracted with life and now find ourselves with less time than than we’d like to make things for Christmas. While I won’t address your grand intentions to stitch Mirabilia angels for all the women in your family, or knit scarves for all the men, I do want to offer some helpful tips for lightening up the do-able Christmas projects on your stitching list.
1. Lighten up. Literally: Stitch in good lighting, for goodness sake. Nothing makes us feel more tired than ambient lighting, plus you will feel more confident placing your stitches, seeing your progress, and threading your needles under clear, bright lighting.
Lighting choice is critical when doing your holiday stitching. Remember what your Grandma said: “Don’t strain your eyes!” Good lighting will make you stitch better and faster.
2. Lighten up some more. Figuratively: laugh. Watch funny things, read funny things, surround yourself with funny people. A good laugh is exercise for the heart and mind. Take it a step further: stitch funny things. If what you are stitching brings a smile to your face, or the recipient’s, it will be easier to finish.
3. Stitch some twinkle. People love the lights of Christmas, whether it’s simple bulbs on a tree or over-the-top lawn decor. People love lights so much, they now hang them for decorations on other holidays throughout the year. There is something about the shining, sparkling, twinkling lights on a tree, or in the front yard, that is magical and special. So vary your cross stitches by using a metallic thread here and there; the easiest to use is a metallic Very Fine #4 Braid or Fine #8 Braid, most subtle shimmer is a Blending Filament (all made by Kreinik Mfg. Co., Inc, www.kreinik.com, where you can find a Store Locator, online ordering, and lots of educational info). Your design will be more eye-catching and “magical.”
Nothing beats the shimmer of a sparkly metallic thread in holiday needlework. Like lights on a Christmas tree, or gold ribbon on a gift-wrapped present, a few stitches of metallic Braid make things more special. They capture Christmas lights better than any other thread.
4. Make it a group project. I know, I know, group projects are The Worst. We learned it in school and verified it at work. However, when it comes to Christmas Making, let others help you. Whether it is stitching ornaments together around the kitchen table or at a coffee shop, enlisting someone to do the sewing/finishing on that stitched stocking, OR asking the family to do the dishes so that you can finish your project, don’t be afraid to speak up. We try to do everything ourselves, and that’s not the way life was meant to be.
5. Trust yourself. When it comes to making things for gifts, there is usually a point in which we wonder “Is it worth it? Will they care, or like it?” Don’t worry about that. It is a meaningful, handmade gift from your hands and your heart. That is what gift-giving is truly about.
Happy Holidays everyone! Check out the 25 Days of Free Christmas Projects featuring quick-to-make projects that shine a little, make you smile a little, and capture a lot of holiday spirit. Click here: http://www.kreinik.com/25days.htm
This Starlight Ornament by Kathy Holicky is one of the downloadable designs from Kreinik’s 25 Days of Free Christmas Projects Calendar, featured this month on www.kreinik.com.