Hello there, Happy November! The weather outside our little thread factory is turning frightful this week with a pre-winter freeze, but this is our busy season so it’s warm and energetic inside. The holidays are right around the corner, and people need threads to stitch their decorations and gifts.
I’m kind of known around the family tree for being creative with my Christmas gift packaging. I’m not sure how it started, but I think it was in a craft store. One year, with the power of a paper punch, I made gift tags out of recycled holiday cards that I embellished with iron-on threads. Another time I decorated brown craft paper with copies of family Christmas photos, 3-dimensional scrapbook stickers and metallic ribbon. One year it was giant glittered wooden initials. I can’t forget the year of hand-embroidered felt gift tags, or the time I crocheted miniature Christmas sweaters that decorated each present. While I joked that this year my package decorations will involve recreating the 12 days of Christmas in polymer clay, I’m actually thinking of scaling back.
I love all of the gorgeous Christmas wrapping paper you can easily find in stores, and quite frankly, you can buy a giant bag of bows on the cheap. So for me, the Spirit of Christmas Gift Wrapping isn’t lacking the basics. It’s the “little extra” embellishment part where you can stand out, be unique, express personality, and show the recipient in another way just how much they mean to you. For creative people, it’s the perfect place to share embroidery, painting, poetry, felting, crocheting, knitting, sewing, etc. Using a handmade or from-the-heart touch in the gift-wrapping layer of a present makes it even more special, fun, and delightful. Aren’t these feelings are some of the best, magical parts of Christmas?
For package embellishments this year, I am embracing one of the crafts I love the most: stitching. I am going back to basics, and stitching package decorations. “Who has time for that?” Actually, there’s no need to make this labor- and time-intensive; with a little help from some friends (ie, inexpensive ornament shapes from stores like Target, Dollar Store, Michaels, etc), small designs and simple stitches can look fabulous.
And speaking of looking fabulous, Christmas stitching needs to have metallic threads. That’s just a given. Things nature-made and man-made sparkle, twinkle, reflect and shine at Christmas, more so than any other time of the year. People who normally refrain from anything splashy are suddenly wearing blinking Rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer necklaces. This is the time for silver and gold, for making everything bright, and for glistening all over the place.
If you are cross stitching or doing hand embroidery, I recommend using Kreinik Fine #8 Braid metallic thread. It’s about the weight/thickness of two strands of embroidery floss, so it works well in all kinds of stitches. It adds shimmer and light to a design in the easiest, prettiest way. Kreinik also has high-speed metallic threads for machine embroidery, and carry-along metallics for knitting, crocheting, and weaving. Contact me if you need advice, encouragement or ideas.
Here’s a selection of some of my favorite handmade tokens that can be made to decorate gifts. They are all free projects to download so take them and make them your own. I hope they will be put to good use surprising and delighting people all over the world this Christmas. Take a few evenings to relax and embroider a few ornaments or gift tags for your loved ones. They will feel so special, and your wrapped presents will be unique, personal, and pretty.
P.S. This week I will be stitching some of my gift embellishments and sharing the patterns. They will be available as free projects on the Kreinik 25 Days of Free Christmas Projects. Look for this annual calendar of freebies on www.kreinik.com the week of November 24.
If you want modern cross stitch designs, XStitch Magazine is the answer to your prayers!
With themed issues featuring eclectic patterns from an international cohort of cross stitch designers, you’re bound to find something you’ll love to stitch!