This Christmas stocking is one of a pair of stockings that Betty Lindsay, my mother-in-law, had knitted for me and my sister-in-law when we joined the family. The pattern is the Victorian Stocking Pattern by Valerie Root, published in Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Celebrations Magazine, 1993. At the same time, Betty had coordinating stockings in a different design knitted for our husbands – her sons. I am still searching for the source of the patterns for those.
This stocking is hand knitted of cream-colored wool. The wool is DK weight. The design features panels of heavily embossed bobbles in a swag pattern separated by columns of garter ribbing. The top of the stocking features a knitted loop for hanging the stocking, and a knitted casing, 1.5 inches wide, that holds a 1” wide, dark green grosgrain ribbon. Below the ribbon casing, there is a 3.25” deep decorative edging, heavily embossed with bobbles. The initials “JL” are embroidered in green wool on the heel of the stocking using duplicate stitch. I recall that my sister-in-law's stocking was finished about a year earlier, and that hers had a red ribbon and red initials.
Betty was the co-owner with Bonne Hassler of Yarns International in Bethesda, Maryland. Betty and Bonnie hired several knitters to knit samples for the store and to do commission knitting and repairs for customers, and it is likely that one of these knitters was hired to knit the stockings. The knitting and finishing details are all beautifully and skillfully done.
Betty’s Christmases were legendary celebrations, and I know she filled this stocking for me when she gave it to me. It is simply gargantuan, measuring 27.5” inches from top of stocking to tip of toe, and 9” wide (18” in circumference)!
I like to think the large size demonstrates my mother-in-law’s overwhelming love for me, but from notes shared by “theytoldmesew” – another knitter who posted her project on Ravelry, www.ravelry.com, the photo of the pattern in the magazine was deceptive. The instructions include more repeats around and more repeats in length than the magazine photo of the stocking shows, resulting in a much larger stocking than would be expected. The large size is especially obvious and humorous when I hang it next to the stocking Betty had knitted for my husband that same year.
Because of its size, I use this stocking as a fun holiday decoration, but not as a Chrsitmas stocking. My sister-in-law found a different use for her gargantuan stocking, along with some of the swatches in Betty’s large swatch collection. She had them cut up, felted, and sewn into multiple stockings – one for each family member. You can see an example of one such stocking, which has a cuff made from a portion of her original Victorian Stocking, now felted.
It is wonderful to see these items getting the love they deserve, whether in their original form, or in a new one.