After I was diagnosed with breast cancer and told that I had 18 weeks of chemotherapy before the mastectomy, it was clear that I was going to have a lot of time on my hands. But not the kind of time that I can do whatever I want, like study microbes or bake cookies. The kind of time in which I'm trying to take my mind off of the nausea or waiting to be called back into an exam room at any minute. This kind of time begs for a craft project. So I decided to start a Christmas stocking for my then 1-year-old daughter, Eleanor.
I had started a needlepoint stocking for my first daughter when she was one, but I didn't finish it before Nori was born. So like any self-respecting twenty-something, I passed it off to my mom to finish. I found needlepoint to be tedious and slow, so for Eleanor's stocking I opted for a felt applique model, hoping it would be faster. It may have been faster if I had bought a stocking of normal dimensions. But oh no. What I neglected to notice when I purchased Nori's felt stocking was that the finished dimensions were to be over two feet long by at least a foot wide.
The gargantuan proportions and exquisite detail made for hours upon hours of cutting and stitching and sequin-ing. I worked on this dang stocking during most visits to the Oncology office. And it took me until Thanksgiving to finish it. It really is a beautiful stocking. I wonder if it will always make me nauseous, or if that's a temporary phenomenon.
The very day I finished Eleanor's stocking, I received a parcel in the mail from my mother, containing Azalea's unfinished stocking. All of the needlepoint was done (huzzah! Thanks, mom!), but the complicated assembly remained. Initially I was disappointed to have so much work left to do on this stocking, but when I held up Azalea's meager stocking to Eleanor's behemoth I was grateful to have the chance to do some equilibrating.
I returned to my friendly felt and used more needlepoint to attach the stocking face onto the felt. I then sewed hundreds of white sequins (snow) around the needlepoint before sewing on a felt back. It's still not done, with some holly berries and a jingle bell waiting to adorn, but it was done enough for this year.
And at last, at the ripe old ages of 2 and 4, my daughters had some stockings for Santa to fill with chocolates, pens, clementines, and socks.
|Eleanor's nauseating stocking is on the left, Azalea's needlepointed nightmare is on the right.|