Preparations are underway in homes across the world for this special festival, and ours is no exception. Let me share with you a little of the stitching I've done for Advent and Christmas. This needlepoint pillow has been part of our decorating for many years - I stitched it over 25 years ago and still love it, as well as the watered moire silk that the finisher used for the ruffle and the backing. The whole piece is worked mostly in basketweave stitch with Paternayan pure wool, though I don't know the designer - the name wasn't given on the hand-painted canvas.
This little bell-pull is a Charland design from several years ago - besides the instructions, the kit included the linen banding, silk and cotton threads, silk ribbon, and the sterling silver charm. There are lots of lovely specialty stitches in it, including some open work that I'm just starting to try out a little more. Most of the year it's on a soft rose wall - I can't bear to pack it away :) The wording is from the old English carol "The Holly and the Ivy" ,sung to a lively melody - we have several versions of it on our Christmas CDs and records (and yes, we still do have LPs and a turntable on which we play them!)
- The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown,
- Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.
We still have enough snow on the ground for the bird-feeder to look similar to ones we have here, though the warmer weather in the forecast might melt that snow in the next couple of days.
But while we wait for Christmas, our Scripture readings remind us that it's still Advent, still a time of preparation and waiting. This year I completed a small piece from Jane Timmers of FancyWork - it's about 4 x 6 inches, and I'll finish it soon as an ornament or miniature wall-hanging, but couldn't resist sharing it with you today. There are a few different stitches in it, including tent stitch, long-armed cross-stitch, and several others. The silk threads (Needlepoint Silk and Silk Mori) called for in the pattern were lovely to work with, and I used Rainbow Petite Treasure Braid for the gold - my first time to use this thread, but definitely not the last, I loved how easy it was to use as well as how beautiful the results were. Jane's designs are very special ones, often derived from traditional hymns and carols.
So I leave you today with this quote from the ancient Advent hymn - "O come, O come Emmanuel - Rejoice".