My Material Life

“I Heard the Bells” Stocking


Well I did manage to get in a little bit of sewing this Christmas as you can see in the stocking above. I must say I’m delighted with the bell design; I thank divine inspiration for it as I planned to create something else entirely. When I realized my original plan wasn’t going to work, my hands and brain seemed to know exactly what to do and I just started cutting, placing and stitching. Finally! I’ve been wanting to make my daughter a stocking forever. I hope it’s not too late to make an imprint on her young brain. I probably had my childhood stocking from babyhood (sadly, I don’t know what became of it) and its angel and bell design were certainly an influence here.

This stocking is made of some very fine materials, including German mohair for the cuff. The felt is 100% wool, and the metallic gold embroidery floss is French DMC. I purchased the mohair and felt a few years ago from Edinburgh Imports (which is actually located in Southern California). I found the least expensive mohair and purchased 1/4 yard; mohair costs a fortune! I expected the tiny jingle bells to come from China, but they’re actually from Taiwan. Then I found some older bells that I’d salvaged to wrap around my dinner napkins with pipe cleaners and guess what – they’re from Taiwan too.

Did you know that the lyrics for the song I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the Civil War? I didn’t. They’re really quite beautiful:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll’d along th’ unbroken song
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair, I bow’d my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song,
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With Peace on earth, good will to men.”




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