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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Isabel, or
Carol of the Bells

This is one of my timelier efforts, as the recipient is roughly 2-1/2 or 3 years of age (theoretically these are supposed to be completed by the child's first xmas, but practically, the kid is usually too young to appreciate it the first year, so the goal is by age 2, by which time the kid is starting to have an appreciation for stockings, or at least their contents:)

felt, sequins, cotton and metallic embroidery flosses, wire-edged ribbon, jingle bells. Premade components: kumi is a tabby weave 8 strand braid, and the tassel is made with assorted fibers, particularly wool (or wool like) yarns and cotton threads—probably old spool thread, possibly poor-quality six-strand embroidery floss. 2004–2005.

This piece is unusual in comparison to the efforts preceding it in that it has a great deal of hand embroidery in it—in fact, I've probably put more time into this stocking than any other; basically, I started it on a long plane ride, and then worked on it away from home during the holiday season last year. Originally, I'd wanted to do a musical score, but was never able to find one for the christmas carol, Carol of the Bells—which by the way is my favorite Christmas carol.

As you can see I was playing a great deal with the theme—obviously, the child's name was the starting point; her mother's name is Carol, and, as I've said, the song in question is my favorite carol. Since I couldn't find the score, I embroidered the first verse in a sort of primitive folk-style chain-stitch lettering.

Shows the embroidery covered by the flap. The bells were just originally tacked down, per my usual method, but I never completely sewed down the perimeters, allowing that extra tiny bit of space required to get all of the first verse down. If you look at the image full-size, you can also see that it didn't take long before I decided all-caps would be more legible, so I switched over.


Shows three styles of embroidery, differentiating the ‘Carol of the [Isa]Bel[ls]—note the title of the song and the isa part of name is all in the same grey variegated 25 weight embroidery floss (double stranded) but switches from chain to satin stitch; emphasis is placed on the ‘Bel’ part by using cotton yarn couched with blue metallic. I really liked the way that part of it came out.


This closeup provides an opportunity to see the folk-art primitive lettering, and the stacked sequin embroidery style I use. (Yeah, well, I know, it's not that exciting, but completeness and all that...) Some of the sequins used in this piece, like the silver starbursts, date back to my childhood, and thus are roughly 30 years old. Yeesh!