The stockings were hung...

Here it is!... one finished mini-stocking advent garland!...ta-dah!...

We have been enjoying it all week and are loving the festive little ritual of opening each new stocking at breakfast.  Okay, maybe I was up until 5am getting it ready for the morning of December 1st, but now that I have had time to catch up a bit, I can honestly say it was worth it.  So far I've only moved it three times, trying to find the perfect place for it, you know—luckily the family just rolls with it and does a quick look-see to find where it traveled to in the night.

This pic cracks me up...looks a little like what I imagine the hearth of the little old woman {you know, the one who lived in a shoe} might look like on laundry day...

Okay, as promised...Here are the instructions for my version of the mini-stocking garland.  There are so many fun ways to tackle this project.  If you are on Ravelry, hop on over here to see how other people approached the same idea—so many cute minis out there.  Obviously, I'm a little late getting the instructions posted for you to make your own advent garland for this year (although you could just do a new stocking a day from now until Christmas—they whip up really fast), but there's always the 12 days of Christmas.  In the past I have used my mini-stockings as holiday wrap for little gifts and gift cards, for decorating holiday packages and wreaths, and just for decorating the house or the tree.  My youngest really loves these little stockings and can always put them to use—lots of uses for these little cuties.

The Details 

I made my mini stockings with Cascade 220, because I have a lot of it and because I wanted it to go fast.  As you can see from the color explosion here, I used this project for some serious stash busting.  It's perfect for that, but if you want to make them out of the same color, I think that you could get the entire project, including the I-cord garland out of a skein or two.  If you have lots of DK weight wool hanging around, it would work just as well.  Just keep in mind that you will need to adjust your needle size and be aware that your minis will be a little smaller.

The Stockings

Finished Size
Leg = 2 1/2" from upper edge to beginning of heel flap.
Foot =  4 1/2" from back of heel to tip of toe.

For the Stockings—
28 to 29 yds (13 to 15 g) worsted weight wool
US 6 double point needles
US 7 double point needles 
US size G (4mm) crochet hook 
Tapestry needle

5 stitches to the inch, in Stockinette stitch, using US size 6 double point needles.

Using US 7 dpns and contrasting yarn (if desired), cast on 24 sts.  Divide the sts evenly onto three dpns.  Join work in the round.
Round 1:  *Purl 3 sts, make a bobble in the next stitch.  To make a bobble k1, p1, k1, p1 in the next stitch (4 sts made from 1).  Turn the work, k4, turn work, p4.  Do not turn work after working these last four sts, instead pass the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stitch over the last stitch worked and off of the needle.  Repeat from * around, until you are back at the beginning of the round.
Rounds 2-4:  Purl.  Cut contrasting yarn, leaving a long tail.
Remaining Leg Rounds:  Switch to US 6 dpns, join main color, and knit until the leg measures 2 1/2" from the cast on.  Cut main color.

Heel Flap 
The heel flap is worked back and forth in rows as follows.  Join contrast color and knit across 6 sts. Turn work and purl across 12 sts.  These 12 sts make up the heel flap. Place the remaining 12 sts on a dpn or holder (these are the instep sts and will be worked later). Ignore the instep stitches while you work the remainder of the heel flap.  Work back and forth on the heel flap sts as follows—
Row 1:  Slip 1 st, knit across the remaining 11 sts.
Row 2:  Slip 1 st, purl the remaining 11 sts.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until 10 rows have been worked and there are 5 long chain stitches along the each side of the heel flap, ending with a purl row.

Turn Heel
Slip 1, k6, ssk, k1, turn.  
Slip 1, p3, p2tog, p1, turn.
Slip 1, k4, ssk, k1, turn.
Slip 1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn.
You will end with 8 sts.  Slip 1, k3, cut yarn, ending in the middle of the heel flap.  

Heel Gusset
The remainder of the stocking will be worked in the round.
With the right side of the heel flap facing you and using a separate dpn and main color, knit across the 4 remaining heel sts. Do not turn work.  Instead, pick up and knit 1 st into each long chain stitch along the heel selvedge. You should now have 10 sts on this needle (if you have one more or less, don't stress, just make sure that you pick up the same number on the opposite selvedge so that the gussets match in the end).  This needle, will be referred to as Needle 1 from here on out.

Using a separate US 6 dpn, knit across the 12 sts for the instep.  This needle will be referred to as Needle 2.
Using another US 6 dpn, pick up and knit 1 stitch for each heel selvedge stitch as you did at the beginning of the round.  Once you have picked up 6 sts, knit across the 4 remaining heel flap sts.  You should now have 10 sts on this needle, Needle 3.

Round 1:  Knit one round—32 sts total—10 sts on Needle 1, 12 sts on Needle 2 (the instep) and 10 sts on Needle 3.
Round 2 (decrease round):  Knit to the last 3 sts on Needle 1, k2tog, k1.  Knit across the instep sts (Needle 2).  K1, ssk, k the remaining sts on Needle 3.
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2, until the original number of sts is restored—24 sts total.  You should have 6 sts on Needles 1 and 3 and 12 sts on Needle 2.

Knit plain until the foot is approximately 2", from where you joined the main color at the end of the heel.   Cut yarn.

Round 1:  Join contrast color and k one round.
Round 2 (decrease round):  Knit to the last three sts of Needle 1, k2tog, k1.  Knit the first st on Needle 2, ssk, k to the last 3 sts on Needle 2, k2tog, k1.  Knit the first st on Needle 3, ssk, k to the end of Needle 3.—4 sts are decreased in this round.

Continue repeating Rounds 1 and 2 until 8 sts remain.  Cut yarn, leaving a 8-10" tail.  Thread the tail onto a tapestry needle and run the needle through the live sts on the needles, removing the needles as you do so.  Pull the thread taut to draw up the toe sts, turn sock inside out, fasten off tail, and weave in the end.  

To make a hanging tag for your stocking, use the crochet hook to make a 12 to 20 stitch chain.  Sew it to the top of the stocking.  Weave in all remaining ends.  Voila! cute and very quick little stocking! 

The Garland

I suspended my stockings on an I-cord garland.  You could use a ribbon for this—we live about an hour away from everything and I didn't have the right ribbon, so I-cord it was. I used the US 6 dpns and made a 5 stitch I-cord.  I spaced the stockings 4" inches apart in groups of 6, and allowed for a loop in between every section of 6 stockings, thus I ended up knitting around 5 yards of I-cord—that's about one movie.  

Because I wanted my stockings to be removable, I decided to suspend them on buttons sewn directly onto the I-cord.  I used 7/8" buttons (could use any size tho).  I had it in my head that this would be an entirely handmade project, so I decided to make covered buttons.  Obviously, you could use premade buttons and the project would be just as cute, but if you've never covered buttons of your own, I highly recommend it (I could do a whole week of posts on covered buttons—I love them that much).  I embroidered the numbers on mine, but I also considered stamping or painting them (even a sharpie or paint pen would work here—lots of possibilities).  In the end, I had embroidery floss on hand, so that's what I did.  One square of muslin, a pencil, an embroidery hoop, and a needle and floss and there you go...


After the buttons were made, I divided the I-cord into 4 sections, making a loop in between each section and one at each end, so that there were 5 loops in all.  Then I spaced the buttons evenly along the 4 sections and sewed them to the I-cord.  Done and ready for fun! 


In other news...
I am loving Giveaway Day 2009!  Go check out the fun offerings, the gorgeous blogs and meet all the talented people participating this year.  All of the give-aways are open until December 6th.  Trust me, you won't be disappointed, and even if you do spend your whole day surfing from one inspiring blog to the next and commenting all the way, that's what left-overs and take-out are for, right? 

I have a copy of my book up for grabs...

If you haven't signed up for the give-away yet, check out this post to put your name in the hat!  I am having soooo much fun with this!  I love reading all of the comments and hearing who and what your favorite fairy tales, love, loving it!  Thank you!...oh and those fingerless gloves...I will be sharing the pattern for those in an upcoming post—next week.

Happy knitting and Happy Friday!...