DIY Christmas

Whereas we gave home-made presents to many of our friends and relatives at Christmas, by some strange coincidence my mother and I both gave each other DIY gifts. I’m not quite sure why this is – we didn’t agree it in advance, or discuss it at all. Perhaps it’s just that we spent so much time in the same place before Christmas that we couldn’t possibly have made anything for the other and kept it remotely secret? Anyhow, that’s how it worked out. I gave her a selection of printed fabric in reds and pinks and purples, most of it designed by the wonderful Kaffe Fassett, with which to make a beautiful quilt of many colours. And she gave me two metres of lovely grey and cream checked linen fabric from a shop in Paris (which, outrageously, I have not had the pleasure of visiting) with which to make a tablecloth.

And oddly enough Father Christmas gave me a collection of embroidery threads in nice colours, so as to really drive home the point my mother wished to make. I think they’re in cahoots. As well as these, I also got a very nice book of cross stitch and embroidery patterns that would look nice on a tablecloth. Point made. (Incidentally, the book is written by the owner of the shop in Paris that the material came from.)
The only thing is, I can’t make my mind up how best to combine these elements and decorate my tablecloth. The checks are fairly small, so I can’t decide if I should stick within the borders or just stitch irrespective of the woven pattern. Or if I should follow a regular pattern or if I should do something freer, like little flowers or plants. Suggestions are, as always, welcome. I am, of course, more than a little daunted by the idea of two metres of stitch-able space, as this is far far more than I have ever embarked on before.
Besides this, just before Christmas (I think strictly speaking this was a very belated birthday present actually, but it felt more like Christmas) I received an amazing surprise parcel from Peru (via Hampshire, naturally), containing ten tiny skeins of alpaca wool in five different colours. It was so unexpected, and all the more exciting for that! It came from Laura, who was and still is adventuring her way around South America, and apparently occasionally stopping off in wool shops and posting goodies back to this side of the world. I don’t yet know what I will do with it, but I feel that just as I made the Icelandic wool into something of a Scandinavian nature, I ought to make this into something that would feel at home in South America. So maybe some kind of intensely colourful embroidered creation. Maybe with a llama or two? We shall see. But Laura – this is thank you. I’m most touched that you thought of me when faced with exotic wool 🙂