Inspired by this month's DIY Christmas decorating posts and a picture we tore out from a magazine (Country Living?) a few years ago, we made some stockings to hang by the fire. They're made from something pretty recognizable and surprisingly easy to work with. If you haven't guessed, find out after the jump.
You're right if you guessed shaggy cotton bath mats. We used them because we love their chunky texture and because their long pile would hopefully cover up our hand-stitching. To make them we cut a paper pattern out of newsprint, folded a rug in half and put the newsprint stocking on top. We cut just the inside edges out around the pattern with a razor blade- (the back of the stocking is the fold, and the top is the finished edge). You definitely need a thimble to protect your fingers doing this, and a fat embroidery needle. It didn't take very long to hand-sew them with big basting- stitches and embroidery thread.
We bought our rugs at Marshalls, although we've also seen them at just about every big bath store. Ours are all cotton and have the cotton (rather than the sticky non-skid) backing. These stockings are probably not everyone's style, but we have a pretty casual house and a love of shaggy run-your-fingers-through-them materials in the winter. We also like that you can fill them with odd sized gifts or oranges without them losing their shape, and that they are a lot of fun.