Christmas Stories & Legends, Part 4

During the month of December, I thought it might be fun to post each week leading up to Christmas with trivia about some popular Christmas traditions and stories. In the spirit of the season, I hope you find them interesting and inspiring.

I will also include a free pattern each week as my gift to you! Enjoy!

A Christmas without Music

One of the most beloved Christmas carols of all time, Silent Night, was written in 1818 by an Austrian priest, Joseph Mohr, and set to music by composer Franz Gruber. It is said that Mohr was told a few days before Christmas that the church organ in the parish of Oberndorf was broken and could not be repaired in time for Christmas Eve services. He was saddened by this and could not bear to think of Christmas without music.

On Christmas Eve, he sat down and wrote three stanzas, then gave the poem to Franz Gruber. He requested that it be set to music for soloists, chorus and guitar. That same evening, Gruber brought the simple composition to Mohr and still later that night, the people in the little Austrian church sang Stille Nacht (Silent Night) for the first time.

Silent Night, more than any other Christmas song, can evoke such an emotion that it often brings a tear to many an eye. The power of this simple song was never more evident than on the battlefields of Flanders in World War I in what has come to be known as “The Christmas Truce of 1914.”

The “great war” had been raging for nearly five months when Christmas arrived in 1914. The Germans were in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug into miles of muddy, man-made trenches six to eight feet deep. On Christmas Eve, the soldiers’ thoughts turned to their homes and families as they settled down in their bunkers with letters and pictures from their loved ones. While the bitter cold wind blew in around them, they turned their faces into their coats and tried to sleep.

In the early morning hours of December 25th, the allies heard the distant sounds of Silent Night being sung from the German trenches across the “no man’s land” between them. As they raised their heads to peek across, the startled allies were amazed to discover that the Germans had erected dozens of small Christmas trees lit with candles outside their trenches. Many of the Germans, who had worked in England before the war, were able to speak enough English to call out a Christmas truce to the allies.

The British and French troops accepted, and all along the miles of trenches, a spontaneous truce resulted. Soldiers left their bunkers, meeting in the middle to shake hands, exchange gifts, share photos and forget the horrors of war for at least one day. When the dreaded moment finally came for each side to return to their trenches, the soldiers said goodbye to their new friends and sank down into their muddy holes. With heavy hearts, they once again began fighting a war that continued for four more years.

In the true spirit of Christmas, candlelight often symbolizes the light of Christ. We hope this pattern will help brighten your holidays with the light of joy and peace.

Candle Card

CANDLE ORNAMENT or CARD

SKILL Easy

FINISHED SIZE 2½ x 4 inches

MATERIALS

Size 5 crochet pearl cotton: 150 yds green, 50 yds red, 25 yds yellow, 1 yd black

Size C/2/2.75mm crochet hook or size to obtain gauge

Tapestry needle

Card

Craft Glue

Fabric Stiffener

GAUGE 6 sts = 1 inch; 4 rows = ½ inch

CANDLE

Row 1: With red, ch 7, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn. (6 sc)

Rows 2-15: Ch 1, sc in each st across, turn. Fasten off.

HOLDER

Row 1: With green, ch 20, sc in 8th from hook and in each ch across, turn. (13 sc)

Row 2: Ch 1, sc in each st across, 11 sc in ch sp, working on opposite side of ch on row 1, sc in each ch across, turn.

Row 3: Ch 1, sc in each of first 13 sts, leave rem sts unworked, turn.

Row 4-7: Ch1, sc in first st, sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in each st across to last 3 sts, sc dec in next 2 sts, sc in last st, turn (5 sc at end of last row)

Row 8: Ch 1, 3 sc in first st, sc in each st across with 3 sc in last st. Fasten off. (9 sc)

Sew Candle to center of Holder as shown in photo.

FLAME

Rnd 1: With yellow, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook, do not join. (6 sc)

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around. (12 sc)

Rnd 3: Sc in next st, ch 4, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next ch, hdc in next ch, sk next st, sl st in next st, leaving rem sts unworked. Fasten off.

Sew to center top of Candle.

FINISHING Using straight stitch, with black, embroider 1 straight stitch at bottom of Flame as shown in photo.

For card, glue candle to front of card. Greeting for card: May the spirit of the holidays light up your world now and always.

For ornament, apply fabric stiffener according to manufacturer’s instructions. Shape and allow to dry on flat surface covered with plastic wrap. Attach 6-inch length of pearl cotton to WS of Flame and tie to form hanging loop.

© Annie’s. All Rights Reserved.

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Christmas Stories & Legends, Part 3

During the month of December, I thought it might be fun to post each week leading up to Christmas with trivia about some popular Christmas traditions and stories. In the spirit of the season, I hope you find them interesting and inspiring.

I will also include a free pattern each week as my gift to you! Enjoy!

Ponder the Poinsettia

The poinsettia is synonymous with the spirit of Christmas, not only because it blooms in wintertime, but because of the legend that associates it with the Christ child.

This story tells that the poinsettia was once a nondescript roadside weed. Desperate for a gift to offer the baby Jesus, an impoverished little Mexican girl presented the Messiah with an armload of poinsettia branches she had picked and tied together with hand-woven twine. Once in the Christ child’s holy presence, the uppermost leaves on the branches spontaneously turned a vivid red.

The poinsettia was introduced into the United States by Joel Robert Poinsett, the American Minister to Mexico in the 1920s, and for whom the plant was later named.

Here is a pattern for a pretty poinsettia that makes a beautiful ornament, or you can work just the center flower for a special pin.

Poinsetta Ring

 POINSETIA ORNAMENT OR PIN

SKILL LEVEL Easy

FINISHED SIZE 3 inches in diameter

MATERIALS

Crochet cotton size 10 with metallic thread (100 yds per ball): 50 yds red/green, 50yds green/red, 5 yds gold/gold (Note: this project would also be beautiful worked in non-metallic red, green and gold threads.)

Size B1/2.25 mm crochet hook or size needed to obtain gauge

Tapestry needle

Gold ring for ornament: 3 inch (optional)

Pin back for pin: 1¼ inch (optional)

Fabric stiffener

Plastic wrap

Wire ornament hanger for ornament

Craft glue or hot-glue gun

GAUGE

Rnds 1-3 = ¾ inch. Check gauge to save time.

PATTERN NOTES

Weave in loose ends as work progresses.

Join rounds with a slip stitch unless otherwise stated.

SPECIAL STITCH

Picot: Ch 3, sl st in top of last st worked.

FLOWER CENTER

Rnd 1 (RS): With gold/gold, ch 2, 8 sc in 2nd ch from hook, join in beg sc. (8 sc)

Rnd 2 (RS): Ch1, sc in each sc around, join in beg sc.

Rnd 3 (RS): Ch 1, 2 sc in each sc around, join in beg sc. Fasten off. (16 sc)

SMALL PETALS

Rnd 4 (RS): Working in front lps only, attach red/green, ch 1 (sc, ch 3, dc, picot ̶ see Special Stitch, dc, ch 3, sc) in same st as beg ch-1, sc in next st, *(sc, ch 3, dc, picot, dc, ch 3, sc) in next st, sc in next st, rep from * 6 times, join in beg sc, (8 petals)

Rnd 5: Working in rem back lps only of Rnd 3, ch 1, sc in each st around, join in beg sc. (16 sc)

LARGE PETALS

Rnd 6: Working in front lps only of Rnd 5, ch 1, [(sc, ch 4, tr, picot, tr, ch 4, sc) in next st, sc in next st] 8 times, join in beg sc. Fasten off. (8 petals)

LEAF PETALS

Rnd 7: Working in rem free lps of Rnd 5, attach green/red, ch 1, [(sc, ch 4, tr, picot, tr, ch 4, sc) in next st, sc in next st] 8 times, join in beg sc. Fasten off.

FOR ORNAMENT – RING ATTACHMENT

Rnd 8: Attach green/red to gold ring, ch 1, sc over ring 4 times, *insert hook into picot of Rnd 7, working over ring, complete sc st (attaching picot of leaf petal to gold ring) **, work 8 sc over ring, rep from * around, ending last rep at **, work 4 sc in ring, join in beg sc. Fasten off. (72 sc)

FINISHING FOR ORNAMENT & PIN

  1. Apply fabric stiffener according to manufacturer’s instructions. Shape and allow to dry on flat surface covered with plastic wrap.
  2. For ORNAMENT, attach wire hanger to ring.
  3. For PIN, glue pin back to WS, let dry.

© Annie’s. All rights reserved.

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Christmas Stories & Legends, Part 2

During the month of December, I thought it might be fun to post each week leading up to Christmas with trivia about some popular Christmas traditions and stories. In the spirit of the season, I hope you find them interesting and inspiring.

I will also include a free pattern each week as my gift to you! Enjoy!

The Tale of the Gingerbread Man

The gingerbread man is without a doubt one of the most popular and tastiest traditions of the holiday season. But where did this timeless character originate?

“The Gingerbread Boy” made his first appearance in the May 1875 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine. According to the author, whose name is not known, “A servant girl from Maine told it to my children. It interested them so much that I thought it worth preserving. I asked where she found it and she said an old lady told it to her in her childhood.”

In the 1875 rendition from St. Nicholas Magazine, a childless old woman bakes a gingerbread man who leaps from her oven and runs away. The woman and her husband give chase but fail to catch him. The gingerbread man then outruns several farm workers and farm animals while taunting them with the phrase, “I’ve run away from a little old woman, a little old man, and I can run away from you, I can!”

The tale ends with a fox catching and eating the gingerbread man who cries as he’s devoured, “I’m quarter gone…I’m half gone…I’m three-quarters gone…I’m all gone!”

Variations on the 1875 story

The gingerbread man remains a common subject for American children’s literature into the 21st century. In some retellings, the gingerbread man taunts his pursuers with the famous line, “Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Some versions often omit the original ending: “I’m quarter gone…I’m half gone…I’m three-quarters gone…I’m all gone!” In other variations, the gingerbread man halts in his flight at a riverbank, where he meets a fox. The fox feigns indifference with no apparent desire to eat him, but instead offers to help ferry the gingerbread man across a river. The gingerbread man agrees and climbs on the back of the fox. As the river begins to get deeper, the fox urges the gingerbread man to come closer and closer to his mouth in order to stay dry. When the gingerbread man gets to the nose of the fox, the fox quickly devours him.

The fox no doubt found the gingerbread man to be as delicious as everyone who has enjoyed this delectable holiday treat for generations.

In celebration of the season, this adorable pin will bring back memories of warm gingerbread man cookies fresh from the oven.

Gingerbread Man Pin

GINGERBREAD MAN PIN

SKILL LEVEL Easy

FINISHED SIZE 2¾ inches tall

MATERIALS

Size 10 crochet cotton: 50 yds brown

Size 1/2.25 mm steel crochet hook

Red 4mm round beads: 2

Pin back: 1¼-inch

White and black fabric paint in applicator bottles

Craft glue or hot-glue gun

Fabric stiffener

PATTERN NOTE

Use 2 strands held together as 1 unless otherwise stated.

HEAD, BODY & LEGS

Rnd 1: Ch 4, slip st in beg ch to form ring, ch 3 (counts as first dc), 17 dc in ring, join in 3rd ch of beg ch-3. (18 dc)

Rnd 2: Now working in rows, for Body, ch 3, dc in each of next 6 sts, leaving rem sts unworked, turn. (7 dc)

Rows 3-5: (Ch 3, dc) in first st, dc in each st across with 2 dc in last st, turn. (9 dc, 11 dc, 13 dc)

Row 6: For Legs, sk first 3 sts, 7 dc in next st, sk next 2 sts, sl st in next st, sk next 2 sts, 7 dc in next st, sk next 2 sts, sl st in last st. Fasten off.

ARMS

With RS facing, join thread with sl st in end of row 2, 6 dc in end in end of row 3, sl st in end of row 4. Fasten off.

With WS facing, rep on other side of body.

FINISHING

  1. Apply fabric stiffener according to manufacturer’s instructions. Shape and allow to dry on flat surface covered with plastic wrap.
  2. With black paint, make eyes and mouth lines on rnd 1 as shown in photo.
  3. With white fabric paint, make wavy lines across top of head, ends of Arms and Legs.
  4. Glue red beads down center front of body on rows 3 and 4.
  5. Glue pin back to WS of body.

© Annie’s. All rights reserved.

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Christmas Stories & Legends, Part 1

As we kick off the month of December, I thought it might be fun to include one post during each of the four weeks leading up to Christmas with trivia about some popular Christmas traditions and stories. In the spirit of the season, I hope you find them interesting and inspiring.

I will also include a free pattern each week as my gift to you! Enjoy!

The Man Behind the Magic: the Real Santa Claus

St. Nicholas (today more commonly referred to as Santa Claus) was born in 280 A.D. in Patara, a city in Asia Minor. He was a Christian priest who later became a bishop. He came from a wealthy family and traveled the country helping people, giving gifts of money and other presents. His gifts were given late at night because he did not like to be seen when he gave them away.

A famous story about St. Nicholas involves a poor man who had no money to give to his three daughters on their wedding day. St. Nicholas dropped bags of gold into the stockings which the girls had left to dry by the fire. The sisters found the gold, and ever since, children have hung stockings on Christmas Eve, hoping St. Nicholas would fill them with presents by Christmas morning. Children were also told to go to sleep quickly, or he would not come!

Not much has changed since then. Santa Claus (St. Nicholas) still won’t arrive with Christmas gifts unless the children go to sleep early!

This quick and easy-to-make Santa would be a delightful surprise attached to a package for children of all ages!

Santa LollipopCover

SANTA LOLLIPOP COVER OR ORNAMENT

SKILL LEVEL Easy

FINISHED SIZE Body Side: 2 inches

MATERIALS

Medium (worsted) weight yarn: 50 yds white, 25 yds each red and light apricot

Size G/6/4mm crochet hook or size needed to obtain gauge

Tapestry needle

Small amount of polyester fiberfill (optional)

1 lollipop (optional)

Pompoms: ½-inch white: 1, ¼-inch red: 1

7mm wiggle eyes: 2

Craft glue or hot-glue gun

GAUGE 4 sts = 1 inch; 4 sc rows = 1 inch

PATTERN NOTES

Beginning chain-3 counts as first double crochet.

Join with a slip stitch unless otherwise stated.

SPECIAL STITCHES

Beginning popcorn (beg pc): Ch 3, 2 dc in same st, drop lp from hook, insert hook into third ch of ch-3, pull dropped lp through.

Popcorn (pc): 3 dc in next st, drop lp from hook, insert hook in first dc of 3-dc group, pull dropped lp through.

BODY SIDE

Make 2.

Rnd 1: With light apricot, ch 3, join in first ch to form ring, ch 3, 15 dc in ring, do not join. (16 dc)

Rnd 2: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] around, join in beg sc. Fasten off. (24 sc)

Hold Body Sides WS tog, matching sts, sew tog through back lps, leaving last 6 sts unsewn for lollipop cover. For ornament stuff with small amount of fiberfill and sew closed.

CAP

Row 1: With red, ch 7, sc in second ch from hook and in each ch across, turn. (6 sc)

Rows 2-5: Sk first st, sc in each st across row, turn. (2 sc at end of last row)

Row 6: Sk first st, sc in last st. Fasten off. (1 sc)

Row 7: Join red with with sc in end of row 1, sc in end of each row around to opposite end of row 1 with (sc, ch1, sc) in st of row 6. Fasten off.

Stitch or glue ½-inch pompom to tip of Cap.

HAIR TRIM

Row 1: Working in rem lps of 5 center sts at the top of one Body Side, join white in first st, beg pc (see Special Stitches), pc (see Special Stitches) in each of next 4 sts. Fasten off.

Sew Cap to back of Hair Trim (see photo).

 BEARD

Row 1: Working in rem lps and front lps of last rnd on same Body Side, sk st from last pc on Hair Trim, join white in next st, (ch 7, sl st) 3 times in same st, [sl st in next st, (ch 7, sl st) 3 times in same st] across to one st before opposite side of Hair Trim. Fasten off.

Row 2: Working in front of row 1 around 6 center sts at bottom of Body, join white around post of first st, ch 5, sl st around post of same st, (sl st, ch 5, sl st) around post of each of next 5 sts. Fasten off.

Glue small red pompom to center of rnd 1 on Body for nose.

Glue two wiggle eyes to face centered above nose ¼ inch apart.

For lollipop cover, insert lollipop into Body opening. For ornament, attach 6-inch length of red to WS of Cap and tie to form hanging loop.

© Annie’s. All rights reserved.

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How to Make the Magic Loop

The magic loop, or ring method, is used for beginning a crochet project worked in rounds and produces a small neatly closed hole in the center of the first round. This method can be used for beginning hats, doilies, amigurumi and other projects worked in rounds.

Instructions might say, “ch 5, join with sl st in first ch to form ring, ch 1, 8 sc in ring.” Working the first round in this manner can often create a large, unsightly open center hole. To eliminate that, you can substitute the magic loop, working the 8 sc in the loop as shown below and then pulling the yarn end to close the hole. Remaining rounds are worked as written in the project instructions.

To practice making the Magic Loop, follow these simple instructions:

Round 1: Wrap yarn around the index finger of your left hand as shown (A).

Wrap yarn around the index finger of your left hand as shown.

Holding crochet hook in your right hand, insert hook under the two yarn loops and hook the yarn coming from the skein or ball (B)

Holding crochet hook in your right hand, insert hook under the two yarn loops and hook the yarn coming from the skein or ball,

Pull loop through.

Pull loop through.

Yarn over hook and pull loop through loop on hook.

Yarn over hook and pull loop through loop on hook.

Chain-1 made.

Chain-1 made.

Insert hook in ring, yarn over and pull up loop,

Insert hook in ring, yarn over and pull up loop,

Yarn over hook and pull through 2 loops on hook.

Yarn over hook and pull through 2 loops on hook.

Single crochet made.

Single crochet made.

Make 7 more single crochet in ring for a total of 8 single crochet.

Work steps F-H for each additional single crochet.

Pull yarn tail to close ring.

Pull yarn tail to close ring.

 

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