Gabrielle, the Christmas Angel – Part One

Gabrielle, the Christmas Treetop Angel
Gabrielle, the Christmas Tree Angel

Lest you imagine my talent for complex projects sprang out of nowhere, I have asked my mother to write a couple of guest posts about one of hers –  Gabrielle, the Christmas Tree Angel. Gabrielle figured on our Christmas cards this year, and she took nearly a year because she was being improvised as she went along.

“Looking at my collection of crochet hooks, I decided that I needed to do something quickly if I wanted to use the smallest one before my eyesight made it too difficult.  I am becoming increasingly long sighted as the years progress, and my myopic Impressionist wonderland is receding. Coincidentally, it was Christmas tide, and we had just rejuvenated Bethlehem.  (Ask Rachel!)  A Christmas Angel for the top of the tree seemed the next proper project.

Gabrielle herself is one of Rachel’s dolls, rediscovered when we were tidying the loft.  She is just the right size for our Christmas tree.  A rummage through my stash of cloth provided enough satin, a beautiful turquoise, and a square of fine silk which had been the Virgin’s veil when we made a crib one year using Rachel’s dolls as the cast.

To make the dress I cut out a cross shape wide at the top and bottom narrowing towards the crossing place out of the turquoise satin.  The cross piece itself, which formed the sleeves, was short and narrow.  I hemmed the cuffs and a  small opening for her head before folding bottom to top and sewing the side seams.

Lace Edging in sewing machine thread
Lace Edging in sewing machine thread

Next I tackled the silk over-dress.  A line of open blanket stitch along the selvedge gave me a base for the crochet work I so wanted to do. Again, I used ordinary sewing thread and kept the design simple.  It was surprisingly easy to work.  In no time I had a sizeable length of delicate lace.

The original intention had been to make a cottar such as altar boys used to wear, but the very small size and filmy silk made my stitching look crude.  Instead I used two pieces of folded silk over the shoulders fastened lightly to the satin and covered the raw ends with the very gathered edge of my lace bordered silk. It looks more like a pinny, but billowing satin displays the lace beautifully.”

 

9 thoughts on “Gabrielle, the Christmas Angel – Part One

  1. So lovely to make a special Christmas project, and even more so if it can be made using existing leftover materials. So much nicer to have a fairy with a story to tell. Beautiful dress. Looking forward to the instalment about the wings!

  2. You have a very clever mother, Rachel! A delightful angel, and the method and the thinking behind it clearly explained, too. A very happy Christmas to you both.

  3. Gabrielle is a treasure. I am so impressed with that fine work. I learnt to crochet on fine cotton – but these days double knit is my preference! Lovely post!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing these lovely words with us. Your mother told a beautiful tale and its so nice to read her words. A very merry and blessed Christmas to you both.

  5. Something to treasure, the angel and the story. A happy and holy Christmas.

  6. Gabrielle is a beautiful angel, such lovely finery! I am quite in awe of crochet done with sewing thread – just amazing!

  7. Talented mum and daughter. She made the beautiful Gabrielle with her mighty hands. A treasure to cherish forever.

  8. what a special treasure she is. I love here, I want one, how precious and a big nod to your mum.

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