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Waste Free Christmas Decorations – Part Two – Using Old Socks

Last week we looked at zerowaste Christmas decorations that you can make with old cardboard packaging. This week we’re having a look at what we can do with old socks.
I have to admit to being a bit of a fabric hoarder. Over the years I have not only kept all sorts of little snippets leftover from sewing projects, but also old socks and clothing that was too worn for the charity shops.
Making decorations is a great way to make use of some of these little odds and ends.

Sock Tomte

Old socks are very versatile when comes to craft and very easy to work with, even for children. We’ve used them to make all sorts of creatures in the past, but this Christmas we’re using them to make some scandinavian Tomte for our kitchen windowsill.
I’m using a collection of odd socks that we picked up at our local scrapstore earlier in the year. All unwanted because they have minor faults, but saved from going to landfill.

First of all, cut off the section of sock from the toes to just before the heel.
Stuff this piece of sock. You could cut up lots of tiny snippets of fabric for this or stuff with wool scraps that are too small to use for other projects.
I want our Tomte to stand up well, so I’m stuffing them with rice.
Next you need to do a loose running stitch around the sock about 2cm from the cut edge.
When you have stitched around, pull on the thread to gather the fabric in. As you do so, push the ends of the fabric inside the closing hole.
Keeping the hole tightly closed, stitch diagonally across it several times, moving round a bit each time.
Once you are sure that the hole is securely closed, fasten off.
I have used an old rubberband around the neck to give the Tomte a bit more shape, but you could just tie some string instead. (It won’t show when you put on the hat)
That is the body of your Tomte complete.

The heel of the sock works very well for the nose, especially if you have a lighter colour. Cut out the heel and use the same running stitch and gathering method to close the hole. Gather just a little at first, while you stuff it and then to continue to close.
If you haven’t a suitable sock for this, any stretchy fabric will do. Just cut out a circle of fabric and start to gather it up before you stuff.

Now you can make a moustache and beard from yarn scraps. If you love knitting or crochet as I do you will inevitably have lots of odds and ends leftover from projects. Gather up some short lengths and tie in the middle with another piece of yarn.

Using a comb, fluff out the yarn to make a more textured moustache.
Do the same again with a little more yarn to make the beard.
Attach both to the body with a couple of stitches to secure them in place.

Stitch your nose to your tomte body, overlapping the top of the moustache.

Last of all you need to make a hat. Take the remaining portion of sock and turn it inside out.
Use the cuff as the bottom of the hat and using backstitch sew a pointy hat shape.
Fasten off, then cut around the hat shape about 0.5cm away from the stitching.
Turn it right side out and use a few stitches to secure it to the body.

Your Tomte is complete. It’s a great low waste craft to do with kids at Christmas. Our kids are all keen to make one, so I shall leave them to finish making our little group of Tomte.