October’s here, and for many stitchers that means one thing – the deadline to send in their completed tapestry so that we can return it in time for Christmas*. We’re always amazed at how many tapestries come in during this busy month, and we can tell from the number of calls and emails we’ve received from stitchers requesting fabric samples that there are quite a few will be coming our way!
Here’s Old English Cockerel, with light terracotta and mid grey fabrics from our wool blend range. The wool blend range is hardwearing, is a good weight, and really suits the feel of a tapestry and the stitch itself.
It sometimes comes as a shock to people to hear that our Christmas deadline is the end of October, so here we explain why it can’t be later in the year, point out some of the seasonal difficulties we face every year, and answer some frequently asked questions.
1. Canvas stretching takes time Some tapestries, particularly those that have been stitched without a tapestry frame, can be a bit wonky and they may well need more than one stretching.The process involves dampening your canvas, ‘pinning’ it out, and allowing it to dry naturally.
The long warm days of summer provide the ideal conditions for making up tapestries, but as we head towards autumn and winter it’s getting darker and the air is damp. In summer, tapestries can dry virtually overnight, but already by early October drying is taking several days at least.
More drying time is needed between stretchings as we need to ensure that each tapestry is completely dry before we dampen it again for its second stretching, if it needs one.
Here’s an ABC 123 tapestry from earlier this year. Having been stretched once already, it was time for its second:
2. The Christmas rush starts early By the end of October we will be working our way through the many tapestries that will have already arrived in the weeks before the deadline. We’re busy at the moment,but keeping up!
We carefully log each tapestry that arrives, label it, and check that we have all the information we need to start work (your name and address, different delivery address if required, fabric choices, payment details, etc.). We then sort all the tapestries into batches (standard cushions with piping and backing, Christmas stockings, bags, and cushions with mitred borders) for our four sewing ladies, each of whom has her own category of tapestry to make up.
The earlier you send yours in, the better. Give us a call if you need help to decide on fabric for your tapestry, or take a look at our albums on Facebook for inspiration. Each of our Christmas stockings has a Facebook album so you can see ones that we’ve made in previous years.
3. Everyone wants their tapestry back early The end of October might seem early but in reality it’s only six weeks or so for us to make up your tapestry and get it back before Christmas. Nobody wants their cushion, bag, Christmas stocking or teacosy to arrive on Christmas Eve as they’ll need to wrap it up, possibly fill it with stocking fillers (the best part of Christmas shopping when children are young!), or post it on to another address as a festive surprise.
In an ideal world all Christmas tapestries would be back home by early December, but the reality ends up being somewhat different. It’s always a close thing to get the last tapestries back for Christmas, no matter how organised we are!
4. Sometimes a year’s work is posted to us all in one batch Please try to avoid sending in lots of tapestries on or near our deadline date as this plays havoc with our system, particularly if the canvases within large batches will need more than one stretching. If possible, please indicate those among your tapestries that are needed for Christmas, and others which aren’t quite so urgent.
5. Missed the deadline? You won’t be the only one! There are always late arrivals, and some new babies will be making an appearance in November. Thank you to people who have let us know about their soon-to-be-here new arrival. We understand that the name panels on tapestries have to wait until the baby’s name is known. In these circumstances we make allowances, and are very happy to do so.
Some babies arrive a little too late for their tapestry to be completed in their birth year, but can have a very special cushion made for them the following year.
6. Christmas and New Year holidays We are so lucky with our wonderful Making Up team at Jolly Red. Sue, Janine, Sarah and this year’s new recruit to our team, Sewing Julie (not to be confused with Cycling Julie, our accounts lady!), work all year round and by Christmas it’s time for a well-deserved break for them all. Which leads neatly to a frequently asked question:
7. “I’ve missed the Christmas deadline. Can you return my tapestry for New Year?” Sorry, but this is something that we can’t do. Christmas falls on a Sunday this year so the last posting date for completed tapestries this year is likely to be Thursday 22nd December. We’ll start sending cushions out again as early as we can in January.
We don’t send out any cushions, bags, teacosies or Christmas stockings at all between Christmas and New Year and we won’t want to think about stretching canvases until the second week of January, when we’ll have had a bit of a break!
Looking ahead, maybe this is a good time for a quick word about February weddings and anniversaries If you’re stitching for a February wedding or anniversary, it’d be great if we can receive your tapestry well before Christmas so it’s on our making up radar. Each year we forget how many big day celebrations there are in the weeks around Valentine’s Day – which comes round far too soon after Christmas!
We hope this information helps to galvanise you for some enjoyable evenings and weekends of stitching now that autumn is definitely here, and look forward to seeing your latest tapestry for our Making Up Service.
If you aren’t at all sure about what fabric you need for your tapestry, please email a picture of your completed canvas (along with your name and address) to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be able to suggest some options for you.
Happy stitching everyone!
- *The end of October is the deadline for tapestries to be returned to a mainland UK destination. Tapestries that need to be returned further afield will need to be with us earlier, so that we can post them before Royal Mail’s posting deadline for your country/not-mainland-UK home.
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