Advent Calendars Review – 2017

advent calendar review from 2017 of two embroidery advent calendars
A look back to the two 'calorie free' advent calendars I took part in last Christmas, with a little peak at my handmade Christmas decorations too!

Advent Calendars with a twist

This past Christmas, I decided to take part in a couple of ‘calorie free’ advent calendars. After seeing a few mentioned on social media, and being more than a little tempted with other embroiderers joining in, I jumped on board.

The first was a thread advent calendar by DeVere Yarns in the UK. And the second was from Atelier196 in Paris.

DeVere Yarns Advent Calendar

This was an absolutely beautiful and delightful advent calendar. There has been a great deal of thought put into this calendar, and was a lovely addition to my Christmas decorations!

There were a few different options to choose from with this calendar. They not only offered you different colour combinations of tissue paper concealing the goodies, but they also offered different thread combination options.

As I’m not familiar with their threads, I decided to take this as an opportunity to get a range of their different threads. So each day was a little surprise not just in the colour of the thread, but also which type of thread I had received. I’ve now got a lovely supply silk, worsted wool and cotton threads! One thing I learnt after reading Marlous’ post on her advent calendar (via Jessica Grimm! – confusing yet?!), is that the thickness of the thread is contained within their numbering system of silks. Very useful information to have!

For me, this was a special calendar, and I loved being part of it. Knowing a new thread would be revealed each day (or every few days on occasion) was a lovely part of the experience.

I’ve also got a supply of threads to try out on a future project, and with some colours that I wouldn’t normally choose. A good way to get out of my comfort zone!

Deere Yarns advent calendar on display

 

Threads received from Devere Yarns in their advent calendar

 

Atelier196 Advent Calendar

I hadn’t actually seen this one until quite late in November. Marlous had mentioned that in past years they have had a lovely supply of Au Ver a Soie supplies, which had me more than a little intrigued.

This was quite a different style of calendar to the Devere Yarns one in a few ways.

The ‘display’ of it was completely different. Devere Yarns gave each individual thread it’s own little organza bag and a mini peg to hang it on some string. Whereas Atelier196 wrapped their little goodies in old magazine paper. It is actually a great way to save our trees, though I did have to dig out a bowl to store them in!

The contents of this little advent calendar was a bit like a walk through a haberdashery shop – you just didn’t know what was coming next! There were a couple of Au Ver a Soie threads, some useful things like fusible webbing, some cute things like buttons in the shapes of postage stamps, and more knick knacks to remember I have in the future.

Atelier196 advent calendar bits and bobs

 

A selection of goodies from Atelier196's advent calendar

 

My final thoughts on the two Advent Calendars

I really loved these calendars, and they are a great way to either add to your stash or get to know a new to you brand. They also added some fun to the end of long working days!

I really loved the DeVere Yarns one, and I am excited that they have already announced they will be doing it again next year. And they have encouraged everyone to keep their organza bags, wooden number, pegs and string for next year as they will be offering a refill option.

The Atelier196 calendar to me was more of a novelty. I certainly now have bits and bobs I wouldn’t normally buy, and I have already thought up ways I can use them in next year’s Christmas decorations. But for me, this is something I would only participate in once every two or three years. I would also make myself some sort of tree or hanging so I could display it in a slightly more festive way than a bowl of magazine wrappings in the corner!

And so, what was my little ‘prize’?

I actually thought everyone had a little ‘prize’ or additional gift, and was a little surprised to learn that only a few bundles had them – I was very lucky! The key to the prize was a little silk cocoon, which Devere Yarns have suggested framing for my ‘studio’.

My little prize arrived last week, and it was four more beautiful silks in their thickest range. The blues are really pretty! Now, I just need time to be able to do something with all these lovely new threads!

Prize from Devere Yarns

 

And finally – my Christmas decorations from last year!

I had hoped to be able to show you these little decorations before Christmas, but here we are mid-way through January! They took a little longer to complete than I thought, and I got a little distracted with other happenings of the festive period. I was literally stitching them together as I was waiting for the time to come when it was time to go to midnight service! Luckily they were done before that and on the tree, which I think still counts as being finished.

I made three little ornaments – a wren (my personal favourite). I stitched his tummy in turkey rug stitch. I just wish I had remembered how long that stitch takes me to stitch before starting that!

A little penguin. I didn’t have enough variations of ‘black’ in my stash, so he’s probably got too much dark grey in him, but I thought just the one colour black thread would be too flat for him.

And because I’m Australian – a Christmas koala. He was the hardest to get to look right, and his ears and the hat don’t quite work, but it was close enough with such a small amount of time to spare!

hand embroidered Christmas robin ornament, designed and stitched by Catherine Patterson

 

hand embroidered Christmas penguin ornament, designed and stitched by Catherine Patterson

 

hand embroidered Christmas koala ornament, designed and stitched by Catherine Patterson

 

And that is the finish of 2017!

So, half way through January, I think I’ve finally shared with you my last post of 2017!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and festive period, and all the best for 2018! I’ve got some changes coming this year – so stay tuned.

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24 thoughts on “Advent Calendars Review – 2017”

  1. Oh what lovely, delightful little surprises. I had not heard of either of these calendars. Your decorations are very sweet and it has given me the idea (if I remember ?) to make one later this year with a kiwi motif.
    Wishing you a wonderful 2018 xxx

    1. They were a great and lovely little treats each day. My problem with decorations is remembering to get started early enough!

  2. Your little ornaments are really lovely. I like the idea of a grown up non edible and craft orientated advent calender. I wonder how you will use the bits and bobs.

    1. Thanks Kathy ☺️ Yes, time will tell with the bits and bobs. The challenge will be remembering I’ve got them!

  3. Ooh, I’m very tempted to have a Devere one next Christmas, love your decorations, might look at a koala next time too as my husband is from Melbourne. We’re going going over in March for a family wedding, excitement is building!

    1. I didn’t know you had Aussie links too! Enjoy your trip and I look forward to what you create with a koala theme ☺️

  4. I’ve actually started stitching with the DeVere silks! They are so lovely to work with. And I find them nicer than Au Ver a Soie… Their loose twist is just a little different from Soie Paris and gives a pretty texture to my stitching.

    1. I can’t wait to see what you are stitching with them! And to hear you say you find them nicer than Au ver a Soie really makes me want to stitch with them, as I love Au ver a Soie!

    1. If you love thread like I do I can recommend the Devere Yarn for next Christmas. Of course I do actually have to start using these threads!

  5. Lovely ornaments that you will treasure for many years to come! I had no idea there were thread Advent calendars out there, I’m very intrigued!

    1. Thanks Kathy, I did enjoy making them. This was the first year I had heard of thread advent calendars too. They were a lot of fun!

  6. Really cool advent calendars, I think I’ll definitely join in on the fun this year (even if it’s a bit early to think about it yet!) I love your ornaments, they are super cute!

  7. I feel like a missed out by not signing up for this advent, but I would never know what to do with all those threads. I’ll just have to see what you do with them to make a decision for next year 🙂

    1. Yes, it is certainly a lot of additional thread with no real purpose or project in mind. It will be a challenge to use them p, though I am keen as they look beautiful to stitch with!

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Catherine at Hillview Embroidery

Thanks so much for visiting today! I’m Catherine, and it’s great to have you here. You will find here lots of information about my projects and designs, what worked, what didn’t, what I enjoyed, what I didn’t!

With a Certificate in Technical Hand Embroidery from the RSN, I strive to complete each piece to a high degree of technical excellence. But I also like to stretch the ‘rules’ and explore my own methods and techniques!

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