Zünden wir zwei Lichlein an

Firstly, congratulations to Dee and Sharon in France for winning the William Morris calendars! Dee and Sharon, if you would please use the contact link at the top right or the home page to send me your mailing address, I’ll get the calendars posted to you. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories with us.

This week we celebrated Nikolaustag here in Germany. On the night of December 5th all the children put their clean shoes outside their door. The shoes must be clean or Nikolaus will pass by. During the darkest night he magically goes from house to house leaving small gifts for the good children in their shoes. The very, very naughty children get a switch in their shoes. If you want to learn more about St. Nikolaus and his special holiday, you can read about it here.

This week, if you click on the title of the second verse, you will hear the children sing both the first and the second verse.

Zunder wir zwei Lichtlein an

 Zünden wir zwei Lichter an mahnen wir den Weihnachtsmann:
“Pack schon die Geschenke ein, bald muss alles fertig sein”

Today, the second Sunday of Advent, I’m giving away four  laying tools made by my father. these beautiful handmade wooden laying tools are one of the three tools I use daily – needle, scissors and laying tool. I’ve called it my scootching tool and I’ve used it as a pointing tool so I didn’t touch the threads when pointing out something on a piece of work.

Why four tools? Because this week I want you to share your gift with a stitching friend. I will send you two tools and you will give one to a friend. The best gifts really are the ones we can share.


To enter your name for a chance to win one of these calendars, share with us a a story about a home made gift you either received or gave. What was it? Who made it? Do you still have it?

Comments will be closed Wednesday, 12th December,  at midnight GMT. I will send the winners in Europe their laying tools from Germany. If you live in the USA, I will send them when I get home to Iowa just before Christmas.

I can’t wait to read your stories!

Schöner Zweite Advent!




24 thoughts on “Zünden wir zwei Lichlein an

  1. My most treasured hand-made gift was from my mother. She started a cross-stitched quilt top when I was 4 years old and gave it to me (finally finished!) when I graduated from college. Yes, I still have it. She made many other gifts for me and for many others, and they were all beautiful. But the quilt was a very long on-going project. It was our connection for many years. We often laughed about it. “When will I get my quilt???” I love the connection I have with needleworkers of all places and all times through the joy of viewing their creative work. Each piece is filled with their care and their character!

  2. I knit an entrelac shawl but was not comfortable wearing it, so I gave it to my neighbor. She loves it and wears it all the time – and likes to tell me how many compliments she gets!

  3. I have a group of friends who get together for stitching weekends twice a year – we have been doing this for over 10 years now and we also get together before Xmas to give and receive an ornament. Each year we pick a name and the recipient does not know who they will be receiving from until the evening of our dinner. These ornaments mean so much to me. Each one I make is done with a specific person in mind and includes much love in the stitching. When I bring my ornaments out each year to place on the tree, each one has a special memory. You would think that with a whole year to stitch in we would get the ornaments ready in plenty of time – but no, most of us still leave it to the last minute. It has become a wonderful Xmas tradition.

  4. Hi Kathy,
    This Xmas I decided I would make the gift for my dearest friend. I chose a project from ‘Inspirations’, which I believe proved very popular as it was attractive and relatively easy to make. It’s called ‘Early Bird’ and is a clothes peg bag in redwork, combining embroidery and patchwork of a sort. I have almost finished it and, of course it’s still with me as it is for Xmas. I love it and enjoyed every minute I spent making it. I hope my friend will like it too. I know she will appreciate the thought.
    What if my name comes up? I do not live,in the States nor in Europe, but on a small island in the Indian Ocean. Am I eligible?
    I love what you do, and wonder where you find the time to do so much and still hold a teaching job. I recently retired and am enjoying life very much. It’s nice to have all that extra spare time.

  5. I love wooden sewing tools, I have some needlelace tools which are made from different woods. How very special to have your own tools made by your father.

  6. It’s always a joy to get out my feather tree each year. All the stitched ornaments that friends have made for me over the years are displayed on the feather tree.

  7. When I was first married we didn’t have much money so for christmas I made my husband a dressing gown stitched while he whiled away his time down his shed. On christmas day I discovered he had been making me a wooden sewing box on legs that could also be used as a foot stool. We had a chuckle about how we were so careful not to let on to each other what we were doing. It is still in use after all these years, although now widowed many years.

  8. My grandmother who lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia was a quilter. In the winter months she pieced quilts and in the Spring she quilted them on a Singer tredle machine. When I was 6 she made a bed quilt for me that was the tulip design. The quilt was made from feed sacks and fabric from my dresses. Now it is pretty worn out, but I will cherish that quilt forever, as a special gift from a special woman.

  9. My mother loved to knit. When I was little, she would knit patterned sweaters for me AND lookalike sweaters for my dolls. Once I had a daughter of my own, Mum knit sweaters for my daughter and for her dolls. When I was in high school in the ’60s, I wanted an Aran sweater for my birthday/Christmas (they’re days apart) that Mum knit, changing the pattern per my requests. I still have the sweater 46 years later and no, it doesn’t fit (!), but that doesn’t matter. It’s a tangible object that’s a memory of my mother that I can look at and remember seeing her knitting it. (… and I have some of the things she’d knit for my daughter’s dolls in a trunk for a grandaughter, if there ever is one!)

  10. My story is about a gift I made for my parents. As their 60th wedding anniversary approached my sister and I wondered what on earth we could get that would be appropriate and not cost the earth. Eventually we settled on a ‘Golden Wedding’ rose, but as their anniversary is in February (high summer) there were no roses to be had. I then volunteered to make a crazy quilt wall hanging in a diamond shape. Of course it didn’t get done until well after the date but I did make a miniature one into a card for ‘the day’ and then worked madly for the next 4 months on the real one. As we live a 7-hour drive from my parents, the quilt would have to wait for one of us to visit the other to be delivered. Absolutely the worst thing that could happen did – my father died before he saw the quilt finished. My mother loves it and shows it to everyone who visits, pointing out all the significant bits, but my heart breaks when I even think about Dad missing out.
    I’d better stop before I start howling like a baby again.

  11. Thank you so much, I am really looking foward to enjoying the calendar, all next year as each month I turn the page and see the beautiful pictures,

    Thank you Dee 🙂

  12. I made my mother a couple of years ago for christmas a crewel embroidered hankie case. I used linen twill and silk dupion to line it. I got her to sign her initials and then I also embroidered those on, so they are exactly like her signature.
    I then got a beauiful box and lined it with tissue paper and gave it her for christmas. She used to knit and sew so many things for me, it was lovely to be able to return the compliment. All my siblings are brothers, so my hand me downs we all boys things, but despite this, she cut down old dresses and made me beautiful dresses and she knit my school cardigans too (it used to be cheaper to knit then) I remember her sitting up to midnight to finish the knitting for school the next day. I had the happiest of childhoods and have the most brilliant mother ever. It was lovely to make her something.


    p.s. As I was lucky enought to win the calender, please do not enter me for this one.

  13. I have made many gifts for many people but my favourite is the handspun cashmere and silk blend scarf I spun and knitted for my mother. She never wears it. Instead she pulls the tissue paper back to look upon it and touch it gently whenever she feels a little down.

  14. The home made gift that I received from my father is the one that is most dear to me. My father wood burned and for Christmas wood burned Mary kneeling by the manger, with part of the scripture wood burned below it “and the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” My Father passed away this past year so this gift which I still have 20 years later is even more precious. Thank you for sharing your Father’s talents with us.
    Merry Christmas

  15. This year, I knit my father-in-law socks. I asked him what color he wanted and he chose … neon green. I luckily found a shocking shade of the color but I have had my eyes burned out looking at the dang thing while I knit it! Maybe next year he will want some handsome forest green socks instead of a horrid shade like this year? 🙂

  16. I’ve always given handmade gifts for the holidays. Some years I’ve focused on just the guys or just the gals, others I try to make something for everyone. One of my favorites was shirts I made as a newlywed for my father and father-in-law. They were red plaid with red cuffs and trim and their names stitched on the pocket flaps (with collar stands and pocket flaps–the most complicated items I’d ever sewn). I think they both liked them. After my dad passed away, I reconfigured his shirt into a “shirt-pillow” for a nephew. I’ve received some awesome handmade gifts. Just this year a friend with cancer that has caused numbness in her hands nevertheless cross stitched a flower onto a guest towel for me. I treasure it.

  17. Hi Kathy,

    Just wanted to say that I was thrilled to win one of the Morris calendars and will put it in my embroidery room so I can see it all year long! Have emailed you my address…

    So enjoyed reading what everyone has written about their favorite gift given or received – wonderful stories and memories.

    -Sharon in France

  18. I get some handmade gifts very often. I like participating in different swaps, if I have some time. Of course, some of the gifts do not look nice, but some are great.
    Last year I made some calendars for my cousins. They liked them very much. I also knit wrist warmers, shawls, etc. Sometimes I stitch book covers, pictures, sew toys for children. I like making and giving handmade gifts. But they must be really worth of being gifts. I do not like saying “I made it with all my heart”. I think, if you are not a child, very often only heart is not enough. You need to know, how to make a good thing.

  19. I think my first ever home-made gift was the most memorable for me. My Mum and I wanted to get an extra special gift for my grandparents wedding anniversary, so we thought and thought, and came to the conclusion that a gift designed and made by our hands would be the most special. Thus came the ‘Golden Wedding Anniversary’ cross stitch sampler. The original design idea came from a photo of my grandparents wedding, and we used this as a basis to truly personalise the people represented in the sampler. We designed the sampler (with some help from a Jo Verso cross stitch book), stitched it, and it was a very proud moment for us when it was complete and framed. That was our first large completed cross stitch project, so we were over the moon that my grandparents loved their unique Golden Wedding Anniversary gift. Since that day it has been displayed in the living room across from the door, so anyone coming into the room can look and see it.

    At the moment I’m making a needle case for my mum. It’s for her birthday, but that was back in September and it wasn’t finished then. It’s taking a bit longer than I anticipated to finish, but I’m hoping it will be complete for Christmas, fingers crossed.

  20. As most of us do, I have only given handmade needlework gifts to those that I think will really appreciate them. Years ago I had a boss who gave her department handmade Christmas items each year. I especially treasure a small stuffed crewel stocking ornament she made. I also gave her an elaborate hardanger angel ornament one year, and was soooo disappointed in her response. Oh, she thanked me, but I still think it wasn’t effusive enough! (Maybe she feels the same about my thanks?!) Thank you, and your father, for this lovely opportunity! Frohliche Weihnachten!

  21. My mother-in-law is a fabulous knitter. She has made beautiful sweaters, scarves, gloves, etc… for my children and I. Each one is very special and I know was made with love. I have packed away items that we no longer use (baby sweaters) to be saved for another day. I always enjoy using the pieces she has created. They remind me of how lucky I am to have such a great mother-in-law.

  22. One of the most useful handmade gifts I have been given was an “Ort” bag. My girlfriend made it for my last year and gave it to me for Christmas. It is made out of beautiful multicoloured fabric and hangs down the side of the arm of my chesterfield and I put all my thread clippings in it. Now I don’t have little pieces of thread all over the place.

    I had been meaning to make myself one for years, but never got around to it, therefore was so thrilled when I found it in my Christmas bag.

    May I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, filled with many pleasant hours of stitching.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *