I know, I know. I’m tired of all the Christmas commercials too. And it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

So why are we featuring Christmas stockings this week? Because we know that readers of Homegrown have discriminating tastes and care about where and how their stockings were made. You’re not going to just stop by a big box store a few days before Christmas to pick up stockings made in some overseas sweat factory. So, if you’re going to buy handmade, better get your order in now since supplies are more limited.

That’s my excuse, anyway, for writing about these charming, rustic wool stockings a few days before America starts carving turkeys. They’re handmade by Glenna Oliver, a resident of Bethel, whose sewing business – which makes pillows as well as stockings – is called Away Up North. The romantic images conjured up by that name are reflected in her designs. A wolf in a stand of pine trees howls at the moon, shiny buttons standing in for stars in the sky. Snowflakes made of thin white thread drift down over a bunny. A cabin, a canoe, a moose, a fox – all are featured on a stocking and evoke cold winter nights by the fire at home or in that cabin in the woods.

Oliver started making the stockings when a friend who owned an antique shop asked her to sew some for her store. They sold quickly. The designs, she says, are “truly are inspired by where I live and what I do.” The bear and moose have traditionally been her most popular stockings, but now the fox, which she created last year for her niece’s baby, is creeping up. Oliver does custom work as well, so she has put all kinds of creatures on her stockings – a goose, a polar bear, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and even a dinosaur. She’ll also personalize the stockings with names.

Many of her customers come from California. “You think of L.A. and Hollywood, but people have cabins, just like we have camps, in the mountains of California,” Oliver said.

And many of her customers have become repeat customers. An engaged couple who places an order, for example, will come back when they start having children. Grandparents buy the stockings for their growing number of grandchildren.

Oliver’s stockings cost $79 each and are only sold online, at awayupnorth.com or on her Etsy.com site.


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