Look to embroidery for the quickest handmade Christmas gifts!

Just Be Claus quiltRaise your hand if you’re thinking of making Christmas gifts this year . . . but haven’t started them yet.

Some of us at Martingale? Same.

Is there still time? Hey, you’ve got a whole 16 days until Christmas is here—of course there’s time! When you want sweet and simple projects to whip up quick, embroidery is the way to go. And Robin Kingsley is all set to be your sewing elf!

The festive projects in Robin’s two books, Just Be Claus and Snow Happy, are easy to start, fun to make, and fast to finish. And the delight they’ll put on your gift recipient’s faces will be worth every stitch. Today we’re sharing projects from Robin’s books to inspire you, along with a little thread tip from Robin—it’s one of the secrets that makes her embroidery shine.


Robin KingsleyMy favorite thread for embroidery is size 8 pearl cotton. Its weight is comparable to three strands of six-strand embroidery floss, the kind you separate into plies for embroidery, and you can substitute embroidery floss in these projects if you prefer.

Because the pearl cotton strands are twisted, the strands stay together without separating as you stitch, yielding neat stitches every time. The embroidered stitches “sit up” beautifully on the fabric, adding texture to the stitching and creating a clean appearance in the finished product. Pearl cotton also doesn’t kink and knot as frequently as six-strand embroidery floss tends to do.

Pearl cotton comes in a large variety of solid colors and variegated shades. The variegated thread may be a single color in graded values from light to dark, or a handful of different colors blended along the strand for even more embroidery interest.

Embroidery supplies
Fabric, needles, pearl cotton, and a hoop: all you need to begin one of Robin’s embroidery projects.

Use the pearl cotton as it comes off the ball; it’s convenient and easy. My two favorite pearl-cotton brands are Presencia from Spain and DMC from France. Each offers an extensive color palette, and the threads are tightly twisted to retain their smooth finish when stitched.

Santa and snowman embroidery
Closeups of Robin’s redwork and bluework

All of the Santas in Just Be Claus and all of the snowmen in Snow Happy are stitched with size 8 pearl cotton. I also use it to do quick quilting with a running stitch. The simple running-stitch finish is a perfect accent to the embroidery and patchwork in most of these projects.


Start a Santa or snowman project from one of Robin’s books today and you’ll be on your way to a happy handmade holiday.

Projects from Just Be Claus and Snow Happy

Which of Robin’s holly-jolly creations are you most fond of: Santas or snowmen? Tell us your seasonal selection in the comments!

>>> And remember, when you purchase both Just Be Claus and Snow Happy together at ShopMartingale, you’ll get free shipping and you can instantly download both eBooks for free.* A gift in the form of books for you, a gift in the form of handmade goodies for them—everyone wins this Christmas!

Just Be Claus and Snow Happy


*Free shipping to the US and Canada.


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