The Holly and the Ivy by Margaret Light

12th November 2021

All around the world, people celebrate Christmas in different ways. In some parts of the world they are gathering around a warm fire with mulled wine and woollen jumpers. In other parts, they are donning their swim gear and heading to the beach. However, for many parts of the world there are consistent symbols, images and songs which characterise Christmas no matter the weather or the annual traditions.

Holly and ivy are two plants which became synonymous with Christmas back in medieval times due to their everlasting colour even in the coldest, darkest Northern winter months.

Both plants have deep green leaves that remain throughout the winter, and the holly plant also produces bright red berries that sit in perfect contrast to the green foliage.

When everything else was bare and brown, adorning a house with sprigs of these two plants brought a measure of cheer and festivity to brighten up the cold days.

The plants became so popular that in the early nineteenth century they were memorialised in a traditional British folk Christmas carol ‘The Holly and the Ivy’.

Although the tune has varied in the years since the lyrics were first written, nowadays it is one of the many familiar songs that bring that delightful feeling of Christmas to the heart, and that is played on all the Christmas stations and sung by Christmas choirs.

These traditions inspired Margaret Light to use holly and ivy to decorate her stunning table runner featured in Inspirations issue #112. Stitched on a beautiful natural linen, this project features a range of stitches and threads, every one characterising the season. 

Along the centre of the table runner are a series of circles stitched using gold thread couched down with red. Within each circle is either a sprig of holly or ivy or a delicate flower or star.

Many of us love to lay the Christmas table using specific linen, glassware and tableware, so this table runner is absolutely perfect for an elegant Christmas setting.

You’d be hard pressed to find a project more useful and festive, or more able to bring a Christmas atmosphere to any home.

In order to keep your table runner looking perfect every year, it is best to store it rolled when not in use, as the gold thread will make ironing The Holly and the Ivy quite difficult. By laying acid-free tissue paper over it and storing it in a postal or other acid-free tube, you can be assured that each time you take out this wonderful project to lay your Christmas table, it will look as good as it did the first time you stitched it.

The season is fast approaching, so if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas project to stitch ready for your happy family gathering, then look no further. The Holly and the Ivy is most definitely a project you’ll enjoy using year after year.

Make Your Own | The Holly & the Ivy

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

The Holly and the Ivy by Margaret Light is a festive linen table runner with central design of holly and ivy encircled with gold braid.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 112

Digital Patterns

The Holly and the Ivy – i112 Digital

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for The Holly and the Ivy includes everything* you need to re-create this superb table runner: Fabric (unprinted), embroidery threads, metallic ribbon and needles.


The Holly and the Ivy – i112 Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the magazine/digital pattern.

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