Summer is over. Pumpkin spice is in the air, which means that it’s time for my annual bout of indecision about knitting for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts.
On the one hand: I’m a giver, at least when it comes to my knitting. I give away more of my handknits than I keep. (What is that all about? Am I just tired of them after the time spent knitting?) It’s gratifying to knit for appreciative non-knitters, and even more delightful to knit for a knitter, who truly gets the time and love involved.
On the other hand: I’m contrary by nature. As much as I love knitting, once a project has a deadline or is otherwise obligatory, I start trying to weasel out of knitting it. Remember my sweater for Stephen? I loved knitting that thing—a beautiful pattern in an evergreen yarn—but the whole way through, I had to fight the temptation to cast on something else.
This year, I’m trying out a new system. It’s called “knitting whatever I feel like.” It’s a mental work-around that I hope will result in a pile of handknit goodness to give away in December.
On a visit to Ann’s house, I discovered a cache of Christmas presents that just didn’t know yet that they are Christmas presents.
Idle hands are not Ann’s workshop. She may already have enough for Christmas 2016 and 2017. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to get one of these fancy shmattahs? It’s a hit parade of shawlettes, scarfettes, all the -ettes—plus cowls. Name that tune: so many favorite patterns and yarns here.
Join me in this grand experiment. Instead of fussing about what people want for Christmas, and then dragging your feet to knit those things, think about what you want to knit right now. Socks? OK, your people will get socks. Hats? Mitts? You get the idea. It’s so liberating! Knitting is our hobby, after all. It’s not a chore we have to do or a schedule we have to keep.
(I regret to report that the Squad Mitts pictured above have not been blocked yet. Ann still has a bit of work to do before she can break out the tissue paper and Scotch tape and mail a pair to me.)
What About Sweaters?
Sweaters are the third rail of gift-knitting. Sweaters have to fit. People have Opinions about sweaters. Some people—it pains me to say this but it’s true—will not wear a handmade garment. So tread carefully if you’re in the mood to knit a sweater. It might be best to reserve sweaters for yourself, or for recipients who have already demonstrated their sweaterworthiness. On the other hand, a sweater will always fit somebody. If you are truly committed to the pile-o-handknits approach to gift-knitting, go ahead and throw a sweater on the pile.
In January, let’s reconvene and see how this experiment went. Fun fact for the Judeo-Christian contingent: this year the first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve. Observers of either holiday can all be on the same schedule for a change.
I generally aim for New Year’s, anyway.