Tips from an All-Star Procrastinator

By Ann Shayne
December 18, 2018
The yarns for Field Guide No. 8: Merry Making are fat, fast, and friendly

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  • Can Santa fly me a Field Guide 8? Like now? Cloves in an orange is yummy! The knitting is gorgeous!

    • I think you can get a digital version…

  • I am finished! Hold on….I made SIX Stranded Damond hats, 4 pairs Appleseed mitts, and 4 Appleseed coasters! Just waiting for the hats to dry so I can wrap them up. YIPEE! Most fun holiday knitting ever!

    And…I sort of want homemade cinnamon buns.

  • Procrastinator + over ambitious checking in here. The years when I thought it would be a great idea to make 15 types of cookies / biscuits… Now I make one kind of sweet. Parcel it out thriftily. I’m using my own crochet pattern to make handwarmers very simple very quick and am using all yarn from my stash. I think I might actually make enough for everyone on Christmas day to choose a pair of handwarmers from an ever growning pile. 7 done so far. And I’m really proud not to have spent any money on yarn… free from stash *cough**

    • Love your plan for making, and then letting them choose! Brilliant.

  • I have baked chocolate, rum and raisin cakes for gifting, shortbread and a traditional fruit cake in memory of my Dad. Every Christmas he would “complain “ everyone was cutting the cake crooked so he would have to straighten it….❤️

  • I confer with the brother, sister, and husband re: holiday baking. I don’t necessarily bake traditional holiday items – more like favorites over the years. So far on the list are raspberry bars, M&M cookies, gingerbread cookies, pumpkin muffins, chocolate chip cookies. Depending on how many helpers I have (I have people staying over but they are usually all still snoozing while I am baking), I might throw in some cinnamon-sugar twist cookies. I make an excel spreadsheet so I know how much flour, eggs, brown sugar, etc. to buy. One year I ran out of eggs, nothing was open, had to cut something out. That was bad!

  • I found myself singing along to the blog post a la a “Partridge in a Pear Tree.” “3 chalice cowls, 3 slipstitch caps, a – pair – of – appleseed mitts!” Someone must have knitted enough to fill out all the numbers (but not I).

  • I once was determined to banish procrastination from my life forever! Then I thought, maybe later…

  • I am also a highly skilled procrastinator. Still have a few items to knit and sew. What, me worry? I decided to bake cookies to send to two of my brothers who have spouses with serious dietary restrictions. One tin of each one’s favorite. No decorating. Done. And I forgot about making pomanders! My mother used to have us do that once in a while. Sore thumbs won’t help me knit, though.

  • I procrastinated by watching this TED talk – “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator” (Tim Urban)

    It is funny and informative. I wish I could say that it solved my procrastination problem.

  • Cloves in an orange sounds like a GREAT idea to me – haven’t done that in ages. I really think I will have to make a trip to Clove and Citrus City. My whole house will smell so good! On the knitting/finishing/gifting front…erm. Last night I dreamt I opened a drawer and found THREE nearly finished pairs of socks which I did not even remember starting. I woke with a jolt.

    • That could have been my dream, except it’s reality. A friend has started a business, Sidehustle Socks (she even has an Etsy shop) where she puts your sock yarn on her sock machine and makes a tube that’s the length of two socks. All you have to do is pick it apart judiciously and add a toe, heel and cuff to each sock. I’m finding these first ones quite fussy, so I have two pairs in some state of not-quite-ready. One pair has to be done by Friday and the other (a secret gift for my hubby) by Christmas morning. PLENTY of time!

      • Interesting idea. Judy, check out the pattern for Afterthought Everything Socks by Erica Kempf Broughton on Ravelry. You knit from one picot cast on and ribbing, down the leg, add waste yarn for the heel, knit two feetses worth of foot, add more waste yarn for the second heel, then make the second ribbing and picot bind off. Once that’s done you pick out the waste yarn, add heels, then snip one stitch to unravel them apart, then knit two toes. That might give you some tips on working the Sidehustle Socks. The pattern is by a yarn shop owner in Indiana and cost only $2. I stopped at the shop on my way to visit family and bought the pattern (and all of the baby alpaca in the clearance rack) while there.

  • Last night I cloved two oranges before I quit because it was hurting my knitting fingers. 3 3/4 hats down and two to go. Looks as if it’s going to be some midnight knitting for the next few days. Here’s hoping the orange fumes will keep me awake.

  • Baking: pumpkin bread (500 calories a slice) with cream cheese crushed pineapple “smear!” Yum!! Simple and ever so yummy!!!

    • OMG.

  • My Dad would say ” if they gave an award for procrastination, Christine would win … bur she’d never get ’round to collecting it”.
    But, said with love, so that’s okay.

    I’m back to knitting, after 45years away .. who knew/remembered it was such fun (and addictive!).

    Christine in Los Angeles

  • I had surgery on my hand 4 weeks ago, unplanned, so everyone knows their gifts will be a little late this year. I’m making use of that excuse…although it’s typical for my stuff to be late. But this year I have a legit reason!

    • Sorry about the surgery but dang! Well played! 😉
      Feel better quick!

  • I’ve made my greatgrandmother’s spice cake (can’t beat those 19th century southern recipes!), sugar cookies for my granddaughters to decorate, pecan tassies, lemon bars, and, as a nod to modernity, chocolate thumbprint cookies with salted caramel. Luckily for my waistline, most of them have been given as gifts!

  • Way to crank ’em out Ann!! My gift knitting is done: a big chunky cardi for my Mom, 3 Stranded Diamonds hats, 7 Appleseed Coasters, and 2 catnip toys. I baked a little over the weekend: Saltine Toffee (tastes like Almond Roca) and Cinnamon Ornaments (NOT edible!) that still smell like cinnamon after almost 30 years! First started making these when my girls were little. Got my yarn (Douillet) from MDK yesterday, gonna start my birthday present to Me-Chalice Cowl

  • “The cure to procrastination?

    Start sooner.

    Who knew?”

    Oh wise one you made me Laugh out loud!

  • I’ll come back to read this after I go through e-mails………. ((:

  • The Sunday after Thanksgiving I baked 11 (shoulda been 12 but I’m evidently measuring challenged, next year I’ll weigh the batter) Creole Christmas Fruitcakes using Emeril Lagasse’s recipe. It uses reconstituted dried fruit instead of that odd, sticky candied stuff and it’s cake-ier than traditional fruitcake. It’s been steeping in its orange liqueur and bourbon fruit syrup since then, resting in sealed bags down in the cool next to the washer. Yesterday I made a vat of Chex Mix using Mom’s recipe from the 50s and today I’ll make her English Toffee to share with family and a batch of Caramel Crunch (Crispix, popcorn, pretzels covered with caramel made in the microwave) to take to the knitting guild December meeting on Thursday. I’m thinking I might have to bake some cookies but maybe not. I don’t need to eat any more sweets.

    Finished the last of the Christmas knitting–3 critter-topped hats from kits for the little grandkids. It’s been a challenging year. I’m glad to get that much done.

    • Where do you live? My mouth is watering. I will move to join your guild! Just kidding, I think.

      • Rubbing fists in eyes…* Is that YOU, Barbara?!?! No wonder it sounds so good!! Lol!!!

  • Lots of time left – as long as I stop eating and sleeping and cleaning the house and doing the laundry and all those boring “other” jobs! Why doesn’t the world just stop so I can knit?!

  • 5 slip stitch caps!!! Best gifty ever!

  • I am the Queen of Procrastinators, so I’ve only promised a few hand-knit gifts to people, all with vague delivery times. I also have a non-gift-related knitting deadline coming up on January 7th, so that’s the one that’s foremost in my mind. Most of my holiday pursuits are accomplished in ath-leisure ware—if you count a t-shirt and fleece vest as the “ath” part, with pajama bottoms definitely in the “leisure” camp! As to what foods I want to have and give for the holidays: it’s a long and idiosyncratic list, based on my cravings of the moment. Ginger! No, all the spices! Chai tea for everyone! Oranges! Chocolate! Chocolate spice! Chocolate orange! Pumpkin, October through January! Cranberry! Peppermint, peppermint, peppermint anything. Often with chocolate. Oh, and fruit-based desserts. All of this can be difficult to accomplish while remaining gluten- and dairy-free, but somehow I manage…

  • Love the tassels!

    Almost done with my slip stitch cap – but it’s a little late because I just returned from a cold place and am now in a warm place. But I’m determined to bang out a child sized hat before Xmas, and there is enough yarn. Tomorrow!

    I have happily accomplished all of my holiday cooking – made a reservation for Xmas dinner at my mom’s nursing home. It’s the only place to be, even if she sleeps through it.

    Love you all!

  • Too funny! I just finished downloading a pattern and am on my way after work to buy yarn to make a sweater for my grandson – fat yarn, big needles, no problem!

  • All the patterns look beyond my capabilities at the moment and……I am allergic to wool. They are beautiful, however.
    I am going to learn how to use DPN this week to make handwarmers then socks!
    There are two holes in my living room ceiling. Putting a new roof on ended Saturday afternoon. Thankfully we had 40° in the Chicago metro area Dec.12 and still going. Next gutters.
    Just not in the mood.
    Hoping to find a small tree somewhere that is not a fortune. Blessed that it will no longer rain in my home.
    I will have to get some oranges. I remember making them as presents for aunts when I was a child. Such a lovely smell.
    Have you made cinnamon, applesauce and glue ornaments? Not edible but smell delicious 20 years after making them.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Start sooner…..I knew that! LOL!! It’s like “Don’t put off today what you can put off tomorrow, eh?”

    Mom’s table cloth got finished and mailed, curiosity box of knitted or crocheted items to one of my sis’, a box of the same to deliver to another sis, a hat and scarf to a nephew…..the same to our son but I knitted him a necktie, too… came out fab…..I got Army tie tacks to put on it…..last but not least:

    That Doctor Who scarf…’s done but for those pesky tails to weave in…..I got three done… to finish the other 50! LOL!! I should get a pic of hubby wearing it before the tails get woven in…..’tie one on’ per Kay (?)…..will use a tiny bit of fabric glue as I weave them in…..

    We’re doing a Christmas ‘here’ today. Beef tenderloin with smoky potatoes, Brussels sprouts, coleslaw, fruit cups, yeast rolls and candies (like toffee! Yum!” We are indeed blessed.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours. May you get ‘too much’ yarn from Santa.