Thursday, November 27, 2014

Let's talk Christmas

I'm scaling back this year. At this point, there are 15 people on my gift list: the four people (besides me) who live in my house; my close family (three people), DH's close family (three people), and various teachers and care providers for my kids (five people). I decided a number of months ago that I didn't think I would enjoy the stress that would come with committing to knit gifts for all of them. So I started to cull.

There are some people on my list that, to be honest, are always going to get knitted stuff. These are the people that are super-difficult to shop for but very easy to knit for, such as my dad and brother. Teachers almost always get knitted stuff because frankly, if I were a teacher getting about twenty new gifts every Christmas, either my house would be full of crap or I would have to figure out how to get rid of it. But knitted gifties - assuming I have accurately gauged the personal style of the recipient and chosen well with a pattern - are not crap. They are useful and helpful and will (I hope) be kept.

Then there are people on my list who get lots of knitted stuff throughout the year, so I can strike them off my knitting list with very little guilt, i.e. my husband and kids.

So when the dust cleared this year, I had whittled my knitted gift list down to eight people (possibly nine if I can get off my duff and finish the reknitting of one of my husband's sweaters in time). I've already posted about four of the gifties: my dad's socks, which I got started back in on (finally) and are (slowly) proceeding; my brother's fingerless mitts (done); my older BIL's socks (done), and my niece's socks (done). But there have also been:

DD1's teacher (done):

This is "Miss Jane's Hat", by Heide Petroski, and it's been on my queue ever since it came out in the summer 2012 issue of Jane Austen Knits (which, I'm just noticing now, has a 2014 issue out, so I will have to take a closer look at what's in that).

DD2's teacher (done and gifted):

This teacher was already in her third trimester by the beginning of the school year, so obviously I had to knit her something baby as her giftie. :) She's already gone on her maternity leave (baby will probably be arriving any day now) so it was gifted to her before she left. The pattern is "Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater" by Carole Barenys, something that's been in my queue for years. Very sweet.

DD1's gymnastics teacher (done):

The pattern is "Minty", by Erica Jackofsky, which has been in my queue ever since it came out in Knitty about four years ago. And may I just say that it is a fabulous pattern. First of all, the finished garment is super-cute, not to mention that its style is super-"in" at the moment. And it is a very quick and very fun knit. A real pleasure. I could easily go on a Minty jag and knit half a dozen of them before I knew what I was doing. Highly recommended.

DD2's art teacher (done):

I've really, really been trying to knit from the queue lately, and this pattern is no exception: it's "Citron", by Hilary Smith Callis.

To make it, I used almost a complete skein of Kidsilk Lace, by Hedgehog Fibres. It didn't allow me to do all five sections that the pattern called for, but I did four, and that gave me a very nice-sized piece so I've no complaints. And let me tell you something about this yarn - I myself could never wear it because my skin just doesn't get along with mohair even if you do put 30% silk into it, but at one point I had to frog back quite a bit of it and was delighted to find that it was not impossible. Sure, it got a bit sticky and difficult at points, but by and large, it frogged fairly easily and the yarn seemed none the worse for it. More amazement came when it was time to block the shawl. I gave it a full soak (warning, it looks gross, but I promise, it's just knitting, not animal flesh):

Naturally, I expected to be left with a vibrantly pink bowl of water when I took the shawl out, but NO. I swear to you, the water was clear as a bell. I looked very closely - the colour (which as you can see from the shots is quite intense) didn't seem to bleed AT ALL. I still don't really believe it. But you can bet that if anyone mentions to me that they want a laceweight mohair/silk blend, I will recommend this yarn until I'm blue in the face. It was a (very generous) Christmas gift last year from my older BIL, and he actually gave me two skeins of it, here's the other one:

(Ignore the cable needle; I have no idea why that's stuck in there, I never even use it.)

I suspect I'll be using that purple skein to make another Citron for DD2, whose favourite colour is purple (and for whom four sections of that shawl is exactly the right size to give her a very nice sized cape).

(Just not as a Christmas present!)

Finally, my cousin and his little family are visiting at the end of November. They live in Chicago and we rarely see them, and this will be their last visit before Christmas. So I made their little daughter a little something:

(It looks done, but I still have to wash and block it.)

The pattern is "Entrechat, by Lisa Chemery, and like pretty much everything else I've been making lately, it's been in my queue for a very long time. Look how adorable that thing is. It's a really lovely little pattern and I enjoyed making it. I also enjoyed that I got it on sale, thanks to the Indie Design Gift-A-Long. The sale is over by now, but the Gift-A-Long itself lasts for two months and runs until New Year's Eve, so it's not too late to get involved, if you're keen. After all, I'm sure I'm not the only person knitting holiday presents!

1 comment:

Middle said...

I've knitted teacher gifts in the past too. Honestly, do they really need another Christmas mug?