That time of year both beloved and dreaded by fibre folk.
On the one hand, perfect excuse for knitting. It sounds so idyllic to be able to just whip up amazing gifts with nothing but the use of sticks and string, doesn’t it?
We thumb through our books or our bloated Ravelry queues and pick out insane projects that would be perfect for everyone in our family. Select from our stashes – or perhaps go on a little spree. After all, it’s for a gift. And gift yarn doesn’t count.
On the other hand, oh my GOD, the knitting. The panic over how many weeks left to knit how many presents? The stress of running out of yarn halfway through Great Aunt Nora’s shawl. The gut gnawing fear that every one will hate their gift and just be too polite to mention it.
All of which is why I no longer do Christmas knitting.
To be perfectly honest, I only ever did it once.
The year I found my needles again and became a Serious Knitter, in fact.
In hindsight, it was probably a mistake to knit my mother a scarf made of metallic nylon ribbon yarn in shades of lemon and blue. And I’m pretty sure my brother in law has never ever worn the pair of socks I made him. I can’t really blame him.
They were only about the third pair I’d ever knitted and I’m not even certain I managed to knit them both the same size. Or the actual size of his feet, come to think of it.
I have no idea what became of any of the presents I knitted that year, but I’m fairly sure that I achieved a level of bemusement and confusion on Christmas day only rivaled by the time I hand sewed a patchwork quilt for my then boyfriend as a gift for our first Christmas together. He spent the day wearing it as a cloak. (He did subsequently marry me though, so I guess that turned out quite well, all things considered.)
I meant well. I really did. I knitted those monstrosities with love, intending to show with all my hard work just how much my family meant to me. But I subsequently decided it was probably better to save the yarn for myself and just buy presents for everyone after that first year. Or book vouchers. Everyone likes books and it doesn’t matter what size their feet are, books always fit.
Anyway, I have diverged from my vow of not knitting for Christmas this year, just a smidge. Because I finally have three people who really love it when I knit stuff for them.
(As long as the stuff is not clothes. Apart from socks. Socks are acceptable tributes of my love. Apparently.)
So here is the sum total of my Christmas knitting this year. Three tiny projects. Knitted in just under three days. Using only scraps of yarn from my leftover box.
No. of tears shed over not finishing gifts in time: nil.
No. of late nights spent knitting till my eyes bleed: just tonight. And that doesn’t count because most of that was taken up with writing this post.
No. of (admittedly tiny and insignificant) presents completed for Christmas: three.
I think this may be the year that I learn to love Christmas knitting.
If you have small people to knit for and you are beginning to look at your knitting needles and giant pile of yarn with a sensation of loathing and dread, I wholeheartedly suggest swiftly picking up a copy of this and rummaging for some odds and ends. I reckon you’ve still got time to whip up a couple of bits.
Either that or that book token thing.
(If you’re celebrating Christmas, have a good one. If you’re not, have a good non-Christmassy time too.
My shop’ll be offline over the next little while. Should be back either just before or just after New Year. )
EDITED TO ADD: I got an email from my sister this morning. Apparently, the Christmas Socks Of Doom are in use. They make excellent bed socks and both my sister and my brother in law use them – they have similarly sized feet. Useful to know if I ever decide to dabble in familial gift knitting again…