In 2016, I started a new tradition for my family of 3. As a teen, I had a german friend who stated her gifts to me had to be opened on Christmas Eve – my younger brother then argued he should get to open a gift Christmas eve, and then it carried on from there.
For my husband’s family tradition, they had nothing under the tree before Santa arrived…so empty tree going to bed, means you can’t choose a gift to open Christmas Eve…so I created a tradition to work for both. In the evening, I place a box under the tree marked “Open Christmas Eve” and inside are 3 pairs of socks.
I’ve already said this, but there is more to ‘just knitting’ a gift; day 14 was blocking; day 9 was gauge swatches; day 4 was ripping back mistakes/wrong needle size/wrong yarn choice. Today is weaving in all the ends to finish the project.
I tend to leave this part last; sometimes I’ll knit up facecloths, put them in a pile to weave in the ends later. So at this point in the knitmas chaos, I ‘should’ be done the knitting and just have a pile of ends to weave in….but as mentioned on day 20, I’m behind – partly due to Day 3 (distractions) and day 4 (mistakes). So to prevent multiple IOUs (day 15) I have to weave in ends to ‘finish’ projects ASAP.
A number of years ago, my brother asked us to stop exchanging gifts and to donate what I would normally knit him. Now, I knit ALOT of items year-round that I give away one way or another such as school PAC, hospital, shelters, and to my son’s school when they take on a donation drive like the ShoeBox Project (eg http://www.shoeboxproject.com/victoria.html )
I was upset by my brother doing this, so the first year I still knit a bunch of items that I wrapped in a box for him with a note that he could choose where to donate the items. This has now become a yearly tradition – I gift a box of knits to my brother for him to donate to a cause of his choosing.
There are a number of charities accepting knits year-round, so if you knit, consider giving shelters some help during the year:
Can you spot the mistake in this? I can, and mistakes bug me, so much so that I usually rip things back and redo. But I only have less than 88 knitting hours left (I have to eat/sleep work during the 88 hours before Christmas I’m not going to calculate that and scare myself)
When I teach beginner knitting classes, I start them on a simple washcloth (all knitting), the second project is knit & purls. One thing I constantly repeat to them when they worry about mistakes is “it’s just a washcloth, it is going to be used/abused and any mistakes can be seen as ‘design features’. Extra bumps or holes help with scrubbing.”
So I repeated this to myself and put the finished cloth in the ‘gift box’.
At this point, most knitters will switch to chunkier yarn if they still need to knit more gifts, but I had already committed to 2 gifts that require fingering weight. For the non-knitters, fingering weight is a thinner yarn than chunky, requiring smaller needles and ALOT more stitches. I have half of one gift completed, but haven’t even started the 2nd one. Which wouldn’t seem too bad at this point, but I also have another 3 stars to knit (or more if I don’t stop giving them away), a dozen more washcloths, a pair of slippers and maybe a hat or two if I have time.
Day 19 – Some people get knits for life just because of the reaction I get from them.. This sneak peak item from 2015 was a hat for my youngest niece. She didn’t take that hat off for weeks on end.
The year before, I knit her socks, and she immediately took off the socks she was wearing, and put them on.
Her mother (my sister-in-law) was always appreciative of my knitmas gifts; she seemed sad the year my brother decided no more gifts for the adults – so for her, I always knit a gift for her birthday which happens to be January 2nd 🙂
So for every completed item I make, it has to take a bath, and dry before I can gift it. Which makes my last minute knitting that much more stressful!!!
Blocking is the art of shaping the knitted item. I generally soak my items in a basin with Eucalan, partly to fluff up the fibres then block the item into shape as it dries, but also to make sure any of the dirt/grime that I pickup on my yarn in my knitting travels is washed away. For instance, I’ve been knitting a blanket for my son at hockey games, baseball games for a number of years…I most certainly am not going to have him sleep with that blanket until it is washed!
There are other methods of blocking, but for what I’m making this Knitmas, everything is getting a bath 🙂
Someone grew two shoe sizes in a very short time period this year. He obviously is desperate for socks since he put them on his list for Christmas(???). When I knit things throughout the year, I have a spot (box) I put the gifts into, in December I pull out what is completed and can plan what is left to knit. I had these completed in early November. A couple of weeks ago, because he was searching for socks to wear with his suit to a hockey game, I pulled these out thinking he needed them now rather than wait (I could always knit more!?!?)
Those socks sat on my living room couch for two weeks. I did ask him multiple times if he was going to wear them, and being a typical teenager, I got a grunt in response (not sure if it was a yes, no or I didn’t hear you grunt).
So I’ve grabbed these back and put into the box for wrapping…
There are times when a project isn’t working the way I expect, or the yarn isn’t behaving or *gasp* I’m not being consistent. If I start getting far too frustrated with a project, I set it aside and move onto another project. In essence, the one frustrating me gets a “time out” and sits in a project bag or shelf until it learns its lesson (or I finally run out of time and have to revisit it). Some get knitted, some get frogged (ripped back).
These socks looked beautiful on Ravelry. I borrowed the book from the library and tested 3 yarns before commencing. However, I haven’t been happy with my tension (though I found blocking will even this out) and I unfortunately ignored some of the Ravelry comments that criticized the pattern. The criticisms were valid, but I thought I could persevere. This item has been on time out for 3 weeks, and I need to get back to it…or choose an alternative…
As I said back then, this yarn needed to be something more than a pair of socks hidden underneath pants and inside shoes or boots. I finally got that yarn into a shawl (Reyna) to be worn out in the world!