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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Taking a page from someone else's book (so to speak).

I just read a wonderful post from The Lancaster Yarn Shop.  The post spoke of the contrast between  "quick finishes & crafty finales versus stress and hustle--especially if we've gotten a late start or if inspiration was elusive".

For starters I'm a pretty selfish knitter.  I'm happy to knit for family and friends if I know it will be appreciated.  If I find something I knit for one of my kids on the floor, they are in the (knitted) dog house the next year.  That's just the way I feel.  No gratuitous knitting for me.

Sometime in the fall I always ask my family what they would like for the knitted part of the holiday season.  Often they take their sweet time deciding. Or, if they know right away, it's something much bigger than a bread box and not within the realm of possibility for this gift giving season. 

For example, When I asked one daughter (myself foolishly thinking it would be a manageable accessory), she answered that she wanted a sweater, with cables.  Hanging onto hope, I asked "a cable down the center?"  She answered, "you know, the ones with the cables all over".  Sheesh, an aran sweater.  "Not in this year's time" I answered. 

Another daughter, familiar with the way I will look at a commercial sweater and emulate it,  sent me a picture of her friend wearing a sweater (she liked) in a dressing room. 
 The comment attached was that this was what she wanted. A black, lace sweater may I add.  I really avoid knitting with black yarn.  Too hard to see. 

Seriously people, get with the program.  What's more, these two kids know how to knit/crochet. 

The one that doesn't knit/crochet asked for a shrug (in May).  She wanted the shrug I designed to wear to her graduation.
Very reasonable.  I take full responsibility for procrastinating ordering the yarn she'd like it in.  No comment.

My husband decided at the 11th hour that he'd be happy with another pair of socks.  In this case, I have the yarn but didn't write down how I knit up his (custom) socks the last time;

complete with his initials in the socks.  His request, don't ask me why, it's not like he goes to summer camp and I do his laundry.

So now, as I look back at what I've written, I see my system is flawed.  Basically they are damned if they ask for something reasonable and damned if they ask for something unreasonable.  They will ultimately get what they ask for, just on my timeline.

Back to Lancaster Yarn Shop's post. 

"These are the socks I'm making for my daughter for Christmas this year.  I just started them today.  I'm not stressed out about it, I'm actually quite content to have them underway.  To have started them.  My family knows if they get a wrapped ball (or two) of yarn under the tree, they are as likely to have something ready by the New Year as not! "

My family will get yarn or projects in progress or a sketch of what's to come.  They know me, they love me, it's who I am.

Her major point in the blog post was the following:
"Whatever the case may be, and whatever holidays you celebrate, I'd like to reach out with a gentle reminder.  WE MAKE THINGS BECAUSE WE LOVE TO MAKE THINGS.  We don't make things so other people admire us or think we're clever. We don't generally make things to save time or money.  We don't make things to stress ourselves out.  We make things because that is something people do.  And people have been making things to give --gifts-- forever.

We make things because we love to make things.  Isn't that mostly it?  Don't you love choosing materials for a project?  Isn't the search for the right pattern fun?  Knowing you have or can get the right tools to make something interesting or challenging is a small thrill. Casting on is another small thrill.  Watching something take shape in your hands is another. And having someone you care about in mind while you're creating a gift transforms the 'stuff' you're working with via some alchemy involving your heart, your mind & your wool."

That is the big picture here.  So I'll take a deep breath and stop knitting like maniac to finish what is remotely possible and/or totally impossible.  There is no bonus to having aching wrists/hands over holiday knitting.  I'll focus on the fact that I now have a plan for each family member.  With the right amount of planning/knitting, they will get what they asked for and I will take the time to enjoy knitting it for them and in most cases right under their noses.

Oh, and footnote to the aran sweater kid:  she's going to knit herself a super bulky sweater and changed her request to an infinity scarf. 
 Smart cookie, she's learning.

Here is a link to the Lancaster Yarn Shop post in it's entirety.

Now, stop slacking and go knit/crochet!

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