Thursday, December 20, 2007

Handmade Christmas

I've wanting to write this post for awhile, but I was sidetracked by school, that bane of my knitting life. As of 11:42 this morning, however, the last paper was turned in, the last exam taken, and I never have to worry about medieval polyphony EVER again. Come Saturday, I'll be winging my way across the country with a suitcase full of yarn and dirty clothes. Hey, ho, let's go knit!

Anyway. The thing. The thing is, I love Christmas. I really do. I love snow and decorating the tree and making (and eating) about a thousand tons of Christmas candy. I love hanging our stockings in just the right order on the mantelpiece. Since coming to college, I've loved being at home with my family, who I miss so much and don't get to see nearly enough. I will admit that I like getting presents, but what I love most of all is GIVING presents. I love finding or making just the right thing and watching people's happy faces when they open their gifts. I really, really love that.

However. Much as I hate to admit it--there are a few things about Christmas that I hate. Well, just the one...I hate the "Christmas shopping season." How, I ask you, is the "Christmas spirit" in any way related to maxing out your credit cards and stressing out all the time? What, did baby Jesus tell you to go stand in line at Wal-Mart at 4 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving to buy a 40-inch TV? Honestly, I think it's a little disgusting.

Which is why, then, I've decided to do my own little boycott: I am not buying a single new gift this year. All of my gifts are either coming from Salvation Army (always a source for amusing and...unique gifts) or, more importantly, I'm making them.

This is important to me. For environmental reasons, for political and social reasons, and yes, let's face it, because I'm an unemployed student and while I don't have any money I do have a lot of yarn and beads and in about forty-eight hours I'll have access to my mother's sewing machine. (Is this related to how I don't shave my legs partly because I don't let society dictate what I do with my body and partly because I have fine, blond leg hair and I'm lazy? Hmmm.)

Anyway. Now that I've revealed myself as the fuzzy-legged tree-hugging hippie that I am, let's see how we're doing on this gift-making. (keep in mind that those pesky exams were getting in my way until this morning, so there'll be a lot more knitting going on in the next few days.

Our first exhibit: Urchin, for my mom, out of that accursed Manos from my last post. I really think it might be working out this time, though!

As always, I modified the pattern a little bit--I wasn't getting gauge, not by a long shot, and I didn't have bigger needles (plus it was about 1 a.m. when I cast on) so I just added some stitches in the middle of each wedge. I really like this pattern--it looked like a blob at first but it's really taking shape (I've knit about another two and a half wedges since this picture was taken).

And doesn't the manos look nice in garter stitch? I think this might finally be the pattern for this yarn! I'm a little worried I'll run out, but if that happens I have another skein of Manos in a purple color that'll go with this one. It'll be a design element. Yeah.

Next up: gloves for my aunt, from this hand-dyed yarn. Should be done, no problem.

My dad asked for a hat before I left home after Thanksgiving, and he was very specific: "No fancy cables or anything, and not too bright a color...and I want it pretty fine, a small yarn." So...fine-gauge stockinette. Thanks, Dad. I think he'll like this though:

(the yarn is really soft, for his bald little head)

Finally, a hat for my brother, which currently looks like this:

Yeah. Um. There's more:

Originally it was going to be sweater vests for my parents' twenty-fifth wedding anniversary (purple for her, green for him), which was last week, but I've come to my senses. It's actually going to be a swatch, some yarn, and a sweet card.

And actually, in some ways, that's better--I really think that for anything bigger than accesories, especially something like this that I want to be really good, it's good to have input from the recipient.

So. In the next four or five days, I need to finish one hat, make two more, finish that glove, and finish the cabled swatch. Hmmm. Excuse me.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

But I thought you hated garter stitch? ;)

(But Urchin is a cute pattern, and I agree, the Manos somehow does look really good in garter stitch.)

So, bad things: 18 hours on train, 6 hours in Moscow, 11 hours on plane, 2 hours in Atlanta, 2 hours on other plane, hour drive home.
Good things: knitting on 39-hour journey home. Finished two hats (for brothers' girlfriends) and one pair of slippers (for mother). My train/plane neighbors were all very impressed. :)

Merry Christmas! Hope the knitting's going well!