Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

the dirt road to madness

I had a very reasonable plan for my holiday gift knitting. I know, I know, some people pretend to loathe holiday gift knitting and,indeed, some refuse to do it outright. I support that. I do the holiday gift knitting for my close family for one reason that ends up being more than that - I love it. I love that my husband and kids are happy, thrilled even, to receive a gift of hand-knit socks or a hat made from handspun yarn. I love that I'm not in a mall hell somewhere breaking into the already tight grocery budget trying to find a doll that pees or a figure that doesn't have an arm missing - amongst hissing, fighting mamas who are much more shopping savvy than I. I love that, even though I'd have to knit mittens, socks, hats, sweaters, etc. for them anyway, I can do it once a year as a special gift. It is hard to remain loyal to the voice of reason when your heartstrings are being tugged. Other than the recent slip wherein I have insanely committed to knitting thing 1 a pair of Birch Leaf Socks (see last post cuz I'm too lazy to link - ha!), I've done pretty well.

Each Thing, as you know, is deemed to receive a sweater, a pair of socks, a set of mittens, and a hat. They will get one store-bought gift and that is all we're doing this year. Part of the final step to having hubster and I both work from home is that we agreed that spending on 'luxury' items and outlandish holiday gifts would be a part of our past. Even if we did have the money to shop till we drop, we'd put it in the jar that is holding our hopes of a pony this spring, or a milk cow, or another solar panel. The Things are holding up fabulously. I am knitting fiendishly. thing 3's poncho So, Thing 3 has a pair of socks waiting for him and I have learned to let go the control freak reigns and hubster (YES, you heard that right) is knitting his poncho from some old New Zealand worsted wgt. that I hand-dyed back when I didn't have the super soft yarn to work with. He's doing great and when he's done, I will fleece line the thing and this will be the kid's winter coat. Winter coats are a joke here in Maine. What you really need is a good, thick poncho to fit over a wool sweater and umpteen shirts because LAYERING IS THE KEY. Also, this kid sheds a coat like a rattlesnake sheds its skin if you're not watching. I'm making him a pullover poncho with a cool pocket (rather, hubster is making it - like how I still take the credit?) so that he will not be able to take the thing off and run around outside like a little wild man. At least this way, he'll be a warm little wild man.

thing 2's sweater and sockSensible, right? My next sweater is the ingenious Custom Fit top down Raglan . This is a very simple pattern and it is knitting rather quickly seeing as how I forgot about it for two days. Another old stash of hand-dyed in the colors that Thing 2 adores, earthy greens and browns dotted with blues and turquoise. He's gonna love it. I stole the yarn from the Birch Leaf socks because this yarn matches his sweater better, no? Just a simple ribbed sock (with a secret rune for protection knitted in the side) that I'm turning the heel on as we speak. All very sensible....

thing 1's sweater and sockThen, we're where the rubber meets the road. In my delegation of duty, I coerced Thing 3 into knitting the boys' mittens for Yule. She, in my defense, was not stuck on what she would make them as her gift to them and I need all the help I can get. She's a doll, an absolute doll - and mitten #1 is finished already! You see where this is going? Of course, I will knit her mittens but those birch leaf socks are also something I'm already attached to making for her. I changed the yarn to a more purpley yarn - the 'vixen' sock yarn in my store that she likes so much. I think the darker color and less busy colorwork will not confuse the pattern as much as the Wood Elves would. Also, it matches the purple yarn I'm making her sweater out of. Yes, I have changed the yarn for this project three times already. Indecision may be the enemy of some - but it is my inner core so I've learned to live with it. I thought about another simple raglan but miss teenager is all the sudden real concerned with fashion and I don't think she'll be too impressed. Then, I thought I'd try the tangled cable sweater in KNits. Reasoning that too hard and the yarn not the right gauge for the project, I sought out a simple sweater. Found one I thought I loved and, then - as if by subliminal messaging, my dear Spindling Scot posted this . It is likely that back in the old days when this pattern first came out - I was new enough to knitting to recognize my talent diminished in the scale of what is necessary to pull this knit off. Now, with the doe in the headlights look of panic upon me, perhaps too much sugar coming off the trick-or-treat days, and maybe a desire to do something to impress my teenage daughter before she finishes out the expedient process of growing up and going out in the world wherein I will wait with angst and desperation for a PHONE CALL - guess who bought the pattern?

Chocolate will likely be consumed in rabid style. Some beer may happen, here. Words of encouragement and concurring denial are always welcomed!