Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's That Time of Year

If it's the beginning of November, I must be getting ready to give you all kinds of advice on how to get with the Season. I have my more festive years, and my less festive years, but I can always relate to good gifts. (Spoiler Alert: If you are one of my peeps, and you like surprises, don't read on...)

As it happens, I somehow managed to commit myself to the construction of 15 knitted Xmas items. Some of them are done (6 things) but, by the math, I figure if I knit my fingers to the bone every minute between now and Dec. 20, everything should be perfect! Nothing like setting practically unreasonable goals and calling them learning opportunities.

In truth, as I work, I happily imagine all of the stunned impress-edness of my giftees as they stare at their new special thing. (Regrettably, I just read an old post on Yarn Harlot's blog in which she mentions that her sister - whom she knit for incessantly - doesn't actually like the quality of hand knit items. And I can sort of understand that. I don't like nubby, floppy, open weave, hairy yarn things. I just hope everyone loves the kind of handmade I do! And, while we're talking about this, can you imagine having the world's most famous knitter as your sister and not being blown away by her presents?? Just goes to show...)

I'm chronicling the fabulous journey on Ravelry but, in case you don't hang there, here are a few pics to set the scene:

Vancouver Fog - Long Version

Vancouver Fog - Short Version (There's a medium length but I haven't made it. Short version is great because it doesn't take up too much yarn... Seems that when I don't have enough to make the long version, I only have enough to make the short one.)

You'll note that the cable on each grey glove is exactly mirror-image. I forgot to do that on the shorter ones. I don't think it makes a tremendous difference, but the asymmetry bothers me.

And here's the beginnings of a scarf with an interesting repeat (K1, bring yarn to front, slip stitch purlwise, K3). Note, I mean the result is interesting - not the actual knitting:

Yes, I am using my overage of the questionable Debbie Bliss Rialto DK. Since I've learned that it can be washed and heat dried, and since scarves don't have to fit like sexy sweaters, I think it's a good bet. What I like about wash and dry yarn is that the recipient doesn't need to worry about going to extra measures when cleaning.

So, are any of you hand making gifts this year? What kind? Even if you don't give them, how do you feel about homemade gifts? Be honest!


  1. I like handmade gifts, but it seems that most of my peeps don't really appreciate them. I might make a couple of gifts (a spa towel and a blouse for two of my sisters), but for the most part, I'm just going to skip that and buy stuff. It just works better that way, since I seem to be unable to handle it when people are less than thrilled with my handmade stuff.

  2. I like to give hand made gifts, but I sometimes drive myself crazy to do it. I've made bath bombs and scented salts for the women in our family, a lingerie travel bag for my SIL, I tried hats for my brothers but that didn't go so well as I couldn't fit them.

    I like to receive them too. My MIL has made flanel comfy pants and house coats for my husband and I, she's also knit me mitts. As crafty as my mom is, she rarely makes gifts for us and I think by the time Christmas arrives, she's tired from all the sewing she sells.

  3. I love those mitts, especially the long ones! My family is not big on homemade gifts, so I've only ever made them for my mom who appreciates them.

    In some ways, I'm not an ideal recipient for homemade stuff. I have allergies and skin sensitivities, so something scented or with the wrong fiber blend in the yarn would just mess me up. I do have one fantastic, very basic scarf that was knitted by an aunt. The colors are all wrong, but since I don't need scarves often I hold onto it because it's SO soft.

  4. Handmade gifts are so lovely!!
    They show others we put much care in them.
    And your knits are just great. I just need some long mittens, please.... (lol)


  5. I have just re-started knitting and I've completed two knitted hats already for Xmas presents. I adore the Vancouver mitts pattern, and in fact all of the things are making!

  6. I like handmade gifts but my peeps don't always appreciate them either. This year my gifts will probably be boring, but appreciated. One year I knit six pairs of fingerless gloves for Christmas, and yes a wash and dry yarn is good for gifts.

  7. The only time I had a hand-made gift was when my sister was spending all her money on dope and thought she could get away with some cotton balls in a flower pot as a christmas present.
    But something thoughtful and painstakingly made would be lovely. xx

  8. I like them, but cautiously -- depends on how well the giver knows me and, let's be honest, on the giver's skillset.
    I usually knit socks, hats, scarves, for family, but it's not looking good this year. It's just been so busy. I'll probably end up making one or two gifts, but nowhere near at your level.

  9. Oooh, these are some interesting comments!

    CGC: Buying is appealing when you know it's going to do the trick in a fraction of the time.

    Sera: Sounds like you've got a sweet spot!

    LSCG: Thanks! My sister has a lot of allergies so it's quite hard to make things for her...

    Seeker: I'll keep that in mind! :-)

    Kay: You should make the gloves! They're very sassy in the long size particularly.

    Mardel: That's a lot of gloves - I know!

    Lisa: That's hilarious! You deserve much better...

    F: Oh, you've touched on just the thing - if the person doesn't get your style or if the gift is not well-constructed, it's hard to be as grateful as the gift likely deserves.

  10. Sorry I'm late, yesterday was completely shot dealing with our injured feral kitty Gray. He's ok, but required emergency medical attention and shopping for a large cage etc. so he can recuperate indoors.

    I wish I were one of your relatives so I could receive a pair of those beautiful knitted gloves.

    As for me, we're not into gift giving in our family, besides giving books and food that is. But you know what? I wore red tights friday night to our annual parish thanksgiving dinner with my chuck taylors, mondrian scarf (it has some red) and new wendyb earrings and not only did I get several compliments on the outfit I got several requests for a handmade mondrian scarf! I probably won't sew one for everyone who asked (1,000 stitches is a lot of stitches) but likely will make one for my best friend.

  11. I have such mixed feelings about handmade gift. I have too many people in my life to sew for, and most people just don't appreciate the time and work that goes into it. So, I limit my gifting to those who "get it". That said, I do bake a lot for others and I always feel like my baking is appreciated.

    As for receiving handmade gifts, it really depends on how well a person "gets" my taste in things and how skilled they are in crafting them. I always feel horribly guilty when I don't love something someone made for me because I appreciate the time and effort.

  12. Susan: So sorry to hear about your kitty. I hope that everything will be well... And look at how you're inspiring fashion all over the land. You should make one, at least for your best friend :-)

    Clio: I feel exactly the same way. I do feel that baked goods go over well under all circumstances. I've had some really great responses with Xmas goodies.

  13. I should do handmade gifts but I have no idea where I would find the time. And ditto for you and your 15 gifts. You are mad woman. Mad!